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

Sunday, April 13, 2008


This is coolbert: Q.

Once again, alarming headlines that capture the attention of the media. Pirates at work again. An age-old menace has again reappeared. Something [the practice of piracy] that the average-everyday-man-on-the-street had thought was banished to the history books along with the cavalry is now enjoying, in certain parts of the world, a resurgence of surprising proportions.

Pirates, attacking merchant vessels or cruise ships, seizing valuable cargo or taking hostages for ransom. Bad folks [the pirates] that need to be taken "care of" through a variety of means. APPEASEMENT NOT BEING ONE OF THEM!!!

[pirates have "enjoyed" in the past the same degree of condemnation that today is directed toward terrorists. Hanging captured pirates "with all due dispatch" historically being the usual punishment!!]

This past week has seen pirates hijack a French luxury cruise ship in the Indian Ocean. Somali pirates operating off the Horn of Africa. An "incident" that lasted a week, only being resolved this last Friday.

"Pirates seize French yacht"

"PARIS, France (AP) -- Pirates seized control of a French luxury yacht carrying 30 crew members Friday in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia's coast, the French government and the ship's owner said."

"Attackers stormed the three-mast Le Ponant as it returned without passengers from the Seychelles, in the Indian Ocean, toward the Mediterranean Sea, said officials with French maritime transport company CMA-CGM."

[no passengers, just crew, an exclusive cruise ship with all the ammenities. Looks very fancy.]

"Sarkozy: Pirates have released hostages"

"PARIS, France (AP) -- The 30 hostages held on a tourist yacht by pirates off the coast of Somalia have been released, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Friday."

"France sent elite commando troops to the region earlier this week to bolster efforts to free the captives."

"A French frigate was diverted from its NATO duties and tracked the yacht, while a French plane dispatched from a French base in Djibouti flew over the boat, military officials said"

Military force by a special French hostage rescue force was an option. NOT employed, but still an option. The threat of the use of force was enough to guarantee the release of the hostages? It is not clear.

Here is another blast from the past, a weapon of war and a legacy of World War One [WW1] again thought relegated to the history books, that could be useful in combatting pirates, where ever they are found?

The Q-ship.

A merchantman, disguised with hidden arms [and fighting men], designed originally "intended to lure submarines [German U-boats] into surface attacks, in order to sink them".

"Q-ships also known as Q-boats, Decoy Vessels, Special Service Ships or Mystery Ships are heavily armed merchant ships which are intended to lure submarines into surface attacks, in order to sink them."

"the Q-ship, one of the most closely-guarded secrets of the war . . . The Q-ship would pose as an easy target for the U-boat but in fact carry hidden armament."

[submarines of the WW1 era in particular could carry only a limited number of torpedoes. More often than not, a U-boat would generally try to sink a merchant vessel using naval gunfire from a gun mounted on the deck of the submarine than use a valuable torpedo!]

A modern Q-ship, disguised as a slow-moving and "helpless" merchant vessel, lures pirates into an attack. Once the pirates commit themselves, voila', the Q-ship becomes a fighting vessel, much to the detriment of the pirates.

Will this ever transpire? Q-ships being deployed by whoever, designed to lure pirates into attack. Put the fear of GOD into the bad guys. Play a deterrent role that will make the villains think twice before attacking what is apparently a defenseless freighter!

I doubt we will ever see such a thing. But does the idea have merit? I think so.


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