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

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Cutlasses I.

This is coolbert:

"cut·lass - –noun a short, heavy, slightly curved sword with a single cutting edge, formerly used by sailors."

Thanks here to Al Nofi, CIC # 172, through StrategyPage.

"As part of its preparations for World War I, in 1917 the U.S. Navy issued a new model cutlass, with a blade nearly 25 inches long, perhaps in the hope that Uncle Sam’s bluejackets might find it useful for boarding German dreadnoughts."

[the cutlass would be useful for boarding and fighting it out with enemy [German] crew members at close quarters. Used in the process of taking over and capturing the enemy vessel. Almost standard SOP during the age of sail! I grant the possibilities during the Great War were slim to none!]

At one time also, sailors on U.S. Navy warships DID have to be ready at an instant to go ashore and fight as naval infantry [not be confused with Marines]. Take up a rifle and fight on shore. Such occurrences happened a lot more often than thought??!!

Even prior to the days of the Spanish-America War [1898], naval infantry has not been employed!? Was a concept consider to be out-of-date, passe’, etc. Sailors are specialists, artificers, technicians, etc. NOT seen as being intended to be used in combat as a common soldier.

"artificer - - noun 2. a skilled worker who practices some trade or handicraft"

Such a mentality did not suffice when the U.S.S. Pueblo was boarded and seized by North Korean raiders [1968]. Defense of this U.S. warship was not possible! The sailors aboard the Pueblo DID NOT HAVE THE WHEREWITHAL, EITHER PHYSICAL OR MENTAL, TO DO SO. ORGANIC SMALL ARMS WEAPONRY ABOARD THE PUEBLO WAS TOTALLY LACKING!!

[this is NOT to say American sailors have become milquetoasts. NO! At the time of the Pueblo “incident” they did lack the means defend themselves and were mentally unprepared as well!]

"milque·toast - – noun - - a very timid, unassertive, spineless person, esp. one who is easily dominated or intimidated"

Today, the sailor on an American warship HAS TO BE READY at a moments notice to use a variety of small arms in the fashion of old-time naval infantry. Either to repel boarders or attackers of the asymmetric variety [U.S.S. Cole], or fight it out at close quarters with villains when boarding and inspecting a suspect vessel! [Al Qaeda is reputed to have their own “fleet” of steamers!!??]

Is this sort of small arms training and small unit tactics being taught to the common sailor!? It ought to be! Sailors used to have boxing matches aboard ship. Renew this practice if it does not now exist! Have regular small arms training and practice for all crew members! Maybe even issue that uniquely American weapon of war, the tomahawk [an intimidating weapon], for those sailors whose duty is to board and inspect foreign vessels.

Do it - - NOW!




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