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

Thursday, May 31, 2007

LCS.


This is coolbert: Here is a brand-new class of warship just now being sent to sea by the U.S. Navy.

The littoral combat ship [LCS].

Designed for warfare specifically in littoral waters. The type of naval warfare that would be seen if the U.S. and China went to war for some reason.

"the littoral region (close to shore)"

[South China Sea, Taiwan, etc.]

American Navy taking the battle to the enemy, being on the offensive, not waiting for punches to be thrown by the opponent, but throwing punches first.

“Make the enemy keep his head down, make him bleed, make him wonder where you are coming from!! - - Patton.

It appears that a lot of thought has gone into the design of the LCS class of vessels. Embodies an entire “concept”.

"The LCS will be able to supplant slower and larger specialized ships such as minesweepers and larger assault ships in anti-mine and special forces missions, plus robotic air, surface, and underwater vehicles."

A ship that from all appearances is a SELF-CONTAINED COMBAT ARMS naval ship. Can perform a lot of different missions and be task tailored for each operation as require. Can achieve very rapid burst [40 knots] of speed as needed. Employs novel hull designs as part of a “concept”.



NOT a large combat vessel, but has the capability to deploy and impressive amount of firepower, according to mission.

Can utilize during combat operations:

* Blackhawk helicopters. [with gunship firepower??!! UAV also??!!]

* Special Operations type landing craft. [Zodiac type rubber boats??]

* Torpedoes. [torpedoes fired from a surface craft. Reminiscent of the Japanese and their Long Lance torpedo of WW2 fame.]

* Missiles.

* 57 mm rapid-fire turret mounted gun.

* Roll-on/Roll-off amphibious combat vehicles.

"The Navy currently plans to build 55 of these ships."

I hope that the LCS class of naval warships turns out to be a success. The U.S. Navy CANNOT wait to scale the learning curve and find out after the fact what type of warship is needed and is effective in the type of combat to be found in littoral waters. This must work!!

coolbert.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

V-100.


This is coolbert:

Here is another blast from the past.

The V-100 Cadillac/Gage Commando.

A wheeled armored vehicle originally designed in the 1950’s?

"The V-100 series of vehicles was developed in the early 1960s. The first prototype emerged in 1963, and the production variants entered service in 1964."

[I was not far off!]

Is being used again in Iraq. For convoy protection. Program on TV the other night featured a military police company escorting and guarding supply convoys essential to the war effort in Iraq.

American military police DID USE the Commando for the same purpose in Vietnam .

But, as with all wheeled armored vehicles, HAS not been a favorite among Army planners. The thought is that wheeled armor has a serious drawback. An artillery round landing nearby will knock the wheels off instantly??!! So I am told.

[the current Stryker is a wheeled armored vehicle and the nucleus from which U.S. Army infantry brigades are being formed??!! When has the perception of wheeled armor within the U.S. Army changed!!??]

The Cadillac/Gage Commando HAS BEEN used on a widespread basis by the militaries of something like forty foreign nations. After Vietnam, American usage was confined to CIVILIAN guard forces employed at weapons depots, nuclear facilities, etc.

I can well imagine that the U.S. Army in Iraq HAS once again seen a need for the Commando armored vehicle and has “resuscitated” the “breed”.

The Commando does come in an amazing number of variants. A vehicle that can mount, according to task configuration:

* A single .50 caliber machine gun.

* Dual 7.62 mm M60 machine guns.

* A single 7.62 mm M60 machine gun and a 40 mm grenade launcher. The “breed” being used currently in Iraq is configured this way.

* Mortars/with/an armored bi fold “pop top”.

* Recoilless rifles of various calibers.

* Even a 90 mm gun?




Once again, we can observe the phenomenon where “antiquated” weapons are being brought out of mothballs to serve in Iraq. To include:

* M-113 APC [armored personnel carrier.]

* M-14 rifle [7.62 NATO round.]

* M-60 machine gun [7.62 NATO round.]

* .45 caliber auto loading pistol.

And now, the V-100 Cadillac/Gage Commando!

I don’t think that anyone in the U.S. Army - - four years ago - - could have seen any of this coming!!??

Those convoys are a particularly bad way to supply American forces in Iraq. They have to make their way in the open, exposed the entire way, from either Kuwait or Jordan. An overland route through “hostile” territory. The ONLY means of continuous supply necessary to the war effort. Civilian contractors protected by Army troops. If those supply routes were broken or impeded, the U.S. military in Iraq would find itself in a precarious position!!

The military police accompanying these convoys are functioning more or less as combat arms. It is a thing of good that American MP’s receive training NOT a whole lot less than would that of an infantryman. These guys have to be on the ball. A lot is dependent upon them!!

coolbert.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Veterans.

This is coolbert:

Article today in the Chicago Tribune about the last three living American veterans from World War One [WW1].

* Frank Buckles - - 106 years of age.

* Harry Landis - - 107 years of age.

* Russell Coffey - - 108 years of age.

[There are three living English veterans and one Canadian from the same conflict.]

Buckles in particular seems to have led a charmed life. During World War Two [WW2] he was a civilian internee of the Japanese. Spent three and one half years in captivity, surviving and being rescued by American paratroop raiders.

“While he was in Manila on business in 1941, the Japanese invaded the Philippines and Buckles was taken prisoner . . . he was held prisoner [as a civilian] for 3 ½ years . . . Buckles was among those rescued . . . by the 11th Airborne Division in February 1945 [Los Banos??].”

Statistics from other American wars of the 20th century are very sobering.

From the Tribune article:

U.S War Veterans. [a veteran is any person serving on active duty during the time of the conflict, not necessarily actually in a war theatre.]

World War One - - 4.7 million veterans. Three surviving. [99.9999361 % passed.]

World War Two - - 16.1 million veterans. 3.2 million surviving. [81 % passed.]

Korean War - - 5.7 million veterans. 3.1 million surviving. [46 % passed.]

Vietnam War - - 8.7 million veterans. 7.3 million surviving. [17 % passed.]

Persian Gulf War [One] - - 2.32 million veterans. 2.26 million surviving. [3 % passed.]

coolbert.

Article 5.

This is coolbert:


"The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all . . ." - - Article 5 NATO Charter.


Estonia under siege!

From the latest edition of the Chicago Tribune:

Attacks on Estonia move to new front

Cyberspace sabotage blamed on Russians.”

[But mind you, NOT ABSOLUTELY PROVEN!! PROBABLY A RUSSIAN ATTACK, BUT CANNOT BE PROVEN BEYOND A DOUBT!!]

“After Estonia relocated a Soviet war memorial out of downtown Tallinn last month, furious Russians rioted in the Estonian capital, tried to attack Estonia’s ambassador in Moscow, and hastily engineered a de facto economic sanctions against the tiny Baltic nation.”

“But the salvo From the Russian side that most worried Estonians is a carefully crafted three-week cyber attack on Estonian government, bank and media Web sites that wreaked havoc in a country heavily depended on the Internet”

This is a denial-of-service [DoS] attack.

“at least a million computers were used to deliver DoS attacks, which flood a Web server with so many queries that it becomes unusable.”

Estonia IS NOW a member of NATO. Recently became a member along with the other Baltic nations. NATO IS concerned about what is occurring to a constituent member of the treaty alliance.

“Because Estonia is NATO country, experts from the Western military alliance have been dispatched to Tallinn to help track down the source of the attacks.”

Cyber-terrorism has been speculated about for some time. A way to attack the ECONOMIC infrastructure of a nation. NOT causing loss of life or limb but loss of revenue. Economic devastation that becomes very painful. Staggering even!! The more dependent a nation is upon the Internet, the more likely such a type of attack becomes possible and probable.

[paraphrasing here: “as in nature, the more complex the organism, the more susceptible it is to disruption, so it is too with nation-states” - - Basil Liddell-Hart]

To combat this form of “warfare” can be very difficult. Literally millions of computers the world-over can be hi-jacked and used for DoS attacks. Finding the culprit is a monumental task sometimes not succeeding!!

All this for a STATUE!!??

[actually, it is just NOT about a statue. All those Baltic nations, newly free, have sizable populations of ethnic Russians who are restive and feel "oppressed"!!]

Good luck Estonia, you are going to need it!

coolbert.

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Video.

This is coolbert:

"A revolution [war] is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous." - - Mao.


The video, the final word.

Some personal thoughts regarding that video showing the Apache helicopter mowing down the Iraqi “farmers”. Hereafter referred to as the “incident”.

What is most important is the aviators state of mind at the exact moment of the “incident’.

Did these American aviators have a reasonable suspicion that these were Iraqi irregulars? Had the Apache aircrew been following and observing the “farmers” for some time prior to the “incident? Did they have intelligence from another source that had tipped them off to the presence and location and possible questionable behavior of the “farmers”?

Or, were the American aviators “out to have some fun”? Blow away anyone that provided them a tempting target? Callous and heedless of human life, reckless and “trigger happy”.

If the latter [“out to have some fun!!”] is applicable, this is a war crime. If the former [reasonable suspicion] applies, it is not!

State of mind is most important. What was the person pulling the trigger and the commander giving the order to fire thinking at the exact moment of engagement?

As to firing upon and killing the wounded man, I think the situation of the helicopter aircrew at that point is analogous to a tank crew being confronted by surrendering enemy soldiers. The tank crew cannot spare a crew member to guard the enemy soldiers and escort them to the rear, and you cannot - - let them go - - so - - the usual and brutal practice is to machine gun them!!

Brutal and harsh!!?? Yes!! As war has been and is practiced?? Yes!!

coolbert.

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Unmanned XI. [conclusion]

This is coolbert:

To recapitulate and conclude regarding the subject of unmanned aerial vehicles [UAV].

UAV is obviously the wave of the future. Is now and will be for some time to come. This has been mandated by the Department of Defense [DoD].

"the United States Department of Defense (DoD), has mandated that one-third of all military land vehicles be autonomous (unmanned) by 2015, and two-thirds by 2025."

When we speak of UAV, we of course only speak of aerial vehicles.

But the tendency and direction will be to design and build for land and maritime operations as well as aerial.

Vehicles, unmanned, autonomous to some degree or totally so, that will be used on the land battlefield, and for naval warfare too, above and below the waves. This is is being done right now, some designs already in operation.

[My comments in bold.]

Regarding UAV [aerial vehicles]:

Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAV)

"UAVs are any aircraft that operate without an on-board pilot and typically fly with some level of autonomy. Historically, UAVs have their roots in military applications and current applications are still mostly military. Civil activities are limited but have great potential"

"UAV materials and construction are as varied as the aerodynamic designs."

"Current UAVs range in size from full scale aircraft down to systems that fit in the palm of your hand."

"The mini/micro air vehicle (MAV) class is an area of intense growth and interest. Loosely, 'mini' refers to wing spans from approximately 10 feet down to 6 inches, while 'micro' refers to wingspans below 6 inches."

"Tactical UAVs include Pioneer and Shadow, with wingspans of approximately 15 feet."

"Predator is a light-weight, high endurance system having a wingspan of just under 50 ft, and carrying a payload of 450 pounds for up to 40 hours"

"Global Hawk has a wing span of over 130 ft, and is capable of carrying a 3000-pound payload."

"The next phase for this class of UAV is a weaponized system that can perform surveillance, suppression of enemy air defenses, and precision strike missions, all without a human in the loop."

These will be the UCAV. Coming on line now.

"The future of the military market appears solid."

Civilian applications as well can be expected to be found and mature.

"Potential commercial applications are widely varying, including border patrol, police surveillance, search and rescue, forest fire and wildlife monitoring, detection of fish schools, large facility security, mail and package delivery, and even recreation."

"Current technology even allows for an auto piloted toy airplane with a wingspan of 12 inches and an on-board video camera to enter the market below the $100 price point."

"The primary hold-up for this market are as-of-yet unresolved issues of operating unmanned vehicles in the commercial airspace."

"The 'brains' of these UAVs is the autopilot, which is becoming ever-more sophisticated and capable, and vary as widely as the applications for computers themselves (especially artificial intelligence applications)."

This is where problems may still be found. Artificial Intelligence [AI] has not advanced in the manner with which some have prophesied it would. We are not even close to the HAL 2000 computer stage of development. Human thought process is not well understood to allow machine emulation of a thinking breathing pilot at the controls. At least not yet.

"Both air and land unmanned vehicles are moving forward in a dynamic, some might say frantic, pace. The military applications are currently spurring this amazing growth. Eventually, civilian applications will become, perhaps, even larger in volume and complexity."

Dynamic - - frantic - - even FRENZIED!!

YES!!

The future is now and will be so for some time to come.

coolbert.

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Unmanned X.

This is coolbert:

Here is a listing, probably not totally inclusive, but mostly so, of American UAV manfuacturers.

[there is one Canadian manufacturer and one joint American/Israeli manufacturer.]

This listing is quite long. Contrasts markedly when one considers that there only three U.S. companies remaining to build the conventional military aircraft now in use. Those being Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrup/Grumman.

That so many concerns are interested in the UAV market should not be surprising. For the most part, YOU DO NOT need assets on a massive scale to engineer and build the current models of UAV.

Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrup/Grumman all need vast resources such a plants of enormous size, capital and credit, a very large highly trained work force, etc.

UAV development, engineering, manufacture does not require for the most part such large resources. Small will do, perhaps is even better. Your responses to challenges will be quicker, more agile, and more flexible. BIGGER is not better with UAV.

It would seem to me that if you are a young aspiring aeronautical engineer, UAV might well be the way to go.

[the famous aircraft designer and pilot Dick Rutan reputedly employees only young and recently graduated aeronautrical engineers.]

To the list:

1. Boeing Corporation.

DarkStar.

The project was terminated by the Defense department.

ScanEagle.




2. Lockheed Martin .

EADS Eagle UAV.

High-flying, long endurance UAV. It was built for defense use, by EADS Corporation (UK).

3. TRW.

Has been taken over by Northrop/Grumman.

4. Bell Textron.

Eagle Eye UAV

This was mostly designed for defense purposes. Bell Textron claims that Eagle Eye is the “unofficial VTOL UAV World Speed Record Holder”.

5. Bombardier.

6. SAIC .

Vigilante UAV.

7. Northop Grumman .

Global Hawk.

BQM-34 Firebee.

BQM-74E.

Firescout.

Pegasus .

All designed for the defense industry.

8. IAT (International Aerospace Technologies).

MK-105 Flash.

MK-106 Hit A/B/C UAVs.

short-range multirole UAVs, and have TV and IR pods built for them.

9. Sikorsky.

10. AAI.

Shadow 200 .



Surveillance and target acquisition UAV.

Shadow 400.

Shadow 600.

Multirole UAVs.

11. Lear-General Atomics ASI.

ALTUS UAV.

Used for atmospheric research.

Also helped in the design of Predator, GNAT and PROWLER UAVs.

12. Autometric.

13. Schweitzer.

Fire Scout UAV

Mostly used for defense applications.

Argus UAV.

Used for civilian applications, mainly agriculture.

14. S-TEC/Meggitt Avionics .

15. Scaled Composites.

Proteus.

16. AeroVironment.

UAV website.

Helios UAV.

Centurion UAV.

Pathfinder UAV.

They are being used for telecommunications, remote sensing and atmospheric management.

Pointer UAV

Production-ready electric UAV for reconnaissance, surveillance and remote monitoring.

17. Frontier.

W570 UAV, Hummingbird VTOL UAV, Maverick VTOL UAV: Long endurance UAV.

18. Accurate Automation.

LoFLYTE.

HiFLYTE.

GLOV.

Mainly used for defense purposes.

19. Aerodyne.

No longer manufactures UAVs, but does provide support and expertise in developing UAVs.

20. Aurora.

Perseus UAV.

High altitude UAV for atmospheric and weather research and telecommunications research missions.

Theseus UAV.

High-altitude UAV, long endurance UAV used for atmospheric research. It has a fractional ownership program that may be helpful in bringing down the price.

Chiron UAV.

Low-cost UAV for scientific research.

21. Moller.

Aerobot UAV

Small UAVs used for remote sensing, observation, inspection, and photography.

22. Continental.

BOSS UAV.

23. Piasecki Aircraft Corporation .

Sea Spray UAV.

24. USBI (United Space Boosters Corp).

Dragon.

SDW-M.

According to website information, it has been taken over by Lockheed Martin.

25. BAI.

AEROS UAV.

Light weight UAV for civil scientific applications. Can carry a TV camera.

Exdrone UAV.

Symmetrical delta-wing air vehicle designed for military purposes. High-endurance UAV with reprogrammable GPS autopilot and bell-mounted color TV camera.

Javelin UAV.



Low cost UAV designed for providing live aerial video for news media, law enforcement agencies and researchers.

Half-scale UAV.

Used for training purposes by military. Has low-cost video, IR and RF signature systems.

TERN UAV.

Recoverable UAV used for defense purposes.

26. Insitu.

Aerosonde UAV.

Miniature UAV designed for weather forecasting. Second-generation version has capability for low-cost and low-weight video and other data measurement pods.

Seascan UAV.

Designed for shipboard imaging reconnaissance. But it has also been used for land surveillance.

27. Bosch .

Long Endurance Airborne Reconnaissance System (LEARS).

Designed for two purposes - civilian and military. Civil application is to provide autonomous flight and imagery collection over specified locations, then return to base where imagery is processed.

Wing Articulating Surveillance Platform WASP.



Low weight UAV that has been used in dust conditions for data collection.

28. Orion.

SeaBat.

Project Elliot.

VTOL UAVs for maritime applications.

29. Schiebel Technology Inc.

Camcopter UAV.

Built for the navy for military purposes.

30. D-Star.

UAV website.

D’HumBug UAV.

D’HumBat UAV.

D’HumFisher UAV.

UAVs designed for military purposes.

31. Chapy Corporation.

HAWK-I H-7F UAV.

HAWK-I H-7H UAV.

32. Carolina Unmanned Vehicles Inc.

SLURS UAV.

Man-potable reconnaissance UAV with monochrome and color video cameras.

33. Daedalus.

Truck / Dakota

Used for Reconnaissance/ Surveillance and aeronautical research.

34. Stanford University’s DragonFly UAV project.

Dragonfly UAV.

From Stanford’s website, this is being used for design purposes, and is not a full-scale UAV. It also does not seem to have capabilities for video streaming.

35. Drake.

Owl OPV concept UAV.

Not in production.

36. Freewing.

UAV website.

Scorpion UAV.

Experimental multirole UAV.

37. UAV Solutions.

Coyote UAV.

Can record video, and be used for missions.

38. Hummingbird.

Sky Robot UAV.

In production. Has IR sensors.

39. Lutronix .

Kolibri-2.

Small UAV designed for testing purposes for DARPA.

A new UAV is in production, but has not been named.

40. Mission Technologies.

Hellfox UAV.

Close-range tactical UAV.

Mini-Vanguard UAV.

Close-range tactical UAV.

Backpack Buster UAV.



Man-portable close-range surveillance UAV.

41. MLB .

Bat.

Flyswatter.

MiniSpotter.

Heli-rocket.

Scout 2.

UAVs designed for military purposes.

42. Remote Intelligent Systems Inc. (RISI).

Rogue UAV.

43. Sadler.

Sadler UAV-18-50 Drone.

44. DRS Unmanned Technologies.

Sentry UAV.

Designed for “tactical short range optical/electronic surveillance, radio relay (with long duration fuel and configuration), fully autonomous low altitude target drone, and as an inexpensive training system designed to maintain operational currency for larger, more expensisive-to-operate air vehicles.”

Sentry HP UAV.

For greater payload capacity.

Neptune UAV.

Maritime UAV.

45. BAE Systems .

UAV website.

Denel Kentron Seeker II .


Eagle ARV
.

Phoenix.

STN-Atlas family.

Skyeye.

Combat UAVs.

MicroSTAR.

Micro UAV, for supporting an individual soldier in a battle environment.

46. Coptervision [Canadian manufacturer].

Manufactures small helicopters with video capability.

Micropilot.

Claims to provide the lowest cost UAV in the market called MPUAV. Includes wireless video transmission.

MPUAV.

Low cost UAV costing $7.5K. With ultrasonic altitude sensor, wireless video camera unit and 2.4 GHz radio modem link, it costs $12.25K.

[break between # 46 and # 50. Those companies were subsidiaries of foreign firms.]

50. Pioneer UAV.

Jointly owned by AAI and Israel Aircraft Industries. Designed for short/medium range surveillance and intelligence gathering.

[joint U.S. and Israeli ownership.]

51. Sparta Composite Products.

Working together with AeroVironment.

Dragon Eye UAV.

Used by the Navy for military purposes.

And this is just a listing for U.S. UAV manufacturers. To include foreign concerns would create a blog entry of just monstrous proportions. It can readily be seen that UAV is the field of the aeronautical future, with just enormous growth potential.

Stock options anyone??!!

coolbert.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Morton.


This is coolbert:

Here is the web site that deals with the Wahoo "incident". Japanese sailors and soldiers in the water massacred by the American submarine Wahoo.

[this is the incident as shown in the made-for-TV-movie, "Winds of War".]

Was not concealed at the time. The captain of the Wahoo, Morton, did include the "incident" in his after-action report. the "Brass" did know what had "gone down".

"Later, the action was duly noted in the report of WAHOO's Third War Patrol which received a glowing endorsement from the Pacific submarine command."

[the general public WAS NOT until years later told of what had happened!!]

Captain Morton did feel that at that exact moment, the survivors of the sinking were legitimate targets of war and subject to further attack.

Morton claimed killing 'most of the troops' from BUYO MARU, estimated at between '1,500 to 6,000.'"

[there could possibly be valid reasoning to his appreciation, under the generally accepted Rules of Warfare. The crew OF THE SHIP would have been considered to have been hors de combat [out of action] and no longer posed a threat. SOLDIERS in the water would NOT have been considered to be out of action and were therefore legitimate targets? I am not sure about this!]

"hors de com·bat - - Out of action; disabled."

The fact that evidently some of the survivors responded to the Wahoo with a burst of machine gun fire undoubtedly prompted the action by Morton.

"Morton ordered a 4" shell fired into the largest boat. WAHOO received in response a long burst of machine gun fire from the Japanese."

It WAS tragic that many of those killed seem to have prisoners-of-war, captured soldiers from the British Indian Army. In the water, Morton and his crew would NOT have been able to distinguish between them and Japanese combatants.

"BUYO MARU was not exclusively a troop transport but also a POW ship, loaded with 491 Indian prisoners of war."

Some critics have suggested that Morton reacted out of racial hate and callousness toward the "Jap". This is probably NOT so. Morton acted out of military concerns as he saw fit at the time. My opinion.

"When asked [Paine, the fourth officer of the Wahoo] if Morton's actions against the Japanese were racially motivated, he responded in the negative."

coolbert.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Cheap?

This is coolbert:

Heard some astounding assertions on public broadcast television the other day. Economists are speaking about the cost of the current Iraq war. According to these "experts", THIS WAR IS CHEAP COMPARED TO OTHER WARS AMERICAN HAS FOUGHT IN!!

This is a big surprise to me. Contrary to what I had thought.

The consensus [among the experts] is that:

As a percentage of gross domestic product [GDP], the cost for the current Iraq war is small as compared to:

World War Two - - 45 % of GDP at the time.

Korean War - - 15 % of GDP at the time.

The Iraq war is costing on an annual basis only 5 % of GDP??!!

[GDP is the value of all goods and services produced in a year. I have to trust that what these economists are saying is true!]

War is bad for the economy. Sun Tzu 2500 years ago stated the same. A prolonged war can bring a nation to bankruptcy and impoverish the entire populace.

This is not to say that the Iraq war has not been expensive. It HAS COST $200 billion dollars so far, almost all BORROWED MONEY! Some “experts” have estimated that the ultimate cost of the war will be $2 trillion dollars!! Surely NO ONE would say that IS CHEAP.

My own perception is that in the long run, this current war will be extremely costly. I am of course talking only about dollars, and not loss of life and limb. For decades to come, paying back the money borrowed to finance the war will be a tremendous drain upon the federal government. The bond issue used to pay for the Vietnam War was NOT PAID OFF UNTIL 1998. We will see the same situation with regard to the Iraq war??

Yes!? true!?

coolbert.

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Special Ops.

This is coolbert:

Was looking over this web site that describes the various American Special Operations forces. For all the U.S. military services.

Had two surprises.

Number One:

U.S. Army Ranger entry and qualification was somewhat different from what I had understood to be the case.

My understanding of what it took to become a Ranger is different from what actually exists [on paper at any rate].

I had thought that become an Army Ranger, you had to complete all these courses FIRST, and in order:

Basic training.

Advanced Individual Training [AIT] - - Infantry.

Parachute qualification.

Ranger course.

ONLY AFTER COMPLETING THE ABOVE COURSES, COULD YOU BECOME A MEMBER OF THE RANGER REGIMENT, AND THEN ONLY ON A PROBATIONARY STATUS, UNTIL MORE AND FURTHER TRAINING AND QUALIFICATION WAS ACCOMPLISHED.

NOW, you enter into the Ranger Regiment after completing parachute qualification [as a probationary], and THEN are expected to complete, within a certain period of time, the Ranger course?

"Ranger Indoctrination Program (RIP): 3 1/2-week program designed to weed out those who can't make it. Timed marches/runs, swim tests, and military skill testing. After this is completed, the men are considered Rangers and go to the Battalions for operational training. 6-12 months later they may attend the Ranger School."

YOU ONLY COMPLETE THE RANGER COURSE AFTER ENTERING INTO THE RANGER REGIMENT??!!

Manpower considerations and having bodies to fill slots, fully qualified or not, is important here??!!

Number Two:

ANGLICO.

ANGLICO (Air-Naval Gun Liaison Company)

Troops that direct naval gunfire from the big guns of the warship supporting Army troops and Marines during an amphibious landing.

"ANGLICO gets into position and, once targets have been observed, begins directing aerial and naval gunfire onto targets."

The type of stuff seen in World War Two [WW2] movies. Normandy for instance. Navy ships with large bore guns firing at shore targets to support the initial landings. Troops going ashore from amphibious landing craft with only what they can carry requiring fire support as can best be had, until the organic artillery of the beach landing unit is brought ashore.

To begin with, I would have thought that large-scale amphibious landings ala' WW2 are now a thing of the past. Not to be seen again. NO MORE beach landings by divisional size units meeting fierce enemy resistance at the water line. Replaced by heli-borne troops who have an organic fire support capacity using precision-guided-munitions [PGM] delivered almost exclusively by aircraft??!!

[Amphibious assaults in the manner of Normandy or Iwo Jima gone forever!!??]

ANGLICO is a thing of the past??!! With the mothballing of the last U.S Navy battleships, big-bore guns are NOT EVEN MOUNTED on modern warships. Rapid firing, smaller bore guns are indeed mounted and available for action on U.S. Navy modern warships, but rarely, if ever used.

Training for ANGLICO seems to be pretty intensive, to include:

* US Army Basic Airborne [parachute school].

* SCUBA.

* Ranger.

* ANGLICO in-house tactical training (ongoing).

[I do recall that during the undeclared war between Iran and the U.S. in the late 1980’s, U.S. Navy destroyers attacked and obliterated an Iranian drilling platform in the Persian Gulf that was used as a staging area for “bog-hammer” attacks. About a thousand rounds of naval gun fire was directed at the platform. This must have been a “rush” for those gun crews!!]

coolbert.

Farmers?

This is coolbert:

There has been at least since 2004 a rather notorious video circulating around the Internet.

Shows an American helicopter [an AH-64?] using a 30 mm chain gun to massacre a group of Iraqi “farmers”.

Placid, peaceful, unsuspecting Iraqi “farmers”, NOT even knowing what is happening to them, blown away in a cold, dispassionate, calculated, and casual manner by American aviators.

[one man is wounded, crawling on the ground, and is killed by a second burst of 30 mm fire. “HIT EM’!!”]

For NO apparent reason.

Proof of cold-blooded but trigger-happy American aircrews having some "fun"??!! This video has been a hot topic on the Internet.

Please keep in mind, however, that this video on the Internet is an EDITED version of the original. YOU DO NOT SEE THE ENTIRE VIDEO.

In the EDITED version of the original video, you do NOT see:

One “farmer” handing off a rocket-propelled-grenade [RPG] launcher to another “farmer”. [others suggest this is a heat seeking missile launcher [SAM-7]]

"As for the items being farming tools, this is not true either. The weapon they're dropping in the field is a shoulder fired heat seeking missile. There were serveral more found in the vehicle along with RPG's."

Another “farmer” pacing off the distance for emplacing a roadside bomb [IED].

Peaceful, placid, harmless “farmers”? NO! Identified in advance as Iraqi irregulars of some persuasion. Legitimate targets of war identified as such by the helicopter crew prior to their firing on the “farmers”.

As for the wounded man crawling on the ground and his receiving a second burst of 30 mm chain gun fire - - this too may also be very well within the bounds of what is legal on the battlefield. Does anyone have a better handle on the legality of what was done?

[in the made-for-TV movie “The Winds of War”, a Japanese troop ship is torpedoed by an American submarine, several thousand [??] Japanese soldiers left floating on the surface after their ship sinks. The commander of the U.S. sub pronounces these unfortunates “legitimate targets of war!!”, subjecting the floaters to massacre via hand grenades and sub-machine fire!!]

Peaceful, placid, harmless “farmers”??

NOW YOU KNOW THE REST OF THE STORY!!

coolbert.

Labels:

Werwolf.

This is coolbert:

Here are some web articles that describe the post World War Two [WW2] German partisan campaign, “Werwolf”.

[in German, the spelling is werwolf.]

http://blogcritics.org/archives/2004/06/29/092438.php

http://forums.plentyoffish.com/datingPosts1668980.aspx

Was actually cited by Condeleeza Rice as being a phenomenon occurring in the aftermath of German capitulation. A phenomenon that the Allied occupiers of Germany had to combat.

German die-hards, SS men and Hitler Youth, combining to form a German resistance, waging guerrilla/partisan/insurgency against the American, British, French, and Soviet occupiers.

"It originally had about 5,000 members recruited from the SS and Hitler Youth, and specially trained in guerrilla tactics."

"Werwolf was converted first into a terrorist organisation, and then largely dismantled by Heinrich Himmler and Wilhelm Keitel in the last few weeks of the war."

It would seem that “Werwolf” existed mostly on paper and in the imaginations of Nazi propagandists and devoted followers of Hitler!

"Some historians, including Antony Beevor have argued that the werewolves never amounted to a serious threat, in fact they are regarded by them as barely having existed."

To the extent that German resistance did occur, was primarily of the gangsterism, black marketeering type of criminal behavior, and NOT organized guerrilla warfare.

Estimates of up to 6,000 allied dead POST-WW2 just seem to be grossly overstated?!

Guerrilla/partisan/insurgency warfare just does not seem to be suited to the German national character. NOT only abhorred by the traditional soldier, but NOT something the German would even engage in themselves.

“Werwolf” was a much-to-do about nothing!!?

coolbert.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Blog Miscellany II. [Conclusion]

This is coolbert:

The U.S. Navy SEAL force is having trouble both finding recruits and retaining those already qualified.

"The rigorous weeding out is one reason the SEAL ranks face a shortage. They've also failed to recruit enough new SEALs and are having trouble keeping veterans from leaving."

[SEAL recruiting, qualification and training for deployment is demanding and meticulous. ONLY 1/4 of those that attempt to qualify actually make it through the program!!?? Rough, that is for sure!!]

"New blood is needed more than ever as this commando force of 2,450 - roughly half based here, the other half in Coronado, Calif. - is being asked to do far more because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."

"These days, nearly 90 percent of Special Forces deployments are focused in the Middle East, leaving other volatile areas unchecked."

"The Pentagon has ordered a 25 percent increase in SEAL forces by 2011. SEAL recruiters say they are making progress, but the Navy's top admiral, Mike Mullen, fears that there aren't enough men to reach the goal."

Everybody wants to be a Ranger, Marine, Special Forces [Green Beret], SEAL, etc.

Easier said than done. Much easier said than done.

The SEAL program has so far not reduced it's requirements to meet the shortage. The difficult program has NOT been made any easier for the purpose of boosting numbers.

I do recall that during the Vietnam War, the entry level and qualification requirements for becoming a Green Beret was lessened. It became easier [??] to become a SF man!

Prior to Vietnam, only CAREER soldiers could serve in Special Forces [SF]. This "must" was done away with as the manpower shortage was so acute in SF.

The entire program for qualification and receiving the green beret with flash was severely shortened. Raw recruits enlisting for three years and having potential and desire were sought out and DID become SF. Served in Vietnam too. An abbreviated SF course was designed for those troops headed to Vietnam.

[those enlisting and entering into the abbreviated SF course had to understand from the get go that they were headed in one direction ONLY, to Vietnam, upon graduation.]

I do not think the quality level was reduced by that much? Some resentment was felt by the old-time SF, but has to be understood during a time of war?

coolbert.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Blog Miscellany I.

This is coolbert:

Here is an article by the MSNBC military commentator on Prince Harry and the decision not to send the Prince to Iraq.

Repeats what has been said before. Why is the Prince even in the military to begin with then?

"Should Prince Harry even be in the army?"

"Other than tradition, keeping Harry in the British Army makes little sense."

"By Lt. Col. Rick Francona
Military analyst
MSNBC"

"The British military is small, considered too small by some to meet Britain’s international commitments. Therefore, the British forces must be used effectively. Having an officer that cannot deploy to certain areas complicates planning for commanders. He trains with his unit, but cannot serve with them when needed."

"Inside the British forces, he will be regarded as someone who wants to play soldier, but can’t be a soldier."

coolbert.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Noah's Ark?

This is coolbert:

This is an entry for which each and everyone of you is going to have to decide for yourself.

When you read this stuff, at least for me, you have to take a step back, take a deep breath, and say "Whoa Boy!!". "Could it really be??!!"

Noah's Ark has been found??!! By military intelligence imagery of the United States??

Please bear in mind that the Bible says that the ark of Noah landed on the MOUNTAINS OF ARARAT. NOT necessarily Ararat itself. But the range of mountains of which Ararat is a part??

This object sighted by U.S. Air Force reconnaissance in 1949 has been dubbed the Ararat Anomaly. An object high on the mountain that SEEMS TO RESEMBLE A HUGE BOAT!!



"The photos were taken by an Air Force plane on June 17, 1949."

Was not only sighted by American photographic reconnaissance, but has been seen by numbers [??] of military fliers even in the years prior to 1949.

"1941-1944: During World War II Mount Ararat was flown over hundreds of times by flights from the United States air base in Tunisia and the Russian facility in Erevan. At least three sightings were reported: 1) Two Australian pilots, 2) One Russian pilot, 3) Two USAF pilots, but many more were rumored. The USAF fliers took pictures of the Ark which appeared in the Tunisia edition of 'Stars and Stripes.'"

[to this point, only the 1949 photos have been declassified?? Photos from the U-2 and satellites would allow for greater resolution? This 1949 photo could NOT have been made from a U-2, as that aircraft did not fly until the mid-1950's!]

"During a HQ USAFE mission on June 17, 1949, the US Air Force found an 'anomaly' -- or unusual structure -- on Mount Agri (Mt Ararat) in Turkey. The matter was passed to the CIA, who sent U2 and SR-71 spyplanes to get a better look. They named it The Ararat Anomaly. The CIA then commissioned imaging from CORONA and Keyhole-series photoreconnaissance systems (spy satellites)."


"According to the CIA, the U-2 photographs of the Ararat Anomaly will be released in the next few months as part of a batch of hundreds of thousands of spy photographs taken on U-2 and SR-71 spy plane missions between the 1950s and mid-1970s. CIA spokesman Tom Crispell said the release of the U-2 photographs will contain pictures of the Ararat Anomaly. But other photos taken by KH-9 and KH-11 high-resolution spy satellites are not likely to be made public any time soon, intelligence sources said. World famous linguist Charles Berlitz's 1987 book 'The Lost Ship of Noah' describes several expeditions, including a 1916 discovery by the Russian Imperial Air Force, which sent 150 men up the mountain to explore a large object measuring as long as a city block."

[the expedition in 1916 was sent forth by the Czar after some Russian military aviators ALSO spotted the reputed ark.]

This is not the only place in the vicinity of Ararat where an "ark" has supposedly been discovered. As I said previously, the Bible says the ark landed on the MOUNTAINS of ARARAT, not necessarily on the mountain itself. Another ark landing place has been proposed, that site TOO having been found through analysis of U-2 "spy" photography. This particular site in question was found by A TURKISH MILITARY OFFICER WHO SAID HE SPOTTED AN OBJECT ALSO RESEMBLING A BOAT!!

OH MY!!

[it is known that the border area between Turkey and the old Soviet Union WAS of intense interest to American and British military planners in the late 1940's. The British in particular did a GROUND-BASED photographic reconnaissance of the entire Turkish-Soviet border using a specially constructed telephoto panoramic camera.]

I think that everyone realizes the importance of what this will mean, if Noah's ark is indeed found!! The implications are staggering??!!

coolbert.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Jackie!



This is coolbert:

On this date in 1953.

"May 18, 1953: Jackie Cochran, First Woman to Break the Sound Barrier"

During World War Two [WW2], Germany had Hanna Reitsch, the Soviets had the "Black Witches", and America had Jackie Cochran.

Jackie Cochran was perhaps the foremost woman pilot of her time. Had a whole string of accomplishments. To include:

* "learning to fly with only three weeks' training and earning a commercial pilot's license before she was 30."

* "She flew in her first major race in 1934 and was the only to woman to compete in (and win) the Bendix race, a transcontinental, point-to-point sprint."

"She won five Harmon Trophies as the outstanding woman pilot in the world. Sometimes called the 'Speed Queen,' at the time of her death, no pilot, man or woman, held more speed, distance or altitude records in aviation history, than Jackie Cochran."

* "During World War II, Cochran helped deliver American-built planes to Britain and played an instrumental role in recruiting qualified women pilots into the Air Transport Command"

"Following America's entry into the War, in 1942 she was made director of women's flight training for the United States. As head of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) she supervised the training of more than 1000 women pilots. For her war efforts, she received the Distinguished Service Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross."

With regard to the "qualified women pilots, these were the members of the WASP unit.

Women's Airforce Service Pilots. Women who would not see combat during WW2, but did ferry aircraft from the manufacturing plant to the battle front.




"The motivation for both proposals was to free up more male pilots for combat roles by employing qualified female pilots on missions such as ferrying aircraft from factories to military bases, and towing drones/aerial targets."

And were very successful at doing so too. Proved to be more able pilots than most men. Had an enviable safety record and are in hindsight recognized for having done a superb job as part of the war effort.

But were not thought of so highly during the war. Military leaders were hesitant and very reluctant to utilize the resource of trained women pilots. It was only with the greatest efforts on the part of Jackie Cochran that these women were even used in the first place.

During the war and for decades afterwards, the efforts of the WASP's went unheralded.

"All records of the WASP were classified and sealed for 35 years, so their contributions to the war effort were little known and inaccessible to historians for many years."

NOT until recently has the many accomplishments of these outstanding women pilots been noticed and rewarded. Belatedly so, but still, well earned and deserved!!

coolbert.

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Mueller.

This is coolbert:

Here is an interesting interview with Robert Mueller.

Head of the FBI since 2001. That of itself I think is a thing of good. That Mueller has been in charge since 2001. He seems to be a capable man and you now have continuity over an extended time that allows for superior leadership to make real progress.

Mueller is worried about atomic attack on American cities. This IS a real possibility. Simultaneous attacks on a number of American cities would be a terrible disaster. Almost impossible to cope with such a calamity.

"Mueller admits the nuclear threat is so real he sometimes wakes up in the middle of the night worrying about that possibility."

"I think it would be very difficult to wipe out the United States, but you'd have hundreds of thousands of casualties from a nuclear device, depending on the size of that nuclear device,"

Mueller says FBI methods are valid and give results. Especially when it comes to making suspects and those apprehended COOPERATE. The carrot and stick approach does work? So he claims.

"A critical difference I think people don't focus on between ourselves and the U.K. is the fact that the criminal justice system here disseminates intelligence by reason of its plea bargaining capability," Mueller says.

"If you look at what's happened in the U.K. over the last three or four years, it has arrested probably a hundred individuals in various terrorist operations, and of those hundred, maybe one or two have cooperated.

"And in almost every case that we've had in the United States, one or more have cooperated and given us the full picture of the cell. And that's intelligence."

MI5 in England, the British counter-intelligence, DOES NOT have arrest capability. Can investigate, but cannot arrest. The conventional English police do that. If you are counter-intelligence [FBI] and are able to offer plea bargaining to the suspect, you can get the villain to give up further intelligence in return for a more lenient sentence. We may find this unappealing in some circumstances, but it is an effective tool.

Regarding the jihadi terrorists who intended to attack Ft. Dix:

"The FBI then infiltrated the group using two paid informants."

This is interesting. The FBI not only knew about this "cell", but observed it for sixteen months. The FBI did not arrest instantly but were patient. To see where the villains led them to. And had two paid informants within the cell. This too is a sign of good work. Similar to what was done in Canada to the prospective jihadis there by Canadian intelligence. Two sources of info, infiltrating the "cell", keeping tabs on things, each informant keeping silent watch on the other, without even knowing it??

Am I correct that we do have good counter-intelligence forces in the U.S.? Toughened and skilled by decades of having to cope with Soviet intelligence officers and illegals?

I sure hope so. Atomic detonation in a U.S. city would be just disastrous. Multiple detonations, and look out for the survival of the U.S.?

coolbert.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Wales.

This is coolbert:

"'If it's too dangerous for Prince Harry, then it's too dangerous for me.' Soldiers will say":

"'Is his life worth more than mine?': Well, from a political point of view, yes. But from a morale point of view, the answer is no."

- - Charles Heyman, a former British soldier and editor of the book "Armed Forces of the UK", on the decision not to send the prince to Iraq.


Well, this all came as a mild surprise. Prince Harry will not deploy to Iraq after all. As a leader for an armored car platoon, he obviously would be in danger. A combat arms officer seeing combat? Well, what else was expected? The Prince did anticipate going to Iraq and was eager [?] to go! Prove his mettle at his chosen profession [military officer].

I thought this was a done deal. The decision had been made that Prince Harry was going to Iraq. A decision made at the highest level of command, in consultation with the Royal Family. NOT SO NOW!

The most senior British commander has now said the Prince will not be going. Period.

It has been argued that jihadi will be marking the Prince as a target for elimination. As a consequence those soldiers serving in the unit of the Prince would felt to be at increased risk way beyond normal.

This does not bode well for the military career of Prince Harry. Well, he can serve, he can train, be promoted, lead troops during TRAINING - - BUT - - never be placed at risk?

Someone - - at some level - - should have thought this all through a long time ago!!

coolbert.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

NORA.

This is coolbert:

Good program last night on the local public television station.

Hedrick Smith is speaking about data mining.

A subject that has been touched upon in previous blog entries.

How the federal government has not given up on data mining and the usefulness of same in identifying and apprehending terrorists BEFORE THEY STRIKE!!

[does anyone have A PROBLEM with detecting and stopping terrorists BEFORE they strike??]

Hedrick Smith at one time was what you would refer to as a Kremlinologist or a Sovietologist. A man who made a life's work studying the Soviet system, producing TV programs dealing with the old Soviet Union it all it's manifestations.

Since the demise of the Soviet Union, Hedrick has been trying to reinvent himself. His product just does not seem to be up to the level it was in the old Soviet days.

But he still does have good stuff.

As regards the data mining. Using very large amounts of data from digitized and computerized sources with complex algorithms for analysis. Fast computers crunch the data and "look" for connections that ordinarily would not be obvious.

As was done in 2003 when it was suspected that Al Qaeda was planning an attack on Las Vegas.

[Las Vegas has been thought to be the perfect target for the jihadi terrorist. In the mind of the jihadi, all that is evil about America is encapsulated within Las Vegas. Gambling, drinking, partying, male and female mixing and having fun, prostitution, dancing, singing, scantily clad show girls, etc. Striking Las Vegas and striking hard would represent a blow against one of the foremost symbols of "The Great Satan" and abomination Amriki.]

According to Hedrick, studying the Las Vegas data mining "incident" of 2003, as best as can be done [officials are hesitant and reluctant to talk about the measures taken], represents:

"an unusual opportunity to learn more about how the government, in its pre-emptive hunt for terrorists, is using data-mining technologies to comb through mountains of digital information now available about all of us."

Mountains of data is crunched through computers that use complex algorithms to ferret out the terrorists, if they are present. Similar to what was envisioned in the Total Information Awareness [TIA] program that was scrapped after it became "controversial".

Controversial only in the sense that with TIA, the federal government was crunching the data.

Mountains of data ARE NOW AND HAVE BEEN CRUNCHED AND ANALYZED FOR SOME TIME BY CIVILIAN INTERESTS.

CIVILIAN INTERESTS IN LAS VEGAS, NAMELY, THE CASINOS.

Casinos that utilized a data mining program called NORA:

"Jonas [the inventor of NORA] had made a name for himself in the Vegas security crowd by marketing a computer program that helped ferret out card cheats among casino job applicants. Jonas' program, called Non-Obvious Relationship Awareness, or NORA, was designed to detect hidden connections among seemingly unrelated individuals by sifting through vast amounts of personal data"

Casinos that are very interested in security. Obviously. Casinos have operators and owners that are not dumb. A LOT of folks think they can beat the "system" at a casino by cheating. One way of cheating is for a criminal to befriend a dealer at a table. The dealer and the criminal work out a deal to fleece the casino by cheating at card games. The dealer and criminal share the loot obtained from cheating.

NORA sought out connections between dealers working for the casinos and known criminals. Sought out these connections by using data mining. Employees of the casinos would have their names entered into the NORA data base and mined to see if "hits" existed between them and known criminals.

[it was not mentioned how successful NORA was or is!]

What people think is so invasive and dangerous for the government to do, data mine, has been GOING ON FOR YEARS BY PRIVATE CONCERNS.

TIA never got off the ground. But that will not and does not stop data mining from occurring. The government can BUY the info from commercial concerns who have been doing this "research" for some time now!!

Privacy advocates, I fear you are out of luck!!

coolbert.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Rifles.

This is coolbert:

"Iraqi Army receives M-16 and M-4 rifles"

I must say I was more than mildly surprised when I read this. "Issue M-16 rifles to the NEW Iraqi Army?"

It seems like a foolish idea. That entire country would seem to be just one huge weapons depot. Saddam was madly in love with all sorts of weaponry and spent ungodly amounts of oil dollars buying "stuff" from all over the world.

Including the AK in all it's varieties and manifestations.

What is this all about?

I am not sure?

Sounds like Vietnamization from the late 1960's?

You would think that American advisers and "experts" would re-build the Iraqi military with weaponry that the Iraqi is already very familiar with. If at some point in the future, the Iraqi themselves wants to upgrade, let them do so. But right now the AK is more than adequate for the task. And will be for some time to come.

I have a bad feeling this will raise expectations in an unwarranted manner that will all come to nought!

From comments to the FreeRepublic web site article: [my own comments in bold!]

"I believe it would be better for them, and us, if we left them to a rifle they understand and know how to use."

"Good gawd. The country is awash in AK-47s. What a waste."

Absolutely right on!! There must already BE A SUPER ABUNDANCE OF AK AND AMMUNITION ALL THROUGHOUT IRAQ!! The AK is effective! Why need a new weapon?

"Most of the fighting in Iraq is street-to-street. Short range. The extra accuracy of the M-16 is not required."

Exactly. The city fighting as going on in Iraq does not require long-range accuracy. All militaries of the world realize that firefights in modern warfare almost always occur at a range of 200 meters or less.

"The shift from AK to AR is a sign they are becoming professionals."

"This is a great idea. I think the Iraqis will get a lot of pride from arming themselves with the small arms symbol of the free world."

"I like the symbolism of this. The Kalashnikov is a symbol of third-worldism, communism, and terrorism. The M-16 is a symbol of the free world and being on the right side of history."

As to the three above comments, they used to say the same thing about the South Vietnamese. The ARVN was originally equipped with the Garand M-1 and the Garand Carbine. ARVN troops were in a disadvantage when facing AK armed VC and NVA. Having the M-16 helped, but not THAT much!!

"This is just plain stupid."

This person is thinking in a similar fashion to myself. It is not so much stupid as just NOT NEEDED!

"The M-16 series rifle requires a LOT of maintenance and training for same. The M-16 is particularly sensitive to sand. Iraq has plenty of sand."

The M-16 IS susceptible to the talcum like powdery sand of Iraq in a manner that the AK is NOT!

This does strike me as being a bad idea with good intentions??

coolbert.

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Devil?

This is coolbert:

In many of my blog entries, I have made reference to a particular book that has become somewhat of a cult classic. That is the book "Devil's Guard".

[an original copy of this book can fetch the owner sixty five British pounds on e-Bay. Cult classic? This is news to me.]

Purports to describe the actions of a German SS battalion in Vietnam during the First Indo-China War. A battalion within the French Foreign Legion [FFL] comprised solely of German nationals, some of whom had been SS men during World War Two [WW2]. SS men who could no longer live in post WW2 Germany as they were hunted and wanted men.

"The 1971 publication, Devil's Guard, by George Robert Elford, is the story of a former German Waffen-SS officer's string of near-constant combat that begins on World War II's eastern front and continues into the book's focus--the First Indochina War, as an officer in the French Foreign Legion."

Let us say that this is a controversial book. Is it fact or fiction [or a combination of both]?

"It is debatable as to whether or not the book is exaggerated fact, or outright fiction."

The author, George Robert Elford, seems to not have any history I can find on the Internet. That may not be a big thing. Elford was a self-described naturalist who supposedly met the ex-commander of the German battalion, Hans Wagemueller, while doing research in Nepal. Nothing further seems to be known of the author or is posted anywhere?

I think that it is generally accepted that there were large [?] numbers of ex-German WW2 soldiers [to include wanted SS men] that did join the French Foreign Legion to escape allied pursuers. These men DID fight in Indo-China. Characterizing them as a SS battalion would be incorrect. They did have SS men in their ranks, but this was a minority?

"Critics however, point to the fact that much of the military power possessed by the characters is anachronistic, the SS seems to have almost superhuman-fighting ability"

NOT so much super-human ability as just plain experience and SKILL! If what is maintained in the book is true, these would have been men that already had four years combat experience BEFORE joining the FFL. The commander of the unit, Hans, was said to have previously commanded a special SS anti-partisan unit on the eastern front, and became very able at anti-guerrilla warfare.

Anyone have any knowledge as to the truthfulness of this book, "Devil's Guard"? If so, please let me know.

coolbert.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Franc-de-tireur.

This is coolbert:

According to Lucas, in his book, "War on the Eastern Front", the German Army has always had a particular abhorrence of the guerrilla/partisan/irregular/insurgent.

I had mentioned this previously in my blog entry concerning the franc-de-tireurs and the burning of the library at Leuven, Belgium.

An abhorrence that results in the German reacting in a disproportionate and unfortunate manner. Gratuitous and unjustified violence that often creates a backlash later regretted by German commanders.

[my definition of the franc-de-tireur is the trained marksman, acting more or less in a solo manner, engaging the invading enemy as a sniper, having prepared in advance to do so.]

According to Lucas:

"Partisans and their operations can be viewed in two lights. The army under attack sees them as francs-tireurs, as the enemies of the native population which has accepted defeat . . . The nation which puts the partisans into the field sees these men as freedom fighters and as soldiers of a special type who have no Geneva convention to protect them . . . . To the German military mind there has always been something abhorrent in partisan warfare . . . the German Army has always fought in a traditional fashion and this inability to understand the concept of guerrilla operations may have been the root cause of their lack of absolute success in anti-partisan operations."

And from a German document concerning anti-partisan operations:

"This struggle has nothing to do with military chivalry or the limitations of the Geneva convention . . . if this battle is not fought using the most brutal means . . . then we shall not master the plague."

And lastly, from the book, "Devil's Guard", German soldiers [including SS men] conversing about the SS destruction of the Czech town of Lidice:

"I know the SS destroyed Lidice. I have not been there, but if they did it - - they had a reason . . . Maybe it was because for the assassaination of Heydrich, maybe it wasn't but there must have been a reason for it."

Conventional armies ever since antiquity seems to have been stymied and frustrated by the partisan form of warfare. A similar situation exists in Iraq right now, as we speak.

The German in particular has a revulsion for the partisan? Perhaps so!

coolbert.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

John Smith.

This is coolbert:

Very good program on television last night about Captain John Smith and the Jamestown colony.

This of course is the four hundred year anniversary of the founding of Jamestown. The first successful English colony in North America.

A success that is generally accepted as being due to the efforts of Captain John Smith. Without the presence of Smith, the colony would not have succeeded? Would have been doomed from the start?

Smith WAS a soldier of some ability, a man of action, a person possessing a robust physical constitution, and a natural leader of men!

Smith could legitimately claim the title of "Captain", having been a professional military man, having seen extensive combat prior to Jamestown. Recognized by his peers as a soldier, an officer, a leader.

"He served as a mercenary in the army of King Henry IV of France against the Spaniards and later fought against the Ottoman Empire. Smith was promoted to captain while fighting for the Habsburgs in Hungary, in the campaign of Mihai Viteazul in 1600-1601 . . . in 1602 he was wounded, captured and sold as a slave [a slave of the Turk] . . . Smith . . . escape[d] . . . then traveled through Europe and Northern Africa, returning to England during 1604."

Escaped and returned to England, traveling on foot TWO THOUSAND MILES TO DO SO!!

Assumed leadership of the colony and began on his own initiative explorations. Active, alert and about when many other colonists died or were sick from a combination of bad water and a lack of food.

Smith was an excellent cartographer, making maps continually as he journeyed into what was primarily hostile American Indian territory.

[military officers of the time were generally responsible for making their own maps. Graduates of West Point until fairly recently received a degree as an engineer, surveying and mapping being an important part of their curriculum.]

The episode where the good Captain was saved from execution by Pocahontas may have very well occurred. But not exactly transpiring as Smith perceived the event:

"Some experts have suggested that, although Smith believed he had been rescued, he had in fact been involved in a ritual intended to symbolise his death and rebirth as a member of the tribe."

[the Powhatan tribe engaged in an elaborate form of skit/theatrics so that Smith could be "adopted" by the tribe as a member, BUT ONLY AT THE SUPPOSED INTERCESSION OF POCAHANTAS!!]

"Smith was eventually released without harm and later attributed this in part to the chief's daughter, Pocahontas, who, according to Smith, threw herself across his body: 'at the minute of my execution, she hazarded [i.e. risked] the beating out of her own brains to save mine; and not only that, but so prevailed with her father, that I was safely conducted to Jamestown'."

The following year, being badly burned in an accident, Smith again demonstrated the attributes of a man with a robust physical constitution, recovering when most had given him up for dead. Repatriated to England, he recuperated, recovered, and resumed an active life.

"Smith was seriously injured by a gunpowder burn after a rogue spark landed in his powder keg. It is not known whether the injury was an accident or a murder attempt."

Smith returned to the New World, charting and mapping that part of North America later to become known as New England.

John Smith the soldier was a man of considerable talent and ability. Without him, NO Jamestown? Without Jamestown, NO English development and colonization of North America?

coolbert.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Cavalry.

This is coolbert:

“To horse lancers, to horse” - - Sergeant Garcia - - “Zorro”.


Horse miscellany:

Re-read yesterday the chapter in the Lucas book “War on the Eastern Front” entitled - - “To Moscow by Horse”.

[as I have said before, this book by Lucas is outstanding. One of the best military history books I have ever read. I recommend it highly!]

Contrary to what most folks believe, the German Army during World War Two [WW2], was HIGHLY dependent on horses to act as PRIME MOVERS.

"prime mover"

"(DOD) A vehicle [horses in this case], including heavy construction equipment, possessing military characteristics, designed primarily for towing heavy, wheeled weapons and frequently providing facilities for the transportation of the crew of, and ammunition for, the weapon."

According to Lucas:

"At the outbreak of the Second World War the British Army was the only completely mechanized force in the world . . . In every other army there was a great dependence upon the horse . . the German leaders, anxious to impress the world with the degree of mechanisation that their own force had achieved, displayed their handful of steel grey, half-tracked vehicles on every possible occasion and thus convinced the world that their regiments were equipped with armoured carriers and prime movers. The truth was completely the opposite; there was an absolute dependence upon the horse for over eighty per cent [80 %] of the motive power . . . . How great was the reliance of the German war machine upon horses can best be appreciated by the fact that two and a half million beasts served on the Eastern Front and that more than three quarters of a million were used in the opening battles of 'Barbarossa'."

[how many people remember Gert Frobe in the movie “The Longest Day”? Delivering rations to German Normandy defensive positions while riding a horse. Even the Frenchman observing this spectacle commented on how the “master race” was reliant on delivering food to it’s troops via horse.]

* Both the German and the Soviet DID make extensive use of cavalry on the Eastern Front during WW2. Cossack units fought with BOTH sides, and did quite well. There existed other German cavalry in addition to the SS Florian Geyer division. Were quite useful in certain terrain, such as the Pripet marsh region of Byelorussia. Fegelein twice commanded the “Florian Geyer” SS cavalry division. “Florian Geyer” was NOTED for it’s brutality and ruthlessness [it was a SS unit], accused of indiscriminate killings of Jews and partisans both.

"August 1941 - - 14,000 Jews dead, Pripet area."

"August 1941 - - 7,800 Jews dead, Minsk."

* Lone Cossack riders, scouts, would be an integral part of every Soviet Front during WW2. Single horsemen ranging far in front [100 miles or more] of the forward line of troops [FLOT], locating German units and reporting same to higher headquarters.

* Surprisingly so, Gulf War One [1991] was the ONLY war where mules have not been employed by the U.S. Army. [thanks here to Al Nofi of CIC.]

* U.S. Special Forces units in Afghanistan did ride horses into combat. One SF commander is reputed to have said, “one moment I am directing an old-fashioned cavalry charge, the next moment I am ordering B-52 bombers to bomb Taliban positions using JADAMS from 40,000 feet!!”

I am not sure about this now, but until recently the Chinese DID still have active cavalry units, patrolling on the Russian-Chinese border. There also existed Tibetan mounted militia. Platoon size unit, lightly armed with AK, moving cross-country in road less and desolate terrain.

[if you want to see a depressing movie, rent and see “Mountain Patrol”. Tibetan game wardens/rangers attempting to protect a species of Tibetan antelope whose pelt is highly prized by poachers. Entire herds of these antelope being mowed down by massed automatic AK fire of the poachers. Again, the para-military nature of the game warden unit arrayed against the ruthless and well armed poachers. Like I said, depressing.]

* When the Chinese exploded their first atomic bomb [1964], I recall seeing a film of Chinese cavalry executing a charge near ground zero as a demonstration of fearlessness and resolve. Both men and horses were shown wearing gas masks!!

The British Admiral that predicted a breakdown of the world order beginning on or around 2012 has suggested that WORLD POWERS may once again resort to the cavalry as part of their war making potential. This IS plausible. A break down of the world order may well entail a severe interruption to the oil supply, fuel for internal combustion engines becoming scarce or non-existent. Horse mounted troops will be an alternative?!

"The competition for resources, Parry argues, may lead to a return to 'industrial warfare' as countries with large and growing male populations mobilise armies, even including cavalry, while acquiring high-technology weaponry from the West."

[the use of cavalry surely would be a sign of desperation and an indication of how dire things have become, would it not??!!]

Long rides are still an active competition among modern horse enthusiasts. There was an interesting long ride competition from Denver to Chicago during the World’s Fair of 1892. A 1000 mile competition that was keenly watched by European observers. For some reason, American competitors excel at this “sport”??!!

“To horse lancers, to horse”! Will it become a reality again??!! Who knows??!!

coolbert.

Wardens.


This is coolbert:

“To horse lancers, to horse!!” - - Sergeant Garcia - - “Zorro”


Recent edition of the National Geographic has an article describing the difficulties faced by a horse-mounted group of game wardens in the Central African Republic.

Game wardens who can only be described as belonging to a para-military unit.

Game wardens whose role is to protect the LAST large herd of African elephants on the continent. A herd which numbered 300,000 in 1970 but has been reduced to only 10,000 today. Reduced in number by poachers on horseback firing AK-47.

[in case you are curious, it takes about thirty to forty rounds from an AK to bring down a grown elephant.]

A unit of game wardens, patrolling a vast expanse of the African savanna on horseback, that from all appearances resemble what a patrol of Texas Rangers must have looked like in the 1840’s.

With the exception that these game wardens are dressed in desert camouflage BDU uniform, wearing the headdress of the Tuareg, and ARE CARRYING AK-47 ALSO. PARA-MILITARY!!



This part of the world, where Sudan, Chad, and the Central African Republic come together, is one of the most dangerous locales you can find anywhere.

This “conflict” between the game wardens/rangers and the poachers can only be described as a no-holds-barred type of warfare. When contact is made, a shoot-out WILL HAPPEN! Again, persons that not so long ago were in the bow and arrow stage of weapon development now have available to them the latest assault weaponry with an abundance of ammo at their disposal. AND ARE NOT HESITANT TO USE THAT WEAPONRY EITHER!!

There are a LOT OF ADVANTAGES TO USING HORSES IN THIS SITUATION!!

The Central African Republic is a very poor country. Cannot afford motorized vehicles to equip the game wardens with. And THERE ARE NO ROADS ANYHOW for motorized vehicles to use, even if they were available.

[the terrain resembles the eastern part of Oklahoma? Grass land interspersed with stand of trees. As best as I can describe it. But, more or less road less!]

Horses are quiet [useful when finding “sign” and having to track a band of poachers], self-sustaining while in the field, commensurate with the terrain. AND, from the standpoint of the government, CHEAP!

coolbert.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Cavalrymen.

This is coolbert:

Here are three cavalrymen from the era of World War Two [WW2] who each, in their own way, achieved a degree of fame.

1. Bor- Komorowski. An excellent horseman from a nation that has a long, historic reputation for producing fine cavalry [Winged Hussars].





"In the First World War he served as an officer in the Austro-Hungarian Army, and after the war became an officer in the Polish Army, rising to command the Grudziadz Cavalry School."

"He fought as a captain in the 9th Cavalry (Malopolski Lancers) in the 1919 Russo-Polish war, later in 1920 commanding the 12th Cavalry (Podolski Lancers). Between the wars he advanced slowly up the ranks being an unremarkable officer but a world-renowned horseman."

Commander of the Polish Home Army forces during the Battle of Warsaw [1944] in WW2. Finally had to capitulate to German forces with the guarantee that his fighters would be treated in a fair and humane manner. Survived the war, becoming a politician and writer.

"Bór-Komorowski went into internment in Germany (at Oflag IV-C). Liberated at the end of the war, he spent the rest of his life in London, where he played an active rôle in Polish émigré circles."

2. Baron Nishi. Japanese equestrian who won a Gold Medal at the 1932 Olympics aboard his horse Uranus. Had the reputation as a playboy, hobnobbing with the Hollywood elite, but seems to be well liked by everyone he came in contact with.



"During his stay in Los Angeles, Nishi became the topic of conversation both for his love of driving convertibles around town and for becoming part of the social circle led by movie star couple Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks."

Playboy aside, he was an outstanding horseman [Olympic Gold Medal].

"promoted to be a cavalry instructor at the regimental school"

Commanded a tank regiment during the Battle of Iwo Jima [1945], and was killed. Fought as a samurai, according to his code of honor, to the end.

"The American forces, who knew that Nishi was an enemy commander, daily broadcast appeals for him to surrender, stating that the world would regret losing 'Baron Nishi'. He never responded."

3. Herman Fegelein. SS Mann, the personal aide to Hitler and THE BROTHER-IN-LAW to same. [a brother-in-law after the fact from the marriage of Eva Braun to Hitler. Gretl, the sister of Eva, was the wife of Fegelein.]



With Fegelein, we find things get much more complicated.

In the movie "Downfall", Fegelein is portrayed as a dissolute, a man who wants to flee the Fuhrer bunker and save his own life, forgetting his duty.

Ends up standing drunk before a firing squad and is mowed down by sub-machine gun fire.

That Fegelein was an outstanding horseman is beyond question. Grew up with horses and had ability as an equestrian.

"As a young boy he worked at his father's horse riding school in Munich."

Had entre' to the Nazi party and the highest leadership of same from his ability with horses.

"he worked as a stable boy for Christian Weber, who in the 1930s was one of the original members of the Nazi Party."

Was a cavalryman in the Weimar Republic Army.

"In 1925, Fegelein joined the Reiterregiment 17"

Through his contacts with the highest leadership levels of the Nazi regime, he became head of the SS Riding School.

"On July 25, 1937, Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler, by special order of the Oberabschnitt (SUD), created the SS Main Riding School in Munich and made Hermann Fegelein the School Commander"

Actually saw combat during WW2 as a cavalryman on the Eastern Front.

"Fegelein rose quickly through the ranks and was briefly sent to the Russian front in 1943 with the Florian Geyer Cavalry Division, along with members of his SS Riding School (Haupt-Reitschule München)"

Returning to Germany as the personal aide to Hitler, continued in his duties as a horseman.

"Fegelein also became the Commandant of the SS Horse Farm at Fischhorn Castle near Zell am See, Austria."

As I have said, Fegerlein was found guilty of dereliction of duty and executed in the very last days of WW2. His behavior was that of a man well at the end of his rope, almost someone that has taken leave of his senses.

[this according to one account.]

"No sooner were we seated than defendant Fegelein . . . began acting up in such an outrageous manner that the trial could not even commence . . . Roaring drunk, with wild, rolling eyes, Fegelein the man was in wretched shape - bawling, whining, vomiting, shaking like an aspen leaf. He took out his penis and began urinating on the floor..."

However, there was a gentler, kinder, more likable and humane side to Hermann Fegerlein?

IT IS SUGGEST THAT BOR-KOMOROWSKI ONLY SURVIVED THE WAR AS A POW DUE TO THE INTERCESSION OF FEGELEIN. BOTH MAN HAVING A COMMON LOVE OF HORSES AND THE EQUESTRIAN ARTS. FEGELEIN SAW A KINDRED SPIRIT IN BOR-KOMOROWSKI AND SAW THAT THE LATTER WAS TREATED WITH RESPECT AND DIGNITY??!!

"Komorowski and a few survivors passed into German Captivity and surprisingly survived to be handed over to the Americans at Innsbruck in May 1945. This was possibly due to the fact that an SS cavalry officer Hermann Fegelein was determined to protect Komorowski, as they had been friends before the war on the international horse riding circuits."

None of us are absolutely black or white, but consists of shades of grey in between??!!

coolbert.