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

Sunday, October 31, 2004

This is coolbert: It seems that there are three types of officers in the U.S. military.

One type could be called the "fighter". These are the men at the lower levels of command [exist also at the higher echelons too, but predominate at the lower levels]. Persons who command the combat arms platoons, companies, and battalions that actually do the fighting. These officers are most concerned with the tactics used to fight the battle they are entrusted to win. Their greatest interest is in having units that can fight and win using that proper combination of tactics, weaponry, communications, intelligence, organization, etc. When most civilians think of a military officer, they are usually thinking of a "fighter".

A second type of officer can be referred to as the "manager". Perhaps better called the logistician [the term logistician was first used by the U.S. Navy during World War Two]. But manager is the word usually bandied about in military circles, so I use that term here.

The manager is usually categorized as a staff officer who is concerned with the beans and bullets aspect of the military. And this is of paramount importance to the U.S. military in particular. Of all militaries in the world, the U.S. military is the one that is most concerned with fighting a war thousands of miles from it's home base. Overseas. Sometimes on the other side of the world. To fight a war, say in Iraq, you first have to move the troops to the site of the combat, and then sustain that force of troops and the scene of the fighting for sometimes years. As was done in Vietnam.

The managers job is to provide the troops with all the necessary impedimenta required by a modern military. This impedimenta is usually called "supplies", but is much more complicated than just food and ammunition. Supplies for the modern military includes all resources which are expended and must be replaced during the course of normal military actions. Runs the gamut from petroleum to sheets of paper.

A constant flow of supplies must be maintained to keep a modern military going. A constant flow that is the task of the manager. Procurement, shipping, transshipping, further shipping, and allocation is all the job of the manager, at various levels of command. In this sense the manager very closely resembles the business supervisor, the logistics operation being run on the same principles as a business would be run. Many managers DO have business management degrees for this reason.

The third type of officer to be found in the U.S. military can best be described as the "perfumed prince" [this the term being applied by David Hackworth].

A senior officer who operates in a sphere that is quite often not military. Operates at the political level. Acts as an advisor to the civilian elected officials that command the military at the highest level under our democratic system. The "perfumed prince" understands the geo-political ramifications of proposed military actions and advises what course of action is proper and warranted. What are the positives and negatives. The "perfumed prince" when acting in a capacity overseas as a senior commander has to be able to understand the foreign culture and history and be adept at interpersonal relationships with the leaders of foreign nations. May have to command or act in concert with the militaries of foreign nations as well.

Such officers often are prepared decades in advance for such assignments. Persons such as Wesley Clark. West Point grad, Rhodes Scholar, White House intern, staff and war college grad, etc. All this prepares the "perfumed prince" for assignment at the highest levels of command. Levels of command where abilities and skills not usually associated with a military man are needed to act effectively.

In the modern U.S. military, all three types of officers are a MUST. We must have a military that has fighters, managers, and "perfumed princes". If we are weak in any of the three officer "types", our entire military will be weak.


Friday, October 29, 2004

This is coolbert: Much has been made in the media of the wall that the Israeli is building to separate themselves from the Palestinians. And much criticism has been leveled against Israel for creating the wall. Justification for the wall is not warranted, say the critics, and this will create even more animosity and hatred against Israel from the Palestinian side.

As a means of defense against unconventional warfare attack, walls of the type Israel is erecting HAVE proven themselves to be effective.

An effectiveness demonstrated in conflicts all over the world.

Effective in the sense that they act as a barrier to prevent the two warring factions from getting at one another. Relative peace is the result. Hostility is still present, but the factions cannot close and fight it out with one another.

It should be noted that the "wall" the Israeli is erecting, a structure about eighteen feet high, is being erected only in areas where Israeli communities are in direct line of fire from the Palestinian communities opposite them. This WILL prevent sniper fire from being directed at the Israeli inhabitants living in close proximity to the wall. The remainder of the barrier consists of anti-tank ditches, land mines, barbed wire fences, and monitoring devices, and in some instances watch towers.

Barriers of this sort have proven effective in places such as Northern Ireland and Cyprus.

In the early 1970's, the British, after separating the populaces in Northern Ireland, did build a wall similar to the one the Israelis are erecting. This DID separate effectively the living spaces of the Catholics and Protestants and prevented the communities from fighting it out in the streets. DID NOT END the problem, but was a way of controlling the hostility and violence. Incidents between the civilian populaces came down markedly when the wall was put up. A wall that remains up to this day. See a picture of this wall by clicking here.

In Cyprus, not so much a wall, but a fence and a cleared patch of land running the length of the island has been used to separate the Greek and Turkish communities. This barrier, patrolled by Canadian troops, has been in place for over twenty six years and has been effective. Again, the barrier makes for a separation of the warring populaces. Once they cannot get at one another, the level of violence becomes negligible or manageable. Read about the wall in Cyprus by clicking here.

How effective are these walls really? Well, consider this comment by a diplomat concerning the Israeli wall, which is not yet finished:

"EU Diplomat says Israeli Wall a Success

The EU's representative in the Middle East, Marc Otte, has conceded that the controversial wall being built by Israel in the West Bank has stopped Palestinian extremists from carrying out suicide attacks in Israel. His comments, made in an interview with Financial Times Deutschland, make him the first high-level EU diplomat to publicly say that the barrier has fulfilled its aim. "The barrier has drastically sunk the number of attacks," said the Belgian diplomat. However, although he admitted that the number of attacks has fallen, he told FT Deutschland that it does not mean that he finds the wall good. Marc Otte said that the problems with the wall and international law remain. The International Court of Justice has criticised the course of the wall which, in parts, runs over Palestinian territory and not along the Green Line -- the pre-1967 border. ("

Good fences make for good neighbors. Does NOT remove the root cause of the problem, but does allow for a controlling of hostilities and a separation of the warring factions. Not a panacea, but a part of lessening tensions that works.


Tuesday, October 26, 2004

This is coolbert: In the period prior to the start of the Second Gulf War, there was a program on television narrated by George Kennedy. This program was devoted to the peoples of ancient Mesopotamia. The Fertile Crescent. The lands between the two rivers. Considered to be the birthplace of civilization as we know it. Evidently George Kennedy, his Irish surname notwithstanding, is of Christian Assyrian background. And proud of it. He was chosen for that fact to narrate the program. And the program detailed all the amazing accomplishments of the ancient people of this part of the world. To include the first instances of:

"the Sumerians, Assyrians and Babylonians were among the first to develop writing, mathematics and the science of astronomy."

"The world of mathematics and astronomy owes much to the Babylonians--for instance, the sexagesimal system for the calculation of time and angles, which is still practical because of the multiple divisibility of the number 60; the Greek day of 12 "double-hours"; and the zodiac and its signs. In many cases, however, the origins and routes of borrowings are obscure, as in the problem of the survival of ancient Mesopotamian legal theory."

"Technical accomplishments were perfected in the building of the ziggurats (temple towers resembling pyramids), with their huge bulk, and in irrigation, both in practical execution and in theoretical calculations."

"The achievement of the civilization itself may be expressed in terms of its best points--moral, aesthetic, scientific, and, not least, literary. Legal theory flourished and was sophisticated early on, being expressed in several collections of legal decisions, the so-called codes, of which the best-known is the Code of Hammurabi."

"Writing pervaded all aspects of life and gave rise to a highly developed bureaucracy--one of the most tenacious legacies of the ancient Middle East."

All the above accomplishments and even more were cited in the program as being evidence of the greatness of the ancient civilizations of Sumer, Babylon, Chaldea, Assyria.

There was one glaring omission however, that for some reason, was not mentioned.

The people of Mesopotamia were also the first to invent war as we understand war today. This was not the cattle rustling type of activity that I have mentioned in a previous blog entry. This was the war of a type that we would recognize as war as we practice it today. Invade the country or land of your foe, defeat the army of your foe, occupy and break the will of the foe to further resist. And the ancient people of the lands between the two rivers were very proficient at war. Perhaps best epitomized by Sargon. A great king and conqueror, who perhaps most of all perfected war in the sense that it has been practiced ever since. It is said of Sargon and his army of:

"Sargon . . . the city of Uruk he smote and its wall he destroyed. With the people of Uruk he battled and he routed them. With Lugal-zaggisi, King of Uruk, he battled and he captured him and in fetters he led him through the gate of Enlil. Sargon of Agade battled with the man of Ur and vanquished him; his city he smote and its wall he destroyed. E-Ninmar he smote and its wall he destroyed, and its entire territory from Lagash to the sea, he smote. And he washed his weapons in the sea." [2350 B.C.].

None of this was covered in the program narrated by George Kennedy. Well, this is similar to the exhibits at the recently opened American Indian Museum, is it not?? Not wanting to show or talk about a side of human behavior that moderns are uncomfortable with. The making of war.


This is coolbert: While doing background research for a blog entry, I came across this interesting tidbit. Astounded me. And still does. As late as the 1920's, Army officers did not vote. Either by regulations or by voluntary choice, they did not vote. I found this while reading an interview of H. Norman Schwarzkopf concerning his father. Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf, the father of H. Norman [H stands for only the initial and nothing else], was chosen for the position of Chief of New Jersey State Police because he had no party affiliation. He was around twenty six years old at the time and had not, as evidently all other Army officers had not, ever voted!!!

"When my dad came back and applied for the job, they said, "What are your credentials?" "I'm a West Point graduate. I've had this experience in the military, and I'm a good organizer..." and that sort of thing. And they said, "What are your politics?" And he said, "I don't have any. I've never voted in an election in my life." In those days, Army officers didn't vote. The commander in chief was the commander in chief, and therefore it wasn't right to vote for a political party. So Army officers didn't vote at all."

Well, this is strange. Yes, the commander in chief is commander in chief. But we have and have had in this country a secret ballot for some time. I can understand that it is necessary that the military officers of this country do have to be apolitical on the job and obey the commands and orders of the commander in chief. But surely it could have been reasoned that one could obey and comply with orders and still cast a secret ballot, and keep their political affiliation private to themselves. Much as is done now.

Hard to see where people were coming from on this one.


Sunday, October 24, 2004


This is coolbert:

The announcement of General Wesley Clark to run for President [his campaign did not succeed, obviously!] brought scornful comments from David Hackworth. Hackworth, the distinguished military commander and military commentator for over thirty years now. Perhaps the most biting and scornful comment of Hackworth's was the characterization of Clark as being a perfumed prince.

Now, David Hackworth IS a very distinguished military man. Fought in three wars, World War Two, Korea, and Vietnam. Rose from the rank of private to become a full Colonel. Was a man who earned and deserved the greatest respect possible. Hackworth is also mentioned in another blog entry as being of Scots-Irish background. A man coming an ethnic group that dislikes any form of elitism or aristocracy. It is obvious that Hackworth has a lot of disdain for Clark, describing Clark as a military man who got to the top [Clark became commander of NATO], "without every having gotten his boots dirty" [this according to Hackworth]. I am sure the implication here by Hackworth is that Clark got to the top the easy way, without having to endure the normal privations and hardships as suffered by most other military men, including Hackworth himself.

Is this a fair characterization?

Not entirely false, but over exaggerated.

It seems that Wesley Clark HAS led a charmed life.

He DID graduate first in his class academically at West Point. That is a notable achievement.

And he was spotted and groomed from that point on for a high level of leadership. Upon graduating West Point in 1966, Clark did further studies at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. For a West Point grad with such a distinguished academic record, this is not unusual. It seems that a lot of Clark's time at Oxford was spent in engaging in dialog with British students who were stridently anti-war and anti-American.

Subsequent to his days as a Rhodes Scholar, Clark did go to Vietnam, served in the infantry [Clark was in the armor branch, but commanded mechanized infantry in Vietnam], was wounded and did receive the Silver Star for valor [just as did John Kerry]. So it is an exaggeration on Hackworth's part to say that Clark rose to the top without ever having gotten his boots dirty.

As he seems to have an aversion to those persons he refers to as "perfumed princes", I am not sure what David Hackworth would have thought of such Generals as Mac Arthur, Patton, Eisenhower, and Schwarzkopf.

Douglas Mac Arthur for instance: (1) during his days as a cadet at West Point, had his mother rent a home just off post where she was able to properly supervise her son and his education!! (2) Upon assuming command of the Philippine military, took over, gutted and renovated the top floors of the most exclusive hotel in all Manila as his personal headquarters and living accommodations. Ensconced himself as almost a viceroy or generalissimo of a colonial power. (3) upon returning to the U.S., once again established living accommodations in the most exclusive hotel in Washington D.C., complete with separate living quarters for his Filipina mistress [keeping this mistress as a secret from his mother totally at the time [Mac Arthur at the time was in his fifties and his mother in her eighties]]!!!.

George S. Patton Jr. as a young West Point grad, deliberately sought out and married a young woman from the upper classes of American society. A woman independently wealthy and whose family had "connections" at the highest level of government. This was to be a means [among others] that allowed for Patton to rise to the level of command that he felt was his due. And something that he felt was his due from the very start of his military career. Patton was also famous for dressing in uniforms of his own design, even though the designs flouted regulations, regulations that most officers are sticklers for having subordinates obey.

Dwight David Eisenhower was a man who rose to the top literally without having gotten his boots dirty. A West Point grad, Eisenhower during World War One served as a pedagogue. An instructor. And in the inter-war years, Eisenhower established his reputation as being the finest staff officer in the U.S. Army. But prior to his becoming a General and commanding the European theatre, Eisenhower had never commanded troops at all!! Not at any level!! Eisenhower had absolutely no combat experience at all!!

Norman Schwarzkopf also seems to have led a very charmed life since even early childhood. Norman's father was a Major General who played an important role in U.S. military Middle East adventures during World War Two. During his early years, Norman attended boarding schools in Switzerland where he learned several languages, all the while spending summers with his father at various Middle Eastern postings [this is almost the same identical prep school background that John Kerry has]. Norman did serve as an infantry advisor to the South Vietnamese and did see combat, but not while leading U.S. forces.

I would like to hear Hackworth's comments and opinions of the above men! Surely there is more than one route to the top command other than the pull-yourself-up-by-the-boot-straps-and-do-it-as-I-did attitude of Hackworth's. And this is not to demean David Hackworth in the slightest. Surely David Hackworth realizes there is more than one way to the top. His way is not the only way.


Saturday, October 23, 2004

This is coolbert: Of course, as has been mentioned in previous blog entries, there has been much recrimination regarding the U.S. intelligence system and the failure to detect the 9/11 attacks in advance.

And much has been offered as possible solutions to the problem. A whole host of reforms and such that are going to, we are told, reform the system and allow for a better intelligence system responsive to the changing world environment.

And one suggestion that is stressed is to place greater emphasis on HUMINT [human intelligence]. The intelligence gleaned from secret agents. Persons you recruit from the enemy camp that are able to provide you with the most detailed plans of the enemy. Detail you will need to know to defeat this foe, a foe that is very stealthy and well hidden [I am of course, speaking here about the terrorist foe being fought in the current war].

Many experts over the years have also made the same suggestion that the U.S. needs to concentrate more on developing HUMINT resources. Yes, say the experts, the U.S. is good at say photographic intelligence ["spy" satellites], and communications intercepts [COMINT], but the U.S. is not good at HUMINT. And, say the experts, that is what we need, good HUMINT. Yes, say the experts, photos and intercepts can tell us what assets the enemy has, but only HUMINT can tell us with certainty what the foe intends to do with those assets [this is not totally so, but is a part of the solution].

[It seems that sitting at a desk and intercepting radio communications of a foe, or taking pictures from an orbiting satellite to glean intelligence are perfectly acceptable methods to Americans. This is TECHNICAL stuff. Not really bad in that you are not doing the process of intelligence gathering within the borders of your foe. You are not violating their integrity.]

And a variety of reasons are offered as to why the U.S. seems to do poorly at HUMINT. One is that most Americans do not understand foreign cultures and cannot easily develop rapport with foreign nationals that are targets for recruitment. Another reason often stated is that very few Americans have a facility for foreign languages. Not being able to speak the language of the prospective recruit is felt to be a serious flaw and a hindrance. And all these reasons seem to be valid and have merit. All these reasons can also be addressed and are probably not the "hindrances" they are made out to be.

Let me offer another reason, perhaps more compelling, as to why the U.S. seems to do "poorly" at HUMINT.

We as a society are just not comfortable with the entire concept of HUMINT and are hesitant to fully employ the method of recruiting persons to spy on their country or their compatriots. When you recruit someone to spy for you, you are expecting them to betray their own people. This is not something we admire in our own society. American society prides itself on being an open society not hiding things and being a society where secrets are either not necessary or are kept. This is of course not an absolute fact, but as a society, we do believe in openness and trust. We also believe in privacy and are living in a society where the words spies, snitches, rats, finks, and informers have very negative connotations. To most Americans the very nature of a person spying on others around them is loathsome.

Is the hesitancy to emphasize and use HUMINT an indication that Americans dislike the entire process of traditional espionage, the use of spies? Not by a long shot. Ever since there has been an America, and America has fought wars, spies have been employed.

But is this something we value and use as fully as possible? It would seem not.


Friday, October 22, 2004


This is coolbert:

In the previous blog entry, I made reference to two doctors, men in their sixties, who have been called to active duty. Again, this was seen as a sign that the military is scraping the bottom of the barrel, using men who are of an age relatively elderly for the military.

There is precedent for men who are relatively elderly to join the military. Men that sometimes serve with distinction.

Two such men were Frederick Selous and Edward Steichen.

Frederick Selous in the late 1800's was one of the most renowned explorers and big game hunters of the era [perhaps the most renowned]. Led English expeditions from southern Africa into what was "unexplored territory". As a big game hunter brought back tons of elephant tusks for the ivory market. Entered into areas where no "white man" had ever entered before. Was mostly highly regarded by the natives. His explorations opened central Africa for subsequent colonization by the British. It is the explorations of Selous that were used as the inspiration for the book "King Solomon's Mines". When World War One began, Selous volunteered his services, even though he was in his sixties, and was given a commission as a lieutenant. While serving in COMBAT, Selous was shot in the head and killed. A tragic loss. And need not have happened. Selous could have served in a capacity that was commensurate for someone his age. But Selous was a man of honor and vigor and served where perhaps he should not have.

Edward Steichen, the distinguished American portrait and fashion photographer, volunteered for military service shortly after Pearl Harbor. He also at the time was in his sixties. Steichen HAD served in World War One, and had achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Steichen was in command of a photo center that processed reconnaissance photos taken from aircraft. Steichen felt his experience could be put to good use. Volunteering for the Navy, he WAS given a commission, with some trepidation, and did head up a unit of photographers. Men whose mission was to document by photography the war effort. Steichen's unit did some innovative photographic technique for the time. Filmed and produced the documentary film "Fighting Lady", the story of the aircraft carrier Lexington. Steichen and his men did exemplary work during the war, much of it done while filming combat action at sea. This was not an easy assignment.

Men relatively elderly can contribute to the war effort. There should not be a blanket cut-off age for service. Each case has to be looked at individually. Persons with particular skills can contribute, and mightily sometimes too. Look at each person and see if they have skills that can be used and will aid in the war effort.

[Personal note: Several years ago now there was an article in the Army Reserve magazine about a man who had been brought into the reserve forces even though he was aged and retired. It seems he had particular skills the Army needed. He could speak Hindi and several other languages of the Indian sub-continent. And this man had served in World War Two, Korea, and Vietnam as well. He WAS able to put his skills to good use. Probably doing translations of documents and such. He was brought back into the reserves with the MOS [specialty] of Laundry Specialist. Fancy that!!??]


This is coolbert: Recent program on TV profiled two doctors, military reservists, who were being called to active duty because of the on-going counter-insurgency in Iraq. These men, both psychiatrists, were being activated, even though they were both elderly for military men, in their sixties [60's]. This was taken as being a sign that the Army in particular is scraping the bottom of the barrel, as they just do not have enough people to do the job.

This seems to be a bit of an exaggeration. It was not clear that both men would deploy to Iraq. They might be retained stateside and merely take the place of younger men who would deploy to the war zone.

And as psychiatrists, it should be apparent that they are being activated with the intention of treating a particular group of casualties.

Those persons who are suffering from mental instability or mental trauma due to combat.

Some statistics have been bandied about concerning casualties in Iraq that are striking and somewhat peculiar. It has been alleged that the total number of casualties [killed in action [KIA] plus wounded in action [WIA]] in Iraq has been around 28,000. This seems strange as the total number of deaths in Iraq to date is near 1100. Normally the number of casualties at this point with that number of dead would be around 4000 to 5000. This assumes the ratio of wounded over killed is about three or four to one. This was the observed rate in Vietnam, for instance. That figure of 28,000 might be grossly overinflated as a means of portraying the war as a lost cause with the casualty figures being misrepresented. How that figure of 28,000 was arrived at is just beyond me? It may be that the figure of 28,000 includes all persons treated for mental trauma or stress too.

In World War One combat stress related mental illness was called "shell shock".

In World War Two combat stress related mental illness was called "combat fatigue".

It is now realized that combat and the involuntary flow of certain chemicals in the brain induces what we now call combat stress related mental illness. I have talked about this extensively in other blog entries. Most of the time, treatment by a psychiatrist can greatly alleviate the patients mental illness and a trained soldier salvaged. A trained soldier that in many cases can return to combat relatively unscathed.

Rather than scraping the bottom of the barrel by activating sixty year old men, this may well be a sign that the Army has recognized a problem before it has become widespread and taken a positive effort to solve or mitigate the malady.

It should also be noted that it does make a LOT of sense to keep these trained men on call but on reserve status when there is no war. Having extra psychiatrists on full time active duty in peace time just is not reasonable. Battle stress mental illness, whatever the nature and form, will just not manifest itself unless the shooting starts. During a time of peace, you will not have battle stress. The presence of fear is lacking. Obvious!!


Sunday, October 17, 2004


This is coolbert:

When most people of the western world think of India, they have a perception of a country that is a non-aligned, non-violent, peace-loving people.

In the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi and his belief of non-violent, peaceful protest.

 Indians are looked upon as a passive people not having a violent or warlike nature about them.

And the image of Gandhi, peaceful protest and non-violence is justified. Gandhi did espouse such a philosophy and did practice it. And this IS the image that has been portrayed all over the world.

However, this approach of Gandhi was a twentieth century phenomenon.

In the millenniums of history in India, peaceful behavior, and non-violent protest were not the norm, it was the extreme exception to the norm.

The long history of the Indian sub-continent is full of war, conquest, and further war and further conquest.

I have touched very briefly in prior blog entries upon the invasion of the Indian sub-continent by the Aryan invaders. This occurring around 1500 B.C. as can best be determined. These invaders became the ancestors of the present day warrior caste, the kshatriya.

Ashoka, a conquering indigenous king of India, waged successful war throughout the sub-continent, bringing many kingdoms under his control [500 B.C.] Ashoka was also a Buddhist, and was profoundly disturbed after the fact as to the damage and death his various military campaigns had caused. He became repentant and sent Buddhist missionaries to all corners of the earth, even as far as Alexandria, Egypt.

Several centuries after Ashoka, came the approach of the Macedonian army under Alexander the Great [Secander to the Indians] [330 B.C.]. Alexander's army advanced into the sub-continent as far as present-day Pakistan, before turning back. Alexander's goal was to invade, conquer and subdue India, but this was not possible.

Many peaceful centuries did pass until the first Islamic invasions of India, around 700 A.D. The goal for the Muslims was the same as was that of Alexander's, invasion, conquest, and subjugation. And they were not successful until around the time of Mahmud of Ghazni [1000 A.D.] A series of attacks from Muslim forces continued for about five centuries, until total subjugation of the sub-continent by Muslim armies was complete [1500 A.D.] These Islamic rulers became known as the Mughals.

Sometime in the late 1700's began the invasion of the British, the goal being the same as all other conquerors. Invasion, conquest, subjugation. And for the most part the British fought against the armies of the local Mughal rajahs and shahs. The British were eventually successful, but their rule was always at risk from revolt [I would imagine that has been the same situation for all invading rulers of India]. The famous Sepoy Mutiny is a thing of legend, the British with great difficulty suppressing the "native" revolt.

Of course, in 1945 and for several years thereafter, came the last war fought with primitive weapons. The partition of British India into Pakistan and India. As many as two million people died during the fighting between the warring factions of the Hindus, Sikhs, and the Muslims. This fighting continues to this day, albeit on a much smaller scale [but always contains the possibility of wide-spread fighting at any time].

And since the partition of the Indian sub-continent, the forces of Pakistan and Indian have fought, what is it, three or four major wars. And threatened just recently even nuclear exchange with short range nuclear tipped missiles.

Within India there does exist a group [very large] of Hindus that can only be described as militants. This is the RSS. People who are prepared to fight, "only in self-defense", as they would say. When you read of fighting between factions of Muslims and Hindus in India, it is quite often the RSS that leading the fighting on the Hindu side. This organization does contain a hard-core of militants who are willing to use violence on a massive scale to achieve their aims. Among the trademarks of the RSS is physical culture of which stick fighting is an important part. Read further about the RSS by clicking here.

The modern Indian army is almost one million man strong [!!] and very well equipped with indigenous weaponry that is sophisticated and designed for the terrain the army of India will and does fight in. An outward looking military that has designs perhaps to be come the dominant power of the Indian Ocean region [maybe it already is [??]] and again, perhaps, even beyond that!!

It seems that even a land and people with such a strong religious tradition and a belief system that reveres animals to include even insects, war and war making is the rule, not the exception, much as it is throughout the rest of the world.



This is coolbert: As I have mentioned in previous blog entries, I am constantly on the watch for analogies between the natural world and the world of the military. Actions, behavior, practices as seen in nature that appear to be mimiced by man in the military sphere.

Shellfish are an example of how evolution has prepared a species for success. Success as a predatory animal.

It should be remembered that in the animal world, competition for resources is what stimulates species in their developmental process. Lack of success in the competition for resources means eventual extinction. If the body design of the organism is not sound, it will not survive. As simple as that.

Shellfish have developed a bodily design over the eons that has made them successful predators. This design incorporates three features. An armored shell, for protection. A foot, used as a means of locomotion, and a rasping mouth, for attacking prey and devouring same. This very simple but successful design is responsible for the proliferation of shellfish in a myriad of species.

An analogy to the shellfish can be found in the military tank. Only developed in the last hundred years, since the invention of the internal combustion engine. The military tank incorporates into it's design three features that make it a successful weapon of war [predator]. Thick armor [shell] for protection. A internal combustion engine [foot] for locomotion . And a main gun [rasping mouth] for attacking the enemy. This design is both simple and provides the ingredients for success.

As for the shellfish as with the military tank, successful design ensures success. Lacking in any of these three basic features means failure and death.

It is interesting that some species of shellfish have shed their protective armor, and yet have evolved into designs that also have been successful. Designs that do have observable analogies in the military world.

Squids and octopus are species of shellfish that have shed the protective armor of their ancient ancestors. And yet these species have thrived and proliferated. All the while maintain their predatory instincts and surviving.

Having shed the protective armor, squid and octopus have developed more sophisticated forms of both defense and attack.

No longer having the protective shell, they must rely upon other means of defense. One means of defense is sensors and intelligence. The intent is to sense any possible predator before the predator can see them. The squid or octopus sense their opposition from a distance and evaluate the sensory input. Arrive at conclusion as to what action to take for protection. One means of protection is camouflage. Squid and octopus can vary their shape and color to blend in with the surroundings. The are masters at camouflage. And of course, if the squid or octopus are detected, escape is enabled by ink [smokescreen] being sprayed into the water, the shellfish propelling themselves out of range of the attacker by using speed of movement [this is in contrast to the armored ancestors of the squid and octopus, which were slow moving animals].

When on the attack, squid and octopus employ the same sensors and intelligence they used for defense to detect prey and formulate a plan of attack. And the attack is delivered from all directions, using the multiplicity of arms for attacking mechanisms.

To me, squid and octopus resemble a light infantry unit or a band of guerrillas. Quick moving, relying upon stealth, sensory perception and an intelligence to evaluate the sensory input. Using camouflage, stealth, and quick movement to defeat the enemy, either on the attack or on the defense.

Humans have devised military practices that DO mimic what we see in nature.


Thursday, October 14, 2004


This is coolbert:

This particular blog entry is devoted to Colonel Masonobu Tsuji. The famous/infamous Japanese military officer whose life before, during, and after World War Two [WW2] could easily be the history of Japan during the same period. Tsuji has been mentioned in previous blog entries. Where ever Japan WAS at this period in time WAS also the place where Tsuji WAS. China, Manchuria, Mongolia, Malaya, Philippines, South Pacific, Burma, Indo-China, Japan, and back to Indo-China.

[My comments in bold]

Tsuji was a man of promise from an early age??

"Tsuji was born in Ishikawa Prefecture on October 11, 1900,

Attached to Army General Staff May 1921. Graduated War College (more advanced level evidently than Military Academy) November 1924."

"About 1930 he attended the War University as a lieutenant, where he quarreled, he said, with his instructors on matters of military tactics. Studied Chinese, though indifferently, and at some time studied Russian to about the same degree of enthusiasm."

This is a very unusual pattern of advancement, at least by western standards. The normal sequence progression for an officer would be for service as first a platoon leader, then a company executive officer, and then a company commander. And then, if the officer was considered to be promising, would attend Staff School and then be given staff positions. Tsuji seems to have short-circuited the whole process, being a staff officer at the age of 21??!! Perhaps the Japanese had a different approach??!!

Tsuji was a man with contacts at the highest level of Japanese society.

"Perhaps it was here that he was, as he later claimed, a classmate of Prince Chichibu, the Emperor's younger brother."

"he was an aide to the Emperor's younger brother, Prince Misaka"

"He recruited friends and acolytes in China"

"he had mysterious sources of power and probably direct access to Tojo;"

Once again, that a man of such junior rank would have such high level contacts is somewhat unusual. It seems that Tsuji from the get-go was an aspiring officer and made these contacts and friendships with an eye to the future.

Tsuji was a man who engaged in intrigue against his brother officers.

"The Kodo group believed that the entire affair had been devised as a trap by Tsuji. In any event, he stored up influence where it mattered: with such future commanders as Tojo, Renya Mutaguchi, and Tomioka Yamashita."

"He had also turned one staff officer over to the kempeitai for "corruption," as a result of which the officer committed suicide."

"Kawaguchi realized that Tsuji had never told the commander about the change in plans. Kawaguchi responded that he would have one battalion in position, whereupon he was replaced--Tsuji's intention, apparently. Tsuji called 17th Army Hq and told his colleague Col Konuma that "Kawaguchi refused to advance, and the division commander relieved him of his command."

"Kawaguchi thought that Tsuji agreed and that the change in plans would be passed up to General Murayama, but there was some mixup and Murayama wasn't informed. When Murayama found that Kawaguchi wasn't where he was supposed to be, sacked him on the spot. Kawaguchi believed Tsuji had deliberately betrayed him and never forgave him."

"He [Kawaguchi] nursed more hatred for his countryman Tsuji than for the enemy."

"he carried out the functions of a government spy."

"Not unexpectedly he was detested throughout the entire Japanese Army;"

And yet again, that an officer would behave in such a manner toward his brother officers is very unusual. A man behaving in such a manner usually becomes a pariah.

Tsuji also intrigued at the international and Japanese governmental level.

"One a "gangland-style assault in Tokyo," the other a railroad bombing as with Marshal Chang. "The latter plan was devised by a lieutenant colonel named Masanobu Tsuji, already an idol of the most radical young officers. A chauvinist of the first water, he was determined to thwart a summit meeting that was destined to end in a disgraceful peace."

"Identified as one of the "officers responsible for provoking the disastrous Nomonhan incident in 1939."

Tsuji was apparently heavily involved with "nationalist" elements that wanted a militaristic regime in Japan. They got what they wanted. Nomonhan [Khalkin Gol] was the clash between Soviet forces and the Japanese.

Tsuji was a man whose appearance epitomized the "yellow peril".

"wears the round-lensed Oriental spectacles that were so savagely caricatured in American propaganda cartoons during the Pacific War."

"his spectacles reflect the light and magnify his Oriental eyefolds, giving him a cruel aspect that would have satisfied Americans devotees of "Yellow Peril" books, movies, and comics."

Click here to see a picture of Tsuji.

Click also here to see another picture of Tsuji.

The caricature was the big buck teeth, and the slitted slanty eyes showing from behind thick glasses. Tsuji does not seem to resemble this.

Tsuji was a hard-core military man, forsaking familial responsibilities.

"By his own account, when in his thirties "I . . . divorced my wife and left my (two) children to participate in the movement for national reformation,"

"Despite his occasional visits to Japan, he evidently never saw his family. During the war, his wife had to go to work in a garment factory and send his eldest son to work in a bakery shop, while two younger children were put in an orphanage."

Tsuji divorced his family only in a figurative sense, not a literal. He wanted to devote himself entirely to his military career without any distraction of family!!

Tsuji was an operational planner of extraordinary ability.

"He was often at the front giving advice and devising fresh plans"

"Tsuji became a staff officer in charge of operations and planning under Lt-General Tomoyuki Yamashita. He applied himself diligently and concluded that Singapore could not be defended from the rear, that British fighter strength was much weaker than announced, that British land and sea forces had only been reinforced and only half the 80,000 or so forces were 'Europeans'"

"Tsuji persuaded his superiors in Tokyo to send him to Rabaul as an observer. As usual, he soon became a go-between, arguing the army's need for a full-scale relief expedition to Admiral Yamamoto aboard the flagship Yamato.

The Japanese assault force consisted of 5,600 infantry plus support troops, with Tsuji personally directing operations."

"but where the business of fighting was concerned, he was invariably right."

"Tsuji was one of the most extraordinary men in the entire Japanese army. . . . Tsuji was a man of extraordinary ingenuity and courage;"

Tsuji was the chief of operations for the Malayan campaign that defeated the British.

Tsuji was a war criminal.

"In Singapore, "five thousand Chinese had been murdered largely at his instigation for 'supporting' British colonialism."

"Tsuji believed that all prisoners should be executed, the Americans because they were colonialists and the Filipinos because they had betrayed their fellow Asians."

"But other officers, whose names for good reason have vanished from the record, carried out Tsuji's oral instructions, which were reinforced by the press."

"But Imperial Headquarters was so insistence about the execution of Santos." Kawaguchi: "Whom do you mean by Imperial Headquarters?" Hayashi: "It was Tsuji."

"The decree, as the Chinese soon discovered, was part of Operation Clean-up (called Sook-Ching). It had been planned by Lieutenant-Colonel Tsuji, officer in charge of planning and action. The 25th Army intended to move to Sumatra. Only the Defense Force would be left behind to hold Singapore. Tsuji argued that before they went the 25th Army should clean up all anti-Japanese elements including the Chinese volunteers who fought so tenaciously against the Japanese, all members of the China Relief Fund, and other anti-Japanese organizations. The most brutal massacre for weeding out and exterminating anti-Japanese elements began in Singapore."

"As a result, many thousands of Chinese men lost their lives during the ruthless Operation Clean-up. But today the official figure said only several thousands died while many sources indicate the death toll may be as high as 50,000. At the War Crime Trial in 1947, the Japanese defendants admitted to killing only 5,000 Chinese civilians.
A.D. 1942 - Singapore (Operation Sook Ching)
70,699 Chinese tortured and/or killed by Japanese
Kempeitai in Colonel Tsuji Masanobu's "Sook Ching" or
Purification/Ethnic Cleansing in reprisals for overseas
Chinese support of mainland China against the Japanese

"This is extraordinary, as the massacre in Singapore ranks third to those at Nanking and Manila."

"Intelligence Marred by Cruelty

Mamoru Shinozaki, who is remembered for saving many Chinese lives in Singapore during a Chinese purge, names Tsuji as "the one who made plans for the Chinese massacre." Sook Ching or Shuku Sei (purge through purification) operation was planned by the Operation Staff of the 25th Army which Tsuji headed and carried out under an order issued in the name of General Yamashita. The directive was transmitted from Yamashita through the Chief of Staff Major General Kawamura Saburo, Commander of Syonan-To garrison, who delegated the task to the Kempetai. Chinese males between the ages of 18 and 50 were to report to mass-screening centres. Some were taken away and never seen again. About 6,000 Chinese were killed in the large-scale purge (the Chinese version puts the figure at 50,000)."

"The 1946-1963 file of Colonel Tsuji Masanobu, who eluded capture and trial for alleged crimes against the Chinese at Singapore, and for mistreatment of Allied POWs. After returning to Japan, allegedly in disguise in 1948, but not identified until 1950"

"he was cruel and barbarous;"

Cruel and barbarous. That is an apt description. Atrocities carried out without a qualm and at the behest of Tsuji that met his criteria for proper treatment of "enemies" of the Empire. The ethnic Chinese of Malaya DID aid and assist the British, whereas the ethnic Malay did not. This group of ethnic Chinese in Malaya had a strong antipathy for the Japanese and this greatly provoked persons such as Tsuji. And Tsuji did escape war crimes prosecution totally. In 1947 Hirohito gave blanket amnesty to all Japanese that had committed war crimes. And in the 1950, SCAP [Supreme Command Allied Powers], the occupying power in Japan, ended all war crimes trials of Japanese as part of a bargain for Japanese support during the Korean War??!!

Tsuji was a courageous military man.

"My body carries the bullets of five countries--Russian from Nomonhan, American from Guadalcanal, Chinese from Shanghai, British from Burma, and Austrian [sic] from the Philippines." He boasted that no enemy bullet could kill him, and that his lines of communication went back to General Tojo and perhaps even to the Deity."

"By his own account, Tsuji was badly wounded in the Burma campaign, and this may have been the occasion for the medal."

"wounded seven times and carried "more than 30 odd pieces of shrapnel, both large and small" in his body."

"he declared himself immune to death by enemy action,"

Tsuji was undeniably a brave man. Exposed himself to fire and was wounded on a number of occasions. He DID NOT just stay in headquarters and make plans that others carried out.

Tsuji was a homosexual??

"(Wherever Tsuji traveled, he seemed to find a "pure- hearted" youngster who wept upon parting from him. Whether this was a literary cliche or a reference to homosexual liaisons, I can't decide.)"

"even obtains "a fine lovable young soldier" as his orderly."

"Met another Japanese, "a pure hearted youth" deciphering Chinese communist codes."

"bade goodbye to his orderly, who of course wept bitter tears,"

This is just not proven. Raises eyebrows, much as it did for T.E. Lawrence and the rumors that existed in the same fashion. Perhaps this is a lot of get-up by the many enemies of Tsuji to defame the man?

Tsuji was a man who eschewed and hated the fleshpots.

"These headquarters officers are all rotten. They are only working for their medals. Every night they go to parties and play with geishas. Since the China Incident, all the military have gone bad. They hate me because I know all this and speak out."

"As the story was told, he had once burned down a geisha house with his fellow officers inside. Either through loyalty to his wife and children, or out of a more generalized misogyny or perhaps homosexuality, had nothing to do with women when he was campaigning."

"He was offended by the sight of "comfort women," there and at the nightly parties. In his puritan fashion, he set about to clean them up."

Since Tsuji was a man that had "divorced" his family for the duration of the war at least, he saw no need for others NOT to do the same. Devote all your energies for the war effort and the Emperor is how Tsuji saw things. He expected and was high disappointed when others did not reciprocate his views.

Tsuji was a cannibal.

"Tsuji and some other staff officers had eaten the liver of an enemy pilot.

Instead, Parker was killed while they were at dinner, "while trying to escape." It was then and there, in this version, that the pilot's liver was brought in.

"The more we consume," Tsuji proclaimed, "the more we shall be inspired by a hostile spirit towards the enemy." Some officers merely toyed with their portions, some ate a bit and spit it out. Tsuji called them cowards and ate until his own portion was finished."

"especially Major Abe and Colonel Tsuji. A Captain Lily of the U.S. Army Military Police turned up to investigate the incident of cannibalism in China, and the two officers feared that they would be charged with Lieutenant Parker's murder."

The eating of the liver of your enemy is said to imbue the diner with the courage and virtues of the vanquished. I do not think this is something that is native to Japanese culture. Tsuji may have picked this up while on sojorn in the South Pacific. Natives there are confirmed cannibals who engage in eating their enemies. It seems that Parker, the American, was a pilot whose plane was shot down. Parker was captured, executed, prepared and eaten!!

Tsuji was a spy master.

"After Malaya, Tsuji was in Burma. When Japan surrendered, he was asked by the Japanese authorities to "disappear". He wandered around Southeast Asia in disguise"

"Brilliant Intelligence Officer

One of the officers assigned to the Japanese army research unit in Taiwan to plan the invasion of Malaya and Singapore. He was tasked with collecting in six months all data on tropical warfare, from organizing army corps, equipment, campaign direction, military strategy, tactics and geography. Japanese nationals traveling and living in Malaya and Singapore provided useful information."

"As long as the Chinese Nationalists felt that a man was useful to them, they detained and used him."

Refers to his outfit as Third Research Group, aka The Bamboo Shelter. It was, he says, "a miserable intelligence unit."

"Our treatment was equivalent to detention."

"He is put to work for the National Defense Department Section [intelligence] Comprehensive Study Group. On Aug 4 moved to former Japanese Supreme Hq!"

"Tsuji's position now "midway between that of a prisoner and a guest." Despite this setback, he goes to work at the Military Control Bureau's propaganda department"

"Says a band of seven young "special attack" (kamikaze) officers were in Thailand, disguised as priests while spying for the Japanese authorities; they "insisted on joining me."

"I'd like you to go underground in China and open up a new way for the future of Asia."

"He decides to go underground in China."

"On 22 Oct Tsuji decided to make his own reconnaissance of Malaya"

As has been mentioned previously, Tsuji was the operational planner for the Malayan campaign. Not only was he the operations planner, but he had also been the intelligence officer in charge of gathering all available intelligence regarding the Malay peninsula and the British forces defending same. It does appear that at the end of the war, Tsuji and other selected officers went undercover to pose as Buddhist monks in China and throughout all of Southeast Asia. The purpose was to set up espionage rings for the FUTURE. For a losing power to do so is not unheard of. Gehlen the German intelligence officer, volunteered his espionage network in eastern Europe to the CIA at the end of WW2. From what is described, it seems a lot of Tsuji's work was done for the Nationalist Chinese fighting the communist forces under Mao, with an eye to a future conflict with the Soviet Union!!

Tsuji was a politician.

"subsequently went into politics."

"Elected to Diet 1952 "and twice thereafter"; wrote numerous books & articles."

In Japan, there is a small party of avid nationalists. A political party that advocates a return to the rule of the military and an adherence to the ancient samurai traditions. This party also has strong ties to the Yakuza [Japanese Mafia]. I would not be one bit surprised if Tsuji was a representative of this party.

Tsuji was a man of strong opinions.

"No respecter of persons he would advise his superiors without hesitation; often he would give orders in their name without the slightest authority."

"Col. Tsuji also wrote an article in the 1950's recommending Japan acquire
nuclear weapons!"

"he ranked the fighting qualities 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."

"Colonel Tsuji Masanobu, later explained that "our candid ideas at the time were that the Americans, being merchants, would not continue for long with an unprofitable war."[6]"

This rating scheme of Tsuji's must have made based upon observations made during th earliest days of the war. At the end of the war, De Puy rates that one American soldier was equal to four Japanese, at brigade and higher echelon. One American soldier was able to accomplish as much as four Japanese, due to a variety of factors. This was not the case at the start of the war! Placing the Chinese second only to the Japanese is also a surprise. The fighting reputation for the Chinese army during WW2 was not that great. Pretty good, sometimes, on the defense, but not good on the offense. Often time preferring to advance on a Japanese position and then dig in and defend, waiting for a Japanese attack. Tsuji does give a pretty good rating for American troops, at least we can give him that.

Tsuji was a prolific author.

"The convoys sailed on 4 Dec, each man religiously studying the pamphlet Tsuji had written,"

"Wrote another report on likelihood of WWIII, a manual on cold- weather operations, a basic training manual, a manual on "strategic uses of topography," and lectured on WWIII to Defense Dept officers. Spent six months translating Japanese manual of 1924 about fighting Soviet Union in Siberia."

"wrote numerous books & articles."

"a 32-page manual entitled "Read This Alone -- And The War Can Be Won." This manual was distributed by the Japanese Imperial Army Headquarters to all troops heading for the combat zones in southeast Asia. The detailed instructions on how to treat the civilians as well as the American, British, and Dutch colonialists give chilling insights to the history of the war"

"He then wrote a number of books on the Japanese war campaign in Malaya and Singapore, including "Japan's Greatest Victory, Britain's Worst Defeat: The Capture of Singapore, 1942." He stopped at the fall of Singapore, conveniently excluding the purges he had taken masterminded."

"Tsuji published best selling accounts of his wartime exploits and assumed leadership of the East Asia League."

"In Oct 1947 began work translating a multi-volume Japanese manual on Soviet war potential. Submitted resignation Feb 1948 and in April granted two months' leave."

Tsuji seems to have been a man who had a very high opinion of himself and did not hesitate to make that fact known to others.

Tsuji was a man whose career inspired others [is this good or bad??!!].

"Tsuji was a close friend of Kitta, and several post war nationalist leaders, notably Park Chung Hee [South Korea] and Sukarno [Indonesia], claimed inspiration from him."

This is most interesting. Years ago now, Park Chung Hee was the strongman ruler of South Korea. Had been a general officer in the South Korean army before assuming role of President of ROK. And also a member of the collaborationist Korean forces that served with the Japanese during WW2 [many brutal guards on the infamous Burma railroad were Korean nationals.] At the time, all the Korean Generals familiar to American officers stationed in South Korea were known to the Americans by a nickname, each and every Korean general having their own peculiar nickname. All except one. Park. He was a man no one, and I mean no one, ever took lightly. A man who the greatest possible respect was shown to. Having Tsuji as an inspiration seems to explain a lot, doesn't it??

Tsuji was a CIA operative??

"Bergamini (1046) also confirms Masanobu's disappearance. He speculates he
may have still been alive (this, in 1971) and a CIA agent in Hanoi, after his disappearance Laos. However, given his inside knowledge about Dulles during the new JFK admin., a real potential blackmail threat that Dulles didn't need--and given his continued contact with CIA, I now suspect that Dulles had him killed there in Laos in 1961."

It may be very well that Tsuji offered the services of his agents to the CIA in return for something that he valued. What that would be I just cannot say. Having established a spy ring in SE Asia at the end of the war, Tsuji could offer something to the CIA that they desperately needed at the time, ready-made agents in an area of the world that suddenly became of the greatest importance to American interests. Tsuji, appearing in Saigon in 1961 and then suddenly disappearing could be related to this.

Tsuji was a Viet Cong/NVA commander??

"serving as an Operations Staff officer under Vo Nguyen Giap. When one considers the ruthless and brilliance of the North Vietnamese operations, the hand of Masanobu Tsuji can be seen clearly."

[I posed the question of Japanese advisors to the Vietnamese to a Vietnamese professor at Harvard. She was very skeptical, given the hatreds left over from the Japanese occupation.]"

Could it be that Tsuji offered his services to General Giap and this offer was accepted? Sounds bizarre and far-fetched. But what is it? Fact is stranger than fiction!

Tsuji was a man who disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

"Tsuji mysteriously disappeared while traveling through Southeast Asia. This time, his disappearance in Vietnam in 1961 was real"

"Even after he returned to public life in Japan, writing several books about the war, "he still lived mysteriously, traveling on secret missions, and in April, 1961, he went to Vietnam,"

It may here that he did disappear, as part of the activation under his control of a spy ring in SE Asia. Not for anyone to know about, disappearing and not emerging in the same persona. Perhaps led the rest of his life as one who has adopted a new guise and life.



Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Port Blair.

This is coolbert:

All throughout the Second World War, [WW2], and even before that, the Japanese Army engaged in the type of atrocities one only associates normally with the Nazis and the Soviets.

Some of these atrocities are well known and remembered. Such as the Rape of Nanking [China], and the Bataan Death March [Philippines]. And yet, most of the atrocities committed by the Japanese are not well known.

And there seems to be a very big contradiction here. In their home islands, the Japanese are noted for their law abiding nature and politeness. Saint Francis Xavier is reputed to have said about the Japanese, "among the heathen we shall find no people that exceed the Japanese in manners". And yet, when outside the home islands, especially during WW2, the Japanese, for some reason, behaved in many instances as brutes and savages. The politeness was not only gone, it was replaced by a lack of any norms of civilized behavior. A Jekyll and Hyde mannerism that is hard to explain.

A perfect example of a little know but nonetheless horrendous Japanese atrocity occurred on the Andaman Islands. Islands located between the Dutch East Indies and Indian in the Bay of Bengal. both in 1942 and 1945 the Japanese perpetrated atrocity that is hard to understand:


(March 23, 1942) Japanese forces occupied the British controlled Andaman Islands.

They met no resistance from the local population but within hours the 'Sons of Heaven' started an orgy of looting, raping and murder.

Unbelievable orgies were perpetrated in the towns and villages with women and young girls forcibly raped and young boys sodomized [in their own land, such behavior was totally unthinkable].

In Port Blair, eight high-ranking Indian officials were tortured then buried up to their chests in pits they were forced to dig. Their chests, heads and eyes were then prodded with bayonets after which the pit was sprayed with bullets until the helpless victims were all dead.

The Director of Health and President of the Indian Independence League [a group that favored independence of India from Britain, a group that was favorable to the Japanese!], Diwan Singh, was arrested and nearly 2,000 of his Peace Committee associates incarcerated in the local jail and subjected to the water treatment, electric shocks and other unspeakable forms of torture for eighty two days.

Those left alive were then taken out to the country and shot and buried.

After the massacre the Japanese resorted to a reign of terror, women were abducted and taken to the officers club to be raped by the officer elite [this sort of behavior by senior officers speaks of a total breakdown of discipline and order].

A shipload of Korean girls was brought in to participate in this 'sport'.

During the three and a half years of Japanese occupation, out of the 40,000 population of Port Blair around 30,000 were brutally murdered.

The small islands of the Andamans were left a scene of utter devastation.

This was Japan's way of helping India get her freedom from the British."


( August 14, 1945 )

Situated midway between the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean, lie the tranquil Andaman Islands. As the food shortage became acute during the last month of the war, the Japanese occupiers decided to exterminate all those who were no longer useful or employable. All were deprived of their personal possessions and household goods before being embarked on three boats. About two kilometers from the shore of the uninhabited Havelock Island they were forced to jump into the sea and swim to the beach. Most of them, around a hundred, drowned on the way and those who made it were abandoned to die of starvation. Of the original 300 who landed only eleven were alive six weeks later. The next day, 800 Indian civilians were rounded up and transported to another uninhabited island, Tarmugli. Transferred to the island in small boats, they wandered aimlessly on the beach waiting for further orders. Soon, a detachment of 19 Japanese troops arrived and what followed was one of the most heinous crimes in the annals of the Pacific war. It took the detachment just over an hour to slaughter all but two of the 800 victims by shooting and bayoneting. Next day, August 15, 1945, the day of the Japanese surrender, a burial detail of troops arrived to remove all traces of the massacre. Within twenty-four hours all 798 bodies were collected and burned in funeral pyres until only fragmented bones and ashes remained. The ashes were then buried in deep pits dug on the beach. In a gross miscarriage of justice, the Japanese officer responsible was sentenced to only two years in prison by a British Military Court."

There is something very strange about these "incidents".

It seems that many of the persons murdered on the Andamans were followers of Chandra Bose, an Indian agitator and Axis collaborator who hoped for Axis victory in WW2 as a means of gaining Indian independence from Britain. THE PEOPLE THE ATROCITIES WERE PERPETRATED AGAINST WERE FOR THE MOST PART PERSONS WHO WELCOMED AND HOPED FOR JAPANESE VICTORY. PERSONS WHO WANTED A JAPANESE INVASION OF THE ANDAMANS IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!!!

In addition, please note the date of August 14 and August 15, 1945. This is the day before and the day of the Japanese surrender. You would have reasonably have thought that at least by this time the Japanese would have seen the handwriting on the wall and realized that further uncivilized and beastly behavior was NOT in the THEIR interests. But NO!! What was the mentality behind this, I just cannot say?

It should also be kept in mind that at the time of the Japanese surrender there were still about 300,000 allied internees and POW's in the hands of the Japanese. If not for the speedy end of the war in the Pacific brought about by the use of atomic weaponry, many of those 300,000 persons at the hands of the Japanese would have undoubtedly suffered the same fate as the people of the Andaman Islands!!!

"British/Indian troops landed on the Islands after the Japanese surrender,in October 1945."




Monday, October 11, 2004

This is coolbert: Here is how instilling aggressiveness can lead to consequences that the unit commander does not anticipate.

When the 101st Airborne Division first deployed to Vietnam in say 1965 or 1966, the commander of that unit, a Major General, wanted to promote aggressiveness among his troops. And to do so, he made this challenge to his soldiers. "Whoever in my command is the first to close with the enemy [VC/NVA] and kill an enemy soldier with an edged weapon gets a five day R&R [rest and relaxation] within country [Vietnam]."

Well, some of the paratroopers of the 101st decided to take the General up on his offer. And they began to carry hatchets [unauthorized weaponry] with them when ever they went into combat. And sure enough, one troop was able to close with the enemy and did kill an enemy soldier with his hatchet.

What happened next was what the General had not anticipated. This soldier, after killing the enemy with his hatchet, then cut off the head totally and brought it back as evidence of his deed. That guy wanted the five day pass and brought the head back to prove what he had done.

Well, this goes against the Laws of Land Warfare, of course. And the result was that the soldier was courts martialed, found guilty and sent to Leavenworth to do a term in prison. Not what he had anticipated as being his "reward". And the General? He too was courts martialed for creating a climate that had led to this violation of the law. The General too was found guilty and discharged, his career over.

This is an instance of getting what you wish for, but in the wrong way.

This also bears out very well what Craig has mentioned in some blog entries he has made. That there were aberrations of behavior committed by American soldiers in Vietnam. But for the most part, that behavior was just that, aberrations. And punished in many instances as it should be. American soldiers were not the raping, murdering, baby killers that they have been portrayed as by some gadflies and just plain goofy people.


Sunday, October 10, 2004

This is coolbert: For a period of over one hundred years now, the General Staffs of armies throughout the world have been faced with a decision that seems to be anachronistic.

This decision revolves around the bayonet and the bayonet lug affixed to rifles carried as the standard weapon by the common soldier. Having the bayonet lug on a rifle allows a bayonet to be attached to the rifle, the rifle then becoming the modern day version of the ancient spear.

[The bayonet charge is the event most persons think of when thinking of aggressive military action. A group of soldiers fixes bayonets on their rifles and charges pell mell across a battlefield, to engage the opposition in close quarters combat, the enemy either fleeing at the sight of "cold steel" or being cut down by expertly wielded thrusts of the "spear"].

Having the common soldier carry a large knife is something that almost everyone concedes is intuitively obvious. A knife can be used in a variety of ways. But, placing that knife on the end of the rifle and making a bayonet out of the same knife is also intuitively felt by modern observers to be antiquated [quaint??].

That is not to say that the bayonet did not in the past, just as the spear did, play an important role in warfare. That was during the era of muzzle loaded muskets that had a very slow rate of fire. A common tactic on the say the Napoleonic battlefield would be for two masses of troops to approach one another, fire volleys of musket fire at one another at a range of say fifty yards, and then advance in masse with fixed bayonets, each side engaging in close quarters bayonet fighting, one side hopefully prevailing over the other in the end. In some circumstances, it would be noted that resolute troops advancing with "cold steel" would put the opposition to flight [less resolute troops would be described as not having the stomach [guts] for the fight, "cold steel" causing a particular fear in the less resolute troops. Similar to "tank fright"].

This is how many battles of war were fought prior to the wide spread use of the rifled musket of the American Civil War and subsequently the bolt action and semi-automatic rifles of twentieth century warfare, culminating in the modern assault rifle.

Rifles of the last one hundred years possess a much longer range, accuracy, and rate of fire over weapons carried by the common soldier of the past. An exponentially greater amount of firepower has been accomplished on the modern battlefield just from rifle fire alone, not to mention the other weaponry that did not exist say during the Napoleonic Era. And with it the tactics have changed markedly. Battles and close quarter combat fought with bayonets are almost totally a thing of the past. It has been observed that in the wars of the last one hundred years, 80 % of all deaths are caused by either artillery or automatic weapons rifle. Bayonets, as with sidearms such as pistols, account for a very small number of deaths on the battlefield. A very small percentage of deaths indeed, probably less than 1 %, if that!! The use of edged weaponry as a killing weapon on the modern battlefield is nearly nil!!

And yet, when it comes to making the decision as to whether or not to incorporate the bayonet lug on the newest version of rifle to be carried by the common soldier, the answer is invariably YES.

This decision flies in the face of the evidence that use of the bayonet is so rare in modern warfare that in the instances where the bayonet is used, the stir caused by usage has resulted in the Medal of Honor being awarded to the practitioner:

"Col. Lewis L. Millet, a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient who led the last bayonet charge in U.S. military history in Korea"

"Capt. Millett ordered the 3d Platoon forward, placed himself at the head of the 2 platoons, and, with fixed bayonet, led the assault up the fire-swept hill. In the fierce charge Capt. Millett bayoneted 2 enemy soldiers and boldly continued on, throwing grenades, clubbing and bayoneting the enemy, while urging his men forward by shouting encouragement. Despite vicious opposing fire, the whirlwind hand-to-hand assault carried to the crest of the hill. His dauntless leadership and personal courage so inspired his men that they stormed into the hostile position and used their bayonets with such lethal effect that the enemy fled in wild disorder."

Read about the whole incident by clicking here.

See a stylized picture of this incident by clicking here.

Read about an incident using edged weaponry in Iraq just in this year [2004] by clicking here.

Keep in mind, this was the last time the U.S. military used the bayonet is such a fashion. Usage of the bayonet has become almost a zero in the last century.

So why is the bayonet still incorporated as a weapon of war??

Well, you would always be able to say it allows the common soldier a weapon of last resort if necessary. Such situations of last resort have not appeared for a half century or more, however.

Bayonets and the associated training for same seem to serve a purpose that has some utility however.

Bayonet training is used as a form of individual and group disciplined training. Such as drill and ceremonies would be. Incorporates a form of physical training as well.

A set of bayonet drills, called series, is taught the soldier. Long, and short thrust series, and the horizontal and vertical butt stroke series [using the butt of the rifle as a bludgeon] is taught the common soldier. Drills of these moves are done over and over, to the accompaniment of much yelling. It is felt that these disciplined drills, combining mental and physical, help to instill "aggressiveness" in the troop. At some point, pugel training will be engaged in by the "trained" soldier. Troops wearing a helmet with face guard, groin protection, and hockey-like gloves, will wield a large club padded at either end. These clubs simulate the rifle with bayonet. Soldiers will pair off and try out the various bayonet moves they have been taught on one another. This stuff can get rough!!

As for these drill preparing the soldier for combat using the bayonet, well, the chances of ever having this happen are very nil. So nil, that you would reasonably ask yourself if this all does suit a purpose. Perhaps the time spent in bayonet drills could be better spent in other training more likely to happen. But then, the military all over the world has it's ways that it deems proper. And bayonet training is one of the ways.


Friday, October 08, 2004


This is coolbert:

Well, it does seem that Lindbergh was asked to come to Germany on an intelligence mission for the U.S. government from the start.

The military attache of the U.S. in Berlin at the time was an infantryman who had no knowledge of aviation matters. The attache did have an underling, a aviation man, who was called the aviation attache. But this man was not considered to be competent to evaluate the German Luftwaffe and it's development in a proper manner.

It was felt that as the man considered by the public to be the greatest living aviation or the greatest aviator of all time for that matter, Lindbergh would be the proper man to do the job of evaluating the Luftwaffe.

Having had all the arrangements made by the U.S. military attache, Lindbergh was indeed wined and dined in Germany by the highest levels of the German government. Lindbergh was looked upon from the start by the Nazis as being the "perfect" man. Nordic, handsome, accomplished, possessing high intelligence and ability, to the Nazi, Lindbergh was "numero uno" [Most Nazi higher ups were anything but the "ideal man". When they found someone that was, they held such persons in very high esteem].

It seems the results of Lindbergh's evaluation of the Luftwaffe were spotty.

Lindbergh was shown a lot of the German aircraft development and was shown the Luftwaffe as it was at the time. His observations were sought out by the Nazis and appreciated.

[In this regard, it would be realized that Lindbergh was a recognized expert on aviation throughout the world. He DID have a lot of knowledge in the area of how to get the most out of an aircraft. How to set controls to get the maximum performance out of an aircraft was a specialty of Lindbergh's. He was a master in this regard. Lindbergh and his wife Anne Morrow, did pioneer most of the world air routes in use to this day!! This was done in the thirties with Lindbergh at the controls and his wife as navigator, flying a two seater aircraft of high performance. The flight across the Atlantic was not the only accomplishment of Lindbergh].

Lindbergh did not seem to grasp some basic factors pertinent to the Luftwaffe however.

Factors that while important to the Luftwaffe, seemed to be not of importance to an American. Lindbergh did not seem to realize that the main role of the Luftwaffe as seen by the Nazis themselves was as support for the ground forces. The Luftwaffe was to be a tactical air force supporting a blitzkrieg ground advance. Lindbergh did not see any development in Germany of long-range, heavy bomber aircraft, such as the American B-17. To Lindbergh, this seemed to be a deficiency. But this was from the American standpoint, not from the German.

[All throughout World War Two [WW2], neither the Germans or the Soviets did develop long-range bomber aircraft capable of carrying out a strategic bombing offense of the oppositions homeland. The emphasis of the German and Soviet air forces was on supporting at the tactical level the ground forces].

The entire mission of Lindbergh's to Germany must be categorized therefore as an intelligence mission IN THE OPEN!! I just don't think it was all that fruitful!? This does not mean that Lindbergh's mission demonstrates an affinity for fascism or anything like that. He was invited and asked to give his honest opinion. Perhaps a better understanding of the Luftwaffe was gleaned from Lindbergh's mission, but not excessively so! Again, as for Lindbergh's purported affinity for fascism?

It would seem this mission proves nothing!


Thursday, October 07, 2004

This is coolbert: The hunt for the German battleship Bismarck has been immortalized by movie, song, and book.

The hunt and eventual destruction of the Bismarck was noteworthy on a number of fronts.

It was most noteworthy with regard to secret weapons.

Every secret weapon available at the time to the British was employed in the hunt and the battle to sink the Bismarck. These secret weapons included ship-borne radar, Ultra intelligence, and magnetic arming torpedoes.

Ship-borne radar on the British battleship Prince of Wales was just in it's infancy. Had just been installed and had not been field tested at the time. This was hoped to give a real advantage to the British during inclement weather so common in the North Atlantic, or during hours of darkness also so common in the northern latitudes. And the radar on the Prince of Wales was put to good use. In tracking and following the Bismarck after the disastrous encounter between the Bismarck and the HMS Hood. The Prince of Wales did not dare close on the Bismarck for fear of being sunk too. The mission after the sinking of the Hood was to track and follow and report. This the Prince of Wales did successfully for a necessary period until other means could be brought to bear.

Ultra intelligence from intercept and decryption of secret messages from the commanders of the Bismarck [Admiral Lutjens and Captain Lindemann] to German HQ provided valuable intelligence to the British. Both with regard to the position and course of the Bismarck after the Bismarck had eluded the prince of Wales, and also with regard to the damaged condition of the Bismarck. The Bismarck had been damaged in it's engagement with the Hood, and needed repair,. This intelligence allowed the British to deduce the most likely course of action the commanders of the Bismarck would take.

Magnetic arming torpedoes were used for the first time in the encounter with the Bismarck by British Swordfish torpedo planes. These planes were sent aloft with the magnetic arming torpedoes [would arm when in close proximity to the ferrous material [steel] of a large ship such as the Bismarck]. Rather than detonating upon contact, just being in proximity was enough to set the torpedoes off. These torpedoes were used with effect eventually upon the Bismarck, causing damage to the rudder and causing the ship to sail in a circular pattern, rendering the ship more or less helpless.

Bringing all your secret weapons to bear on one target in one battle for the destruction of one ship is an indication of how much importance the British placed on sinking the Bismarck. An endeavor that was successful!


Wednesday, October 06, 2004

This is coolbert: Carrier pigeons [homing pigeons] have been used in warfare for millenniums.

Crusaders besieged in Levantine castles such as Krak of the Chevaliers [the Horsemen] would use carrier pigeons to carry messages to and fro their compatriots on the coastline of Outremer [beyond the sea, the Crusader term for their kingdoms in the Holy Land]. Muslim [Arab] besiegers would know this and would employ falcons to intercept and down the carrier pigeons and prevent the communications from being passed. The Arabs were noted for their excellent ability at animal husbandry. To this day Arab potentates are famous for their love of raptors such as falcons, even bringing in American avian experts to tend and train their prized birds of prey.

During World War One [WW1], carrier pigeons were employed extensively, some even being decorated for "courage". The famous French carrier pigeon Cher Ami [little friend] is immortalized in this regard.

Carrier pigeons were employed as well during World War Two [WW2].

Tank units that were expected to advance rapidly would be equipped with carrier pigeons. Radio equipment installed in tanks of the time was not robust for the most part. Could not withstand the rigors of cross-country movement as found in rapidly moving tank units. Carrier pigeons offered an alternative for communications. I have actually seen a film clip of a crew member of a Lee tank opening a hatch and throwing a pigeon out the hatch, that pigeon bearing a message undoubtedly.

To communicate with French Resistance fighters in occupied France, British Special Operations dropped baskets of carrier pigeons to be used in communications from France to England. These birds would be used to carry messages from the resistance fighters to their controllers in Britain. And guess what? German counter-intelligence found out about this method of communication and employed, you guessed it already I bet, falcons [just as the Arabs did] to intercept and down the pigeons enroute to England carrying secret messages. Like I have said in previous blogs, some things in military operations never change. Sometimes the old ways are the best ways.

There is a scene in the movie "The Longest Day" where news reporters just arrived on the Normandy beaches are going to file news reports fresh from the battlefield, as fighting is actually going on. To file their reports, the newsmen have brought along carrier pigeons. Writing their reports, the newsmen attach the reports to the back of the pigeons and release them, only to have the pigeons fly off in the wrong direction [the pigeons may have been disoriented and need to get their bearings].

And please don't think the use of carrier pigeons is an obsolete method not used any more.

A recent TV program featured an episode about rafting outfitters in Colorado that employ carrier pigeons. Vacationers rafting downstream in rugged and isolated terrain have their pictures taken by an outfitter staff member standing on the riverbank. A carrier pigeon is used to fly the roll of exposed film back to outfitter base camp where it is quickly processed. The exposed film of the vacationers rafting downstream is developed, printed and is available for the perusal of the rafters even before they arrive back at base camp, thanks to the carrier pigeons.

Sometimes the old ways are the best ways!!