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

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


This is coolbert:

Here is an interesting interview with the great Marine sniper Carlos Hathcock.

A man, recently passed away, who on the battlefield of Vietnam established a record of long-range rifle marksmanship that is astounding.

* Credited with 94 verified kills as a sniper. Other statistics say 99.

[verified means witnessed by another person.

* An actual number of kills around 300. 94 verified by a witness, the remainder NOT verified by a witness. [I have seen figures as high as 500!!]

Hathcock had a price of $30,000 placed on his head by the Vietnamese communists, so great was his repute. [In contrast other American snipers in Vietnam had a price of only $8 on THEIR heads.] A man known to the communists as "White Feather". [from the white feather Hathcock wore in his cap.


* Won the Wimbledon 1000 yard competitive shoot on his first try!

A man who was a natural with the rifle. But a man who honed his innate skill to perfection. Kept in constant practice. Gave a lot of thought to the entire "business" of sniper.

A man whose ability as a sniper almost single handedly brought to the attention of the American military high command the value of the sniper on the modern battlefield. It is because of persons such as Carlos Hathcock that snipers are included as an integral part of all contemporary U.S. military operations.

A man whose legacy is still alive. The American sniper in Iraq and Afghan uses tactics and techniques as first developed and perfected by Carlos Hathcock.

The American police SWAT sniper is also heavily indebted to Carlos Hathcock.

Carlos Hathcock. A most remarkable person!

[person in the accompanying picture is NOT Carlos Hatcock. Is a Cpl. Dalton, USMC, from the Vietnam era.]


Monday, January 29, 2007


This is coolbert:

Shoot em' up, bang, bang, your dead!!

Here is some interesting stuff from the Bob Tuley web site:

"Promoting Safety and Fun In Shooting Sports"

The above shows "Terminal Ballistics 'Wound Ballistics'" for the NATO 7.62 mm round, the AK-47 round, and the 5.56 Nato round.

"30 Caliber rifle bullets of this type are known to knock men down, and throw them off their feet back some distance. The cartridge is powerful, accurate, and humane in it's ability to kill quickly." [this for the 7.62 mm NATO round. I am glad it can kill so humanely!!]

"During the Vietnam War, soldiers reported that shooting an enemy soldier with the M16 did not kill as quickly as the old 30 caliber weapons. Instead soldiers would follow a massive trail a blood a few feet away from where the enemy soldier had been hit to find him dead from massive blood loss." [this of course for the M16 5.56 mm Nato round!!]

I have read that Swedish students during the Vietnam era were outraged when they read of the devastation caused by a M16 round. In an effort to get the American military to stop using such a deadly and "barbaric" weapon, these students petitioned their own government to place "pressure" on the U.S. These students ended the effort when they found out the 7.62 mm round used by their own military was EVEN MORE DEADLY AND DEVASTATING!!??



This is coolbert:

From the comments to a blog entry:

My response in bold:

"Speaking of Chinese intelligence, I am sure that they have penetrated our security, probably on a number of levels. After all, they've got the plans for the W88. In a future conflict, look for them to attack not only with their anti-satellite weapons, but probably with a cyber attack of some kind."

Several things here:

All intelligence services are reputed to have a characteristic signature. Some sort of behavior that makes them recognizable to the initiated from a distance. For example, the Israeli Mossad is renowned for the inclusion of a woman in all operations?


"probably with a cyber attack of some kind".

This is already occurring. Data mining and cyber attack to gather, to the greatest extent possible, classified where it can be done, but more readily so, unclassified but propietary information useful to Chinese technology and industrial development. This is happening right now. Hackers, of Chinese origin, have been observed and tracked breaking into U.S. computers [other nations also?] in a very organized and professional manner.

"It's not a digital Pearl Harbor, not yet, but it's getting closer."

"The continuous nature of these attacks means there is a link to a state source," Stiennon said. "The Chinese are waging very effectual intellectual warfare."

"plans for the W88".

The miniaturized nuclear bomb. Supposedly U.S. intelligence believes that the "walk-in", a Chinese national that came into the U.S. Embassy in Peking and offered the plans for the W88 as a "good faith gesture" was doing so only to SHOW U.S. INTELLIGENCE THAT THE CHINESE NOT ONLY HAD THE PLANS TO THE NEUTRON BOMB, BUT THAT THEY ALSO HAD TO HAVE MUCH MORE AS WELL!! THAT "WALK-IN" PRESENTED THEMSELVES IN A FALSE MANNER TO "RUB SALT IN THE WOUND"!!!

"A story four months later in The New York Times by William Broad reported that in 1995, a supposed double agent from the People's Republic of China delivered information indicating that China knew these details about the W88 warhead as well, supposedly through espionage (this line of investigation eventually resulted in the abortive trial of Wen Ho Lee)."



Saturday, January 27, 2007


This is coolbert:

Lou Dobbs is talking this evening on CNN about the Chinese military threat.

Several items are mentioned. "Experts" as usual give their opinion.

"Then, two leading experts on China, Gordan Chang and Richard Fisher, explore the threatening and aggressive behavior of the communist nation's dangerous military buildup."

One item discussed is the surfacing of the Chinese SONG class submarine within five miles of a U.S. naval aircraft carrier battle group. Happened just recently. This came as a surprise to the U.S. naval forces? This submarine was undetected until it surfaced and only discovered by accident?

[surfacing would seem to be the Chinese sending a message to the American commander. We escaped detection and could have destroyed you if we wanted to. YOU DID NOT know we were here!]

The SONG class is an "indigenous" Chinese design? A diesel submarine, but having the "Albarcore" tear-drop shape hull. The Albarcore was a revolutionary design for it's time. Very much so. A test bed for new technologies just coming on line. Atomic power for submarines was just a few years off when the Albarcore began tests of it's very futuristic design. It was realized that atomic power would allow submarines very high speed underwater as power was more or less unlimited. Hydrodynamic design was needed for the greatest efficiency. The shape of the tuna fish was found to be the ideal [albacore?].

Also discussed is the latest test, successful, by the Chinese, of an anti-satellite missile. Giving the Red Chinese a capability they did not previously have.

"On January 11, 2007, China destroyed an old orbiting weather satellite, the world's first test since the 1980s."

This was the fourth test of such a missile? Three previous tests were unsuccessful? So says the "expert" [Chang].

Another "expert" [Fisher] states that this gives the Chinese a capability the U.S. does not have! We are way behind the Chinese in this area?


That is not so. The U.S. has HAD FOR SOME TIME NOW, an anti-satellite capability.

Called ASAT [anti-satellite].

Fired from a F-15 fighter plane in a zoom climb. A conventional jet fighter, the F-15, takes off, armed with an ASAT. Assumes a steep, ballistic climb [zoom}. Achieves a high altitude above the stratosphere, and then launches the ASAT at a predetermined spot in the sky.

The ASAT then fires it's rocket engine, and proceeds on course to intercept and destroy the target, using on-board guidance for the final approach and kinetic attack, NOT nuclear!

Using the F-15 in such a mode is a novel and excellent approach. Allows the missile [ASAT] to be employed in a flexible manner. Somebody was thinking when they came up with the current U.S. ASAT idea.



Friday, January 26, 2007


This is coolbert:

Here is another Asian people that have demonstrated a marked martial ability.

The Nungs of Vietnam.

Were widely employed as mercenaries by American forces during the Vietnam War [2nd Indo-China War].

Recruited and organized into Mobile Strike Forces [MSF]. Battalion sized units that had an extraordinary fighting capacity and ability. Recruited, selected, organized, trained, led, by American Special Forces [SF] troops. The "Green Berets".

[these Mobile Strike Forces were called MIKE FORCES. "MIKE" of course in the phonetic alphabet stands for the letter "M". For Mobile. But better understood as being named after Mike Healey, the five time commander of SF troops in Vietnam. The brainchild of General Healey. Created to fill a gap that the General perceived existed.]

The Nungs have been studied by anthropologists and ethnologists and are recognized as an ethnic Chinese populace living among the Vietnamese but still following their own peculiar Chinese cultural customs. A distinct population following an agrarian live style. Persons who are KNOWN for having an excellent reputation as fighters and soldiers. It is this reputation that made them attractive to the SF.

[the Nung to me resemble the Ghurkha in many respects. People that make good soldiers because of "national" characteristics. Persons small in stature [Ghurkhas are more robust?], slightly built, but still making good fighters.]

As I have said, the Nungs were recruited, selected, organized, trained, and led into combat by American SF troops. SF soldiers are the MOST HIGHLY TRAINED SOLDIERS IN THE WORLD!! MUST BE SO! Have an extremely difficult mission. Deploy to a combat zone anywhere in the world with an insurgency/counter-insurgency mission. Work with the indigenous population, creating and employing battalion sized guerilla forces in furtherance of U.S. interests.

[each Nung Mike Force was commanded by a U.S. SF "A" team. A twelve man self-contained combined-arms force commanded by a Captain.]

A total of five [?] Mike Force battalion sized units were employed by U.S. SF in Vietnam. Were used with effectiveness all throughout the major part of American involvement in the conflict.

Battalion sized units of about 600 Nungs. Consisting of a fighting force of 500 troops and 100 civilian Nung service personnel.

[I quote here from a SF a MIKE Force after-action report concerning originally classified C O N F I D E N T I A L [at least in 1966 it was!]]

The "A" team SF was expected to:

* "train and employ in combat operations a MIKE (Nung) Force of up to 600 Chinese (Nung) soldiers."

* "500 man Nung Reaction Force and the 100 man civilian service sec-tion."

[That 500 man reaction force was the actual fighting unit. Evidently the 100 other Nungs were support and service personnel.]

* "From these resources are drawn personnel for the Guard Platoon of the Nung Force, Cooks, Clerks, and drivers."

The martial abilities of the Nung were well appreciated by the American SF.

"The Nungs have a long and glorious history which makes the present members of the Force proud. This history alone is a source of pride. Good pay, adequate food and living conditions, strict discipline and fair treatment tended to raise them morale and efficiency of the Nung Soldiers."

Not only did the SF get good fighters when they decided to use their Nungs as mercenaries, they got them on the cheap too.

"The Nung Reaction Force was authorized to spend a total of 3,100,000$VN ($27,000.00 USD) monthly under cost code 904, which is a spe-cial cost code for Nung Forces under the CIDG Finance program. The main expenditures were the three [four?] following categories:

* Nung Civilian Payroll.

* subsistence.

* Nung Payroll [Reaction Force?].

* Necessary local purchases."

[that works out to $45/per man/per month!! Cheap price but good quality!! Hard to beat that!!]

The missions of the MIKE Force were:

* Reinforcement of a threatened CIDG Camp area or to a CIDG area under attack.

* Relief of a besieged CIDG Force.

* Temporary replacement for combat ineffective units.

* Reconnaissance to locate Viet Cong targets.

* DZ/LZ selection, marking and securing to infiltrate of exfiltrate other units.

* Act as an immediate reaction combat force.

* Act as security during initial stages of camp development.

These were rough, hard, dangerous missions. MOST pertinent was the immediate reaction mission. This is primarily what General Healey had in mind when he conceived of the Nung MIKE Force. A unit, commanded and led by American SF, that would be able to rescue American advisors or troop units who found themselves in DIRE circumstances. Those "last stand" type of battles I have described in a prior blog entry. Desperate fights, quite often battles at remote SF camps, where overwhelming numbers of the enemy sought to destroy and annihilate an American or American led unit.

Read here, and here about MIKE Force and Nung combat actions in Vietnam. It seems that NOT ONLY American SF were in command of MIKE units. Also seems that Australian officers had their own command too. To give aspiring young talented Australian infantry officers combat experience.


"An initial four (4) weeks basic training phase was conducted followed by an ad-vanced training phase which included actual combat operations and a retraining phase conducted as a result of the deficiencies noted on actual operations."

Four weeks of “brisk” basic training. Cut-out all the “bullshit” and concentrate on what counts and is necessary. Further advanced training learned WHILE ON THE JOB!! Remedial training administered when deficiencies observed in the field. Sounds tough and rough. But evidently worked. Everyone of those Nungs had signed on to FIGHT and FIGHT they would.

All training encompassed the following subject:

* Immediate action drill.

* Scouting and patrolling techniques including night training.

* Land navigation and map reading.

* Evasion and Escape.

* Securing DZs and LZs.

* Combat intelligence.

* Demolitions.

* Search operations.

* conduct of raids.

* Occupation of clandestine assembly areas.

* LMGs and Mortars.

* Conduct of hasty defense and withdrawal.

* Communications (including air to ground).

* Heliborne operations.

* Infiltration techniques.

* Selection and marking of DZ and LZs.

* Terminal guidance for air drop and air landed operations.

Additional training of a specialized nature was given to:

* Two squad size elements were trained in reconnaissance and surveillance type work.

These special elements within the MIKE Force were expected to:

* The mission of these elements were to find enemy forces, their bases caches and routes they used, for the Reaction Force to disrupt and destroy.

* Due to these elements’ unique mission they were well rehearsed in route, zone and area reconnaissance and the proper detailed reporting methods.

Those squads specially trained in reconnaissance, long-range-patrolling, intelligence gathering sounds quite similar, if not identical to what is described by Hans Wagenmuller in the book, “Devil’s Guard”.

"Gruppe Drei was our advance guard, the "Trailblazers", the unit on which our existence depended. It consisted of only thirty men but they were specially trained. Every member of the group had completed a rigorous six-month training schedule that included bomb detection and demolition, trap detection, tracking, and general woodsmanship."

The MIKE Force carried a variety of weapons, to include:

* US Carbine, cal 30 M2. The M2 carbine was a World War Two [WW2] style weapon based on the Garand design. Favored by the SF. Originally came with a fifteen round magazine. Later was equipped with a thirty round magazine and an automatic capability.

* BAR. Browning Automatic Rifle. The squad level automatic weapon. Heavy, but with a powerful round.

* Machine gun, cal 30. This was the Browning thirty caliber machine gun and NOT the M60?

* Pistol, cal 45.

* M-79 Grenade Launcher. The M79 grenade launcher was just coming on line at the time and being issued to U.S. troops as well. A squad level weapon.

* 60mm Mortar.

* M-16 Rifle.

MIKE Force units wore the distinctive "Tiger suit" style camouflage uniform. With the floppy "boonie" hat.

The MIKE Force did NOT have to possess heavy weaponry. If the mission was as a reaction force, rescuing embattled GI’s, light weight was an asset [while still having a pretty good organic firepower capability]. Move into the area by heliborne air assault, form up, assault and rescue the endangered GI’s, get out of the area as quickly as possible. I would assume the MIKE Force would be given priority to have on-call a whole host of firepower to support them. Helicopter gunships, AC-47 “Puff the Magic Dragon” gunships, artillery, close-air-support, etc.

Nungs were also used extensively in what were euphemistically called Studies & Observation Group [SOG] military operations.

Vietnam War border incursions by allied forces. Reconnaissance, intelligence, long-range-patrols into what was called “denied” territory. Cross-border operations from South Vietnam into Cambodia, Laos, and North Vietnam. Border crossings that were generally precluded for all U.S. personnel. U.S. troops by regulation, policy, or rules-of-engagement normally could not cross over into those nations, regardless of reason. “Indigenous” personnel, such as the Nungs, WERE NOT prohibited from border-crossing operations, and were used by SOG command for risky missions, primarily gathering intelligence. These missions, again, were highly risky, and quite often resulted in a high casualty rate!

It may very well be that those special Nung MIKE Force squads trained for long-range-patrolling missions WERE the ones that carried out the bulk of those cross-border operations. Of this I cannot be sure.

The Nung MIKE forces were disbanded in 1971. Having served their purposes, no longer required in the aftermath of American withdrawal from Indo-China. With communist victory, I cannot but think that the fate of the Nungs was anything but good. Those troops that had actually served in the MIKE forces would have either been outright executed or worked to death in a forced labor camp. The Nung people as a whole would have become pariahs. Considered to be traitors and a suspect group who had to be suppressed and "watched".


Thursday, January 25, 2007


This is coolbert:

The Michael Medved radio talk show has covered two topics recently that have been the subject of previous blog entries.

One topic was the purported high suicide rate among homosexuals.

This is something I have thought to be true. Homosexuals are noted for having a very high suicide rate. That one reason alone would be enough to preclude them from military service of any sort. YOU DO NOT WANT A PERSON WITH ELEVATED SUICIDAL TENDENCIES WALKING AROUND EQUIPPED AS IS THE COMMON SOLDIER, WITH AN ASSAULT RIFLE, ONE HUNDRED TWENTY ROUNDS OF AMMO AND FOUR HAND GRENADES. NOT TO MENTION BEING A MEMBER OF SAY, A NUCLEAR EQUIPPED UNIT OR SUCH SIMILAR.

Medved says that the statistics for homosexual suicide is way over-inflated. That the data was skewed and manipulated by an "activist" [homosexual?] group.

Well, that may be so. But everything I have ever read to this point seems to suggest that homosexuals DO HAVE a greater tendency to commit suicide or have suicidal thoughts. Am I wrong about this? I guess the data is not clear or is contested? Is it worth taking the risk?

Michael is also interviewing Colonel Ralph Peters about the current anti-jihadi war and the situation in Iraq.

The Colonel agrees we MUST become more independent with regard to oil and the energy supply period! Just as I do!

[it is almost as if Colonel Ralph is reading my most latest blog entries!!]

A caller to the talk show mentions synthetic oil and fuel from coal. Also the topic of another blog entry by me. Colonel Ralph says that his wife [a journalist] is "investigating" the whole topic. Colonel Ralph is obviously not up-to-date regarding the DoD sponsoring of the coal-to-oil current projects already being done. And the fueling of B-52's, right now, by synthetic fuel derived from coal. Being down, as we speak, again, RIGHT NOW!

Even the "experts" need help with stuff from time to time? Sure!


Tuesday, January 23, 2007


This is coolbert:

From a comment to the blog:

"There was just a show on TV . . . about the gun fight between the LAPD and bank robbers a few years ago. These guys had body armor and automatic weapons and ended up in some really ferocious close range shooting with the cops who were similarly armed . . . Looking at the footage, the cops and robbers were shooting at each other from yards apart with automatic weapons, and for the most part, nobody got hit."

This was the North Hollywood 44 minute shoot-out. The two miscreants WERE killed, but only after being hit over and over by rounds from police handguns that could NOT penetrate the body armor they were wearing. These bad eggs were bank robbers and were armed with all sorts of weaponry.

The amount of ammunition fired during this battle was prodigious. Both sides fired over and over at one another. The robbers had 2600 rounds of ammo in their possession??!! Even when firing at close range, rounds were flying all over the place and not hitting! That seems to be typical in these circumstances. A firefight of that nature is NOT like going to the range and plinking at paper targets!!


"Whatever Phillips was thinking, he seemed calm and collected."

As I have blogged about many times, "warriors", "fighters", the world over, have for-ever used some sort of "substance" to enhance their ability in battle. Such as:

* Dagga. South African marijuana given to Zulu warriors prior to combat. Given from the pharmaceutical kit bag of a witch doctor who accompanies the "troops".

[John Keegan mentions that U.S. troops smoking "dope" in Vietnam were only following the normal practice for the region. "Fighters" in that part of the world have traditionally "doped" themselves prior to battle. The pirates of the South China Sea being just one example!]

* BZ ["buzz"]. Being used right now as we speak. Used by the jihadi fighting in Iraq. Taken prior to engaging American troops. In a proper dosage has an enhancement effect?

"It has been rumored that BZ was administered to American troops [Vietnam] in order to increase their fighting power and improve their performance, but this rumor is very disputed."

* "Go pills". Given to American Air Force pilots ferrying aircraft across the Atlantic. A super-dose of caffeine?

The above are just a minor sampling of what exists out there.

With regard to BZ, it seems that the British had evidence that BZ, in a gaseous form, was in the possession of the Iraqi? Was developed originally as a non-lethal incapacitating agent. Perhaps the jihadi in Iraq has an endless supply of the stuff obtained from stolen Saddam stocks?

"In February 1998, the British Ministry of Defense released an intelligence report that accused Iraq of having stockpiled large amounts of a glycolate anticholinergic incapacitating agent known as Agent 15. Agent 15 is an alleged Iraqi incapacitating agent that is likely to be chemically either identical to BZ or closely related to it. Agent 15 was reportedly stockpiled in large quantities prior to and during the Persian Gulf War."

"One pill makes you happy, one pill makes you small, and the one mother gives you, doesn't do anything at all" - - "White Rabbit" - - Jefferson Airplane.


Monday, January 22, 2007


This is coolbert:

Here is a web site that has a video of the "Kehoe shoot-out". Came across the site by accident. Only reinforces my previous blog entry about the instinctive reflex action [the crouch] a human will assume when a position of great danger.

Note that the state highway patrolman [Ohio] and Kehoe [standing on the far right], have both assumed the crouched position [both in the video are also backing away from one another as they fire].

There was another gunfight between a group of neo-Nazi storm-troopers and members of a communist "youth" group some years ago now [North Carolina?]. It could not be determined who fired the first shot. The whole episode was filmed by the media as if watching a sporting event. It was clearly visible that the "shooters" on both sides adopted instinctively the crouch position AND BACKED AWAY FROM ONE ANOTHER. Just as in the video of the Kehoe "shootout".

For all the bullets fired between the state trooper and Kehoe, NONE hit. In such a situation, all that time at the range with carefully aimed shots at a paper target trying for pin-point accuracy is for naught!



This is coolbert:

From comments to my blog:

"A twenty year field exercise in Iraq and Afghanistan will be a disaster."

"If we do not secure our borders, we can send millions of men overseas and destroy our economy and the result will be the same."

Well, these comments are all very valid. And no one hopes that we will be in Iraq or Afghanistan for much longer. This current President is hamstrung with his own policy. It will be up to the next President to find a resolution, one way or the other.

At the end of World War Two [WW2], the U.S. had a much more advantageous position vis-a-vis the rest of world compared to the current situation.

* The U.S. was the only combatative nation that emerged from that conflict "that had more steel than it could use, more oil than it could burn, and more food than it could eat".

* And was the sole possessor of the atomic bomb.

* Had an enormous edge over our only closest rival, the Soviet Union. That forty five year "cold war" started out with the U.S. having many pluses on it's side.

The U.S. currently DOES NOT have those overwhelming advantages vis-a-vis the rest of the world. If this current anti-jihadi war is going to be fought to a successful conclusion with the U.S. triumphant, we are going to have to fight much smarter and harder and be selective in way we did not have to be in the immediate years subsequent to the end of WW2.

The words resourceful, resilient, flexible, responsive, cagey, shrewd immediately come to mind.

Off the top of my head, I can think of three major drawbacks the U.S. will face in the "long haul" with regard to the anti-jihadi war.

* An unhealthy dependency on foreign oil. This is an obvious. Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Nigeria. We have to DEPEND on THEM!!??

* The U.S. is the largest debtor nation on the planet! Has to also depend on a hostile [China?] nation to support our currency on the international market?!

* Threat of the use of atomic weapons on U.S. cities without a suitable deterrent being feasible.

[the jihadi does not fear in kind retaliation to atomic attack. The jihadi welcomes retaliation to further alienate the ummah [Islamic nation] world-wide!]

"Smarter than them . . . quicker, more clever, more efficient than them" - - Rehavam Zee'vi??

YES!! All of that! And then some!




This is coolbert:

"couper les cheveux an quartre - - splitting hairs."

Consider the deaths of some of the Great Captains of the past.

* Alexander of Macedon [The Great] - - died in bed from "the fever" [the fever [malaria??] was a diagnosis for a whole host of ailments in the time of Alexander].

* Julius Caesar - - stabbed innumerable times by close associates of his [et tu Brute!!].

* Genghis Khan - - had a premonition of his death and returned to his birthplace to await death and be buried [exact cause of death unknown].

* Horatio Nelson - - shot and killed by a French sniper at the very instant of his most momentous victory.

* Napoleon - - exact cause of death unknown.

With regard to Napoleon, it seems that his death has created a veritable cottage industry of theories with advocates not unlike that of the Kennedy assassination.

[this is off topic, but somewhat germane nonetheless. When JFK was assassinated, the autopsy was done by his personal Presidential physician, by law, a Navy Admiral. This Admiral was a doctor, but not trained to do an autopsy or authorized under the laws of Texas to do same. The original autopsy record was destroyed as it was so smeared by blood. The Admiral reconstructed his records from memory some time later. THIS AUTOPSY REPORT HAS BEEN THE SOURCE OF ALL THE CONTROVERSY SURROUNDING THE JFK ASSASSINATION. USED BY CONSPIRACY ADVOCATES EVER SINCE!! GIGO? Garbage IN=Garbage OUT? Well, you take it from there!!]

The May 2005 National Geographic has an excellent article dealing with the various "theories" surrounding the death of Napoleon and evidence yea or nay!

These theories include:

* Political murder. "Napoleon was poisoned by the British and by French royalists", samples of Napoleon's hair . . . confirmed the long-term presence of arsenic."

* Environmental poisoning. " "Poisoned by his wallpaper", "The wallpaper . . . Where Napoleon lived . . . was painted with Scheele's green . . . when attacked by certain molds . . . arsenic would have been released into the air."

* Malpractice. "Napoleon's doctors gave him large doses of purgatives . . . threw Napoleon's electrolytes into total disarry . . . resulting in cardiac arrest."

[at the time, this sort of treatment would NOT have been considered malpractice. WAS THE WAY ILLNESS WAS TREATED, AGAIN, AT THE TIME!!]

* Disease. "Cancer and ulcers as reported in the autopsy."

* Revenge. "Napoleon had an affair - - and fathered a child with the Count's wife. The Count, it is observed, had charge of Napoleon's wine cellar and food."

* "no conclusion . . ."Everyone is right, and no one is right."

C'est le guerre.



Sunday, January 21, 2007

Jemaah Islamiah.

This is coolbert:

As reported in the latest edition of "The Australian", those New Year's Eve bombings in Bangkok, Thailand, appear to HAVE BEEN after all the work of Islamic jihadi separatists from the Kra area.

"THAI intelligence agencies say operatives of the regional terror network Jemaah Islamiah were directly involved in the New Year's Eve bombings in the Thai capital that left three dead and 40 wounded."

My immediate impression when reading of the bombings was that THIS WAS THE WORK OF JIHADIS FROM KRA! Carrying the insurgency north to the Buddhist heartland. To the capital of the poly-theists who merit NO mercy!

"Such attacks would provide a significant boost to Separatist Front morale and would put the Siamese infidels off balance."

WAS I RIGHT in my initial assumptions? If the war is escalating and spreading, you can expect to see more of the same!! The villains do not give up!!




This is coolbert:

Newt Gingrich is being interviewed on the TV program Fox News Sunday Morning today.

Newt [Newton??] Gingrich. Former Congressman, Republican Party leader, Speaker of the House.

A man of intellect. Has a PhD in history. Teaches history at the university level almost as a hobby. Writes books [historical military novels].

"Gingrich and Forstchen turned to co-authoring an alternative history of the Civil War, in which the Confederacy wins. The trilogy consists of Gettysburg: A Novel of the Civil War, Grant Comes East, and Never Call Retreat: Lee and Grant - The Final Victory."

Also serves as a policy maker for the Pentagon:

"With the election of George W. Bush, Newt Gingrich was tapped to serve on the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board"

"Gingrich is a Commissioner on the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century / Hart-Rudman Commission."

A man of some accomplishment and HAVING a knowledge of the military. The type of man with the brain power you want making decisions as to what course of direction the nation is going to take. Especially during a time of conflict! NOT a lawyer writing laws for lawyers as most politicians are!

Wrote the "Contract with America"?

Left office with a cloud over his head?

Newt is being asked all sorts of questions on the TV program this morning. What about Hillary Clinton running for the Presidency? What about the deployment of more troops to Iraq? What about Nancy Pelosi and her becoming the Speaker of the House? Etc.

With regard to the wars being fought in Afghanistan and Iraq, Newt does say something profound.

Something that is in line with my own thinking.

Newt says: [I am paraphrasing here.]

"Think of the current combats being fought in Iraq and Afghanistan as you would think of the combats on Guadalcanal and Sicily during World War Two [WW2]. Battles and campaigns rather than wars. An end to combat in Iraq and Afghanistan will not be end to the war against the jihadi. We are in the war against the jihadi for the long haul and must both think and prepare appropriately."

This is true. Very true. We are in this "thing" for the long haul. The very long haul. Must first realize this fact, accept it, and then plan an appropriate strategy. A strategy that can be tweaked as circumstances change, but agreed upon by all parties, regardless of party affiliation as being the proper and NECESSARY course.

[much as was done in the forty five year "war" between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. YOU CAN look upon Korea and Vietnam as being "battles". Part of a whole, not to be taken just by themselves. Containment of the Soviet and communist movement WAS agreed upon as the route to take, and with eventual success too!]

It is obvious that Newt, and perhaps others, have thought this "thing" through. Is this an established consensus agreed upon by the "movers" and "shakers"? I don't think so. But WE MUST think long term with regard to the jihadi and how to counter him. A MUST!



Saturday, January 20, 2007


This is coolbert: By now, we are all of course familiar with the pictures from the Abu Ghraib fiasco. Where the prisoners were subjected to maltreatment and then photographed by American guards. Photographs that have been seen world-wide and have created such a storm. A storm that has never totally abated. A storm that gave the U.S. Army such a black-eye.

Those photographs taken at Abu Ghraib were historically preceded by "atrocity" photography of another war, the VIETNAM WAR. Photographs, such as the famous picture of General Loan executing a captured Viet Cong [VC] terrorist, also made international headlines and caused reverberations that turned the U.S. public big time against the war.

Even before the incident involving General Loan and the captured VC, there was another photograph [a captured VC hanging upside down] from the Vietnam War that illustrated the harshness and rigor of that conflict. A picture, also published world-wide, and taken by the photojournalist Sean Flynn. Sean Flynn, at the time twenty four years old, and of course, the son of the famous actor, rake, and bon vivant Errol Flynn.

"Sean Flynn was, of course, the incredibly handsome son of movie actor Errol Flynn. 'Looks like me but better,' the father had the grace to say. He'd been in a few rather bad movies himself. And he certainly had the appearance of the worldly sophisticate when he arrived at the tender age of 24 in Vietnam as a freelance photojournalist. But the truth was, Flynn had never worked as a photographer, never been a journalist before and just didn't understand the rules."

"It was routine to interrogate Viet Cong suspects while hanging them upside down; it wasn't routine to photograph them in the process."

[Sean Flynn]

Looks bad, doesn't it?! Man hanging upside down. Face grimacing with pain. Captors squatting nonchalantly around the victim. A man at the mercy of his merciless tormentors.

This is not the whole story of course. When is it the whole story?! Almost never is!

"As so often happens with coverage of Allied harshness, neither the picture nor many of its captions told the whole story."

"A Viet Cong sniper had opened fire on a group of refugees near a Catholic church, killing a baby. The Nungs, tough fighters of Chinese ancestry, ran a patrol out after him, picked up a Vietnamese without any identity papers -; as the Viet Cong usually travel. After 15 minutes hanging upside down, he confessed to being the sniper, was cut down unharmed and hauled off to prison. So reported the photographer Sean Flynn, 24, the son of Errol Flynn, who has been following the action in Viet Nam for three months as a combat correspondent for Paris-Match. Flynn's dispatch was largely ignored, but the inflammatory picture was not."

Dispatch largely ignored - - inflammatory picture NOT!!

Sean Flynn evidently met an untimely end during the latter part of the Indo-China war. Was captured by communist forces and executed? This has never been verified. But is probably the case. Too bad! Seems to have been another talented persons whose abilities could have taken him far.



Friday, January 19, 2007


This is coolbert:

With regard to that StrategyPage article concerning the Medal of Honor:

"Since Korea and Vietnam were unpopular wars, more MoHs were awarded, basically as a morale building measure . . . The army, in particular, was not proud of this. So after Vietnam, there was much agitation within the Department of Defense to make the standards matter."

In the case of Vietnam, this may not be entirely so! Excessive awarding of the MoH when not warranted!

Vietnam WAS an unpopular war, but that does not mean the heroics of the troops were any less than in any other war.

Most firefights between infantry in Vietnam was at a range of twenty [20] meters or less!!

Ambushes were generally the rule. Troops had to instantly respond in a fashion that would preclude their annihilation. Created a lot of circumstances were heroics became common.

Rushing right into the "teeth" of the enemy's position, heedless of death, jumping on a hand grenade thrown at close quarters, rescuing a wounded and down comrade, etc. This occurred in Vietnam all the time.

U.S. troops quite often also found themselves in "last stand" type circumstances such as at Special Forces [SF] camps or firebases.

"Last stand" circumstances where U.S. troops faced annihilation at the hands of overwhelming numbers of charging enemy soldiers. Stand and fight to the death without any other option being available.

When such a situation occurs, heroics become standard in many cases. With troops of elan', such as the SF, you find that heroics even become more pronounced.

It may very well be that in Vietnam an inordinate number of MoH's were NOT awarded. The medal was deserved!


Thursday, January 18, 2007


This is coolbert:

Here are some noteworthy items from the StrategyPage web site:

1. Here is an explanation of why only four Medals of Honor have been awarded service personnel since the end of the Vietnam War. The criteria for awarding the Medal have just become more stringent. As it should be. This award is NOT something to be handed out like aspirin tablets!!

2. Boss video showing the Merkava 4 in action. The latest version of the very successful Israeli tank. The brainchild of the great Israeli armor commander, General Israel Tal [Talik]. Manned by the best troops in the Israeli Army. The Israeli takes the top 10 % test scorers on military entry exams and puts them in their armor battalions.

"The Israeli government decided in 1970 that it needed an indigenous tank-building capacity. General Israel Tal led a development team which took into consideration Israel's unique battlefield characteristics and lessons learned from previous wars, and began the development and building of Israel's Merkava tank."

[video best viewed of course from a broad band connection.]

The Merkava is the total combined arms package. Has an anti-aircraft capability? Carries a five man infantry fire-team in the rear compartment of the tank. Does have the organic 60 mm mortar for indirect fire to suppress anti-tank-guided-missiles [ATGM].

[it is not clear if the scene where the infantry dismounts is a five man fire-team in addition to the Merkava crew or if that is the tank crew itself taking up defensive positions. I know the concept WAS for the Merkava to carry a fire team in the rear compartment of the tank, but I was not sure if that concept was ever actually pursued.]

3. This article deals with material that has been covered to some extent in a previous blog entry. The Egyptian Q'tub has had an influence on the modern jihadi philosophy and specifically on the now # 2 man in Al Qaeda, Dr. Zawahiri [Zawahiri is of course an Egyptian too!!]. Q'tub was both attracted and repelled simultaneously to American ["western"] women? I think this maybe a common personality characteristic of the Islamic [Arab] male? Zawahiri's wife, laying in the bombed out rubble of an Afghan buildding, chose death rather than having herself rescued [dug out] and having her face seen by a man????!!!

The way and reasons with which the wife of Zawahiri faced death and accepted same is the sort of thing that just drives "westerners" crazy. This is just one incident that illustrates the mentality that the jihadi possesses. A mentality that to the secular "westerner" is incomprehensible and outrageous!! But a mentality that is the status quo and has to be taken into consideration!!

"the American girl is well acquainted with her body's seductive capacity. She knows it lies in the face, and in expressive eyes, and thirsty lips. She knows seductiveness lies in the round breasts, the full buttocks, and in the shapely thighs, sleek legs -- and she shows all this and does not hide it. ..." - - Q'tub.

"Jazz is his preferred music, and it is created by Negroes to satisfy their love of noise and to whet their sexual desires ...." - - Q'tub.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007


This is coolbert:

 The Return of the Taliban!

They are talking this evening on National Public Radio [NPR] about the resurgence of the Taliban. They are back. Villains are again on the loose. And in numbers with resolve. Presenting quite a problem for NATO forces. And recall, Afghanistan is now a NATO operation.

How much of a resurgence? Well, consider this. During this current winter of 2006-2007, there are more Taliban related incidents and attacks than during the summer of 2005. This is really worrying.

Especially as the winter is a time in Afghanistan when you might expect the bad guys to lay low. Winter in Afghan is no piece of cake. The temp right now in Kabul at 6:25 A.M. Kabul time is -7 deg. C [19 deg F.]. Cold! And the five day forecast looks almost identical to that predicted for Chicago. Cold and unpleasant. Kabul is of course much higher in altitude [5800 feet] than Chicago. And in the mountains, EVEN MUCH colder. It gets down to -40C [-40F.] at altitudes. A cold bear. Does not seem to bother the Taliban!

[those Afghans lead a rugged life. Their feet are so tough and leathered from going barefoot all their lives they do not even need footwear of any sort, much less boots!]

Unfortunately, the villains are in this for the long haul. Nothing seems to dissuade them. Does NATO have as much tenacity as the Taliban? I doubt it.



Monday, January 15, 2007

Asymmetric Warfare.

This is coolbert:

To be able to talk about asymmetric warfare with a certain degree of knowledge is essential for "experts" in the military realm.

"Experts" who do not always seem to be as knowledgeable as they like to think they are. Or so it seems to me.

Asymmetric warfare is:

"a term that describes a military situation in which two belligerents of unequal power or capacity of action, interact and take advantage of the strengths and weaknesses of themselves and their enemies."

* Unequal power or capacity of action.

* Interact.

* Take advantage - - strengths and weaknesses.

"Typically at least one of the parties involved may be referred to as partisans. Partisan comes from the Tuscan word, "partigiano", meaning a member of a party of light or irregular troops engaged in harassing an enemy, esp. a member of a guerrilla band engaged in fighting or sabotage against an occupying army."

Such as is occurring in the current jihadi war in Iraq or as is fought by Al Qaeda world-wide. Small insurgents/guerillas/partisans/terrorists fighting against a conventional military force [U.S.].

Typically, but not always so. Conventional forces too can use asymmetry.

[my perception is that the modern-day pundits and "experts" see asymmetry as being solely within the realm of unconventional warfare practitioners such as Al Qaeda. This is not so!]

Such was the case with the Long Lance torpedo. A force somewhat weaker in number and kind [Japanese Navy] saw the Long Lance as a potential war winner. As I have said. The Long Lance, combined with other slight advantages, added up to a big plus for the Japanese in surface warfare. A Japanese destroyer force of eight ships could take on and BEAT DECISIVELY a U.S. Navy task force of four cruisers.

The tactical success of the Japanese at Tassafaronga using asymmetric warfare was based upon:

* "One side can have a technological advantage which outweighs the numerical advantage of the enemy."

The superiority of the Long Lance in range and explosive force gave a decisive edge to the inferior [inferior naval gunfire capability] Japanese destroyer force.

* "Training and tactics as well as technology can prove decisive and allow a smaller force to overcome forces much larger than they are."

Superior night fighting tactics, rehearsed, and the use of spotters with superior vision and equipped with superior optics gave an advantage over EVEN RADAR!!

Asymmetric warfare is not limited to the fourth generation warfare practitioner or Al Qaeda. Is also practiced by conventional forces too.

See an interesting article that deals with the Long Lance and it's appreciation as a weapon of asymmetric warfare.

"The Japanese Navy developed the Type 93 Long Lance torpedo that carried a large warhead and could travel 20,000 yards or more at speeds of up to 45 knots . . ."

"In consequence, the Japanese trained to fight at night, with radically maneuvering destroy-ers and cruisers that fired torpedoes. For more than 2 years after the U.S. Navy en-countered the Long Lance in early 1942, it did not appreciate the weapon’s capabilities. The two navies had proceeded down different asymmetric paths
. . ."

"Eventually, U.S. air power, radar-directed gunfire, and other tactical adaptations restored some balance, but throughout the war, the Japanese tor-pedo baffled Navy planners. The U.S. Navy suf-fered an asymmetric technological and tactical surprise . . we had no easy answers."




Baghdad Overlook.

This is coolbert:

I see where two of Saddam's cronies have met the same end as did the "Perfume of the Arabs". Execution by hanging. One of the two had his head come off. Decapitation. This is a pitfall with hanging. Drop too far, the head can come off, Drop not far enough, the neck is not broken. With the latter, a long drawn out death from choking takes place. These Iraqis need to consult the U.S. Army drop table for hangings. I just blogged about that the other day.

[the newspaper refers to the two hanged men as "aides" of Saddam. OH, HELL, they were murderous villains without any redeeming character values. The media has a way of distorting the truth by the use of clever words and tricky phraseology.]

Picture in the Chicago Tribune shows Iraqi security personnel running a metal detecting wand over a dead body in a casket. A recently "passed" person headed for burial is being searched!!

Who would be so maliciously devious and callous to hide weapons, explosives, etc., with a dead body?

The Viet Cong [VC] for one. Prior to the Tet Offensive, 1968, the VC used caskets with the deceased in them to smuggle weapons, explosives, etc., into Saigon, in anticipation of their grand offensive. Did so successfully too. Dead bodies in caskets being taken to burial have a certain sacrosanct aspect about them. Are usually considered to be NOT a subject worthy of anything but respect. Meriting dignity way beyond the normal. The jihadi, in violation of his own religious tenets, does so? I guess it must be so? They would not searching those caskets otherwise.

Also using the bodies of dead soldiers for nefarious purposes purportedly were members of the "Khaki Mafia". Smuggled heroin into the U.S. The dope was sewn into the bodies of dead GI's killed in Vietnam and then removed by confederates at the military mortuary in Hawaii. Bypassing customs, the sniffer dogs, etc.

Evil? You bet!



Saturday, January 13, 2007

Long Lance II. [Conclusion.]

This is coolbert:

In his book, "War and Remembrance", the noted author Herman Wouk devotes several pages to the description of a Long Lance torpedo attack upon a superior American naval task force. An attack occurring during the Battle of Tassafaronga.

[Tassafaronga, Guadalcanal, Kolombangara. Places, the names of which were not even pronounceable to most Americans, much less findable on a map, became crucial to the war effort in the Pacific! Today the names are Fallujah, Ramadi, al-Anbar!]

From the book:

"in helmet and life jacket, Victor Henry stood on the port wing watching red tracer shells of his main battery salvo streak off into the sultry night. The shadowy line of enemy ships off Guadalcanal showed up under a drifting cluster of green-white star shells, partly obscured by smoke and splashes of straddles from the Northhampton's guns."

"'Torpedoes! . . . Torpedoes one point on the port bow! . . . Torpedoes to port, Captain, target angle ten!'"

"The clamor broke from the lookouts, from the telephone talkers, from officers and sailors all over the bridge. Though Pug's [Henry] ears were half-deadened by salvoes and his eyes half-blinded by muzzle flame, he heard the cries and saw the approaching wakes. On the instant he barked, 'HARD LEFT RUDDER!' (Turn, toward the wakes, and hope to comb them, the only chance now.)"

. . . .

. . . .

"The two phosphorescent lines cut through the glassy black water almost dead ahead, at a slight angle to the ships' course. It would be a close thing! Three other heavy cruisers, already torpedoed, were burning astern in blotches of yellow under dense high smoke columns: the Minneapolis, the Pensacola, and the New Orleans. Torpedoes were shoaling like herrings around he task force. Where in God's name were they all coming from? A pack of submarines? In its first fifteen minutes this action was already a catastrophe, and now if his own ship went - -? As the vessel rolled, the two green wakes disappeared, then came in sight sliding past far below . . . this was going to be close! He gripped the bulwark. His breath stopped - - LIGHT!!"

"The night exploded into sun glare."

"The night action on November 30, 1942, in which the Northampton went down has faded from memory. The Japanese navy is extinct, and the United States Navy has no reason celebrate the Battle of Tassafaronga, a foolish and futile disaster."

. . . .

"The rear admiral commanding the flotilla had taken over only two days before. His force was formed of broken units, remnants of many Guadalcanal sea fights. He was new to the area, and his ships had not trained together. Still, with the advantages of radar, surprise, and superior firepower, his Task Force Sixty-seven should have wiped out the enemy. With four heavy cruisers, a light cruiser, and six destroyers, he faced only eight Japanese destroyers."

"But his operation plan assumed that the Japanese destroyer torpedo, like the American weapon, had a range of twelve thousand yards. Actually, the Japanese torpedo [Long Lance/Type 93] could go about twenty thousand yards, and twice as far on slow setting, and its warhead was much more destructive. At the admiral's conference before the run north, Victor Henry [Pug] had mentioned this, he had written an intelligence memorandum in 1939 on the Japanese torpedo, which had altered his whole career. But the new admiral had coolly repeated, 'We will close to twelve thousand yards, and open fire.'"

"So the Japanese destroyer admiral, trapped against the coast without sea room . . . desperately launched all torpedoes toward the distant muzzle flashes. This shotgun blast of warheads caught all four American heavy cruisers. The Japanese fled victorious and all but unscathed."

My comments on the account of Tassafaronga as described by Wouk:

* The U.S. commander was Rear Admiral Carelton H. Wright.

* "he had written an intelligence memorandum in 1939 on the Japanese torpedo"

[it was not until 1943 that the U.S. captured an intact Long Lance for examination. It was only at that time the formidable capabilities of the torpedo became fully apparent!!]

* "The U.S. warship's gun flashes provided a clear target for the Japanese squadron, which quickly replied with twenty torpedoes of their own and turned to escape in the darkness."

[this was the shotgun salvo of torpedoes from the Japanese destroyers. Each and everyone of those Japanese ships presumably were armed with deck mounted torpedo launchers equipped with the Long Lance.]

* "This battle underscored continued Japanese superiority in night actions . . . Of particular note was the lack of familiarity by Adm. Wright in using search radar (particularly against a land background in constricted waters) to offset the Japanese advantage in night optics"

[Now, it should be noted that the American forces had radar, but it was not effective in constricted waters. The Japanese had superior spotters with superior vision and superior optics that offset the advantage of radar. The Japanese had superior night-fighting tactics, practiced, and relied on the manpower advantage rather than the DEVICE [the silver or magic bullet] advantage!!]

* "The two phosphorescent lines"

[The Long Lance had an enormous advantage in that it did not leave a wake as did conventional torpedoes of the time. Compressed oxygen rather than just compressed air did not leave a wake behind the torpedo. Making it hard to spot, if darn not impossible. In this case, the wake that was left behind the torpedo was natural occurring phosphorescence in the ocean water pushed aside as the torpedo bore down on the target.]

Long Lance. As I have said, at the time, a weapon with potential war-winning capability. If the U.S. Navy had NOT been successful at Midway and HAD lost, it is hard to see how an invasion of the Hawaiian Islands could have been stopped. Further attacks on the American west coast, Panama Canal, etc., would have crippled the U.S. in the Pacific to the extent that peace negotiations might have been contemplated??!!




This is coolbert:

The BBC is talking today about the speech made by Labour leader Brown. Brown is a Scotsman. Purportedly the next PM of Great Britain. Brown, a Scot, is worried about secessionist sentiments within Scotland itself.

Scotland may become an independent nation, breaking away from Great Britain?

Scotland is a restive place. Has a Nationalist Party [SNP] that does desire independence for Scotland. Independence has not been the case for three hundred years now. And before that, a whole series of bloody wars were fought between the English and the Scots. The latter of course seeking freedom from English domination and rule. Surprisingly, Sean Connery, a Scot, is a big backer of the SNP and for some time [??] did NOT receive a knighthood from the Queen for his efforts to promote Scottish Independence.

This entire issue of Scotland being independent was supposedly settled by the Battle of Culloden.

The battle itself, the "clearings" [which sent a lot of Scots to the New World], massacres, etc., ended once and for all, it was thought, the desire for the Scots to have their own nation.

[extreme repressive measures were used by the English to destroy the clan system of the Scots and end forever and ancient way of life. There is a historical memory of all this among the Scots. They have NOT forgotten what happened to them!]

Oil revenue from the North Sea has changed a lot of sentiment in that direction. Scots do NOT want to share this wealth with the general populace of Great Britain. "This is ours", they say!

Scotland is one among many places in the world where secessionist attitudes fester and do erupt in violence from time to time.

Violence usually finding itself expressed as fourth generational warfare [4GW]. The insurgency/guerilla warfare/terrorism/low-intensity conflict that has currently become so fashionable.

Even in "peaceful" Europe is this sort of thing found. Recently on the island of Corsica and in Spain among supporters of the Basque ETA!

Scotland, of course, is NOT a violent place. Very peaceful, at least so far. The Scots, if they desire independence, will probably seek an amicable and negotiated withdrawal from the United Kingdom [it will not be united anymore!].

YOU DO HAVE two trends at work simultaneously in this world.

One is grand unification as epitomized by the European Union. Existing nation-states are losing independence and becoming part "of a greater whole".

Secondly you also have, at the same time, "break-away" groups seeking autonomy or down-right independence.

Such has been the case in what was Yugoslavia, Lebanon, Sri Lanka [Ceylon], etc.

Bloody wars, atrocities, dismemberment of existing nation-states, mayhem on an enormous scale. People that DO NOT want to be part of the "greater whole".

I do not see Scotland as being a place that resorts to violence. Amicable negotiation is the answer. The Scots themselves would have to vote on this and be in agreement themselves. There is risk in this sort of thing. But 4GW! NO!


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Long Lance I.

This is coolbert:

"In the first six to twelve months of a war with the United States and Great Britain I will run wild and win victory upon victory." - - Admiral Yamamoto.

And this was true. During the first six months of World War Two in the Pacific theatre, the Japanese did "run wild".

Victory after victory on land, in the air, and ON THE SEA.

Japanese naval forces, in surface engagements during the first six months of the war, proved to be more than a match for the combined ABDA [American, British, Dutch, Australian] navies at the Battle of the Java Sea and also against American naval forces during the early months of the Guadalcanal campaign.

A scenario would play itself out again and again, to the astonishment and distress of Allied naval commanders.

Both sides would make ready for combat at sea, and advance on one another. Prepared for battle.

The Japanese, however, would choose the time and place for the engagement. A time that was ALWAYS AT NIGHT!! Even before the advent of ship-borne radars, the Japanese had specially trained personnel, selected for superior vision, employing superior optics, that were able to out-perform any electronics of the day. Spot allied ships before the allies could spot them [the Japanese]. Allow the initiative to pass to the Japanese. An initiative that would be maintained by the use of superior night-fighting naval tactics, regularly practiced and preferred.

Tactics that included the use of a potentially war-winning weapon.

The Long Lance torpedo. [called Type 93 by the Japanese.]

A torpedo, developed with secrecy and earnest in the years prior to the war. A torpedo far superior to those employed by the allied navies.

"The Type 93 was quietly developed in Japan in the 1930s"

"the most advanced torpedo in the world at the time"

A torpedo that was a major technological advancement for it's day. A torpedo that could out-range the big guns found on any battleship of any navy of the era.

"The Type 93 had a maximum range of 40,000 meters . . . the 16 inch /L45 guns mounted on the then-current US Colorado-class battleships fired a . . . shell to an absolute maximum range of 39,600 yards (36,210 m)."

A torpedo, fired from the deck of a surface vessel, that gave any Japenese ship from the size of a destroyer upward a marked advantage over allied counter-parts.

"it was usually launched from the decks of surface ships, but some submarines also had deck-mounted launchers . . . The Japanese Navy outfitted many of its destroyers and cruisers with the Type 93 torpedo."

That incredible range of the Long Lance [40,000 meters], allowed the Japanese to commence hostilities and gain the initiative. Fire a mass volley of Long Lance torpedoes that would cause either casualties among the allied ships, or force same to take evasive action and break formation.

The Japanese would then close on the allied ships firing naval guns when in range, all the while continuing to launch further volleys of Long Lance, maintaining the initiative they had gained. This tactic was especially effective against the coalition forces of ABDA at the Java Sea battle. Coaltions do not fight well. Eisenhower knew this. This rule holds true at sea as well as on land.


Even when warned about the Long Lance, Admiral Callahan, commander during the initial nightime surface fleet engagements at Guadalcanal, saw a number of his ships go to the bottom from torpedo hits. Hits NOT from submarines, but from surface ships, Callahan losing his life as well! The Long Lance was a weapon you just could not take measures against.

[these night-time surface engagments in the "Slot" at Guadalcanal resulted in what became known as "Iron Bottom Bay", so many U.S. and Japanese warships went to the bottom in an almost casual fashion.]

It was only after Coral Sea and Midway that it became apparent that surface engagments of the type as seen at Java Sea and later at Guadalcanal had become passe'. Naval aviation launched from aircraft carriers was THE WAY to go. The combat line of ships dueling with naval gunfire salvoes was a thing of the past. The Long Lance was potent still, but ships just did not fight anymore for the rest of the war [but with rare exceptions] as they did in 1942.



Monday, January 08, 2007


This is coolbert:

As Colonel Craig, USMC, has said, "we no longer fight with swords". This is true.

And we no longer ride horses into battle either.

Both are legacies of a mode of warfare now gone with the proverbial "dodo". Traditions practiced for millennia by warriors the world over NOW best characterized as "lost arts".

The use of swords in warfare goes way back [men riding horses into battle even pre-dates the use of the sword] into antiquity.

"in southeastern Europe, c. 1500 B.C., a new weapon, the sword, appeared, contrived for slashing from the saddle. From somewhere men were coming who had learned to ride."

The use of the sword on horseback was quite often the domain of the noble and the aristocrat. A person wealthy enough to possess both the weapon and the horse and use both in combat. Persons given the title in Rome from even the earliest times, of "equestrian rank". The leaders, movers, and shakers of the society.

A man such as King Kanishka, who exemplifies the archetype:

"Kanishka, a Buddhist king [by conversion] of India, who ruled in the first century A.D.":

"There is a portrait statue . . . in which the long belted field-coat and heavy riding boots, the vigorous stance, and the readiness of the two hands at the hilts of two immense sheathed swords, announce dramatically the character of the Central Asians who had assumed the leadership of India,."

[a two sword man, a man of real distinction, bearing, and high social ranking. Well, he was the King, was he NOT!!]

During the European Renaissance, the wearing of a rapier was obligatory for the well-dressed gentleman of the day. A mark of distinction. Various schools of fencing such as the Spanish School and the Italian School, run by a maestro [master], taught a highly developed form of swordsmanship. Were the martial arts schools of the day and functioned much as a judo or karate school would in the modern era. But primarily catered to the "gentleman".

[the average man would NOT have been able to afford the sword, the dress, the accoutrements that distinguished the "gentleman" of the day!]

The use of the sword in the modern world has become almost a ZERO! Only in a few places in the world, such as the Sahara [Tuareg people], or in Borneo [Dayak people] are swords even worn and even more rarely ever used.

[during recent rioting in Borneo, the Dayaks resorted to swordplay with effectiveness, beheading Islamic immigrants to the island during "communal rioting".]

There is one place where the sword is still used in a cherished and respected manner. Much as it was used in antiquity, but without the lethal consequences.

The academic fencing societies of Germany.

Fencing clubs, operating almost in secrecy, that continue the ritual of the schlager duel. University fraternity members, using swords, in ritual like duels, the goal of which is facial scarification.

The dueling scar!! The trademark for centuries for young men from the upper class of German society. A scar visible to all that would mark a man as being an educated person of the university [this of course at a time when very few actually attended institutions of higher learning]. Men of the aristocracy or of the professions [a medical doctor, a lawyer, a professor, etc.] who had stoically and bravely undergone a "rite of passage" involving physical ordeal!

Having a dueling scar meant that you WERE somebody, a man who represented a "good catch" for young women.

"It was very important for these wounds to be noticeable, as the belief was that class/caste and honor were directly linked—the dueling scar was evidence that the wearer had the foundation to fulfill his destiny as one of Germany's ruling class."

Contrary to what most folks probably thing, these "clubs" [fencing societies] still exist and carry out the ritual of the schlager duel. And is still practiced by the remnants of the aristocracy that still exist in Germany, as well as those studying for the professions such as doctors, lawyers, professors, etc.

[I talked NOT so long ago to a German college exchange student about this "practice". He DID SAY schlager duels are NOT common, but DO occur. He also said he thinks the participants are crazy. That the goal is not only a scar, but the worse the scar the BETTER!! A scar is accentuated by placing a bit of horse hair in the wound before it heals!!]

Keeping the old ways alive and well in Germany!!

Are you interested!!??

[that man in uniform with the enormous scar on his face is the famous/infamous German SS Commando Otto Skorzeny from World War Two.]

"He was a noted fencer as a student in Vienna in the 1920s. He engaged in fifteen personal duels, and in the tenth of these he received a wound that left a dramatic scar (known in fencing as a smite) on his cheek."

Whoa boy!!


Saturday, January 06, 2007

A' Famosa.

This is coolbert:

Military planners, when formulating strategy, pay close attention to CHOKE POINTS. If on the offensive, you avoid them. If on the defensive, you utilize them to your advantage.

Choke point:

"In military strategy, a choke point is a geographical feature (such as a valley or defile) which forces an army [or navy] to go into a narrower formation (greatly decreasing combat power) in order to pass through it."

[on land, think of constricting terrain. Blood River, or Thermopylae. Bunching, constriction, no room to deploy!]

"In general, a chokepoint is any node in a network with a high centrality."

[this is a very military definition!!]

"The most important naval chokepoints were first identified by John Arbuthnot Fisher [Jackie Fisher] in his defense of continued British colonialism [Naval domination necessitated]."

These were:

* Hormuz Strait between Oman and Iran at the entrance to the Persian Gulf (Oman).

* Strait of Malacca between Malaysia and Indonesia (Singapore).

* Bab-el-Mandeb passage from the Arabian Sea to the Red Sea

* Panama Canal and the Panama Pipeline connecting the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

* Suez Canal and the Sumed Pipeline connecting the Red Sea and Mediterranean Sea (Egypt).

* The Turkish Straits/Bosporus linking the Black Sea (and oil coming from the Caspian Sea region) to the Mediterranean.

* The Strait of Gibraltar.

* Cape Horn (Falklands).

* The Cape of Good Hope (South Africa).

Over one hundred years later, since the time of Jackie Fisher, the role of maritime choke points has not diminished. In the age where oil and the transport of same by sea are so vital, oceanic chokepoints are crucial to the world economy and the stability and security of a variety of nations.

World Oil Transit Chokepoints.

[to include NOT only the transit of oil, but general commercial maritime traffic, liquid natural gas [LNG], etc.]

These include:

* Strait of Hormuz leading out of the Persian Gulf

* the Strait of Malacca linking the Indian Ocean (and oil coming from the Middle East) with the Pacific Ocean.

Other important maritime "chokepoints" include

* the Bab el-Mandab passage from the Arabian Sea to the Red Sea.

* the Panama Canal and the Panama Pipeline connecting the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

* the Suez Canal and the Sumed Pipeline connecting the Red Sea and Mediterranean Sea.

* the Turkish Straits/Bosporus.

Through the Strait of Malacca in particular, in those immense oil tankers, travels an abundance of oil bound for the Asian "Tigers". Those Asian nations [Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and now CHINA!!] whose economies have come to dominate world commerce in many ways. Asia nations that are heavily dependent upon imported oil from the Middle East.

In this regard, the Strait of Malacca and the city by the same name is resuming an important role in world commerce that it originally had five hundred years ago. Commerce at the time in spices. Primarily pepper.

Malacca - - founded around the year 1400 by a refugee Sumatran Prince. A city that controlled to a large extent the spice trade between Asia and Europe. Spices greatly desired by Europeans and for which they [the Europeans] were totally dependent upon Arab and Venetian traders.

An unhealthy dependency that the Portuguese sought to remedy. By the conquest and colonization of Malacca. A conquest achieved in 1511 by a Portuguese army under the command of D'Albuquerque. Read of the battle for Malacca.

"the conquest of Malacca was absolutely necessary, since this alone would give them a complete monopoly of the pepper trade. As things were, Arab traders were able to take vast quantities of pepper and spices to Cairo, Alexandria and Venice, from Malacca via Bab-el-Mandeb, dodging the Portuguese Indian fleet on the way."

It sounds to me like the battle between the Portuguese and the Malay was a fair fight. Evenly matched combatants armed in a similar manner, neither having a decided edge over the other. Both sides had cannon, firearms, swords, spears, armor, etc. The Malay did employ poisoned darts and arrows. Shame on them!! This WAS not, however, a case where an imperial power rode roughshod over "inferiors".

The Malay did have WAR ELEPHANTS. Could this very well be the last recorded instance of war elephants being used in combat??!! The Portuguese, as were the soldiers of Alexander the Great and Eleazar the Hebrew before them, were not awed by the great animals and were able to combat them. Caused panic and chaos to the point where the elephants could not be controlled by their mahouts.

"In the band were twenty fighting elephants which now charged the Portuguese. Undismayed de Lima pierced the leading elephant in the eye with his spear and the maddened brute turned in the narrow road and fled, scattering the Malays, and infecting the other animals with its rage and terror."


In the aftermath of the Portuguese conquest of Malacca, a large fort was built that allowed for domination of the Strait in absolute manner. NO ONE could pass without permission or paying a tax or giving up a portion of their cargo. This fort was called A' Famosa. Today, only the main gate of this bastion is left.

Malacca was a place worth fighting for. Besieged many times, primarily by the Dutch, European competitors of the Portuguese for the spice trade. A' Famosa later became a Dutch possession and then came under the control of the British.

[Malacca city is now spelled Melaka. The harbor silted up some time ago, the city itself not being vital to seaborne commerce as it was in 1511.]

The strategic choke point location DOES remain vital!!



This is coolbert:

See this interesting article about Islamic presence in "middle-America".

A presence not even perceptible to most, but still there. And growing!

"The Rockford Files"

"Through a Glass, Darkly
by Scott P. Richert"

"'We have an Islamic school in Rockford?' my friend said in surprise. His reaction was typical. Rockford, as the local Gannett paper never ceases to remind us, is stubbornly average."

Rockford, Illinois, of course, is where the terrorist wannabee, Derrick Shareef, wanted to perpetrate some hand grenade incidents. Place grenades in trash bins at a shopping mall, killing and maiming shoppers. Derrick's villainy did not come to fruition, but he DID have the idea and the desire.

Rockford is NOT a major city by an stretch of the imagination. Stubbornly average??!! Yes. Decidedly so. About 150,00 persons, middle size [??]. However, at one time [aftermath of World War Two and the 1950's] was important enough to be listed as # 7 on the Soviet strategic bombing list. Rockford was the one place in the U.S. where the tools that are used to make tools were made. I don't think this ranking exists anymore. Those companies manufacturing the "tools that are used to make tools" are gone now!

I think that there being an Islamic school in Rockford DOES come as a surprise to many people. Probably to most American Muslims too:

"Several of the students tell us that their parents moved from Chicago or even New York City to place their children in the school."

This school apparently teaches the basic mandated curriculum with a very good dose of Islam thrown in. A good dose is why Muslims send their kids there.

Talent shows also are a part of the school's agenda, as it is in most places. Talent that includes rap songs with an Islamic message:

"Give me, ya-Allah, Give me Iman and victory.
Give me, ya-Allah, give me strength to set us free,
As we struggle on your path, Mujahideen"

"Grant us, ya-Allah, the eyes to see your light,
And show us, ya-Allah, what is wrong and what is right
As we walk along your path, Siratul Mustaqeem . . ."

Here from the comments of Scott Richert:

"The word mujahideen is jarring, especially coming out of the mouths of nine- and ten-year-old children. Zaid translates it as 'people who struggle in the way of Allah,' giving it a spiritual twist that initially seems appropriate, since Iman means 'faith' and Siratul Mustaqeem is 'the straight path' or 'the path of righteousness.' The next verse, however, calls to mind a more common definition:"

"Help us, ya-Allah, to spread this blessed deen
And help us, ya-Allah, help the Muslimeen
And help us, ya-Allah, overcome the Mushrikeen . . .
Make us, ya-Allah, fighters for your deen,
And make us, ya-Allah for ever Mumineen
And do this, ya-Allah, despite the kafireen . . ."

Again, from Scott Richert:

"According to the glossary of Islamic terms compiled by the International Islamic University, deen is “Usually translated as ‘religion’, but in fact mean[s] ‘life-transaction’, the transaction being between Allah and each of his created beings. The life-transaction . . . is universal. It is the way of Islam . . ."

"The Muslimeen and Mumineen are Muslims, while the Mushrikeen are, literally, 'idol worshippers'; in common usage, however, the latter term means 'People who associate partners with Allah Ta’ala, such as the Christians, who have raised the Prophet Isa (Jesus, Son of Mary) . . . to the level of Allah.' Kafireen (or kuffar) means 'unbelievers.'"

[in apartheid South Africa, the word kaffir was a word used by whites, primarily the Afrikaans speakers, to describe all blacks. WAS A WORD WITH EXTREMELY PERJORATIVE MEANING!! VERY DERISIVE!! SOMEONE LESS THAN HUMAN!!]

[go anywhere in the modern Islamic world and mention the word "mujahideen". I am quite sure that your average-everyday Muslim will instantly get the image in his mind of a "fighter" not in the moral or spiritual sense, but in the physical sense. A fighter with a rifle or RPG doing battle with "Crusaders".]


More Islamic rap:

"This is my Jihad, Jihad of the Nafs,
Battle of the soul against Shaytan and the rest."

"I got my uzi of Iman, bazooka of Qur’an
My M-16 of my deen of Islam,
Dropping bombs on Shaytan with Islam as my main gun,
He telling me to do wrong, I say “ain’t gonna have none
of that.” Grenades, yo, of Taqwa on my back,
Bayonet of regret, if I ever get trapped.
I got the Sunna of the Prophet as my fully automatic.
I’ve been beaten by the devil many times and I’ve had it. . . .
Shaytan and his friends they be actin’ diabolical
Yah, they be slick in the way they be calling us.
TV, CD, even on the PC,
Shaytan and his friends, yo, they keep us busy easy
Crazy, if you think you’ll win without a plan
But Allah has a plan and this plan is Islam
Hey yo, Shaytan, yo I know that you’re slick,
But Islam is the bomb, and now I got some tricks . . ."


Well, you the reader, take it from there!!