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

Saturday, January 31, 2004

This is coolbert: Horses and swords also had a mystical equation to them. Swords in particular have an universal equation that is found throughout the world. Persons having the ability to draw metal (sword) out of earth (iron) were said to have mystical powers. This is seen in the legend of Weyland the Smith from the Germanic mythology [Weyland, like Vulcan, was lame]. "Weyland — a god of smiths, said to have made Excalibur".
And when Shaka, King of the Zulus, wanted to forge his stabbing spears, the assegai, he went to the wizards, those persons that had the secret mystical knowledge to forge the winning weapon. "But the Zulu word inyanga, like our 'doctor,' covers a variety of meanings; properly it denotes a person skilled in any art or knowledge: a blacksmith, for instance, is inyanga yensimbi, "a doctor of iron." So the inyanga may be either a diviner or a herbalist, or both at the same time; possibly, also, a seer or prophet." Excalibur is of course the sword that was drawn from the rock by Arthur [dux bellorum of the Britons], a sword that gave him great powers.


This is coolbert: More on the fear factor in combat as the source of friction in warfare. Fear debilitates ones ability to function physically in a combat situation. The presence of fear causes all sorts of chemicals to flow involuntarily in your body. Adrenaline and endorphines and such. This is good in the short run. A response to the fight or flight scenario. You gain immediate and instantaneous strength that allows you to do things you ordinarily would not do. But in the long run, if the presence of fear is prolonged, this will tire a person out very quickly. Your muscles cannot stand such prolonged stimulation and will just shut down or become weak and atrophied. Rest is required to overcome this. And in combat rest is not always possible. Military medicine has played a role in understanding this phenomenon. During the Korean War, studies were done on unwitting GI's. Autopsies were done to determine the degree of beginning heart disease in young Americans [almost without exception, all the autopsies turned up some degree of heart disease present, even in fit, young Americans (hardening of the arteries)]. Teeth pulled from GI's were examined for the presence of the chemicals released involuntarily as described above. These levels were uniformly found to be exceedingly high!

Some anecdotal accounts of the effect of fear on a person physically are most interesting. The military historian S.L.A. Marshall describes two incidents that bear this out. In WW1, while marching twenty miles to the front for the first time, half of Marshall's company fell out on the march. This from a unit that in the U.S. had trained to cover the same distance carrying 65 pound packs! In contrast, when marching to the rear after a number of weeks in the trenches at the front, not one soldier fell out on the march! Marshal also relates that soldiers landing on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day sometimes took three hours to cover the 100 yards or so of beach after landing. Sometimes under fire, sometimes not. This from soldiers that in training were able to cross the 100 yards of beach with a 65 pound pack in less than a minute.

Street gangs in the U.S. are another perfect example of how fear can change a person. Brain tissue of street gang members that have been killed in "drive-by shootings" have been taken and examined by specialists. Lo and behold, these gang members have shown evidence that their brains were changing into some state that is why beyond the normal human brain. Whether you would call this evolution or de-volution, I cannot say. This is an effect from all those chemicals flowing in the brain all the time. Years and years of unnatural chemical flow have changed these guys brains.


There is a retired Marine Colonel who works for the State of Illinois Fire Marshall. He makes the connection between combat and firefighting. He agrees with you that it is a pretty close comparison. So do I.

Friday, January 30, 2004


This is coolbert:

Here is the URL for an interesting web site about the famous/infamous Japanese officer Colonel Tsuji:

click here.

Although the Colonel was obviously prejudiced toward his own Japanese soldiers, his rating of enemy combatants and their fighting capacities is most interesting.

In "UNDERGROUND ESCAPE", published in 1952, he ranked the fighting ability of all the armies he had opposed.

The Japanese of course were highest, with one Japanese soldier the equivalent of 10 Chinese--the army he rated second, given equivalence in equipment and training. Following in order were 3) Russians, 4) Ghurkas in British service, 5) Americans, 6) Australians, 7) Indians in British service, 8) British, 9) Filipinos, 10) Burmese, 11) Thai, 12) Vietnamese, and 13) French.

Now, some of you may be curious as to the inclusion of the Russians and the French?

The Russians did fight large scale battles (border skirmishes (?)) against the Japanese prior to the outbreak of WW2 in the Pacific.

And of course the annihilation of the Japanese Kwangtung Army in Manchuria by the Russians at the end of WW2 is well known.

Tsuji is probably referring to the battles fought prior to WW2 with the Russians when he includes the Russians in his rating scheme.

The French Foreign Legion forces stationed in Indo-China did fight on the side of the allies in the months following the fall [1944] bof the Vichy French government. The entire Legion forces in Indo-China force marched into China to join with the Nationalist Chinese against the Japanese. I would assume that Tsuji is using this as the background for including the French in his rating scheme?



This is coolbert: Don Wade and Roma on the radio talk show this morning.

Talking about their son, Hunter. Used to be a member of the Blue Angels, the Navy aerobatic team.

Don Wade mentions that while a member of the Blue Angels, Hunter was prohibited from engaging in certain activities. Activities that were felt to be too dangerous. What are these activities? Sport parachuting and bungee jumping were two of the activities mentioned.

You can get hurt doing these dangerous things.

Like flying in the Blue Angels is not dangerous of itself?

The military is looking at the investment they have in Hunter and do not want to lose their investment in training him as a combat pilot by some silly stupid accident. The military does seem to have an inclination to preclude soldiers from engaging in the type of activities that would expose them to danger and simulate to a degree, the fear factor present in combat.


This is coolbert: Another activity that approaches the simulation of combat is mountaineering. Teams of climbers, roped together, scaling a mountain, go through many of the hazards that troops in combat would go through. We are talking here not about hiking in the mountains, we are talking about dangerous climbing and scaling of peaks. Extreme physical exertion, being in the open exposed to the elements, privation from the extremes of weather, having to operate as a team for their survival, and running the risk of death or injury, all are similar to the what the soldier goes through in actual combat operations. You run a real risk of falling to your death, being killed in an avalanche, or encountering inclement weather combined with physical fatigue that can lead to your death! You have to have a degree of technical proficiency requiring training to be able to climb in the first place. Everyone on the climbing team has to be able to execute with a degree of proficiency of number of climbing skills, skills that have to be learned. Similar to what a soldier has to go through in basic, advanced, and unit training. A group of climbers roped together are relying upon one another for safety. Belaying is the technique used to ensure safety when roped together. You climb, relying upon the others to catch you if you fall! The British Army for decades has incorporated "adventure training" as a way of training soldiers. A team or squad will go off to scale some Alpine peak. All the elements of soldiering are present here. A team, discipline, a leader, skills, and the element of danger.


Thursday, January 29, 2004

This is coolbert: When I was speaking in a previous post about the friction of war, I was speaking about the verity # 12 of De Puy. That being:

12. Combat activities are always less slower, less productive, and less efficient than anticipated.

Friction of war is the term used by Clausewitz. Now, De Puy maintains, as I have said, that this friction is a result of the fear factor of combat. This is a factor that cannot be simulated in training. And this is true. However, we should consider that there are some activities that people participate in that do introduce the factor of fear. You have an actual danger of dying or being severely injured. One of these activities is sport parachuting. Obviously, leaping out of an airplane is a very unnatural activity. You can die or get hurt. Obvious! Military parachuting in itself should be thought of as a filter mechanism. Allows the most fit, able, motivated soldiers to pass through a regimen of training that introduces fear as a constant factor of their duties as a soldier. Whether the soldier actually does parachute in combat is not germane. The actual parachuting of an entire airborne division, ala D-Day Invasion, is probably a thing of the past. What the training as a paratrooper does, is filter out the less able and less motivated and prepare the able and motivated for dangerous combat missions.


Board Game?

This is coolbert:

The inevitability of it all. Stalingrad.

How the German Army was defeated in the turning point of the war against Hitler.

And endless debate has gone on since with thought about, "well, if the Germans had only done, this, or if the Germans had only done that". Etc.

I recall that Avalon-Hill put out a board game say forty years or so ago that was called Stalingrad.

As a lark, some students at say, the Army War College got this game and played it in their spare time.

At some point it became more than a lark when over and over, the end results of the board game came out more or less the same as did the actual battle for Stalingrad.

Whether the game was played by two players, a team of players, or by one player controlling both sides [this game was one of a type where one player could fairly play the game by themselves], the results were more or less similar to the actual outcome of the battle.

The Russian victory according to this board game seems to be more or less pre-ordained.

A result not anticipated by the players. Even knowing all the mistakes made by the Germans, and taking these mistakes into account during play, Russian victory was almost always a sure bet.

Why would this be?

Is there a flaw in the board game?

Anyone else have comments on this?


This is coolbert: When De Puy lists one of the verities of combat as being the friction of war he is paraphrasing or quoting Clausewitz. By friction is meant the inability or difficulty to achieve what is planned during actual hostilities. It was observed that soldiers in combat cannot achieve the results they obtain in training. No amount of preparation or training can prepare the soldier for the actual experience of war. De Puy attributes this to the element of fear being present in actual war, an element that cannot be simulated in training.


This is coolbert: Here are some serious statistics to consider. More ammunition was expended in the three days of battle at Gettysburg than was expended in the all the battles of the Napoleonic era put together!! And Shiloh is significant from the American Civil War in that it was the first battle in the Western Hemisphere where the level of battle in size of forces rivaled previous combats fought in the old world. As many casualties were sustained at Shiloh as were sustained by the combatants at Waterloo! And twenty such battles of the same size or greater were to follow in the years of the Civil War after Shiloh.


This is coolbert: Well, it is a good question as to the ineptness of the Iraqi in the two previous wars with the U.S. Now, during the eight years of war with Iran that started in 1980, the Iraqi acquitted themselves very well, and most of the time on the defensive. Especially outstanding was the performance of the artillery and engineering arm of the Iraqi. The artillery employed, at the end of the eight year conflict the G-3 howitzer with great effectiveness. This particular weapon was of great concern to U.S. planners prior to the ground war in 1991. This particular artillery piece was the creation of the great Canadian weapons designer, Dr. Bull. When developing this howitzer for the Iraqi, Bull asked the Iraqis what concerns had to be played to the report [detonation] and spalling [peeling off of metal fragments from the inside of the barrel] of the howitzer. Both pose a danger to the ground crews and friendly forces in the vicinity of a firing piece. Bull was told by the cold-blooded Iraqi to disregard any dangers from report and spalling and just to make as deadly a weapon as possible!! Which he did. Sarkis, the Armenian arms dealer who is also a U.S. citizen, had a lot of dealings with Saddam and sold a lot of weaponry to the Iraqi during their eight year war with Iraq. Very knowledgeable in the Iraqi military. Sarkis was most emphatic that the Iraqi would fight well against the U.S. "Four years to defeat the Iraqi, and three months just to learn how to fight them", is what Sarkis told Sixty Minutes. My own perception is that the Iraqi was just unable to handle a combined arms type offensive that the U.S. threw at them in both wars. This was something they were not accustomed to or able to adapt to. Probably also meddling from Saddam with regard to military strategy and tactics paid a role in the Iraqi rout. This man is not a military man. He approached things from the political perspective, not the military, to the detriment of the Iraqi military.


This is coolbert: Here is a phenomenon that was observed during the Korean War that to my knowledge has never been properly explained. It was observed that troops from southern states suffered frostbite at a rate seven times greater than troops from northern states, even when troops from both areas were attired the same and performing the same duties, and exposed to the same climatic conditions. Anyone have a reason why this may be so??


Wednesday, January 28, 2004

This is coolbert: The battles of the American Civil War were indeed intensely fought. Casualties per day for the combatants would be around 15 % for each side. This was very high, even by modern standards. During both World Wars, casualties were about 4 % per day for the combatants. Some historians often describe Grant as a "butcher". De Puy feels this is an unfair appraisal. This label of "butcher" was the result of the action at Cold Harbor, where 10,000 Union casualties were sustained in 10 minutes!!! It is to the credit of Grant that he did not repeat this mistake. Other Civil War generals, Lee at Malvern Hill and Gettysburg [10,000 casualties in 50 minutes], Burnside at Fredericksburg [7,000 casualties], Hood at Franklin [7,000 casualties], also sent their troops to horrendous slaughter. Casualties of this magnitude were not confined to the American Civil War during this period. Five years later, during the Franco-Prussian war, the Prussians suffered 5,000 dead in thirty minutes at a place called the Mars-la-Tour. More later on the significance of American Civil War casualties to the current U.S. military.


This is coolbert: More on horsemanship and swords. The science writer Michael Burke had a program on PBS years ago now called "Connections". During one program, Michael, a middle-aged, sedentary person, demonstrated the lethality of a broadsword. Took two strokes to cut a side of beef in two. And this from an untrained man!! Evidently there were several versions of the broadsword. One had dull edges and was used for breaking bones and skulls. The other had a sharp edges and was used for cleaving. Now, the Spanish knight was able to perfect a certain maneuver with the horse that greatly enhanced the cutting ability of the sharpened broadsword. This maneuver was to spur the horse in a certain particular way. The horse was trained to jump so that all four hoofs were off the ground when spurred this way. The knight would time the downward swing of his broadsword to coincide with the downward motion of the horse, adding the full weight of the horse to the sword stroke. A man could be cut in two pieces with one swing of the broadsword with ease using this method.


Iraq fought a defensive war agains us in both of the last wars. And it did not do him much good.

I have always been surprised at how many American Civil War battles would result in rather even casualties, regardless of who attacked and who defended.


This is coolbert:

With regard to De Puy's verity # 2. Defense is the stronger form of combat.

It is easier to conduct a defense and get greater results from same with less than it is to conduct an offensive.

The strategic defense has been used by many commanders successfully. Wellington, Von Moltke, Meade, all used the strategic defensive with great success.

Wellington in particular was a master of the strategic defensive.

Intuitively realized the advantages of the strategic defensive and utilized the concept repeatedly during the Peninsular War against the forces of Napoleon.

Wellington's forces would advance into French held territory, compelling the French to respond. Wellington would then assume the defensive on terrain of his selection, terrain exceedingly suited for a defense. Make the French attack him on ground of his choosing, at the time of his choosing. Wellington would allow the French to expend their best units in fruitless attacks, all the while husbanding his best units, awaiting the exact right moment to launch an offensive of his own.


This is coolbert: The American Legion in Mexico. Little known fact of history. When the French invaded Mexico in the 1860's, establishing Maximilian as "Emperor", Juarez, the duly elected President of Mexico, requested American aid from Lincoln. Lincoln did oblige. U.S. troops in NYC were told to take off their uniforms, don civilian dress, but keep their weapons. These troops then boarded Navy ships, sailed to Mexico and joined the Mexican forces opposing the French invader. These units evidently acquitted themselves very well.. They were accorded a place of honor in the victory march through Mexico City after the expulsion of the French.


Tuesday, January 27, 2004

This is coolbert: The Soviet SS-20 missile. Back in the early eighties, this missile and the NATO counter to it, the Pershing II-A or such, was huge point of contention between the west and the Soviets. If you visit the Air and Space Museum in Wash. D.C., there is an exhibit of the SS-20 and the Pershing standing side-by-side. A comparison between these two missiles tells a lot about the confrontation between the Soviets and NATO and the ridiculous comparisons that were made at the time. The Soviets deployed 500 of these missiles, each having a range of 3000 miles, each SS-20 carrying three warheads, each atomic warhead being of 500 kiloton range. Now, the U.S. Pershing had a range of 1500 miles, there were 100 of them, each carrying one warhead, the warhead being of 25 kiloton range. Let the reader do the math and figure out who had the advantage here. Now the Pershing was developed and deployed with great controversy. The SS-20 developed totally in secret and was only known to NATO through sophisticated intelligence gathering. Go figure!


This is coolbert: With regard to the De Puy verity # 8. "Successful defense requires depth and reserves." During the great offenses the Soviets conducted in the latter years of WW2, 1944 and 1945, it was observed that during the offenses, the Soviets did not ignore defensive measures as well. As territory was seized from the retreating Germans, the Soviet army would then consolidate their position by constructing defensive lines in depth in the newly captured territory. To preclude the possibility of successful counter-attack by the Germans. These defenses were constructed to a depth of 50 miles, and this done while the Red Army was on the offensive! These defensive lines consisted of strong points, anti-tank ditches, mine fields, cleared fields of fire, etc. One defensive line would be followed by a second and third, etc, and this all too a depth of once again, 50 miles, and again, all this done while the Soviets were on the offensive!

This is coolbert: Another anachronism of warfare that lasted for about 3000 years is swordsmanship. Ability to handle the sword in war was paramount for literally millenniums. Bronze swords gave way to iron swords which gave way to steel swords of considerable refinement and metallurgy. And various styles of fighting were developed along with the various types of swords. Broadswords, rapier and dagger, foil and epee, all had their schools of swordsmanship with very sophisticated training and instruction. In the Renaissance period, the Spanish schools and the Italian schools were just examples of the high level of swordsmanship achieved in Europe. Asia too with the various martial arts disciplines incorporating swordsmanship demonstrate the importance of the sword to many cultures throughout the world.

The usage of swords has all but disappeared throughout the world. But not entirely. The Tuareg nomadic people of the Sahara to this day still carry swords with them. To what extent these weapons are carried for merely show, or are still used from time to time, is not clear. On the island of Borneo, however, swords are still used in combat, and are even the preferred weapon. During the recent fighting between the indigenous Dayak peoples of Borneo, and the immigrant Madurese people, swords were used by the Dayaks with proficiency and evidently relish. It seems the Dayaks have always been head-hunters and many instances were recorded during the fighting of heads being taken by Dayaks wielding swords!

Another recent development has been the attempted revival of European martial arts. Most of these martial arts center upon sword play, as was taught at say the Spanish or Italian schools. Europe does indeed have a long tradition of martial arts of varying types, these forms having been forgotten or eclipsed by the many Oriental imports such as Kung Fu or Tae Kwon Do. The Filipino "true" martial art of Arnis is another example of where swordsmanship is being resurrected. Arnis is a cross of Spanish fencing, Filipino knife fighting, and traditional unarmed hand-hand combat.


Monday, January 26, 2004

This is coolbert: Now, with regard to the timeless verities as listed by De Puy, and the use of Fortifications Troops by the Soviets along the border with China; which of the thirteen verities apply for the Soviets? Well, #'s 2, 3, 6, and 11 all apply. "Defense is the stronger form of combat" certainly applies here. It would be relatively easy for older, out-of-shape reservists to man these tank fortifications and give a good account of themselves [#2]. The Soviets found it more or less impossible to conventionally defend their border with China, and these tank fortifications were the answer [#3]. Adding additional "armor" to the turrets of the tank fortifications by welding cut up sections of railroad track to the turrets and having concrete emplacements below ground for the crew only makes the individual emplacements that much more sturdy [#6]. A direct hit by some sort of plunging round of AT would probably be required to defeat such an emplacement. And the 122mm gun of the tank turret, and coaxially mounted MG's would certainly cause significant casualties among attacking Chinese troops. Cause casualties, dispersal, and disruption [#11].


This is coolbert: The military historian Trevor De Puy lists in his book "Understanding War", the thirteen timeless verities of combat. De Puy graduated from West Point prior to WW2, commanded a British artillery brigade in Burma, and was a staff officer at the Pentagon during his career. Had a long second career as a military historian. The thirteen timeless verities listed by De Puy are:

1. Offensive action is essential for positive combat results.

2. Defensive strength is greater than offensive strength.

3. Defensive posture is necessary when successful offense is impossible.

4. Flank or rear attack is more likely to succeed than frontal attack.

5. Initiative permits application of preponderant combat power.

6. Defenders chances of success are directly proportional to fortification strength.

7. An attacker willing to pay the price can always penetrate the strongest defenses.

8. Successful defense requires depth and reserves.

9. Superior combat power always wins.

10. Surprise substantially enhances combat power.

11. Firepower kills, disrupts, suppresses, and causes dispersion.

12. Combat activities are always less slower, less productive, and less efficient than anticipated.

13. Combat is too complex to be described in a single, simple aphorism [a simple true statement of fact].

These verities will be the subject of later posts.



This is coolbert:

Along the "porous" border between Mexico and the U.S., tracker units and mounted units of horsemen are now being put into play.

These are quasi-military units.

Well, they might as well be military units.

Look military, that is for sure.

The tracking units are comprised of American Indians who are really outdoors types.

Able to track people and find them like something you would see out of a western movie. Armed with M-16's because of the nature of the work and the prey they are after, drug smugglers for the most part. Now,

Mounted units are also desirable for this type of work.

Patrols can go out into a wilderness, roadless area, and stay out for extended periods of time without the need for resupply. Operate relatively silently. And I would think that the rider and horse become one with the environment. Not a bad idea for law enforcement. I bet the riders become much more attune to their surroundings and changes in same than they would otherwise. Become much more effective. All their senses become alert to their surroundings. On patrol, they will be looking for fresh footprints, tire tracks, campsites, etc. In the olden times, this would have been called, "looking for sign".


While I was stationed with the Amphibious Warfare Technology Directorate in Quantico in the mid 1990's, we hired Dick Rutan, the individual who designed the airplane that flew around the world non stop, to design and build a light weight scout car. Very nice machine. Very quiet, ran on batteries and a small engine, supposed to eventually be powered by fuel cells. Looked like a dune buggy. Troops loved it.

This is coolbert: I recall that the 9th ID is the experimental base for trying out all sorts of concepts. One of them was the moto-cross type motorcycle. Another was the dune buggy type vehicle. These were to be used for a recon type unit organic to the ID. Scouts and so forth. And in Afghan the SF have been using the 4 wheel ATV with what seems to be success. Since recon type units by their very nature are supposed to work in a surreptitious manner, I would think that noise would be a factor with the cross country vehicles. Especially in the counter-insurgency environment. Hard to find the correct trade-off for the vehicle of choice.


The Calvary was indeed an important part of warfare. The recon function has been replaced by aircraft, and the mobility function by vehicles.

There is a need for a small, one or two man vehicle that would function like the calvary. A all terrain vehicle, small and armored, with the soldier lying prone in the vehicle could be a high quality weapon. The Calvary would ride again

This is coolbert: Here is a good web site to go to for info on the current war against Al Qaeda: .This is evidently a private investigatory agency that does a lot of searching the internet and "jihad" web sites to glean information of an intelligence nature. Well, these folks may be very good at doing this. A lot of private investigatory agencies use ex-intelligence personnel [one of the staff at this site does give his bio as being ex-intel] for their work. And a lot of PI agencies are very extensive users of public web sites that have data bases and such. Able to glean intelligence by examining the jihad web sites for the type of statements that these jihadists like to make prior to "events". Precursors of activity. Sort of "revving" up the jihadists in anticipation of an event. The PI pros are probably good at doing this sort of stuff. If they were not, they could not make a living doing what they are doing. You may want to bookmark this site for future ref.


Sunday, January 25, 2004

This is coolbert: Kerry is speaking on TV this morning. Talking about intelligence failures. He evidently has been a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Now, he relates how in 1988, during the last years of the old Soviet Union, he and his compatriots made a trip to Moscow. He says there were no light bulbs at the air port, the trucks were old beaten up hulks, and at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was a desk with twelve telephones on it. Kerry says he was told that these phones were all on one desk as no one had the ability to connect them so that they could work separately. This seems to confirm some things I had mentioned in previous posts. Military wise the Soviets had all the equipment and capability that they had. But societal wise, the Soviets were inept and backward by U.S. standards. Perhaps very much so. I think Kerry is saying that the U.S. intelligence agencies across the board overestimated the threat from the Soviets and gave bad advice to the powers that make decisions, namely, Congressmen, Senators, the Pres. Not necessarily lies or misleading advice, but poor intelligence.


This is coolbert: The nuclear threat from Al Qaeda, in my opinion, cannot be minimized. All during the time since the inception of the nuclear weapons age, and with the acquisition of nuclear weapons by the Soviet Union, has the U.S. been in danger of nuclear attack. But now from Al Qaeda, even more so than from the Soviet Union, this threat exists, and is more real. It is true that a nuclear attack for the Soviets would have totally devastated the U.S., but the likelihood of this occurring was very slim indeed. The nuclear standoff guaranteed that both sides were deterred from using nuclear weaponry or even with letting a crisis get out of hand. The consequences of nuclear weapons usage was not worth the risk. With Al Qaeda, the danger is very much more real. In all probability, Al Qaeda at this time does not possess nuclear weaponry. If they did, they would have probably used the weapon or weapons by now. That is the problem. With the Soviet Union, the opposition could be counted on for rational, measured response to crisis or incidents or "situations". Not so with Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda is not deterred by the usual threat of retaliation. Not only are they not deterred, they would welcome retaliation, so as to alienate the entire Islamic world. These Al Qaeda villains would not only use the a-bomb, they would relish [Tony Blair used this very word] using it, and would also relish to see retaliation. This is just not something the "think tank" boys could contemplate or know how to deal with.



This is coolbert:

For 3000 years, cavalry was one of the dominant forces on the battlefield.

An armed horseman was a weapon of war greatly to be feared, especially by sedentary societies, the urbanized city dweller.

Scythians, Huns, Mongols, were all great warrior societies that fought on horseback, and preferred to fight on horseback exclusively.

It was said that in Middle Age Europe, the armed knight on horseback was worth ten men-of-foot [infantry].

Even in say the 1800's, the most glamorous branch of any military was the cavalry. Well, this all ended during the last 100 years or so. The internal combustion engine and modern weaponry created conditions that eliminated the cavalry.

Well, mostly so, but not completely so.

There are still remnants that exist around the world.

In places such as China, Mongolia, and Tibet are found mounted forces. Employed as border guards. Patrol isolated roadless border areas that are inaccessible to motorized vehicles.

During the insurgency in what was Rhodesia, the gov forces employed a unit known as Grey's Scouts. Mounted scouts that did prolonged recon in remote areas. Commanded by an American by the name of Mike [Mad Mike] Williams.

In the latest Afghan war were scenes of American Special Forces (SF) leading charges on horseback against the Taliban. A SF commander sent a message back to headquarters that was quoted by Rumsfeld. "One day I am directing air strikes of B-52 bombers, the next day I am planning for cavalry assaults."

Even during WW1 and WW2 were cavalry used with success. In WW1 Australian cavalry led a successful breakthrough in the Negev desert [modern day Israel] that had a rate of advance against Turkish forces that has not been surpassed.

And Cossack horsemen were employed by both the Soviet and Germans. The Soviets would send numbers of lone horsemen maybe 50-100 miles forward of their advance to act as scouts. Find out critical information and relay the info somehow back to HQ.

With regard to the Mongol cavalry still in existence. A most interesting film clip shows how these horsemen train themselves and their mounts. This footage was shown at the start of a program that was part of the series on PBS called "The History of the World" or some such. Current day Mongol horseman is riding toward the cameraman, horse galloping at full tilt. The Mongol is sitting up straight in the saddle, and firing a SKS carbine at targets as he gallops along. Holding the carbine out in front of him and aiming with a stiff left arm holding the weapon. The horse had been trained to gallop along with in such a way that it would not bounce the rider up and down. An impressive spectacle of horsemanship and marksmanship!



Saturday, January 24, 2004


This is coolbert:

We have heard a lot recently about the terrorist threat to the nuclear power plants of the U.S.

How a terrorist of Al Qaeda may want to crash a plane, such as occurred at WTC, 9/11, into a nuclear power plant, to cause a devastating disaster.

This could be a plan that Al Qaeda would be fond of.

The grand gesture terrorist act that is indicative of the Al Qaeda type operation..

And it has been suggested, maybe even been done, to protect the plants from airplane attack by stationing shoulder fired anti-aircraft missiles [MANPAD] around the nuke plants. This would in all likelihood be the Stinger.

Now, how effective would a Stinger be against a large airplane such as a 747, 767, or a 777?

Recent evidence seems to suggest a Stinger would not be as effective as one would think.

Evidently two cargo jets taking off from Baghdad airport were hit recently by shoulder fired SAM's and were able to successfully return for a safe landing. Scarred but not downed.

This does not seem to bode well for a Stinger bringing down a large commerical jet either, does it?

Perhaps even more defensive measures are needed to protect nuke plants?

Something from the WW2 era, for instance.

What I have in mind here is the barrage balloon.

Tethered balloon hoisting aloft a hefty steel cable. Balloons are launched around the plant to say an altitude of 1000 feet or so. These cables present a serious obstacle to an in-coming aircraft. Not able to avoid the cables if the balloons are positioned just right. The plane's wings hit the cable and are sawed through. Or even explosives can be attached to the cable. An impact from the airplane will set the explosives off and blow the plane out of the sky.

And perhaps another WW2 measure will help too.

Smoke pots.

A number of smoke pots are ignited when a terrorist controlled aircraft approaches.

Will obscure the nuke building and prevent the terrorist pilot from aiming for and making a direct hit. Perhaps a number of close by sites could also "pop" smoke, so as to confuse the terrorist pilot. These measure, along with the use of Stingers, should greatly enhance the security to nuke plants from suicidal, determined terrorists, hijacking a commerical airliner.



This is coolbert: Here is what Suvorov had to say about the outrageous expenditures of ammunition by "fighters" using the AK. "But just look at the 'independent' Palestinians: they virtually throw their ammunition away. And if one watches a film about the fighting in Afghanistan and then one from the streets of Beirut the difference is very striking. The Afghan resistance fighters count every round, whereas the groups fighting one each other in the streets of Beirut don't even bother to aim when they fire; they simply fire into the air in long bursts . . .".


This is coolbert: The AK-47. One of the most successful weapons of all time. The 47 stands for the year it was originally developed. Now, it has been over fifty years with the AK in existence and proliferating all over the world. And has it proliferated! The cost for a brand new AK in the current world market is about $60! And the ammo is also cheaply obtained in abundance. About 100 million AK's now in circulation! And the impact this weapon has had in the world just has to be staggering. Especially in what used to be called the third world. Factions fighting civil wars and wars with their "neighbors" arm their forces with the AK. This seems to be the weapons of choice. The devastation these armies can wreak with the AK is just astounding. Where before militias of small nations and the private armies of warlords were equipped with hand-me-down weaponry, at the figurative bows and arrows stage of development, now they can have at their disposal an assault rifle of the highest caliber. And how they use the AK. When you see video of these "fighters" in battle, the common practice seems to be to just spray a whole magazine of thirty rounds in the general direction of the opposition. Not even really aiming. Who needs sophisticated weaponry when an army of Ak toting "fighters' can do the job?


This is coolbert: North Korea. Over the years, you hear a lot about the military capability, supposedly existing, of the Hermit Kingdom to the north. First run by the dictators Kim Il Sung and then his goofy son Kim Il Jong. And how the north has all this artillery, aircraft, submarines, armor forces, ranger/commando type units. Tunneling under the DMZ in many places. Some never even found. How North Korea possesses such a military potential, even nuclear now, that there is a real threat of the North launching a blitzkrieg attack on South Korean and American forces and overrunning the whole of the south and placing it under communist control. And this threat has supposedly existed for decades now. Well, the question might be for future historians, why did such an attack just not take place?? Well, let me propose an answer. The North Koreans are just not physically capable of launching and sustaining such an attack. Their population for the last two decades has been malnourished. The soldiery is just stunted and physically not capable of performing military duties in a proper manner. A recent report said that the North was no longer able to fit their soldiery in proper fitting uniforms, the standard curve recruit size has been thrown off so markedly. The average recruit is now around five feet tall, this being the result of malnutrition that has existed for decades. Like Eisenhower appreciated, military strength is an aggregate of many aspects of your society, to include general overall health of the populace. Perhaps this long lasting malnutrition has created a North Korean society no longer capable of performing military tasks, such as a blitzkrieg attack on the South.


This is coolbert: Yes, the U.S. Constitution makes specific mention of the situation we are in now. "The right of habeas corpus cannot be suspended, except [key word here] during time of war or [key word here] national emergency, when the public safety may demand it, as determined by Congress [they delegate to the Pres]." Seems pretty clear, doesn't it? Well, as with most things, people like to finagle and nitpick about the details. We have this litigious society that seems to be able with the right lawyer to argue and plead anything. Except when it came to the Nazi saboteurs during WW2. Then, everything was OK. Go figure.

What I see with this airline travel is all pathetic, as far as I can see. Why do all these people need to carry all this stuff on the airline anyhow? I see persons in line with a backpack front and back, a duffel bag in their arms, and pushing a duffel bag on the ground in front of them with their feet. I know they just don't want to wait for the baggage at the distant end. They want to get out of the airport in a hurry. But they are just causing such a hassle for everyone at the boarding destination. And danger by making the job of the screeners that more difficult. The screeners are not able to concentrate where they should be. Too much noise [excess baggage] for them to check passengers properly as they should be.


Friday, January 23, 2004

Unfortunately many civil liberties are curtailed during war time. And most people see the need for this if the threat is perceived as real.

Most people accept the additional hassle when boarding an airplane as a logical safety step. Better national ID cards will probably also come.


This is coolbert:

Much has been said about the Patriot Act.

About since 9/11, how our "rights" have been diminished. Clark, running for Pres, just yesterday said that we must not diminish our rights, even in the current war, or the terrorists have "won"!

Well, what does one of the ancient sages have to say about this?

Rabbi Akiva lived 2000 years ago. While the Jewish people of ancient Israel were rebelling and at war with the Romans, here is what he said to say: "during time of war, all laws may be set aside, except for apostacy [changing your religion], or murder". What the Rabbi specifically had in mind was the Jewish precept of not "working" on the sabbath. "Working" as interpreted by the rabbis of the time meant not fighting at war, even when attacked. The Jews would not even defend themselves when attacked by the Romans. The Romans knew this at took advantage of this. Akiva's pronouncement applies not only in a narrow sense, but in a broad one too. There is sound reasoning behind what Akiva had to say. If you do not fight the war to win, and win, all those rights and laws may just not exist anymore. Especially if the enemy is one who desires not only your defeat, but your annihilation.

Now, since almost all of our legal ethics and code and such is based upon the Judeo-Christian ethic and the Bible, I would have to think that the teachings of the Rabbi would hold true now as well as then. Personally, I don't think the actions taken by the U.S. gov or the Patriot Act are not one whit in not keeping with our Constitution or our laws or legal concepts. This war, the anti-terrorist war, will be a long and hard fight, and could last for decades. But to say that our "rights" as citizens have been diminished is just not correct.

Akiva's fate was very sad. Captured by the Romans, he had the flesh peeled slowly off his body with red hot tongs. But he kept the faith and died for his cause.


This is coolbert: In a previous post, I mentioned the Mongol winter campaign against Russia. Well, according to De Puy, in the year 1226, the Mongols fought perhaps their greatest battle under the command of Genghis. 150,000 Mongols against 300,000 rebels of the Chin Empire (northern China). This battle was fought in December on the banks and on the ice of the Yellow River. It seems that the Mongols had a penchant for fighting in the winter. Accustomed to a rugged, cold climate (Ulan Bator has the coldest climate of any world capital), and taking advantage of being being able to cross rivers that for most of the time are impassible, or very difficult to cross, this makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?

Thursday, January 22, 2004

This is coolbert: The anti-ballistic missile system. Was pushed by Pres. Bush early during his administration. At least prior to 9/11. Now on the backburner. Has been discussed for decades now. Concept is to intercept an incoming warhead with a missile and destroy it. Well, this concept has been developed and experimented with from time to time. With other systems as well. The Star Wars, High Frontier stuff. None seems to work well. The idea is that it is just too hard to hit as bullet with a bullet. Well, perhaps there is an alternative? An alternative system that could be readily and quickly be implemented for a relative cheap cost. And would more or less guarantee success against the latest threat, the threat of missile attack upon the U.S. from a rogue state or a terrorist group. Take sixteen inch naval guns, firing a round that is perhaps rocket-assisted (RAP). Similar to what Dr. Gerald Bull experimented with in his HARP project. The shell/rocket fired would contain a number of cannisters. Each cannister would contain a large number of steel ball bearings, say one inch diameter. Upon reaching a certain altitude, in path with an incoming warhead and decoys, the shell/rocket would detonate and disperse the cannisters. The cannisters would continue on a ballistic trajectory until in the approximate area of the incoming warhead/decoys. The cannisters would then also detonate and create a spew cloud of ball bearings that the warhead/decoys would have to pass through. The two trajectories of incoming warhead/decoys and ballistic cloud of ball bearings would then merge. If you had a battery of say three turrets of three guns each firing simultaneously, that would create a cloud of ball bearings that nothing could get through without suffering numerous impacts and being destroyed. It would seem that the radars, detectors and such are already in place for this system. Tie the firing batteries together with a comms system and you are ready to go. Pehaps a dozen of these batteries would cover the whole continental U.S. Multiple batteries could even fire on the same incoming target. And the batteries could fire multiple times at the same target as necessary. I see one series of rounds detonating, one on the way, and one being loaded. Cheap and dirty way that would work. Any comments anyone??


Wednesday, January 21, 2004

This is coolbert: Helos. The Soviet MI-24 Hind is what I have in mind.

Armored chopper that acquited itself very well in the war the Soviets fought in Afghan. Originally had room for five troops, could fire ATGM, rockets, and had four 12.7 mm MG. I think the latter were replaced by 23 mm cannon?? But this bird was very big and heavy. Had two engines and multiple blades on the rotor, not just two blades. For more lift.

And evidently was armored underneath, but not on top (well, this is what you would expect, protection from ground fire). Afghan guerillas shot one of these birds down in 1979 by firing from a mountaintop downward at the chopper below in a valley!! And of course was susceptible to the shoulder fired SAM.

To build say an Apache with armor would be to make a helo very much heavier without the lift or the armament or the range. Trade off is difficult with the helo. Bronco OV-10 are supplemental answer for ground attack aircraft support??


Tuesday, January 20, 2004


This is coolbert:

Here is something for military historians to consider.

The first Gulf War began on January 17th, 1991 with five AWACS aircraft taking off from Riyadh to direct the air war.

In the year 1258, the Mongols began their climactic attack on Baghdad on January 16th.

In 1942, the Germans, advancing from west to east in their campaign against the Soviet Russians, decided to cross the Volga river at Stalingrad.

In 1237, the Mongols, moving from east to west during their attack against medieval Russia, decided to cross the Volga river at the point that became Stalingrad seven hundred years later.

These things are not coincidence!!

Osama bin Laden specifically mentioned the attack by the Mongols in one of his latest tirades, comparing what happened in 1258 to what is happening in Iraq today.

Curiously, the 1237 assault on Russian by the Mongols was carried out in the winter, when the Volga was frozen, making crossing easy on horseback!


This is coolbert: OK, what is a puppet? According to Suvorov, a puppet is a condemned man who is placed into a room with a spetsnaz trooper. A spetsnaz trooper that has been trained extensively in the Soviet martial art of SAMBO wrestling. These two will have to fight to the death. Not figurative death, but literal death!! This "training" was said to have been carried out all during the Soviet era, according to Suvorov. Most of the time the trooper would win, but on occasions, the condemned criminal would prevail! During wartime, WW2, many condemned were of course available for these "fights". Among the NKVD, the condemned were called "gladiators", among SMERSH, these were "Robinsons", and among spetsnaz, "puppets". Different names for the same thing. I would guess that many of the puppets were from among the Russian criminal class, what we now call the Russian Mafia. A very rough individual that by their very nature has emerged from a Darwinian selection process. Study your martial arts! SAMBO wrestling has become popular here in the U.S. with the immigration of many Russian nationals after the Soviet era ended. One of the winners of the "Ultimate Fighting Challenge" was a Russian who employed SAMBO methods.



This is coolbert:

Suvorov talks about Fortifications Troops.

This was a concept that evolved in response to the threat posed by the Chinese to the Soviets.

The dilemma faced by the Soviet Generals was how to guard the very long and rugged Chinese-Soviet border.

Conventional methods would not work.

The solution was the Fortification Troops. This was a secret until revealed by Suvorov and has not mentioned in other works about the Soviets I have read.

What the Soviets did was to take the turrets and the engines out of the old fashioned Joseph Stalin (JS) and T-10 heavy tanks.

Soviet JS tank.

Soviet T-10 tank.

Create concrete emplacements every one to two kilometers along the border between China-Soviet Union. Place the turrets and engines in the emplacements. Cut up lengths of ripped up railroad track and weld the lengths of track to the turrets for added protection. These emplacements would have interlocking fields of fire. The whole mess is tied together with underground communications cables.

In time of crisis the emplacements could be manned by old, out-of-shape reservists. Gaps in between the emplacements could be filled in my mine fields and nuclear munitions. Idea was to cause the invading Chinese troops to disperse, deploy, cause casualties among same and delay until reinforcements could arrive.

Not a bad idea!

[this is a perfect example of how "defense is the stronger form of combat."]


Just read the book "Minutemen" by Gary Hart. Pretty interesting. He proposes that we reduce the active military to about 500,000, and grow the guard and reserve. This was written before 911 and our extensive current deployments.

I don't agree with him. I am a big advocate of a strong guard and reserve, but the world is a dangerous place, and we need a big capable active force.

This is coolbert: Follow-up to my previous post about the Red Armies penal battalions. Suvorov makes this extraordinary claim about the officers that are in the command staff of a penal battalion. The officers of the command staff would receive seven times the pay of an officer of the same rank in a conventional unit!! Not only that, but for each year of service in a penal battalion command staff, the officer would be credited with seven years of service toward pension!! These officers were NKVD (forerunner to the KGB). Called blue caps for the blue bands they wore on their visored caps (these are the guys shown in the movie "Enemy At The Gates")

In peacetime, in the old Soviet Union, condemned criminals were also put to good work in useful socialist duties. Suvorov makes claims that for westerners find hard to comprehend by our standards. Such as that in a typical year in the Soviet system, about two to three thousand persons were condemned to death. Of this number, about half were immediately executed. The rest were put to work on useful socialist labor projects. What were these projects? Cleaning the reactors of nuclear submarines, fitting the warheads on ICBM's, working in uranium mines, etc. Dirty, dangerous jobs that no one else wanted to do, but had to be done. And in the process, if the condemned have their hair and teeth fall out for some strange reason (radioactive poisoning), well, too bad. And a certain small percentage of the condemned are put to use in another useful activity, that of being a puppet. More on that later.


This is coolbert: Another drawback to the helo is the noise level. Very loud and can be heard from a long distance. In a counter-insurgency type environment, this can be a big drawback, when stealth may be required for success. During the Nam war, the communists forces would construct a specially shaped structure at ground level just large enough for a sentry to enter and sit in. Looked sort of like a beehive. Had sloping walls of just the right angle so that the structure acted as an amplifier to the sound of the helo blades as they beat the air and give off the wop-wop sound peculiar to the helo. The sentry was able to hear a helo from as far as fifteen (15) miles away, and not only detect the bird, but also tell from what direction the sound was coming from, and also whether or not the bird was approaching or moving away. Some sort of doppler effect at work here. Gave the commies enough advance warning to take protective measures, camo, defensive posture, etc. Some smart commie in Moscow or Peking figured this one out and told the Vietnamese about this, I would bet.


Monday, January 19, 2004


This is coolbert:

Suvorov dwells heavily on the penal battalion and it's role in the Red Army.

The penal battalion is a concept perhaps unique to the Red Army.

Have not heard of any other army anywhere possessing such a concept.

Perhaps North Korea?

Just don't know?

This concept exists only in wartime and was used extensively by Soviet commanders.

Troops - - those under disciplinary punishment for infractions - - assigned to infantry assault units - - placed into harms' way in the most terrible manner, expected to perform their duty as a means of expiating their sentence!

A penal battalion consists of a guard machine gun company and three assault rifle companies. The rifle companies consist of condemned soldiers who have been given ten year sentences for some infraction of the extremely harsh Red Army code. Enlisted for say dropping out of a march or losing a weapon. Officers for failing to take an objective in the attack or losing a position in the defense.

A ten year sentence at forced labor was the same as a death sentence in the old Soviet Union.

Rather than waste valuable resources, the Red Army constituted penal battalions.

These units would be put at the disposal of the division commander to use to attack important objectives.

The usual effort would go something like what was touched upon briefly a the start of the movie, "Enemy At The Gates".

Just prior to an assault, the condemned men would be given a rifle and a load of ammo. Told to assault an important German position. To the rear of the condemned is the machine gun company, manned by NKVD men. Those machine guns are to compel the condemned to move forward and attack with vigor. Slackers are mowed down by the NKVD.

You have only one way to go.

"Forward men, forward!!".

For each assault you survive, one year will be expunged off your sentence. Of course, very few men would ever survive ten assaults.

At Stalingrad, an entire division was formed of condemned men. This division finally captured and held for the Red Army the dominant terrain in Stalingrad, Mamayev hill. Not actually a hill, a kurgan, a burial mound from the time of the Scythians, around 2500 years ago. This dominant terrain was key to the defense of Stalingrad.

Indeed, this most crucial and critical objective during the defense of Stalingrad - - dominant terrain - - was finally assaulted and captured for good by that divisional sized unit of punishment troops - - whose recognition has been eliminated from history deliberately!

In addition to assault duty, other uses were found for the penal battalions. Clearing minefields, rear gunners on ground attack aircraft (IL-2 Shtrumovik (?)), and tank borne infantry. Survive ten missions and your sentence would be expunged. Well, you know what usually happened!

Forward men, forward!!


This is coolbert: Some of you may remember the recent movie, "Once We Were Soldiers". About the first major battle of the Nam war between U.S. troops and NVA. This was Ia Drang Valley, Chu Pong mountain. The battalion commander lifted his whole battalion right onto an entire NVA regiment. He was surrounded from the start and did not know it. Kept wondering where all the enemy troops kept coming from. Well, intell was wrong and this commander chose his LZ's in the wrong spot. The idea was to choose a LZ close to the enemy, but not right on top. This caused all sorts of problems from the start. And in the latest war, the 101st Airmobile sent out almost all it's attack choppers en masse to seek out the enemy. Took so much ground fire, they had to turn back. It would seem that choppers operating independently are much like tanks operating independently. A potent force, but also exposed to a determined enemy. Combined arms would seem to be the answer. A coordinated plan with arty, rocket, ground support aircraft backing up the choppers is the answer. Hey, no one said war was easy.


This is coolbert: Rich may a lot to say on the whole helo issue. There is a possible alternative to the helo that would work. This is the now down-away-with OV-10. Recently demobilized from the Marine inventory. Is still used by the militaries of a number of other countries. Was designed originally as an aircraft to be used in support of counter-insurgencies? Could carry a team five troops, and had a lot of firepower available to the aircraft. Dual engine, dual or triple tail, two man crew, etc. Could land and take off from unimproved airfields. STOL? Never was used as designed, to my knowledge. Perhaps is in some countries, but never was by the U.S. Was used as a spotter aircraft by the Marines? Maybe the OV-10 would not replace the helo, but could be used to supplement. A souped up version put back into production. Rockwell originally built through North American Aviation. Now would be done by Boeing. All sorts of varieties could be built. Lots of firepower could be built in. Hellfire missiles, cannon, mini-guns, rockets. 40 mm grenades? Modular weapons pods that could be taken it and out at will. Cheaper to implement the whole thing than design a new aircraft from scratch. Less susceptible to shootdown and less maintenance. Would not totally replace helos, but would complement.


Helicopters - Hazardous to your Health? Like most military guys, I love Helo's. They get you where you are going fast, in a much more interesting way than driving or walking.

But they are very dangerous. A great many of our casualties are due to helo crashes, both from enemy fire and accidents.

Has anyone ever studied this issue in depth? I think that a careful assessment might result in a much more conservative use of helo's in combat. And we would end up doing a lot more walking and driving.

This is coolbert: One thing I think is clear when discussing the Cold War and the Soviet Union vis-a-vis the U.S. The Soviets did have all those ICBM's, submarines, long-range bombers, tanks, etc. They were definitely a threat to the U.S. militarily. When it came to a societal threat, much less so. It was thought during the fifites and sixties, from what I recall, that yes, the populace of the Soviet Union did not have the luxuries that the American populace had, but they were not that far behind us in many aspects, were gaining constantly to a degree of parity, and in some areas, such as education and medical care, were not only equal, but were ahead. In retrospect, since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, this has almost all been seen to be not true. The Soviet society was a weak society. Mostly across the board. Now, taking this into account, the Soviets posed a threat during the Cold War, but not even hardly as great as was assumed. The nuclear standoff seems to have precluded a war between the U.S. and the Soviets. Now, it is said that Eisenhower is the only President that really understood military strength. Military strength is gauged by the overall strength of your society. Weaponry, education, industrial base, health, motivation, leadership, etc. These all must be taken into account when evaluating military strength. By this accounting, the Soviets were equipment rich, but poor in the societal sense.


Sunday, January 18, 2004

This is Craig Hullinger, Col USMCR Ret, two tours in Vietnam. Our troops did a magnficent job in Iraq. The war went amazingly well. The occupation, however, is very difficult. We need to reconstitute the Iraqui Armyand Police Force ASAP, get the county running again. and get out.

This is coolbert: I will be making a series of posts concerning the Soviet defector who writes under the name of Victor Suvorov. Defected to the west (Britain), and wrote a whole series of books about the Soviet military. Real name is Vladimir Rezun. There is mention of this man in a whole lot of web sites. In forums he seems to excite either worship or hate, depending upon your take of his books and his concepts and ideas. When I first read "Inside the Red Army", it all sounded too good to be true. Here was man that was a tank officer, from a military family, an intelligence officer, a spetsnaz evaluator, and GRU (military intelligence) case officer working overseas. My first impressions were that one man from the Soviet side could never possess so much knowledge about so many things. Anyhow, I have gleaned a whole bunch of tidbits of info from this guys books and will share them with you. For better or worse with this stuff, more later.


Saturday, January 17, 2004


This is coolbert:

Regarding the 9/11 attack of the current terrorist war, there is an investigation going [9/11 Commission] on as to why the attackers where able to succeed.

The consensus among the American public is that someone in the intelligence community let the country down.

Did not do their job and failed. "Were not able to connect the dots", is the term commonly heard. Persons in authority dropped the ball when they needed to carry the ball.

This investigation will undoubtedly bring recriminations and a call for shake up at the highest levels.

I wonder to what extent there is a good comprehension among the investigators as to what the intelligence business is to begin with?

That the field of intelligence is a hard business must be a starting point for discussion.

For two reasons.

* One is that the enemy, whoever they may be, is actively taking measures to prevent you from finding out what you want to find out. Measures such as background checks of recruits, need to know basis, compartmentalization, camouflage, secure comms, and such. Basics of security that are practiced by militaries and terrorist groups all over the world. I would suppose that terrorists by their very nature are even more security concious than even most militaries and apply security measures even more rigorously?

* Secondly, your opposition is at the same time feeding you deceptive information to deceive and confuse you. Intelligence analysts are fed a steady stream of deceptive information that makes their job that much more difficult. Hard to connect the dots under such circumstances.

Can it be done?

YES! But intelligence is not an easy business.


Friday, January 16, 2004


This is coolbert:

In my last post, I gave my opinions regarding the creation of jock elite military units.

Felt the thing would not fly.

Now, in the old Soviet Union, the concept of jock elite military units did fly. And in a big way too.

According to the defector Suvorov, the Soviet elite athletes were also for the most part members of the killer elite units of the Red Army. The "spetsnaz" were units for "special purposes".

Designed primarily to destroy U.S. nuclear weapons assets prior to the outbreak of a global conflict. Also to destroy the nuclear C cubed assets [command/control/communications] assets of the U.S.

Kill the President and all those in the chain-of-command that can release the use of nuclear weapons.

Suvorov writes, "According to Colonel-General Shatilov, the athlete is more energetic and braver in battle, has more confidence in his strength, is difficult to catch unawares, reacts quickly to change of circumstances and is less likely to tire."

Well, this is the Soviet experience. Not the experience in the U.S. One can think of persons such as Jack Dempsey, the boxer, riveting ships together while wearing patent leather shoes (a posed picture). For some reason, the U.S. response to jock elite military units is far different from the Soviet one.




This is coolbert:

Jock elite military unit.

This topic became the subject of a newspaper columnist just after 9/11.

Well, what is the idea?

To take all these prominent professional athletes and organize them into an elite military unit. Sort of like a ranger/commando type unit that would be used to hunt for Osama and other villains that threaten our country.

Now, it would seem at face value that this idea would have great merit. The most fit persons, of proven great physical ability, to be in the military, and to carry out missions of the greatest importance.

Now, how would this fly in the real world?

Probably not too well.

For one thing, most of those great pro athletes could not pass a military physical. Sound weird? Well, the modern pro athlete is pushing their body way beyond way what it is intended to be. Many pro athletes suffer from knee injuries, broken bones and such that would preclude military service. Many pros have also taken enhancement drugs as part of their regimen. I bet many would fail a military physical drug test. Especially if steroids were tested for.

I don't think that a whole lot of the best athletes are the brightest light bulbs either. They would have trouble with the military aptitude tests. You usually need to score high in aptitude to be qualified to be a member of a special forces unit, a ranger unit, and such.

Moral turpitude might also be a factor. A lot of jocks have led lives with a whole series of petty crimes and "incidents". You usually need a high level security clearance to be in an elite unit. These guys might very well fail a background check.

The prima donna factor might also make it difficult for jocks to serve in the military period. A lot of jocks have led a live of privilege since grammar school. Having to take orders and not be the top dog might be more than the sensitive natures of a jock could take. More on this whole subject later.



This is coolbert:

The military cooperation between Indja and the U.S. must be very much increased over what it was prior to 9/11.

I think Rumsfeld himself has made a number of trips to Indja for consulations since 9/11. But, low key.

Indja has had a big problem with Muslim fundamentalism at least since 1989. For the last 15 years infiltrators from the Muslim side of Kashmir have been wreaking havoc on the Indja side. About 50,000 persons have been killed in the on-going war!

The one group of Indian Kashmir that suffered the most were a Hindu group called the Pandits. About 10,000 of them were chased out of Kashmir as they became the main target of Muslim violence. It seems the Pandits were proprietors of wine shops, mostly frequented by foreign tourists. These Pandits have found refuge all over the world since being intimidated and forced out of Kashmir.

Kashmir at one time was a main tourist attraction for visitors from all over the world. Not for a long time now. The infiltrators have fought many gun battles with Indjan troops and evidently a number have been captured. Who are these villains? From North Africa, Bosnia, Chechnya, etc. Someone is training and directing these villains. I bet the Indjans have very good human intelligence [HUMINT] on the bad guys. Intelligence trading between the U.S. and Indjans is probably on-going right now.




This is coolbert:

Yes, the situation with Pakistan could be of great danger for the U.S. If Mushareff was to go down, and the fundamentalists take over, we would all be in very great danger.

Paki has perhaps 40-50 A-bombs now. Making more as we speak?! Probably so.

And Mushareff survived two assassination attempts the last month. A lot of people saw this as a prelude to renewed attacks upon the U.S. by Al Qaeda. Sort of like when Masood was assassinated two days before the 9/11 attacks. Masood was the only go-to guy left in Afghan at the time for the U.S.

40-50 A-bombs in the hands of Al Qaeda would be just catastrophic. As I have told others before, these guys would not only use the bombs, they would welcome retaliation in kind. To antagonize the whole Islamic world against the U.S. more.



Thursday, January 15, 2004


Posted by Rich:

Just think about this- the US Army didn't stop Al Qaeda when they were surrounded so they escaped to Pakistan where they are a current threat to a government that has the BOMB and short range missiles.

India could be in real problems as they are NOT a country under Allah and the USA would have a terrorist organization with the BOMB against them.

How can we help India as they haven't exactly been an enemy but they aren't friends either? If Al Qaeda starts something any move to help India would be antimoslem.

WE have to spend a lot more effort and money in Afghanistan and Pakistan NOW to fix this situation.




This is coolbert:

Speak of the devil.

Only today, in the newspaper, is an article about the influenza epidemic of 1918.

Was extremely virulent.

Called the "Swine" flu and killed about 20 million persons world wide.

In that one year, more people died during the epidemic than were killed in all the battlefields of the previous four years of World War One!!

And where is it believed that the epidemic started?

In a military camp in Kansas that is where Ft. Riley is now. Someone contracted the virus at the camp, was sent to Europe, and the rest is history.

When the virus returned to the U.S. with returning troops, it had evidently mutated into an even more deadly form. The number of hosts had increased so dramatically that genetic mutations became far more numerous and this led to the eventual deadly strain of the virus.

So far there has not been a futher outbreak of the "Swine" flu in the subsequent decades. But the docs are holding their breath about this one.

Now, it was observed in WW1 that when recruits were brought together in large groups from all over the U.S., sickness on a large scale was quite often a result. Troops were exposed to virus and bacteria that they had not encountered before, their bodies never having a chance to build up immunity. Farm boys, normally healthy and strong, were especially prone to illness, having lived most of their lives in isolated communities. Another example of how military life can be hazardous to your health.

Now, with regard to those innoculations I talked about in a previous post?

Those of you that did your military service will remember the gun injectors that were used in the mid-60's.

Used for mass innoculations.

Since they are needleless, said to be safer and less prone to passing on infection than if the conventional needles were used for injections.

Perhaps not so?!

It has been observed recently that there has been a dramatic rise in the number of cases of hepatitis in men in their 40's, 50's, and 60's. For no apparent reason.

Now, why might this be so?

As you may recall, some persons, when getting the gun injection, would flinch and be cut by the injector gun. A stream of blood would run down their arm. And some of this blood would get on the tip of the injector gun the tip of the injector gun NOT BEING CLEANED! When the next injection to the next person in line was given, probably a microscopic amount of blood on the tip was also injected into the recipient.

Inadvertently this blood borne disease may have been spread from person to person.

This may have been a source for a whole bunch of persons getting hepatitis, this disease having an incubation period of decades in some cases. Military medicine, as I have said, can be hazardous to your health!


Wednesday, January 14, 2004


This is coolbert:

Update on the Brazilian fingerprint "scandal".

I just read in the paper that another judge in Brazil has ruled that US travelers do not have to go through the same fingerprinting and picture taking.

His ruling is based on the premise that reciprocity is not a reason for such a ruling since the US implemented the policy for security reasons and that Brazil, which does not feel itself threatened by international terrorists, and that the Brazilian ruling is based simply on reciprocating for the inconvience of its travelers to the US. It would only be reciprocal if the US was doing it only to inconvience travelers rather than assure security.

This judge is more smarter and wise and astute and just plain more common-sense than what I had given him credit for? Shame on me for my original and ill-conceived notions.



This is coolbert:

We are all familiar with the term, "death due to hostile fire".

This is when a soldier engages in combat with the enemy and is killed.

Not rocket science. We are all aware that anyone in the military, at any time, may be asked to do something that will put them in mortal danger.

You may be told (ordered), to do something where there is a good possibility that you can get killed.

Only yesterday, I read that the U.S. had suffered it's 100th death in the Afghan campaign. This is the toll in dead over a period of slightly over two years now. What is amazing is that thirty (30) of those dead were to due to hostile action, and the remainder, seventy (70), are due to "other" reasons.

These are primarily accidents of some manner.

And this is because the profession of arms is inherently dangerous. Conducting military ops at night in rugged terrain, flying choppers close to the ground (nape-of the-earth (NOE)), operating around large tracked vehicles, all these mil ops have a great deal of danger built into them. You can get killed in training!! During the prelude to the first Gulf war, about fifty (50) GI's were killed during the intensive night time training that was conducted. And this was while "hostile fire" was not present. This constitued about half as many fatalities as happened during the four day ground offensive that followed!!

A perfect example of how you may be told (ordered) to do something that can be very hazardous to your health even in a non-combat situation is what happened after the Port Chicago disaster during WW2.

In 1944, two munitions ships exploded while being loaded at the then existing facility of Port Chicago, near San Francisco.

Created an explosion that resembled in force a tactical nuclear weapon. In the aftermath, black navy stevedores were ordered to enter the area and clean up the mess.

Well, the mess constitued of a lot of unexploded munitions just laying around. About forty (40) of the stevedores refused to enter the area.

Their reasoning was that the situation was too dangerous. Too much unexploded munitions and a cadre of officers unexperienced in dealing with such a situation.

Those forty stevedores were brought up on charges, convicted, and sent to the brig. Thurgood Marshall, later to become a Supreme Court justice, gained his first national prominence in defending the recalcitrant stevedores.

A lot has been said recently in the papers about the anthrax vaccine that has been administered to U.S. military personnel.

The side effects of this vaccine have been observed, at least in a small number of personnel, to be very pronounced.

A few persons receiving the vaccine have even died!!

To begin with, it should be remembered that military personnel, by law, cannot refuse medical care. This is to include innoculations of all sorts. If the doc says you have to get the shot, you have to get it! As simple as that.

All vaccines seem to have some sort of effect upon the recipient. May be not even noticeable or very minor in most people, or very severe in others. This is a risk taken whenever a vaccine is given.

During the mid-seventies, there was a scare in the medical profession that there would be a reoccurance of the Swine flu. The vaccine for this extremely virulent form of influenza was administered to millions of Americans, and about seventy five or so persons contracted a very rare disease from the vaccine!!??

For those that been in basic training say in mid-sixties, you can recall receiving a whole series of innoculations during reception station. About a company of troops (200) are crowded into a room perhaps adequate to hold about forty (40) troops at the most. The air temperature is about ninety degrees with matching humidity. Everyone is sweating profusely, the entire room smells of human perspiration! Two medics with their hands full of alcohol saturated cotton walk down the rows of arrayed GI's, wiping down the exposed arms of the hapless, anticipative soldiers. Following this advance guard is additional medics, firing innoculations from injection guns into your arms from either side, followed by other medics sticking you with needles for innoculations against smallpox, polio, yellow fever, etc. And you receive this all at once.

For normal, healthy, young adults, this is not a problem. Receiving so many innoculations at the same time will not overload the healthy body. Important to stress healthy body. A certain small percentage of persons will have a negative reaction to all this "medical care" and be in extreme stress. Some may even die!!This is the nature of medicine as practiced by the military.

To state it simply, just being in the military can be hazardous for your health. This should be appreciated by all from the start and never forgotten.


Monday, January 12, 2004


This is coolbert:

The U.S., in it's war against Al Qaeda, has just implemented new methods to help in tracking aliens entering the U.S.

I mean of course the practice to fingerprint and photograph persons entering the U.S. from certain foreign countries.

Now, apparently in retaliation, a minor judge in Brazil has ordered that all U.S. citizens entering Brazil must also be fingerprinted and photographed.

Well, this makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?

After all, you have all heard about the U.S. citizens hijacking all those Brazilian airliners and crashing them into Brazilian skyscrapers. Even the most reasonable of measures to control aliens in the U.S. brings outraged comment from certain circles.