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

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


This is coolbert:

Having stated in the previous blog that the Huey Cobra gunship allowed the modern soldier in Vietnam to experience from aloft warfare such that, "the nearest thing that contemporary ground warfare can offer to the soldier's concept of the a knight in armour".

I thought it might be interesting to go over in detail the various weapons to be found on the Huey Cobra. The weapons systems that made this helio such a particularly dangerous instrument of war. A weapons systems that is still being used and updated and upgraded even today [Israel and the U.S. Marines in Iraq currently are using Huey Cobras].

The initial version of the Huey cobra as seen in Vietnam was equipped with weapons suitable for the combat American forces found themselves involved in. These weapons included the:

7.62 mm mini-gun. A gatling gun type weapon.

[I have seen film clips of this mini-gun in action. Being used by Israelis against Palestinians. The shell casings being ejected form what appears to be a wispy but dark cloud under the helio, they are so dense. Such is the rate of fire of the 7.62 mm mini-gun!!]

40 mm grenade launcher [firing the same round as currently found in the M209 rifle/grenade launcher]. Initial versions of this launcher were hand cranked. Later versions were automatic.

2.75 inch rockets.

By the end of the Vietnam War, the Huey Cobra was finally equipped with a TOW anti-tank-guided missile [ATGM] (Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire command-link ) launcher. This ATGM was effective in destroying with almost impunity North Vietnamese T-55 tanks that made their appearance on the Vietnamese battlefield in profusion.

Subsequent to the end of the Vietnam War, addition improvements were made to the armaments available to the Huey Cobra. These were to include:

20 mm gun. A three barrel gatling gun type weapon.

Zuni five inch rockets. [this is called the "Holy Moses"!!]

Hellfire ATGM missiles. A big improvement over the TOW system. The latter is a wired guided missile, the Hellfire is not.

Stinger missile. An anti-aircraft missile that gave the helio a dogfighting capability!!

[the latter three weapons found on improved Marine versions of the Huey Cobra only??]

In addition, with a weapons system such as the Huey Cobra, a weapons system that has been around for over forty years now, incremental but valuable improvements have been made to the airframe, engine, rotors, avionics, displays, targeting devices, that allow for a much more flexible and effective attack helicopter. A helio in all probability just magnitudes improved over the original versions. This IS cost effective and demonstrates that the armed forces have ingenuity and the wherewithal to do remarkable things when they want to.

I recall seeing a "Sixty Minutes" program some years ago now where the person being interviewed stated that in his opinion the Huey cobra, fully armed, was second in lethality only to atomic weapons in the U.S. arsenal!! This very well could be true. Helios such as the Huey Cobra gunship have the ability to put ordnance right on the target with precision, in abundance, and with great effect, and flexibly too!! A formidable combination!!


Monday, November 28, 2005


This is coolbert:

The era of the horse cavalry for all practical purposes ended about 100 years ago. With the advent on the internal combustion engine, the horse soldier had met his demise. To be replaced by a whole assortment to wheeled and tracked vehicles.

The horse cavalry for a period of about four thousand years WAS THE premier arm of the military the world over. Especially of the nobility. Persons of noble rank [called the equestrian rank in Rome [Order of the Horse]] were among the few that were able to own horses and armor and the weapons of the horseman. This was a privilege they guarded carefully. To be a foot soldier was a NOT the role of the noble [think of the pawn in chess!!].

And the horse soldier had a mystique, glamour, arrogance, and yes, romance about their person.

Here is what the myth man, Joseph Campbell has to say about the man on horse at war:

"It is difficult to realize that before the second millennium B.C., wherever man went, unless by coracle or boat, he traveled on his own two feet . . . With the mastery of the horse, however, all things changed . . . Further more, in Southeastern Europe, c. 1500 B.C., a new weapon, the sword, appeared, contrived for slashing from the saddle. From somewhere men were coming who had learned to ride.

Now to all who acquired the used of them these new weapons gave a powerful horizontal thrust that carried all before it, and the older, basically peasant, land-rooted civilizations were simply helpless. But not only a new striking power, a new arrogance, too, had arrived. . . . The words cavalier, caballero, chevalier, and chivalrous tell the tale. The day of the peasant afoot [think pawn] and the nobleman ahorse [think armored knight] had dawned."

Old ways and ideas die hard. In the military perhaps above all.

The horse for all practical purposes has been gone for almost one hundred years now. And yet, to this day, the U.S. Army, calls vehicle maintenance "motor stables", and refers to certain armored units as "armored cavalry". A reminder of a much older time. Even in the Twentieth Century, American general officers such as Patton and George C. Marshall were noted for their horse riding ability. On the morning of December 7, 1941, General Marshall was indisposed due to his daily morning exercise routine, a horse ride!!

Even in World War Two [WW2] and in Vietnam, the various militaries had soldiers who volunteered for combat roles that seemed to resemble the cavalry of old. In the manner of an armored knight. This was felt to be dangerous [it was], but very useful, important, and again, yes, glamorous soldiering.

Among the German soldiery of WW2, duty in the assault gun troops was felt to be as close as the modern troop could approach the role of the ancient armored knight on horseback.

According to a German SS Lieutenant describing the role of the assault gun:

"Fighting in a SP [self-propelled] is the nearest thing that contemporary ground warfare can offer to the soldier's concept of the a knight in armour".

An assault gun was an artillery piece mounted on a tracked, armored vehicle [for all practical purposes, a turretless tank]. Used to support infantry on the offensive and to support that same infantry against enemy tank attack when on the defensive.

"Forward and at the enemy ! Assault guns are an offensive weapon and give the infantry immediate, powerful support through mobility, fire and striking power."
Sturmgesch├╝tz Training Manual.

German units employing assault guns were very effective throughout the entire war, inflicting just enormous casualties upon their enemies, especially upon Soviet tanks. This effectiveness can probably be attributed to the fact that the vast majority of the gun crews were volunteers, possessing a high esprit.

According to Lucas:

"that 'a weapon is only as good as the soldier who uses it' is an axiom which, if true, would show that the men of the German SP gun units of WW2 were very good soldiers indeed, for the quality of that army's assault artillery was frequently commented upon by allied intelligence appreciation in the most glowing terms."

I think it is safe to say that the German assault gun crews were good. NO, very good indeed.

[I find it interesting that U.S. Army is currently fielding a version of the brand new Stryker vehicle as an assault gun. A variation of which duplicates the assault gun used by the Germans. This variation comes with the 105mm gun taken out of the current Abrams series of tanks, which are being upgraded to a 120 mm gun. A good use of firepower and a resurrection of an old concept once felt to be outdated by the anti-tank guided missile [ATGM]].

In Vietnam, the helicopter gunship was the weapon system that allowed the soldier to experience as closely as possible "the nearest thing that contemporary ground warfare can offer to the soldier's concept of the a knight in armour". [of course, this is the statement of the German SS officer as quoted above].

I am primarily thinking here about the Huey Cobra gunship.

A two man [pilot and gunner] helio, lightweight, NOT armored, but fast and possessing an abundance of deadly firepower. Firepower came from a combination of 7.62 mm mini-guns, rockets, hand-cranked 40 mm grenades, and in later models, ATGM's of the TOW variety. One gunship was said to possess the firepower of an entire infantry battalion!! It is said that American soldiers, in an desperate battle during Vietnam, would actually cry with joy when a Huey Cobra would make it's appearance.

One variation of the Huey Cobra was armed in this manner:

* One 20mm three-barrel M197
* Eight Hellfire or TOW missles
* 76 2.75-inch or
* 16 5-inch Zuni rockets

With both the German SP and the Huey Cobra, the combatants using the vehicles were highly mobile, possessed a lot of firepower, closed with the enemy and saw them face to face, and had an influence upon the battlefield far in excess to the mere numbers of machines.

To a degree, the horse cavalry and the knight on horseback lives, but in another form.


Sunday, November 27, 2005


This is coolbert:

It is called the Reverse Slope Defense.

That form of defense that allows the infantryman, defending, to inflict the maximum number of casualties upon an attacker.

"A reverse slope defense is a positioning technique characterized by the location of defensive forces on a slope of a hill, ridge, or mountain that descends away from the enemy. It is one of several time tested techniques that may be used as part or all of a unit defense."

That form of defense that was determined to be the most effective by the German operations research analysts of World War One [WW1].

I have blogged on this topic before. See my blog of 4/06/2004 for all the details.

This form of defense is recognized by the U.S. Army in it's field manuals as being valid. To what extent it IS taught to infantry commanders I am just not sure. I will investigate this.

This drawing best describes, better than words, what the reverse slope defense consists of:

This IS counter-intuitive to what the novitiate may feel is appropriate. I think most folks would expect the most effective and lethal defensive position to be one established at the forward military crest of a hill being defended. This IS NOT SO!

Factors as to WHY this is not so were not readily apparent to me. Somewhat intuitive but not enunciated when I first was exposed to this concept [reverse slope defense].

It seems that the experts see the factors for successful and effective defense using the reverse slope defense as being:

"The reverse slope defense protects the infantryman from enemy long-range direct and indirect fires."

"A reverse slope defense is especially useful when the light infantryman finds himself on terrain which is exposed to enemy long range fire systems."

"The reverse slope defense brings the battle into the range of infantry weapons."

"Positions on the reverse slope are hidden from enemy observation and can hide your strength and locations."


The reverse slope defense can (depending on METT-T) provide a critical "edge" to the light fighter on the firepower intensive battlefield."

The gist seems to be that you, the defender, can bring all your weaponry to bear upon an attacking enemy, but the attacker CANNOT BRING HIS full panoply of weaponry to bear upon you. YOU are protected from observation, and indirect fire, while the enemy is not. YOU have the advantage as your positions are not observable until the point when the enemy finds themselves full exposed to the full range of your firepower.

Some anecdotal accounts of the advantages offered by reverse slope defense tell a lot:

"On top of that ridge were some German assault guns, and they waited until the company commander had all of his troopers scattered around in their foxholes on the forward slope, and then, they just started firing with their two assault guns. It was murder. Finally, after they killed and wounded maybe 20 men in that company, the rest of them just got up and bolted out of there and went over to the reverse slope, which is where they belonged in the first place. So, being on a forward slope when the enemy has direct fire weapons, high velocity direct fire weapons, is suicide."

"However, trying to continue the advance, the soldiers discovered that the Japanese had also fortified the reverse slope with 55 emplacements including 13 pillboxes. Once again artillery was called in, including shells using the new VT fuses. Under the cover of a smoke screen and with quad .50 caliber machine guns blazing, the men of the 6th Division stormed those positions on 8 July, but at heavy cost. The reverse slope defenses, unexpected and virtually impervious to observed artillery fire, proved to be more costly to take than forward slope positions."

"As a result, the Chinese decided to put their forces, "front light, rear heavy." That is, they put a few reconnaissance troops on the forward slope of the hill while putting most of their troops on the reverse slope. They were placed "in well-protected holes dispersed over the crest of the hill from where one can easily push forward." These units achieved the maximum protection from the deadly effects of direct and indirect fire weapons at a minimum loss in defensive power. When facing an enemy rich in artillery and air power, the reverse slope defense proved a good bet for the Chinese."

"Argentine defensive positions in the Falklands were normally located on the forward slopes. This permitted the British forces to observe and accurately locate the Argentine positions. They then would direct accurate artillery fire and antitank guided missiles into those exposed positions. The Argentines were driven out of their holes by this concentrated fire."

See this further drawing which shows how an reverse slope defense can be organized. Observation and listening posts on the forward crest of the hill being defended. Main defense located on the reverse slope.

I hope this sort of defense is just not textbook and IS taught at the U.S. Army Infantry School. Let me try to find out.


Wednesday, November 23, 2005


This is coolbert:

During the 1950's there WAS a ferment of design in the area of what are best described as "winged" missiles.

Such as the Soviet TU-123. The cruise missile that became the Yastreb in the recon version.

With regard to "winged" missile development, according to Soviet engineers:

"from the very beginning the new tenor of advanced aviation was treated seriously. First of all it can be explained by increased requirements to aviation development in accordance with state-of-the-art level of that times. Certainly there was a rational attitude to application of aircraft capable to operate without pilot saving his life. Absence of the pilot in an air vehicle immediately puts much more severe requirements to such aircraft characteristics as G-force, altitude, vibration, temperature and some others."

[the above is obviously a poor translation from the Russian. Was found on an English language web site for the Tupelov company. What is being said is that without the consideration of having a pilot onboard the "aircraft", a lot of design factors come into play that make for a better and more effective airframe.]

It seems that there was a lot of interest by the military services in this sort of "winged" missile. A lot of projects were started in the U.S. with design in mind of an intercontinental missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the Soviet Union. This was one way to go, as the ICBM [intercontinental ballistic missile] was not yet developed to the extent that it needed to be.

A number of American "winged" missiles were developed and deployed in the era after the end of World War Two [WW2]. With a whole range of successes and failures.

Among the missiles out there were:

1. Snark.

A subsonic cruise missile that resembled a pilotless aircraft in almost exact detail. [well, that is what it was, wasn't it, a pilotless aircraft.]

2. Navajo.

A supersonic cruise missile that resembled more a conventional missile than it did an unmanned aircraft.

3. Regulus.

A cruise missile designed to be launched from the back of a submarine. The submarine would surface, a pod on top of the sub would open, the missile would emerge, be prepped, and then fired.


A anti-aircraft cruise missile. Almost exactly an unmanned aircraft designed for long range intercept of incoming attacking Soviet bombers. Could engage at long range and high altitude intruder Soviet aircraft. Was capable of carrying a conventional OR nuclear payload.

Almost all these weapons systems can be looked upon as more or less boondoggles. Cost a lot of money, and were deployed for only a short time in limited numbers. The Snark for instance, was deployed for ONLY ONE MONTH AND THEN THE SYSTEM WAS TERMINATED.

Even after the advent of the ICBM, these "winged" missiles were still considered to be useful. The Regulus and the BOMARC found themselves being used as target drones for live fire missions. This WAS a good way to get rid of unneeded and unnecessary inventory.

One "winged" missile seems to be a success over the long term however. This is the Teledyne Ryan Q-2/KDA/xQM-34/BGM-34 Firebee.

Used purportedly in unmanned recon missions over China and Vietnam during the 1960's. It was felt that an unmanned aircraft was less intrusive and less objectionable to the communist governments. Whether this was so or not is debatable.

I believe the consensus is that these drone "aircraft" produced results that were not spectacular, but steady and useful, and did so over a long time [a period of decades].

Did not produce results when needed during the lead-up to the abortive and unsuccessful Son Tay raid [U.S. commando unit attempting to free American prisoners of war being held by the forces of the communist north.] I recall that the prisoner-of-war camp at Son Tay in North Vietnam had SEVEN unmanned recon drones sent for flyovers prior to the U.S. commando raid. These drones were on photo missions. And in ALL SEVEN missions, almost nothing of value was obtained. Photos of the horizon were about ALL that was gotten out of the SEVEN missions. This can only be categorized as a tremendous failure!!

Probably in all likelihood the "winged" missiles of the day just were pushing the envelope with regard to design and control systems to be successful. They were superseded by more advanced ICBM designs. Micro-miniature electronics and computerized onboard controls just did not exist at the time to allow for effective "aircraft" to be built. Several decades had to pass before the smaller and effective modern cruise missiles came on line. As is now.


Tuesday, November 22, 2005


This is coolbert:

Here is an item for which the Soviet defector Suvorov seems to have exaggerated in a big way.
[this seems to me to be an anomaly with regard to Suvorov. Suvorov WAS an intelligence officer and would presumably have an intimate knowledge of Soviet capabilities in the reconnaissance field.]


An unmanned reconnaissance "rocket" plane capable of the most incredible performance, according to Suvorov.

Was supposed to have intercontinental range, fly at speeds of 4000 MPH [???] and be used over areas of the world normally denied to the Soviets, such as the Indian Ocean or the Atlantic.

Suvorov seems to have exaggerated the capability of this "place" to a marked degree. Surprisingly so, as he has had a pretty good track record in other areas.

This is not to say that the "Yastreb" did not exist. It did exist. Was originally developed by the Tupelov design bureau as an intercontinental [4000 km range] cruise missile [TU-123] to deliver an atomic warhead. Had a rocket assist take off and then became an air breathing jet powered cruise missile operating in the high atmosphere [25,000 meters altitude].

[it seems that Suvorov has confused the range with the speed of the Yastreb. To describe the Yastreb as a "rocket" plane would be the only way to account for the incredible speed the Yastreb supposedly possessed!!]

Was first developed in the late 1950's. Project was cancelled along with all other "winged missiles" when it became apparent that ICBM's [intercontinental ballistic missiles] operating in outer space beyond the atmosphere of the earth were the best way to deliver atomic weaponry to distant targets.

From the TU-123 the Yastreb [TU-139] was developed. DID have cameras and radio intercept equipment on-board that gave it a reconnaissance capability. DID fly in prototypes and possibly flew on ONE mission. I say again, ONE mission. This was not a recon vehicle that WAS ever used as intended.

"Works on large-range unmanned strike aircraft which started in 1958 were stopped in 1960 defining a basis for activities on unmanned reconnaissance aircraft "Yastreb-DBR-1". Said works were successfully completed in 1964. From 1965 DBR-1 complex entered serial production. The aircraft had unique characteristics for that time. It was completely autonomous for combat missions and data acquisition and processing.

"Yastreb" reconnaissance aircraft had flight speed of 2700 km/h [1670 MPH], flight range about 4000 km [2500 miles] and flight altitude [19-22] km [62,000-72,000 ft.]."

The formidable capability attributed to the Yastreb by Suvorov just did NOT exist.

[this is not to say that the Yastreb was NOT formidable. It was, but NOT as Suvorov maintains.]

Those prototypes and mission capable "plane" probably were relegated to the scrap heap. Better and cheaper way of doing the recon existed and the Yastreb just did not have a mission. That is that.



Monday, November 21, 2005


This is coolbert:

I have blogged repeatedly how the rifle carried by the modern infantry soldier is a supporting weapon. How the common infantry squad soldier supports with his rifle fire the main weapon of the infantry squad, an automatic weapon of some variety.

[for the purposes of this blog, an infantry squad consists of ten soldiers, as is usually the case in all self respecting armies of the modern era.]

It seems the U.S. Army HAS had a hard time over the last one hundred years in deciding exactly what automatic weapon is to be the base of fire for the conventional infantry squad. The search for the "perfect weapon" has been long and painful, for some reason.

And this for almost a period of one hundred years.

During World War One [WW1], the U.S. army employed the Browning Automatic Rifle [BAR] as the automatic weapon used at squad level. The remainder of the infantry squad used Springfield 03' bolt action rifles.

During both World War Two [WW2] AND the Korean War, the BAR was once again employed as the base of fire for the infantry squad. The common soldier of both wars carried the semi-automatic Garand rifle as the supporting weapon.

In Vietnam, the base of fire for the infantry squad was provided by a troop carrying the M-60 machinegun, the common infantryman carrying the M-16 rifle.

In both Gulf wars, the base of fire for the infantry has been supplied by the Squad Automatic Weapon [SAW], the common soldier in the infantry carrying the same M-16 as was carried in Vietnam.

This is almost a period of one hundred years. And all during that time, the U.S. Army did NOT until recently seem to find the desired weapon to provide the automatic weapon base of fire for the infantry squad.

Each and every weapon seemed to have a drawback.

The BAR was very heavy, and had only a twenty round capacity. A small capacity of ammunition for so heavy a weapon, and a weapon found to have a very high expenditure of ammunition at that. During the Korean conflict, it was found necessary to have a man attached to the weapons man [the man firing the BAR] to act solely as an ammunition carrier.

[originally one man in a squad was designated as BAR man. This troop would have to carry all his own ammo along with the heavy BAR. Ammo carried on the person of the BAR man would be fired off almost in the proverbial heartbeat!! This was recognized as being a deficiency almost instantly!]

In Vietnam, there seemed to be no satisfactory solution to the squad automatic weapon problem other than to use the M-60 machinegun. And there were drawbacks to using this weapon too. Almost an exact copy of the WW2 German MG42, it tended to be overly heavy, as was the predecessor BAR, was designed to be crew served, and used 7.62mm caliber ammunition, as opposed to the 5.56mm caliber M-16. Ammunition was not interchangeable between rifles and automatic weapon in the squad.

[I am not sure about ammunition interchangeability with the Springfield 03', the Garand, and the BAR. It may also be that these weapons too did not have similar rounds. You could not interchange ammo between weapons!!]

The currently used SAW seems to solve a lot of problems with the squad automatic weapon in use by the U.S. Army. Is NOT such a heavy weapon as the BAR or the M-60 for that matter. Has good capacity with belt feed and optional drum magazine. Does have ammunition interchangeability between the SAW and the M-16. This HAS to be a big plus in itself.

Are their drawbacks to the SAW?? Possibly so? But this weapon seems to be a big step forward in solving the squad automatic problem that plagued the U.S. Army for almost one hundred years!! You are NEVER going to find the ideal weapon or combinations of weapons for the common infantry squad. But the SAW perhaps is such a dramatic improvement that it just cannot be denied!

[several comments: In the period when the Garand rifle was replaced by the M-14 as the standard weapon for the common soldier, there was a heavy barrel automatic version of the M-14 that was supposed to be employed as the infantry squad's base of fire. This weapon too had only a twenty round magazine capacity which was found to be deficient. A heavy barrel automatic version of the M-16 also was found to NOT have the desired stopping power the top brass of the day desired!!]



This is coolbert:

What a disappointment! I am looking at books yesterday at the local Target, and see this book by Doctorow, "The March" .

I have just blogged on this just recently.

This novel has Sherman's March to the Sea during the American Civil War as the backdrop for the story.

So I pick up the book and open the cover to read the inside of the jacket. And I am immediately floored. Well, not exactly so, only in a figurative manner. The VERY FIRST sentence says something to the effect, "After burning Atlanta, Sherman embarked on his march to the sea . . . "

NO!! NO!! A thousand times NO!!

How could Doctorow have made such a grievous error?? A man such as Doctorow MUST HAVE carefully researched this book. And yet, what is it, the very first sentence in the jacket is preposterous.

As I have said before in a prior blog entry, Sherman DID NOT burn Atlanta. Atlanta did burn to the ground during the Civil War, but it burned from fires set by the Confederates to prevent their [Confederate] munitions from falling into the hands of Sherman. These fires spread, unintentionally, and DID burn the city down. But it was not from the efforts of Sherman's army that this did occur.

[it is also speculated that fires set by Confederate artillery firing at Sherman's troops also inadvertently set fires in Atlanta. Probably true!]

Here is an interesting web site, [click here to see site], that describes the letter sent by Sherman to Hood [defender at Atlanta] during the battle for Atlanta. From the communique of Sherman to Hood:

"God will judge me in good time, and He will pronounce whether it be more humane to fight with a town full of women and the families of a brave people at our backs, or to remove them in time to places of safety among their own friends."

[Sherman in this case is talking about evacuating the citizenry of Atlanta so they may NOT become innocent non-combatant casualties in case of battle WITHIN Atlanta itself.]

This tells me that Sherman WAS NOT the depraved barbarian some folks have taken him to be.

I highly recommend the above web site. OUTSTANDING!!


Friday, November 18, 2005

Battle of Algiers.

This is coolbert:

"it won't do any good to examine documents. If anyone's documents are in order, it will be the terrorist's documents that are in order." - - Colonel Mathieu, "The Battle of Algiers".

The famous movie, "The Battle of Algiers" is said to be must seeing for American personnel in Iraq.

Won the best foreign film Oscar in 1969.

Chronicled the counter-insurgency of the French against Algerian insurrectionists.

[Chronicled at least, the urban counter-insurgency in Algiers].

An insurrection that occurred in the 1950's. An insurrection that proved to ultimately successful. Algeria the independent nation emerged from the conflict.

This particular movie demonstrates very well the difficulty that conventional militaries face when fighting against insurrectionists.

Especially in an urban environment.

This movie IS a must see for the military historian, amateur or otherwise.

I recommend it highly.

[when this film first came out [1969], there was a private viewing given to a group of young black teens. It was noted that everytime in the movie that a policeman was killed, a bomb set off killing "settlers", or a "demonstration" causing chaos occurred, the young blacks in the audience would cheer and applaud. They LIKED what they were seeing!!]

Many aspects of this war are repeating themselves in Iraq. American troops are dealing with a totally alien culture. As were the French. A severe culture clash was a consequence.

American troops, as were the French, were seen as occupiers. Despised.

There seemed for the French, as with the Americans, NO real way out of the conflict without honor being besmirched.

In Algeria, the French had many "settlers". French men and women, encouraged by the French government, to settle and "civilize" Algeria. And this was done to an extent. About 1 million French lived in Algeria at the time of the war. Mostly living along the coastline and in the cities. Persons who sometimes came from generations that had lived in Algeria.

Algeria WAS NOT merely a colony of France. It was a department. Had the status of being an intrinsic part of France.

NOT so with Iraq and the relationship to America.

To the French, the Algerian insurrection was MUCH MORE personal.

French pride in a large measure was at stake also. Having lost the first Indo-China War to the Vietnamese, the French felt they COULD NOT also lose in Algeria. Many steps were taken that later the French came to regret. Torture of suspected insurgents being among them.

Sounds familiar, doesn't it??!!

As is usual in insurrections, the insurgents DO NOT normally have to actually defeat the forces of the counter-insurgency on the battlefield. It is merely enough to OUTLAST the military of the "central government". In this respect, the Algerian insurrectionists did succeed. NOT militarily successful as were the Vietnamese. It was enough to OUTLAST the French. This WAS done!

For the "settlers", called derisively "pied noirs" [black feet] by their French compatriots, independence for Algeria was a catastrophe. These folks felt a continuing life and presence as a minority among a Muslim majority would be an unacceptable way of life. This is probably a correct appraisal on their part. The 1 million "settlers" pulled up stakes and to the last man and woman moved to France proper.

[it is reputed that with their intimate knowledge of the Arabs and Muslim culture, if an Algerian can be called an Arab, the "pied noirs" make for indispensible members of a anti-terrorism task force. Some of those folks must be getting up in the years now to be doing that stuff. Who knows??]

For Algeria, independence made for a mixed bag. Independence from foreign rule was exchanged for despotic, dictatorial, one-party rule at home. A situation that has lasted to this day. In addition, the socialist leaning Algerian government was not able to deliver on the promises to improve the standard of living for the Algerian people. Poverty today is the rule, rather than the exception.


Thursday, November 17, 2005


This is coolbert:

I am reading this article about the SKS carbine. A weapon that has become very popular with American shooters as of late.

Is a weapon referred to as a "ranch rifle". A weapon, semi-automatic, that the average-everyday rancher can carry with him when he does his chores [hanging in the gun rack at the back of the pick-up truck of course]. Ranchers living in the American west can carry this rifle and know they have a reliable weapon, firing a good caliber round, with little if any real maintenance required. Can be used on varmits such as coyote. Animals that threaten the herds of the ranchers.

The SKS, called a carbine, but actually more of a rifle, is a Soviet designed rifle from the 1940's. Was the predecessor to the AK-47. Has a ten round magazine, fires the 7.62 X 39 mm round also used in the AK. Has been mass produced in prodigious numbers by communist countries all over the world in a variety of forms and qualities. Ammunition is very cheap, even amazingly cheap. The world gun market is evidently flooded by enormous quantities of this rifle, both the weapon and appropriate ammo being available at low cost.

American owners of the SKS have expressed some concern that this weapon just does not have the degree of accuracy that they desire. An experienced marksman, firing the SKS in a reasonable manner, can fully expect to have a shot pattern of about four to five inches across at 100 yards. An even more skilled rifleman can expect even a more accurate shot pattern, but that would be from the hands of a skilled rifleman taking his time and concentrating on accuracy.

With regard to accuracy, the SKS designer and manufacturers did NOT INTEND to make the SKS a weapon that WOULD HAVE a high degree of accuracy. They wanted a weapon that had ADEQUATE ACCURACY. Accuracy to the desired degree for a BATTLEFIELD weapon. We are NOT talking here about a sniper rifle with a high degree of accuracy over very long ranges. We are talking here about a weapon that is carried by the common soldier. ADEQUATE is the operable word.

Adequate in this manner:

That four to five inch shot pattern at a range of 100 yards would be eight to ten inches at 200 yards [meters].

Viewed from the front, a fit young man has a body width of about 12 inches.

Most gun fights on the modern battlefield occur at ranges of 200 meters [yards] or less.

Ergo, an average rifleman, firing the SKS in a reasonable manner, is able to adequately engage targets as found on the modern battlefield.

And remember, a squad of infantry wielding SKS's exist primarily to support the main firepower as found in the modern infantry squad, a light automatic weapon, such as the communist RPK. The RPK, firing the same round as the SKS, is a light machinegun, with bipod and thirty round magazine. The base of fire for modern infantry squads in armies all over the world is founded upon such weapons as the RPK.

Again, with a rifle such as the SKS, ADEQUATE is the operable word.


Hostis Humani Generis

This is coolbert:

 Interesting program on the evening news two nights in a row now.

Dealt with several subjects that have been the topic of recent blog entries.

One was about the earthquake disaster in Pakistan and the subsequent relief effort.

This particular news item was about the pack animals [mules] being used in the relief effort.

The Pakistani Army DOES have units of mule pack animals at it's disposal. Are used in the rugged mountainous terrain of northern Pakistan, Kashmir, the "foothills" of the Himalaya.

To carry large loads to inaccessible regions where no motor transport or even helicopter can go. As a mule caravan winds it's way into the mountains, the soldiers accompanying the mules must stop and rebuild parts of the trail as they go, and do this EVERYDAY.

The ground is so unstable as to make trail blocking landslides and rockfalls a never ending occurrence. And in less than a month, the snowfall will make even the mule caravans impossible. The trails into the mountains will be covered with so much snow, at least three feet deep in some spots!! Even the mules are stopped by such a depth of snow!! And, even if snowfall was NOT present, these mule units DO NOT exist in the numbers to make a big difference in the relief effort!!

[from appearances, these remote mountain villages being serviced by the mule caravans are not even accessible by helicopter. These villages appear to be built ON THE SIDE of a mountain. There seems to be no readily apparent flat area for a chopper to land. EVEN helicopters cannot assist these folks.]

[it is the desire of the Pakistani government to move folks AWAY from these remote villages for the winter. But, as in New Orleans, there IS a real motivation NOT to move away from home. Folks WANT to stay where they are, regardless.]

A second item of news interest regarding the Pakistani earthquake was that American intelligence analysts have hoped that maybe Osama WAS killed in the earthquake. Buried in a home or in a mountain. This maybe is wishful thinking. Zawahiri, the # 2 man to Osama, HAS been heard since the earthquake occurred. Osama has not been heard from in months now. This IS the longest period of time since 9/11 that nothing has been heard from Osama. Leading of course to speculation that Osama has passed on. The jury is out so far on the death of Osama. Only time will tell.

[those who criticize the U.S. intelligence community concerning 9/11 should consider the search for Osama. Even with the entire resources of the U.S. intelligence community focused on finding Osama and bringing him to justice, it has been over four years now and so far, NO Osama!! Intelligence, as I have said before, is a difficult business. I would have to assume that U.S. commanders on the ground in Afghan and near the border with Pakistan would more or less have carte blanche authority to procure and use whatever assets are necessary in the search for the villain. And yet, no positive results!!]

Pirates too are again in the news!!

"Hostis Humani Generis" - - "Enemy of the human race."

An American cruise ship enroute to the Seychelles Islands was attacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia. Attack by bog hammer putt-putt type boats. Gunmen wielding automatic weapons, firing rocket-propelled-grenades [RPG's] at the cruise ship. This was evidently an attempt to make the liner heave-to an allow a boarding party of villains to rob the passengers. Quick thinking and action [water hoses wielded by the crew, creating a chop to capsize the pirate putt-putt boat] by the master of the vessel saved the day, finally sailing out of range of the pirates and the coastline.

These pirates evidently sally forth in their putt-putt boats from a "mother ship" to attack unsuspecting vessels. It is even believed that the "mother ship" emits false distress signals, in the hope of luring suitable prey within range. Pirates are now and have always been a foul bunch. In the same category as terrorists, slavers, genociders, etc.

[here are a whole bunch of web sites to peruse regarding modern-day pirates [click here, here, and here to see]].

It seems this IS a hot topic in the maritime world.

A whole bunch of devices have been invented to ward off piratical attacks. I especially like the one where the ship's captain can electrify the hull of his ship with a 9000 volt charge, and shock the living hell out of the bad guys!!]

Finally, the news had an interesting item about the American Navy Construction Battalion [CB's [See-Bee's]] in Pakistan.

This unit is ordinarily stationed in Gulfport, Mississippi. Is now carrying out heavy lifting and construction in an earthquake ravaged city of Pakistan. This is a great irony. The home base of this unit itself has been ravaged and destroyed by natural disaster, in the case of the CB unit, hurricane Katrina.

One could easily reason that this CB unit belongs back home, in Gulfport. To help with reconstruction in the units' own home town.

One could ALSO easily reason that in the U.S., there are an abundance of construction companies that do rebuilding work in Gulfport. NOT SO in Pakistan. It seems that this CB unit is the only unit of it's type available period in Pakistan that can do the heavy lifting and reconstruction work required!!

I am sure the hope is that by doing all the reconstruction work in Pakistan, this CB unit will accrue great karma and good will for the U.S. among the locals. I am sure that it is at the very top of American foreign policy to have a stable government in Pakistan friendly to the U.S. This HAS to be a very high priority, if not the highest of priorities. Whatever can be done to further this goal, MUST be done. Even sending a CB unit thousands of miles from home when it is MOST needed at home!!


Sunday, November 13, 2005

Chris Matthews.

This is coolbert:

Listening to the very end of the Chris Matthews TV show this Sunday morning. And hear something that is really amazing.

Something that just demonstrates that even the so-called "experts", pundits and "analysts", persons, who should know better, just DO NOT know better.

Chris is talking about the Senate Intelligence committee. How this committee is going to hold hearings to see if the U.S. public was lied to about intelligence giving justification in the lead up to the current Iraqi War.

Chris says that there were four reasons given for going to war in the days prior to the invasion of Iraq.

These were:

1. Saddam was still involved in the building of a nuclear weapon.

2. American forces would be greeted by cheering crowds as liberators.

3. Oil revenues from Iraqi oil would pay for the war without cost to the American taxpayer.

4. Cheap and abundant oil would be available in the aftermath of the war to the American consumer.

Chris then says that the administration is batting "zero for four" on all counts.

But none of the above is the main topic of this blog entry.

What is the main topic of this blog entry is what Chris then goes on to say. Something very outrageous and just PLAIN WRONG!!

Chris says that this "lying" to the American public about reasons for going to war has happened before.

The event Chris has in mind is the Gulf of Tonkin incident. An incident prior to massive U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. An incident that prompted Congress to allow President Johnson the authority to wage war in Vietnam without any further Congressional, constitutionally mandated approval

Chris then says that the problem with the Gulf of Tonkin incident is that "it never happened"

This incident Chris is referring to is the attack by two North Vietnamese torpedo boats on two American destroyers [Maddox and the Turner Joy] patrolling within international waters off the coast of North Vietnam, the in the Gulf of Tonkin.

North Vietnamese torpedo boats DID launch DAY TIME attacks on the American destroyers, launching torpedoes, attempting to sink the American vessels. In this they were unsuccessful. The North Vietnamese boats themselves were either sunk or disabled, dead in the water. This attack, during DAY TIME did occur. Of this there is NO doubt. Many witnesses can attest to this. This is NOT a subject for dispute.

What is in question, and has been in question ever since the attacks occurred, is was there a second NIGHT TIME ATTACK on the same two American destroyers, still patrolling in the approximate location where the initial day time attack happened?

Persons onboard the two destroyers present and on duty at the time DID FEEL they were under attack. This was based upon radar contacts and underwater sound devices reporting "torpedoes running". The two ships, the Turner Joy and the Maddox, did engage through radar contacts, what they THOUGHT AND FELT were a second round of attacks by North Vietnamese torpedo boats.

Over the years, and even at the TIME of the Gulf of Tonkin incident, this SECOND attack was disputed.

It may very well be that the second attack DID NOT take place. It may very well be that overzealous, jittery radar operators and commanders BELIEVED THEY WERE UNDER ATTACK WHEN THEY WERE NOT!!

Many folks in authority to know what is what have spoken on this subject over the years and I think the consensus is that it CANNOT BE DETERMINED WITH ANY CERTITUDE THAT A SECOND ATTACK DID TAKE PLACE!!

However, that is not the real question.

What is the real question is what was going on in the minds of the persons on the spot at the time.

Did they have a reasonable suspicion that they MIGHT have been under attack for a second time. To this I would answer YES!!

Was this purported second incident a lie?? A lie told to work the American people into a mental state where they would approve retaliation and an escalation of the war??


NOT to the extent that the word LIE is ordinarily defined, and used in conventional everyday conversation.

It may very well be that President Johnson and his advisors DID believe that two attacks had occurred on the American destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin. ONE attack, the day time attack, DID occur. This is not even a question. NO doubt about the day time attack. What is at question is, DID a night time attack occur. The jury is out on that one!! And perhaps, ALWAYS WILL be!!

[personal note. In my opinion Chris Matthews probably knows the same facts about the Gulf of Tonkin incident as I do. This stuff has been widely reported and talked about in the media. He just WANTS to roil the waters and create a misperception about what the facts are, and wants to do so in a deliberate manner. My personal opinion. This on the part of Chris is just plain WRONG!!]


Thursday, November 10, 2005


This is coolbert:

The use of plunging rifle fire employed by infantrymen [primarily on the defensive] to an engage an enemy is an anachronism probably now gone more or less forever.

"(2) Plunging fire. This occurs when the danger space is confined to the beaten zone. Plunging fire occurs when firing at long ranges, from high ground to low ground, into abruptly rising ground, or across uneven terrain, resulting in a loss of grazing fire at any point along the trajectory."

"Plunging fire is gunfire directed upon an enemy from an elevated position or gunfire aimed so as to fall on an enemy from above."

Weapons fire [rifle in this case] descending from a high arc of trajectory. NOT flat. Usually employed to engage enemy forces with RIFLE fire at long range.

But was taught to trained, skilled riflemen in the period following the American Civil War.

Rifles of the period, the breech loading single shot black powder rifle of big bore, such as the British Peabody-Martini, etc., were able to engage targets at much longer ranges than were previously feasible [longer range coupled with greater accuracy and stopping power]. Using plunging fire, trained units of riflemen could successfully engage massed concentrations of enemy troops at very long ranges.

Massed concentrations tightly bunched, in the Napoleonic style. As was even done during the American Civil War. Bunchings that when subjected to plunging rifle fire from long distances, quite often resulted in horrific casualties on the part of the attacker.

Plunging fire that could be done over very long distances, even out to 1200 meters or more. [nearly a mile!!]

[single shot black powder rifles of the era were accurate even out to long ranges. The famous Creedmoor matches of the late 1800's involved marksmen firing at three foot diameter bulls-eye targets at ranges of 1000 yards with a regular and high degree of accuracy!! Read about the Creedmoor matches by clicking here.]

These massed troop concentrations would have to advance over open ground against defenders, quite often entrenched in breastworks, who had correctly ranged [determined distance] to the targets in advance. Advancing units would be subjected to an intense barrage of plunging fire by defending troops trained in such a fire technique.

Plunging rifle fire was employed very successfully by the Turkish defenders [commanded by Osman Pasha] at Plevna [Romania], when besieged [1877] by a numerically far superior Russian force.

Russian infantry REPEATEDLY attempted to assault dug-in Turkish positions, advancing over OPEN ground.

Turkish troops, wielding Peabody-Martini rifles, responded with plunging rifle fire commencing at a range of 1200 meters. If the Russians WERE able to advance to within 200 meters of the Turkish breastworks, the Turks then switched to repeating rifles of the Winchester variety and decimated OVER and OVER the attacking Russian troops.

A Russian Prince would report back to his superiors, "My companies (originally 200 strong) are coming back 5 and 10 men strong!"

"Russian reporters and military analysts later said that these troops began taking hits from the Peabody-Martinis at 3,000 yards, but this must be considered an exaggeration. What was really happening was a plunging high trajectory fire that was being accurately adjusted to keep pace with the oncoming infantry (see note below for a discussion of "plunging fire"). Men were falling in fair numbers at 2,000 yards, and the losses increased as they marched ever closer to their goal atop the hills of Plevna."

Read further about Plevna by clicking here.

[this takes trained, disciplined troops to implement!!]

To my knowledge, the last large scale use of plunging rifle fire by trained infantry men was at the Battle of Mons, 1914. The first encounter in the First World War between British and German troops. German units, commanded by General Von Kluck [pronounced Klook], advancing again in those tightly bunched formations, came under fire by British troops employing plunging rifle fire at a range of 800 meters. So great and accurate was the volume of fire [and such was the extent of the casualties!!] from the bolt action Lee-Enfield rifles of the highly trained Britishers, that Von Kluck reported he had been engaged by machinegun fire!!!

This sort of thing does seem to be a thing of the past, not to be seen again. Troops of the modern era are just too smart to advance across open ground in tightly bunched formations. And defenders are just not trained to react and using plunging rifle fire, if they did encounter such an attacking formation!!


Thursday, November 03, 2005

Count Nogi.

This is coolbert:

Please read this article written by the illustrious Briton, Sir Robert Baden-Powell [click here to read]. The founder of the Boy Scouts.

While on a world trip to review the Boy Scout movement in various countries where it had been established, Baden-Powell visited Japan. Scouting was in it's infancy in Japan at the time, but was a growing concern.

[of course, Baden-Powell developed the scouting movement as a means of training young men and boys of leadership potential for possible future military service. Baden-Powell saw scout training as a remedy for the inability of young men of high social caliber to live and function in a rugged, outdoors environment. Such as one would find during a time of war. Young British nobles WERE NOT able to live normally and function and lead troops under conditions they were not accustomed to. Scouting was seen as a means to overcome this problem!!]

Baden-Powell's article about Japan emphasized the heroics of Count Nogi, of Russo-Japanese War fame, and the forty-seven ronin of feudal Japanese lore. Persons that Sir Robert felt western youth were wise to emulate. At least to a degree in the sense that Nogi and the ronin thought of self-sacrifice and courage in the face of great danger.

From the writings of Sir Robert:

[as usual, my comment in bold!!]

"Count Nogi, the Great Japanese General

[after the end of his military career, Nogi was headmaster of the school where Hirohito and his brothers were educated. Nogi had profound effect upon the entire Japanese nation!!]

Hara-kiri, the killing of oneself from a sense of duty, is a custom amongst, men of the highest rank of the Japanese.

Count Nogi considered that his highest duty was to his Emperor, and it was to prove this that he put an end to his life when his master, the Emperor, died."

At the exact moment of the burial of the Meiji Emperor, Nogi took his own life, with his wife taking her life only moments later.

"In the war between Japan and Russia in 1904, General Nogi commanded the Japanese forces which captured Port Arthur.

Here came his first trial.

With his army he attacked this great fortress, and although it looked an almost impossible task to capture it, he and his troops went at it again and again, until, in spite of fearful loss, they succeeded in storming the place, and thereby took 41,000 Russians and 700 guns.

But to gain this triumph the General suffered heavy personal loss ; his eldest son, Shoten, was killed in one of the earlier battles of the siege. Later the Japanese found it necessary, if they wished to take Port Arthur, to storm a very strong position called "203 metre Hill." On this depended the taking of the whole fortress. It was the key to the position.

The fight was bound to be a bitter one to the death. A picked force of Japanese was chosen to carry out this desperate duty, and when it had been formed, General Nogi placed his only other son, Hoten, in command, and this son was killed in the attack which followed.

The General also had with him a faithful servant who had accompanied him everywhere and was a close friend. This servant was killed. The General's favourite dog, which always went with him, was also killed.

But Nogi, although he felt the most bitter grief, made no sign, he forced himself to bear his personal losses as a matter of duty, in carrying out his higher duty to his Emperor and to his country; and right nobly he did it."

Nogi lost his two sons and his personal servant in the siege of Port Arthur. After the campaign, Nogi was seen wearing three crosses in memorial for the deaths!!

"So the first gun of the salute to the dead Emperor was the signal to his faithful soldier to kill himself and follow him.

At the General's side was also his devoted wife, who took the same signal to stab herself and follow her husband. In this way they each carried out their high sense of duty, proving how the power of will and sense of duty are stronger than death."

Nogi first, then his wife!!

"The Story of the Forty-seven Ronins

I visited the graves of the forty-seven Ronins at Tokio. Every Japanese boy knows the story of the forty-seven Ronins, so I will tell it to you."

Sir Robert WAS conversant in the "tale" of the ronin.

"But his own particular retainers, forty-­seven of them, were so fond of him and so angered at his death that they swore to avenge it by killing Kotsuke."

The death of the master Takumi was followed by the vengeance of the forty seven retainers [who became ronin [wandering]].

"The End of the Ronins

Among the papers preserved at the temple is still to be seen that which the priest wrote acknowledging the receipt of Kotsuke's head.

After it was all over, the forty-seven went down from the hill-side satisfied that they had done their duty and could now die happy.

They went straightway and gave themselves up to the authorities, and asked that they might be allowed to kill themselves instead of being executed-and this was granted.

So the whole forty-seven, from the oldest of seventy-seven down to the youngest of sixteen, all committed hara-kiri."

After avenging the death of their master, the ronin themselves committed suicide.

Joseph Campbell, the myth man, writes also of Nogi, quoting a Japanese newspaper editor commenting on the suicide of Nogi:

"And there is an interesting grief poem celebrating the suicide of Count Nogi, composed by the editor, Ruiko Kuroiwa, of the newspaper Yorozo Choho, which reads as follows:

'Falsely, I thought him
An old Soldier:
Today, I confess him
God Incarnate.'

Heavy stuff. Very heavy.


Z Flag.

This is coolbert:

"Hoist the Z flag!!"

It seems the missing Z flag has been found.

The flag flown by the Japanese Admiral Togo during his climactic battle at Tsushima in 1905. The defeat of the Russian fleet by Togo meant an end to the Russo-Japanese War, with victory going to the Japanese.

With that victory, and a decisive victory at that, Japan became a world power to be reckoned with. Prior to 1905, Japan was still considered to be a feudal, backwards Asian country. After 1905, Japan was now in the same league as the U.S. and the various European powers. And ascending rapidly with further development of all types too!!

It had been thought for some time that the Z flag was flown by Admiral Nagumo just prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Evidently this is NOT so!! Perhaps the message was the same, "let every man do his duty", but the flag that Nagumo flew WAS NOT the Z flag of Togo.

It seems the Z flag has been in the keep of the British since the end of the war between Japan And Russia. Was entrusted to the British as a sign of good will by Togo.

And only recently discovered by a Shinto priest who had been on an almost chivalrous quest for the "relic".

NOW it has been found [the flag]. Of course, this flag is just not mere bunting or cloth. Represents the ascendancy of Japan into the category of world power. And demonstrates that the Japanese are not 2nd rate in any manner. Is a powerful symbol. I hope it is not misused!!

Read the whole article about the Z flag discovery by clicking here.



Wednesday, November 02, 2005


This is coolbert:

Interesting program on NPR [National Public Radio] on the way home this evening.

They are interviewing this commissioner from the U.N that deals with humanitarian crisis.

Like the tsunami crisis about one year ago now.

This time the topic is the crisis in the northwestern portion of Pakistan. Where the earthquake recently struck.

About 3 million people are in dire need of shelter. This is the most pressing and immediate requirement. These folks have had their homes destroyed and cannot rebuild quick enough. The impending Himalayan winter is fast approaching. MOST will die if not able to find shelter, and soon. This commissioner equated the winter in that part of the world as being a winter comparable to what you would find in Montana. A rough winter, cold, snowy, and downright dangerous to those that DO NOT have shelter.

Again, this type of humanitarian crisis seems to be only manageable if handled by the military. Or at least greatly assisted by military action. That is the ONLY way to get help in the quantity needed and do so quickly enough to make a difference.

ONLY about one month is all there is left to make a difference.

And the numbers with this crisis are just staggering.

There are NOT enough tents in the world put together to provide enough meaningful shelter to the folks on the ground living in the open.

Folks are being told to improvise and try to restore at least one room in their destroyed homes that will provide SOME sort of shelter for the winter. That in itself is a prodigious task.

At this point, we are talking ONLY about shelter here. NOT the other necessities, food, warm clothing, etc.

It is just NOT a question of money.

Even if you have supplies, tents, food, water, medicine, etc., the question is also, HOW DO you get it to the victims, and how to do so in TIME!!

Helicopters, as flown in numbers by the military, are the only answer at this point.

You will need battalions of helicopters to make a difference, and those numbers at this point are just not going to be present in the foreseeable future, if at all.

Pack animals and porters are an alternative. Once again, organized in a military fashion. Mule caravans CAN carry a lot of stuff to the folks that need it, especially those that live in remote mountainous villages.

[the news broadcasts have shown mule caravans already at work here. It is the numbers required that is the problem!! Magnitudes more are needed, and NOW!!]

And porters, sherpa Himalayan mountaineering expedition style, can also contribute. Of course, in the case of porters, a continuous number of porters will be needed to keep up a steady flow of emergency supplies. This will all require a military type organization or augmentation by actual military units.

[A large number of folks wearing exoskeletons would be nice to have. But that is not possible!!]

And with the arrival of winter snows, the mountain roads and even trails will become difficult to travel on, if not impassable. At that point, ONLY the helicopter will be a source for resupply.

Military style helicopters such as the CH-47 [Chinook] are your best bet. The smaller choppers just do not have the range, or can carry the payload to make a difference. And the height of the mountains, the thin air, and such, make the ability of even large helios such as the Chinook less able to carry a full load of cargo or people.

And when you are talking about the massive number of choppers that will be required, you are talking about whole units of heavy lift helicopters. Units will have to be deployed, and then sustained for months on end. A difficult task at best. And in the primitive and very rugged landscape of northwest Pakistan, this is even far more difficult. Just getting the necessary fuel will be a challenge!!

Just a battalion of eighteen [18] heavy lift choppers is only a smidgen of what is needed in this crisis! You in all probability need much more helio support. And remember, if you have eighteen choppers in your unit, NOT all eighteen will be up and flying at the same time. Maintenance and down time for rest is mandatory depending upon amount of flying time. You can literally fly your bird into the ground otherwise.

This task is just mind-boggling!! It would seem that only the military has the means, and manpower, and the organization to make a difference. And it is needed NOW. I fear that what is needed will not be forthcoming. NOT enough time to meet the requirements.