Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Monday, September 01, 2008

The End!

This is coolbert: The End!!

Friends, devoted readers, comrades-in-arms!

This particular blog of mine, Military Thoughts, is coming to an end.

NOT an end, however, to blogging on my part.

I have already begun a new and better blog. This one entitled Military Analysis.

Same blogger, but new format, new template, what they call it, new gadgets, what they call them, etc.

Newer and hopefully better.

Please go and see for yourself. And also, add to your bookmarks or favorites!! A must!!

I do appreciate the many hits I did receive on the old blog and hope for many new as well on the new blog. Comments of course are greatly appreciated and always read. And also quite often the source for further blog entries.

This blogging venture has turned out far better than I had hoped for. And will continue to be so for the future as well.

Cheers everyone, and good blogging.



Saturday, August 23, 2008


Weapons and Human Evolution

Weapons are very important to human evolution. Recent DNA findings prove the point.

MTDNA - DNA that passes from mother to child, indicates that every human alive is descended from one woman who lived about 150,000 years ago in Africa. But the Y Chromosome, that passes from father to son, indicates that every human alive descended from one man who lived about 60,000 years ago in Africa.

Sounds kind of kinky. But if the research is correct, it points out the difference in breeding options of males versus females. One male can father numerous offspring with numerous females, provided that other males let him. Other males are of course not all that fond of that outcome, which leads to conflicts among males of most species. The biggest toughest male gets the most offspring.

This is true for most species, including humans.

Enter weapons. The clever, smarter guys conceived better weapons, and with these weapons knocked off the other guys, and go their women. Hence a convergent date of our ancestral GGG Grandfather of 60,000 years ago versus our GGGGGrandmother of 150,000 years ago.

In a normal state, human males are in more or less constant conflict with other males over hunting areas and females. When things are equal, it is difficult for one band of males to knock off another band.

But each time a new superior weapon was created that gave one band of humans an advantage over the others, male on male genocide was the likely outcome, while preserving and breeding with the attractive females.

This scenario would have played out over and over again each time a superior weapon was developed. The first men and/or hominids that figured out how to property use a club or throw stones effectively would have had a field day. Ditto the first guys who developed the spear, the first who developed stone hatchets, slings, spear throwers, bows and arrows, guns, etc.

And each group who invented the new weapon was probably a little more clever and smarter then the guys who did not create the invention. Over time, conflict with weapons made humans more intelligent.

I think the above is correct, but who knows? I was not there,


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Russians III. [Conclusion]

This is coolbert:

Here is a whole series of extracts from the blog Cuban Colada concerning the proposed and suggested renewed use of Cuban soil for Russian military adventures. Primarily refueling of long-range aviation assets of the Russian Air Force. Bomber aircraft of the "Bear" and "Blackjack persuasion.

"Izvestia (sort of) recants tale of bombers"

"The Russian newspaper Izvestia reluctantly conceded it had been misled when it published a report that Russian bombers might use Cuba as a refueling stop."

"Another call for a renewed 'presence'"

"Col. Gen. Leonid Ivashov, a former Russian Defense Ministry official and currently the president of the Academy of Geopolitical Affairs, on Monday said a renewed Russian military presence in Cuba would be a suitable response to pressure from the United States"

"Castros will nix Russian arms, paper says"

"The Russian newspaper Kommersant on Monday poured cold water on calls for a Russian military presence in Cuba, saying that 'the Castro brothers are displeased over Russian politicians discussing a deployment of military facilities in Cuba without asking Havana.'"

"Ex-envoy: 'Renewed presence' is bluff"

"Recent reports that Russia wants to reestablish a military presence in Cuba are bluff leaked by Moscow, believes Wayne Smith, chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana from 1979 to 1982."

"How the Cuba bomber flap evolved"

"Lost in the unfolding controversy about the possible deployment of nuclear-capable strategic bombers in Cuba is an explanation of how the flap began."

"Col. Gen. Leonid Ivashov, pointed out Cuba could be used as 'an auxiliary airport for refueling,' the same way Russia now uses the Cape Verde islands."

"Russia calls pit-stop reports 'a hoax'"

"Reports that Russian bombers might use Cuba as a refueling base are 'disinformation,' a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry said Thursday."

"Fidel urges prudence in bomber flap"

"Stay cool, seemed to say Fidel Castro in his latest 'reflection', published Thursday in the official daily Granma under the title Machiavellian strategy . . . in connection with the eventual installation of bases for Russian strategic bombers"

"White House: Russia is no threat"

"Following is an exchange Tuesday between reporters and White House spokesperson Dana Perino on the subject of the Izvestia report:
Q.: Dana, did you look into the report about the Russian bombers in Cuba?
A.: Yes, it appears to be just speculation and hypotheticals right now."

"General cautions Moscow on Cuba flights"

"Air Force Gen. Norton Schwartz warned that Russia would cross 'a red line' if it used Cuba as a refueling stop for strategic nuclear bombers . . . 'I certainly would offer best military advice that we should engage the Russians not to pursue that approach.'"

"Fears of a Cuba crisis emerge"

"Now that rumors are circulating that Russia may be planning to base or re-fuel long-range strategic bombers in Cuba or Venezuela, experts are beginning to sound the alarm about a possible future crisis over Cuba."

"Izvestia: Russia sees Cuba as landing strip"

"Russia is considering sending long-range bombers to Cuba in response to Washington's intentions to deploy an antimissile shield in eastern Europe, the Russian newspaper Izvestia reported Monday"

"Recants" - - "been misled" - - "will nix" - - "bluff" - - "a hoax" - - "disinformation" - - "stay cool" - - "no threat"!

A lot of hot air is being bandied about? For no real purpose but creating a lot of concern where none is warranted. And all because the decision has been made to place an anti-ballistic system in eastern Europe, within NATO territory! An anti-ballistic system to be used solely against a so far imaginary Iranian missile threat, yet to materialize!


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Monday, August 18, 2008

Russians II.

This is coolbert:

From a Chicago Tribune op-ed piece dated this last Friday.

"Another Russian thrust"

"Fifteen years after a breakup that ended with both parties reeling, Cuba and Russia are rediscovering that old magic - - the heady satisfaction that comes from keeping American's defense warriors up at night."

The Russian military is contemplating a return to the bad-old-days? A resurgent and awash-with-petro-dollars Russia will once again station military units in Cuba? Or at least use Cuban facilities as staging areas or refueling sites?

The Russian military is considering:

* "reopen a radar listening center in Cuba that was used to intercept U.S. communications until 2001"
* "Cuba's harbors could be a convenient place to park Russian combat ships."
* "nuclear capable bombers could be based or at least refueled at Cuban airfields."

This "radar listening center" was the Lourdes complex. Twenty five square miles of electronics, antenna farms, etc., specifically targetiting American communications, civilian, governmental, and military.

Nuclear capable bombers presumbably would include those of the "Bear" and "Blackjack" variety.

All of this is, according to the Russians:

"a suitable response to U.S. plans to install a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic."

Missiles in Poland, radars in the Czech Republic. TO COUNTER AN IRANIAN THREAT, NOT A RUSSIAN THREAT!!

Once again, further indications that a new "Cold War" is already afoot!


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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Russians I.

This is coolbert:

Here are excerpts from an Israeli source - - a quick and dirty analysis of the conflict currently taking place between Russia and Georgia.

"The Russian-Georgian War: Implications for the Middle East"

By Ariel Cohen.

"Ariel Cohen, Ph.D., is Senior Research Fellow in Russian and Eurasian Studies and International Energy Security at The Heritage Foundation."

Thanks to the Institute for Contemporary Affairs.

15 August 2008.

Russian has now confirmed itself as a resurgent world-power to be reckoned with? This conflict between Russian Georgia has much wider ramifications? NOT confined to the dispute over Abkhazia and South Ossetia? Russia is now engaging in machinations, geo-political intrigue, schemes, and plots worthy of the Czarist era as practiced ever since the time of Ivan the Terrible?

"Moscow formulated far-reaching goals when it carefully prepared - over a period of at least two and a half years - for a land invasion of Georgia."

"U.S. intelligence-gathering and analysis on the Russian threat to Georgia failed. So did U.S. military assistance to Georgia, worth around $2 billion over the last 15 years"

"Tbilisi was stunned by the ferocity of the Russian response. It shouldn't have been, nor should Americans be surprised. The writing was on the wall, but Washington failed to read it, despite repeated warning from allied intelligence services and a massive presence of diplomats and military trainers on the ground."

Russia's Goals.

* "Expelling Georgian troops and effectively terminating Georgian sovereignty in South Ossetia and Abkhazia."
* "Regime change" - bringing down President Mikheil Saakashvili and installing a more pro-Russian leadership in Tbilisi."
* "Preventing Georgia from joining NATO and sending a strong message to Ukraine that its insistence on NATO membership may lead to war and/or its dismemberment."

"Kill the Chicken to Scare the Monkey"

"Aggression against Georgia also sends a strong signal to Ukraine and to Europe"

Lessons from the War:

* "Watch Out for the Bear - and Other Beasts!" Russia is resurgent and very serious and very deadly. This current war is just the start. NOT a trifling matter confined to the Caucasus region but in addition a signal to the region and for that matter the rest of the world!

* "Strategic Self-Reliance." Israeli self-reliance that is. DO NOT depend upon promises from Washington. Depend upon yourself and your own "arms". DO NOT rely upon anyone else.

* "Intelligence Failure." Another severe intelligence failure for the U.S.?

* "Air Power Is Not Sufficient." Combined arms is a MUST - - using all assets as part of a coordinated plan.

* "Surprise and Speed of Operations Still Matter"

* "Do Not Cringe." - Be willing to inflict casualties and accept casualties on your own side as well.

* "Information and Psychological Warfare Is Paramount." There was a denial of service [DoS] cyber-warfare attack on Georgia just prior to and during combat operations. Similar as to what occurred to the Estonians last year?

A message is being sent to the United States, Europe, and the rest of the world. Russia is once again a player on the world stage and not to be taken for granted? A variety of means [to include on occasion the use of force!] are to be employed by the Russian in furtherance of "aims" on the international stage! A new "Cold War" has begun and the players are not even really sure that the curtain has lifted! Better wake up fast!



Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Flying Bomb!

This is coolbert:

"Harry [Truman], what the hell are you doing campaigning for that crippled son-of-a-bitch that killed my son Joe?" - - Joseph P. Kennedy Sr.

Sixty-four years ago yesterday, Lieutenant Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., naval aviator, met his untimely death in the skies over England.

Flying a B-24 Liberator bomber, on a TOP SECRET experimental mission, the details of which were not made public knowledge for FIFTY YEARS AFTER THE FACT!!

"British military officials did not want their people to know that planes packed with explosives, under shaky radio control, were flying over the country [England]."

A B-24 Liberator packed with high-explosive [ten tons worth], manually taken aloft and flown - - part way to the target - - guided the rest of the way to the objective by remote control from a chase plane, the two-man crew having previously bailed out. Intended to destroy German “V” [Vengeance] weaponry. A “flying bomb”, part of the Operation Aphrodite project.

It was Joseph Jr. that the father. Joseph Sr. had been grooming to become the first Irish Catholic President of the United States. Joseph Jr. had already completed two tours of duty flying Liberators and was due for return to the U.S. But volunteered for this experimental mission, knowing full well the danger.

For inexplicable reasons, the Liberator, chock full of high explosives, exploded spontaneously, Joseph Jr. and his co-pilot meeting instant death, bodies not recovered [BNR].

Amazingly so, Elliott Roosevelt, THE SON OF PRESIDENT FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT, was flying in an accompanying “chase plane” and witnessed first hand the explosion of the Liberator flown by Kennedy!!!

"Flying among the escorts was Colonel Elliott Roosevelt, the President's son . . . Just twenty-eight minutes after takeoff . . . Colonel Roosevelt saw a blinding flash."

It should not be thought however, that the idea of the “flying bomb” was confined solely to the allies!

The German too developed a similar “flying bomb” weapon system. Call “Mistel” [Mistletoe!]! A German bomber aircraft, the cockpit removed and replaced WITH AN ENORMOUS SHAPED CHARGE, flown to the target by a piggybacked Focke-Wulf [FW] 190!

[is this a case of a fighter strapped to a bomber, or a bomber strapped to a fighter? Since the bomber relies upon the fighter pilot for control, I think the latter? That shaped charge is the largest device of it’s type ever built? This was a unique weapon system!]

"The definitive Mistel warhead was a shaped charge . . . When detonated, the explosion would create a penetrator . . . capable of penetrating up to 7 metres (24 feet) of steel armour."

This particular photo is a head on shot of the shaped charge, [note] the propellers of the un-manned bomber on either side of the explosive device.

The German had in mind a specific mission for the Mistel. Destroy the power plants that supplied 75 % of the electricity used by Soviet munition makers. Missions on paper that did not materialize.

"As part of Operation Iron Hammer in late 1943 and early 1944, Mistels were selected to carry out key raids against Soviet weapons manufacturing facilities -- specifically, electricity-generating plants around Moscow and Gorky"

"If the attack were to succeed in destroying just 2/3 of the turbines it would have knocked out about 75% of the power used by the Soviet defence industry."

Missions of this type never seemed to work well during the Second World War. Results generally were always less, sometimes much less, than what was hoped for. I am thinking here of Schweinfurt [ball bearings] or Ploesti [oil]. The thought was - - one concentrated bombing effort - - a “maximum effort” - - would so cripple the Nazi munitions industry and war making potential that the German military would literally grind to a halt.


Please note too from the Operation Aphrodite wiki site the uniformly unsuccessful nature of the various Aphrodite missions. The concept was sound but the “hustle” was wrong? Remote-control flying of an aircraft using electronics and electro-mechanical controls available AT THE TIME was not just feasible to the degree needed?

Japanese pilots from the era of course would have welcomed, been grateful, and even relished to have flown an Aphrodite mission! ONE PLANE - - ONE TARGET - - ONE MISSION - - END OF TARGET!! And no bailing out either!!

As to the comments of Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. NO!! Joseph Jr. was a very brave man who died an unfortunate death, doing his duty and way beyond that!! Joseph Jr. knew what had to be done, and died in the process. NOT the fault of FDR!!




This is coolbert:

Here is a big break in the war on terror?

Again, being handled as a mere criminal case?

"Alleged Mata Hari of Al Qaeda Could Provide 'Treasure Trove' of Intelligence"

From only yesterday, when this woman was arraigned? "August 12, 2008".

Aafia Siddique. Woman Al Qaeda operative [alleged], captured in Afghan, brought to the U.S. This woman is a legal U.S. resident, with American born children that are U.S. citizens. A person educated at elite colleges, with a PhD in neuroscience.

"Siddique, who attended MIT as an undergraduate and earned her PhD in neuroscience at Brandeis"

"Aafia Siddique Had a List of Targets in New York & Chem-Bio Weapons Information in her Possession"

"When she was arrested in Afghanistan last month, Aafia Siddique allegedly had in her possession maps of New York, a list of potential targets that included the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, the subway system and the animal disease center on Plum Island, detailed chemical, biological and radiological weapon information"

"she also had in her possession a one gigabyte digital media storage device - a thumb drive - whose contents included a large trail of emails that authorities are now poring over, sources said. Those e-mails, a source involved in the investigation said, are between 'what she described as 'units' and what we would call 'cells'.'"

"This is a major haul, a major capture for the FBI," said Kiriakou [ex-CIA counter-intelligence]. 'To find someone who has such rich information, computer hard drives, e-mails, that is really a major capture.'"

"US authorities are analyzing Siddique's saliva, hair, and fingernail scrapings to determine, if possible, what evidence they can find of any exposure to chemical, biological or radiological materials with potential use in weapons of mass destruction, sources said."

"the useful information from high value prisoners it has had in custody for as long as six years and has watched the stream of new intelligence go from a torrent to a trickle"

From a torrent to a trickle??!! That is not good. "Breaks" of this nature are vital, but are hard to come by?

"she had become something of a cause celebre among some human rights activists who believe she was 'disappeared' five years ago by the Pakistani government"

A couple comments here:

* When this woman appeared in the NYC courtroom, she was in a wheelchair and appeared to be in a bad way. All the result of a shoot-out when she grabbed the M4 carbine of an interrogator and tried to go down fighting, Siddique herself being shot?! NEVER UNDERESTIMATE ANY OF THESE JIHADI!! Even a woman!!

* Americans tend to think [?] that a person such as Siddique, having lived among Americans for an extended period of time,, being educated [very highly so too!] among Americans, having her children born here, would be favorably disposed toward the U.S. and make poor material for recruitment to Al Qaeda and the jihad movement! This is not so? Sometimes, rather the opposite?

We have not heard the last with this case?



Glider - - Again! III. [Conclusion]

This is coolbert:

Allied and German forces both during World War Two [WW2] extensively employed gliders for their airborne operations. Glider-borne troops, following an initial parachute assault would bring reinforcement, supplies, heavier weapons, etc. right to the target consolidated in a unit, intact! A big advantage over parachute drops, which had a bad habit of dispersing paratroopers over a wide area, sometimes far from the intended drop zone. Airborne troops, that when landing and dispersed, had a much more difficult time of accomplishing their mission.

The German did have a well thought out protocol for parachute assault and further landings of airborne troops by glider. A lot of emphasis was placed on selection of suitable landing fields for gliders, and improvement where necessary.

Here thanks to the LoneSentry web site. Reprints of intelligence bulletins from World War Two [WW2] as published by American G2:

"'How Paratroops Clear Fields for Gliders from Intelligence Bulletin"

"The Germans are well aware that troops dropped by parachute must be supplied rapidly with sufficient reinforcements, equipment, ammunition, and rations . . . the Germans stipulate that the first mission of certain designated paratroopers, on landing in the jump area, is to improvise a landing field for gliders."

Subsequent to an initial assault by paratroopers, glider landings are prioritized as follows:

* "Reinforcement by air-landing troops [glider-borne] is the first use to which an improvised field is put."
* "Supplies which cannot be dropped are landed next"


An ideal field, the Germans specify, is one which:

* "permits gliders to land regardless of the direction in which the wind is blowing."

The German preference is for:

* "a field near a road or path leading to the fighting troops."
* "It is regarded as essential that the surrounding obstacles permit a glide of at least '1 in 15.'"

[This means that the length of the landing field must be at least 15 times the height of the trees or other obstacles which fringe the field.]

* "provide each regiment with one glider landing field having at least two landing strips."

[American Special Operations troops employing gliders for long-range missions would not be landing in regimental force, perhaps only in company grade strength at the most.]

* "allow a number of gliders to land simultaneously."

The Germans regard the following as unfavorable features:

* "very rocky, uneven ground"
* "stony ground where the stones go deeper than 2 feet"
* "swampy or wooded ground"
* "ground with thick vegetation, ditches, stone walls, hedges, wire fences, etc."

The following . . are described as favorable features:

* "moderately soft ground with grass"
* "ground with tall grass and even a little vegetation"
* "farm land, even if furrowed"
* "corn fields (which are fairly easy to clear)"
* "sandy ground, even if it is somewhat pebbly"

Besides the above [preferences]:

* "the prevailing wind direction also influences the German choice of a field."


* "All obstacles are removed, not only from the landing strip, but from a zone 65 feet wide on each side of the strip."
* "Uneven ground is leveled."

" Although normally every precaution is taken to lessen the danger of crash landings, the Germans follow an interesting procedure"

Under these circumstances [unfavorable], if time is very short or if the terrain presents great difficulties:

* "the Germans clear at least one-third of the landing strip"
* "Just off the landing strips, parking areas are prepared for the gliders already landed."
* "These parking areas are so arranged as not to hinder further development of the landing strip"
* "Vegetation stripped from the landing field is saved, and is used in camouflaging the parked gliders."


* "The center of the landing strip is marked with identification panels for air recognition"
* "the wind direction is shown by a large T made with panels and, indicated when necessary, by smoke as well."

NO! A thousand times NO! DO NOT mark the landing strip with identification panels made of cloth or similar substance. Mark with paint if possible. Use smoke to indicate wind direction - - YES!

With regard to marking a landing field for gliders with cloth identification panels or similar markers that might get thrown up into the air, again - - see too this previous blog entry of mine.

If and when the decision was ever made by the U.S. military to again employ military gliders, the experience, lessons-learned, doctrinal considerations are already on the books and ready-to-go! Re-inventing the wheel is not necessary.