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

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

This is coolbert: A real bad idea that was accepted for a long time as being a good idea was the idea to force delinquents to join the Army to get some discipline. A lot of times, judges, when facing a delinquent that was on the road to jail, would offer the miscreant the option of going to jail or joining the Army. Well, of course, in almost all cases, the bad guy would join the Army. This was an idea that said that military discipline would keep the kid out of mischief and get his act together. The bad guy would leave the Army with a skill and a new reformed outlook on life. I think this policy was was deemed with hindsight to be more or less a failure on all counts. The bad guy just found a new home to act bad in. Stealing from fellow soldiers, undisciplined, trouble making just went from one venue to another. Once the villain got the feel for things, their character and true nature just manifested itself in new ways of being bad. These were not the persons you wanted in the military in the first place. More or less forced upon the military. Well meaning idea, but not really practical.

In WW2, the British tried the same thing, with also abject results. Convicts were let out of prison on the proviso that they join an airborne brigade. These villains did, but the results were more or less a total failure. These were not people that ever subjected themselves or been subjected to discipline and order taking without controversy. These guys agreed to join the Army just to get out of prison. Their mentality is just so screwed up that they make very poor or worthless soldiers. More trouble than they are worth. The thought was of course that you take these bad guys, persons who are accustomed to using violence to get what they want in the first place, and put them into combat arms, where they can use their tendencies for the greater good of the country. Never happened.

Now, here is something working against that idea that can be observed in nature. It has been observed that most predatory criminals seem to possess a very cowardly nature. Well, this surprises most persons. But when the types of persons that most criminals victimize are categorized, it is usually found that these are weak, old, defenseless persons who are just not capable of offering resistance to the criminal. Either intentionally or unintentionally the predatory criminal picks victims that will not offer resistance and are very easy marks for them. This sort of behavior is also observable in the animal kingdom. I have seen a nature film of a polar bear testing the members of a colony of walrus for weakness. Going from walrus to walrus, pawing at them but not attacking. The walrus can fight back and kill the polar bear. The bear was testing for weakness and did find a weak juvenile and killed it. The bear would not go after an adult that could offer resistance. Putting criminals with such a mentality in the military makes no sense. These criminals will freeze when confronted with an enemy who puts up resistance and can kill or injure them. This is the criminals basic nature and you cannot force them to go against it, even with military discipline.


Tuesday, March 30, 2004


This is coolbert:

Pvt. Eddie Slovik. The ONLY American soldier during executed in WW2 for desertion.

Said to be the only man executed for desertion since the American Civil War.

Now, some have said that this was an injustice.

Recognizing and understanding that we all are susceptible to cowardice and panic on the battlefield and have the capacity to bolt and run.

So why this one man singled out for execution?

In fact forty soldiers were sentenced to death for desertion during World War Two. But only Slovik was executed.

So why this?

Well, it seems that the forty, to include Slovik, were sentenced to be executed for desertion in the face of the enemy. A lot of soldiers deserted during WW2. But desertion in the face of the enemy is considered to be much more acute of a crime and is punished more harshly. This is why Slovik and the thirty-nine others were sentenced in the manner that they were.

So why was Slovik executed, and the others not?

A good reason.

In all the circumstances of desertion, including that of Slovik's, the condemned deserters were given a chance to redeem themselves. Return to their units and serve honorably in combat and their death sentences would be expunged. A way out was given. This was fair and just. And in thirty-nine of the instances, the condemned did do this, return to their units and face combat. ONLY Slovik refused. So the Army was obliged to execute him, and they did.

HARD to imagine what was going through the mind of Slovik at the time? WHAT did he think? They were going to just let him live when the other condemned returned to their units? Pvt. Slovik had been a small time hood and petty thief prior to being drafted, and this has been mentioned as evidence of a low moral character from the start, but hard to imagine what this man was thinking.


Monday, March 29, 2004

This is coolbert: During the invasion of Saipan by U.S. forces in WW2, the Marine General H.M. Smith [Howlin' Mad] made some intemperate remarks about the Army division under his command. Said they were yellow cowards that froze in their foxholes. Had this Army division [a National Guard division from NY state] pulled from the line and removed to a "quiet sector" [more on this quiet sector later]. The actions of H.M. Smith stirred some controversy at the time but deference was given to H.M. Smith as the commander on the spot. How does this appreciation of the General hold up under scrutiny?

The army division was brought into the fray on Saipan much earlier than anticipated by the Marine commander. This was due to the heavy and determined resistance of the Japanese, fighting to the death in their normal fashion. Reinforcement was a must. The army division was put into the line where needed and ordered to move forward. The area allocated to the army division was in the flat, open center of Saipan, an area that was to become known as "Death Valley". Immediately upon moving forward, the army division came under fire from Jap strong points of such an intense nature that they found movement forward to be almost impossible. No room for maneuver against these strong points and very heavy casualties inflicted upon the lead elements of the divisions. An exasperated H.M. Smith first relieved the commanding General of the army division and continued to find fault with the army's progress vis-a-vis his own Marine divisions also ashore on Saipan. Only by the most intense effort was the army division finally able to make progress and that at great loss to themselves. H.M. Smith, still exasperated, finally had enough of the army and pulled the division from the line, sending them to, as I have said before, a quiet sector.

Is the criticism that to this day exists of the army during the Saipan campaign warranted? Did they freeze in their foxholes? Well, yes and no. These strong points of the Japs were formidable. And something else about them. Although being physically located in the AO [area of operations] of the Marines, the fields of fire for these strong points was into the Army's AO. These strong points had been bypassed by marine units moving forward quickly, in Marine fashion. When the army division moved forward into "Death Valley", they immediately came under fire from strong points that they were not able to reduce by fire or movement. Any basic course in tactics will tell you to this day that a unit's boundaries are not to be crossed by fire or movement unless in the most extreme of circumstances. [the author of the book that this information was contained in did not seem to realize the importance of this fact]. Did the army division lag behind the Marines? Yes, they did. Was this due to cowardice or lack of initiative. NO!

Now, I have mentioned that the army division, after being pulled from the line, was sent to a "quiet sector". It just so happens that this sector became the place for what became known as "The Great Banzai Charge of Saipan". Seems to be something of a legend, what occurred at the end of the Battle of Saipan. The Jap troops, when seeing their position hopeless, decided to go out in glory and launched a 5000 man banzai charge against the U.S. Army division, which had just been deployed to "the quiet sector". Now, in the book by Samuel Eliot Morrison, "The U.S. Navy - The Two Ocean War", Morrison writes about this banzai charge, saying that the Japs broke through the army lines and were finally stopped by the Marines. Is this true? Well, again, yes and no. The Jap forces, what was left of them, did break through the army lines and were finally stopped by Marine forces. This did happen! However, consider this. In front of the army positions, after the charge, were found the bodies of 4000 Japs [by actual body count ordered by the army commander after the battle]!! In front of the Marine positions were found about 300 Japs. This certainly suggests no lack of fighting ability on the part of the army.

After the Battle of Saipan was over, the U.S. Army division fighting at Saipan was found to have suffered casualties only slightly second to the Marine unit that suffered the worst on Saipan, further strengthening the belief that the remarks of H.M. Smith were most intemperate.

Postscript to Saipan. The 77th U.S. Army division fought in the campaign on Guam with the Marines and got along just famously. This unit was nicknamed the 77th MarDiv by the Marines. Marine units and the army can and do get along.


We think of warfare as a unique human endeavor. But conflict between different individuals and groups of individuals is far more primitive than that.

Army ants are a typical example. A group will fight and kill competing ants of the same species. And this type of behavior is commont throughout the animal kingdom.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

This is coolbert: Now, in a number of my previous posts I have talked about such items as the Zulu pharmacology, amok, dawa, physical privation and the fear factor, innate aggressive tendencies of man, and such. Those subjects have all been leading up to this post.

Now, it seems that man possesses, as does our ape relatives, an innate aggressive tendency. And yet certain factors in our world work against those tendencies, mainly physical danger, the fear factor, and physical privation, along with various societal taboos against killing and such. Man seems to have conflict as a normal state of his being, and yet he is repelled from this normal state by environmental factors and his own fear. You are being pushed in one direction, and pulled away in another at the same time.

It has been observed by a number of authorities that in the militaries of the world, a common factor is the consumption of substances that "help" to overcome the inhibitions limiting the impulse to fight at "war" [the term war here includes a wide range of conflicts, such as large-scale warfare, or even street gang fighting].

In the militaries of the western world, alcohol is the substance of choice, for a variety of historical and cultural factors. Military people have always had the reputation for being heavy drinkers. Getting loaded, especially on weekends, or when "going to town" seems to be a favorite practice. In the militaries of non-western societies, where alcohol use is either forbidden or only used sparingly, opiates are the substance of choice. The famous British military historian John Keegan has commented that the pirates of the South China Sea used to dope themselves liberally with marijuana prior to attacking "European" vessels. This same sort of behavior was noted in the use of the same substance by American GI's in Vietnam. What is happening here is a loosening of inhibitions that allows many persons to do things they would not do if they were in a sober state of mind. These substances provide a temporary release from the privation and fear that inhibits the soldier. Debilitates that soldier so they become less effective, but this is secondary to the soldier who is less than able to handle their situation from a mental and physical standpoint.

Street gang members being interviewed are uniform that when describing "drive-by" shootings, it is a normal practice, almost always done, for the shooters to get high prior to "action". The same mentality exists among women participating in XXX rated movie shoots. These "actresses" are well known for getting "high as kites" prior to the movie being filmed. These people are doing something they know they should not be doing, are hesitant to do, and yet want to do. Getting high is a way of handling this.

Of course, with such practices as amok and dawa, we are dealing with mind control over body. All inhibitions have been done away by mind control. But this is not a common occurrence, although it shows how these inhibitions are understood by the practitioner and overcome.


This is coolbert: Now, in my previous posts about German and Japanese a-bomb development, the generally accepted image is that both powers were a long way off from making an atomic bomb. That what research they had was crude and not on the right track. And as for the "Virus House", the consensus among scientists and engineers is that this would have been a crude, and meaningless device that probably would not have worked. And maybe it would not have. Caused a lot of damage, but not exploded as an atomic bomb. Maybe, maybe not. But what American scientists working on the bomb were trying to do was create an industrial package that would work with great regularity, could be made on an industrial basis, and would be of elegant design. That term elegant design is what is important. They wanted to work out all the bugs and make something that was going to be an engineering marvel. Push the engineering envelope, as it is called, way beyond the ordinary. The Germans and Japanese were perhaps working on a crude weapon that would be built only in small numbers, not on an industrial basis, but would get the job done, even if not in an elegant manner. They would build only a few, and not be sure of success, but would build them nonetheless. We in the U.S. are judging their development of an a-bomb by our standards, which was not the same standard that the Germans and Japs were working toward.


Saturday, March 27, 2004

This is coolbert: Here is a thought I have had for some time. It is generally accepted that the U.S. "lost" the Vietnam War. Well, perhaps this war should be thought more as a battle that the U.S. lost in a bigger war. That bigger war was called the "Cold War" most of the time. The forty five year war that raged cold most of the time, hot some of the time, between the Soviet Union, it's proxies, and the U.S. This war was hot when "battles" were fought in Korea and then in Vietnam. And the war was tepid when submarines jostled one another under the oceans or manned bombers tempted the air defenses of one another's side by penetrating airspace of the opposition. More important perhaps was the continual clash between societies as to who was going to be dominant in the world stage. No contest here in retrospect. As Eisenhower well understood, the national defense of a country depends upon the overall strength of a country. A well educated, healthy populace, motivated, with a sound industrial base and manufacturing capability and scientific know how, is a formidable opponent. For a long time, it was accepted by the world at large that the Soviet Union and the U.S. were in a battle in this regard, society against society. I believe the thought was that the Soviet Union possessed a society that if not equal to the U.S., was at least competitive in most regards, and perhaps ahead in some, and was constantly gaining and improving where they were weak. This again, in retrospect, was proven to be not so by a long shot. Militarily strong, but societal weak is what the Soviet Union was. During this war, the U.S. drew a hot battle, lost a hot battle, but ultimately won the war.


Friday, March 26, 2004

This is coolbert: The neutron bomb. This was a hysteria from the 1980's that was very misunderstood. The average man in the street heard that there was this nuclear bomb that had been developed that had an interesting characteristic. It would kill people but not destroy property. So the story goes.

Well, what is the truth behind this? Yes, a enhanced radiation weapon was developed in the 1980's. Was a nuclear weapon, but without the tremendous blast effect of the conventional nuclear weapon. This nuke would emit an intense dose of radiation to persons nearby where the detonation occurred. These people would become sick and die within a couple days. Many would become instantaneously incapacitated from radiation sickness. Too much overload of radiation to their body. And there would be damage from blast and heat of the initial detonation, but not as great as with a conventional nuclear detonation. So it seems there is credence to the belief that such a weapon existed, kills people, but does not destroy property.

How was this weapon to be used? And why was it even developed in the first place? Didn't we already have sufficient nuclear weapons in the U.S. arsenal so that no need for more nuke firepower existed?

The intention for the neutron bomb was to use it against massed formations of Soviet tanks.

The U.S. greatly feared a massive invasion of western Europe from the Soviet forces to the east of the Iron Curtain. A favorite Soviet tactic would be to mass enormous numbers of tanks and overwhelm a defensive sector of the NATO forces and create a breakthrough. Exploitation forces again of massed tanks would follow up into the breakthrough area, creating a gap that would endanger the entire NATO defense.

One counter [among many] the U.S. and NATO could have used was the neutron bomb. This bomb, fired from conventional artillery pieces, could be aimed at these massed tank formations and destroy the tanks or incapacitate the crews so that no exploitation would be possible.

The neutron bomb should be thought of as just one of many options and weapons available to NATO forces if they had come into a do or die struggle against the Soviets. The neutron bomb was not a doomsday weapon just to kill people and leave property intact. Hyperbole and misconceptions.



This is coolbert:

What would have Sun Tzu have said about civilian leadership and command of the military? An ultimate civilian command of the military as is found in the United States. The President, and elected official, the Commander-in-Chief.

Sun says that there are some positions within the society that are so important that appointments to these positions cannot be left to the whim of politics or the command of the sovereign.

According to Sun:

"The art of war is of vital importance to the state. It is a matter of life or death, a road either to saftey or to ruin. Hence under no circumstances can it be neglected."

"Having once received His majesty's commission to be general of his force, there are certain commands of his majesty which acting in that capacity, I am unable to accept.".

Well, this goes against our civilian control of the military. And this is not an issue in the U.S. I cannot imagine military leadership in the U.S. assuming a role other than what they have now. No involvement in politics or controversial issues at home.

Nonetheless, there are some positions within the government that must not be susceptible to political whim.

These are positions of such importance that the people in those positions must be above the normal fray of political appointments and such.

What would these positions be?

* Chairman of JCS,
* Head of CIA and FBI,
* Head of Secret Service.

And not a whole lot other.

My understanding is that now the people in these positions are appointees serving at "the pleasure of the President". And you can make the case that people of such high rank must be someone that gets along with and agrees with the President whom they are serving under. But Sun would say that the sovereign is not all powerful. What the sovereign says in matters of war are not to be always listened to or obeyed. For to not follow the advice of the General might at times place the entire society in peril of it's existence being snuffed out.


This is coolbert. "NO person can command a nuclear equipped unit, if there is even the appearance of wrong doing, even if totally unfounded."

This is the military regulation that applies to commanders of nuclear equipped units. Could be a Pershing missile battery, a nuclear armed submarine, or a B-52 bomber [Kelly Flinn].

Now, during a fifty year period, about 60,000 persons were reassigned as being unqualified to serve in a nuclear equipped unit. NOT commanders, but unit members. Usually for "excessive consumption of alcoholic beverage". Could also be for other reasons, drugs, extra marital affairs, etc. Some reason. And this is not the commanders. Just the rank and file.

The standard for commanders in the military is very strict. Some would say even too strict. But that is the standard. Obvious why! You don't want a person that is susceptible to blackmail or is mentally unstable or is an abuser in any sense of the word to command units equipped with such deadly weapons. Policy and regs bend over way beyond what is normal and reasonable to ensure that this is so!

Now, when President Bush the First was President, he nominated John Tower to be his Secretary of Defense.

And Tower was rejected. And why was this? Well, Senator Hollings stood on the Senate floor and read the regulation that was quoted in the first sentence of this blog. Tower's nomination was rejected. It was rumored that Tower was a womanizer and a heavy drinker [both were later to be determined to be unfounded]. But nonetheless, Tower, even though he was a civilian, was rejected for the appointment. What was the reasoning? Well, by this regulation, Tower could not command a nuclear equipped unit. Even if the allegations were not true [they were not], just the appearance is enough to disqualify you. The argument was that if you could not command a nuclear equipped unit, you have no business being in charge of overseeing such a unit, as Tower would have done as Secretary of Defense.

Now, consider this argument in the light of the President Clinton impeachment trial.

Obviously, the Pres is the commander of ALL the nuclear equipped units. Gives the "go-code" to use nukes. And obviously, there was wrong doing on the part of the Pres that if he had been the commander in the military of a nuclear equipped unit, would have disqualified him from further command. The behavior of the Pres did not just constitute appearances, it was fact. And what did the man now running for Pres himself have to say about this? John Kerry said that "the standard is different for the President in this category." And it is. The Pres is not held to military law or military regs. He is an elected official and exempt from such standards. Nonetheless, President Clinton, commander of all the nuclear equipped units, was morally unfit to further hold office by the standard applied to military personnel commanding nuke units.

Yet, at the impeachment trial, this moral lapse was never brought up or considered. Go figure??


Thursday, March 25, 2004

This is coolbert: Soviet Spetsnaz forces. These were the special purpose units of the Red Army. Can best be categorized as ranger/commando units by the standards of western armies. Developed to destroy nuclear weapons assets of potential enemies [primarily, but not solely devoted to, U.S. nuclear arsenal]. Would infiltrate the territory of an enemy prior to an outbreak of hostilities and began to attack and destroy nuclear weapons assets and the command and control for same prior to an actual outbreak of hostilities. Such attacks, if successful enough, would give a decided advantage to the Soviet side. Most of what we know is from the defector Suvorov, who wrote a book on these units, most appropriately called "Spetsnaz". Suvorov claimed that at one time he actually acted as an evaluator for such a Spetsnaz unit in the field, during an exercise.

Now, could such small units of lightly armed men, armed with only what they can carry, inflict damage of such proportions on the nuclear weapons assets of the U.S. as to have an actual influence on events, and do so prior to an actual outbreak of hostilities? Yes!! Small, lightly armed bands of Spetsnaz could have indeed inflicted heavy damage on U.S. strategic nuclear assets.

To understand how this could be done, you have to appreciate that U.S. strategic assets were concentrated in a "triad" of manned bombers [B-52, B-1, B-2], land based missiles [Minuteman 3], and Trident launched submarine missiles. To gain a clear advantage, such assets would have to be attacked just prior to an outbreak of hostilities, and with enough success to gain the advantage sought by the aggressor.

How could these attacks against nuclear weapons assets be conducted??

Strategic bombers on the ground would be imperiled by potential attacks. Manned bomber crews could have been attacked and killed at their base, probably while reading newspapers or magazines in their orderly room while awaiting "go" orders. Without trained crews, the bombers could not fly or accomplish their mission. Bomber aircraft on the ground could be attacked from long range by say hi-power fifty caliber rifles firing exploding rounds. One round exploding in the right spot in the cockpit could cause severe enough damage to render that aircraft unusable. Bombers taking off could be shot down by those SA-7 shoulder fired missiles [pea shooters I call them]. Just as the plane is taking off, a missile brings it down [more about this later]. The famous British SAS tactic of running up to a plane on the ground, shooting holes in the wings where the fuel tanks are located, allowing fuel to spew out onto the ground, and then igniting the fuel, destroying the aircraft on the tarmac, could also be employed.

Ground based missile systems [Minuteman III] in silos could be attacked in ways similar to the way the bomber force would be attacked. Launch officers underground could be killed by introducing poison gas [nerve agent] into whatever ventilation system these launchers would have. Shaped charges could be placed over the top of the enormous concrete blast doors covering the openings of the silos and detonated. These shaped charges would punch a hole in the concrete door and destroy the missile in the silo. Rail bender jacks could be used to deform the rails that are used to slide the blast doors off the top of the silo. The doors could not be moved to give a clear opening for a missile launch! It might be possible to pour flammable liquid into the silo and set fire to the missile, destroying it in the silo. A missile exiting the silo would be exceptionally susceptible to damage. You would not necessarily need to destroy the missile entirely, all that would be needed would be a limited amount of damage to the missile. It would not be able to reach the target. One man firing a rocket propelled grenade [RPG], a sniper rifle or machine gun firing armor piercing incendiary rounds could inflict a lot of damage to a missile as it just exits the silo. Such damage would cause the missile to go awry during flight and not reach the target. I am not sure about this, but I bet that a SA-7 missile could also damage a missile in the few seconds after launch. [according to Suvorov, the Soviets had SA-7's that were activated remotely by the loud noise made by such things as a missile launch or a jet airplane taking off. These SA-7 would be placed around a silo in advance and activate automatically upon a missile launch, bringing the missile down upon initial take-off].

The Trident nuclear submarine missile launching force would also be susceptible to attack by Spetsnaz forces. I think the U.S. Navy has about sixteen Trident subs on duty. Of this number, half are at sea at any given time, leaving eight in port. This eight in port would be the targets of Soviet naval Spetsnaz. Combat swimmers [UDT] would be able to place charges against the subs and sink them at dock. Or kayakers could approach the subs and place charges as well. Crews could be attacked at their barracks. A significant loss of crew could render the sub unable to sail, even if it is undamaged. Once, again, total destruction would not be necessary. Only damage of a sufficient nature to render the sub unable to sail.

Another mission of Spetsnaz to attack the U.S. nuclear retaliatory force would be to destroy or incapacitate the command and control mechanism. Starting with the president and killing as many persons as possible in the chain of command, the Spetsnaz would make it very difficult for authorizing personnel to release nuclear weaponry for use. Even if not totally successful, breaking the chain of command at a number of points would cause delay and hesitation, both of which could prove fatal. Key node points for transmitting "go-code" orders for the use of nuclear weaponry could also be attacked. This would be analogous to severing the nerve endings leading from the brain to a muscle. The muscle cannot flex if the signals from the brain, transmitted by the nerve, are cut.

All these methods could be employed by Spetsnaz to severely diminish the U.S. nuclear retaliatory capacity. And all this would be done either before the outbreak of hostilities, or at the actual outbreak of hostilities.

Further amplification concerning some comments made above. I mentioned in this blog about using a rail bender jack to deform the tracks that the concrete blast doors of the missile silos slide on. And I also mentioned that nuclear submarines could be attacked by kayakers using explosives. Well, these were actual real events that did occur. Some so-called "nuclear peace activists", did actually break into the secure area of a missile silo and use a rail bend jack to deform the track of the concrete blast door. If that missile needed to be fired, it could not have been. And another group of "peace activists" did indeed use kayaks to approach a Trident sub at dock and hammer on the sides of the sub with mallets. So this sort of thing could have been done. And this was done may unarmed "protestors". It should be obvious that professionals, highly armed, could have done much more damage than a rag tag bunch of amateurs.

Further amplification. The U.S. Air Force would employ a truck to render a missile silo inoperable if the launch crew for some reason went berserk. Park a truck over the blast door. If the door swings open, the truck would be in the way of the missile as it would try to exit upon launch. Pretty smart, eh!!??

Afterthought. During the Cold War there was a "peace" group called "Follow the White Train" or something like that. Nuclear weapons being transported from depots or places of manufacture were placed on board a special train originally painted white. So it could be spotted easily and identified. Now, this "peace" group set up 24 hour per day spotters outside of all locations where the white train would run. These "peaceniks" would then try to determine the places the train stopped at, where it was going, etc. Follow the train all over the country. Well, why would anyone in their right mind do this?? One possible explanation was that they were doing this, wittingly or unwittingly, for Spetsnaz. Finding storage locations and places were nukes were going to would provide vital intelligence for Spetsnaz raiders. All in the name of "peace" of course.


Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Le May.

This is coolbert:

During the height of the Cold War, General Curtis Le May, commander of the U.S. Strategic Air Command [SAC] was widely misquoted as saying that in case of sufficient provocation from the Soviet Union, General Le May would launch a preemptive nuclear strike on the Soviets and wipe them out.

For supposedly saying this, the General was widely criticized as advocating his own policy that went against stated U.S. government policy. At the time the U.S. gov publicly stated that nuclear weapons would only be used in retaliation mode for a nuclear strike on the U.S. by Soviet forces. For saying such things, General Le May was viewed with suspicion by many persons, and ridiculed by others.

What is the full story behind what the General is supposed to have said?

Well, the General did say something along these lines. But the context is what is important.

What the General did say was that the U.,S. gov would have five days warning prior to the Soviets launching a nuclear attack upon the U.S [it would have taken the Soviets five days to get their own populace into nuclear shelters. Presumably U.S. intelligence would have detected this and given warning of the forthcoming attack]. Having received this warning, General Le May stated that it would have been his duty to approach the President and advise him that he would have been able to hit the Soviets first and wipe out their nuclear strike force.

Preemptive attack was in the cards, but only if the context was right [U.S. detecting a forthcoming attack from the Soviets, and permission of the President being granted first].

Now, General Le May's reasoning behind such a strategy went like this. Ferret flights [electronic reconnaissance] from Thule, Greenland, had disclosed that over the Arctic approaches to Siberia, the Soviets did not have radar coverage. They could not have detected incoming U.S. bomber aircraft of SAC! General Le May's bomber force could have penetrated Soviet air space and caught the Soviet attack force on the ground and wiped them out!

Project Homerun, in the fifties, consisting of a flight of about twenty five U.S. aircraft of SAC, actually did simulate such an approach to Soviet airspace. The lack of Soviet response seemed to indicate that such an attack would have been feasible. General Le May was not a war-mongering General out for glory but a prudent commander disliked by persons who opposed him out of hate for the military, misquoting him and trying to make him look like a fool.

It would have been totally within his duty as an advisor to the President to approach the Pres and present his thoughts to him. To say that Le May would have acted recklessly and without heed to the consequences is without foundation. Yet the misquoting goes on and the erroneous perceptions continue!


My unit in Vietnam, Marine Air Support Unit-3

From 1966-1971, MASS-3 Air Support Radar Teams controlled more than

38,010 AN/TPQ-10 missions, directing more than 121,000 tons of ordnance on

56,753 targets.(10:1) By the end of the war, the Direct Air

Support Centers and Air Support Radar Teams participated in

virtually every major Marine combat operation.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

This is coolbert: It made for a very impressive sight. Row after row of jet bombers [usually B-47], all in line on the taxi way, each waiting it's turn for take off. And plane after plane taking to the air, very regimented. Also, pictures of the flight crews, in an orderly room, reading newspapers and magazines. An alarm would go off, lights would flash, and the crews would jump into their planes for quick take off. This was all a show to impress the world that the U.S. had thousands of aircraft on ready nuclear alert, ready to take to the air. This was a myth. At the height of the cold war, the U.S. Air Force had in the air and on the ground about twenty five (25) bombers on instantaneous nuclear alert. I think the public got the impression that most of the force, or a very large percentage at least was always on alert and ready to go at a moments notice. This was not so. Would have been prohibitively expensive to maintain a force at this level of posture. In time of crisis or alert, the manned bomber force could be brought to a high state of alert and readiness. But this was a very rare occurrence, and almost never happened. Only at the most acute of times would this have been so, during the Cuban missile crisis, for instance. But an impression was established and maintained.


Monday, March 22, 2004

Feet & Water.

This is coolbert:

Military miscellany with regard to previous posts:

Picture today in the Chicago Tribune shows a group of Taiwanese riot police, wearing full paraphenalia, with their backs to the camera.

Coming off the back of their helmets is a large pad, extending over the back of the neck and down the back a short way. Obviously some sort of neck protection for the back of the neck, obviously. This sort of thing was mentioned in a previous post. Maybe a piece of kevlar surrounded by a padding material. I am making the assumption this protection for the back of the neck is to guard against club strikes to the spinal column!

Physical privation quite often has to endured by the soldier. Here is an example of how the soldier has to endure great physical effort as part of their duty.

Prior to the Battle of Talavera [Spain] [Peninsular War], a British regiment of foot [infantry] covered 150 miles on foot in 24 hours. And this prior to the battle. This regiment, after covering the distance, went straight into the battle, which lasted for three days.

This is an example of the type of privation soldiers may have to endure.

I imagine this movement was done by speed marching. Walk one mile, run one mile, walk one mile, run one mile. And this was done for 24 hours straight.

This is also an excellent way of physically conditioning troops. NO excess movements that create strain that may injure otherwise healthy troops.

Also allows a unit to stay together and train as a unit.

Not many except superbly conditioned troops can run four miles as a unit. Many fall out on the run. Most troops can run one mille, walk a mile, etc. The unit will stay together during physical training.

I would further imagine that this march to Talavera was done carrying only the basic fighting load, and not further impedimenta. That impedimenta would be relegated to trains [wagons] that would follow the troops some distance behind.

Now, in wartime, physical privation has been historically one of the biggest killer of soldiers, if not the biggest, period.

And this privation kills primarily by disease. More soldiers died of disease in the American Civil War than died in battle.

Feet and water are two big killers. Perhaps the two biggest when combined.

Having bad feet means not being able to keep up the march. You fall out of the march and are left behind. Left to the gentle mercies [not so merciful] of the partisans or just plain marauders.

And not having enough water to drink or drinking bad water [disease] leads to many deaths too.

War can be hell and is.


Sunday, March 21, 2004

This is coolbert: In one of my most recent posts, I made mention of the believed innate aggressive tendencies of man. How this leads to violence and war on the part of societies practicing violence as a group against another group.

Now, more comment on this.

When man fights at war, two things are happening that go against the normal human condition. This many seem to be obvious in the extreme, but needs elaborating.

One thing that is happening during war that goes against the normal human condition is physical privation. Man, for the most part, seeks comfort. Even the most primitive peoples of the world, such as the pygmies of the Ituri rain forest, seek shelter, warmth, rest, and do not expose themselves to the elements. People in the normal state of society do not push themselves to physical exhaustion beyond reason. Do not go for long periods of time without sleep, food, rest, shelter, etc. In war, soldiers may have to go without food, shelter, rest, sleep, etc., for long periods of time. This goes against the normal condition of man.

The second thing that is happening of course in warfare that goes beyond the normal state of man is killing, wounding, and general all around mistreatment of the captured. You may be killed, severely wounded, or captured when fighting at war. Very obvious. There are very few circumstances other than war when these sort of things can happen. I have made posts about this previously. This threat of danger produces a fear factor that goes way beyond what we normally encounter in day to day life in peace time.

So we have a contradiction here. War may be innately a part of human nature. And yet, war, as it is fought, produces factors [physical privation, fear] that go against the human condition as it normally is practiced. We may have innate tendencies that make us want to fight, but at the same time, we as thinking beings realize what we do at war goes against the normal condition of man.

In addition, at least in western society, our culture has all sort of mores that prohibit the use of violence and killing in peace time. You can be executed for killing in peace time, and given a medal for doing so in war. Another contradiction.

Some authorities have commented on this and also on the practices that are found throughout the world that allow soldiers and warriors to overcome these contradictions. More on this later.


This is coolbert: In the days of de-colonialization in Africa, the area known as the Congo was always up for grabs. Various factions constantly vied for power. That part of the world possesses tremendous mineral wealth. And the various factions knew the wealth would be theirs if they could only grab power. Had militia forces to do so. Thugs and misguided individuals that were promised riches in return for fighting for this militia or that militia. Now, these are primitive people. And the various forms of black magic, sorcery, voodoo, and juju reign supreme in the mind of the locals. Now, various western powers and companies that had a stake in mining interests, sent mercenaries to fight on the side of the "central government". Whoever the "central government" was at the time was immaterial. Only that there be one, and it be beholden to the mining and western interests. Now, these mercenaries, fighting as military units, encountered "dawa". Black magic practiced by the local witch doctors. This dawa was supposed to protect the militia "warriors" from the white man's bullets. The bullets were supposed to turn into rain and would not harm the "warriors". This was totally accepted by the "warriors", who went into battle fully believing that they could not be hurt by the white man's weapons. Now, of course, most of these guys fell in battle, shot down. And how did the witch doctors explain this?? By saying that the fallen had broken some sort of taboo. Looked to the right or left while marching toward the white men, or not purifying themselves prior to battle, etc.


Saturday, March 20, 2004

This is coolbert: New style body armor for the riot type military operation is now worn by police and military throughout the world. Helmet with a birdcage and plastic visor in the front. Both are required. The birdcage to protect against missiles launched from wrist sling shot type devices. The plastic visor to protect against pepper spray or acids being thrown in the face by the "demonstrators" [a friend of mine has a brother who was a MP and was blinded in such a manner during an anti-war "peace" demonstration]. The more sophisticated versions of helmet will have some sort of protection for the back of the neck. Shin guards with knee protection and protection extending for the top of the foot [protect against a foot stomp to the top of the foot]. Gloves with a gauntlet. Some of those gloves contain lead shot for punching effectiveness. And a chest protector that resembles something a Roman soldier would have worn. Protects against penetrating weapons, bullets, arrows, knives, lawn darts, etc. Matter of fact, not much difference between what the moderns wear and what the Roman soldier would have worn. Shields can also be carried by the armored troops. Some shields have a built in stun capability [especially useful for use in prisons]. Uniform is worn underneath the armor that has fire resistant cloth. Prevent burning from molotov cocktails being thrown by the demonstrators. Gas masks are also available for instances, quite frequent it seems, when riot agents are used. Those uniforms also protect against irritant type riot agents for the wearer as well. This is mostly a response to the modern, sophisticated rioter, who acts in concert to create much mayhem, all the while posing an armed threat to the responders, a threat based upon archaic but still deadly weaponry such as knives, arrows, spears, steel ball bearings, clubs, fire, etc. The armored troop/cop can carry a large club that sometimes has a specially weighted end for added force when clubbing the rioter!

I wonder if with regard to the carrying of shields, the troops/cops have been taught the Roman technique of "fish scales". So named by the Chinese when they encountered Roman mercenaries. Technique used by only [?] the Romans to ward off missiles being flung at them. Troops would interlock their shields in such a manner so as to block all incoming missiles from having a path to strike the protected troops. In the movie "Cleopatra", with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, the Roman troops in the movie did a maneuver with their shields they called "turtle". Something similar.

The Soviet Spetsnaz soldier had the physical training requirement of being able to do sixteen pullups while wearing a eight kilogram [20 lb.] weight hung around his neck. This was the weight of the Soviet armored vest, worn by the Spetsnaz troops.



This is coolbert:

Upon becoming a colonial power when being ceded the Philippines by Spain after the Spanish-American War of 1898, American military personnel in the Philippines came upon an interesting phenomenon.

This is the phenomenon of amok [amuck].

The English word amuck comes from the Filipino word.

Refers to a person who runs around in a crazed, frenzied fashion with an edged weapon, usually a bolo knife [machete] in their hands.

Cutting and slicing to death anyone that gets in their way.

Before these people are killed, and that is the only way of stopping them, they usually are able to kill or maim seriously dozens of persons in their frenzy.

And killing them is the only way to stop them.

And killing them is not easy.

Vital organs will have to pierced through and even then the perp will keep going, much as an automaton would be. You are not able to subdue such a person.

Now, the phenomenon of amok is found in areas of the world where Malay people live. Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

The phenomenon has been studied and no explanation can be offered as to why these people go off the beam and do what they do. Other than the somewhat common factor of being the only child in the family, no rational cause has been determined.

The brain seems to leave the body and the normal sensations of pain no longer exist for the persons gone amok.

A famous video was shot of an assassination attempt on Imelda Marcos.

The assassin pulled a bolo knife out from underneath his barong [shirt], and stabbed Mrs. Marcos dozens of time, his arm working like a piston, again automaton like. The two body guards on either side of Mrs. Marcos shot this guy eighteen times prior to his falling to the ground. You could see his body twitching with each shot impacting, but the many bullets he absorbed seemed not to stop him.

Now, in the initial years of the American occupation of the Philippines, American troops came across the amok phenomenon in a military sense. Moro [muslims] insurgents would go amok and attack American troops. A very famous account of one such attack reads as follows [I am paraphrasing]:

"From one hundred yards out, the Moro attacked the guard at Jolo, a short sword in either hand. The guard opened fire with highpower rifles [Krags]. The Moro got within five yards of the guard, stumbled and fell. The bugler dispatched [killed] the Moro with a shot to the head with his forty-five caliber revolver. Upon examination, the Moro was found to have been shot four times in the body, and six additional times in the extremities."

Now, think about this! The Moro charged the guard [ten men], with two short swords, knowing that he was going to die. The guard fired at this guy and hit him ten times. But the Moro was only killed when he stumbled and was killed by a head shot from a forty-five revolver!!??

It was not uncommon in the Phillipines for a Moro gone amok to charge American officers, who would empty their thirty-eight caliber ACP revolvers into the Moro, but still to have the Moro reach them, and slice the American officers to death with his bolo knife, the Moro dying in the process, but achieving his goal. These experiences persuaded the U.S. Army to adopt the forty-five caliber autoloader pistol as it's standard sidearm.

Afterthought. The "true" Filipino martial art of Arnis incorporates features of Spanish fencing, knife fighting, and unarmed combat into a unique martial arts form.

These martial artists are reputed to be the most dangerous of all martial artists in the world. Can close on a man with a side arm and slash that man to death faster than the man with the side arm can draw his weapon and fire.

Oriental edged martial arts forms rely upon the slash as the primary wounding technique, in contrast to the western edged weapon forms of fighting, which rely upon the stab.


Friday, March 19, 2004

This is coolbert: Pharmacology of the Zulus. Recent very good program on TV dealt with the defeat of the British expeditionary force by the Zulus at Isandhlawana. In the 1870's. Defeat at the time was attributed by the British to the behavior of "bloodthirsty savages" During this TV program, Zulu sangoma [witch doctor] was interviewed. This sangoma was emphatic that the outcome of the battle did was not a result of the behavior of "bloodthirsty" behavior, but rather a well thought strategy and tactics on the part of the Zulus. The sangoma then went on to say that the Zulus had a wide-ranging pharmacology available to them. A pharmacology that enhanced their fighting abilities. It would be incorrect assume that the Zulus were just a bunch of doped up savages running amuck. Different types of drugs would be used depending upon your function within the Zulu army. Drugs that each had a different desired effect. For the average Zulu warrior, a type of snuff was provided by the sangomas. Snuff that was made from the local marijuana, called locally dagga. While most marijuana produces both a intoxicating and a sedative effect at the same time, the locally harvested south African dagga has only the intoxicating effect of marijuana, but did not possess the sedative effect. Prior to battle, this snuff would be passed out and inhaled by the warriors, to produce an intoxicating effect. Another drug was passed out to specially selected warriors, organized into what can best be called "commando" units. Their mission was to penetrate the enemy lines and break the ranks of the enemy, allowing follow up Zulu units gaps to exploit. These specially selected warriors would be given a drug that would enhance all perceptions, specifically sound and visual perception. Probably giving what is called a tunnel effect. Allows the imbiber the ability to concentrate all physical energies on the task on hand, to the exclusion of all outside stimuli. You concentrate in an unnatural manner on the task on hand. Hallucinations that might accompany ingestion of this drug would be considered to be "communing" with the gods. Surely a propitious sign going into battle! A third drug available to the sangoma was a drug that possessed many of the same properties as opiate products. Pain killing ability and also a hallucinogenic effect. Progably used as a pain killer for wounded warrirors after the battle. The pharmacology knowledge of the Zulus was indeed profound, and had profound uses.


It is important to have protection of helmets for the back of the neck when you are running away from a sword. Since we don't use swords, and we don't spend much time running away, the need for neck protection is minimal.

Just kidding.

But the improvements to our body armor and helmets seems to have cut down our death rate pretty substantially. The flack jackets that we wore in Vietnam would not stop an AK-47 round. The protection equipment worn now does stop AK bullets. Big improvement

Thursday, March 18, 2004

This is coolbert: How some things never change! The current "Fritz" helmet is a perfect example. The relatively new U.S. military helmet made of kevlar closely resembles the German helmet worn in WW1 and WW2. Hence the name "Fritz". Now, an improvement over the older style U.S. helmet was made when the "Fritz" helmet was adopted. This is protection for the back of the neck. This protection was lacking in the old U.S. helmet. Probably after much design effort and research, it was decided to incorporate this protection for the back of the neck. Why exactly this is a plus I cannot say, other than it must be. The Germans of WW1 and WW2 found it to be necessary [as I have previously stated]. And before them the Japanese samurai, circa 1200 A.D., also incorporated this feature into their helmets. And before them, the Roman legionairres, 2000 years ago, also had such a feature incorporated into their helmets!! Now, this all is not coincidence! Probably by just imperical observation, the fighting men of all these cultures were able to determine that for whatever reason, protection for the back of the neck was vital, and placed such protection into the design of their helmets. Only to have this rediscovered by U.S. designers in the 1980's. Like I previously said, some things never change.


Wednesday, March 17, 2004


This is coolbert:

Every now and then you read some apocrypha [stories of dubious authenticity] that makes you pay notice.

But that is all that it is, apocrypha.

The consequences of these apocrypha could be profound, however, most of the time you have no way of confirming or denying.

During the time the Soviet Union existed, apocrypha stories about the Soviets and their military capabilities used to abound.

Two stories bear that out.

* In the book "Deep Black", the authors claim that scattered throughout the Soviet Union were 250 buildings the size of the Pentagon!!

Found through analysis of photos taken by U.S. recon satellites.

Purpose of these buildings was not resolved.

Believed to be the locations members of the communist party, their families, and other members of the Soviet elite would flee to in case of nuclear war with the U.S.

Now, estimates were made of how much each of one these structures would have cost in U.S. dollar. Mind you that these were buildings made of hardened concrete. It was estimated that just one building would have cost $500 billion dollars to build in U.S. dollars. And that is just one building.

* Another apocrypha from the Soviet Union relates to an incident that supposedly occurred in 1979 or thereabouts. It was alleged that five Soviet airborne divisions departed en masse from the Soviet Union, flew from Soviet air space to Ethiopia, disembarked with their impedimenta, and then returned to their home bases sans impedimenta.

The route they took to reach Ethiopia was down over the Persian Gulf, into the Indian Ocean, and onto Ethiopia, flying heedlessly over the restricted airspace of unnamed nations, who protested to no avail.

And what was the alleged reason for leaving behind all their equipment? To equip a supposed multi-national army-sized unit of Libyans, Ethiopians, and Palestinians that had recently been trained by communist advisors. That army-sized unit numbering 40,000 troops total.

Any truth to this stuff? Who knows?


Tuesday, March 16, 2004

This is coolbert: Does man have a basic innate aggressive nature? Such that war has become a part of the human condition that cannot be suppressed or done away with? The chimp lady, Jane Goodall, does believe so. Her observations of our closest relatives in the nature, the chimpanzees, have led her to believe that man does have an innate aggressive nature.

Chimpanzees exhibit innate aggressiveness in two ways.

Within a troop of chimps there is always a constant struggle going on to be the "boss ape". The alpha [highest ranking] male. The male that calls all the shots in the troop and gets the breeding rights with the females in heat. This guy physically dominates the troop with violence when necessary [intimidation usually all that is required] and is in constant physical competition with younger males for the dominant position within the troop.

A troop of chimps also will exhibit physical violence against chimp outsiders reminiscent of war that is fought by humans. When two troops of chimps come into conflict over the same space of land, land possessing the basic requirements essential for the troops survival, food, living space and water, what can best be described as a war takes place. Young male chimps at the prompting of the alpha male, and led by him, go on patrols. Guarding and patrolling the boundaries of their disputed territory become a paramount concern of the troop. Encounters with the rival troop are met first with threatening facial and vocal displays, followed by foot and fist pounding, followed by the use of branches as weapons, first to threaten, and then to use in actual physical combat. These sides cannot co-exist. One will prevail over the other.

From these observations, Jane Goodall has concluded that chimps and in all probability men possess the same innate agressive tendencies. These aggressive tendencies leading to war is in all probability a normal part of the human condition.


Monday, March 15, 2004


This is coolbert:

A lot of pundits proclaimed [many gleefully], that the American defeat in Vietnam was the end of the "American Century".

This meant that the hand writing was on the wall for America.

Having lost our first war, America no longer a power on the ascendancy, now on the decline.

As I have said, this was accepted lore to the delighted pleasure of a lot of pundits.

America was getting her comeupannce.

Well, the Roman model seems to suggest that defeat in war is not always the end of things.

Does not always mean your society is a decadent has been that has run out of rope or steam.

More than two hundred years prior to Caesar, the Romans lost catastrophically on several occasions to the forces of Hannibal. Yet, eventually the Romans persevered and defeated the Carthaginians.

In the years just prior to Caesar, the Romans suffered another catastrophic defeat, this time at the hands of the Parthians.

Did that stop the Romans from continuing to dominate as a great society.


Under Caesar Augustus, the Romans were defeated terribly by the Germanii tribes at the Teutobergerwald. Three entire legions were obliterated in a desperate battle with Germanii tribesmen, preventing further advancement of the Roman Empire into areas beyond the Rhine.

Did this mean the end of Rome?

Far from it! Roman continued to prosper and grow as a culture and society for centuries to come.

Military loss did mean the demise of Roman society or Empire. Roman culture and yes, military might continued to dominate for centuries to come, some of those cultural traits even being passed down to our current generation.

Losing a war or even a battle does not necessarily signal a culture of society is on the way out.



This is coolbert:

"Well, what were we expecting. After all, we cut off the Jap's oil supply. They [Japan] felt they had to react. We [U.S.] brought this war upon ourselves."

This is the usual response many persons give when the Pearl Harbor attack is mentioned.

This response was even given by Tom Hagen the oh-so-wise "consigliari" in the movie the "Godfather". The popular conception is that when the U.S. "cut-off" the oil supply to Japan in the years just prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese, having only four months supply of oil left, felt compelled to respond for the survival of their society. Persons referred to as "revisionist" historians are quick to point this out.

Does this concept stand up under examination.

NO!! Emphatically NO!

The Japanese oil supply was never cut off.

What was cut off by the Roosevelt administration, and justifiably so, was the shipment from the U.S. to Japan of refined aviation gasoline. The type of aviation gasoline that was being shipped to Japan and being used by Japanese military aviation in their aggressive war against China.

And this was ONLY DONE after Japanese military aviation had been conducting a most cruel and even sadistic aerial bombing campaign against the more or less defenseless Chinese population, and doing so for three years prior to the "cut-off".

In the months leading up to Pearl Harbor, crude oil shipments from the U.S. to Japan continued unabated, the Japanese always being able to buy whatever crude oil that they needed.

And, in addition, the Japanese had just negotiated, gotten and signed a contract for an abundance of oil to be sent from wells in what was at the time the Dutch East Indies . [even though Holland had already fallen to the German Nazi armies, the colonial government of the Dutch East Indies was a government still in power Indies and could and did negotiate contracts on it's own].

As an afterthought, I feel it is important to fully understand what is meant by, for instance, "four months of oil supply left".

Now, this does not mean that the consumer has four months of oil stored in depots somewhere. What it does mean is four months supply of oil in the entire process of pumping oil from a well, to it's actual distribution to the consumer.

Oil is being pumped from a well under contract. Being piped to a holding area where it is then pumped onto tanker ship for the voyage to the nation of the consumer. Then is being taken off tankers and sent to refineries for processing. From the refinery it is then piped to depots where it is then sent off to the consumer for them to pump and use, say in an automobile.

Four months would be normal consumption of what is not only on hand, but what is in the pipeline, the pipeline consisting of the entire process from start to finish. Emphasis on normal here.


This is coolbert: Most authorities make this comment regarding the end of WW2 in the Pacific. If the U.S. had not dropped the a-bomb on Japan and hastened the end of the war, a catastrophic die off of POW's held by the Japs would have occurred. At the end of the war, about 300,000 POW's, military and civilian internees, were still being held by Jap forces. All throughout the Orient. From the extreme mistreatment rendered these misfortunates by the Japs all throughout the war, most of these POW's were what could be called last-leggers. A few more months of captivity and most would have died from an accumulation of hunger, illness, mistreatment, etc. With or without any executions or any action on the part of the Japs. Whether or not this was a major consideration in the decision to a-bomb Japan I just cannot say. The documents may or not exist regarding such considerations. It should have been a consideration, and rightly so. A negotiated settlement with Japan would have taken time, during which most of the POW's would have died. This would have been totally unacceptable.


Sunday, March 14, 2004


This is coolbert:

Japanese a-bomb development.

In a previous post, I mentioned that it has long been thought that a-bomb development in Japan during WW2 was in the bows and arrows stage. Perhaps, and only perhaps, theoretical research going on, but only limited in that regard, and really nothing more than that.

A book ["Japan's Secret War, by Robert K. Wilcox] that came out about twenty years ago seems to suggest otherwise.

This is another subject that reputable historians just do not want to touch. Too much controversy with this subject. Now, in the days just after the surrender of Japan, a Japanese counter-intelligence [CI] officer was captured in Korea by U.S., forces and interrogated. This man made a startling claim. That the Japanese not only were working on a bomb, they had actually detonated one. This was done from a base in Korea, where the bomb was put together, placed on a remotely operated barge, the barge sailing into the Sea of Japan where it was detonated.

The precipitous advance of the Soviet Army into Korea prevented any further work from being done, and the Japanese did not get to build and detonate their a-bomb over American cities. This Japanese officer reportedly told his interrogators that if the war had continued much longer, American cities would have tasted atomic devastation!

Is this fantastic claim at all plausible?

According to the author of this controversial book, it was plausible.

Japan possessed, in Korea, which was a colony of Japan's at the time, a large industrial complex, with abundant electrical power. Such an industrial complex would have allowed for the machining of and research on an a-bomb. Enormous power sources of electricity would have been needed for such development and research. This was available to the Japanese from their Korean complex. [Think of the U.S. Manhattan Project. The two centers of R & D for the Manhattan Project were at Oak Ridge TN. [TVA], and Hanford [Columbia River Project], sources of vast amount of electrical power].

In addition, the rocks of the northern part of Korea, where almost all of this industrial complex was located, contain very high trace amounts of background radiation, mostly from uranium. Processing enough rock would have allowed the Japanese to possess the necessary amounts of uranium to do valid and serious research on a-bomb development, and having enough would have allowed for sufficient material to build a small number of bombs. [At the end of WW2, the U.S. possessed enough uranium to build 70 Hiroshima type a-bombs].

The author further points to the fact that Soviet forces were extremely precipitous in their advance into Korea. Even more so that what would have been expected.

This advance was done mostly by special purpose type units. These units were the forerunner of the Soviet Spetsnaz units. Advance was done mainly to capture, in the eyes of the author, the labs, research and manufacturing facilities of the Jap a-bomb project intact. For transport back to the Soviet Union. This captured Japanese CI guy stated that the Japanese a-bomb effort was captured intact by the Soviets, along with the scientists involved in the project. These scientists would have been of particular interest to the soviets, as the Soviets were well underway at the time with their own a-bomb project. Short circuit the whole process of a-bomb development by interrogating and finding out critical information from the Japanese scientists would be one way to accelerate the entire Soviet a-bomb project.

[The entire Kwangtung Army of Japan was captured by the Soviets at the end of the war. About 400,000 prisoners were taken. They were sent to the soviet Union to work on constructive Socialist projects, in forced labor camps. Very few survived to return to Japan].

Now, why would none of this come out after the war??

According to Wilcox the U.S. government had a very vested interest in keeping knowledge of Jap a-bomb development secret. Even concealing the whole mess.

With the advent of the cold war, it was felt, correctly so, that Japan would be an important ally against Soviet and communist expansion.

This especially became a fact when the Korean War broke out. Anything that would detract from portraying Japan as an important ally would be counter-productive. The once warlike and militaristic Japan was now portrayed as a peaceful and benevolent society friendly to the U.S. To suggest that Japan was on the verge of a breakthrough in weapons development that would have endangered the entire U.S. would be impermissible.

And the decision by Truman to drop the U.S. a-bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki would be seen in the light of Jap a-bomb development. If the U.S. even had the slightest inkling that the Japanese were either on the verge of having the bomb, or even working on and nearing completion of a bomb project, this would have undoubtedly caused Truman to make his decision sooner than later. Saving immense destruction for the U.S. and Japan both. [This all assumes that the U.S. and the Soviets had good intelligence on Jap a-bomb development].

[By the way, Wilcox, when using Japanese translators during his research in Japan for his book, reports that his translators acted as if they had been pole axed when they came to the realization as to what Wilcox was looking into].



This is coolbert: Japanese brutality in WW2. It is commonplace now in Japan, so I understand, for the Japanese people to look upon themselves as victims in the context of WW2. Specifically, the a-bombings are looked upon as being a case where the poor Japanese people were made to suffer terribly at the hands of the Americans. Japan never did have the long series of war crimes trials as did Germany after WW2. And never the recriminations that various segments of the German population have debated over the years. Yes, say the Japanese nay-sayers, we did wage war, but so did others. We fought hard, not cruelly. Only trying to help our brother Asians against western imperialists.

Just one small incident from the war seems to lead one to conclude that this attitude on the part of the Japanese is just not true. After the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo and on other Japanese cities in 1942, Japanese reprisals against the Chinese populace that aided the Raiders was brutal in the extreme. About 250,000 Chinese were killed as a reprisal for the miniscule bombing effort against a few Japanese cities! This incident, small potatoes in a war marked by many heinous incidents and atrocities, just shows the brutality displayed by the Japanese toward their Asian "brothers".

Now, in contrast, when the SS leader Reinhard Heydrich was assassinated by Czech commandos, the SS liquidated the Czech village of Lidice. About 1000 persons were put to death in retaliation for the death of Heydrich. Men shot and burnt to death. Women and children herded off to death camps. Pregnant women had unborn babies aborted and then the women used for hideous experiments. Total number, again, was about a thousand persons. And Heydrich was surely more important than a mere bombing mission on a few Japanese cities. Heydrich was reputed to be the successor to Hitler, if something was to happen to Hitler.


This is coolbert: Taking the chapter from Sun's book on spies, how does it relate to espionage that is needed in the war against Al Qaeda? Take the various categories of spies as enunciated by Sun:

Local spies, inward spies, converted spies, doomed spies, and returned spies.

How can these categories of spies be employed against Al Qaeda??

Local spies must be recruited where ever we have intelligence operations against Al Qaeda. Local residents can be recruited and used to identify Al Qaeda recruiters, operatives, and sympathizers. Keep an eye out for persons disappearing for weeks at a time for no particular reasons and then returning, with stories about the "wonderful" training they received in say a Malaysian or Philippine terrorist camp [one blabber mouth will exist in each group].

Inward spies are those persons you would want to recruit from the top echelons of the Al Qaeda network where ever it exists. This will be hard to do in the extreme. But the most fruitful. Trying to identify these persons is hard enough. More difficult to find one that is disaffected for some reason and will be willing to work for you. But cannot be counted out. One of these persons is worth perhaps a very much larger number of locals spies. Provides you with intentions of the Al Qaeda network.

Converted spies. According to reports these guys have been caught and used in such a manner. The Al Qaeda spies we find and turn against their own side. Ferris is the person I am thinking of. Truck driver in the U.S. that was doing recon on such targets as the Brooklyn Bridge. Evidently was caught and worked against his former employers. Hope to catch more of these guys.

Doomed spies. Hard to imagine how these spies could be employed. A very cold blooded method used to deceive the enemy. Perhaps Al Qaeda operatives could be captured and used to return to the other side, feeding them deception that would fool the leadership of Al Qaeda. Persons released from Gitmo could perhaps be given a false de-briefing prior to release. Create doubt in the minds of the leaders of Al Qaeda as to what they told the Americans and why they are now being released. I just don't know about this one.

Returned spies. Our people that do espionage and recon in areas where Al Qaeda is known to be operating, sometimes with impunity. People on strategic missions to find out who the bad guys are and where they are. Difficult to do for our own people. Our own people, unless we recruit a local, will stand out like a sore thumb. Just as the Muslim stand out in this country, we would stand out in theirs. Necessary to recruit someone that can pass as a local and has a reason for being where he is.



This is coolbert:

Now all the recriminations are beginning about the Madrid bombings.

And, the question is asked, "where were the intelligence services?"

Why did they not detect this and take "steps" to stop the bombings?

Very similar to what was being said in the aftermath of 9/11.

Now, whether or not this is an Al Qaeda operation is not fully understood at this time [the Madrid bombings].

Has the hallmarks of being so [as they say], but as of this moment, just not sure.

It is quite reasonable to ask WHY are these events so difficult to detect in advance? [And keep in mind, Spain has been fighting for decades against home grown terrorism, the ETA, and has a very, very strong national police force, the Guardia Civil, so Spain enjoys some advantages when it comes to fighting terrorism]

To begin with, these terrorist groups may not be working with central control.

Maybe, maybe not.

They are maybe semi-autonomous entities, at their discretion, carrying out attacks not centrally planned and commanded.

They have training from Al Qaeda, and then spread out all over the word to do their villainy, without receiving orders or commands from a central authority.

De-centralized command and control is one step to helping the villains use to evade detection.

These villains are also very good at what they do.

The leaders at any rate, many of them, are survivors of the anti-Soviet resistance in Afghanistan.

By a Darwinian selection process, the best, toughest, and most determined of the Afghan war veterans are now leaders in the world-wide Jihad against the west. These are tough, thoughtful guys and will not be easy to catch.

The level of warfare, backpack bombs remotely detonated, makes this weapon of war very hard to stop.

Low-level methods such as backpack bombs obviate most of the common intelligence techniques such as radio intercepts and photo recon. The two former are more or less useless against this type of warfare.

In the aftermath of the bombings of the U.S. embassies in east Africa, the director of NSA personally went over all the intelligence that was available just prior to the bombings.

He did this to see if something could have been gleaned that would have pointed to the attacks occurring. By his own account, absolutely nothing was present that would have pointed toward attacks happening. Unfortunately, for the west, the Islamic villains are very good at what they do.


Friday, March 12, 2004

This is coolbert: Here is an interesting site to go to for information about the aircraft designs the Germans were working on at the end of the war. Some very sophisticated stuff the Germans had in mind, but never got the time to develop to fruition. You can see that a lot of this stuff probably influenced modern aircraft design for decades after the end of the war, and is probably doing so now, even as we speak. Go to the site at click here.

And now for the German a-bomb project. As said in another post, it has long been held that German a-bomb development was only in the rudimentary stage and could not have posed a threat to the U.S. Well, read this first before accepting the story that is generally told. From that same site about aircraft development click here.

My comments:

Now, this design perhaps has merit. The problem U.S. a-bomb designers faced from the start was how to bring the fissile matter together fast enough to start and sustain a nuclear detonation. This was a major problem. Not only having the fissile matter was sufficient. The fissile matter had to be brought together quick enough to achieve a critical mass and create a sustained nuclear reaction that produces the bomb. U.S. designers solved this problem [with British help] by using an implosion technique for the plutonium bomb. Shaped charges drive the wedge, pie-shaped plutonium segments together so quickly as to create the nuclear reaction. A gun type uranium bomb was also utilized for the a-bomb design using enriched uranium. A plug of uranium would be shot at a mass of similar matter fast enough to cause the critical mass to form in the split second required for the nuclear reaction to occur. I would assume with the Virus House weapon a pancaking effect was desired by the designers. They had not solved in an elegant manner the bringing together of the uranium quick enough to form the critical mass. This was a possible answer. The bomb dropping at incredible velocity would impact and the layers of uranium pancake on one another so fast as to create a critical mass and the nuclear reaction. Plus the little ball of beryllium/polonium seems to be included for the sole purpose of assisting the nuclear chain reaction. It would not be for any other reason. So perhaps the Germans were further along than what we have been led to believe?


This is coolbert: Axis a-bomb development. During WW2, the U.S. believed with some justification that the Manhattan Project, the project to develop the a-bomb in the U.S., had a parallel in Germany. That the German scientists were also at work on the a-bomb and that this was a real threat to the U.S. A race was on to build the first a-bomb, victory in the war going to the first belligerent that possessed the bomb. During the war, a special team of U.S. scientists went into Germany for the purpose of capturing and evaluating all info and scientists involved in German a-bomb development. The final word, told to us by the U.S. government, was that the German project was only in a rudimentary stage, did not have full and complete backing of Hitler, had only low priority on the weapons development agenda. Etc. And, as for the Japanese. Well, the Japanese were thought to be not even in the ball game. NO development or project even present. Still in the bows and arrows stage with regard to a-bomb development. Was this appreciation of the situation true? Well, there seems to be a certain degree evidence that indicates that a-bomb development in both German and Japan had progressed much further. More on this later.


This is coolbert: Seen this post on another blog site. Interesting.

Slate has an article detailing some of the cool tech being prepared for soldiers by DARPATech.

An except:
One example is the Phraselator, a brick-sized one-way translation device designed for use by U.S. soldiers in countries where they don't know the language and don't have time to learn it. Each hand-held unit uses an SD card—the same one used by many digital cameras—that store up to 30,000 common phrases useful for law enforcement, first aid, or war-fighting. To make the device work, a soldier simply says a phrase (such as "Stop at this checkpoint") into the device, and a few seconds later, the Phraselator repeats it in the chosen language—Urdu, Arabic, Pashto, and Korean are available, to name a few. So far, more than 600 of these devices have been shipped to American units in the field—including 15 programmed with Haitian dialects dispatched with U.S. troops to Haiti."

I know this is more gadgety than PDA, but I thought others might enjoy the story.

Now, this sort of thing has existed in one form or another for some time. During WW2, the Flying Tigers [American pilots flying for the Chinese airforce against the Japanese], were all equipped with what was called the pointie-talkie book. A list of pertinent English phrases and across from the English phrase on the same page was the Chinese translation. Phrases such as:

"I am hurt, take me to a doctor."

"I am an American friend."

"Help me, my people pay in gold."

The pilot, if downed and behind enemy lines, would encounter friendly Chinese who hopefully were literate in their own language. Taking out the pointie-talkie book and finding the appropriate English phrase to describe his plight, he would then point to the equivalent Chinese character on the same page. This would allow communication. The book also allowed to go the opposite way. Chinese characters on one side of a page and English equivalent on the other side of the page. A crude but effective way of communicating. This PDA type device seems to carry the operation one step further. You can communicate with illiterate people using this PDA device. Communication of this type, from what I understand, is difficult at best. Too difficult to get a good translation. And the thing only works one way. Good luck!


Thursday, March 11, 2004


This is coolbert:

In his memoirs, Douglas Mac Arthur has describe the allied campaign in Europe [ETO] against the Nazi forces as "timid".

Now, Eisenhower was commander of the ETO and did oversee the campaign to defeat the Nazis.

Eisenhower did decide to run a campaign that was conservative in nature. NO bold strokes of genius here [bold strokes could be defined as very risky military operations, offering the possibility of spectacular victories and advances. Also offer the possibility of unmitigated disaster].

There were several reasons for this.

Eisenhower, in the thirties had studied the campaigns of Napoleon and was the acknowledged expert on the subject within the American Army.

From his studies of the campaigns of Napoleon, Eisenhower gained and appreciation that part of the success Napoleon enjoyed was due to the fact that he fought coalition forces.

Coalition forces do not make for successful campaigns. Dissension among the coalition partners makes for poor plans and eventual defeat.

Eisenhower was running a coalition between mainly the British and American allies, and others as well. Eisenhower made the conscious decision that harmony among the allies and the anti-Nazi coalition was to be paramount. Decisions would have to be made with regard as to how well any decision would play among the coalition partners. A major consideration in all planning was whether or not decisions would create harmony or disharmony. This was always a major consideration for Eisenhower. Create a harmonious coalition and keep it that way. Bold strokes do not fit in with harmony.

Secondly, Eisenhower had great respect for the German generals.

He knew that bold strokes had little chance of succeeding against the superior generalship of the German generals.

This superior generalship manifested itself in two ways during WW2.

One was the German generals could take a disintegrating, chaotic situation, such as the breakthrough [rupture of defenses by an attacking force] of their front, contain, stop and stabilize the situation. And inflict just enormous casualties upon the attackers. This was done to the attacking Russian forces on the Eastern Front on many occasions.

The second was that the German generals were very good at taking ad hoc units and making combat units out of these ad hoc units that would acquit themselves very well in battle.

A mix of troops in a divisional size unit might consist of an several understrength combat regiments, a battalion of overage, out of shape reservists, a company of Hitler Youth, a battalion of ground crews from Luftwaffe fighter interceptor units that had aircraft that could not longer fly, etc. Comb out units of dubious ability.

The German generals were very good at taking such units, combining them into ad hoc combat units, deploying and commanding them so that they were effective combat units. Eisenhower realized that given the superior German generalship, bold strokes would just not work against the German defenders in WW2. Better to pursue a conservative strategy that would guarantee success. No spectacular results, just slow but steady progress toward eventual victory.

It has also been suggested that there are even more sinister motivations behind the "timid" campaign waged by the allied forces in the ETO.

That the striking power of the 1 and 1/2 million allied troops was severely underestimated and their ability to advance into Germany and beyond was retarded by policy established at the highest level of the allied governments.

More specifically, Soviet agents of influence had sway over the policies of primarily the U.S. government, and wielded undue influence over President Roosevelt, making the post war environment more favorable for the Soviet side, less favorable for the allied side.

NO real conclusions have ever been reached regarding this matter, as far as I know.