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

Thursday, August 31, 2006


This is coolbert:

Interesting item on the BBC World News television program tonight.

Maoist guerillas in Nepal are getting married. Young man and woman guerilla get married with communist revolutionary ritual. Ancient Hindu rites punctuated by communist sloganeering and fist pumping in the air.

The groom, very young, is carrying a Sterling submachine gun. The successor to the Sten gun mentioned in the previous blog entry. Speak of the devil. It is almost as if someone ready my previous blog entry first and was thinking of me when they edited the video for the TV program. This is wishful thinking of course. To me, the Sterling gun greatly resembles the Sten. To what extent it is merely an improved Sten or is a totally independent design is unclear.

Maoist style guerilla warfare and insurrection I thought was a thing of the past. NOT so in Nepal. The Nepalese guerillas have been very successful in their rebellion. Large portions of that poverty stricken nation are under the control of the Maoists. This in keeping with the precepts of Mao. Small guerilla bands roaming freely throughout the countryside, attacking at will, living among the people from which they obtain [from hook or by crook] sustenance and recruits and support.

"'Maoist' refers to any armed revolutionary communist movement that is specifically based in the peasant class. They are not necessarily followers or idolators of Mao and his Red Book although I'm sure they draw inspiration from the peasant-based guerilla warfare methods he employed during the Chinese Revolution of the 1930s and 40s."

A recent issue [November 2005] of the National Geographic has an entire section devoted to this rebellion.

This article shows the guerillas, of which a goodly portion are women, doing weapons drill. The guerillas are armed with a melange' of weaponry. The British Enfield .303 bolt action rifle, and the FN FAL assault rifle predominate.

"Women have been prominent in the recruiting profile. Available reports indicate that one-fifth to one-third of the cadre and combatants may be women. Reportedly, every village has a revolutionary women’s organisation. According to a Jane’s Intelligence Review report of October 2001, there are usually two women in each unit of 35-40 men, and they are used to gather intelligence and act as couriers . . . fifty percent of cadres at the lower level, thirty percent of soldiers and ten percent of members of central committee of the outfit were women."

Also have a standard BDU uniform [appears to be U.S. camouflage uniform!!] and a canvas low cut type of sneaker. Something similar to what the Chinese communist troops wear as their battle dress.

A cease fire has been in effect for four months now in Nepal. Negotiations are being held? Since the guerillas have been so successful, to me, this is surprising. Usually, when the insurgents have the upper hand, and they appear to in this case, they are hesitant and even loathe to negotiate anything. Maybe this war is more of a stalemate.

Only time will tell.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006


This is coolbert:

Here is a favorite of mine. The Sten gun.

A British development during World War Two [WW2].

Designed from the start as a cheap and dirty way to provide a lot of firepower to small units. Almost an expedient weapon, but became much more than that.

NOT an elegant weapon. But lethal.

[the Sten falls under the category of "crude but effective".]

And cheap too. It was calculated that such a sub-machine gun could be [and was] built for $8.

That is $8. Total. Amazing.

"They were notable for their simple design and comparatively low cost of production."

Also was designed to be manufactured by almost any machine shop. Simple, sloppy, but deadly.

"The Sten required a minimum amount of machining and manufacturing effort by using simple pressed metal components and minor welding. Much of the production could be performed by small workshops and the guns assembled at the Enfield site. Over the period of manufacture the Sten was further simplified, the most basic model, the Mark III, could be produced from five man-hours work."

Morphed into a number of variants. Each variant more sophisticated than the original. To be used by British Special Operations Executive [SOE] and the airborne forces [Red Devils].

The British paratroopers, even in a losing cause, used the Sten gun with great effectiveness at Arnhem. Gave them extraordinary firepower that they put to good use.

This is the type of weapon all soldiers seem to want to carry into combat. The problem is with the ammunition expenditure. Too much ammo is fired off too fast. The troops cannot carry enough or be resupplied fast enough. Everybody wants one, but almost nobody gets one. Unless you are a "Red Devil".



This is coolbert:

It should be apparent from the interview with Dr. Horton that a certain type of person was attracted to the Non-Commissioned Officers Course [NCOC].

Since the course sought out volunteers, even among those that had been drafted, coercion was not a factor here.

[on the contrary. These NCOC students realized they were going to complete the NCOC course, go to Vietnam, and lead an infantry squad for a year of dangerous duty.]

I think it is reasonable to intuitively infer what sort of person was wanted by the Army for the NCOC course.

* Persons of above average intellect. NOT necessarily book smart of grade smart or having a high level of education. But persons with innate intelligence. Persons able to learn, master tasks, a multiple number of them, and do so quickly.

* Persons that had some sort of athletic ability or a higher level of physical fitness.

* Persons that already, while even still in their teens, understood teamwork or had demonstrated some sort of leadership.

* Persons that can be described as motivated, self-starters. Persons displaying initiative. NOT persons who wait for something to happen.

[these are in all probability folks who have the type of character that WILL NOT ALLOW THEM TO BEHAVE in a manner other than to do the best at whatever they do. Most reputable psychologists will tell you that a persons basic character is formed more or less for the rest of their life by the time they are five years old!! Minor modifications to the character of a person can be made after that point, but only, once again, minor. Highly motivated, self-starters possessing initiative all their lives, desiring to excel, AT WHATEVER IT IS THAT THEY DO!! Simple as that!!]

If, and only if, the draft is reinstated, these are type of persons to be sought out for a similar NCOC course. A course that would once again create a manpower pool of infantry squad leaders. Persons to command and lead other draftees.

If the draft IS reinstated, DO IT RIGHT!! This is one way to do IT RIGHT!!


Monday, August 28, 2006

Dr. Horton.

This is coolbert:

Here is an interview with Dr. Jerry S. Horton [PhD Electrical Engineering].

The man who wrote the book, "Shake 'n Bake Sergeant".

"Shake 'n Bake Sergeant" of course refers to the Vietnam era program by which newly inducted recruits were trained to become infantry squad leaders [Sergeant, E-5] within a period of six months. An infantry squad leader who would then be deployed right to Vietnam, commanding an infantry squad for a tour of duty.

[correctly known as the Non-Commissioned Officers Course [NCOC]].

This WAS a successful program, the comments of Jesse the Body Ventura notwithstanding.

[Jesse referred to the graduates of the NCOC as "twerps"!]

During my own active service, I WAS vaguely aware of this program, but by then my own military pathway and direction had already been chosen for me.

Dr. Jerry has been so kind to clear up details of which I was not aware of.

To the interview. JH=Dr. Horton. Bert=myself.

Bert: Were you drafted or did you enlist? If you did enlist, did you do so under the pressure of the draft?

JH: I was drafted, I ran out of money to go to college and went to the draft board an told them to draft me. I wanted to serve 2 years and then go to college on the G.I. Bill.

Bert: What age were you at the time?

JH: I just turned 20 years old.

Bert: What state were you from when you entered the service?

JH: I was from West Virginia. It was the state with the highest percentage of casualties for its population during the Vietnam War. A little known fact.

Bert: Do you come from a family with a record of military service?

JH: No, not at all. But I was from West Virginia – and all my uncles were in World War II. My Dad was too young.

Bert: Did you grow up in a rural or a city background?

JH: I grew up on the block, playgrounds of Charleston West Virginia. I was a basketball junkie.

Bert: You were then a fan of Jerry West and the UWV Mountaineers?

JH: I was a great fan of Jerry West and once he got to the Lakers. I also thought that Elgin Baylor and Oscar Robinson with West were the most talented I have ever seen. I saw them all play in West Virginia in a Sportman’s tournament after the pro season. Jerry West used to jump center in college at 6’3”.

Bert: Are you then of the Scotch-Irish heritage that has historically contributed a lot to the U.S. military? Have you read the recent book by James Webb, "Born Fighting", about that cultural group?

JH: I have never read the book but I will. I think I have Irish and know I have Indian and Italian in me.

Bert: When did you become aware of the NCOC program?

JH: Only when I finished AIT and I was asked if I wanted to go.

[AIT=advanced individual training. The step subsequent to basic training.]

Bert: You are obviously a person of intellect [PhD]! Do you consider that those in NCOC were at least above average as well?

JH: I believe that those in the NCOC program and OCS for that matter were above average. I am not sure how the selection was made, maybe on test scores entering the service. In my case I had one year of college and made excellent grades but simply ran out of money. As a high school student I was not motivated . The time spent on playgrounds and basketball were my priority, I did not make the grades to get a scholarship.

Bert: I would think that you and the others in the NCOC can be categorized as being highly motivated self-starters with initiative. Correct?

JH: We were highly motivated. We were selected to go to the school. Maybe based on our tests and what our trainers thought of us. I am not sure exactly. The OCS was more rigorous in spit and polish and more time spent on physical training as I remember.

[OCS at the time was six months long and DID spend a lot of time on spit and polish and such. And also physical training too. And a lot of what is normally called "chickenshit". It seems this was NOT the case with the NCOC!! NO "chickenshit"!!]

JH: At 18 I went to the steel mills of Chicago and saved enough money for one year of college and after working in the steel mills promised myself I would graduate from college one day. At the time I did not know I was going to have to go to Vietnam to do it. I believe there were a lot of the men just like me. Some college, had some motivation to get ahead in life and motivated to be a leaders.

Bert: Did you enter into the program with "eyes wide open", knowing what you were getting into?

JH: I had no idea what I was getting in to. We went through much of the training and harassment that officer’s went through and I had no idea at the time I signed up. I figured if I were to go to Vietnam then I wanted the best and most training I could get. I did not really know what war would be like at that time, I was only guessing.

[this quite well could be the training and harassment at basic and AIT level!!??]

Bert: To agree to enter the course did not make you obligated for further service? I.e., if you were drafted, and obligated for a two year tour, entering the NCOC course did not make you obligated to do six months more of service, for instance?

JH: No, it did not obligate you for more time in the Army. I do not think it should have since we had a pressing problem that had to get solved, that would have gotten in the way.

Bert: Did you first have complete basic training and advanced individual training [infantry] before entering the NCOC course? Or were those levels of training incorporated into the entire program?

JH: No we finished basic and AIT first.

[Jerry was already qualified as an infantry and the rudimentary level BEFORE entering into the NCOC course!!]

Bert: Did you train in the states by training others before going to Nam?

JH: We trained AIT for three months before being shipped overseas. For me, dealing with the people aspect of leadership was old hat, I grew up on the block, played sports and knew the human dynamics to motivate, for those who did not have that experience growing up this would be a critical step in their development in my opinion.

Bert: What rank did you receive upon graduating the NCOC program?

JH: I was an E-5 upon graduation.

Bert: I understand that most graduates received the Sergeant E-5 rank, and SOME, honors grads, got the rank of Staff Sergeant E-6. Is this so?

JH: Some were motivated to rise to the top at E-6 mainly they volunteered in the school to be the leaders etc… Most of us were not there for a career, we were being prepared for our 12 month stint in Vietnam as infantry squad leaders.

Bert: Was the course held at only one post or several? What was that post or posts?

JH: It started at Ft. Benning and then later was performed at some other posts. It started for infantry but then it was used for a few other MOS’s. We mainly needed infantry leaders since no one wanted to be in the infantry at the time. It turns out that once your in it and survive it then your proud you were an infantryman. It’s kind of like being from West Virginia, your proud to be a hillbilly. I was a hillbilly infantryman.

Bert: Did the course have a high or substantial drop out rate?

JH: Not really. They did not give us the harassment that they gave Officer’s in OCS. It was important that we finish and do it quickly. The career sergeants were leaving the Army because of Vietnam and the needed us. They actually had no choice but to do this. Bill Wooldridge, the Sergeant Major of the Army at that time, pushed this idea through and later Col. Hackworth got involved.

Bert: Did you ever doubt what you had gotten into and wanted to quit?

JH: No. After I got into it, I realized that this was the best training I ever had. Everything was first class and they were treating us like leaders. They convinced us we could do this and that gave the confidence. I was born in the Salvation Army and grew up on the streets of West Virginia, I knew how to handle myself and how being a team player works – I spent my childhood on the basketball courts. A key element here is learning to operate as team and to motivate people. I believe this has served me my whole life. I learned how to control me ego to get the job done.

Bert: 80 % of the course was in the field?

JH: I believe that was the case, but there was quite a bit of classroom training and by some of the best instructors I have ever been taught by, they were all Vietnam veterans, mostly rangers.

Bert: The instructors were all Vietnam vets or a high percentage thereof?

JH: Almost all were Vietnam veterans.

Bert: How well did the course really prepare you for Nam?

JH: I cannot think of anything else they could have done except maybe more rigorous physical training with actual 80 pound rucksacks on our backs. I do not know of any physical training that would get a soldier ready for the physical torture of Vietnam. Vietnam was the hardest thing I have ever done and a good part of it was the daily physical grind of humping with the rucksack, ammo, food and water through mountainous jungle at the same time worrying about getting shot at all the time.

Bert: In the NCOC, how much more MOS skills did they teach you? Obviously, you would have to learn what else you needed to know just to function as an infantryman, and then on top of it, learn a squad leaders tasks as well. This is a formidable lot to learn and master in a short time.

[It is said that in infantry AIT, the troop learns about half of the 150 tasks that he needs to know to function properly. The rest is supposed to be learned at unit level].

JH: It is a long time ago. But I remember going to state-of-the-art classrooms given training by the very best instructors I have ever had. We covered everything the officer’s did and were in the same classrooms. Our instructors were savvy, they made us pay attention and realize that our lives and our men’s lives were dependent on how much we learned. We knew how important it was and over a period of time this environment caused us to believe that this was real and it was going to happen – the way they taught gave us the reality check we needed to learn as much as we could.

Bert: How well did the course really prepare you for being a squad leader?

JH: I was well prepared, particularly mentally. I had the confidence, the knowledge and I knew I could handle it. I learned that had to motivate my men and work with them and that I would not ask them to do anything I would not do. Very quickly, I adapted. I wanted to take care of them and make sure they did not do anything stupid and at the same time I made them understand we had to get the job done. To do that, we had to be on guard and be prepared. At the same time I was confident in the technical aspects of the job since I had so much training. I knew I had to be the leader.

Bert: Did you instantly assume command of your squad upon arriving in Nam or were you given a short time of adjustment?

JH: I instantly assumed command. No time for adjustment.

Bert: Did you encounter a lot of resentment about achieving the rank you did as fast as you did?

JH: Absolutely yes. At first there was a lot of uncertainty from my men. I had to win their confidence. I had to be mentally tough. They had to call me Sergeant Horton, and I demanded respect but at the same time I made them realize from the get go that I would not get them killed by doing something stupid. I did not get any resentment from my superiors in the field in Vietnam, they welcomed me with open arms.

One day I threatened to kick one of my men’s ass since he refused to dig a foxhole , we had been humping all day and before we settled for the night we all had to dig foxholes. I got permission from the Captain to kick his ass, and once I started at him, he started digging to China, after that we were the best of friends.

Bert: Do you mean literally of figuratively in this case, "kick, ass"??

JH: Yes I meant literally. We were in a war zone and he disobeyed a direct order and I lost my temper. He flew off the handle in front of the men. I treated my men with respect and would never ask them to do something I would not do. I believe to this day, I did the right thing. Later in the tour, this man and I charged an enemy bunker together and we went out on the same Dustoff both of us wounded with him laying on top of me and as the enemy fired on the Dustoff I saw a bullet go through his arm. We called him the Flea. Thirty years later while I was doing research in the National Archives for my book, I came across an order for a Silver Star with his name on it. I called him then without ever talking to him for thirty years and read him his Silver Star citation. He was a hero. He did tell me that he thought I did a damn good job as a sergeant. That meant a lot to me.

I had no experience stateside with respect to resentment since I came home wounded and spent six months in Walter Reed Hospital.

Bert: Were you questioned about your ability by your peers?

JH: I only dealt with me squad and those immediately above me. I had no experience with peers.

Bert: Were you personally offended by Jesse the Body calling the "Shake n' Bake Sergeants" twerps?

JH: At the time, yes. I had forgotten about Vietnam altogether and his statement motivated me to find out what happened , how did I do as a sergeant , did I have honor. So I journeyed back in time to find out the answers to these questions. I found honor. All of us had honor and we all were and are now a band of brothers. I say thanks to Jesse otherwise I would have never found these things out.

Bert: Is there anything that you could learned that would have better prepared you for Vietnam?

JH: I don’t know. I know that our overall tactics could have been better. We needed a lot more infantry. The enemy had more infantry. I cannot really answer this question. More training is better and of course the jungle has its own unique problems.

I will say this, to be successful in combat not only your instinctive reactions have to be good but you must be able to think and be smart and to remain calm. We need leaders that can do it all. Anything you do to enhance this will improve your chances of survival.

Bert: What surprised you most about Vietnam?

JH: I had no idea that it would be so physically demanding.

Bert: The maximum weight for a troop to carry is about 1/3rd of his body weight. Beyond that, the troop is debilitated and loses ability to fight. Your comments about all this extra weight?

JH: Of course, this during a firefight the rucks were dropped, you cannot move on the enemy with them. Our company would move from point a to point b and set up ambushes on a platoon or squad basis. We were constantly searching for the NVA in these mountains and had to take our supplies on our backs, our division was stretched then over the largest operating area in NAM (Central Highlands) and that is why we were loaded with that much weight - it was approximately 80 pounds more or less.

Bert: Is this 80 pounds in addition to the fighting load, or a rucksack with the fighting load that weighs 80 pounds total??

[The fighting load would consist of the uniform, helmet, boots, rifle, ammo with pounches, grenades, web gear, canteen full, entrenching tool, wound dressing. Anything beyond that is existence load.]

JH: I would say the total load was 80 pounds. In my last day in the field when we were surrounded, the wounded gathered our rucks around us and used them for protection. So we not only carried stuff in them we used them for protection.

Bert: Was the M60 machine-gun the squad automatic weapon you employed?

[the Army and Marines in Iraq are going back to using the M60 for city fighting, replacing the much more modern M249 with a weapon first designed in the basic form by the Germans in 1942!!!]

JH: Yes it was.

Bert: That is a gunner carrying 34 pounds right off the bat not considering the rest of the load he has to carry. My understanding is that each other troop in the squad would carry an extra load of two 100 round belts each. That is for each other squad member in the troop an additional 14 pounds of weight too. Your comments?

JH: That is correct. The ammo for the M60 was spread among the squad. Also, each M60 gunner had an assistant. Believe me, no one complained about it, since it's [M60] firepower saved our butts more than once. Being in the mountainous jungle as we were, I do not think we could carried any more weight than we did.

Bert: Did you or any of your subordinates ever suffer from debilitating jungle diseases?

JH: There were quite a few in the company that got malaria. At least one or two that got cancer later thought it was from Agent Orange.

Bert: Thank you Dr. Horton.


Sunday, August 27, 2006

Military Academy.

This is coolbert:

"Here's something I found looking up the 'retired military officers' amicus' brief, which, as I recall is fairly explicit about the use of 'race preference programs' for disadvantaged minorities in officer promotions in the military: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asked Olson if he recognized that 'all of the military academies do have race preference programs in admissions.'"

"all of the military academies do have race preference programs in admissions."

NO!! This cannot be!!

This just seems to be incredible to me! How this is so I cannot understand! If it is so, HOW is it possible??

For the military academies, the process for APPOINTMENT is very meticulous. Or so I had thought.

Each member of Congress at one time could make one appointment yearly to each of the military academies [one appointment each to West Point, Annapolis, Air Force, and Coast Guard]. In addition, twenty cadets would be taken from the JROTC program, and twenty from the active duty enlisted ranks yearly also!

The number of SLOTS available for appointment were very limited.

IT USED TO BE that such appointments had a highly local, but very political aspect to them. Congressional delegates were known to go through the motions of competitive exams, and then selecting someone based upon OTHER than test scores.

I think now that competitive exams are a main criteria. High marks in high school are more or less mandatory [many of the military academies have incoming classes that consist of a very high percentage of valedictorians and salutorians], and having demonstrable leadership skills even at a young age is also looked for.

Plus, the atmosphere at say West Point is very competitive. Slackers are not welcome. The pace of things is frenetic. YOU just cannot excel at class work. YOU must do the requisite sports, and then the standard military stuff TOO!!

[during the summer break, you attend military courses and schools such as Ranger or parachute qualification, etc. YOU DO NOT have time off as would students in a civilian setting.]

Less than acceptable performance is just NOT tolerated. If you are not up to things in the first place, you WILL JUST NOT MAKE IT!!

I would supposed that race based preferences could or does exist. But special programs will not usually matter in the case of the military academies. The combination of course work, sports, military related subjects, discipline, is just to intense for all but the best. If you are not selected from the start with ability in mind, YOU WILL NOT MAKE IT THROUGH THE FOUR YEARS!!
As simple as that!!



This is coolbert:

From a comment to the blog:

"I'm no Ike by any means, but is that really the way we should be promoting our generals? I'm sure stuff like this happens all the time in the corporate world and may even be appropriate there, but if we're talking about winning our wars...I don't know."

This particular comment with regard to the decision making process as followed by General Eisenhower is selecting his replacement - - as U.S. Army Chief of Staff.

First, in lieu of another method than the current selection process, for both officer and enlist ranks to be promoted to higher levels, I am not sure what else could work.

An impersonal method would seem to be fairest.

But obviously [?] an impersonal criteria cannot ALWAYS select the best. Ticket punching, going to the requisite schools, having served in certain positions, commanded at certain levels, having all the right paperwork with a sharp looking photo, is only ONE way to make selections.

Subjective criteria is just that, too difficult to measure. Elan', dash, whatever you want to call it, or being controversial is NOT something that would help the candidate for higher promotion and rank. The Japanese saying that, "protruding nails will be hammered" seems to apply here too!!

Secondly, in the past, no real criteria even existed!! Promotions to the higher ranks in the years PRIOR to World War Two [WW2], was STRICTLY by seniority. I cannot exactly remember, but it seems I read that Eisenhower spent something like sixteen years as a Major. His reputation as being the finest staff officer in the army was solidified from this experience. But the opportunities for promotion DID NOT exist under the seniority system, even for an obviously bright person such as Ike.

Thirdly, the entire process of impersonal/based upon files/standard criteria for promotion is only something that has been in place more or less since the end of WW2. Thirty five years is the magic number for retirement. That seniority system has been done away with totally. This is a good thing. Allow for the elder troops to be retired and younger men to take their place. Periodic replacement is a good thing of itself. This is institutionalized now.

If a better system can be found, put in place and use. But what would that system be? I cannot say!

[it may also be that it was Bradley, and not Eisenhower that could not make the decision as to who his successor would be. The chronology for Army CoS was Eisenhower, then Bradley, then Collins. I remember Collins as being the man who was chosen over Ridgeway. So I may be slightly off here.]


Friday, August 25, 2006


This is coolbert:

A recent archeological excavation in Mexico has uncovered remains that indicate the ancient Aztec indulged in ritual cannibalism of captured prisoners of war.

I am not sure if this is totally new to the world of archeology. From the chronicles of the Aztec and the Spanish invader under Cortez, it is know that ritual sacrifice of captured prisoners of war was common place for the Aztec. But cannibalism is something I have not heard of before.

Both Spaniards and their American Indian allies were the victims in this case.

"Skulls and bones from the Tecuaque archaeological site near Mexico City show about 550 victims had their hearts ripped out by Aztec priests in ritual offerings, and were dismembered or had their bones boiled or scraped clean, experts say.

The findings support accounts of Aztecs capturing and killing a caravan of Spanish conquistadors and local men, women and children traveling with them in revenge for the murder of Cacamatzin, king of the Aztec empire's No. 2 city of Texcoco."

The Aztecs were noted for their military skill and rapacity. Possessed a brutality that made them greatly feared by their "neighbors". Were overlords generally hated by those they ruled over.

Cortez, during his invasion and conquest of Mexico and the Aztec Empire, did make valuable alliances with American Indian tribes that were subject to Aztec rule. These tribes were more than willing to join forces with Cortez.

There are forever, several errors in this article.

"History books say many indigenous Mexicans welcomed the white-skinned horsemen in the belief they were returning gods but turned against the Spaniards once they tried to take over the Aztec seat of power in a conflict that ended in 1521.

'This is the first place that has so much evidence there was resistance to the conquest,' said archaeologist Enrique Martinez, director of the dig at Calpulalpan in Tlaxcala state, near Texcoco.

'It shows it wasn't all submission. There was a fight.'"

The statements of Enrique are absurd. NO ONE has ever suggested that there WAS NOT resistance to the Spanish conquest. On the contrary. It is chronicled by both sides that THERE WAS TREMENDOUS RESISTANCE BY THE AZTECS. It was only through the most determined effort that the Spanish, with their American Indian allies, were able to succeed.

It IS TRUE THAT MANY TRIBES DID WELCOME THE SPANIARDS. This also has been readily acknowledged by all authorities. Those tribes that had been forced to submit to their Aztec overlords were willing and able to aid the Spanish. NO ONE denies this.

"Some may have been given hallucinogenic mushrooms or pulque -- an alcoholic milky drink made from fermented cactus juice -- to numb them to what was about to happen."

THEY WERE NOT GIVEN A HALLUCINOGENIC MUSHROOM OR PULQUE [liquor made from mashed vegetables] TO NUMB THEM. THIS WAS NOT SOMETHING ADMINISTERED AS AN ANESTHETIC!! Those mushrooms in particular allow one, in the belief system of the Aztec, to leave this plane of existence and commune with the spirit world. Used by shamans to this day in Mexico.

Even the so-called experts give an interpretation that is incorrect.

[experts should not give an interpretation that is incorrect!!!]

"Don't believe anything you hear, and only half of what you read [except on this blog of course]."


Wednesday, August 23, 2006


This is coolbert:

White Men Without Disabilities??

I have seen this particular policy referenced to on several occasions by comments to the blog.

"DOD policy statements such as this reported in the WSJ 12-6-95:

'special permission will be required for the promotion of all white men without disabilities'"

WSJ=Wall Street Journal.

What is this? Incomprehensible to me!!

Is this with regard to CIVILIAN personnel employed by Department of Defense?

Or is it for the uniformed services too?

[a troop with a disability normally is precluded from military service, period!!!]

What is up with this? I cannot say. Is all unfamiliar to me! That policy is dated 1995. First time I have heard of it.

I do know that promotions at the HIGHER levels of the uniformed services do become very IMPERSONAL.

NOT SO at the lower levels of command. A person in line for promotion at the lower ranks, offices and enlisted both, is observed on a daily basis by his commander. This commander has, and is expected to have, an intimate knowledge of each and every subordinates abilities. Abilities that determine if promotion is warranted or not.

As one moves up the ranks, the promotion systems does become very IMPERSONAL. Having an impressive 201 file and a professionally taken photo of the troop in dress uniform within that file is of paramount importance.

[most military bases usually employ a professional photographer who sole task is to take those photographs to be placed in 201 files. A LOT of emphasis is placed on that photo. Your appearance IS IMPORTANT!!]

ELIGIBILITY for promotion is based upon a board of three officers reviewing that file and from the contents of that file ALONE, determining if a troop is merely ELIGIBLE for consideration of promotion. Eligibility does not necessarily mean promotion, but only having your name placed on a list. From such a list a number of soldiers ARE promoted when WARRANTED.

These officers look at, and again, look at, in a very impersonal manner:

* Number of years of service.

* Time in grade.

* Evaluation reports.

* Scores on the physical fitness test.

* Appearance in that photo.

* Schooling, military and civilian.

Having your name placed on a list of those eligible for promotion once again does not mean automatic promotion. The number of persons promoted at any given time is based upon NEEDS of the services.

A soldier, whether enlisted or commissioned, MUST have had a demonstrable and steady record of growth during their military career. YOU NO LONGER HAVE INSTANCES OF CAREER CORPORALS THAT ARE FORTY YEARS OLD, HAVING BEEN PROMOTED AND SUBSEQUENTLY REDUCED IN RANK A NUMBER OF TIMES BECAUSE OF UCMJ INFRACTIONS! Dregs no longer apply.

It has long been a sore point that minorities in particular were neglected when it came to promotions for flag rank positions [General and Admiral officers]. Ten years ago, the Air Force, Marines, and Navy each had ONLY ONE officer of flag rank that was a black man.

[the Army seems to fare well in this regard. Ten years ago, about 11 % of Army General officers were black men. This corresponds well to the overall black population in the U.S. of about 13 %!!]

The comments of Marine Commandant Mundy at the time did raise a lot of eyebrows. "They don't shoot a rifle as well, they don't swim as well, they don't follow a course on the ground from a map as well!!' THEY!!

Seeing the promotions of such persons as General Powell [Chairman of JCS] or General Shinseki [Army Chief of Staff] to the highest ranks and levels of command would only seem to suggest that bias is NOT THAT prevalent and overwhelming as one might think.

Women in the uniformed services of course are in a category all by themselves.

Women at this point and for the foreseeable future cannot participate in combat arms MOS's.

[this is not categorically true. Women can pilot aircraft in a combat zone and can have a MOS in an air defense unit. Aviation and air defense are normally categorized as combat arms.]

NOT being able to command combat arms units at a lower level most of the time precludes a troop from rising to the higher ranks. Ranks at the higher levels are normally reserved for officers of combat arms branches. YOU DO NOT see officers with a branch of Quartermaster commanding an infantry division. IT DOES NOT HAPPEN!!

[When Eisenhower was Army Chief of Staff [CoS], he had to choose his successor. Normally, great leeway is granted to the CoS when choosing his successor. In this particular case, Eisenhower had to choose between two more or less equally qualified officers. This I believe was General Collins and General Ridgeway. Eisenhower read and reread the two files on these two officers and could not decide. This indecision lasted for MONTHS!! Eisenhower finally decided NOT to promote Matt Ridgeway. This decision was based upon the fact that Ridgeway had a much younger wife [Penny] that did not GET ALONG with the wifes of the other senior Generals. Since entertaining is an IMPORTANT factor for the CoS, Eisenhower USED the age of the wife as the deciding criteria in the selection process!! Such is how promotions to the most lofty of levels is sometimes decided!!]


Tuesday, August 22, 2006


This is coolbert:

Well, the magic date has come and gone. August 22 that is. And the world is still here. At least I think it is.

We think in the west of the Iranian as being some sort of frenzied, frothing at the mouth beast. Ready to kill and die in an instant for his cause.

Images are clear of the hostages from the U.S. Embassy in Tehran [1979].

Or the streets of Tehran flooded with tens of thousands of persons, shaking fists in the air, and screaming, "death to America", "death to Israel" Their faces contorted with HATE!!

And stories about the Basiji Corps. Iranian juveniles that willingly cleared minefields during the war with Iraq in a suicidal fashion.

[those who dreamed up the Basiji Corps are evil men with the most depraved mentalities, religion or no religion!!]

Of course, there is a totally opposite side to the Iranian. Just as the Japanese in World War Two [WW2] seemed to act as mindless fanatics, but possessing a much gentler side when NOT at war, the Iranian also is the same way.

Read what David Yeagley has to say about this subject.

David can probably, judging from his biography, justifiably lay claim to being one of the most accomplished and remarkable people alive. Take a look at it.

Also a man who is a member of the Comanche nation. Interested in the warrior history of his nation and is proud of their former prowess at battle.

Many of David's blog entries deal with the warrior spirit, the American Indian warrior, etc.

Read and enjoy!



This is coolbert:

Once again, the Israeli Dolphin class submarines are back in the news.

"FROM THE GALIL REPORT Israel enhancing nuke-capable submarines
Diplomatic channels working to secure travel, refueling routes to waters near Iran"

[this report is not entirely clear.]

[see what someone else has to say about this!]

For instance:

"The submarines usually patrol in the Indian Ocean."

"Israel has discussed travel routes with foreign governments for the submarines to reach the Persian Gulf, within firing distance of Iran."

"They said Egypt has denied Israel the ability to travel through the Suez Canal, but the Jewish state through diplomatic channels has secured the ability to travel to the Gulf via the Mediterranean."

UNCLEAR what is afoot here!!

Evidently two of the three submarines are on station in the Mediterranean and the third in dock refitting at any given time. Access to the Red Sea and subsequently to the Indian Ocean has hitherto not been possible??

Of course, these are the submarines reputed to be fitted with some sort of nuclear capable cruise missile. A missile that would put all of Iran in range of the ultimate Israeli firepower if launched from firing positions in the Indian Ocean.

Refueling is a concern too. Eritrea is supposedly a big player here. The tiny and rather insignificant nation abutting Ethiopia HAS a port that could be used for refueling. The Dolphin class is reputed to have only a thirty day fuel capacity.

The Israeli of course, is very proficient at modifying a basic system to make it MUCH better. Wait and see that the Israeli finds a way to double the endurance time of these Dolphins.

Given the current climate against Israel in the aftermath of the Lebanon war, I bet the Egyptians WILL NOT give these submarines passage through the Suez Canal. They already have NOT done so!!??

What alternative is there? A large barge, land-going, to move the submarines to Eilat and the Gulf of Aqaba? That should make a sight!

The above is not so preposterous. When the Soviets built the White Sea canal connecting the White Sea with the Baltic, submarines could only transit the canal on the back of a barge! The canal was not built to a sufficient depth.

[supposedly the Israeli has already tested, some years ago now, an advanced cruise missile for their submarines. Did so off the coast of Sri Lanka. The Mossad ex-katsa [case officer] Victor Ostrovsky said that Israel does have strong military ties to Sri Lanka. Well, if this is so, how did the sub get their in the first place if not through the Suez Canal?? Around the Cape of Good Hope for instance? Basing and refueling? India??]




This is coolbert:

 "Why exactly was the tail gunner duty so much more dangerous than other forms of military duty? I don't have your military expertise, but the only reason I can think of is I guess you'd be an easy target to pick off..."

I have no answer to this. Maybe some research will provide an answer.

I have more thought of tail gunners not so much as toward survival as toward effectiveness.

Most of those World War Two [WW2] era aircraft equipped with a tail gunner had a man firing a single thirty [.30] machine gun.

These aerial battles between tail gunners and attacking enemy fighter aircraft must have been a one sided affair for the most part.

Modern combat fighter aircraft of the WW2 were formidably armed. Twenty [20] mm cannon or fifty [.50] caliber machine guns [up to eight fifty calibers on a P-51 for instance].

The saga of the U.S. Navy torpedo plane squadron attacking the Japanese armada at Midway is the stuff of legends. Fifteen planes attacked without air cover. Jumped from above by the diving Zero aircraft of the Japanese fleet. Tail gunners nothwithstanding, all fifteen topedo planes went "kerplunk" in short order. Of the thirty crewmen on the fifteen planes, only ONE survived the battle.

"They all died, save the wounded Ensign Gay, because their lumbering Douglas TBD-1 "Devastator" aircraft were easy prey for both enemy fighters and ship's gunners. Armed only with a wholly inadequate .30-caliber machine gun firing to the rear, the TBDs never had a chance. None of their torpedoes hit the enemy ships."

The IL-2 PILOT flew in an armored "bathtub". The tailgunner was left to his own valor for survival. NOT enough!

I guess the philosophy there would be that pilot takes time to train, a gunner does NOT!


Monday, August 21, 2006

Shake & Bake.

This is coolbert:

“A Shake ’n Bake sergeant was one of the lesser known evils to come out of the Vietnam War . . . These twerps would attend NCO school for eight weeks and come out buck sergeants. No experience, little skills, but a great big attitude.” - - by James Janos ( Jesse the Body Ventura).

Here is a web site for the Vietnam era "Shake ’n Bake" program for infantry sergeants.

The type of program that would be useful if the draft was reinstated. A limited draft that would induct only the best and brightest.

A program that would provide numbers of "instant" leaders that would be infantry squad leaders. Draftees to lead other draftees at the most basic level. The best leading the best. It CAN be done!!

From all accounts I know of, this program WAS a success. I have an informant who commanded an infantry platoon in Vietnam. He DID encounter some Shake ’n Bake sergeants and said THAT THEY WERE VERY GOOD!

Keep in mind that to achieve the rank of sergeant E-5 or even Staff Sergeant E-6 in six months of service was UNHEARD OF. Normally it would take an enlisted man four to six years to become a Sergeant and then maybe eight to ten years of service before being promoted to Staff Sergeant!!

It seems that Jesse the Body, the great professional wrestler, ex-Navy SEAL, has done a great injustice to these volunteers. And that is what they were. Volunteers who knew what they were getting into from the start.

According to this web site, the famous Army Colonel David Hackworth was the one who designed the program. David recently passed away. Perhaps the most skilled and able soldier of the era from World War Two through Vietnam.

That in itself says a lot about the Shake ’n Bake program. NOT just for show. WAS for real.

Could work again if needed.

[I have been in contact with Dr. Horton and another ex-Shake ’n Bake regarding the details of this program. I hope to blog further on Shake ’n Bake.]



This is coolbert:

Lt. Col. Ralph Peters is being interviewed the other day on the Michael Savage radio show:

Colonel Peters is a prolific author:

* Writes books.

* Has a column in the New York Post.

* Writes numerous articles on the military, military strategy and the Global War on Terror [GWOT].

* Does a lot of interviews for various media.

Colonel Peters is a man whose thoughts and ideas are sought out by military planners and futurists.

[read some articles by Ralph Peters by clicking here.]

Colonel Peters during his career was at the forefront of trying to predict what the future of war would be like. An attempt to foresee the future and prepare accordingly. NOT an easy task.

During the interview with Michael Savage, the Colonel reflects upon:

* The war the Israel just fought with Hezbollah. Peters evidently met just a week ago with top Israeli general officers. The consensus among the latter is that THE WAR IN LEBANON DID NOT GO IN FAVOR OF ISRAEL. Media be damned. Hearing this from someone of the stature of Ralph Peters gives credence to some of my previous blog entries concerning this latest "war".

* Peters is also becoming pessimistic regarding the war in Iraq. Was once at optimist. NOW feels that the sectarian violence between Sunni and Shia is OUT OF CONTROL. Peters suggests that we gather together to the top leaders from both factions and tell them the U.S. gives them one year to get their act together. If they do not get their act together, in one year, POOF, the U.S. should get out of Iraq immediately!!

CNN is also running a Christiane Amanpour interview with a woman who WAS a wife of an Al Qaeda terrorist. Evidently a man who sat at the right-hand of Osama himself.

This woman is NOW a widow??

The jihadi widow complains of life with Osama. The jihadi in Afghan and Pakistan is famous for keeping their wives and children around them at all times. This jihadi widow seems to have been no exception. Life with Osama appears to be grim:

* Living in mud hovels with windows, but no glass in the window.

* Living without toilets.

* Just plain living in squalid, deplorable conditions, period!!

Well, what is to be expected?? Nothing more than that. Such a life style is not only tolerated by the jihadi, it is cherished. As I have said before, heaven on earth for the jihadi is to wander in the desert for forty days and forty nights, subsisting on dates and water. And NO WOMEN around either. Just camels.

[a jihadi wife would be responsible for the three K's. Kitchen, kids, and kissing. And not too much of the latter. "Hey woman, put that food on the table". Of course, they sit on the floor when they eat, don't they!!]

In this regard, the modern jihadi is to a certain extent a nihilist, regardless of what they say. Don't just want to reform the current system, they want to destroy the current system without offering a real alternative!!

"ni·hil·ism ( P ) Pronunciation Key (n-lzm, n-)

Rejection of all distinctions in moral or religious value and a willingness to repudiate all previous theories of morality or religious belief.

The belief that destruction of existing political or social institutions is necessary for future improvement.


Nihilism. A diffuse, revolutionary movement of mid 19th-century Russia that scorned authority and tradition and believed in reason, materialism, and radical change in society and government through terrorism and assassination."

Some Arab Prince is reputed to have said:

"My grandfather rode a camel, my father drove a car, I fly a plane, my grandson will ride a camel!!"

That says it all!!



Saturday, August 19, 2006


This is coolbert:

A very big hot button item within "progressive" circles now is to divest of Caterpillar stock.

Caterpillar is the manufacturer of the D9 bulldozer.

Has been made into a formidable armored bulldozer used by Israeli forces.

Used in circumstances that really riles up some folks.

Demolishing homes of Arabs, bulldozing olive orchards, etc.

This "dozer" is a very large and powerful piece of equipment just unto itself. With the addition of armor [up to fifteen tons of armor], the appearance and size of this "beast" is awesome.

It is almost as if you are watching scenes from the Terminator One movie. Machines fighting to exterminate the human-kind. Human-kind on foot armed with primitive and often ineffective weapons. Such as the accompanying photo. Those persons in the foreground of the photo appear to be throwing rocks at the "dozer", which is clearing an olive grove.

Bulldozers are a weapon of war. Used by combat engineers with effectiveness.

Used against fortifications both on Japanese held islands during World War Two [WW2], and by U.S. Army troops during the First Gulf War.

"Dozers" that would then seal the firing slits of enemy bunkers by piling earth or sand against the slits. Entombing the occupants. Suffocation is the result. A valid and legal method of war.

The unfortunate incident where the American "peace activist" Rachel Corrie was run over and killed by one of these bulldozers created a cause celebre'. I can almost tell with exact certitude what happened. The "dozer" operator, when in the cabin of the bulldozer, has only a limited field of view. Rachel was close to the bulldozer's path, standing fast, but NOT in the operator's field of view. HE DID NOT SEE HER. She thought he would stop because of her obstinacy, but HE DID NOT SEE HER!

She was run over and killed. Simple as that. An accident. Very unfortunate. Probably NOT deliberate or callous.



This is coolbert:

“to redeem their guilt with blood.”

Found this by accident. A review of an eleven part mini-series as shown on Russian television. A story based upon the Soviet Army penal battalion system as used in World War Two.

A subject I have mentioned in a number of previous blog entries.

A subject that during the communist era, would have been absolutely forbidden to talk about, much less make a mini-series about.

A subject that deals with material that is NOT pleasant.

"Nikolai Dostal's critically acclaimed 11-part television serial Penal Battalion redefines Russia's last Soviet myth the heroic myth of the Great Patriotic War. While challenging some received truths about the cost of the victory and soldiers motivation to fight for the Soviet fatherland, the serial never questions the war's mythological status in Russians popular consciousness. The myth of the great victory is the last myth that unifies Russia as a community. To the question, for what kind of a community did Russians fight, the serial gives an answer that many contemporary Russians believe to be the truth about the war. For the filmmaker and his scriptwriter, Eduard Volodarskii, Russians fought and suffered for the Russian Orthodox spiritual community."

NOT, in my opinion, necessarily only a religious motivation as such. A cultural and nationalist phenomenon also. As exemplified by the Russian Orthodox Church, which was both a religious AND cultural institution of great importance. The Cossacks, for instance, will allow anyone into a Cossack grouping as long as you accept the tenets of Russian Orthodoxy.

The defenders of the fortress of Brest-Litvosk, in 1941, carved the slogan into the walls of the fortress before they were overwhelmed, "we die, but we do not surrender, farewell MOTHERLAND!!"

"The last days of the defence are covered with legends. During those days the inscriptions were made by the last defenders.

They said: 'We'll die but we'll not leave the fortress'. 'I'm dying but I won't surrender. Farewell, Motherland. 20.VII.41.'"

The Russian soldier fought, died, and stood fast as they did for "Mother Russia". The famous free-standing statue on Mamayev Hill near Stalingrad shows Mother Russia calling her sons to her defense. NOT a communist monument, regardless of what some say.

The key to the defense of Stalingrad was Mamayev Hill. A kurgan. An ancient burial mount of enormous proportions. Possibly a burial site for the Scythians. A warrior people that ruled the steppe for thousands of years ago. Mamayev Hill was a center of the Soviet defense. Captured and recaptured by both sides numerous times. Finally captured by the Soviets, employing A DIVISION SIZE UNIT OF PENAL TROOPS!!!


Such was the harsh fate of many Russians in World War Two [WW2].



Friday, August 18, 2006


This is coolbert:

Read further here about the Monte Cassino battle.

Amazing stuff. I knew that it was a hard and difficult slog. But what I am reading here suggests something way beyond what I thought.

These excerpts are most indicative:

"The battle took four months, and by one estimate it left a quarter of a million dead or wounded."

"'Only the bloodbaths of Verdun and Passchendaele, or the very worst of the Second World War fighting on the Eastern Front, can compare to Monte Cassino,' writes the author of a recent book on the battle, Matthew Parker."

[this is saying A LOT!!!

"The largest land battle in Europe, Cassino was the bitterest and bloodiest of the Western Allies' struggles with the German Wehrmacht on any front of the Second World War."

"On the German side, many compared it unfavourably with Stalingrad."

"The German commander, Lieutenant-General Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin, wrote: 'We found that divisions arriving from other theatres of war were not immediately equal to the double burden of icy mountain terrain and massed bombardment.'"

[remember the Germans were on the defensive here. Defense is the easier form of combat. And yet, even the defenders had a very hard time. What must the allied forces, on the offensive, had to put up with??!!]

"General Alexander sought unsuccessfully to have the death penalty reinstated for desertion as the battle wore on."

[Alexander commanded the British 8th Army after Montgomery had gone on to higher duties. To reinstate the death penalty for desertion must have meant that a lot of guys were deserting and shirking duty!!]

Mountainous terrain, matched combatants, cold weather, no room for maneuver, inept operational planning [??]. The allied forces were faced with an impossible situation they just had to deal with as best they could. WHO said war was easy??!!

[look at the photo accompanying this blog. That is the abbey after the bombardment. And then occupied by the Hermann Goering Division. Best unit in the German Army. First you have to make it up the mountain. Then assault dug-in determined and skilled enemy fighters. Want to give it a try??!!]




This is coolbert:

The old Soviet army, and perhaps the current Russian army as well, has a reputation for severe and unremitting harsh discipline. During the communist era in particular.

For trivial violations in war time, such as during World War Two [WW2], a soldier could receive a ten year sentence. As I have said before, a ten year sentence in a Soviet style penal institution normally meant the same thing as a death sentence. You were worked to death or sent in war time to a penal battalion and given impossibly dangerous duty. Duty from which almost NO ONE would survive.

Such an example was the tail gunner duty aboard the IL-2. Mentioned in the writings of Suvorov. There have been a lot of folks that have been very skeptical of Suvorov and his pronouncements.

"While Suvorov's allegations may have some veracity, it is important to note his strong anti-Stalin bias as a GRU defector and other controversial claims about Soviet role in WWII which were highly dubious and rejected by the respectable scholarship."


"That said, it does appear the Soviet Air Force did use "Penal squadrons" in some situations."


Severe and unremitting discipline and insanely harsh punishment was also the rule in the Soviet army EVEN DURING PEACETIME!!

This anecdotal, even humorous [??] description from Suvorov bears this out:

"Suddenly, he appears - - quiet, downtrodden, submissive. He talks to no one and carries out all orders or instructions uncomplainingly. It is impossible to get him to say a single word about where he has been or what he has seen. His answers are monosyllabic and expressionless - - ! 'Yes' and 'No' seem to be the only words left in his vocabulary. Then suddenly one of the longer-serving soldiers remembers - - this was Kol'ka, the trouble-maker, the wit, a live-wire, forever suggesting risky escapades, who sang and played the guitar and was adored by all the local girls. Eighteen months ago he was sent to a disciplinary battalion for some trifling offense. The younger soldiers, gazing at this silent, gloomy new arrival, can only half-believe what they hear. The regiment quiets down, discipline improves, more respect is shown to it's officers."

What is done in the disciplinary battalion is not mentioned. But it must've been bad!! No doubt about that!!



August 22.

This is coolbert:

August 22 again!

That magic date is not too far away now.

Time will only tell if Professor Bernard Lewis is right. That the date portends something ominous.

I did receive some interesting comments from readers concerning my initial blog about this date. My replies in BOLD.

"Anonymous said...
Let me put it this way I was born into a Azeri Shia family, although not a muslim anymore, I did attend Islamic Maddrssas in Iran.

This date is relatively insignificant, also Iranian mullahs are not as suicidal as (downright sane compared to) Hezbollah."

There does seem to be signifcant differences as to what this date means to Muslims. Shia and sunni see this date in their calendar differently:

"Rajab 27 (which falls on the last day of Mordad in the Persian calendar year of 1385) as the night of Mi'raj and Mohammad's purported flight to Jerusalem. In Shi'a Iran Rajab 27 is not recognized as the night of Mi'raj but is the day of first calling or Mab'as."

"This date is relatively insignificant". This does surprise me. I would have thought that it would be highly significant. And it would have taken an Islamic scholar of the repute as Bernard Lewis to understand what is the possible tie-in here. The Islamic world is going by a lunar calendar, not the solar one as followed in the west. WE in the WEST would not normally have seen anything special here. Did Bernard Lewis see something? I cannot say. It may all well be a coincidence.

"Iranian mullahs are not as suicidal as (downright sane compared to) Hezbollah." I for one did pay close attention to the speech that the President of Iran made recently at the United Nations. It is reputed that he [the Iranian President] said the following things occurred:

* A halo of light descended upon him while he was making the speech.

* The collected delegates listening to the speech sat transfixed for the twenty minutes of the speech, unblinking.


JSBolton said...

Maybe he's hinting that permission to fire a longer range missile will be given to Hezbollah for that night.

They may have the capacity to send a dirty bomb, which would cause an evacuation.
If Iran goes nuclear, though, they can be nuked. Iran is afraid of being invaded; one can tell by the way they have Hezbollah supporters carrying placards which say 'don't invade Iran'.

"They may have the capacity to send a dirty bomb" This is an interesting suggestion. I have felt that the "dirty nuke" would be the weapon of choice for terrorists for some time now. Can be done easily and cheaply, perhaps without almost NO EFFORT at all. Delivered by conventional means. A weapon of terror if there ever was one. Maybe NOT lethal, but would cause panic and TERROR!

Big Al said...

I can't imagine that it would be just hot air. The leaders of Iran know that although the West is cursed with a short memory, our memories are not so short that we will have forgotten these threats by 8/24 if nothing is forthcoming on 8/22. If our emotions go from wariness to mockery over a non-incident then Iran will lose a bit of leverage over those of us who can be manipulated by their threats. Also, perhaps more importantly, a lot of talking-the-talk without walking-the -walk will cause Amini... you-know-who to lose face in the "Islamic Street", something a wanna be King-pin such as himself would fear.

Exactly. If you make threats, and this is a threat, and then do not carry out the threat, you DO lose face and are to be taken less seriously in the future. Especially with the various Islamic factions now sky-high emotionally with what has transpired in Lebanon, a let down now would be really counter-productive!!

To all who commented, thank you one and all. After 22 August comes and goes, we will discuss this further. If we are able. I sure hope so. Cheers!!



This is coolbert:

You can see from the accompanying graph that the two nuclear super-powers have dramatically cut back stockpiles of nuclear weaponry in the recent decades. From tens of thousands of warheads, the numbers for both is now LESS than ten thousand each.

And IS declining further.

Will never decline to zero, but at least for the U.S., the goal is to reach around a number of about a thousand [1000] warheads on station at any given time. NO MORE than that are needed for foreseeable circumstances. Other warheads will be mothballed and COULD be refurbished if necessary, but how of those will be remains to be seen.

This IS a dramatic and amazing reversal from the status quo that exist for about fifty years.

MORE nukes was always better.

NO longer the case.

One reason for this being so was that development and improvement of CONVENTIONAL ARMAMENTS HAS ALSO BEEN A CONSTANT UPWARD. Many "conventional" weapons NOW have the same effect as A TACTICAL NUCLEAR WEAPON.

Emphasis here upon TACTICAL.

A TACTICAL nuclear weapon is defined as one having the effect of killing or instantly incapacitating an entire company of enemy troops [about 200 men] with a single detonation, punching a hole about 200 meters wide in a frontage on the battlefield.

[this would be a burst of low kilo-tonnage range, from one to two kilotons.]

Advancements in conventional weaponry have eliminated the need for such low yield nukes to a great extent.

These weapons and weapons systems can be categorized generally as:

* Cluster bomb units [CBU's].

Appears to be a conventional bomb when dropped from a combat aircraft. But breaks open and disperses dozens or hundreds of bomblets over an area of several football fields. Bomblets that are sometimes referred to as "lawn darts". Bomblets, that when striking the ground, bounce up six feet into the air and detonate. Releasing a spew of ball bearings or armor piercing fletchettes. Anyone above ground or even in an uncovered foxhole become instant "hamburger".

[The Rockeye is such a CBU that releases shaped-charges that have an anti-armor capability. Rain bomblets on tank formations that creates a whole lot of hurt. Perhaps even more deadly that atomic attack!!!???]

* Improved conventional munitions [ICM].

Bomblet discharging weaponry fired from artillery or multiple launch rocket systems. Spew bomblets on a battlefield as would a CBU dropped from an aircraft. In this case, bomblets spewed from ground force weapons.

* Fuel air explosives [FAE].

A big propane gas bomb. A very large canister of propane gas is dropped from a special transport aircraft. A parachute retards the fall of the bomb. At a certain height above the target, the propane gas, under pressure is released. When the bomb is at an altitude determined by temperature, humidity, air pressure, etc., detonation occurs. All that propane gas is ignited with an enormous explosion occurring. Within the U.S. arsenal, ONLY atomic weaponry exceeds FAE in destructiveness!!!!

* Precision guided munitions [PGM].

Laser and television guided weapons that allow for precise targeting and destruction of enemy structures such as bridges and reinforced concrete bunkers with a single bomb.

Think here of that bunker hit during the First Gulf War where 500 people inside were killed. A bunker designed to survive a nearby nuclear detonation was destroyed with one hit from a conventional but guided bomb. That particular bunker had a roof consisting of ten feet thick concrete that was lifted off the walls by the internal force of the explosion, but set back down intact! A formidable structure the innards of which were destroyed by one bomb hit.


Include here among the PGM the JADAMS. A conventional bomb with a strap-on fin and guidance system. When dropped from say a B-52 bomber at 40,000 feet, a JADAMS is guided to a designated target by the GPS satellite system. Used widely in Afghan with effectiveness.

* Weapons systems such as the carpet bombing B-52 bomber or the AC-130 gunship.

B-52 bombers in Vietnam, three flying in formation, all dropping their payloads on command, could devastate an area 1 1/2 miles long by 3/4 miles wide!!! This sort of bombing is no longer preferred. JADAMS precision is more appropriate.

The AC-130 gunship has an awesome capability in the right scenarios. Can obliterate any targets within a football field size area with a short burst [1-3 seconds!!] of it's armaments [20 mm cannon, 40 mm cannon, 105 mm cannon]!!

The wide variety of options available to the field combat commander has eliminated the reliance on nuclear weapons. Conventional weaponry, deadly in the extreme, can now do the job that ONLY ONCE nukes could do!!


Thursday, August 17, 2006


This is coolbert:



Surprisingly, the Soviet IL-2 [Ilyushin-2] was the most widely manufactured aircraft during World War Two. About 36,000 of these ground attack aircraft saw service during the war.

This number of 36,000 is astounding considering the number of aircraft of different types manufactured in the U.S. during the same period. More IL-2's were made than say P-51 Mustangs, ME-109 [Germany], B-17's, etc.

The Soviets during WW2 DID NOT have a strategic air force that conducted a bombing campaign against Germany as say did the US Army Air Corps or the British RAF. The Soviet concentrated on military aircraft that could support the ground forces. In this manner the Soviets shared the same basic doctrine as the Germans. An Air Force was primarily to support the ground forces.

The IL-2, nicknamed the "Shturmovik" [meaning unknown], was a most robust aircraft. Possessing a large engine, an armored cockpit, a tail gunner, having bombs, rockets, machineguns, and cannon for armament. Was a formidable GROUND ATTACK low flying aircraft.

The IL-2 was up to a "M" version by the end of the war. Each version an improvement upon the prior design.

Widely respected and feared by the Germans for it's ability to take a lot of damage and keep on flying and DOING damage.

"The armored tub [surrounding the engine and cockpit] ranging from 5 to 12 mm (0.2 to 0.5 in) in thickness and enveloping the engine and the cockpit could deflect all small-arms fire and glancing blows from larger-calibre ammunition. There are reports of the armored windscreen surviving direct hits from 20 mm rounds."

Resembled a flying TANK in some regards.

The concept for modern low flying ground attack aircraft, such as the American A-10 "warthog", is based upon the "Shturmovik".

Interestingly enough, NOT ONE of these famous flying machines survived the war. All were scrapped. Every last one. NOT EVEN ONE museum piece remains. It is reputed that at the bottom of some lake in Russia is a downed or crashed IL-2. Waiting rebirth. ONLY TIME will tell.

"In recent years several Il-2 wrecks have been located and recovered from Lake Balaton, a large, shallow lake in Hungary, which is located near the historic site of a large WWII tank battle."

[those tail gunners were quite often Soviet troops sentenced to penal battalions with a ten year sentence. Often forced to work off the sentence as a tail gunner of an IL-2. For each flight the convict would have one year taken off his sentence!! Ten successful missions and the sentence of death [a ten year sentence in a Soviet penal institution was equivalent to a sentence of death!!] would be expunged!!!]

"it does appear the Soviet Air Force did use "Penal squadrons" in some situations."




This is coolbert:

The arch villain, drug kingpin and all-around bad guy Arellano-Felix has been captured and is now in U.S. custody. This is a major victory. This guy has been snubbing his nose at U.S. and Mexican legal authorities for a long time. Was thought by some to be invincible.

This appears from the accounts to be a military victory.

A Coast Guard vessel apprehended the druggie and his cohorts fifteen miles out at sea. The villain was on a deep-sea fishing expedition with reputed assassins and bodyguards of his. Engaging in sporting activity that he was fond of. NO MORE!!

This whole operation to apprehend Arellano-Felix was supposedly in the making for three years??!! A tip off told the DEA that the wanted suspect was at sea. GO FOR HIM!! A good plan with a good end.

[I wonder how often plans of a similar nature have been so successful in the war against drugs? My intuition tells me seldom.]


I bet they had either Marines or SEALS on that Coast Guard vessel. Combat arms to support the Coast Guardsmen. These druggies carry a lot of weaponry and are always alert. That is in part how they have evaded authorities for a long time.

[I am not sure if the Coast Guard has Special Operations type personnel. At one time, Coast Guardsmen went UNARMED!!?? NOT NOW!! Whatever the case, when going after someone such as Arellano-Felix, having considerable firepower at your disposal would be A MUST!!]

Back in my day, forty years or so ago now, for the Coast Guard to engage in law enforcement activity of this nature was more or less unheard of. Totally. The Coast Guard was a popular alternative for those that had to do military service but wanted to avoid overseas or combat duty. The coast guard was seen as honorable and useful service for the nation, NOT combat arms. AND staying away from Vietnam. DUTY DONE STATESIDE!

This modern Coast Guard is NOT your father's Coast Guard!!


85th & 88th.

This is coolbert:

It appears I am somewhat wrong about my belief regarding the 88th and 85th Training divisions.

The 88th now exists as a regional support command.

But as a command supporting the 85th Division, which still exists as a training division.

"The 85th Division provides training support to its client units and Soldiers using the latest tactics, techniques, procedures and doctrine. We utilize mobile training teams, computer battle simulations, and mission readiness exercises to ensure the client receives a realistic theater immersion training experience. Through a wide range of focused professional services, we work with the commanders to maximize the combat power of the U.S. Army Reserve, by ensuring these units are fully trained and ready to deploy.

This unit is supported by the 88th Regional Readiness Command."

I am not sure if the mission of the 85th is different from what it was not that many years ago. To absorb say around 10,000 recruits, presumably drafted, put them through an intensive regimen of basic training, advanced individual training, and prepare them to be deployed AS A DIVISION, INTACT, INTO COMBAT!!

Training divisions were skeletally staffed with cadre level personnel. Personnel trained and qualified in their particular MOS [military occupation specialty], and also trained in pedagogical techniques [teaching methods].

Cadre that would train, and eventually lead all those draftee recruits into combat, if needed.

There evidently is still another training division out there, the 84th?? This I have to look into.
The 85th and 88th Divisions have been twined ever since World War Two [WW2]. Were referred to as "sister divisions". From the same regional area, consisting of WW2 draftees from the upper midwestern part of the country.

Deployed overseas to the Italian theatre and fought successfully side-by-side during the "Diadem" operation to liberate Rome from fascist forces.

More on the 88th Division later. An amazing story.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006


This is coolbert:

"Give us this day, our daily Ghurkha!"

Again, the subject of the draft.

"How on earth would you select the best during a draft? The smartest inductees at least will be most successful in escaping service. Watch as young people start dropping out of high school rather than get high grades and be drafted, or cram themselves with Doritos to be fat and not be drafted (heck, it happens already and there's no draft)."

First off, I am no fan of resuming the military draft. Let me make that clear. It is ALWAYS preferable to have folks who volunteer and are WILLING to be part of the military than draft people to flesh out units. People WILLING to do something are ALWAYS to be preferred than people BEING FORCED to do something.

And yet, from time to time, you do hear it mentioned that if a second conflict involving the U.S. was to break out somewhere in the world, our military, the American armed forces, WOULD be hard pressed to respond in a suitable manner. NOT enough boots around to do the job as it should be done. Remember, we not only want to fight, but win. Merely getting involved in another conflict, as bad as that would be, is NOT desired. If we are forced to fight "on another front", such as Korea, at this time, bogged down in Iraq as we are, DOES ANYONE feel we have enough people at the ready?

I see possible solutions to this problem. ONE is to resume the draft. Flesh out those two Army training divisions,, the 88th and 85th, both already existing, with about 10,000 young draftees each. Bring those units to active duty and strength, with readiness, rapidly achieved by selecting ONLY the best draftees. For units of the best specimens, physically and mentally.

Those divisions, activated, could be on stand-by status for deployment to an additional overseas assignment IF NEEDED.

HOW to do is not going to be easy.

Surely there must be some incentives that may even "entice" certain folks to submit willingly to a draft. Paid full tuition with guaranteed acceptance at the BEST colleges and universities in the nation at the end of a two year tour??

But, NO wholesale draft of numbers in excess of the few tens of thousands. Fairness where EVERYONE would have to submit to the draft would not even be an issue in my mind. Use some means to screen out the mental dullards and physically incompetent [physically from a fitness standpoint of ability to run, jump, throw, etc. Jock or jock wannabee types are what you would want!!]

Can anyone suggest other incentives??

Else, "give us this day our daily Ghurkha". See my blog entry of 10/13/2005 concerning this matter. Three brigades of Ghurkhas, one each of airmobile, mechanized infantry, and light infantry added to American forces should do the trick. Adequate units for almost any contingency. An American Ghurkha Legion. The British to this day still recruit yearly about 200 Ghurkhas for their remaining Ghurkha unit. AND HAVE TWENTY THOUSAND APPLICANTS AT A TIME TO SELECT FROM!! SO WHY NOT THE U.S. TOO!!

Of course, when I say this stuff, I realized that all this is pie in the proverbial sky. But, if done, would be infinitely better that what existed in the 1950's and 1960's.


Prairie Dogs?

This is coolbert:

Like prairie dogs in their warrens and mazes of tunnels the Hezbollah fighters are emerging from the rubble. A lot of them intact. This is probably what the Israeli general officers dreaded. An enormous bombardment from the air and ground and yet the enemy is not wiped out. Rather, has survived. Emotionally charged by their survival.

Historically, bombardments of a horrific nature have not always destroyed an enemy. Rather, have created a situation to the detriment of the attacker. A plus for the defender.

Such it was at Cassino and Stalingrad in World War Two [WW2].

The bombardment at Cassino created a mountain thoroughly pockmarked by craters and a ruined abbey at the top. Then defended AFTER the cannonading by German paratroopers of the Hermann Goering division. Best unit in the German Army. Best division in the best army in the world, fighting capacity wise. I would have to believe that allied troops struggling UP the mountain to get at the German defenders would have a tough enough time without the shelling and bombing creating a moonscape of the mountainside. With the moonscape impediment, my intuition tells me the going was even TOUGHER!!

[during World War One, entire sectors of the "front" were rendered "impossible" for military operations as the constant shelling had created a landscape where normal movement was impossible. These sectors became "quiet". Skeletal troops formations manning the trenches.]

The ruins of Stalingrad created a nightmare for the German attacker and the perfect circumstances for the Russian defender. Streets filled with rubble, impeding the movement of armor. Buildings with walls blown apart and holed. Allowing for the creation of excellent fighting positions. The Germans walked into a nightmare of their own making.

[the tenacity of the Russian defender under such circumstances just seems to be incredible. At the fortress of Brest-Litvosk, in 1941, the Russian defenders held out in the ruins of the fortress for thirty days, beyond all hope. Carved on the walls with a bayonet was this slogan, "we die but we do not surrender, farewell Motherland!!!]



Monday, August 14, 2006

Konkurs & Kornet.

This is coolbert:

It seems that the Hezbollah have other Russian designed anti-tank-guided-missiles [ATGM] in addition to the Metis-M and the RPG-29. Other ATGM that give Hezbollah gunners a formidable capability.

ATGM such as the Konkurs and Kornet.

The more formidable of the two, the Kornet is laser guided and possesses the dual tandem High Explosive Anti-Tank [HEAT] and fuel air explosive warhead.

It is apparently the latter [the Kornet] that is causing the Merkava tank so much problem. And also useful as an anti-personnel weapon too. Has the fuel air explosive component that I have NOT even heard about. Gives a more robust capability to a weapon primarily used against ONLY armor.

There are web sites that advertise simulators for these ATGM. Simulators that allow the gunners to train almost anywhere. Even from a home PC it seems!!

Simulators of the type ONLY at one time found in military circles. Even a Hezbollah has state-of-the-art equipment available to it's fighters.

Such simulators were used extensively by the Arab armies when they dallied with the old Soviet Union. During the 1973 between the Arabs and the Israeli, Israeli troops were astonished to see simulator trucks pull up the front lines during lulls in the fighting. Simulators to allow Egyptian ATGM gunners for instance, to train and keep their proficiency at a high level, even during periods of actual combat!!!!

[the ATGM such as the Kornet are second generation ATGM. The ATGM used by the Egyptian in 1973 were first generation ATGM. The gunner had to track the missile and target both at the same time. NOT SO with the Kornet. The gunner tracks the target ONLY.]

Even a nation such as India has an impressive military capability and a burgeoning arms industry. Private firms of that nation also make simulators for ATGM training. Another example of how just about anyone that has the money and the brainpower can have the latest and most advanced military equipment equal to anyone else in the world. Even terrorist organizations!!??

It is EASY to see why Israel was having [given the "truce" holding, was is the appropriate word] such a hard time with it's ground offensive in southern Lebanon. Rough terrain, fighting a determined enemy employing sophisticated weapons and who has preplanned and prepared fighting positions in depth. An enemy that employs tunnels and bunkers perhaps of the log and earth variety as used by the Japanese in World War Two?? An experienced enemy ready to die for their cause. Perhaps even eager to die for their cause!

Recall what Joseph Campbell had to say about Shia martyrs:

"according to Shi'a, martyrs in the cause of Ali suffer only in appearance. Their true bodies are lifted to heaven, while in the hands of their executioners mere substitutes remain."

[at the actual instant of death [death NOT actually occurring], an angel whisks the corporeal body of the martyr to heaven, and an image is left behind for the all to behold. Believers say the image does not decay, but has the smell of musk!!]

[NO, I am NOT making this up. I have actually seen forums on the internet where the participants vigorously say that this is so. Martyrs "images" even weeks later have NOT decayed and smell of musk!!!???]

"The moral is to the physical as three is to one" - - Napoleon.


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