Thursday, November 29, 2012


This is coolbert:

"The GOD of the Hebrews is a poor general. HE allows them no line of retreat!" - - as spoken by Yul Brynner in the rule of Rameses in the Cecil B. DeMille version of the "Ten Commandments"

That prudent and wise military commander at all times taking into consideration and  determining a line of retreat during military operations if and when a movement to the rear is necessitated? As extracted from the Spartacus web site the American Civil War general officer Mc Clellan seen as dilatory and hesitant to a fault:

"Soon after this appointment Abraham Lincoln ordered McClellan to appear before a committee investigating the way the war was being fought. On 15th January, 1862, McClellan had to face the hostile questioning of Benjamin Wade and Zachariah Chandler. Wade asked McClellan why he was refusing to attack the Confederate Army. He replied that he had to prepare the proper routes of retreat. Chandler then said: 'General McClellan, if I understand you correctly, before you strike at the rebels you want to be sure of plenty of room so that you can run in case they strike back.' Wade added 'Or in case you get scared'. After McClellan left the room, Wade and Chandler came to the conclusion that McClellan was guilty of 'infernal, unmitigated cowardice'".

NOT so much cowardice and cowardly behavior as TIMIDITY? Prudent perhaps to a fault?

Timid as used to describe comportment being understood as non-aggressiveness and unassertive! NOT cowardice but a lack of gumption and positive resolve?

That word TIMID exceptionally pejorative when used to describe the behavior of a military man. That combat commander not confident of his command or his abilities. Especially when on the offensive that leader lacking in cran [guts], elan' [spirited action] or confidence seen as not being worthy of command?

From an exchange with an American professional military man who has considerable combat experience:

"Now that you mention it, we never had a line of retreat prepared as an option when I went to Command and General Staff School [C&GS] during battle planning exercises. We had alternative attacks at times when we wondered if the primary attack might be 'iffy' or we didn't know where some of the enemy's strengths were in the war games, so we had to consider other plans as the attack developed. But I don't recall ever planning a line of retreat 'just in case'. Which means probably no US Army professional school taught it."

Prudent commanders however perhaps wise taking into account a line of retreat during offensive operations if and when the situation necessitates?  Such a military leader was O.P Smith from sixty-two years ago yesterday [28 November] when the American Tenth Corps in Korea [1950] encountered for the first time the massed formations of Chinese Communist Forces [CCF].

Smith while in command of the First Marine Division moving north on the west side of the Chosin reservoir having detailed with foresight a reinforced infantry company to safeguard his main supply route [MSR] and line of retreat. Fox Company occupying and defending with great resolve dominant terrain against all comers and in the course of events doing so quite successfully! Smith PRUDENT and not TIMID!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Stamps & Maps.

This is coolbert:

Territorio en Litigio 

Here from the web site Big Think we have some items that within the context of my previous blog entry are absolutely so germane:

1. "581 - The Stamp that Almost Caused a War".

"in 1937, Nicaragua and Honduras almost came to blows… over a stamp."

"In August of that year [1937], the Nicaraguan postal service released a new set of Air Mail stamps, centred on a map of Nicaragua. The map also showed part of Honduras, north of the border, in the same shading as Nicaragua proper. Although the accepted border between both countries was also shown, the part of Honduras shaded as Nicaragua was labelled Territorio en Litigio (‘Territory in Dispute’)."

2. "587 - Maps as War by Other Means".

"sometimes, war itself is being continued by other means - cartographic means. Maps are an excellent propaganda weapon against a (geo)political enemy. We trust cartography instinctively to ‘show us the right way’, and thus be truthful; but maps always reflect the mapmakers goals"

Territory in dispute! Contested sovereignty the "mapmakers goals" indicated by stamps, maps, passports, etc. NOT necessarily WAR as that term defined but nonetheless a means to express displeasure at the "other" and make your intentions clear as a bell and FOR ALL TO SEE! Flag raising in a figurative rather than a literal sense. But getting close.


Monday, November 26, 2012


This is coolbert:

From the Chicago Tribune only today:

"New map of China in passport stirs flap"

"BEIJING - - China is staking its claim on paper to what neighbors say is rightfully theirs."

"The latest territorial flap in Asia is over new Chinese passports with an outline of China that includes swaths of the South China Sea that are claimed by Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei, as well as all of Taiwan and disputed territory on the Indian border."

"Countries will have to stamp them when Chinese nationals go through immigration, which could be regarded as a symbolic endorsement of China's border claims." This type of stick-in-your-craw behavior deliberately intended to antagonize and provoke?

Done also with a degree of animosity and NOT fostering a climate that can lead to a peaceful resolution of conflicting claims.

The Chinese only twice in their long history have demonstrated an expansionist tendency? Once during the reign of the Chin Emperor and also during the Tang dynasty.

Chinese troops ONLY once being employed and engaging in combat beyond which is normally considerd to be the conventional Chinese sphere of interest.

NOW this?

You don't have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing. When China rules the world obey tremble-ingl-ly! And be quick about it too!


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Magic Wand.

This is coolbert:

"Israel is a world leader in this department thanks to the Israeli defense industries and its developers."

ONLY today from YNet this announcement. Another successful test of the Israeli Magic Wand system. An anti-missile system designed to intercept and destroy those rocket artillery of the size beyond the Grad or Fajr size. Magic Wand that counter to the the Iranian Zelzal and ballistic missiles such as the Shahab.

Remarkable technology Iron Dome and now Magic Wand. Israeli perhaps the foremost leader in such technology in the world!!

"Israel successfully tests Magic Wand system"

"System meant to intercept any missile fired at Israel from a distance of at least 70 km, slated to become operational in 2014"

"designed to intercept ballistic missile warheads as well as long-range rockets. The interceptor missile, which is based on the most cutting edge technology in air defense, is estimated to cost $1 million."

The cost of one such missile when fired $1 million per shot. Contrast that to the cost of an Iron Dome interceptor $50,000 per firing or one anti-tank-guided-missile [ATGM] when engaging a target $25,000!

NO ONE ever said war was cheap!


Flying Shark.

This is coolbert:

This was a minor CNN news item today:

"China lands first jet on aircraft carrier"

"(CNN) -- China announced Sunday that it had landed a fighter jet on the deck of an aircraft carrier for the first time, but it may be years before the ship is fully operational."

It is not mentioned if the carrier was steaming or at dock. Take-offs and landings both are greatly aided by the factor of steaming, the warship cruising at thirty knots or so INTO THE WIND a big boost to the warplane again on take-off or landing.

This is the J-15 Chinese warplane adapted for carrier operations.

"The J-15's capabilities are comparable to the Russian Su-33 jet and the U.S. F-18"

And please do not expect this Chinese aircraft carrier to be cruising off the west coast of the United States. It may take YEARS before the vessel and organic air wing is combat ready for sailing and routine operations as the U.S. Navy has engaged in for over eighty years now!!


Saturday, November 24, 2012


This is coolbert:

From PopSci from over a year ago now, the U.S. Army now fielding and firing GPS guided precision mortar rounds. Right now as we speak these mortar rounds [called mortar bombs every else in the world] are being used in Afghan? FOB able to target the enemy with a precision hitherto not available. Brigade and battalion infantry commanders having a new toy at their disposal.

"Army Deploys First GPS-Guided Mortars"

This is APMI [Accelerated Precision Mortar Initiative cartridges] and the new rounds are reputed to be SEVEN TIMES more accurate than the conventional variety. One round, one shot, one hit! So we are told.

"New rounds are seven times more accurate"

A mortar round 120 mm with built-in guidance and steering fins. Remarkable technology from the micro-chip advancements that are spectacular.

American mortars and the mortar rounds as stated by the Soviet spetsnaz officer with service in Afghan [1980's] that ONLY infantry weapon SUPERIOR to the Russian designed analogous version.

Soviet and NOW Russian mortars and mortar rounds [bombs] made of cast iron and smooth bore, cheap and easy to build proliferate the battlefield firing a multitude of less accurate rounds [bombs] way in excess of the American analog. To the Soviet and NOW the Russian noise, smoke and dust in abundance combined with the unique and deadly splintering of the cast iron mortar round [bomb] more greatly desired than accuracy.

American mortars rifled and make of better alloys, not requiring constant lubrication and packing with rust-preventative grease when not in use as compared to the Soviet/Russian model!

The American way [accuracy] or the Russian way [numbers]? Take your pick!


Friday, November 23, 2012


This is coolbert:

"The minister of failure, on behalf of the fallen"

From YNet only last month:

"Moshe Dayan's grave desecrated on anniversary of death"

"Former defense minister's tombstone defaced by unknown vandals on 31st anniversary of passing; 'the minister of failure, on behalf of the fallen' painted in red on grave. Dayan's widow: They don't even let fallen rest in peace"

The grave of the Israeli war hero Moshe Dayan desecrated and vandalized, thirty-one years after his death. Persons whose identify is unknown committing an act of revenge more than likely embittered ex-soldiers suffering injury and hardship in the aftermath of the Yom Kippur/Ramadan War [1973]. Dayan seen as a "goat" responsible for a lot of actions that resulted in what to the Israeli were catastrophic casualties!

MOST deplorable grave desecration in any form. Please, no matter who you are and whatever your grudge is, DON'T ever do this! You make yourself look very bad in the process.

Indeed, the desire, the means and measures to prevent desecration of the fallen military commander an important factor historically.


Other military men those combat commanders having extreme steps and measures taken to prevent desecration of their graves to include:

* Varus at the Teutoburger Wald.
* Alaric of the Visigoths.
* Braddock at Ft. Duquesne.

"But when I stumbled, they gathered in glee, attackers gathered against me when I was unaware. They slandered me without ceasing." - - Psalm 35:15.

I couldn't have said it better myself!!



This is coolbert:

Thanks to the Times of Israel and the tip from Robert we have the story of Israeli soldiers openly in criticism of their highest authority and doing so on Facebook:

"Soldiers spell out critique of Netanyahu as a ‘loser’ for not using ground forces in Gaza"

"In Facebook pic that goes viral, 16 men arrange their bodies to show frustration at not going into battle"

"Many commenters on the photo said that the soldiers should be court-martialed; many others empathized with the soldiers’ evident sense of frustration at having been wound up for battle and then wound down"

"The IDF’s Spokesman’s Office said it frowned upon soldiers expressing political opinions while in uniform."

Frustrated and angry soldiers venting their feelings on the Prime Minister of Israel. That highest authority and the most senior commander, the man who gives the "go" order if necessary.

In the U.S. Army this is a serious violation of Article 88 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. NO criticism of the President or members of Congress. Courts martial the usual route for punishment, discharge with penalty the result of being found guilty.

Israelis OUT of uniform live in a democracy and can openly criticize their government and leaders. Israelis IN uniform cannot? NOT merely frowned upon but a crime worthy of punishment?



This is coolbert:

Thanks to Harry at Sharkhunters we have an update on the British submarine HMS Astute.


NOW a headache. Causing a lot of aggravation in the Admiralty, the Royal Navy, and I am sure the mind of the First Sea Lord. NOT a jolly good show.

"HMS Astute encountered a flooding problem during sea trials, the Ministry of Defence [MoD] have revealed. The sub was forced to surface last year after it let in tens of litres of water. Electrical switchboards were also found to have been incorrectly fitted and concerns were raised about the accuracy of nuclear-reactor monitoring instruments. The flooding was caused by a metal cap on a cooling pipe that had corroded. The metal cap had not been made of the correct material. The electrical switchboards had not been fitted to Naval Engineering Standards and had to be reinstalled. Inaccurate nuclear readings were because the wrong type of lead had been used in certain components. BAE Systems said HMS Astute is yet to start formal service."

HMS Ambush the second submarine a-building another Astute class I am sure the quality control and the engineering specs and more or less the entire works being reviewed with the proverbial fine tooth comb. With this much found to be wrong and the Astute in only the initial stages of service and not even deemed fully seaworthy, that First Sea Lord must asking: "what else will be found!"

Astute NOT YET ready for "formal service" combat ready sea duty.


Thursday, November 22, 2012


This is coolbert:

That Otobreda 76 mm naval gun indeed does have a precision-guided-munition [PGM], capable of terminal guidance onto the target.

This is called DART!

"Since the 1980s efforts were made for development of guided 76mm ammunition, but this was not achieved until recently . . . This development is called DART (Driven Ammunition Reduced Time of flight) . . ."

"The DART projectile is made of two parts: the forward is free to rotate and has two small canard wings for flight control. The aft part has the 2.5 kg warhead (with tungsten cubes and the 3A millimetric wave new fuse), six fixed wings and the radio receivers."

"The guidance system is Command Line of Sight (CLOS). It uses a new RTN-25X radar that tracks both target and projectile location. The radio-command for them is provided on a broadcast data-link (Ka Band)."

PGM round as fired from the 76 mm naval gun using a radar [shipborne] to track both the target and projectile simultaneously, issue command corrections to the round while in flight for precision guidance to the target.


I cannot say for certain that those Israeli warships engaging in the bombardment of Gaza did employ DART, but it would not surprise me.

The current widely used Otobreda 76 mm gun based on the original design from a much earlier period by the Oto Melara firm.

See this YouTube video of the 76 MM super rapid fire naval gun in action.


The Soviet era defector Suvorov having great respect and admiration for the weapons design capability of the Italian: "The GRU [military intelligence] knows that the Italians have very good brains, the brains of great inventors. Few people realize that before the Second World War Italy's technology was a t an incredibly high level. The Italians were not especially brilliant in battle, and that obscured the extent of Italian achievement in military technology."

As it was then as it is NOW!


Gun Boat?

This is coolbert:

That bombardment by the Israeli Defense Forces [IDF] of Hamas targets in Gaza is accomplished primarily if not almost exclusively so by munitions as dropped by F-16?

Primarily but NOT exclusively so? Reports as carried by various media also suggest Israeli warships cruising off the coast of Gaza additionally engage Hamas targets using naval gunfire.

As to those Israeli warships capable of naval gunfire of substantial size only the Sa'ar 4 class vessel still seems to fit the bill?

From the wiki entry  the only remaining warships in the Israeli naval arsenal still capable of big-bore naval gunfire directed at land targets is the Sa'ar 4!

"The Sa'ar 4 or Reshef class missile boats were built at the Israel Shipyards and based on Israeli Navy designs grounded in accumulated experience derived in the operation of 'Cherbourg' (Sa'ar 3) class."

"Israel has sold most of the Sa'ar 4 boats to other navies, however, the INS Nitzachon and INS Atzmaut remain in active Israeli Navy service."

Those original Sa'ar 4 described as a missile boat and the armaments predominantly consisting of missiles but some Sa'ar 4 also having that organic naval gun of 76 mm size.

That 76 mm naval gun the Otobreda 76 mm?

"The Otobreda 76 mm gun is a naval artillery piece built by the Italian defence conglomerate Otobreda. It is based on the Oto Melara 76mm/L62 Allargato, which was bigger and heavier."

There is available for the Otobreda 76 mm naval gun a precision-guided-munition [PGM] delivering a round suitable for urban warfare, the minimization of civilian casualties and limiting collateral damage highly desirable?

Devoted readers to the blog have a handle on this?


New Media.

This is coolbert:

From Arutz Sheva 7 and the tip from Jeff we are able to see in action those Israeli soldiers part of the media team that: "Tweet, Share, Like and more". Comb the blogosphere and at the same time deliver the message creating that perception favorable to Israeli interests.

 "Meet the IDF Facebook-Twitter Commando"

"Arutz Sheva meets the army's special team for dealing with the information war online: the IDF New Media desk."

"It is well known nowadays that what happens on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube has great influence on events as they occur on the ground. The Internet, too, is a battleground. It is thus comforting to learn that the IDF employs soldiers whose job is to Tweet, Share, Like and more."

"The desk was founded when two soldiers came up with the initiative to open a YouTube channel during Operation Cast Lead [2008]."

Being a soldier and waging war just ain't what it used to be.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012


This is coolbert:

Thanks to MARCONI through Harry and Sharkhunters we have the type of broadcast message as being transmitted via PACTOR to commercial and merchant vessels in the Indian Ocean, those waters contiguous to the east African coast and infested with PIRATES!!

A message in particular the intended recipient Brazilian shipping POSSIBLY HAVING EMBEDDED SECURITY AS PROVIDED BY BRAZILIAN MILITARY PERSONNEL?





25-S 032-32.00E

26-05.00S 077-53.00E

08-13.00N 077-53.00E

16-52.00N 054-10.00E

12-58.00N 042-43.00E


























Thank you again MARCONI and Harry. And good hunting Brazilians. If and when the opportunity presents itself, take advantage and bag your quarry!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dig It!

This is coolbert:

Thanks to my "Scatter" blog entry from not so long ago and the Lone Sentry WW2 web site article as cited we have some interesting observations regarding the need for cover that degree of protection from enemy fire, injury, wounding or death the possibility great lessened or even eliminated.

"'Fragmentation Bombs' from Tactical and Technical Trends"

"During the Japanese raid on Rangoon, 23 December 1941, some ten or a dozen antipersonnel bombs fell in an open space of about 150 by 250 yards, which was laced with slit trenches. But the people were on top of the trenches and even ran out of them, with the result that 250 were killed on the spot in a few minutes."

"Had these people remained in the trenches, even without overhead cover, the casualties would have been negligible by comparison. The slit trench or foxhole provides excellent protection against small fragmentation bombs. Wherever they may be expected, a little 'digging in' will pay dividends."

Dividends meaning you will LIVE and not DIE!!

From the Nigel F. Evans British artillery web site we have an actual quantification that amount of protection as afforded to troops seeking shelter, "cover" from enemy bombardment. A little effort going a long way. AND a mere trench the troop finding cover to such an extent that the danger of wounding or death is GREATLY reduced.

 "The Effects of Target Posture"

"It's also useful to note how vulnerability changes with target posture because it suggests the relative amounts of fire needed in different circumstances.  The following estimates the relative risks of becoming a casualty to ground-burst shells on ‘average’ ground':

Standing  - - 1.

Lying  - - 1/3.

Firing from open fire trenches  - - 1/15 – 1/50.

Crouching in open fire trenches  - - 1/25 – 1/100.

Standing in the open and not assuming any sort of protective posture, even merely lying down, and you are the proverbial "toast". Lying [crouching] down in a slit trench and your prospects of surviving an enemy bombardment are greatly enhanced. Without question!

Can you dig it?


Monday, November 19, 2012

Iron Dome.

This is coolbert:

The statistics as regarding the Israeli Iron Dome SAM [surface-air-missile] system and reported on the evening news tonight staggering.

"Iron Dome . . . is a mobile all-weather air defense system . . . It was designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells fired from distances of 4 to 70 kilometers away and whose trajectory would take them to a populated area . . ."

* One Tamir missile as fired from Iron Dome costs $50,000 per firing.
* One Qassam rocket as fired by Hamas costing $800.
* Iron Dome development cost in the hundreds of dollars $ USA.
* Iron Dome success rate 90 %.

"The estimated cost of each Tamir interceptor missile is US$35,000–50,000 whereas a crudely manufactured Qassam rocket costs around $800"

"Iron Dome intercepts only rockets determined to constitute a threat, and that the lives saved and the strategic impact are worth the cost."

Iron Dome seems to be working and quite effectively so.

"The Jerusalem Post reported that the system shot down 90% of rockets launched from Gaza that would have landed in populated areas."

Right, Iron Dome ONLY firing at those targets determined to have a potentiality to land in a populated area. NOT every last one of the rocket artillery rounds as fired by Hamas on course and inward bound toward a populated area. Those threatening rockets indeed intercepted and destroyed with efficiency.

I would think ALSO many of those rockets as intercepted not atomized and blown to smithereens still the debris having a danger to those on the ground.

NO system is 100 % effective and should never be assumed to be so.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Social Media.

This is coolbert:

From that prior blog entry:

"A defining characteristic of 4GW being":

"Highly sophisticated psychological warfare, especially through media manipulation and lawfare"

Thanks to the tip from Aish and passed along to those devoted readers to the blog you too can follow the firing of Hamas Qassam and Fajr rockets on Israeli targets almost in REAL TIME.

From the web site as devoted to the Al Qassam rocket firing brigades and also Al Qassam brigade Twitter a blow-by-blow account of rocket firings aimed at Israeli targets.

Social media at work. 

 And ALL in English. NOT in Hebrew or Arabic but in ENGLISH. That audience the foreign English speaking person primarily in the United States.

This too! An exchange via social media between the two adversaries:

Fourth Generation Warfare [4GW] not only employing social media and a propaganda campaign a main component of the "war of the flea" almost as a means of combat unto itself, and when well done most effective.


Saturday, November 17, 2012


This is coolbert:

From the Daniel Pipes blog this entry extracted in part with comment. Thanks to Dr. Pipes.

"Lion's Den :: Daniel Pipes Blog"

"Reflections on Current Hamas-Israel Hostilities

"Two observations about the hostilities that began on Nov. 10":

"(1) The old Arab-Israeli wars were military clashes, the recent ones are political clashes. The wars of 1948-49, 1967, and 1973 were life-and-death struggles for the Jewish state. But the wars of 2006, 2008-09, and now 2012 are media events in which Israeli victory on the military battlefield is foreordained and the struggle is to win public opinion. Opeds have replaced bullets, social media have replaced tanks. Will Israel prevail in arguing that its enemy initiated offensive action? Or will those enemies, Hamas or Hezbollah, convince observers that Israel is an illegitimate regime whose recourse to force is criminal? The war must be fought primarily as a media event."

[see point two from the original entry]

A media event? Fourth Generation Warfare [4GW] the world-wide mass media harnessed by the forces of both sides to present an image. The image an important facet of 4GW at all times, all involved parties striving their mightiest to establish and then maintain that image favorable and unquestioned.

A defining characteristic of 4GW being:

"Highly sophisticated psychological warfare, especially through media manipulation and lawfare"

Perhaps that most traumatic of all images, an injured child, bloody and missing limbs or even dead SHOWN TO THE PUBLIC AND RE-BROADCAST OVER AND OVER MOST EFFECTIVE! Expect to see this!

As for the morality of displaying the body of a dead child for propaganda purposes, no matter how worthy the cause [and no matter who does it], I leave that for the reader to decide!



This is coolbert:

Before there was Long Range Desert Group [LRDG] and Auto Saharan there was Light Car Patrol [LCP]!

And before there was Bagnold  or even a T.E. Lawrence there was Ball!

And aspect of the Great War [WW1], another side show of a side show! The Senussi Campaign and the use of motorized fighting combat vehicles in the hostile terrain of the Sahara the use of automobiles as adapted for desert warfare pioneered by the British.

Automobiles comprising what was called the Light Car Patrol [LCP].

Ford Model T automobiles adapted and engineered for desert conditions equipped with multiple machine guns [Lewis guns] a unit capable of cross-country pursuit of camel-borne enemy guerrilla bands and able to engage same using extraordinary organic massed firepower.

This is the television series "Rat Patrol" but from a much earlier war [WW1] and true to life, not make believe Hollywood! The rudimentary means, methods and techniques for crossing the Sahara with motorized transport and navigation of the trackless expanses having been worked out in advance by the British archaeologist Dr. John Ball.

"The LCP patrols operated in modified Ford Model T's armed with Lewis machine guns. Other modifications included 3 1/2 inch wide desert tires, radiator condensers mounted on the running boards, and primitive sun compasses on the dashboard. Most of these adaptions were the brain child of the fifty year old British archaeologist and desert explorer, Dr. John Ball. Ball who had been working in the Government Survey Office in Cairo at the time."

Yet once more the Senussi Campaign of the Great War a side show of a side show, the Senussi desert nomad a wandering and adept guerrilla army defeated in large measure to the efforts of the LCP.

"The Senussi Campaign took place in north Africa, from November 1915 to February 1917 during the First World War. The combatants were the British Empire, Italy and the Senussi, a religious sect composed of tribesmen based in Libya, supported by the Ottoman Empire and the German Empire."

Those Senussi tribesmen guerrilla fighters during WW1 in league with the Central Powers and in opposition to the Italian colonial occupier.

Those Senussi tribesmen guerrilla fighters during the Second World War [WW2] in league with the allies and in opposition to the Axis forces.

I am actually quite surprised that the Ford Model T as adapted for desert warfare of the Great War era was able to function in so able a manner as it it presumed to have done. Automotive technology for the most part was still in the infancy stage and civilian "cars" were noted for breaking down on an almost clockwork basis, these Ford products performing it would seem however in a pretty good fashion terrain and climate notwithstanding.


Friday, November 16, 2012


This is coolbert:



Thanks to the home web site of the Long Range Desert Group [LRDG] some descriptions of the various missions as assigned to the LRDG during the north African campaign. Missions to include:

* Direct Action. [purposeful armed combat with the enemy]
* Pathfinding and Courier.
* Intelligence Gathering and Survey.
* Reconnaissance.

Perhaps that most important task as accomplished by LRDG the Road Watch! Reconnaissance the operative word of which was surreptitious.

"A principle job of the LRDG was reconnaissance this included Road Watches . . . ."

"The two man RECCE [reconnaissance] team would record anything and everything that passed their spot."

Observe, record, and report. Merely that and no more.

A two-man reconnaissance team occupying a hide-spot, concealed and located in what is deemed an advantageous position  monitoring a selected stretch of road, a "watch" conducted, enemy movements or the lack thereof keenly observed, everything of interest to the higher command. Vital information obtained and reported that two-man team taking no further action!

"A company of 128th Guards T-34 tanks moving east on NK74 at 24 November 1200 Zulu grid  November Lima Six Four!"

Road watch today referred to as special reconnaissance [SR]:

"Special reconnaissance [SR] - - (DoD) Reconnaissance and surveillance actions conducted by special operations forces to obtain or verify, by visual observation or collection methods, information concerning the capabilities, intentions, and activities of an actual or potential enemy."

Again, that SR mission the most important feature of which is the surreptitious aspect. Insertion, extraction, observation and reporting all done in secret your adversary not even aware of your presence before, during or after an operation.

"The necessity of procuring good Intelligence is apparent & need not be further urged - - All that remains for me to add, is that you keep the whole matter as Secret as possible" - - Geo. Washington.


Thursday, November 15, 2012


This is coolbert:

As extracted from the article "Searching for Zerzura" by Robert Berg as found in the June 2002 issue of Saudi Aramco World we are able to reasonably infer that the legendary and fabled city of Zerzura may indeed not be so fabled after all?

"The vast barrenness of the Libyan Desert stretches from the Nile westward across Egypt and northern Sudan to Tripolitania in Libya. For the ancient Egyptians it was the realm of the afterlife, overseen by Osiris, a place of fear and dread."

And also as written by Mr. Berg as of 2002:

"According to the historian Herodotus, writing in the fifth century BC, a huge sandstorm once swallowed up an entire army of invading Persians there without a trace."

From this much earlier blog entry:

"Vanished Persian army found in the Egyptian desert"

"Archaeologists have found the remains of a great Persian army believed to have disappeared in the Egyptian desert 2,500 years ago."

"According to Greek historian Herodotus, King Cambyses II sent 50,000 warriors to attack the Oasis of Siwa but they disappeared after reaching El-Khargfa oasis."

That army of the Persian king lost from antiquity, buried by the sand in the western desert, after many centuries FOUND. Miraculously almost so the story as told by Herodotus not fable or fiction or myth or legend but verified FACT!

If the Persian army has been found, maybe someday too will be Zerzura found?

That immensity of the western desert, the Libyan desert causing great fear in the ancient Egyptian and with good reason. Sand storms and the ever shifting sand dunes of enormous size in some cases able to cover and hiding even armies of 50,000 men and perhaps that fabled city of Zerzura.

The explorations, the methods, means and techniques for motorized transport to operation effectively in the desert pioneered by Ralph Bagnold and demonstrably proven by the military missions of the Long Range Desert Group [LRDG] allowing for cross-country movement in the modern age in an area that proved fatal to that Persian army of long ago now. The British were able to do what the Persians of yore were NOT!


Tuesday, November 13, 2012


This is coolbert:

Thanks to the wiki entry for Ralph Bagnold we have this item:


The lost city, the fabled city, the mythological and legendary city of Zerzura. Place this in the category of strange but true!

This sounds as if a bit of Hollywood but for real, a something along the lines of an "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark". Perhaps however not necessarily so legendary, make believe, myth, fable.

Ralph Bagnold that serving British army officer in those years subsequent to the end of the Great War [WW1] pioneering the use of motorized transport in the Libyan Desert and in a quite purposeful manner searching for that lost city of Zerzura. Military men the observations, research and explorations of which are to be taken seriously beyond that of the mere adventurer!

Zerzura reputedly an oasis city of antiquity existing somewhere in what is now the Libyan Desert at least  since Crusader times a subject of expeditions by Bagnold and others like him. Those persons convinced that Zerzura was not fable or myth but reality [albeit many centuries later covered by sand dunes perhaps of immense size!].

This was deemed the "Hunt for Zerzura" and for a period of time taken with great seriousness?

"The rumor"

"Zerzura was long rumored to have existed deep in the desert west of the Nile River in Egypt or Libya. In writings dating back to the 13th century, the authors spoke of a city which was 'white as a dove' and called it 'The Oasis of Little Birds'. In the Kitab al Kanuz, Zerzura is said to be a city in the Sahara full of treasure with a sleeping king and queen."

"More recently, European explorers made forays into the desert in search of Zerzura but never succeeded in finding it. Notable twentieth-century explorers Ralph Bagnold of Britain, and the Hungarian László (Ladislaus) Almásy led an expedition to search for Zerzura from 1929-1930 using Ford Model-T trucks."

Bagnold inspired and hoping to locate Zerzura  pioneering those means, methods and techniques for movement across the Libyan Desert by motorized vehicles as later used by those units of LRDG:

"After having read Hussein Bey's 'Lost Oasis' he spent one such expedition in 1929 using a Ford Model A automobile and two Ford lorries exploring the vast swathe of desert from Cairo to Ain Dalla which was an area reputed to contain the mythical city of Zerzura."

Zerzura in legend the secret city lost to antiquity and having never been found but an artifact a ruby ring of immense value remaining and reputedly passing only during those most recent times into the hands of King Idris, the late Colonel [Muammar al-Gaddafi] himself, and perhaps now those revolutionaries in Tripoli:

"a precious ruby set in a gold ring"

"According to unknown sources, the ring supposedly came into possession of Libya's King Idris, who was overthrown by in 1969 by Muammar al-Gaddafi and his Revolutionary Command Council [and now those rebels in Tripoli?]. It is said that the ring has been studied by many experts who claim it is of great value, and it is speculated that it was crafted by Europeans in the 12th century"

Like I said, strange but true. It can also be reasoned that Bagnold and his military cohorts merely used Zerzura and the fable as a cover story, a pretense plausible for those preliminary motorized expeditions into the Libyan Desert, scouting the way in advance, determining the best routes of passage if indeed  military action and war with the fascist powers became reality.


Saturday, November 10, 2012


This is coolbert:

LRDG continued!

The officers and men!

That Long Range Desert Group [LRDG] operating in the Libyan desert during the Second World War gathering unto it the best of the allied soldiers, those enlisted personnel New Zealand volunteers, farmers for the most part preferred men having an instinctive and practiced flair for the rugged life and also possessing that amount of skill set and initiative motivated and hand picked troops for the most part if not entirely so.

Officers of the LRDG also of the finest quality and ability, markedly so! Young English men from the upper classes of that society [British] volunteering for duty with those combat units the mission of which was deadly, dangerous and difficult, SHIRKERS AND MALINGERERS NOT NEEDED OR WANTED!

Among that group of distinguished officers of command rank within LRDG we find the name of Wilfred Thesiger. English desert explorer in the wandering nomad tradition, a man famous for his expeditions into unknown areas of the Middle East, quite at home with the culture of that region, and ABLE TO PASS HIMSELF AS A LOCAL WITH EASE!

Thesiger in the guise of the Arab. Able to dress, speak, act as an Arab, PASS! The English for whatever reason of combination of reasons having an affinity for the Arabic culture and a desire to live in the wide open expanses of the desert and hot and dry climates!

"Sir Wilfred Patrick Thesiger . . . (3 June 1910 – 24 August 2003) was a British explorer and travel writer born in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia."

"He served in several desert campaigns with the Sudan Defence Force (SDF) and the Special Air Service (SAS) with the rank of major."

"In World War II, Thesiger fought with Gideon Force in Ethiopia during the East African Campaign. He was awarded the DSO for capturing Agibar and its garrison of 2,500 Italian soldiers. Afterwards, Thesiger served in the Long Range Desert Group during the North African Campaign."

That man in the center of the image with the Arab headdress purported to be Thesiger during a combat patrol with the LRDG. Beards are a plus during combat operations in the desert, the precious water not wasted on shaving. Sharif Ali commenting on same to T.E. Lawrence. 

Gideon Force, SAS, LRDG. It doesn't get much more dangerous and difficult than that.

Wilfred Thesiger during WW2 serving in a manner that can be favorably compared to that of T.E. Lawrence? 

While serving with Gideon Force Thesiger would undoubtedly come into contact with the famous Orde Wingate. That controversial English military commander of WW2 fame also in his own right an eccentric but talented individual the exploits of which are well known.

Perhaps it can be reasoned at that exact moment NO MAN alive was more suited and able for the task of commanding LRDG units than Wilfred Thesiger? Without question? Perhaps so!



This is coolbert:

The Commander!!

"Never in our peacetime travels had we imagined that war could ever reach the enormous empty solitudes of the inner desert, walled off by sheer distance, lack of water, and impassable seas of sand dunes. Little did we dream that any of the special equipment and techniques we had evolved for very long-distance travel, and for navigation, would ever be put to serious use." -  Ralph Bagnold.

Here begins a series of blog entries the subject of which is the British Long Range Desert Group [LRDG] from the era of the Second World War [WW2].

That commander of the LRDG General Ralph Bagnold a man of protean intellect and curiosity. A man of all seasons it would seem. A man:

* By training and education an engineer.
* An explorer.
* An inventor.
* A military officer of some repute.
* A scientist.

"Brigadier Ralph Alger Bagnold . . .  (3 April 1896 – 28 May 1990) was the founder and first commander of the British Army's Long Range Desert Group [LRDG] during World War II."

"He is also generally considered to have been a pioneer of desert exploration, an acclaim earned for his activities during the 1930s."

Bagnold and his cohorts having worked out in those years prior to WW2 the various means, methods, techniques for motorized transport to be used with effectiveness in the desert vastness of the Sahara. Terrain hitherto previously only accessible by camel caravan and then with difficulty NOW through the use of the modern motor vehicle and the internal combustion engine the approach, the entry, the overland travel feasible where previously NOT SO!

Means, methods and techniques for motorized transport as useful in the harsh and unforgiving desert terrain of the Sahara and as APPLIED BY THOSE MILITARY COMBAT UNITS OF THE LRDG!

AND ONLY from this latest issue of the National Geographic this item:

"The Sahara is traversed by endless rows of dunes called barchans. The world means 'crescent-shaped dune' . . . Ralph Bagnold, a British Army officer who pioneered motorized travel in the Libyan Desert in the 1920's and 30's . . . described barchans as a life-forms - they move, multiply, maintain structure, and adapt to their environment."

As noted by Ralph Bagnold, the dunes of the Sahara having attributes of a LIVING BEING! NOT necessarily a life-form as that term generally, ordinarily and normally understood but having SOME attributes as is described for what is alive and living!

Those means, methods and techniques for motorized transport in the desert previously inaccessible but only by the most extreme means ALSO pioneered by the Italians. The  Italian fascist military forces occupying Libya also perceiving a need for and developing in their own right motorized military units able to operate in the desert. This of course the Auto-Saharan Company. Before there was Bagnold and LRDG there was Auto-Saharan!

"The Auto-Saharan Companies (Compagnie Auto-Avio-Sahariane) were Italian military units specialised in long range patrols of the Sahara Desert."

"The Saharan companies were first formed in 1923 with the purpose of patrolling the space among the Italian forts in the Libyan Sahara desert."

"In concept, the Auto-Saharan Company was similar to the British Long Range Desert Group (LRDG) which was created (as a partial copy) in 1940"

Ralph Bagnold the brother of the famous sister Enid. Or is it Enid Bagnold the sister of the famous brother Ralph?

Those English also coming from an island nation with a cool and damp climate for whatever reason or combination of reasons have a special affinity for the desert landscape and the hotter and drier the better? I am thinking of persons such as St. John Philby, T.E. Lawrence, Gertrude Bell, Wilfred Thesiger. AND General Ralph Bagnold!


Tuesday, November 6, 2012


This sis coolbert:

My thoughts and understanding of this was wrong. My apologies to the British Long Range Desert Group [LRDG] and Special Air Services [SAS] both.

From the era of the Second World War [WW2] both commands [SAS & LRDG] comporting themselves with distinction, performing yeoman duty during the North African campaign but not as I had believed the LRDG the nucleus upon which the SAS was formed.

Both commands distinct having different missions and operating behind enemy lines sometimes operating together but the roles of each quite unique!

LRDG troops engaging in combat only occasionally rather functioning primarily in the scouting/reconnaissance/intelligence gathering mission - -  guides in the desert when need be!

"The Long Range Desert Group (LRDG) was a reconnaissance and raiding unit of the British Army during the Second World War."

"The LRDG was formed specifically to carry out deep penetration, covert reconnaissance patrols and intelligence missions from behind Italian lines, although they sometimes engaged in combat operations . . . sometimes assigned to guide other units, including the Special Air Service and secret agents across the desert."

SAS the mission of which was primarily combat, SAS a ranger/commando/special operations type unit! Raiders!

"The Special Air Service was a unit of the British Army during the Second World War, formed in July 1941 by David Stirling and originally called 'L' Detachment, Special Air Service Brigade . . . It was conceived as a commando force to operate behind enemy lines in the North African Campaign"

LRDG units while in the field having a distinctive organization, each patrol self-contained and possessing an amazing autonomous capability, that TO&E for desert operations necessitating a well thought out organic capacity:

"the patrol units were split into half-patrols of one officer and 15–18 men in five or six vehicles. Each patrol incorporated a medical orderly, a navigator [celestial qualified], a radio operator and a vehicle mechanic, each of whom manned a truck equipped for their role."

In modern military parlance LRDG a strategic reconnaissance [SR] special operations type unit, a primary task the establishment of "hide spots" behind-enemy-lines from which  surreptitious observation can be made.

Personnel manning the LRDG specially chosen and selected for their self-sufficiency, highly motivated persons with initiative, self-starters, NEW ZEALAND FARMERS FELT TO BE MOST SUITABLE!!

"The unit, initially known as the No.1 Long Range Patrol Unit (LRP) . . . [needed] men who were energetic, innovative, self-reliant, physically and mentally tough, and able to live and fight in seclusion in the Libyan desert . . . [it being felt that] New Zealand farmers would possess these attributes"

[please keep in mind that the ONLY combat soldier to TWICE be awarded the Victoria Cross was a New Zealand farmer. New Zealanders possessing those national characteristics that make for a good soldier!!]

Also, LRDG another English military unit that in case of an invasion of Japan, would have been deployed to the Pacific theatre for action:

"After the end of the war in Europe, the leaders of the LRDG made a request to the [British] War Office for the unit to be transferred to the Far East to conduct operations against the Japanese Empire."

I would be remiss if it not mentioned that the Italian army also having a desert mobile unit analogous to the LRDG and tasked with the mission of  scouting/reconnaissance/intelligence gathering, limited combat capability. This was the Auto-Saharan Companies:

"The Auto-Saharan Companies (Compagnie Auto-Avio-Sahariane) were Italian military units specialised in long range patrols of the Sahara Desert. The units operated from the late 1930s to the Italian surrender in 1943."

BUT, LRDG and SAS both unique and separate, the former not begetting the latter!.


Monday, November 5, 2012


This is coolbert:

From a previous blog entry the attack by German ground attack aircraft to include the Hs 123 unrelenting and horrific to those on the receiving end:

". . . the next twenty minutes were like a nightmare in hell. The machine guns cut swaths in the ranks of men and horses; hundreds of light weight scatter bombs flamed and exploded; the heavier detonations of the 110-pounders tore gouts out of the earth, ripped through trees and flung jagged metal shards thudding into men and animals"

Those "scatter bombs" a type of cluster bomb of the Second World War Two era, best described AS A CLUSTER OF BOMBS [BOMBLETS] SMALL IN SIZE AND NOT AS THAT TERM CLUSTER BOMB UNDERSTOOD TODAY!

"Cluster bombs are aerodynamically-designed, mostly free-fall bombs, that at a pre-set height detonate breaking the outer casing to release a controlled-spread *cluster* of bomblets. The detonation of the casing is essential, as it allows to drop the weapons from almost any altitude (including very low ones) while still obtaining the desired pre-set 'cluster' area effect, something that is clearly impossible from any gravity-released one."

The Axis air forces at the forefront of such ordnance development, the low-level attacker using scatter bombs with effectiveness, WARPLANES AND AIR FORCES THE MISSION OF WHICH PRIMARILY AS SUPPORT FOR THE GROUND TROOPS!!

From "Military Intelligence Blunders" by Colonel John Hughes-Wilson:

"As the first bombing raids thundered down on the RAF's airfields, the derisive British airmen poured scorn on the so-called 'diarrhoea' bombing tactics where tight formations of bombers dropped their loads simultaneously onto an area target . . . The raids were remarkably successful, however. Using tactics developed in four years of area raids on targets the in China the Japanese . . . knew their business. On the order to release from a master bomber, Japanese bombs fell in a broad pattern that turned out to a highly effective tactic for airfield denial."

"Japanese sources indicate that cluster bombs may be used against either airborne or grounded aircraft. There are two types. A two pound bomb is packed 40 to a cluster, and the more common 2/3 pound is packed 76 to a cluster. The cluster opens shortly after leaving the releasing plane, which, it is believed, makes the drop a few hundred feet above the target. The individual bombs scatter."

"During the Japanese raid on Rangoon, 23 December 1941, some ten or a dozen antipersonnel bombs fell in an open space of about 150 by 250 yards, which was laced with slit trenches. But the people were on top of the trenches and even ran out of them, with the result that 250 were killed on the spot in a few minutes. The wounds were generally terrible leg and stomach injuries. The most fatal zone was within 50 to 60 yards of the burst, but some individuals were killed up to 300 yards away."

The Italian Air Force bomber warplane ALSO able to carry light weight scatter bombs in extraordinary quantity, high-explosive [HE] and incendiary both!!

"an Italian Air Force BR.20M bomber [being loaded with] bomblets dispensers (Spezzoniera). The BR.20 could carry four dispensers, armed with up to 720×1 or 2 kg (2 or 4 lb) HE or incendiary bomblets (Spezzoni)"

That concept of "diarrhea tactics" NOT favored by the allied air forces [British and American] but effective when used by the Axis during that most early period of WW2 pursuit of a withdrawing adversary NOT allowing either respite or surcease an integral element of the blitzkrieg offensive.

Again, clusters of bombs and not cluster bombs as that term understood today!


Sunday, November 4, 2012


This is coolbert:

This too from the EnglishRussia web site. Events as transpired from over forty years ago now, NOT forgotten but a distant memory. At that time only covered in brief with little detail and since that time almost a black hole only snippets emerging as to what transpired. Soviet and Chinese military forces in confrontation along the border between the two communist nations, an island in the middle of the Ussuri river disputed territory the sovereignty and dominion of which was a point of contention.

WHO owns this or that spit of land historically and traditionally a flash point, the proverbial push coming to shove and ultimately WAR!

The dispute over the ownership of the island [Damansky to the Soviet and Zhenbao to the Chinese] finally resulting in mortal armed combat, the Soviet KGB Border Guards [NOT Red army this should be clear] seeming to get the worse of the situation! ARMED CONFLICT BETWEEN THE TWO FOREMOST COMMUNIST POWERS OF THE PERIOD UNPRECEDENTED AND MOST WORRISOME!

"On March 2, 1969, a group of Chinese troops ambushed Soviet border guards on Zhenbao Island. The Soviets suffered 59 dead, including a senior colonel, and 94 wounded."

"The Sino-Soviet border conflict . . . was a seven-month military conflict between the Soviet Union and China at the height of the Sino-Soviet split in 1969. The most serious of these border clashes occurred in March 1969 in the vicinity of Zhenbao Island . . . on the Ussuri River, also known as Damanskii Island . . . in Russia. Chinese historians most commonly refer to the conflict by the Zhenbao Island incident . . .  The conflict was finally resolved with future border demarcations."

It appears the Chinese on the right of the image are waving the Little Red Book of Mao, repeatedly haranguing the Soviet KGB Border Guards with exhortations from the Chairman!! Chinese PLA personnel were BETTER dressed for the occasion, that extreme cold weather not so bothersome to them?

Soviet KGB Border Guard troops equipped with nothing more than forked sticks. Moscow having given explicit directions that Soviet personnel not allowed to actually lay hands on the Chinese during confrontations, but rather use limited force, the sticks used to PUSH the Chinese interloper out of the disputed territory this being called "contactless displacement"!! During the Middle Ages men-a-foot may have used similar sticks when in battle with armed horsemen, attempting to dismount and unhorse the rider! I have seen film footage of Russian biologists subduing the Siberian tiger in the wild using the same forked sticks!! Strange but true!

Such was the seriousness of the situation as perceived in Moscow that TOP SECRET weaponry was brought to the scene, to include the T-62 tank, the BM-21 multiple rocket launcher and the AGS-17 automatic grenade launcher. That highest command echelon in Moscow at the pinnacle of power was most concerned with the Chinese threat as seen at the time.

And from 1969 onward almost a total news blackout has existed that confrontation over Damansky/Zhenbao island in a purposeful manner kept low-key and with good reason? At least until now?

That disputed territory the sovereignty has now been decided by diplomatic negotiation confrontation as it existed in the past now a resolved matter only recalled with a certain amount of bitter nostalgia? I cannot say!


Friday, November 2, 2012

Hs 123.

This is coolbert:

First with a reprise, a description of a Turkish army corps during withdrawal from the Megiddo battlefield [1918] set upon by British ground attack aircraft. Relentlessly pursued to such an extent by combat warplanes the result an almost complete and utter obliteration, reconstitution as a fighting force in the aftermath deemed impossible:

"On 21 September, the Seventh Army [Turkish] was spotted by aircraft in a defile west of the river. The RAF proceeded to bomb the retreating Turks and destroyed their entire column. Waves of bombing and strafing aircraft passed over the column every three minutes and although the operation had been intended to last for five hours, the Seventh Army was routed in 60 minutes. All transport, artillery and heavy equipment was abandoned or destroyed, many Turks were killed and the survivors were scattered and leaderless."

"When the smoke had cleared it was seen that the organization of the enemy had melted away.  They were a dispersed horde of trembling individuals, hiding for their lives in every fold of the vast hills.  Nor did their commanders ever rally them again."

As it was in 1918 so it was too in 1939. That Polish Army of Poznan withdrawing from the battlefield also attacked by dedicated German ground attack warplanes, the result horrific in the extreme. Thanks to the the warbirdsresourcegroup and the description of H. Molloy Mason Jr.:

". . . the next twenty minutes were like a nightmare in hell. The machine guns cut swaths in the ranks of men and horses; hundreds of light weight scatter bombs flamed and exploded; the heavier detonations of the 110-pounders tore gouts out of the earth, ripped through trees and flung jagged metal shards thudding into men and animals. Even when the last of the various missiles had been delivered, the 123s were not finished with low-level attacks. The pilots discovered that when the BMW engine was pushed to 1800 r.p.m., the resultant effect on the three-bladed, variable pitch airscrew produced an ear-splitting and indescribable sound that was both inside and outside of the man subjected to it. Even hardened soldiers were unnerved, and ran in all directions to escape. Horses simply went insane."

Most surprisingly so [?] that attacking German dedicated ground attack aircraft during the Polish Campaign 1939 a biplane, the Henschel Hs 123. An antiquated [even at the time] warplane originally engineered and designated as a DIVE BOMBER rather used to pursue, bomb and strafe the adversary relentlessly, the low-level attack wreaking damage without respite or surcease, amelioration impossible, that Polish adversary in the aftermath deemed hors de combat [out of action]!

The Hs 123 not adequate as a dive bomber yet employed with success as a ground attack low-level combat warplane, that Luftwaffe during the Second World War [WW2] not always so super-sophisticated as one imagines.

The Hs 123 able to drop bombs and strafe, massed formations especially in the pursuit EFFECTIVE!

That Hs 123 having certain desirable features that made it popular combat aircraft especially on the Eastern Front during WW2, operating easily from unimproved or expedient airfields AND able to take a lot of damage and keep flying, maintained with relative ease!!

"The Hs 123 proved rugged and able to take a lot of damage and still keep on flying. Operating from primitive bases close to the front lines, ground crews considered the type reliable in field conditions, being easy to maintain."

"The combat evaluation of the Hs 123 demonstrated a remarkable resiliency in close-support missions, proving able to absorb a great deal of punishment including direct hits on the airframe and engine."

Under the right circumstances biplanes used by the various combatants during WW2 were EFFECTIVE! The Hs 123, the Gladiator, the Swordfish, the Po-2, etc. Use in a manner to maximize advantages while minimizing disadvantages, AT LEAST during the most early stages of the war!