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

Monday, October 31, 2005


This is coolbert:

Once again, I am on the topic of "gadgets" or "devices" that will enhance the physical capabilities of the soldier at war.

Those of us that have seen the movie "Aliens" will remember the scene where Ripley [Signourey Weaver], straps herself into a power lifting exoskeleton to fight the alien creature. A really violent and power scene.

An exoskeleton:

"Basically, an exoskeleton is a wearable machine that gives a human enhanced abilities. Imagine a battalion of super soldiers that can lift hundreds of pounds as easily as lifting 10 pounds and can run twice their normal speed. The potential of non-military applications is also phenomenal. In 2000, DARPA requested proposals for human performance augmentation systems, and will soon be signing contracts to begin developing exoskeletons. The military agency said that the testing of this new technology is at least a decade away. It will be much longer before soldiers are donning these body amplification systems for battle."

"a wearable machine that gives a human enhanced abilities."

Stuff of science fiction, "Aliens", Robert Heinlein, the future, and all that!!



This "stuff" is now.

Projects sponsored by DARPA [Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency] have come to fruition. This stuff is in the infancy stage. But what the lay person probably thought is far off in the future is definitely NOW!!

While not a novel or new concept, it seems that technology, combined with advanced mechanical and electronics engineering has now advanced to a stage where devices of the exoskeleton sort are now feasible and practical.

"An early attempt to outfit a person with a robotic strength-amplifying machine produced the crude 1960's Goliath known as Hardiman 1.

The latest and most advanced gizmo, now ready for trials and perhaps manufacture, is a creation that can only be described as being "far out!!!"

It is called BLEEX. A mechanical apparatus that allows the wearer to carry enormous loads long distances as if it was nothing. Carrying a one hundred fifty [150] pound load feels as if you are carrying a FIVE pound load???!!!

Read about BLEEX by clicking here, here and here.

And of course, someone has come up a "vehicle" that is similar in nature to the flying platform. But an exoskeleton of very advanced design.

Will this too come to fruition and become part and parcel of the soldier's arsenal?? Only time will tell.


Sunday, October 30, 2005


This is coolbert:

It seems that the U.S. Army has not been alone in exploring apparatus and device that would aid the mobility of the soldier.

Apparatus and device such as the flying platform.

Evidently the army of the old Soviet Union was also interested in "experimentation" that would result in "things" that would allow the individual soldier to overcome all terrain obstacles.

According to Suvorov:

"The most likely solution would be for each soldier to have an apparatus attached to his back which will enable him to make jumps of tens or even hundreds of meters. Such an apparatus could act as a universal means of transport in any terrain, including mountains. Since the beginning of the 1950's, intensive research has been going on in the Soviet Union on this problem. It would appear that there so far have been no tangible achievements in this field, but there has been no reduction in the effort put into the research, despite many failures."

"Army General Margelov once said that 'an apparatus must be created that will eliminate the boundary between earth and sky.' Earth-bound vehicles cannot fly, while aircraft and helicopters are defenseless on the ground Margelov's idea was that they should try to create a very light apparatus that would enable a soldier to flit like a dragon-fly from leaf to another."

Hmmmmm!!?? Sounds a lot like the flying platform, does it not??!!

Suvorov states further that the Kamov design bureau was at the forefront of such experimental research. This design bureau HAS come up with some innovative helicopter designs in the past. Small but very useful and efficient helicopters used by the Soviet military.

Furthermore, there is one such Soviet "apparatus" that came into fruition.

Mechanical boots that allowed for the wearer to perform superhuman feats. WERE designed to be provided to Spetsnaz troops. Allow them to jump to great heights if necessary or run long distances without tiring. Suvorov stated that these mechanical boots were only rumored to exist. Well, it is now more than rumor. The international public can now these boots for about $1000 a pair.

"a device that will allow one to run at 25 miles per hour and take strides of 12 feet. They're basically a small diesel engine on your foot, and they only take 40 grams of fuel per 12 kilometers."

"Quickwalker boots (they're also called Saigak boots after a type of antelope)."

Read what the Russians have to say about this commercial item by clicking here.



Saturday, October 29, 2005


This is coolbert:

"Janjaweed, the weed that needs pulling". Well, this is true, is it NOT!! That quote was taken from an article describing the predations of the Janjaweed "militia" upon the people of the Dar Fur region of the Sudan.

Mounted horsemen equipped with AK-47's, RPG's [rocket propelled grenades], and a whole lot of hate and just plain vicious barbaric mentalities.

Horsemen sent by the "central government" of the Sudan to put down a mild insurrection in the western most part of that country. Horsemen that attack, without provocation or warning a village, murder the male adults, rape the females, burn all dwellings, loot what can be looted, and then drive the survivors into the desert to fend for themselves. This is happening right now, as we speak.

It turns out that these janjaweed are common criminals that have been released from prison by the Sudanese government specifically for the purpose of creating all this mayhem and terrorizing the more or less defenseless civilian populace of Dar Fur. This has created a humanitarian crisis of Biblical proportions.

The use of common criminals by Islamic governments to do their dirty work is something that is of ancient lineage.

During the time of the "terrible" Turk [the Ottoman Empire], such released criminals were organized into "units" called bashi bazooks [surprisingly, originally organized from Afghan tribesmen]. Irregulars whose purpose WAS to terrorize whatever community the Turkish Sultan wanted to oppress and subdue. Criminals who would not be paid as would be a regular soldier. Criminals whose pay would be loot, plunder, rape, and the sheer joy of being able to do whatever they wanted. NOT only were able to do whatever they wanted, but were encouraged to do so.

To this day, in the Balkans, hate of the Turk and Islam is in large measure due to the atrocities committed by the bashi bazooks, atrocities that even went so far as to precipitate war between Russian and Turkey, the former coming to the aid of their Orthodox brothers and sisters.

"The Bulgarian Massacres - April 1876

Rebellion in Bulgaria resulted in Turkish irregulars, the Bashi-Bazooks, massacring 12,000 Bulgarian Orthodox Christians. The result was outrage in Europe and, importantly, Russia. The Berlin Memorandum, issued by Austria, Germany and Russia (but not supported by Disraeli who believed the Dreikaiserbund countries were expecting to partition Turkey ) issued a final warning to the Turks."

"Russo-Turkish War - 1877

In April 1877 Russia declared war on Turkey in defense of Balkan peoples."

Selecting criminals, releasing them from prison, and organizing them as irregular fighters just cannot, under any circumstances, result in good. Such persons, possessing criminal mentalities are uncontrollable and create a situation, by their excesses, far worse than whatever existed before.



This is coolbert:

With regard to the recent post about the mechanical "mule" being devised to carry the load of the soldier, this is NOT the first time that contrivances of such a nature have been experimented with or devised for the military.

In the 1950's, the U.S. Army came up with the idea of the flying platform. A one-man flying "device" that would have remove any and all terrain obstacles that may beset the soldier.

The flying platform was just that. A platform a single soldier could stand on, gripping tightly to hand rails. Under the platform was an engine with propeller[s]. The "device" would be akin to a one-man helicopter, without rotor. Could take-off and land from almost any location. Rather than march the soldier would take off and land at the intended destination.

This "thing" did work. Was able to take off and land vertically. Could be "piloted", but ONLY in the trained hands of a proficient PILOT.

"Charles H. Zimmerman's concept known as the "Flying Shoes". Charles Zimmerman, to the amusement of his engineering peers, proved the theory that rotors on the top (i.e. helicopters) are inherently unstable. Zimmerman theorized a person's natural balancing reflexes would suffice in controlling a small flying machine. Charles coined the term "kinesthetic control," similar to riding a bicycle or balancing a surfboard."

"This invention relates generally to ways and means for propelling a person through the air in a controlled flight. More particularly the invention provides a wingless aircraft propelled by thrust reaction and capable of vertical ascent for take off and climbing, hovering in the air, horizontal flight, and vertical descent under such conditions that directional control, and transition from vertical to horizontal flight and vice versa are effected by body movements or balance of the pilot flying the machine." (A statement from the Patent # 2,953,321)

Resulted only in an experimental models. Thank GOD. I just cannot imagine a whole lot of these things on the modern battlefield as having a whole lot of usefulness. Just maintenance for a small army of these "things" would have been a nightmare. And training troops to "fly" the "thing" would have also been laboriously time consuming. The soldier would have to spend all his time just learning to fly and then maintaining a constant state of practice to maintain proficiency.

Read further about the "flying platform" by clicking here.

"similar to riding a bicycle or balancing a surfboard."

Yeah, sure, I bet!!


Wednesday, October 26, 2005


This is coolbert:

It seems that the American 101st Airmobile Division is not alone in wanting to mentally "toughen" their troops for the mental stress of combat.

You may recall the previous blog I made on the topic. Officers and senior NCO's of the division, prior to deploying to Iraq, are having to view an autopsy and actually handle human body parts. Prepare them for what they will see and maybe also have to handle in the war environment.

Israel too is taking measures to toughen and condition their troops mentally for the rigors of combat.

Some sort of "smell of death in a can". Chemicals that smell like a decomposing body. Evidently the smell of a decomposing body, when encountered by those entering combat for the first time, has a pronounced and adverse effect. This is to be expected. Similar to seeing a dead body during combat operations for the first time. You know it happens, but seeing it up close and in person for many is a shock nonetheless. Intellectually you can prepare yourself, but emotionally it is a different matter.

"Bottles containing the ‘smell of dead bodies’ were scattered around the simulated ‘disaster site’ to provide a feeling of real-life disaster,” Ynetnews reported."

"During incidents extending over a long period of time ... it takes a while to reach the dead trapped under rubble, and their bodies decompose," seminar commander Yisrael Rozin said in the article. "the smell gets stronger and it can shake you the first time you encounter it."

"shake you the first time you encounter it."

This is intuitive, is it not??!!

The smell of death on the battlefield is not just from body decomposition alone. All adult humans, at any given moment, usually have from two to six pounds of solid waste inside of us. The stuff you flush down the toilet. YOU KNOW!!

The human being, when mortally wounded, quite often goes into shock, loses control of their voluntary muscular functions, and evacuates their bowels. The smell of solid human waste only exacerbates the decomposing body odor. Expanding gases from decomposition, furthermore, will cause expansion of the inward parts of the human body, also causing the bowels to evacuate. The solid waste will be pushed out, sometimes DAYS later!!

Foul, overpowering smells from decomposing bodies and solid human waste are also again often on the battlefield exacerbated by the smell of burning corpses. Fire weapons such as flame throwers, napalm, HEAT [high-explosive-anti-tank] rounds and fire caused by other modern weaponry quite often kills on the battlefield. The smell from a human corpse on fire is said to be very foul and overpowering. Once again, it is just not the human body that is burning, it is the solid waste within the dead body being burned as well that contributes to the stench.

During the American Civil War, sometimes weeks would pass before the dead were removed from the battlefields [given the tactics of the time, you might very well end up with a very small amount of land being littered with hundreds if not thousands of bodies, all dying on or about the same time!!!].

Newly freed slaves were quite often put to work policing the battlefields of the dead, from both armies.

\The smell of death was said to last for WEEKS.

And once again, those expanding gases from WITHIN the decaying human body were responsible for all sorts of strange phenomenon. Howling, moaning, and body movement from the dead even days after death were reported to be quite common. The people laying on the battlefield WERE dead. The source of these phenomenon [expanding internal gases from decomposition] were just not understood by the lay person or even those in the medical profession.

Click here to read further on this topic.


Tuesday, October 25, 2005


This is coolbert:

Click here to see a very interesting web site that details an invention called the Robo-Mule. A device that will accompany the common soldier into battle. Will carry the soldier's load and ease the strain of combat by allowing the soldier to go unimpeded to the greatest extent possible.

Of course, I have blogged on a number of occasions concerning the fighting and existence load the modern common soldier is required to carry. Excessive and impedes the soldiers ability to do his job with alacrity. Impedimenta that is felt to be ESSENTIAL [??], but is still burdensome.

It seems that devices of this type are constantly being devised. All-terrain type mechanical devices that emulate animal like motion. This particular device seems to be a wheel-leg hybrid. Many of the experimental "devices" I have seen descriptions of quite often mimic the action of a spider. Having a whole lot of legs and able to transverse all sorts of terrain. But ONLY in an experimental way, and even then, lacking. Humans as limited as they may be when compared to other animal species, DO seem to have an OVERALL ability to cross terrain even where many other animal species cannot go.

This "thing" seems to be battery powered. That would seem to be a problem. How much battery power is needed for sustained usage?? Do you plug into the wall to recharge periodically?? I think this is an idea that is still in the "experimental" stage.

It is however, an indication of the realization that the modern soldier IS just too over-burdened. Something must be done to reduce that burden. This IS [??] one solution among many.

The web site that describes the "mule" is a great site just chock full of good stuff. I recommend it highly!


Eddie & Rocky.

This is coolbert:

While looking at the web to find pictures to include in my blog, I come across a variety of web sites devoted to Eddie Slovik.

Eddie Slovik. A soldier who has been the subject of a previous blog entry.

The one and only man executed in World War Two [WW2] for the crime of desertion. [American soldier at any rate].

So I peruse these various sites over out of curiosity and surprisingly find them to have a lot of sympathy for the man.

All the sites DO give statistics that seem to support the argument that a terrible injustice was done to Eddie. Over twenty thousand [20,000] American soldiers DID desert during that war. And a total of forty-nine [I had originally stated that the total was forty-one] were sentenced to death. And yet, again, Eddie was the ONLY man that was executed.

It seems, however, that ALL these web sites, ONLY in an oblique manner, tell the full story of what happened [well, they are sympathetic, aren't they???]. It is true that twenty thousand American troops deserted during WW2. Eddie and those forty-nine others, however, deserted IN THE FACE OF THE ENEMY. A much more serious charge than mere desertion. This is the crime Eddie was faced with. NOT ONCE was this mentioned in the web articles I read. Furthermore, of the forty-nine sentenced to die for desertion EACH AND EVERY ONE WITHOUT EXCEPTION WAS GIVEN A WAY OUT. RETURN TO YOUR UNIT AND FACE COMBAT!! IT WAS A SIMPLE AS THAT!! GO BACK TO YOUR UNIT OR YOU WILL BE EXECUTED. Of the forty nine men, all returned save one, Eddie!!

[In four web sites I looked over about Eddie, NOT ONE mentioned that he was convicted of DESERTION IN THE FACE OF THE ENEMY!! NOT MERELY DESERTION.]

Click here, here, here, and here to see the web sites.

As I have said in my previous blog entry, what was the man thinking??!! Well, it seems that Eddie never did believe the execution would take place. Eddie probably believed he would be locked up for the duration of the war and then be home scot free. It was not to be!!

Reportedly, Eddie, just prior to execution, was to have stated, "Don't worry about me," Slovik replied. "I'm okay. They're not shooting me for deserting the United States Army---thousands of guys have done that. They're shooting me for bread I stole when I was 12 years old." I hope Eddie did not believe that, but I am afraid in his own mind he probably did.

[this comment by Eddie was perhaps prompted by the fact that Eisenhower, when personally reviewing the death sentence conviction prior to execution, DID have access to the pre-war criminal record files of Slovik. Undoubtedly, this influenced the thinking of Ike to go ahead with the execution. An execution that WAS carried out. My opinion.]

And yet once again, there does seem to be a degree of sympathy and support for Eddie, even to this day. I do recall his widow, Antoinette, at one point chained herself in her later years to the White House fence in an effort to receive life insurance death benefits for the death of Eddie [she was not untitled to the normal death benefits a soldier's widow would receive as Eddie's death was considered to be dishonorable].

Another American soldier [??] during WW2 who also deserted the military but to whom life had a much kinder and gentler [??] fate was Rocky Graziano.

[Hey-a Rocky, thumbs up, a real good fight!!!].

Rocky [real name Rocco Barbela] was a neer-do-well as a youth and an ex-convict in the years prior to WW2 [Eddie Slovik was too]. Drafted, Rocky DID NOT FIT IN WELL to military life even in the slightest manner. Finally attacked his commanding officer, punched the man out, and deserted. Was caught and once again sent to prison. In this case, Rocky DID NOT DESERT IN THE FACE OF THE ENEMY. Desertion in the case of Rocky, as serious as it was, was NOT considered to be as egregious a case as was that of Eddie Slovik.

After again serving prison [this time of course for the desertion conviction], Rocky then resumed a boxing career and became World Champion in his weight class. Rocky COULD and WAS willing to fight, but only under his terms. The boxing matches between Rocky Graziano and Tony Zale are to this day considered to be among the most, if not the most brutal exhibitions of pugilism ever!! During the first match against Zale, held in Zale's hometown of Gary, Indiana, Rocky was soundly and roundly booed by the crowd. Probably almost every man in that audience has served in the military during WW2 and were showing their displeasure with Rocky and his dishonorable behavior. And rightly so too. Graziano lived a full and long life after boxing, even having a movie made about him [a sympathetic movie too, called "Someone Up There Likes Me!!" Starring that famous Hollywood liberal, Paul Newman!!].

One can only say with regard to the fates of Eddie Slovik and Rocky Graziano, such is life!!


Friday, October 21, 2005


This is coolbert:

 Interesting program on the local community college television station about Samuel Colt. A man whose impact upon American frontier culture of the nineteenth century is marked.

Colt is credited with inventing the revolver handgun.

It is said [an adage from the Old West] of Colonel Colt that "GOD created man, but Colonel Colt made them equal!!". 

The revolving handgun was the great equalizer. A man possessing a revolver NEED NOT fear a bully whose physical strength and stature allowed for domination over the weaker man [the man having a revolver in his possession].

[I have asked a Chicago policeman if this adage still remains true. The unequivocal answer was YES!!!]

[This of course assumes the man armed with the revolver is proficient in the usage of the weapon. Most all men on the American frontier WERE proficient in the use of firearms, having served in the American Civil War. The advent of the Colt revolver of course is prior to the War Between the States. But yet, persons of the time knew firearms and could them with proficiency.]

Colt's first business venture manufacturing the Colt revolver was a failure. Colt WAS NOT able to meet demand or make an adequate profit needed to sustain his company. Colt had blacksmiths who hand manufactured his revolver to exacting standards. Volume of production and suitable profit was NOT possible using the hand-crafted method. Colt very quickly lost a prodigious sum of money and went bankrupt and out of business.

This was not, however, the end of Samuel Colt and his invention.

Two events, one far away, the other close to home, inspired Colt to go back into business. This time with success.

The first event, far away from Colt's home in New Jersey, was a climactic battle of Walker Creek, [NOT named for Samuel Walker, the Texas Ranger commanding] between bands of Comanche warriors and Texas Rangers.

The Rangers, mounted and sorely outnumbered, but armed with Colt revolvers, charged a much more numerous and similarly mounted band of Comanches.

Comanches that were on the warpath and ready for battle.

Each Ranger, fifty in all, was equipped with a pair of Colt .44 caliber revolvers.

The Comanches, three hundred in all, were equipped with black powder single shot firearms, spears, tomahawks, bows and arrows, etc. This single charge resulted in half of the Comanche warriors laying dead or wounded on the battlefield, the Rangers emerging relatively unscathed.

[some web sites suggest the number of Comanche was far less. I will go with the figure of three hundred!!]

An impressive display of superior firepower!!

[how much like Blood River in South Africa, is this not??!!

This version of the Colt revolver became known as the "Walker" Colt, in honor of Captain Walker, commander of the Rangers on that day. This revolver can be best described as a "hand cannon", weighing four pounds with a long barrel!!

[it was not until 1933, with the development of the .357 magnum, was a handgun to be found that exceeded the Walker Colt in stopping power. The Walker Colt was an AWESOME weapon.]

After this single battle, the Colt revolver, NOW a proven winner, became popularized. Demand WAS there.

The second event that persuaded Colt to go back into business was a visit he and his father made to the U.S. Army arsenal, Springfield Mass.

This arsenal employed the latest and greatest in mechanized manufacturing devices. All intended to mechanize and industrialize, to the latest and most advanced standards, weapons used by the U.S. Army.

It seems the U.S. Army, ever since it's inception, has had the policy of indigenous and independent weapons development and manufacture. NOT to be reliant on foreign manufacturers. Even a small peace time army such as the American army of the era realized the benefits of industrialized and mechanized manufacturing. Always budgeting as necessary to have the latest and most advanced manufacturing equipment in place.

Colt instantly realized the advantage such a form of manufacturing [mechanized and industrialized] would mean for his line of revolvers.

Colt did go back into business, amassing the necessary capital from leery investors. This was especially difficult for Colt as his first venture into the manufacture of revolvers was a BUST!!

Nonetheless, Colt's second business venture was a SUCCESS. Employing the latest and greatest in manufacturing equipment and techniques, Colt WAS able to meet demand for his revolvers while realizing the requisite profits. NO MORE hand crafted weapons from Colt.

This success of Colt inspired other manufacturers of the day, across the board. Hand-crafting was seen as being NOT the way to go. Investment in the latest state-of-the-art equipment WAS seen as the way to go, emulating Sam Colt.

The emergence of the United States as an industrial and manufacturing power can be traced directly to the policies of the U.S. Army, the Walker Creek battle, and the business of Sam Colt.


Thursday, October 20, 2005


This is coolbert:

Another interesting program on National Public Radio [NPR] this afternoon.

Describes a "long lost map" drawn by the great T.E. Lawrence at the end of World War One.

Lawrence's suggestion as to how the Middle East was to be divided into nation-states from the lands of the defeated Ottoman Empire. This map was not "lost" but actually mis-dated and accidentally rediscovered.

"A new exhibition at London's Imperial War Museum features a long-lost map of the Middle East drafted by Lawrence and presented to the British cabinet in 1918. It provides an alternative to present-day borders in the region, taking into account local Arab sensibilities rather than the European colonial considerations that were dominant at the time.

For historians, Lawrence's map is an exercise in what ifs: He included a separate state for the Kurds, similar to that demanded by Iraq's Kurds today. Lawrence groups together the people in present-day Syria, Jordan and parts of Saudi Arabia into another state based on tribal patterns and commercial routes.

The map also envisions a separate state called Palestine -- Lawrence knew the British were considering the creation of a homeland for the Jews.

And he saw no reason to separate Iraq's Sunnis and the Shiites -- an issue that continues to divide that country today."

See the entire story [and other stories concerning Lawrence] by clicking here.


Sherman & Maurya.

This is coolbert:

Interesting interview on National Public Radio yesterday with E.L. Doctorow. One of America's most esteemed living author [the most esteemed living author [??]].

Doctorow is the author of a number of novels and screenplays. His latest is called the "The March". A historical novel set primarily in the Georgia of 1864, during the time of Sherman's march from Atlanta to Savannah-by-the-Sea.

The march of Sherman's army is of course one of the most famous [infamous [??]] episodes of American history.

The original march through Georgia being followed by marches through South and North Carolina, culminating in the surrender of the southern troops under the command of the Confederate General Joe Johnston. This surrender, coming after the surrender of Lee's army to Grant, for all purposes was the end of the American Civil War. A war within which William T. Sherman and his troops played a decisive and controversial role.

[Johnston held Sherman in such high esteem after the war that even decades later Johnston attended the funeral of Sherman, caught a cold, and died two weeks subsequently himself!!]

To this day, Sherman and his men are considered by southerners to be the epitome of cruel, barbaric, even sadistic behavior. Sherman is a man who in some quarters is seen as a man suffering from mental derangement.

However, Doctorow does feel that Sherman MUST have had pangs of regret in the aftermath of the war.

There are some historical observations that seem to bear this out.

Sherman DID give very generous surrender terms to the army of Johnston. Surpassingly more generous than the terms offered to Lee by Grant. Even Lee himself commented that Grant had given very generous terms of surrender. And Sherman offered even MORE to Johnston!!??

Sherman did NOT accompany his army as it went north to participate in the victory march of the Federal forces through the streets of Washington D.C. Rather, Sherman hastened south to the areas his army had devastated, hoping to speed reconstruction and aid those that needed help!!

So much so was Sherman's behavior felt to be too generous that Grant was sent south to reign in Sherman, who was acting in a manner NOT in touch with the general mood [less forgiving] of the authorities in Washington.

Sherman in his memoirs did express in an oblique manner what can only be considered to be regret for much of what occurred during the war.

[Doctorow DOES consider Sherman and Grant both to be an excellent writers].

Sherman DID seem to be a man that can only be described as "penitent". Again, obliquely so and not direct. But penitent nonetheless. His attitude can best probably be summed up by the realization that Sherman knew the war was necessary, but also that he regretted that it was so. DID not glorify his role or that of his army.

Sherman is reputed to have remarked in the early stages of the conflict:

"The south has chosen war as the remedy for the situation, let us therefore give them a good dose of it [war]!!"

Having given the south a good dose of war, Sherman later MUST have analyzed his decisions with hindsight.

In the sense that Sherman DID apparently have regrets for any excesses that may have occurred as part of his actions or the actions of his army, he was preceded in this regard by another man of war.

A man of war that live 2300 years before Sherman.

Ashoka Maurya.

A GREAT king [ruled 268 B.C. - - B.C.] of India. A king who embarked on a SERIES of conquests and wars that united much of the Indian sub-continent under his rule.

Ashoka was also a Buddhist, although in the early stages of his life he does NOT seem to be either devout or living up to Buddhist teachings regarding violence!!

[probably like a modern American President. Professing Christianity but still secular outlook toward matters of state.]

Ashoka also DID have regrets in the aftermath of his conquests. He surveyed his dominion and realized that what he possessed was gained through much suffering and sorrow. Suffering and sorrow that were a direct result of his actions and the actions of his army.

Ashoka DID also become a penitent. Attempted to ameliorate the suffering he had caused. DID works of good. Erected religious sites all throughout his realm. Sent Buddhist missionaries to all parts of the world, literally, some even having been known to have preached in the city of Alexandria, in what is now Egypt [at the time under the Ptolemaic dynasty].

According to Joseph Campbell:

"When he beheld, however, the havoc of sorrow, misery, and death that his victory had caused, he was filled [like the young prince Gautama] with a deep sorrow, and repenting of the nature of the world, joined the Buddhist Order as a lay disciple and the first Buddhist king. He is supposed to have supported 64,000 monks and to have built not only countless monasteries . . . . It was under the patronage of Ashoka that the Buddhist world mission was initiated."

Ashoka Maurya and William Tecumseh Sherman. Two men of war who were obviously thoughtful men of conscience, regardless of what the history books say!!


Tuesday, October 18, 2005


This is coolbert:

This blog entry is a reprise of one done much earlier.

Found some photos on the web that show military helmets that provide protection for the back of the neck.

A something that has been known to the the ancients [Romans] and apparently also to Asian moderns as well.

I noticed this first when seeing newspaper coverage of rioting thaty occurred in Taiwan not so long ago.

Riot cops were deployed by the Taiwanese authorities in anticipation of a "demonstration".

In the center of the riot cop formation were two plain clothes officers that had helmets cradled in their arms. The helmets were similar to the American "Fritz" helmet but had padded cushions extending downward from the back of the helmet. To provide special protection for a particularly senstive area of the body, the nape of the neck!

It is intuitive that the human neck is protected from the front by the chin. We humans have chins and other great apes DO NOT! That of itself is amazing. Our spinal columns are closer to the skin and have much less fleshy protection in the rear of the neck than from the front. These pads extending downward from the rear of the helmet obviously provide support and protection where it is most needed!!

As I have said many time, sometimes the old ways are the best ways. And ways that have to be relearned over and over.


Flying Squads.

This is coolbert:

By now we are familiar with the earthquake that just occurred in the south Asia area. Northern Pakistan, Kashmir, India.

This is supposed to be the area where Osama, Zawahiri, and the various minions of Al Qaeda are supposed to be hiding.

I have not heard this mentioned, but the thought did occur to me. Perhaps mother nature has done all of us a favor. Killed the bastards [the terrorists] under rubble, or trapped and buried them in caves.

It would be interesting to see if the folks tracking the terrorist Al Qaeda activity emanating from that region of the world sees a diminution of terrorist communications and such in the aftermath of the quake.

I also see an opportunity here for the U.S. to improve it's image in this part of the world big time. Send relief and help on a massive scale. We are the only ones that can do it and do it on the level it needs to be done. Establish a whole lot of karma [that is a sixties term] among the locals. Perhaps boost intelligence in the long run. Folks [the Pakistani tribesmen] will feel indebted and will be more prone to help us also when we need help [finding the terrorists].

[such an opportunity also existed in the aftermath of the south Asian tsunami less than a year ago now!!]

I had suggested this to a friend some time ago.

After the embassy bombings in eastern Africa, I commented that the U.S. needed to set up emergency "flying squads" [specially organized, trained, and equipped teams] that could deploy in the aftermath of incidents.

Such as occurred in eastern Africa in 1998. About 5,000 folks in Kenya alone had eye damage from the terrorist initiated blasts. Eye damage that the local doctors could ordinarily NOT treat. American medical doctors with portable but adequate facilities could help instantly a lot of those folks and once again, accumulate a lot of good karma for the U.S. where it needs it.

I don't think such "flying squads" were ever set up. Such a thing would see to be a low priority.

Perhaps it is an idea that needs to be implemented, and even more so. NOW!!


Thursday, October 13, 2005


This is coolbert: One current refrain heard over and over from the "experts" is that the U.S. Army is stretched too thin. Commitments all over the world and at home have created a situation where "there are just not enough boots on the ground". Meaning not a sufficient force [particularly with regard to combat arms] to accomplish all the missions. NOT even counting contingencies and future developments that may occur.

Troops and their equipment are said to not only be THIN, but exhausted as well. Too much duty and too much strain on men and equipment has created a precarious situation.

To the problem of just not having enough troops [ground forces], a variety of solutions has been suggested.

Among these solutions are [but not limited to]:

* One is to re-institute the draft. [this invariably seems to be the first idea that comes to the minds of people.]

* Another is to increase enlistments by recruiting foreign nationals with the reward of American citizenship.

None of the proposed solutions, however, seem to offer either a short or long term amelioration of the problem.

A dearth of "boots on the ground" will seemingly exist for a long time into the future.

Is there a solution that will work? And will provide a fix that is both short and long term?

Perhaps so!!

An American Foreign Legion!

Even more specifically - - an American GHURKHA Legion.

The Ghurkhas. Described as "little men that have long stood tall" in the British Army. Nepalese hill tribesmen long recruited for the British Army. Formed into a Ghurkha Regiment at the command of the British Crown. Officered by British officers.

[officers serving in the Ghurkha Regiment were chosen from career serving officers that were impecunious [poverty stricken]. These officers [William Slim was one of them in the years prior to World War Two] were often the most able and ambitious officers in the British Army, the fit being very good between the highly motivated British officers and the highly motivated Ghurkha enlisted. Good officers and good enlisted make for a formidable unit.]

The Ghurkhas have long been recognized as ranking among the elite fighting forces of the world. Ghurkha men, while being of short stature, are physically quite robust, with exceptionally strong legs. Make very capable, loyal, dedicated soldiers. Men for whom hard physical dangerous soldiering is almost second nature.

Battalions and regiments of these Ghurkha troops existed in considerable numbers during the time of the British Empire. However, with the end Empire, the need for the Ghurkha troops diminished considerably. Became almost non-existent. Ghurkha troops still exist as units in the British Army but in much reduced numbers [fought and are fighting both in the Falklands and in Iraq].

With the permission of the Nepalese King, American recruiters could pick and choose the most fit, motivated, and robust of the hill tribesmen to serve in the American Ghurkha Legion. Given the extreme poverty of the region, in all likelihood you would have A LOT more potential recruits than you would need. Having an abundance of good raw material available, just finding men to serve in the Ghurkha Legion would not be difficult!!

I see a need for a Legion consisting of three brigades, each brigade about 5,000 men strong, a grand total of about 15,000 Ghurkhas needed total.

These three brigades would consist of:

One brigade Stryker vehicle equipped and organized.

One brigade airmobile, utilizing beefed up refurbished UH-1 ["Huey"], and Blackhawk helicopters for transport, with also refurbished, beefed up Huey Cobra gunships and refurbished, re-equipped OV-10 ["Bronco"] for close air support.

One brigade of conventional light infantry [very light infantry at that]. This brigade would be primarily for the peace-keeping, peace-making missions that U.S. forces quite often nowadays find themselves tasked with.

Keep in mind that the Ghurkha troops of these brigades would be almost exclusively combat arms. When brigades or sub-elements are fielded, augmentation with combat, combat support, and combat service support units would be task tailored as needed.

The Ghurkha brigades would be commanded by American officers.

From within the ranks of the American Army Special Forces [SF] can be found a cadre of trained, experienced combat arms soldiers. Soldiers accustomed to working with "foreign nationals". Such SF troops that volunteer will make for excellent officers to command Ghurkha Legion units.

A SF A team commander [a Captain] can be expected to become a battalion commander.

A SF A team executive officer [a warrant officer] can be expected to be a company commander.

SF team enlisted can expect to become platoon leaders.

This should be a workable solution to officership of the Ghurkha Legion.

I am sure a whole lot of folks will object to this entire concept.

To those that say, "you will have foreigners do our fighting for us!, I would say, "if it works, great, so what!!"

To those that say, "it is bigotry to have only American nationals commanding the little Asian men!!", I would say, "if it works, great, so what!!"

The American Ghurkha Legion, a concept whose time is NOW!!




This is coolbert:

This latest terror scare in New York city [NYC] has allegedly been prompted by a tip from an informant in Iraq.

The tip was that the subway system of NYC was targeted by Al Qaeda. Suicide bombers or just bombers intended to attack the subway trains or passenger platforms. Multiple coordinated attacks were to take place. Attacks similar if not down right nearly identical to those attacks that had taken place in Madrid and London.

Upon receiving the tip that a terror "plot" was afoot, NYC went into a heightened state of alert.

"Steps and measures" were taken. Helmeted police, armed with assault weapons, patrolled the subway system in FORCE. Persons were told to be on "alert" for anything "suspicious". Packages, briefcases, backpacks were randomly searched. This was a massive undertaking. The authorities of NYC took this all very seriously.

The man who is head of intelligence [??] for NYC, an ex-deputy director of the CIA, evidently vouched for the tip of the informant, saying that the information provided was credible enough and detailed enough to warrant "steps and measures".

And yet, NO attack occurred.

Some would say that the enhanced and very visible security in place deterred the terrorists from launching their attacks.

Others would say that this "tip" was either disinformation of the result of an overactive imagination on the part of the informant.

It is said of this informant, that he has given some accurate tips regarding the situation WITHIN Iraq, but also has given inaccurate information prior to this regarding the situation OUTSIDE of Iraq.

This person, the informant, sounds to me as if he [I am assuming it is a he] may well be what is called an "intelligence junkie". A person who constantly is providing "tips", "leads" and information to U.S. forces.

A person who gets a monetary reward for accurate information. The more accurate information he can provide, the more money he gets.

But the motivation for such a person is not only monetary in nature. The informant likes the entire process of being an informant. This person gets personal satisfaction of doing what he is doing. Likes to have attention paid to him. Likes to feel he is part of something bigger. A little man who derives pleasure out of playing a role, however insignificant, in the bigger world. A person who WANTS TO FEEL HE IS IMPORTANT!!

It seems that the consensus opinion now among the "experts" is that the information supplied by the information was either DISINFORMATION or the imagination of the fevered and overly active mind of the informant.

Such is the difficulty that intelligence personnel in general face when evaluating data, tips, leads, etc. As I have said before, the field and business of intelligence is NOT easy!!


Sunday, October 09, 2005


This is coolbert:

From my blog of 21 September: [a blog entry concerning the ineffectiveness of the communications available to rescue workers in the New Orleans disaster area!]

"[I would also suggest that large numbers of GMRS [general mobile radio service] and FMRS [family mobile radio service] radios be issued to relief and disaster relief workers. With appropriate relay stations in place [stations that can be presited and maybe even installed], an effective commo system could instantly be in place too. Just issue the little walkie-talkie radios to the folks involved and you are set.]"

It seems that someone else has hit upon the same idea. But not exactly in the same way as I have suggested. Wants radio amateurs to be able to communicate with disaster victims via the FMRS type radio.

See the details of this man's [Erik Knight] idea at this web site:

From the website, these extracts:

"The concept for the National SOS Radio Network is in its infancy. Yes, you could say that the network is "operational" -- as it doesn't require any laws or specific effort to put it into action. However, the reality is that it needs awareness for it to be truly effective."

"In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, it’s become clear that a major contributing factor to the tragic loss of life was the near total breakdown of communication systems. Once electricity, telephone, and cell phone services failed, people were unable to let rescuers know of their dire situation...and died as a result."

"FRS radios don’t require a license, can be used by anyone of any age, and are available for as little as $10 - $15 at many retailers such as WalMart FRS radios can transmit 2 - 8 miles (terrain dependent)."

"The beauty of the National SOS Radio Network is that it could spring into existence
-- today -- without any laws or legislation. All it needs is awareness."

"Eric Knight, UP Aerospace's CEO, is a 30-year ham radio veteran (KB1EHE)."

"In an emergency situation, citizens would tune their FRS radios to Channel 1 and transmit their emergency messages. Ham radio operators would tune to 462.5625 MHz (the frequency that corresponds to FRS Channel 1) and relay the emergency messages to police & fire departments, and national rescue & relief agencies."

This last extract sums it up. People will have to have at their access a FMRS [with a fresh battery presumably], and tune to channel 1 and transmit distress call in case of emergency. This call hopefully will be received and acted upon by ham radio operators tuning to that frequency.

So someone is thinking for communications in disasters along the same lines as I am.

For disasters such as Katrina or maybe in case of nuclear detonation in a major city.

This idea has great merit!!

[it seems the concern about EMP wiping out all solid state devices within a certain radius of a nuclear detonation maybe overblown to a degree. If the nuclear detonation is at or near ground level, EMP effect will not be as great even as if a one megaton bomb was detonated in outer space. Just will not be!]

Let me enter into the forum and see what comments and suggestions are made. Engage in dialog with participants and see what is what!



This is coolbert:

In designing and building the wooden trestle used to test B-52 bombers [the whole gamut of USAF aircraft presumably in addition to the B-52 have been tested as well] for EMP protection, American engineers have resurrected an architecture form [wooden trestles] that reached it's zenith perhaps in the days of the old west.

When building the railroads that criss-crossed the old west in the years just after the American Civil War, railroad engineers of the era were faced with the difficult task of building bridges to span gorges, valleys, and rivers of stupendous size.

This type of engineering had been done by railroad engineers in the eastern states as well, but not on such a scale as was required in the American west. Everything just had to be bigger. Wooden trestle bridges of enormous size were designed and built and were employed successfully.

These structures were absolutely ESSENTIAL to the progress of the railroads toward the American west. The American old west could NOT have tamed and settled without this advancement in design and engineering. Wooden trestles of course were subject to the extremes of weather and were very susceptible to catching and fire and burning down. This did occur with frequency. A LOT of maintenance had to be done to keep the trestles in working order.

To this day, such trestle bridges, those that still exist, are popular tourist attractions. Building constructions of such size with WOOD just seems to be such an anachronism. That these constructs could even have been BUILT IN THE FIRST PLACE seems to us moderns to be difficult to fathom.

[persons designing and building large tall structures of such "natural" materials as wood and stone are faced with a real dilemma as they build higher and higher. The weight of the material stacked upon itself eventually will become too much for the lowest supporting members and cause the material at the bottom to crack and break just from the weight piled from above. You are usually limited with regard to how high you can build with wood or stone. You must be INGENIOUS AND IMAGINATIVE WITH YOUR DESIGN TO BUILD TALL AND HAVE THE STRUCTURE HOLD!! And remember, a railroad bridge not only has to support itself, it must also support a railroad train passing over with it's ponderous weight as well!!]

It should also be well understood that engineers of the time were mostly self-taught persons without the modern learning we associate with a civil engineer or an architect. These old-time engineers learned by O-J-T, apprenticeship, and just plain doing.

Nonetheless, there must have been a handbook available to such wooden trestle builders.

This handbook resurfaced during World War Two [WW2] and was put to good use by one of the major combatants.

The Japanese.

During the building of the "Railroad of Death" , the Malaya-Thai-Burma railroad, it was necessary for the Japanese engineers to build numerous wooden trestle bridges. This construction was done by hand, using numerous impressed British POW's and "native" laborers. Just as would have been done in the days of the old west in America. Rather than re-invent the wheel, the Japanese had available to them the American handbook on how to build wooden railroad trestle bridges. The designs contained with the book were used by the Japanese, using the excellent wood obtained from the surrounding jungle as building material.

Even possessing the designs, building the wooden trestle bridges was NOT easy. Impressed laborers do NOT make for good workers, and all conditions were made more difficult by the Japanese policy of SPEED-O!! That is to say, "get the bridge built, as fast as possible, without delay, and regardless to injury or danger to the workers". A lot of workers of all nationalities died as a result of the SPEED-O process.

[the very famous movie, "Bridge Over the River Kwai" is about the building of such a wooden trestle bridge.]

[in my estimation, the workers on the bridge did not have the institutional memory of how to build such bridges correctly and with relative ease. American builders in the old west would have had the institutional memory from having just built some many bridges. The Japanese had the plans, but not necessarily the know-how. The know-how had to be learned all over again, with great cost!!]

Nevertheless, these bridges were built and did carry trainloads of military supply over them. Becoming targets for Allied bomber aircraft operating out of the C-B-I [China-Burma-India] theatre.

Amazingly, it may be that some of these trestle bridges still exist are still going strong to this day??!!

To this day, the Kwai River bridge is a popular tourist destination in it's own right. Although it is not the wooden trestle bridge as seen in the movie. The background of the countryside is NOT the same as shown in the movie either. Open countryside, NOT the dense jungle as portrayed in the movie.


Saturday, October 08, 2005

Davy Crockett.

This is coolbert:

Ever since the advent of the nuclear age, and the adoption of atomic weaponry by the militaries of the world, the accidental use of an atomic bomb has always been a concern.

And a lot of measures were taken to eliminate the possibility, to the greatest extent possible, of atomic weapons being used when not intended.

We have all seen the movies where captain of the U.S. submarine receives the "go" code to use his nuclear weapons. How the three most senior officers of the sub must authenticate the "go" code, use separate keys to activate "release" systems, etc. Measures designed to eliminate the possibility of accidental and unintended use of "nukes". This always makes for drama.

During the 1960's one particular U.S. atomic weapons system was of grave concern to U.S. nuclear war planners.

This was the Davy Crockett. A very unusual atomic weapon. Reputed to be the smallest atomic bomb developed by the U.S. designers. Looks sort of like a large football.

"The W54 warhead used on the Davy Crockett weighed just 51 pounds and was the smallest and lightest fission bomb (implosion type) ever deployed by the United States, with a variable explosive yield of 0.01 kilotons (equivalent to 10 tons of TNT, or two to four times as powerful as the ammonium nitrate bomb which destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995), or 0.02 kilotons-1 kiloton."

Mounted on the end of a recoilless rifle. That rifle in turn was either placed upon an Army jeep for transport [nowadays would be the "hummer"!!], or could be set up to mount upon a tripod resting on the ground.

The range of the Davy Crockett was very limited, about one to two kilometers at best. This was a low yield atomic bomb intended to be fired at a massed formation of Soviet tanks or a massed formation of "charging" Soviet troops. Gave the commander on the ground at a very low echelon of command a nuclear capability.

[I am not sure what danger there would be to the team firing the weapon? They might be killed by the weapon themselves!! As the range was so short, presumably they would have to take some sort of cover before firing so as not to be killed!!]

Therein was the problem with the Davy Crockett. There was not a lot of control over this weapons system, if and when it was deployed to the field. A team of troops commanded by a Staff Sergeant [E-6] operated the weapon. The final "go" command to fire the weapon would be given by a relatively low ranking sergeant!! This is NOT what U.S. atomic planners had in mind!!

During the Cold War, in the 1960's, about 1000 of the Davey Crockett systems were deployed to the field. What controls actually existed over the various teams so that they could NOT independently fire their atomic weapons is not known to me.

It is a fact that the Davy Crocketts did NOT have a long life in the atomic inventory of the U.S. Lasted about ten years and that was that. Better ways of delivering atomic weapons with better controls were developed. Risk was minimized to the greatest extent possible. As soon as possible, the Davey Crocketts WERE taken out of the inventory and mothballed. Possibly by now all those atomic warheads have been dismantled and the fissionable material recycled. So much the better.

U.S. nuclear planners must have breathed a sigh of relief when the Davy Crocketts were retired!!



This is coolbert:

Pilots of U.S. manned bomber aircraft flying SIOP missions [Single Integrated Operational Plan] will have to contend with the effects of dazzle.

"Single Integrated Operational Plan (or SIOP) is a blueprint that tells how American nuclear weapons would be used in the event of war. The plan integrates the nuclear capabilities of manned bombers, long-range intercontinental missiles and ballistic-missile firing nuclear submarines. The SIOP is implemented in case the United States is under nuclear attack or if a nuclear attack on the United States is imminent."

Read further about the SIOP by clicking here.

If the SIOP is being implemented, B-52 pilots will know they are going into a nuclear environment!!

"dazzle - - (DOD) Temporary loss of vision or a temporary reduction in visual acuity; may also be applied to effects on optics."

"flash blindness - - (DOD, NATO) Impairment of vision resulting from an intense flash of light. It includes temporary or permanent loss of visual functions and may be associated with retinal burns."

"What is flash blindness?

The initial thermal pulse from a nuclear blast can cause eye injuries in the forms of flash blindness and retinal scarring. Flash blindness is caused by the initial brilliant flash of light produced by the nuclear detonation."

Dazzle is the effect upon the eye caused by the brilliant light of a nuclear detonation. Aircraft ON a SIOP mission would fly in an environment where atomic weapons might be detonating all over the place. At times these detonations would occur within the range of vision of the pilots [ahead of them]. These detonations may even be from air defense units of the enemy attempting to shoot down a U.S. manned bomber with nuclear weapons!! Dazzle alone can damage the eye temporarily or even permanently, causing a loss of vision. This is something that pilots on SIOP missions cannot tolerate!!

"Nuclear flash eye protection

From the early days of developing nuclear weapons is was evident that one of the side effects of the blast was an extreme flash effect, so strong that the human eye would be severely affected without protection."

"Impact on aircrew

It is easy to imagine how disruptive temporary blindness would be to an aircrew operating in a complex hostile environment . 10 minutes is an extremely long time not being able to see your instruments or operate your weapons systems, and even two minutes is a long time, especially if you are in the middle of a high-speed low level penetration flight. The need for protection is therefore evident."

To protect the vision of pilots on SIOP missions from dazzle, a variety of goggles were developed. It is not enough to place flash curtains either on the inside or the outside of the cockpit. The pilots NEED to SEE outside the aircraft to be able to fly on their mission!!

And a goggle has been developed that meets the needs of SIOP mission pilots. This is the PLZT goggles. Electronically powered and controlled, of a ceramic material. Are placed over the helmet when needed. These goggles detect the flash of a nuclear detonation and instantaneously go opaque, protecting the vision of the pilots. A remarkable device!

"The PLZT goggles
The most advanced thermal flash protective devices in use are the PLZT goggles. These goggles are made of sandwich composite of polarized glass with an inner layer of a transparent electro-optic ceramic called PLZT. When linked to an electric current, the lenses are clear. But any dangerous flash of light, such as lightning or a nuclear blast, instantaneously breaks the circuit. This causes the lenses to go black, protecting the vision of anyone wearing the helmet."

The addition of what is called the EVS [Electro-Optic Viewing System] also enables the pilots of a B-52 to fly in a nuclear environment "buttoned up", relatively impervious to nuclear flash blindness. That is to say, metal "flash curtains" can be applied to the outside of the bombers wind screen, and the plane can be flown by TV CAMERA, two of which are located in chin turrets of the aircraft. Originally intended for low-level flight operation, an added bonus of these cameras may very well be protection against nuclear flash blindness!!


Under the nose section are the steerable chin turrets for the AN/ASQ-151 electro-optical viewing system (EVS), which consists of the Raytheon AN/AAQ-6 Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) in the starboard turret and Northrop Grumman AN/AVQ-22 low-light-level television camera (LLTV) in the port turret. The images from the EVS are displayed on monochrome screens on the flight deck and on the lower deck.

* One of the most visible updates to the B-52 was the "ASQ-151 Electro-Optical Viewing System (EVS)", referred to as "Evs", which provided the Buff with sensors for low-level flight operations. The EVS cluttered the Buff with
two cheek blisters, a Hughes "AN/AAQ-6 forward looking infrared (FLIR)"
camera in the right blister and a Westinghouse "AN/AVQ-22
low light level television (LLTV)" camera in the left blister.
The FLIR provided images from the heat of objects in the field of view,
while the LLTV could pick up scenes illuminated only by starlight.

The two imagers could be steered, and in fact Buff crews call the LLTV a "steerable TV (STV)", and they could be rotated backwards in their blisters to protect them when not in use.

Please note the blisters on either side of the chin below the cockpit. Those are the cameras.

The EVS included new cockpit displays not only provided imagery from the cameras but also displayed flight status information, substantially reducing cockpit workload. EVS made low-level operations much easier and safer. It also reduced the aircraft's vulnerability against adversary defenses, since the sensors allowed the bomber to be flown without use of navigation radars that could reveal the aircraft's presence, and allowed the Buff to be flown when it was "buttoned up" with flash curtains for a nuclear strike."

[it would be necessary for these TV cameras to have VERY FAST automatic gain controls [AGC's] on them. The intense light from a nuclear blast might very well destroy or overwhelm the camera, all the pilot seeing is a white screen!!]

To what extent these goggles and TV's help protect against directed energy weapons, lasers and such, from being used to "blind" U.S. pilots on SIOP missions is just not clear. It is reputed that potential adversaries do have such weapons, and could potentially use them in case of nuclear war. Perhaps devices have already been developed to protect the crews of U.S. manned bombers from such a threat??!!


Stratofortress II.

This is coolbert:

Stratofortress II.

It must not be forgotten that the B-52 has also played an important role in space exploration.

NOT traveling into space as would a rocket, but again, as in the modern role of the B-52, as a delivery vehicle.

Acts as a transport.

Carrying a rocket plane or guided missile to about 40,000 feet and dropping the space craft for engine ignition. By doing so, the B-52 allows the space vehicle to circumvent about 90 % of the earth's atmosphere.

[the amount of engine thrust to achieve space flight is much lessened by such a method. This was realized since the very advent of space exploration. All that friction presented to a rocket by the earth's atmosphere is overcome by using the B-52 as a transport!!]

Two B-52's, B Versions of the bomber, were tasked in the 1950's with providing support for NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration]. The most venerable of these bombers was number #008. Acted in the role of transport craft for a period of about fifty years!! Was outfitted with all the accoutrements to accomplish the task [special pylons, telemetry equipment, etc.]. And performed the task of transport vehicle without a hitch!

Remarkable. This aircraft has now been replaced by a civilian transport aircraft and will become a museum piece. The last of a dying breed!!

"B-52B 'Mothership' Launch Aircraft

NASA's venerable B-52B launch aircraft, operated by the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, has participated in some of the most significant projects in aerospace history. At retirement, the air launch and research aircraft held the distinction of being NASA's oldest aircraft, as well as being the oldest B-52 on flying status. At the same time, it had the lowest number of flying hours (2443.8) of any B-52 in operation, having been used exclusively in the role it continued to perform so reliably for nearly 50 years.

The B-52B, registration number 52-0008 (NASA tail number 008), rolled out of Boeing's Seattle plant as an RB-52B, and first flew on June 11, 1955. The aircraft was the 10th B-52 to come off the Boeing assembly line and was a U.S. Air Force test aircraft before it was assigned to support the X-15 research aircraft program at Dryden in 1959."

"The other B-52 used in the X-15 program, tail number 003, was retired in 1969 and is on permanent display at the Pima County Air Museum in Tucson, Ariz."

Among the many missions and projects #008 was involved in were:

"X-15 Program

NASA 008 was one of two B-52s used as "motherships" to air-launch the three rocket-powered X-15 aircraft for research flights."

"The Lifting Bodies

Between 1966 and 1975, B-52 008 was the launch aircraft for 127 of the 144 flights of wingless lifting body aircraft that contributed to development of the Space Shuttle."

"Lifting bodies obtain aerodynamic lift from the shape of their bodies. The addition of fins and control surfaces allowed research pilots to stabilize and control the vehicles and maintain a predetermined flight path. Research flights with the vehicles proved that vehicles entering the atmosphere from space could be maneuvered to a safe runway landing - paving the way for full development of the space shuttle."

"Space Shuttle Program Support

In 1977 and l978, and again in the 1983-1985 time period, 008 was used as the launch aircraft in the test and development of the parachute recovery system used to recover the Space Shuttle's solid rocket boosters."

"From July to October of l990, the veteran B-52B was used for a series of eight tests of a drag chute deployment system to be installed on Space Shuttle orbiters.

The drag chutes permit the orbiters to land safely in a shorter distance and also help reduce tire and brake wear. The test unit, consisting of the test drag chute and its attachment and deployment systems, was installed in the tail of NASA 008, along with instrumentation to record loads and pressures on the deployed parachute and on the structure of the aircraft.

Tests were carried out at landing speeds ranging from 160 to 230 mph on a lakebed runway and also on the main concrete runway at Edwards. They demonstrated the initiation, deployment, inflation, and overall operation of the orbiter drag chute system. Data from the tests were used to validate predicted loads.

First operational use of the drag chute system was on Shuttle Endeavour, newest of the Space Shuttle fleet, during its first landing, May 16, 1992."

"NASA 008 was used as the air launch platform for the first six commercially developed Pegasus rocket boosters."

"Privately-funded, air-launched winged light satellite launcher. 4 stage vehicle consisting of 1 x NB-52 + 1 x Orion 50S + 1 x Orion 50 + 1 x Orion 38....more."

"The first of four lengthy series of test flights began in 1979 for a U. S. Air Force project to certify an extension of the operational life of the parachute recovery system on the F-111 crew escape module."

"Miscellaneous Support

NASA 008 was the launch aircraft for several remotely piloted aircraft flown by Dryden in the 1970s and l980s to study spin-stall, high angle of attack, and maneuvering characteristics."


In its final role in aerospace history, NASA 008 served as the launch aircraft for NASA's Hyper-X program."

Read further about the Hyper-X program by clicking here.

B-52B #008 had an enviable history of successful flight and support of research that was instrumental in the efforts of NASA for DECADES!!


Wednesday, October 05, 2005


This is coolbert:

Most people are familiar with the routine effects of a nuclear detonation. Localized radiation, heat, and blast effect from the explosion of an atomic weapon. As was witnessed as Hiroshima or Nagasaki. This type of damage is well known to the lay public.

Less known is the effect of electro-magnetic-pulse [EMP] that accompanies a nuclear detonation.

"Electromagnetic pulse"

"(DOD) The electromagnetic radiation from a strong electronic
pulse, most commonly caused by a nuclear explosion that may couple
with electrical or electronic systems to produce damaging current
and voltage surges. Also called EMP."

"Definition of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP)":

"1. The electromagnetic radiation from a nuclear explosion caused
by Compton-recoil electrons and photoelectrons from photons
scattered in the materials of the nuclear device or in a
surrounding medium. The resulting electric and magnetic fields may
couple with electrical/electronic systems to produce damaging
current and voltage surges."

"Damaging current and voltage surges."

"damaging current and voltage surges."

Within a certain radius from an atomic detonation, electronic circuits, especially solid-state electronics, are in danger of being "FRIED"! Destroyed irreparably.

This effect is most profound in the case of a high-altitude nuclear detonation. This type of phenomenon was always theoretical but only observed empirically during above ground test of atomic bombs in the early 1960's.

"The pulse can easily span continent-sized areas, and this
radiation can affect systems on land, sea, and air. The first
recorded EMP incident accompanied a high-altitude nuclear test
over the South Pacific and resulted in power system failures as
far away as Hawaii. A large device detonated at 400-500 km over
Kansas would affect all of CONUS. The signal from such an event
extends to the visual horizon as seen from the burst point."

"Effects of an EMP"

"Although the electric field created from an EMP lasts for only a
short time, its effects can be devastating. It is predicted that a
single high altitude burst 200 miles above Kansas could propagate
an EMP enveloping the entire United States. Electrical systems
connected to things that can conduct current like wires, antennas,
and metal objects will suffer significant damage. EMP effects on
electronics include interference of radio frequency links,
irreparable damage to microcircuits, and even the disabling of
satellites. Fortunately, electronic equipment that is turned off
is less likely to be damaged."

Read all the details about EMP by clicking here.

The scenario most troublesome and worrisome to the experts would be for a high-altitude nuclear detonation to occur over the continental United States. The EMP effect would be profoundly damaging to the nerve system of the ENTIRE country. WE ARE a nation totally dependent upon computers, cell phones, electricity, etc. All of this may be damaged or EVEN destroyed totally by just one high-altitude nuclear event. It may be that the explosion would have to be a thermonuclear one, a hydrogen bomb [1 megaton at least], but this is not totally clear.

Unprotected electronics across the board would be either be damaged or destroyed. FOREVER!

This has been appreciated and taken in account by Pentagon war planners for some time now.

Provisions have been made to protect [harden] American nuclear weapons assets. Those assets that would be counted upon to deliver a retaliatory strike against any nation foolish to attack the U.S. with atomic weapons.

Among those assets hardened was the fleet of B-52 bombers. The bombers that would deliver civilization destroying nuclear weapons upon an enemy in case of nuclear war. As has been blogged about in the previous blog, the B-52 is a flying machine very much dependent upon electronics. For all sorts of applications. EMP protection has been built into the aircraft.

[it should be obvious that U.S. military aircraft and aircraft in general are very susceptible to attack from an EMP pulse. Failure of systems aboard aircraft would cause the planes to "drop" from the sky!!]

The question was asked however, how do we know this protection will actually work in a live environment? It was decided that testing was in order to have absolute confidence in the "hardening" of the B-52 against EMP.

This testing was facilitated by the construction of the LARGEST wooden structure [the "Trestle"] in the world. A wonder of engineering in itself.

A B-52 bomber sits atop the TRESTLE electromagneticpulse (EMP) simulator at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico

"The facility is the largest wood-and-glue laminated structure in the world. Aircraft tested here are subjected to up to 10 million volts of electricity to simulate the effects of a nuclear explosion and assess the
"hardness" of electrical and electronic equipment to the EMP pulse
generated by a nuclear burst."

"The wooden trestle is the world's largest all-wood structure."

"Facility 2 at Kirtland is the "Trestle," a huge wooden structure used to support large aircraft while they were subjected to electromagnetic pulse simulations.

Something else to note about the trestle at Kirtland is that it is built entirely without metal fasteners (nails, bolts, etc). It's all wooden peg construction. This is to reduce the bounce effect
of EMP on the aircraft from the large volume of metal that
the connectors would be."

A B-52 bomber, fully equipped, is [and has been] dragged atop the trestle and is then subjected to "up to 10 million volts of electricity" in an effort to "shock" the "hardened" electrical and electronic systems of the B-52. An effort that hopefully has shown how well all the built-in protection for EMP really works.

Tests that give planners confidence that in case of nuclear war, the fleet of B-52's will be a valid deterrent, not effected by EMP.

There is something about the "Trestle" and the B-52 bomber in particular that is just amazing.

The weight of a B-52 bomber is so great that just to park the bomber requires a special hard stand to be built at airbases where the B-52 is stationed. These hard stands are needed as conventional concrete parking areas are just not robust enough to withstand the ponderous weight of a B-52. Parking the B-52 on a hardstand that is not robust enough will result in the B-52 cracking the concrete, the tires of the plane becoming buried, the aircraft being rendered immobile!!

It is a FACT that during the Vietnam War, the B-52 was capable of operating only out of Andersen AFB, Guam. Here specially built hardstands were available to park B-52's. It is true that B-52's were able to land, refuel, rearm, and take off from other airbases during the war, such as Mactan, Philippines, U-ta-pao, Thailand, and from bases in Okinawa, but were NOT able to be parked at any of these bases for extended periods.

That this trestle is able to support the weight of a B-52 is remarkable!! Who says that Americans CANNOT design and build amazing structures anymore.!!??