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

Sunday, December 31, 2006


This is coolbert:

The Russians are having problems with their new submarine launched ballistic missile [SLBM]. The Bulava. This is the submarine launched version of the land-based mobile ICBM, the Topol.

This is the third failure for the Bulava?

"The Bulava, a submarine version of Moscow's Topol-M, was launched by a North Fleet submarine. This is the third time in a row that the Bulava missile has failed."

Oil revenue is a big plus for the Russian. Allows them to modernize their nuclear capability while maintaining the old.

"The boys at MITT [Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology] are avid fans of Bill Clinton. In 1997, MITT credited the Clinton administration with selling them several IBM and Silicon Graphics super-computers.

MITT officials openly bragged that the new Topol-M 550 kiloton H-bomb warhead was designed using the American super-computers."

[read the link about MITT. That is the sort of stuff that would have been, during the Soviet era, classified as TOP SECRET. The CIA would have had to employed secret agents to get the type of information as shown on that link!!!]

"Oil for Nukes"

"The second bit of good news for the Russian missile forces is the price of oil. Higher oil prices have allowed Moscow to spend more on keeping nuclear warheads in service. Russia was to retire a large number of multiple warhead missiles in order to save money, replacing them with the single warhead version of the Topol-M."

"However, higher oil prices and petroleum profits have allowed Moscow to improve its nuclear sword. Russian defense sources indicate that the next round of Topol-M purchases will include 3 warheads on each missile. The new budget allows Moscow to keep at least 2,000 warheads in service after 2012."

Russia will be a big player on the world's weaponry stage for some time to come. A lot will be for export. The Russian has very good design bureaus for weapons development. Creates some innovative stuff.

As a threat to the U.S. as it was during the Cold War. This I do not see!



This is coolbert:

Saddam's picture of his hanging from the rope and a video of the proceedings in the death chamber are now circulating. It suggests that Saddam, as I have said, was composed and did behave well in the face of death.

Death by hanging is still allowed in some American states. In Washington state, several years ago, a man was executed by hanging. Prior to executing this condemned man, the authorities referred to the U.S. Army drop table. A guide that is used for hangings. Tells you how far to drop a man of such and such weight and know that in 100 % of the cases, the man's neck will be cleanly broken without decapitation.

A lieutenant on the scene for the hangings of Nazi war criminals in the aftermath of World War Two [WW2] did keep detailed records of the executions. Weight, drop, results, etc.

Read here about the executions of the Nazi war criminals. They too seemed to be composed and faced up to death well. They did not grovel and beg. It would not have done any good to do so anyhow. I guess resignation was all that was left.

Julius Streicher even at the end demonstrated he still remained a defiant Nazi. The trial and execution of Streicher was even at the time controversial. By 1939, even before the war had started, Streicher was on the way out and had no real sway over things. He was prior to the start of the war a minor figure without authority.

Nonetheless, he was executed for pre-war activities, Jew-baiting being his forte'.

Also read about the hangings of American personnel during WW2. American servicemen executed by the U.S. Army for crimes such as murder and rape. NOT executed for cowardice or dereliction of duty in combat or anything like that. Just your average-every-day-run-of-the-mill murders and rapes!!

Dig this quote by Albert Pierrepoint, the last executioner in England:

"at an American execution you could be sure
of the best running buffet and unlimited canned beer."

[American servicemen were executed for raping Englishwomen. This had not been a crime punished in England by death since the 1860's. One might reason that the standards by which military men are supposed to behave, and the punishments for violations of standards are uniformly more strict than for civilians!!??]

Anyhow, just eighteen American servicemen were executed in England during WW2. NOT a large number considering the millions stationed in or passing through that nation during the duration of the war.

Am I being too flippant about all this!!?



This is coolbert:

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

"This article originally appeared in the New York Sun." [dated 26 December 2006.]

Extracts from a Daniel Pipes article on how the Islamic fundamentalists in the long run can win their war against the United States [the west??].

Pipes is loathed and hated by the jihadi. Adam Gadahn [a/k/a Azzam al Amriki] had special mention of Daniel in one of his [Adam's] propaganda diatribes!

[My comments in bold.]

"Pacifism, self-hatred and complacency are lengthening the war against radical Islam and causing undue casualties."

"On the face of it, its military preponderance makes victory seem inevitable . . . Islamists have nothing like the military machine the Axis deployed in World War II, nor the Soviet Union during the cold war."

It in this case is the western world, most specifically, the U.S. The west and the U.S. DO possess overwhelming military superiority and societal wealth.

The fact that the jihadi has resorted to terrorism, and Fourth Generation Warfare [4GW] in all it's manifestations is a SIGN THAT THE MUSLIMS REALIZE THEMSELVES THAT THEY ARE WEAK AND CANNOT BEAT THE WEST IN THE CONVENTIONAL MANNER. OTHER TACTICS AND STRATEGIES MUST BE EMPLOYED!!

"Yet, more than a few analysts, including myself, worry that it's not so simple."

The fight is not just defined by the military equation. Is much more complex!

"Islamists (defined as persons who demand to live by the sacred law of Islam, the Sharia) might in fact do better than the earlier totalitarians. They could even win. That's because, however strong the Western hardware, its software contains some potentially fatal bugs. Three of them - pacifism, self-hatred, complacency - deserve attention."

"Pacifism: Among the educated, the conviction has widely taken hold that "there is no military solution" to current problems, a mantra applied in every Middle East problem - Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, the Kurds, terrorism, and the Arab-Israeli conflict."

There is always a political dimension to these struggles that involve the use of military force. "War is politics by a different means - - Clausewitz!"

"Self-hatred: Significant elements in several Western countries --especially the United States, Great Britain, and Israel -- believe their own governments to be repositories of evil, and see terrorism as just punishment for past sins."

The American Professor Noam Chomsky is the archetype in this regard. Read here about self-hatred and scroll to the bottom in particular to read about Professor Noam.

Even the moronic Unabomber Ted Kaczynski in his "manifesto" remarked that the self-hatred of western culture by intellectuals in the west is the sign of a perverse and SICK mind at work!!

"Complacency: The absence of an impressive Islamist military machine imbues many Westerners, especially on the left, with a feeling of disdain. Whereas conventional war - with its men in uniform, its ships, tanks, and planes, and its bloody battles for land and resources - is simple to comprehend, the asymmetric war with radical Islam is elusive. Box cutters and suicide belts make it difficult to perceive this enemy as a worthy opponent. With John Kerry, too many dismiss terrorism as a mere 'nuisance.'"


"Islamists deploy formidable capabilities, however, that go far beyond small-scale terrorism:"

"A potential access to weapons of mass destruction that could devastate Western life."

"A religious appeal that provides deeper resonance and greater staying power than the artificial ideologies of fascism or communism."

Folks in the west have been fond for over 100 years in quoting Nietzsche - - "GOD is dead". Meaning that the importance of religion in the west has become greatly diminished from what it once was. NOT SO in the Islamic world. Religion, if anything, has become OF EVEN GREATER IMPORTANCE TO FOLLOWERS OF ISLAM!! To westerners, this is not comprehensible. The mentality of the Muslim is something the modern person from the "west" cannot deal with.

"An impressively conceptualized, funded, and organized institutional machinery that successfully builds credibility, goodwill, and electoral success."

Hamas and Hezbollah stand out in this regard. These entities not only enjoy support and have been successful in both the military and political arena, but WHEN THEY RULE, THEIR RULE DOES NOT BROOK ANY OPPOSITION!! THEY GAIN POWER, USE POWER, AND MAINTAIN POWER!

"An ideology capable of appealing to Muslims of every size and shape, from Lumpenproletariat to privileged, from illiterates to Ph.D.s, from the well-adjusted to psychopaths, from Yemenis to Canadians. The movement almost defies sociological definition."

Mohammad Iqbal was most prescient in this regard: "Believe me, Europe today is the greatest hindrance in the way of man's ethical achievement. The Muslim, on the other hand, is in possession of these ultimate ideas on the basis of a revelation . . . With him the spiritual basis of life is a matter of conviction for which even the least enlightened man among us can easily lay down his life [9/11!!] . . . The basic idea of Islam that there can be no further revelation binding on man . . . "

[Mohammad passed on in 1938!!]

"A non-violent approach - what I call "lawful Islamism" - that pursues Islamification through educational, political, and religious means, without recourse to illegality or terrorism. Lawful Islamism is proving successful in Muslim-majority countries like Algeria and Muslim-minority ones like the United Kingdom."

Demographics are most important here. Out-breed your opponents and slowly but surely you gain cultural control and dominance that will eventually lead to political dominance. This may take a long time, even a century or so. But will happen. Northern Ireland is the archetype in this regard. 100 years ago or so, Catholics in Northern Ireland were a very small percentage of the population. With immigration from the Irish Republic, having large families, etc., the Catholics are nearly 50 % of the populace and undoubtedly will surpass the Protestant in the next census.

"A huge number of committed cadres. If Islamists constitute 10% to 15% of the Muslim population worldwide, they number some 125 to 200 million persons, or a far greater total than all the fascists and communists, combined, who ever lived."

Committed persons the main thing here. Committed in a manner that even the communists or fascists never seemed to be either.

"Should Islamists get smart and avoid mass destruction, but instead stick to the lawful, political, non-violent route, and should their movement remain vital, it is difficult to see what will stop them."

See my previous blog entry with the comments of David Selbourne on the same topic.

Pretty scary, isn't it!!??



New Year's Eve.

This is coolbert:


1. Saddam has gone to meet his maker and is now buried alongside [??] his sons. Saddam appears to have comported himself well on the gallows. NO hood, answering those that jeered him. Is being buried in accordance with Islamic ritual, his body being returned to the place of his birth for burial.

2. "Police do not believe foreign groups or militants from the Muslim south are to blame, says the BBC's Jonathan Head."

[Bangkok, Thailand, hit by six coordinated bomb blasts that killed two!!]

So say the news reports. NOT believed to be the work of militants from the Muslim south. Well, that was my first impression. IT WAS the work of Muslim terrorists from the south [Kra]. A widening of the insurgency that will have dire consequences for all of Thailand. Thailand is heavily dependent upon tourism. If the tourist trade is severely cut back from bombings of a terrorist nature, emanating from the Kra area and al Qaeda type fundamentalists, it will be big trouble.

3. Kenya has re-enforced security along its border in an effort to prevent Islamic militiamen from crossing over.

[The Somali Islamic fundamentalists are making a last stand and also fleeing the approaching Ethiopian forces.]

Yes! Kenya does have a common and porous border with Somalia. Like I have said, these borders are wide open and not recognized in all cases by the warring factions as being legitimate. Do not forget a possible naval interdiction either. By the U.S. Navy?? To prevent "fundamentalist fighters" from escaping by dhow to places further south or to Yemen and such. That coastline from Somalia down to Mozambique is of course known as the "Swahili Coast", very strong in Islamic culture. The ummah, which dominate in that area, can provide hiding spots for the Islamicists of Somalia, now defeated, to reconstitute themselves for action at a further time.


Saturday, December 30, 2006


This is coolbert:

Here is the URL for an interesting web site about the famous/infamous Japanese officer Colonel Tsuji:

Click here.

Also, try this web site for a previous blog entry on the Colonel.

Although the Colonel was obviously prejudiced toward his own Japanese soldiers, his rating of enemy combatants and their fighting capacities is most interesting. In UNDERGROUND ESCAPE, published in 1952, he ranked the fighting qualities of all the armies he had opposed. The Japanese of course were highest, with one Japanese soldier the equivalent of 10 Chinese--the army he rated second, given equivalence in equipment and training. Following in order were 3) Russians, 4) Ghurkas in British service, 5) Americans, 6) Australians, 7) Indians in British service, 8) British, 9) Filipinos, 10) Burmese, 11) Thai, 12) Vietnamese, and 13) French.

Craig [Colonel, USMC] replies:

"He has an interesting viewpoint, since America kicked the Japanese in every battle after the first 6 months of the war. And we of course had more men and equipment and fire support, but they were fighting from prepared positions against amphibious assault."

"Their soldiers were very brave, but to a fault. They took enormous casualities with their famous charges, with very poor results."




Helicopter casualities

Posted by: Albert

Helicopters - Hazardous to your Health? Like most military guys, I love Helo's. They get you where you are going fast, in a much more interesting way than driving or walking.

But they are very dangerous. A great many of our casualties are due to helo crashes, both from enemy fire and accidents.

Has anyone ever studied this issue in depth? I think that a careful assessment might result in a much more conservative use of helo's in combat. And we would end up doing a lot more walking and driving.

Colonel Craig USMC replies: I also love helicopters. But they are hazardous to your health. I have not studied this issue in depth but have always suspected we use helicopters in places where they should not be used.

The web page below has some interesting numbers


This page says that helo crew deaths accounted for 10% of all Vietnam deaths.

Helicopter crew deaths accounted for 10% of ALL Vietnam deaths. Helicopter losses during Lam Son 719 (a mere two months) accounted for 10% of all helicopter losses from 1961-1975.


This page tracks USMC Helo deaths

I think because Helicopters are fast and fun and we have them, therefor we use them. There are probably many times where it would be best if the infantry walked in, widely distributed, instead of flying in. That was true in Vietnam, where machine guns took out lots of helos, and would be especially true fighting an enemy that had hand held missiles.
Colonel Craig USMC
309 494 8639


This is coolbert:


Saddam al-Tikriti has been executed. Better known as Saddam Hussein.

This we all expected.

When reading the CNN accounts of Saddam's hanging keep in mind the Halabja massacre. The gassing of the Kurds. Some wags have suggested that this "gassing" has not been reported correctly. That this was all an "accident" that occurred during military operations. A chemical attack that went awry.

You judge! Has justice been done with the hanging of Saddam??!!



This is coolbert:

Supercavitating Torpedo.

In that recent blog article of mine where I quoted from President Hu of China, the link highlighted spoke of the Chinese Navy purchasing the Russian supercavitating torpedo. A naval weapon that at face value seems to have just an awesome potential.

* Able to exceed 200 miles per hour under water.

* Able to "home" on the wake of ships, especially aircraft carriers.

* Able to leap tall buildings - - NO, forget that one!!

An unstoppable weapon, the latest and greatest in technology that would present a formidable challenge to the American Navy. The U.S. Navy is doomed?

It appears this is much overblown.

Read here for a critique of the Russian torpedo, called the VA-111 Shkval [Squall].

Is NOT the formidable and dangerous and unstoppable weapon that it is made out to be?

This critique suggests that this is NOT new technology or is so very potent as it may appear at face value. A lot of weapons turn out to be this way?!

My first impression when reading about the Squall was "how could such high speeds be achieved underwater??". There is a way. But has drawbacks also.

You have to judge for yourself about this. Read here, here, and here to further your knowledge about super-cavitating torpedoes. Interesting!

"Submariners say that all they need to do when faced with an incoming Shkval is make a slight change in depth."

Well, I hope so!!!



Friday, December 29, 2006


This is coolbert:

Here is an excellent photo collection of military aircraft.

Taken at "Edwards AFB Airshow 2005".

Some comments:

"Here's a piece of living history, Chuck Yeager taxiing a P-51D Mustang after landing."

That is Chuck Yeager [name is from the German word "jaeger, meaning HUNTER!!] at the controls of the P-51 "Red Dog XII".

[years ago, I saw a yellow-painted P-51, private version, flying low and fast over Downers Grove, IL. Very impressive sight. The top of engineering as prop planes can go?]

"a Russian-designed MiG-15 jet fighter, whose NATO reporting name was 'Fagot'."

Look at the very rear of the MiG-15 fuselage. What is that object jutting out? A spoiler of some sort?

"This is the only privately owned Phantom in the world."

The F-4 Phantom at the show, that is. Well, that plane must be expensive to fly and maintain. And how to obtain one? With that aircraft, you could exceed an altitude of over 100,000 feet in a zoom climb!

"Almost all Boeing 707s have been retired, movie star John Travolta flies one of the last ones still operating in the United States"

Damn, I must be getting old. Back when I was a kid [18 years old], flying in a 707 was a thrill, the novelty of a JET plane had not worn off at that time. John Travolta owns and flies one. Must cost a mint to operate. Crew, fuel, maintenance. Well, if you get $20 million per film, it must be possible to do so!

"In practice this is a claim forced on the military and its contractors by politicians wanting to make a name for themselves as defenders of the public purse - the Raptor was designed as a pure air-to-air fighter aircraft, and while it is able to carry a small quantity of bombs within these bays"

[making the Raptor a fighter-bomber rather than pure fighter aircraft!!]

This was the same with the F-16. Designed to be a pure air-to-air combat superiority aircraft. NOT intended to be a fighter-bomber. But forced to become so by POLITICIANS!

"ER-2 high-altitude research plane . . . This shot . . . shows off its glider-like wingspan of over 103 feet (33 meters]"

Check out the enormous wing-span on the B-52 in flight and the ER-2 on the ground. Those wings droop when on the ground, they are so long. With airspeed, lift causes the wings to lose the droop and assume a more dihedral position [upright].



Ethiopia II. [Conclusion]

This is coolbert:

Ethiopia and Somalia are once again at war. Just as in 1977, two of the world's most destitute nations are at loggerheads and are engaging in hostilities.

Ethiopian troops, supporting the forces of the internationally recognized Somali "transitional" government, have gone on the offensive, and right now, as we speak, have taken over and occupied the capital city of Mogadishu.

The Ethiopian government, now NOT communist, DOES feel threatened from the current wave of Islamic fundamentalism emanating from Mogadishu. A Islamic fundamentalist movement that has gained control, through force, of the Somali capital and was attempting to extend it's dominion over the rest of the nation [Somalia].

The fundamentalists are opposed by a Somali transitional government [recognized by the U.N]. Now aided and abetted the Ethiopian Army and Air Force.

[it is important to remember that Somalia has not had a "central government" for over fifteen years now. Central governments in Third World nations are usually very small and "rule" only in the capital city, and nominally at that. The rest of the country, where ever it is, is "ruled" by clan and tribal authority, elders holding sway, the man with the strongest "militia" exerting his power. Somalia is such a nation.]

At this very moment, the fundamentalists seem to be on the run. Have engaged in battle with the transitional/Ethiopian force and were beaten. Fundamentalist "troops" have been seen shaving their beards and tossing away their skullcaps.

The fundamentalists seem to be on the losing side in this one. Have aspired to "take control" of all of Somalia, but are being prevented from doing so.

These seem to be Taliban style Islamic fundamentalists. A real threat to Somali as a whole, and to the entire region of the Horn of Africa.

Here is a sampling from the JihadWatch web site regarding Somalia:

This is what worries Ethiopia so. Ethiopia is an ancient Christian country. Ethiopia was Christian before MOST of Europe was Christian. Christian of the Coptic denomination. Still a very vibrant brand of Christianity. BUT living in close proximity and more or less surrounded by a host of Islamic nations, many of the very fundamentalist type, such as Sudan and Saudi Arabia.

[during the early part of Muhammad's "preaching", the Prophet was given refuge by the Ethiopian King!]

"in 615 he [Muhammad] ordered 83 families to take refuge in Ethiopia."

Ethiopia does consist of a variety of ethnic groups, the Christians for almost 1700 years ruling and holding sway. Going to be difficult to do in the future. Demographics is going against the Christian. The religious breakdown is:

"Muslim 45%-50%, Ethiopian Orthodox 35%-40%, animist 12%, other 3%-8%"

A restive Muslim populace, with backing from any one of the "neighbor" nations, will pose a real threat to continued "Christian" rule. The Ethiopians I am sure are well aware of this. They do not want a Lebanon-style war to occur with Christian pitted against Muslims.

Taliban-style rulers in Somali not wanted!


Thursday, December 28, 2006


This is coolbert:

From a comment of a reader:

"China, her officials and western mouthpieces will purr, has never been an expansionist power. As Mosher points out, this is untrue. China's territory has expanded more than tenfold since proper historical records began in the 8th century B.C. Her current land area is more than twice what it was at the height of the Ming dynasty 500 years ago"

Read here an article from today, hot off the presses, that only reinforces the perception that China intends to become a major naval power to rival [surpass??] the U.S.

"China's Hu: Build Powerful, 'Any Time' Navy"

[I would add, "Any Where" too!!]

"Hu said China . . . was a major maritime country whose naval capability must be improved."

"China's naval expansion includes a growing submarine fleet and new ships with "blue water" capability"

Blue water=pelagic. Deep ocean going.

"Analysts say China sees a stronger navy as a way to secure energy supplies and seaborne trade routes to help ease security fears over supplies of resources and oil it needs to feed its booming economy"

The Spratly Islands, Malacca, Kra, etc.

Traditionally, the Chinese have had good sailors, but coastal-huggers. NOT pelagic, deep-water sailors. This will change. Probably soon.

Trade routes, energy sources, oil, timber, etc.

Zheng He and his treasure fleet will be done proud. Six hundred years after Zheng, another Chinese fleet will sail the world, and the world will hold it's breath.

[with regard to territorial expansion, Chinese cannot be considered to be an Empire till the time of the Chin dynasty, around 220 B.C. Warring states existed prior to that time. Incorporation into the Empire would include all the contiguous areas of the warring states and then expanding in a manner where one could go by foot. Expanding via the ocean will be new for the Chinese!]



Ethiopia I.

This is coolbert:

Cheap Oil??!!

I had forgotten about this one.

The Ogaden Desert War. 1977.

Between Ethiopia and Somalia. A war provoked by the "incursions" of Somali military forces into the territory [the Ogaden] of Ethiopia.

Two of the most destitute nations in the world going at one another's throats for control of a desert wasteland [the Ogaden Desert]. A desert wasteland that once again, was said to potentially contain, under the surface, a vast abundance of oil. A desert wasteland that was within the internationally recognized borders of Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian government had become Marxist, thanks to a coup d'etat by the ex-tank driver and Colonel in the Ethiopian Army, Mengistu. Mengistu had designs for exploitation of Ogaden oil reserves, hoping that they would enrich Ethiopia.

Somalia, already Marxist, saw an opportunity to create a "Greater Somali". Also coveting the Ogaden as a source of valuable oil. Restoring "stolen" territory to the "rightful" owners [the Somalis].

[again, a war being fought to gain control of territory THOUGHT to have potential for oil production.]

The Somalians, who had been, prior to the war, proxies of the Soviets, then became expendable in the eyes of Moscow for some reason.

The Ethiopian Army, bolstered by Cuban armored troops, brigade or so size [??], launched a successful offensive against the undermanned, under-equipped, and totally inept Somali forces. I think at this time, this could have been categorized as a communist fight communist war. Siad Barre', the Somali dictator, was a nominal communist?]

[T-55 tanks [Cuban] vs. men-a-foot with RPG [Somali troops" with rocket-propelled grenade.]]

The Somali Army was quickly routed and Ethiopian victory was complete. For almost thirty years now, the Ogaden has remained without dispute Ethiopian territory.

[at the time, it seemed that there was no apparent reason for the Soviet dropping the Somali in favor of the Ethiopian. But they did. And then to aid and abet a war between the two was even stranger yet!]



[It should be noted that borders between many, if not most all of the so-called "Third World" nations around the world were put in place by colonial powers, Britain and France for the most part. These borders were arbitrarily set NOT taking into account historical and sometimes ancient tribal delineations. These arbitrarily set boundaries have been a constant source of tension within recent decades. The common practice among the leaders of "Third World" nations is to usually let the established borders remain where they are, and not contest "boundary lines". Border disputes can turn into wars detrimental to everyone. Amelioration can cause a WORSE problem that what already exists!!]


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Spratly Islands.

This is coolbert:

From the comment of JS Bolton:

"China has been pressing disputes with Malaysia over numerous reefs and islands that China says should really be theirs."

These are the Spratly Islands. Little chunks of rock out in the middle of the South China Sea.

Claimed to various degrees by five different nations:

* China.

* Vietnam.

* Malaysia.

* Brunei.

* Philippines.

The Spratly Islands are a point of contention in that part of the world [SE Asia]. Underneath the Spratly Islands are potentially enormous fields of oil? Oil having great wealth. Wealth coveted by all nations of the region, including China.

Now, when we speak of ISLANDS, do not understand the Spratly Islands to be islands as the word is commonly and ordinarily understood. Think of them as rather chunks of rock, if that, sticking above the waterline, and then only at low tide.

Normally, would only be of concern to navigators plying the waters of the South China Sea. But have become much more than that. Have become coveted for the alleged oil wealth, and also a point-of-honor [punador in Spanish] for all parties involved. Territorial disputes that could break out in warfare at a moments notice.

"point of honor - - n : a concern that seriously reflects on your honor"

There was a program on public TV some years ago that dealt with the subject of oceanic "choke points" such as the Straits of Malacca and also disputed "territory" such as the Spratly Islands. The Filipino government, to strengthen their "claims" to some of the Spratly Islands, has erected a guard post on one of the "islands". A wooden platform with a guard shack atop it was what the "occupation" consisted of. Just a few rocks with the shack above the waterline and that was that. NOTHING more! This sole guard left on duty could not even leave the shack without getting his feet wet!

As to those claims of vast oil reserves, alleged, underneath the Spratly Islands, well, don't hold your breath. There are significant oil and natural gas deposits in all the surrounding nations, BUT, as far as I know, no one has done enough significant drilling to justify claims of vast oil deposits. This is all speculation.

This whole matter also reminds me of the Gran Chaco War [Paraguay vs. Bolivia], the Falklands Islands War [Argentina vs. Britain], and even the Vietnam War [U.S. vs. North Vietnam]. In each case, the speculation was the same. Vast and extremely valuable oil deposits were at stake. In each case, again, as usual, NOTHING materialized!!

I would think that China probably claims the islands as a result of the "Treasure Fleet" voyages of Admiral Zheng He [1400's].

China in particular is most covetous of natural resources where ever they may be found. China could push it's weight around and everyone else involved in the Spratly dispute would feel compelled to give way.

[just recently the Chicago Tribune had an interesting article about China and it's involvement in the deforestation occurring right now in Papua New Guinea. The jungle is being laid waste for Chinese interests. To provide wood for the enormously expanding Chinese industrial base. You name it, oil, wood, etc., China will be in the hunt for rapidly-becoming-scarce natural resources in the future. China will NOT want to play second fiddle to the U.S. in this area!!]

Further from the comment of JS Bolton:

"Only countries with aggressive intentions engage in this pattern of activity."

China in it's long history has only on two occasions shown aggressive and outward looking intent. During the Chin Dynasty [220 B.C.], and during the Tang Dynasty [700 A.D.]. During the former, military expeditions from the Han homeland extended as far west as Lake Balkhash. During the latter, Chinese dominion stretched as far west and south as Afghanistan, almost to the Indian Ocean!! China might very well be on the course for a third historical expansion. An expansion mandated by the needs of rapid Chinese industrialization and an enormous rise in the standard of living within China to a western standard!! Access to and availability of resources has been a historical reason for war between nations.


Monday, December 25, 2006

Germans III. [End]

This is coolbert:

Here is an article from Military History Online that deals with controversy regarding the superiority, presumed, of the German soldier in World War Two [WW2]. It has become a given, within conventional circles, accepted as more as less fact, that the German soldier in WW2 was more able and competent than his allied or Soviet counterpart.

[let me warn you in advance that this article is a hard read. Appears to have been written by a PhD for other PhD's? But is interesting.]

The "experts", the conventional military historians, have long postulated that Allied and Soviet victory in WW2 was a function of overwhelming numbers used in an inexorable manner to wear down and defeat the German military. These "experts", the conventional historians, suggest that the German soldier just had all around better fighting ability and gave a very good account of himself until the final end.

There is however, a group of American iconoclasts who disagree with this contention of the "experts". These men, all historians, and military men themselves, suggest that the American fighting man [the Britisher also], were better than the German. The war WAS won by allied [Russian too??] fighting ability, numbers alone not being the major factor in defeating the fascist forces.

Mythos revisited: American Historians and German Fighting Power in the Second World War.

by Thomas E. Nutter.

About the author:

"Tom Nutter is in his 25th year of practicing domestic and international patent, copyright and trademark law, and is the Managing Partner of an intellectual property law practice in St. Louis, Missouri. He holds the Masters and Doctorate degrees in diplomatic/military history from the University of Missouri."

[this man would seem to be a heavy hitter himself in the area of history and other intellectual disciplines. Well suited to make the comments and critique that he has!!]

[My comments in bold as is usual]

"A fashionable argument in the past two decades has been that the Allies won World War II only through the sheer weight of materiel they threw at the Wehrmacht in a relatively unskilled manner. This argument is actually a restatement of the theory put forward by German officers to explain their defeat, as evidenced by wartime interrogations and postwar manuscripts prepared by the defeated."

"Britain's caution about a premature direct confrontation on land with Germany in Western Europe stemmed from a number of factors, not least of which were a healthy respect for the capacity of the enemy to resist, and a disinclination to become involved in a slugging match that might give rise to casualties on a scale comparable to those suffered in the First World War."

"Events, as well as English persistence, conspired to favor the pursuit of the indirect approach."

Attack through Italy and the soft underbelly of the fascist crocodile, the Balkans. This was what Churchill advocated. Did not work in Italy, and was not tried in the Balkans, but was the idea. This was the indirect approach as conceived and advocated by Basil Lidell-Hart, the acolyte of J.F.C. Fuller.

The conventional military historians [the "experts"] that maintain the German soldier was the superior soldier in WW2 include:

S.L.A. Marshall, Russell Weigley, Martin Van Creveld, John Keegan, Max Hastings, Trevor N. Dupuy, John Ellis.

In the cases of Marshall, Keegan, Van Creveld, Dupuy, you are speaking of the real big names in the field of military history. Really big. If you were to take a military history course in college, undoubtedly, you will read a book by one of these men.

The American iconoclastic naysayers regarding German military superiority in WW2 are:

Keith Bonn, Peter R. Mansoor, Michael D. Doubler, John Sloan Brown.

S.L.A. Marshall, "Men Against Fire".

"an American general officer, S.L.A. Marshall, as the font of error on the subject of the relative fighting qualities of the German and United States armies."

Russell Weigley, "Eisenhower's Lieutenants".

"Another historian pilloried by his critics for having 'trumpeted the tactical superiority of the Wehrmacht at the expense of the American army' is Russell Weigley, one of the most prominent American military historians of the post-World War II era."

Martin Van Creveld, "Fighting Power".

"Among those targeted by the self-appointed defenders of the honor of the U.S. army for their alleged bias in favor of the Wehrmacht, none has incurred more vilification than Martin van Creveld."

"Creveld concludes that the 'German army was a superb fighting organization. In point of morale, elan, unit cohesion, and resilience, it probably had no equal among twentieth century armies.' He attributes this conclusion principally to that army's internal organization, which he sees as 'creating and maintaining fighting power.' His view of the German soldier also makes him a marked man among historians, for he opines that the landser was motivated not by Nazi ideology, but by the reasons that men have always fought: because the German soldier saw himself as a member of a well-integrated, well-led team whose structure, administration and functioning were perceived by him as being generally equitable and just. . . the German army . . . sent its best men to the front; 'its organization was designed to produce and reward fighting men.'"

John Keegan, "The Second World War".

"Peter Mansoor describes the works of John Keegan, Max Hastings and John Ellis as praising "the combat effectiveness of the Wehrmacht at the expense of the victors of World War II" and as having accepted 'the arguments of Weigley and van Creveld without much alteration.' According to Mansoor, all three of these men contend that the German army 'was much more competent in combat effectiveness than its Allied counterparts.'"

"Keegan does take the view that the German army was innovative, aggressive and resourceful in defense, and that its panzer arm was without peer in the practice of mobile warfare. He shares these perceptions with a considerable number of historians."

Max Hastings, "Overlord".

"Max Hastings is another English historian who has been accused of swallowing whole a theory that the German army was in every respect superior to its Western opponents, and that it was defeated only by the grinding of sheer numbers."

Trevor N. Dupuy, "Numbers, Predictions & War".

"Sharing with Martin van Creveld the unenviable distinction of being the historian most despised by Mansoor, Bonn and their cohorts is a retired United States Army Colonel, Trevor N. Dupuy."

"Dupuy "the vanguard of a group of historians who trumpeted the tactical superiority of the Wehrmacht at the expense of the American army.'"

"Dupuy's 'assertion of the inferiority of American combat units on the European battlefields of World War II' and avers that he 'concluded that German units were on the average 20 percent more effective than their British and American counterparts.'"

120 Americans or 120 Englishmen to defeat 100 Germans on the battlefield. Also, 200 Russians to defeat 100 Germans on the battlefield. All this of course with UNITS OF BRIGADE SIZE [5,000 troops] OR LARGER!! NOT as individual soldiers!!

"Dupuy observes that '[W]e didn't like one of the two conclusions which this adjustment forced upon us---that 100 Germans were roughly the combat equivalent of 120 Americans or British---but we could not ignore the fact that our numbers demonstrated that this was so.'"

"the factors found by Dupuy to be responsible for this outcome included 'better utilization of manpower, more experience, greater mobility, better doctrine.'"

To reiterate the factors as identified by Dupuy:

* Better utilization of manpower.

* More experience.

* Greater mobility.

* Better doctrine.

* More effective battle drill.

* Superior leadership.

* Inherent national characteristics.

Dupuy developed a range of equations that allowed him arrive at his conclusions. These were based upon empirical date from primarily the Italian campaign of WW2. Dupuy also applied these equations to the various conflicts between the Israeli Army and the various Arab forces it has fought over a series of decades. The conclusion of Dupuy in this case was that it took 200 Egyptians to defeat 100 Israelis, again at unit size of brigade [5,000 troops] or larger.

Dupuy also gives reasons again, as to why the Israeli seems to be superior to the Arab on the battlefield. These factors include:

* Israeli leaders were more flexible, aggressive, and dynamic.

* Israeli doctrine, and its execution were better.

* More adaptable [the Israeli] and make better use of sophisticated weaponry.

Please recall too the rating scheme of the Japanese Colonel Tsuji. Rated military forces with regard to fighting ability in WW2. The Japanese and their opponents they had faced on the battlefield:

# 1 - - Japanese. [of course.]

# 2 - - Chinese. [this is probably the Chinese Communist Eighth Route Army.]

# 3 - - Russians.

# 4 - - Ghurkhas.

# 5 - - Americans.

# 6 - - Australians.

# 7 - - British Indian Army troops.

# 8 - - English.

"Keith Bonn excoriates Dupuy on two bases. He argues first that the "incredibly complicated series of parameters" (the availability of ammunition and fuel, the effects of weapons and morale, the quantities of troops available, "et cetera ad infinitum") utilized by Dupuy to analyze ground combat did not exist "as such during the period when the battles being analyzed were fought." Consequently, in Bonn's view, those parameters "are artificial and ex post facto at best, irrelevant at worst." The second basis upon which Bonn criticizes Dupuy is that the latter included in his analysis intangible variables not easily amenable to assessment."

The Theory and Science of War, as I have stated in a whole series of blog entries, is NOT something that is easily arrived at, agreed upon, or well understood. It seems that the axioms and maxims of Napoleon, the Principles of War as enunciated by Fuller, and NOT a whole lot more constitutes the "Theory and Science" of the subject. So much is variable and "not easily amenable to assessment". True, very true. But having some science, equations, etc., is better than having none? Someone has to try somewhere, even if not 100 % correct. "Fudge factors", if present, are needed to account for the variables as best can be done. Can someone suggest better?

"Dupuy was quite aware of the criticisms leveled against his analysis. As he observes, the most common critique of his work is that such an historical approach is scientifically invalid. Dupuy points out, however, that while the scientific techniques and experience of his technically-oriented critics (or those who purport to rely upon such techniques and experience) are reliable in dealing with scientific questions, they are less so when applied to human behavior in the historical context."

"Dupuy and his group applied the same assessment method to both the First and Second World Wars. In both of these struggles, German combat effectiveness was superior to that of its western European and American opponents by nearly identical figures. In the same manner, German combat effectiveness superiority with respect to that of the Russians was nearly consistent over both World Wars."

See my very recent blog entry regarding German performance in World War One.

John Ellis, "Brute Force. Allied Strategy and Tactics in the Second World War".

"Peter Mansoor lumps together John Keegan, Max Hastings and John Ellis, contending that they "round out the field of authors who praise the combat effectiveness of the Wehrmacht at the expense of the victors of World War II." Mansoor asserts that Ellis, like his two fellow Englishmen, has swallowed uncritically the alleged contentions of Russell Weigley and Martin van Creveld that the German army was more competent and combat effective than those of its opposition. While Ellis apparently remains unknown to Bonn, Brown and Doubler, nevertheless it is worth dealing, however briefly, with Mansoor's charge."

"John Ellis is neither a soldier nor an academic historian."

Barbara Tuchman was a woman and an academic historian, and yet she wrote good military history, including the "Guns of August".

"his first major theme is that the stupendous collective industrial potential of the Allies gave them such a preponderance of the means for warmaking---weapons and soldiers---that it was incumbent upon the Axis to force a quick negotiated peace in their favor, and when they did not, their inevitable defeat was assured by the "prosaic arithmetic of natural resources, generating capacity, industrial plant and productivity."

"His second theme is that in applying this overwhelming force, "American, Russian and British commanders made considerably less than optimum use of the resources at their disposal and in almost every theatre serious mistakes were made." The result was that Allied "commanders seemed unable to impose their will upon the enemy except by slowly and persistently battering him to death with a blunt instrument."

Serious mistakes were made by all combatants in all theatres of the war. Without question or qualification. Everyone made very serious mistakes of some nature. With hindsight of course.

"Typical of this lack of foresight was the Marcks plan for the invasion of Russia, in which the plan's author, then Generalleutnant Erich Marcks, opined that the Red Army "will soon succumb to the superiority of the German troops and leadership." Likewise, the OKH Deployment Directive of 31 January 1941 blithely asserted that the Russian armies would be separated and destroyed by the Wehrmacht. As Ellis observes, these assumptions were made less upon the basis of detailed analysis, of which there was little or none, than upon simple wishful thinking."

This is not totally accurate. When Marcks conceived his plan for the conquest of Russia, he had taken into account that the Soviet possessed a total of 180 divisions. And this estimate was pretty accurate PRIOR TO OUTBREAK OF HOSTILITIES on the eastern front. By the end of 1941 the German forces had DESTROYED as many divisions as they thought existed in the Red Army total. The plan Marcks had developed was successful, but meaningless. Soviet forces were still actually expanding, even after German goals had been achieved. Marcks and all the other German commanders were NOT AWARE of the divide by two system the Red Army had embedded prior to the war. A system that allowed for a smooth transition to DOUBLE THE SIZE of the Red Army within less than a year in time of war.

"In 1986, John Sloan Brown published "Draftee Division", a history of the US 88th Infantry Division in World War II.[3] Brown uses the history of the 88th Infantry Division as a sort of case study to illustrate how American divisions formed primarily of draftees trained for war and fared in combat in Europe. At the time he wrote Draftee Division, Brown was a serving officer in the U.S. Army. His maternal grandfather commanded the 88th Infantry Division in World War II, and his father served as an officer in its ranks."

Keith Bonn published the first of these works in 1994 under the title "When the Odds Were Even". Bonn, who was an active-duty officer in the U.S. Army at the time he published his work,

Michael D. Doubler, yet another U.S. Army officer then on active service, published "Closing with the Enemy " in 1994. His purpose is to illustrate beyond doubt the superiority of the U.S. army over its German opponent.

Peter R. Mansoor's "The GI Offensive in Europe" appeared in 1999, and is in some ways the most virulent of its genre. Mansoor wrote his work while an active duty lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army

"The works of Brown, Bonn, Mansoor and Doubler collectively express a new understanding about the relative capacities and proficiencies of the German and American armies in the Second World War. In their view, the outcome of that struggle between two very different armed forces was determined, in the final analysis, by superior practice of the soldier's art. This thesis runs contrary to what each of the authors characterizes as conventional wisdom, which holds that the German army represented the more technically skilled and proficient of the two forces."

Keith Bonn and the Level Playing Field.

"In 1994 Keith E. Bonn published his tendentiously titled work, "When the Odds Were Even." Bonn is a 1978 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, and at the time his book was published, was serving as an infantry officer at Fort Lewis, Washington. When the Odds Were Even grew out of Bonn's doctoral dissertation in history at the University of Chicago."

I will say one thing about Bonn, West Point grad and going for the doctorate in history from the University of Chicago. Our [American] military does produce some officers that have brains and do think and are first rate scholars.

"Bonn claims that Creveld's work is shot through with historical inaccuracies about the U.S. Army. To illustrate this, he claims that Creveld represents that U.S. combat divisions used such things as pigs, bees, monkeys, centipedes, and belligerent dogs for their unit insignia, and that these "whimsical" designs embarrassed American troops and adversely affected their morale. In fact, the passage in Creveld's work to which Bonn alludes reads as follows:"

"Like their German counterparts, American units were known by either roman or Arabic numbers. Most also had nicknames, though the enormous variety of whimsical designs---belligerent dogs, ducks, centipedes, spiders, bees, bulls, birds, monkeys, wolves, bears, horses, pigs and cats, among others---that accompanied American units into combat suggests that these meant little to the troops. Except for Merill's Marauders, an outfit operating against the Japanese, I know of no case in which an American formation was known after its commander."

This is just absurd in the extreme. Creveld is an Israeli who was born in Holland. I would think the "problem" here is just a misunderstanding, if there is one, with translation. When we speaking of birds, we are speaking of eagles or hawks [101st Airborne Division = "Screaming Eagles]! When we speak of pigs, we are speaking of wild boars [the Roman legions were fond of using the wild boar as a symbol]! When we speak of horses, we are speaking of stallions! Animals that have a ferocity about them and are known to be DANGEROUS!! Creveld might JUST NOT UNDERSTAND THE WORDS AND THE MEANING GIVEN THE CONTEXT.
Michael Doubler, "Closing with the Enemy".

At the time Michael Doubler published Closing with the Enemy: How GIs Fought the War in Europe, 1944-1945, in 1994, he was a serving Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army.

"it is beyond doubt that it and its British and other western allies enjoyed substantial advantages over the Wehrmacht in terms of human and materiel resources. Contrary to the inference that Doubler and others would have us draw, these advantages made a difference. They did so because they were both numerical and, at least with regard to personnel, qualitative as well."

This is WITHOUT QUESTION ABSOLUTELY TRUE!! NO ONE in the their right mind would question this fact. The Soviets and Americans between them produced over 70,000 tanks of the caliber of T-34 or Sherman. Contrast this with the production of 1,000 Tiger tanks TOTAL by the Germans during the war!! Aircraft too the same way. This WAS A TREMENDOUS ADVANTAGE AND WAS USED IN AN ADVANTAGEOUS WAY, AS IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN!!

"The defense of the Metz "fortress" fell to Division Nr. 462, which Doubler estimates to have been 14,000 strong and composed of "fortress troops and students, staff, and faculty members of the numerous military schools located in Metz. Many of these soldiers were among the best the German army had to offer, having been selected for additional schooling based on their exemplary performance on the battlefield."

"Doubler also characterizes the division as "experienced".

"The division was never in combat before or after its ordeal at Metz. Its table of organization changed almost continuously for the two years of its existence. The units which moved in and through it were, from beginning to end, intended to be replacement formations. Nevertheless, this force managed to frustrate its opponents for the better part of two months, and to exact a heavy toll in American casualties."

This is a perfect example of German use of "ad hoc" units. Create a fighting force out of disparate elements and give a good account on the battlefield. Would not have trained together AS A UNIT but did not necessarily need too. Was probably fighting a defensive battle. Easier to do than being being on the offensive. From the description given in the text, it would seem that this "unit" was comprised of combat veterans, albeit not veterans that had again fought as A UNIT!!

Peter R. Mansoor, "The GI Offensive In Europe".

"A fashionable argument in the past two decades has been that the Allies won World War II only through the sheer weight of materiel they threw at the Wehrmacht in a relatively unskilled manner. This argument is actually a restatement of the theory put forward by German officers to explain their defeat, as evidenced by wartime interrogations and postwar manuscripts prepared by the defeated."

"if Mansoor and Brown believe that the U.S. army is unfairly prejudiced by Dupuy's comparison of it with "elite" German units, then how is it that neither of them takes into account the decrepit condition of the "run of the mill" German formations most often encountered by the Allies in Western Europe in 1944-1945?"

"Mansoor puts the case that the German army encountered in Western Europe in 1944-1945 "had combat veterans in command of the vast majority of its units". Such a statement needs must be at least plausible, given the fact that, taking into account the time period of which Mansoor is speaking, the German army had been engaged in combat operations consistently for the better part of the previous five years."

NO ONE would even for an instant suggest that the German soldier of 1944-1945 was the equal of the German soldier of 1939-1941. Attrition was just too great on all fronts for that to be so. It CAN BE SUGGESTED that the German leaders that had survived had gone through a DARWINIAN SELECTION PROCESS. Those that were able commanders had learned their command tasks the hard way and knew what to do, what could be done, and how to do it. If they had not learned, they would have been either dead or a POW.

"from Normandy, to the Vosges Mountains, to the Ardennes, the German army was composed of an ill-trained rabble, particularly when compared with the highly-trained, cohesive force that was the United States Army."

I would qualify that in saying that even an ill-trained rabble, if it was that, IF PROPERLY LED AND COMMANDED IN A JUDICIOUS MANNER, can give a good account of itself, again, IF PROPERLY LED AND COMMANDED IN A JUDICIOUS MANNER. AND PERHAPS ALSO, FIGHTING A STRICTLY DEFENSIVE BATTLE, NOT OFFENSIVE.

"Indeed, during the Second World War, the United States army also based its system of discipline upon a fear of retribution. This is demonstrated by the provisions of federal statutes in effect during wartime, as detailed in the 1943 edition of The Officer's Guide: A Ready Reference on Customs and Correct Procedures Which Pertain to Commissioned Officers of the Army of the United States:"

"Desertion from the Army is punishable by death in time of war.

Advising, persuading or assisting desertion from the Army in time of war is punishable by death.

Misbehavior before the enemy is punishable by death.

Compelling commander to surrender is punishable by death.

Forcing a safeguard in time of war is punishable by death.

Betraying a countersign in time of war is punishable by death.

Aiding the enemy is punishable by death.

Acting as a spy in time of war is punishable by death.

Sentinels found drunk or sleeping on post or leaving their posts in time of war shall be punished by death."

This is all exaggerated as the laws ARE on the books, but almost never enforced. The U.S. military did imprison 20,000 men for desertion during WW2. But executed ONLY ONE man for desertion [that being in the face of the enemy]. That man of course being Eddie Slovik. I have several blog entries on this subject, here and here. The U.S. and the British for that matter NEVER did resort to draconian measures to get their troops to fight, as did the Germans or the Soviets, or even the Italians in World War One.

"As a practical matter, all of this meant that by the time the Allies did invade Western Europe, they did so, according to Mansoor, with only a 1:1 ratio of combat divisions vis-a-vis the German army."

This may be true, but is irrelevant. The numbers lie big time. Allied forces MAY HAVE HAD "a 1:1 combat ratio of combat divisions vis-a-vis the German army", but the combat power in totality of Allied forces was much greater than anything the German forces could ever hope to muster. That combat power of the allies would of course include the numbers of troops, the overwhelming airpower, the abundance of material, etc. A striking power of major importance and superiority over the German!!

It has even been suggested that striking power of the allied forces on the western front in WW2 was deliberately underestimated and progress of that force again deliberately retarded as the result of machinations carried out at the highest levels of strategy formulation by Soviet agents of influence. I have not, ever see, however, any evidence that would indicate this is so. Seems to be merely speculation and unproven intuition on the part of some.

"Operation Blue, as the 1942 offensive in the east was called, ended not in the victory that Hitler, at least, had anticipated, but instead in one of the most catastrophic defeats suffered by any army in the modern era."

This was the German offensive on the eastern front, 1942. Initially a great success. The German 6th Army made it as far east as Stalingrad, obliterating all Soviet forces in their path, while other German units made it as far as 400 MILES EAST OF STALINGRAD, INTO THE CAUCUSUS THEMSELVES!! A GERMAN ALPINE UNIT ACTUALLY SCALED MT. ELBRUS JUST TO SHOW HOW FAR THEY HAD COME EAST!! Those troops 400 miles to the east of Stalingrad WERE ABLE TO EXTRICATE THEMSELVES FROM DISASTER! Blue was a debacle because of Hitler, NOT BECAUSE OF INCOMPETENCE ON THE PART OF THE GERMAN GENERALS OR SOLDIERS!!

John Sloan Brown, "Draftee Division". The 88th Infantry Division in World War II.

"John Sloan Brown's Draftee Division had its origin in the author's doctoral dissertation at Indiana University. The author's personal nexus with his subject, however, is of much greater significance to his work than his professional interest in it. Brown is a professional soldier; his father served as a junior officer with the 88th Infantry Division, and his maternal grandfather, Major General John E. Sloan, commanded the formation throughout its career in the Second World War."

This is of course the U.S. 88th Infantry Division of World War Two fame. Dupuy has the greatest praise for this American unit. Rated it, according to his equations, as at least equal to the BEST of the German divisions on the Italian front. The commander of the 88th Division is the grandfather of J.S. Brown!!

"Deprived of formidable defensive positions, German units of 1944 and 1945 were generally inferior to their American counterparts. German soldiers were not only less numerous, they were also less physically fit, less experienced as marksmen, less thoroughly trained, less well equipped, less well supported, and less able to make a combination of arms work for them."

I guess the keyword here would be formidable. Everything that is said is true, but keep in mind that DEFENSE IS THE STRONGER FORM OF COMBAT. Even lacking fortifications to fight from does not lessen the potential for a defender if they make proper use of terrain and tactics. Those on the defensive can do more with less and do it easier than those on the offensive.

"Brown then moves on to take the same tack as Mansoor by asserting that the Germans raised more than three hundred divisions during the war."

When we speak of a division in the German manner, do not think of it as a division as was understood by American forces in WW2. A German division might consist of a unit of considerably small size than a normal infantry division. German "divisions" sometimes held a line with as few as 2,000 ready troops!! On paper - - a German division might appear to have 10,000 troops or so, but in reality, quite often far less in number!! American divisions were about 50 % larger to begin with than their German counterpart, and a steady stream of replacements was used to keep those American divisions in the line up to size.

I have my own intuitive comments and observations on the subject of alleged German superiority in WW2. Can only be intuitive as I am not a historian nor can say to have studied the subject in depth.

* The German was probably as a soldier superior to his allied and Soviet counterpart. But NOT, at least with regard to the allied troop, SO MARKEDLY SO! Was better, but not that much more. Remember too, when these evaluations are made, we are talking about a body of troops at the brigade size [5,000 men] and larger. NOT individual soldiers.

* The German fought, against the Allied forces and the Soviet, during the time 1944-1945, a DEFENSIVE war. With rare exceptions, the German was on the defensive and had to react accordingly. Both during the Italian campaign and the Battle of France in 1944, the German resisted defensively. DEFENSE IS THE STRONGER FORM OF COMBAT. Easier to do and produces better results with less than the offense. The German had an advantage in this regard over the allies and the Soviet.

* The Battle of France [1944] was fought in a measured manner as a result of a conscious decision by Eisenhower. Ike made the decision to advance slowly and in a measured manner over a broad front, not favoring either allied force [American or British] over the other. Eisenhower placed a premium on keeping the coalition together and have them work in harmony.

This was done on purpose by Ike, as according to his estimate of the situation [that favorite military term], the German was NOT going to be beaten by a sudden breakthrough [rupture of defenses] with rapid advance into fascist territory. This WAS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!!

Ike knew full well that the German commanders in the defense excelled at plugging breakthroughs and inflicting very heavy casualties upon the attacker. German commanders also excelled at taking what would be called "ad hoc" units and making credible fighting units out them. Units that especially on the defense would give a good account of themselves.

A quick and easy defeat of the German forces in WW2 was NOT to be had. Brilliant strategies and breakthrough offenses would not succeed against the German. Once Ike made the decision that he did, a war of attrition was inevitable. Harder for the attacker in that case.

"ad hoc - - adv. For the specific purpose, case, or situation at hand and for no other: - - adj. Formed for or concerned with one specific purpose . Improvised and often impromptu."

From the Mythos article on German "ad hoc" units:

"The same stresses led, as the war continued, to wholesale conversion of Luftwaffe personnel into field combat troops, in many cases comprising what came to be known as Luftwaffen-Feld-Divisionen. Likewise, extraneous naval personnel became replacements for army formations. In both situations, Bonn recognizes, there could be no expectation that training in infantry combat techniques would be sufficient."

These were naval personnel whose surface ships no longer sailed, or Luftwaffe ground crews that no longer had planes to service!!

"In fact, the division's [16.Volks-Grenadier-Division] Grenadier-Regiment 221, 223 and 225 each disposed of only one battalion of troops. As Bonn notes, the division included security, fortress and jaeger troops; it also, however, included a motley array of Kriegsmarine, Luftwaffe and army training formations. All in all, 16.Volks-Grenadier-Division did not hold promise for high combat effectiveness."

Each regiment was only a battalion of good troops. Typical of the German divisions at the end of the war. And the rest of the divfision was rounded out by a "motley array" of soldiers.

"48.Infanterie-Division had been formed as a static infantry division in February 1944. It was destroyed in the retreat across France. Its ranks included a battalion of Armenians, a regiment of former Luftwaffe trainees and troops from replacement and fortress units. It had six battalions of infantry, three of artillery and a panzerjaeger battalion."

An ad hoc unit if there ever was one. When they say static infantry, they mean troops meant only for guard duty and defensive operations, and nothing more. NO real capability to do otherwise.

In a nutshell, Tom Nutter does not categorically say that the German soldier performed in a superior manner in WW2. But he does suggest that Bonn, Doubler, Mansoor, and Brown have overstated their case with a misreading of the "experts".

The German soldier was the superior performer in WW2?? Probably so! For a variety of factors. Some of which should be emulated, some that should not be.



Thursday, December 21, 2006


This is coolbert:

Hitler is alive and well - - and living in India!!

Well, figuratively so, not literally, of course.

From today's Chicago Tribune article: [by Kim Barker]

"Hitler the trendy tyrant".

"When an Adolf Hitler-themed restaurant opened its doors in a suburb of cosmopolitan Mumbai [Bombay], many were horrified . . . it is hardly the only example of how some Indians view Hitler and his legacy."

"Hindu fundamentalist groups praise Hitler's leadership skills."

"A college poll a few years ago showed he was perceived as an ideal leader."

["it isn't so much the reality that counts, it is the perception of reality that counts!!" - - Jesse Jackson.]

"Books and videos him are top sellers."

"its' not clear why Hitler is popular in some circles."

"Some experts say it's because of a belief that Indians were the original Aryan race.

[well, at least those of the kshatriya caste [warriors and rulers] have what is called an Indo-European [Aryan] background in them. This was recently found by DNA sampling and testing. ONLY found in the men and not the women. Seems to imply an invader army of men without women entered into India around 1500 B.C.]

"Hitler used the traditional Hindu good luck symbol of the swastika."

[this symbol is a good luck symbol for the Hindu and the Buddhist both. Used extensively in their architecture as a decorative motif.]

"Those who believe strongly in the caste system of India also may like Hitler's eugenics and race beliefs."

[the lighter the skin color in the Indian caste system, the BETTER you are!! This too may be a lasting consequence of the kshatriya [Indo-European] invasion of 1500 B.C.]

"Any praise for Hitler is not reflected in national Policy."

[this may not be entirely true. It is a fact that in 1982, when the Israeli Army invaded Lebanon, among the 4,000 foreign terrorists they captured were active duty serving officers in the Indian Army. Probably getting some hands-on experience against the Israeli.]

"Interviews with many young Indians indicated that they had little idea of what Hitler actually did."

"A poll of 400 students from the country's most prestigious colleges . . . found that Hitler was their third most requested ideal leader."

"In Gujarat, textbooks have praised Hitler's leadership abilities, fascism and the Nazi movement."

"Bal Thackeray, the founder of Shiv Sena, a Hindu fundamentalist party based in Mumbai, has openly praised Hitler and said he was willing to wipe out troublemaking Muslims."

[Shiv Sena (Devanāgarī: शिव सेना Śīv Senā, meaning Army of Shiva, referring to Shivaji). See my blog entry on Shivaji. The Shiv Sena use Shivaji as a role model.]

"Thackeray likes 'the way Hitler pushed the things in this time.'"

"I am a great admirer of Hitler, and I am not ashamed to say so! I do not say that I agree with all the methods he employed, but he was a wonderful organizer and orator, and I feel that he and I have several things in common...What India really needs is a dictator who will rule benevolently, but with an iron hand."

[if Bal had his way, he would like to emulate Hitler. Kill ALL those DAMNED Muslims!!]

[with a last name of Thackeray, I wonder if he has British ancestry?? English father and Hindu mother??]

So why, in my opinion, is there this apparent love affair with Hitler in India??

During World War Two [WW2], there was a strong connection between the German Nazi regime and the Hindu nationalist Subhash Chandra Bose. Bose, prior to the outbreak of the war, agitated for a violent confrontation with England. So as to gain, by force, independence for the British colony. Bose was the negative mirror image of Ghandi! Bose had to flee India and became a world-traveler. During WW2 he was ABLE to recruit soldiers of the British Indian Army [jawans] to fight against the allies. These men were POW's of the Germans and Japanese and became willing combatants for Bose and his cause. At the very end of the war in the Pacific theatre, Bose was killed when the plane he was on, bound for Japan from Singapore, crashed.

I also think that current Hindu nationalists in particular DO LIKE the concepts and methodology as was used by the Nazi regime.


Hindus have a very big historical score to settle with the Muslim. For a period of centuries, the Hindu suffered just terribly at the hands of the Muslim invader and ruler. Hindu India had a great civilization that was DESTROYED at the hands of the Muslim. A civilization that was one of the wonders of the world. AT THE HANDS OF THE MUSLIM, THE HINDU PERHAPS SUFFERED THE GREATEST GENOCIDE OF ALL TIME!!! For this, the Hindu wants revenge.

"The entire civilization of Hindus called as Saraswati Civilization was decapitated and reduced to dust. The depth and the scope of holocaust which befell Hindus is so staggering that common human mind fails to understand this and goes blank."

India [and the Hindu nationalist most of all] feels it is within reach of becoming the GREAT world power of the 21st century. Regaining a role that it had for thousands of years. A role that is the DESTINY of India.

"Thackeray likes 'the way Hitler pushed the things in this time.'"

We in the west like to think of the Hindu and the Indian national in general as being Ghandi-like. Non-violent, passive, submissive.

Guess again!! If Bal has his way, things and images are going to change!!




This is coolbert:

Here is a system effective [95 %??] against the RPG [rocket propelled grenade].

Developed by Rafael, an Israeli weapons system design company.

Called Trophy. Designed to defeat the HEAT round fired by the RPG.

That HEAT round so deadly when used against armored vehicles. The weapon that allows the common infantryman to become a tank killer.

This Trophy system is able to detect the incoming warhead and take counter-measures that explode the warhead before it detonates on the armor of the tank. Defeats the normal HEAT round, the tandem-warhead HEAT round, all HEAT rounds from the RPG.

NOT exactly sure how it works. Sends a spew of ball-bearings at the round to impact with and detonate the warhead in mid-flight? The U.S. Army has also designed such a system. But the Israeli unit is ready to go now? More effective too?

"Resistance from the US Army"

"MSNBC has reported that there is resistance against incorporating TROPHY in the US Army. The US has contracted Raytheon to develop an equivalent system, which will not be ready before 2011 at the earliest, whereas TROPHY could be deployed much sooner. According to MSNBC's sources, the reason for not adopting TROPHY for now is that it would remove the need for the Raytheon program, causing it to be canceled."

"Trophy is design [ed] to form a 'beam' of fragments, which will intercept any incoming HEAT threat, including RPG rockets at a range of 10-30 meters from the protected platform."

The Russians FOR SOME TIME NOW have had a system at least SOMEWHAT analogous to Trophy. This is the Shtora system.

Shtora detects when a Russian tank [T-90 version] is being "illuminated" [that is the word the military likes to use!] by a laser. A laser that is guiding an anti-tank guided missile [ATGM] on to the target [the tank]. Shtora detects the laser and automatically [?] takes active measures to counter the guidance system of the enemy laser guided ATGM.

Measures including:

* An aerosol spray and smoke dispensed and enveloping the tank with a "cloud" to defeat the ATGM. The smoke and aerosol mist dissipating that laser beam and making it impossible for the ATGM to be guided to the target. A COUNTERMEASURE.

* Misdirects the ATGM by using an infra-red source. JAMMING.

"an IR source that mimics the flare on the back of missiles"

"'hijacks' the missile's command link by feeding the tracker with modulated signals that cause the missile to deviate from its course, and away from its intended target."

This Trophy system is more active than Shtora in that it "destroys" in mid-flight the RPG round! Can do so to an ATGM too!? Shtora deceives and "blinds" at the same time. Trophy wants to eliminate!


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Monday, December 18, 2006

The German Soldier II.

This is coolbert:

Found these interesting items while researching my German Solder I blog entry.

About Caporetto:


"Erwin Rommel added lustre to his military career leading a company of Wuerttemberg mountain troops during this battle and capturing 3,000 Italians, winning a Pour le Merite in process. His genius was shown by capturing Monte Matajur, southwest of Caporetto. He led 300 men high up into an Italian stronghold to capture a gun battery, then swinging around and capturing 2000 troops. Rommel was ordered to defend his captured territory but did not hesitate and captured 1200 more Italians by convincing them that his force was the mere vanguard of thousands more. For an entire defence line knocked out he had 132 Italians dead and 4000 captured. Rommel, on the other hand had lost no men. Despite not having slept for 45 hours Rommel did not stop there, pushing on to take a garrison held town of Longarone . . . capturing 8000 more men. It was said 'Rommel always remained the lieutenant, making snap decisions and acting on the spur of the moment.' The Italians were sent to POW camps, accompanied by only two men"

"The bloody aftermath of Caporetto was vividly described by Ernest Hemingway in his novel Farewell to Arms."

[Ernest Hemingway served as an ambulance driver with the Italian forces during WW1! In the movie, the "hero" is deserting with a whole horde or deserters in a rainstorm and is chased by military police trying to stop the flood of troops to the rear!]

"Henry [the hero of "Farewell to Arms"] narrowly escapes death at the hands of fanatical Italian soldiers, who are executing officers separated from their troops during the Italians' disastrous retreat following the Battle of Caporetto."

"The debacle was not the result of a lack of repression or coercion. In fact, 870,000 Italian soldiers came to be denounced by authorities with 210,000 sentences in military courts; 15,000 were sentenced to life in jail and 4,000 to death. There were rumors of illegal decimations taking place after the fashion of Ancient Rome to [in an] attempt to terrorise the remaining soldiers into fighting to the death. The failure of the Italian army was most likely because of the preponderance of peasants in an army which fought through terror. Many of these soldiers could not understand the national language or their battle orders."

[decimation was the execution of one soldier in ten as a result of an ENTIRE UNIT behaving with cowardice on the battlefield. An ancient legacy, as mentioned, from ROMAN TIMES!!!]

[as to the language problem, I think that the modern form of Italian has only become standardized in the last 100 years or so. A large number of dialects were spoken all over the "boot" prior to that time. That Italian peasant army had no stomach for the fight and not the heart to continue when treated as they were. When attacked at Caporetto by units of determined German sturmabteilung [storm troopers], everything just gave way!!]

About Tannenberg:

"the Russians continually sent out their next day's marching orders over unencrypted radio communications [en clair]. It appears they believed that the Germans would not have access to Russian translators (see note below), but the Germans easily intercepted and translated the transmissions."

[these Russian en clair [in the clear] radio transmissions WERE intercepted and understood with immediateness by the German command. All the intelligence the German needed to defeat to Russian WAS GIVEN TO THEM ON A DAILY BASIS BY THE RUSSIAN THEMSELVES!!]

"Ludendorff and Hindenburg [the two most senior German commanders] were skeptical that the intercepts were real -- after all, what commander would be stupid enough to transmit orders in the clear, let alone two commanders? Nevertheless they were eventually convinced they were indeed real, and the plans were put into action."

[The two German commanders did NOT believe at first this was all for real!! Finally accepting what was given them as being true, they acted on what was being given them. And with success too.]

"The three corps, one complete army, that von Moltke had sent to bolster the east never arrived in time to have any effect. However, over a week was lost due to this confusion. Many have suggested that the removal of an army in the west in the midst of battle was the only reason the Schlieffen Plan failed. If this is true, it means that Tannenberg was possibly the battle won that lost the war for Germany."

[German reinforcements did not arrive until after the climactic battle was over. NOT needed after all. These were units taken from the advance on the western front. It is speculated that the Schlieffen Plan might have succeeded if these units were left where they had been instead of being sent east!!?? But then, this was understood and realized ONLY after the fact!]

"In her famous book, "The Guns of August", Barbara Tuchman suggests the reasons the Russians sent their marching orders in the clear was not because they felt that the Germans could not decipher them, but because they felt the Russians could not. According to this source, the commanders were afraid that orders would go unheeded in this case."

From an article by a Major H.J.C. Ingles, written in 1929:

"The French mission with the Russian Army reports that the Russians had a cipher for field use but that it was such a simple cipher that even when it was used the Germans probably had no difficulty in breaking it down."

"General Knox, British Army, who was the British liaison officer with the northwest army group reports that the general use of then authorized Russian cipher was impossible, as many of the corps staffs were unable to use the cipher or decipher messages sent in it"


German cavalry units on the western front in 1914 also employed radio communications on a regular basis. But was secured from eavesdroppers by a double-transposition cipher system. An excellent tactical system that provides adequate security. A crypto clerk can carry the entire general system and the key in his head! The Russians could have had SOME secure system, but did not have ANY.

Let me suggest that the Russian might have been of the opinion that their radio traffic could NOT have even been intercepted in the FIRST PLACE!! The range of most radio transmitters of the time was around 100 miles tops. The nearest possible German radio intercept site would have been around 110 miles AWAY from the Russian main force.

"It is also notable that on August 21, just as the battle was warming up, a total eclipse of the sun occurred, the totality only a few hundred kilometers from the battle site."

[see my prior blog entry regarding unusual celestial phenomenon and warfare. Phenomenon of this nature has always been interpreted as being a precursor of something dramatic and portentous happening. Mahabharata [1400 B.C.], Jerusalem [66 A.D.], Falls of the Ohio [1778], Isandhlwana [1879]. And, such as at Tannenberg [1914], This age-old belief seems to be warranted, isn't it!]