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

Monday, June 30, 2008

MSR - - Afghan.

This is coolbert:

"lieutenants think tactics, generals think logistics!!"

Retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters being interviewed on the Michael Medved radio talk show this afternoon.

Peters is a regular guest on the talk show and usually makes some startling and pretty much right on comments. Ralph now acts as an advisor to John McCain!

Peters makes this assertion:

The main supply route [MSR] for the American, NATO, and Afghan government forces [those people battling the Taliban] runs through Pakistan.

Precarious and tenuous at best.

Supplies, the beans, bullets, fuel, are unloaded from ship at Karachi, put on a train, and sent to Afghan, having to pass through the Khyber Pass.

The traditional invasion route for conquerors through all the ages. Used by invaders and armies on the march at least since the time of Alexander [The Great] and probably before that as well.

"In some versions of the Aryan migration theory, the Indo-Aryans migrated to India via the Khyber Pass. Recorded invasions through the Khyber begin with the conquests of Alexander the Great and also include later Muslim invasions of South Asia, culminating with the establishment of the Mughul Empire from 1526. From India, the British invaded Afghanistan and fought three Afghan Wars in 1839-42, 1878-80, and 1919."

ONLY NOW has the Pakistani government made provisions to properly guard and safeguard the pass [Khyber] from unwanted intrusion. Supplies must get through. Obviously, if the MSR is cut, what is left for the American and NATO forces to do? Beat feet and in a hurry, abandoning all equipment, boarding planes, and hightailing it out of the place?

I fear the worst if the jihadi gets it in their head to wage a guerrilla campaign against that MSR. The traditional methods used for millennium by the Pathans [the Pathans consider the pass to be "our thing!!"]! Sniping, mining, demolitions, landslides, etc.

Or if Pakistan becomes chaotic, goes under, or is taken over by the fundamentalist American hating jihadi forces!

Provisions and contingency plans have been put in place if any of my worst case scenarios transpire? A prudent commander prepares for the worst?

Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst?!

Let us pray!!



Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mc Cain

This is coolbert:

John McCain has received a very surprising endorsement in his bid for the Presidency?

'When John McCain was my captive'

Tran Trong Duyet - - the warden of the North Vietnamese prison where John McCain sojourned during the Vietnam War, is now retired and gives McCain high marks. Tran would vote for McCain if he could?

"If I was American, I would vote for him."

"He is a very frank man - very conservative, and very loyal to his country and the American ideal."

This story has been carried by a number of outlets?

This is all so much pap? Or is it? Having observed McCain at close length for an extended period of time, this is the man that perhaps can comment most clearly what sort of man McCain is?



Saturday, June 28, 2008

Stockdale II. [Conclusion]

This is coolbert:

Some devoted readers will be of course familiar with the theory, recently popularized, "Six degrees of separation"

"Six degrees of separation refers to the idea that, if a person is one step away from each person he or she knows and two steps away from each person who is known by one of the people he or she knows, then everyone is an average of six "steps" away from each person on Earth."

Here are some other web sites that deal with the Six Degrees of Separation:

We are only six persons away from knowing every other person on the planet?

Seems far-fetched? Consider that the theory has been verified to a degree. With only few exceptions?

"It is still possible that more than 99% of the world's population are connected in this way"

That is - - pretty much - - EVERYONE!! For all practical purposes.

Here, just a week ago, is an interesting coincidence, call it perhaps a synchronicity, that seems to indicate that there a very strong degree of validity to this "theory" of degrees of separation.

"syn·chro·nic·i·ty - - Coincidence of events that seem to be meaningfully related, conceived in Jungian theory as an explanatory principle on the same order as causality."

Only this last weekend, I attended a rally to demonstrate against the proposed closing of the state prison in Pontiac, Illinois. The largest employer in what is basically a farming community [Pontiac]. Without the prison four hundred or so folks will lose their jobs.

While standing in the crowd, waiting for our picture to be taken, pelted by rain, I am introduced by a mutual friend to the man standing next to me. A man standing next to me in a random and totally unexpected and unplanned manner. A somewhat now older gentleman who had been a Marine Corps aviation mechanic during his youthful days.


"In 1954, Stockdale was accepted into the Test Pilot School at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. It was there that he tutored John Glenn, at the time a young Marine aviator, in math and physics."

Here then is the interesting and unexpected connection between James Stockdale and myself. Bert - - David E. [the mutual friend] - - the man standing next to me in the crowd - - John Glenn - - James Stockdale!! Four degrees of separation between myself and the late James Stockdale.

And even beyond James Stockdale, Ross Perot of course, Presidential candidate in 1992 and 1996.

YES, it is a small world.



Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Stockdale I.

This is coolbert:

James Stockdale, Admiral USN, was chosen as the running mate by Ross Perot during the 1992 Presidential campaign. Would have been Vice-President if Perot had won!

Stockdale did participate in the Vice-Presidential debate with Al Gore and Dan Quayle. A televised debate that did not go favorably for Stockdale. A somewhat negative impression was created of the Admiral.

"Stockdale infamously opened the debate by saying, 'Who am I? Why am I here?' Initially, the rhetorical questions drew applause from the audience, seeming to be a good-natured acknowledgment of his relatively unknown status and lack of traditional qualifications."

NO! WAS NOT "applause [and a] good-natured acknowledgment"!! I recall this all very well, having watched the "debate"!

My instantaneous and intuitive impression was that the applause and "cheering" [accompanied by some laughter] WAS DERISIVE IN NATURE!! The initial statement of the Admiral being received by the audience very poorly, the "applause" and "cheering" being anything but that!!

And, again, my "instantaneous and intuitive" reaction to the response of the audience was more or less, "those damn fools [the audience], do they have any idea at all of what this man is all about??" Instead of receiving a sustained standing ovation from the audience, all the Admiral got was "raspberries"??

[those so-called debates are not really debates as the word is generally understood. Presidential election candidates, when appearing on TV, are more or less TRAINED SEALS, MERELY REPEATING A CAREFULLY CHOREOGRAPHED SCRIPT, RECITING WHAT SOMEONE HAS REHEARSED THEM TO SAY!! Actors acting a role is perhaps the best description.]

"his unfocused style for the rest of the debate (including asking the moderator to repeat one question because he didn't have his hearing aid turned on) made him appear confused and almost disoriented."

[This] "cemented a public perception of Stockdale as":

* "slow-witted"
* "elderly and confused"

The man was anything but slow-witted and confused, but that is what the public perception was. UNFORTUNATELY SO!!

"it is not so much reality that counts, as the perception of reality that counts!!" - - J. Jackson.

The perception as held by the general public is baloney. Stockdale was by any measure of intellect, courage, character, accomplishments, etc., SO MUCH ABOVE THOSE TWO BOZO CLOWNS GORE AND QUAYLE THAT THERE IS NO COMPARISON AT ALL!! Gore and Quayle combined were NOTHING compared to James Stockdale

One man - - at least - - came to the defense of James Stockdale. Much to his credit too!

"comedian Dennis Miller vehemently defended Stockdale's reputation:
'Now I know (Stockdale's name has) become a buzzword in this culture for doddering old man, but let's look at the record, folks. The guy was the first guy in and the last guy out of Vietnam . . . He teaches philosophy at Stanford University, he's a brilliant, sensitive, courageous man. And yet he committed the one unpardonable sin in our culture: he was bad on television.'"

There, in a nutshell, you have it!! THE MAN LOOKED BAD ON TV! Nothing more, nothing less than that. Everything that went before that in the life of James Stockdale, in the eyes of the TV audience, counts as a NOTHING!! And once the horses are out of the barn, there ain't no getting em' back!!

Too bad for the debate, the election, the nation, and the MAN HIMSELF!!



Monday, June 23, 2008

Medal of Honor.

This is coolbert:

Did NOT hear back from the Medal of Honor Society or Lord Ashcroft either. Inquiring of the former if any American soldier has ever been awarded the MoH upon the recommendation of the enemy. Inquiring of the latter as to the status of Sergeant Durrant. Englishman who won the Victoria Cross [VC], analogous to the MoH, also upon the recommendation of the enemy [three Britishers during World War Two [WW2] were awarded the VC upon recommendation of a German Navy officer].

Of course, devoted readers will understand that queries of this nature are of a hit and miss nature, a person such as Lord Ashcroft generally too busy to respond to such bits of trivia.

Did find, over the weekend, a book devoted to the history of the MoH. "Above and Beyond".

A cursory examination of this book does NOT shed any light whatsoever on the topic of interest to me [recommendation by the enemy]!

On two occasions I did find a topic that caught my attention right away. Awarding of the MoH to high ranking officers who were prisoner-of-war [POW]. Men who, rather than cooperate with the enemy and reveal critical information under torture and duress, attempted to take their own lives instead.

* General William Dean. Senior commander of the 24th Infantry Division, the first U.S. combat ground unit to enter the fray during the Korean War. Suffering [after being separated from his command] a broken shoulder and severe stomach injuries, spent 36 days wandering the Korean countryside alone, seeking to regain friendly lines. Was captured by the North Koreans and subjected to brutal mistreatment.

"His guards stripped him and forced him to sit on the floor of an unheated room in freezing weather. His captors interrogated and propagandized him for days, allowing him no sleep and little food Even though his wounds abscessed, he was refused treatment [just as was John Mc Cain]. Finally, unable to break his spirit, his chief interrogator threatened torture. Dean was already concerned that his captivity gave the Communists a propaganda tool. Now he grew fearful that in his weakened condition he might reveal something under torture. ['might squeal when they started to drive splinters under my fingernails.' He [Dean] had knowledge of the proposed landing at Inchon] He determined that his only way out was to kill himself, and he almost succeeded. Only a faulty bolt in the gun he stole from a sleeping guard prevented his death."

* Commander James Stockdale.

Navy officer, an aviator, shot down and captured by the North Vietnamese during the Second Indo-Chinese War. Possessed information that could have changed around the entire course of the Vietnam War, if revealed to his captors: "On August 4, 1964, Stockdale had flown one of three jets supporting the Maddox and the C. Turner Joy [American destroyer vessels] in the Gulf of Tonkin [this was the Gulf of Tonkin incident, the pretext by which American military forces entered the Vietnam War in a BIG WAY!!] . . . after searching the stormy waters and not finding any enemy ships, Stockdale became convinced that [The Gulf of Tonkin incident] was nothing but a 'Chinese fire drill'"

Chinese fire drill - - "the expression 'Chinese Fire Drill' is the act of a group of individuals accomplishing nothing." - - "a figure of speech to mean any large, ineffective, and chaotic exercise."

When his captives threatened him with torture, Stockdale, resolved that rather than reveal "the most damaging information a North Vietnamese torturer could possibly extract from an American prisoner", Stockdale would take his own life instead!

"Moving to a window, he broke the glass with the heel of his hand grabbed one of the large pieces, and sat down in the center of the room. He quickly chopped at his wrists with the shard, causing blood to ooze all over his arms and onto the floor. Wringing his hand to increase the flow of blood. Stockdale collapsed on the floor as his jailers returned."


One can suggest that if Stockdale had talked and revealed the "secret" concerning the Gulf of Tonkin incident, the course of the Vietnam War would NOT HAVE BEEN dramatically altered. That is all conjecture.

But that these two senior officers were willing to die first rather than cooperate with the enemy even in the most trivial of manner is indeed noble and courageous.

[an American soldier is NOT expected to endure torture or harsh and inhuman treatment unto death! Human limits of endurance are recognized. Under duress, you are NOT expected to be of a super-human nature.]



Sunday, June 22, 2008


This is coolbert:

Back to Fleet Admiral King. "Fleet Admiral Ernest Joseph King . . . during World War II . . . He was the U.S. Navy's second most senior officer . . . and the second admiral to be promoted to five star rank"

Please read carefully the entry under the picture accompanying the wiki entry for King.

"Note non-regulation handkerchief in breast pocket"

The handkerchief in the left breast pocket is not regulation? Was not authorized and could not be worn as shown? THE MOST SENIOR MAN IN THE NAVY HAS HIS PICTURE TAKEN WHEN HE IS OUT OF UNIFORM!!


Trivial matters of this sort are blown all out of proportions by those that sometimes should know much BETTER!!??

The case of Jeremy Boorda comes to mind instantly!!

Appointed the Chief, Naval Operations [CNO] during the Clinton administration. Ended his life as a suicide. "Hounded" to his death over a trivial matter that was ambiguous?

Jeremy Michael Boorda (November 26, 1939 – May 16, 1996) was an admiral of the United States Navy and the 25th Chief of Naval Operations (CNO). Boorda is celebrated for being the only CNO to have risen to the position from the enlisted ranks.

"He was reported to have been despondent over a news media investigation, led by David H. Hackworth, into Valor device enhancements he wore on his Navy Achievement Medal and a Navy Commendation Medal (small brass Vs, signifying valor in combat), which the media report claimed he was not entitled to wear . . . The Board for Correction of Naval Records, the ultimate arbiter of whether Boorda was entitled to wear the Combat V on both Medals, determined that he was not."

"Although some indications were that Boorda was authorized to wear them, the Board For Correction Of Naval Records ultimately determined that he was not."

[this board concluded that Boorda was not eligible to wear the brass V's for valor much after the death of Boorda.]

The point of contention here was that Boorda was wearing two ribbons that had brass V's affixed to them. V's that signify valor in combat. Combat off the coast of Vietnam which consisted of the ship Boorda was on firing on North Vietnamese/Viet Cong shore targets in support of allied ground operations. Combat for which NO RETURN FIRE WAS RECEIVED!! [it may have been not even possible for the NVA/VC to return fire on the U.S. naval ship!!]

There is not a question that Boorda WAS eligible to wear the Commendation and Achievement ribbons!! Wearing the brass V's was questionable!!

In my opinion, Boorda may very well have thought the wearing of the brass V's was totally legitimate. He may actually have had orders awarding those decorations that was given in good faith, using the understanding of the regulations by those in administrative positions. CONTRARY TO POPULAR BELIEF, THE REGULATIONS ARE IMPERFECTLY UNDERSTOOD BY THOSE AWARDING DECORATIONS OF WHATEVER THE NATURE.

[combat V's can only be given in the U.S. Navy if you fire upon the enemy and the enemy fires back??!! Unless the enemy fires back, you are not in danger and cannot ever act in a valorous manner!!??]

Boorda was a man embellishing his record in an unseemly way? Kick the man out?

NO!! An honest mistake! A situation that became calamitous due to unfortuanate actions from persons best described as gadflies [Hackworth??] that did no one any good at all!!

"gad·fly –noun, plural -flies. 2. a person who persistently annoys or provokes others with criticism, schemes, ideas, demands, requests, etc. [in an unwanted manner too]"


Labels: ,


This is coolbert:

Here is a headline that catches the attention right away. At least for me it does. From Front Page magazine.

"The Fifth Generation Warfare"

"a global ideological and political movement supported by a parallel "Islamic" financial system to exploit and undermine Western economies and markets."

"Shari'a finance is a new weapon in the arsenal of what might be termed fifth-generation warfare (5GW)."

We have heard, of course, of 4th generation warfare [4GW]. You cannot said to be conversant in the most modern aspects of "military thought" unless you can talk intelligently about the subject [4GW]?

To refresh the memory, the various "generations of warfare" are classified as:

* "1st Generation: tactics of line and column; which developed in the age of the smooth bore musket." [black powder warfare in all it's manifestations. Troops, in packed dense formations trading salvos at close range.]

* "2nd Generation: tactics of linear fire and movement, with reliance on indirect" fire. [fire and move type warfare.]

* "3rd Generation: tactics of infiltration to bypass and collapse the enemy's combat forces rather than seeking to close with and destroy them; and defense in depth." [Hutier tactics brought totally to fruition with the German blitzkrieg tactics of World War Two.]

4GW is of course the use of classic methods of terrorism, insurgency, guerrilla warfare, subversion on a global scale by multi-national entities [Al Qaeda], warfare by a weak party confronting a stronger opponent, NOT an adjunct to traditional conventional conflict but the preferred form

NOW, we have, already, 5th generational warfare?

An Islamic alternative to the existing world financial system? A robust alternative that can be used to undermine "western" markets and economies? A form of warfare that places your adversaries at a disadvantage? NOT warfare as ordinarily understood, but allowing for a "combatant" to achieve goals and objectives!

Warfare in the sense better described as conflict. NOT always armed struggle but conflict nonetheless. Bring your opponent to their knees and make them cry "uncle"!

Islamic nations, NOT totally so, awash in petro-dollars that can be used to achieve political goals. "War is politics by other means" - - Clausewitz!

We are seeing and hearing - - right now, "rumblings" of such efforts! Replacing the U.S. dollar as the standard currency the world uses for international financial transactions? This is just one step among many that need to be made for financial "jihad" to progress and be successful?

[please recall that the most recent efforts by the U.S. Treasury to thwart counterfeiters was a response in larger measure to the Iranian government printing very good copies of the U.S. $100 bill and flooding the world currency market with bogus American currency. Efforts of this sort have been historically unsuccessful - - at least up to now!]

I do think, however, that the use of the term 5th generational warfare is way overdone. WARFARE - - the term, should be applied ONLY to ARMED conflict?

Financial "jihad" is merely an aspect of the normal conflict between nations as would be found on the polar opposite war/peace sliding scale continuum? Financial warfare is a tactic, a part of, and not an overall strategy as would be 4GW?



Thursday, June 19, 2008


This is coolbert:

Found this by accident. A military man expounding his beliefs in such a manner today would not be tolerated?? Would be quickly cashiered from the military with all due speed!!??

"ca·shier - - tr.v. - - ca·shiered, ca·shier·ing, ca·shiers

To dismiss from a position of command or responsibility, especially for disciplinary reasons."

We are speaking here of Ernest J. King. Fleet Admiral during World War Two [WW2]. A five-star flag officer. A special rank had to be created just for him!!

"Fleet Admiral Ernest Joseph King . . . was Commander in Chief, United States Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations (COMINCH-CNO) during World War II . . . He was the U.S. Navy's second most senior officer after Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, and the second admiral to be promoted to five star rank"

Prior to WW2, while studying at the Naval War College, presented a thesis that contained remarks that today - - would be a death blow for his career. Suggested that America had a weakness - - which was - - democracy!!

"In 1932 he attended the Naval War College. In a war college thesis entitled 'The Influence of National Policy on Strategy', King expounded on the theory that America's weakness was Representative democracy:"

“ Historically... it is traditional and habitual for us to be inadequately prepared. Thus is the combined result of a number factors, the character of which is only indicated: democracy, which tends to make everyone believe that he knows it all; the preponderance (inherent in democracy) of people whose real interest is in their own welfare as individuals; the glorification of our own victories in war and the corresponding ignorance of our defeats (and disgraces) and of their basic causes; the inability of the average individual (the man in the street) to understand the cause and effect not only in foreign but domestic affairs, as well as his lack of interest in such matters. Added to these elements is the manner in which our representative (republican) form of government has developed as to put a premium on mediocrity and to emphasise the defects of the electorate already mentioned."

The pronouncements of King were BEFORE the current Uniform Code of Military Justice [UCMJ] went into effect. King would have been in violation of certain Articles [??] of the UCMJ by current standards?

Specifically, I am thinking of Article 134 UCMJ:


"all disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces, all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces"

Even at the time, eyebrows should have been raised at the disparaging remarks of King? Recall that military officers of the period between the two World Wars did not vote or even register to vote. An unwritten agreement among gentlemen was in effect to keep the military apolitical and above board.

But not politically neutered or unobservant??!!

In the case of Ernest King, obviously NOT!



Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Gap!

This is coolbert:

It was known by many names:

* Mid-Atlantic Gap.

* Atlantic Gap.

* Air Gap.

* The Greenland Gap.

* The Black Pit.

* Or simply, “The Gap”!

"The Mid-Atlantic Gap, Atlantic Gap, Air Gap, Greenland Gap or just the Gap during the Battle of the Atlantic in World War II was the gap in coverage by land-based anti-submarine aircraft from Britain, Newfoundland and Iceland. This resulted in heavy merchant shipping losses to U-Boats. The Black Pit of the Air Gap where most losses occurred was the area southeast of Greenland."

That area southeast of Greenland where World War Two [WW2] North Atlantic convoys, sailing from North American to England, laden with war munitions, were MOST susceptible to attack by German U-boats.

An area out of range for allied land-based two-engine surveillance aircraft. Aircraft able to accompany a convoy and provide protection from enemy submarines [daylight only during the early stages of the war?]!

It was in this area of the North Atlantic that the allies [British?] contemplated using an iceberg as a floating airfield. To be used by anti-submarine surveillance/attack aircraft.

Until the advent of the Very-Long-Range [VLR] aircraft [B-24 “Liberator”], German submarines operated with relative impunity in the “Gap”! Either as individual boats or as part of a “wolf-pack”, could attack allied convoys and wreak tremendous damage, unafraid of attack from the air. This problem was most acute at night, all advantage in this case being to the U-boat.

The B-24, equipped with centimeter radar, able to drop bombs and depth charges, had a devastating effect upon the German U-boat service, both night and day, clear weather and inclement. The period known to the German mariner as “Black May” [1943] was due - - in large measure - - to the VLR aircraft.

"The B-24 made a massive contribution to Allied victory in the Battle of the Atlantic against German U-boats . . . The Very Long Range (VLR) Liberators 'almost doubled the reach of Britain's maritime reconnaissance force. This added range enabled Coastal Command patrols to cover the Mid-Atlantic gap, where U-boats had operated with near impunity."

I had originally thought that an iceberg large enough and level enough to be used as an airfield would have to been obtained from Antarctic waters. A “berg” “moved” into position from that far would have been a chore of the first magnitude.

Ideas such as using an enormous iceberg as an airfield are innovative, novel, unconventional, and quite often get the attention of “higher-ups” [Churchill in this case], but are rarely practical or implemented for a variety of reasons. Such with the iceberg/airfield.




This is coolbert:

From the Chicago Tribune today:

The op-ed page, Editorial:

Iraq and the next president

An unprecedented op-ed piece in the Chicago Tribune today? I have never seen such a thing before. The year in Iraq subsequent to the “surge”! What has been done? Success is at hand when before it was felt the situation was dire?

“The Big Picture?. . . There are tremendously encouraging signs, though, that Iraq has come through the worst”:

* "Violence is down sharply."

* "The government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is gaining strength."

* "Progress by the Iraqi military has allowed the government gain confidence."

* "Iraq is riding an oil Bonanza."

* "A phenomenally successful decision [the “surge” of forces]."

* "The gains of the last year have largely been ignored in the U.S. political discourse."

In the various areas of Iraq, progress can be seen?

* Kirkuk - - “Iraq’s oil exports are now above prewar levels . . . the Kurdish area north of this city is thriving and peaceful.”

* Al-Askari Shrine in Samarra - - “The Al Qaeda bombing of this holiest of shrine in 2006 exposed the insurgents strategy . . . Today, the reconstruction of the shrine is going at full speed, with scores of architects, engineers and laborers working 16-hour shifts seven days a week.”

* Abu Ghraib - - “The infamous prison was tuned over to the Iraqis in 2006.”

* Sadr City - - “This Baghdad enclave is the stronghold of anti-American Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr [“Mookie”] and his Mahdi militia . . . Sadr negotiated a truce that allowed Iraqi troops into Sadr City but barred American soldiers - – a huge victory for Nouri al-Maliki.”

* Basra - - “Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s decision to confront Shiite militias this spring has convinced many Sunnis in Iraq that the central government isn’t hostage to Shiite influence . . . Now, the Iraqi army is firmly in control. ‘The circle of fear is broken.’”

* The Baghdad Airport Road - - “the airport vicinity is much safer than it used to be.”

* Fallujah - - “This was once considered the most dangerous place in Iraq . . . Violence is so low that weeks can go by without Marines firing a shot . . . Fallujah is an example of progress - - and peril.”

* Ramadi - - “This is the birthplace of the ‘Anbar Awakening,’ a key turning point in the war. . . . Ramadi is relatively peaceful. Now it needs reconstruction.”

* Al Qaim - - “on the Syrian Border. Once called ‘the Wild West” of Iraq, known for its lawlessness and violence . . . Al Qaim is now thriving and markets full of people and new homes being built.”

* Mosul - - “the number of insurgent attack has been cut in half.“

A lot of adages apply here? “Don’t hold your breath!” “I’ll believe it when I see it!” "Don't count your chickens before they hatch!" My own innate pessimism makes me very suspicious at all this?

If this is all so, and it is almost all over except for the cheering, General Petraeus will have been said to have snatched the proverbial victory from the jaws of defeat? Only time will tell!



Monday, June 16, 2008

Body Count.

This is coolbert:

"Long Tan - - What Happened?"

"a heroic victory at the Long Tan rubber plantation made headlines across Australia and America. A newspaper editorial even said:"

"it ranks with some of the great stands in military history."

"The Americans subsequently awarded the company the Presidential Unit Citation for 'extraordinary heroism in operations against an opposing armed force.'"

"The Battle of Long Tan is arguably the most famous battle fought by the Australian Army during the Vietnam War. August 18–19, 1966."

Australian forces in Vietnam, engaging a much superior enemy force, emerging victorious, inflicting very heavy losses on the NVA/VC, with minimal loss to themselves. The type of engagement that makes headlines and for which medals are awarded.

"Even though newspaper editors and military chiefs were very impressed with the Diggers, exactly what happened at Long Tan is an issue of contention . . . 108 Diggers were able to defeat 2500 Viet Cong. [???]"

That the Aussies fought with great courage is undeniable. That they were awarded the U.S. Presidential Unit Citation and were worthy of same is also undeniable. THE NUMBER OF ENEMY KILLED IS WHAT IS AT QUESTION. BODY COUNT!!

"The action occurred when D Company of the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (6RAR) . . . encountered the Viet Cong (VC) 275 Regiment and elements of the D445 Local Forces Battalion."

"There have been accusations that the Australians exaggerated VC and NVA casualties . . . The official Australian count is 245 Communist dead and 150 wounded. The number of NVA/VC killed and wounded was about twice the initial radio report of 188 killed or wounded from Lieutenant-Colonel Colin Townsend. (War Diary) . . . US forces later claimed to have captured documents indicating 800 killed and 1,000 wounded"

The claim has been made, ever since the height of the Vietnam War, that the U.S. military, and presumably the Australians as well, exaggerated, embellished, falsified, and downright lied about the number of enemy killed on the battlefield.

Is this so??!!

Many years ago now [over thirty years], I spoke to a discharged U.S. Army infantry officer [Michael K.] whose task [among many] was to determine enemy body count in the aftermath of a battlefield clash with North Vietnamese/Viet Cong [NVA/VC] units.

An American officer, cruising the battlefield, in the aftermath of a combat action, counting, and trying to determine, as best he could, HOW MANY ENEMY SOLDIERS HAD BEEN KILLED!!

There WAS a certain specific, well-thought-out protocol to determine enemy body count in Vietnam. THIS WAS NOT a helter-skelter, willy-nilly procedure that tended to inflate, deliberately or otherwise, the numbers of enemy soldiers killed. A protocol that went as follows:

* Each enemy dead body found on the battlefield counted as one killed-in-action [KIA]. [DOES THIS REQUIRE ANY FURTHER ELABORATION!!??]

* Each large blood smear counted as one enemy killed-in-action [KIA]. The inability of the NVA/VC to provide quick and appropriate medical care for their wounded meant that such a large loss of blood more or less meant death, even with the absence of a body!

[there was a certain significance to finding a large blood smear on the Vietnam ` battlefield.]

"During the Vietnam War, soldiers reported that shooting an enemy soldier with the M-16 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."

* Each large body part found on the battlefield counted as an individual enemy soldier killed-in-action [KIA]. Each foot, hand, leg, arm, or head found counted as a separate enemy dead. Again, the inadequate medical care available to NVA/VC personnel probably meant death for any individual losing a hand, foot, leg, or arm. As for the head taken off, you decide for yourself.

At this point, I interjected, “how do you know that finding a hand, foot, leg, arm and head on the battlefield is not five enemy killed-in-action but is rather the same individual blow into smithereens??”

"smith·er·eens - - pl.n. - - Informal - - Fragments or splintered pieces; bits"

The answer [from Mike K.] was - - “well, you don’t’ know, but in lieu of a better way to determine things, that is what you go with!!”

Can anyone fault this protocol?

Well, someone has. See the comments of an Australian Vietnam veteran [and veteran of Long Tan.], Terry Burstall:

"When I returned to the battlefield the day after the battle, there were bodies lying all through the area ... Would a shell-shocked digger count an arm, a trunk and a leg scattered over several metres as one body or three bodies? Nobody knew or cared at the time, and certainly not the people doing the counting ... Looking back I don't really think that I would have seen more than 50 bodies and I spent three days in the area."

But, from the web site of Ray Smith, read this:

"on April 3rd, 1995, on the 20th anniversary of the end of the Second Indochina War, the North Vietnamese Communists finally admitted their true casualties. While the U.S. Command had officially stated that we killed about 750,000 NVA and VC, the Communists declared, in an official press release to Agence France, that we had actually killed 1.1 million NVA soldiers."

"a practice of adding estimates of the number of 'probables' (i.e., "probably killed, no body recovered") to the count of 'confirmed' killed. While it is certainly possible that some commanders choose to report the sum of these two numbers rather than separate figures, I doubt whether this was a systemic practice based on personal experience."

[a confirmed would be an actual body. A probable would be a large blood smear or a major body part found!!]

"There was a standard formula for estimating enemy wounded, based on statistics gathered from World Wars One and Two that basically said that two men were wounded for every one killed."

[Actual figure for American troops in Vietnam and Soviet troops in Afghan was roughly about 350 wounded for each 100 dead - - Bert.]

This particular item within the wiki entry of course immediately caught my attention:

"The reverse slope that D Company [the Australians] used to defend their position meant that the VC found it difficult to use their heavy calibre weapons effectively; the VC could only engage the Australians at close range."

The use of the reverse slope defense again. The preferred means to establish a defense. From both WW1 and WW2, the experience of all combatants was that a defense using the reverse slope was the most effective. You would kill more of the enemy in this situation than under any other circumstance. I hope that they still teach this technique at the U.S. Infantry School??!!

Body count in Vietnam! Was it all a lie? Certainly the official records of the communists would seem to suggest - - NO!!

You decide!


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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Why We Fight?

This is coolbert:

"The diggers motivation to fight"

[Australian soldiers are referred to as "diggers". Supposedly a reference to the entrenching that took place at Gallipoli [digging in!]! But a term historically much older, referring to miners from the 1850's? "The widespread use of the term came to the forefront during the First World War. During this time the word 'mate' became synonymous with the word 'digger', which had its origins in the gold digging fields of the 1850s. During the Gallipoli campaign the term 'digger' was re-introduced as a formal greeting towards a fellow soldier. The Anzac troops spent so much time digging trenches, the idiom 'digger' was re-invoked."]

What motivates young men to join the military voluntarily, even in a time of war, and furthermore, VOLUNTEER TO GO "OVERSEAS' TO FIGHT IN THAT WAR, KNOWING FULL WELL WHAT THEY ARE GETTING THEMSELVES INTO!!!???

Here is one take on the subject, from the Australian perspective: [Chester Wilmot "Tobruk 1941"]

"the Australians were volunteers. They understood their own position. But why were the Australian volunteers there?"

[Australian troops stationed OVERSEAS during both World Wars were STRICTLY volunteers!! Conscription was used to fill the ranks, but those Australian troops deployed in combat outside of Australia were STRICTLY volunteers! Actually, the wiki entry on this topic is not quite totally clear!!]

According to Wilmot, these would have been the reasons you might have gotten if you asked a "digger" - - "why do you fight?" But NOT the correct reasons?

* "I wanted a bit of fun"

* "I was fed up with my job"

* "all my cobbers were joining up and so I went along too."

[Cobber : friend]

Here are, according to Wilmot, the CORRECT reasons the Australian troop fought as a volunteer in both World Wars:

* "I believe in a fair go"

* "I wanted to be with my mates"

[Mate : buddy, friend]

* "I like being able to say to a copper, 'That's all right, copper, you got nothin' on me'"

* "I want to say what I like when we're having a beer at the pub"

* "I want to do what I like with the few quid I've got in the bank"

* "because women and kids are being bombed in London and shot in Prague"

* "I didn't join out of patriotism"

* "I was looking for what I'd lost"

* "the feeling of a lot of mates all working together"

Mate : buddy, friend [mate ship is a particularly strong Australian cultural concept. NOT unique to Australia, but stressed as being of importance. NOT just ordinary friendship, but a non-familial relationship between two men, strong in nature "It's a term that implies a sense of shared experience, mutual respect and unconditional assistance."]

"Military context

Mate ship is regarded as an Australian military virtue . . . Mate ship is often invoked as an important element in . . . Australian military prowess"

* "for some other reason that making dividends for the shareholders."

[ I am part of something larger and doing so without ulterior motives!!]

NOT necessarily strong patriotic motives or a desire "to see things in the world set straight"!! Enlistment and volunteerism in time of war is a complicated subject NOT subject to aphorisms - - that explain it all?!

"aph·o·rism - - n. A tersely phrased statement of a truth or opinion; an adage. A brief statement of a principle."



Friday, June 13, 2008

Rocket Man!!

This is coolbert:

"Zero hour nine a.m.
And I'm gonna be high as a kite by then
I miss the earth so much I miss my wife
It's lonely out in space
On such a timeless flight" - - "Rocket Man" - - Elton John!!

From the Chicago Tribune today:

Jet suit not just flight of fancy

“The twin-engine bird man suit . . . is just one of the futurist concepts emerging from the 19th Century brick workshops of inventor Daniel Preston, New York’s answer to James Bond’s gadget-dispensing Q.”

“Preston’s inventions - - from flying suits to flying cars - - actually work.”

Most famously [??], the EXO-Wing!!!

“EXO-Wing, a jet aircraft that you wear like a rigid winged backpack.”

A jump-suit with wings, helmet, and jet engines, two of them. YOU ACTUALLY FLY!!

“The EXO-Wing suit should be available commercially within the next 12 months" The person wearing the EXO-Wing jumps out of a plane, ignites the two engines to propel and then deploys parachutes to land. The suit also has tactical properties of interest to the military”

Preston, an avid skydiver, has developed a revolutionary material that makes such innovation possible. Science fiction is NOW!!

“Daniel Preston, founder and chief technical officer of Atair Aerospace, developed a new type of non-woven composite fabric by using extreme heat and pressure to bond high-strength fibers between layers of ultra thin polymer foil.”

“The basic building block for parachutes is polyamide rip stop nylon . . . nothing had changed in 60 years despite advances in material technology.

“Parachutes made from it opened more smoothly, he said, and it also turned out to be suitable for body armor”.

“’9/11, it definitely affected me.’ ‘This [NYC] is my home.’ He began to gravitate toward using innovative parachute technology to supply military needs and in 2001”

“Preston developed navigation systems that allow parachutes bearing supplies, vehicles or personnel to maneuver and land precisely, despite blinding weather conditions - - and also avoid potential dangerous road conditions.”

“One of the most futuristic products has developed is the Chimera tactical vehicle. . . . The two-seater car looks like an overgrown Mars rover. It can be parachuted from a plane and then driven away as a tactical ground vehicle with a ground speed of 59 m.p.h. Personnel on the ground can stuff the parachute into a backpack. Upon completion of the mission, they reattach the parachute to the vehicle; drive until the Chimera is airborne, with airspeed up to 30 knots.”

According to Suvorov:

"Army-General [Soviet] Margelov once said that 'an apparatus must be created that will eliminate the boundary between the earth and sky.' . . . a very light apparatus that would enable a soldier to flit like a dragon-fly from one leaf to another"

Thanks to Preston, his innovations and new technology, the barrier between man, ground, and sky has been broken once and for all!!??

A privately-owned company that might go public? Buy stock now if you can!

Al L.

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This is coolbert:

From my blog entry on Zeebrugge and St. Nazaire:

“Both at Zeebrugge and St. Nazaire, British casualties were very high, even catastrophic [??]! One must always balance, in the aftermath, the gains with the losses. THE VERY NATURE OF THESE SPECIAL OPERATIONS MISSIONS USUALLY ENTAILS HEAVY LOSS!!

Gains versus the losses. That is the question here. Conventional military officers of all services would ask the question - - for what was achieved, was it worth the cost - - and could it have been done another and easier way??!! Especially in the case of St. Nazaire, the commando units going ashore suffered inordinate losses. Very elite troops of the highest caliber expended - - for the necessary gain?

Gains at St Nazaire? YES, definitely! The Normandie dock was put out of commission of the duration of the war. For the remainder of the war, German battleships were unable to sortie directly into the Atlantic to attack allied convoys or obtain repair without returning to a German home port! This is obviously a plus!

Could the St. Nazaire mission have been accomplished in another way? Undoubtedly it was suggested to use mass pinpoint or saturation bombing by heavy RAF bombers. There would have been, however, drawbacks to this approach too. PINPOINT BOMBING DURING WORLD WAR TWO [WW2] WAS NEVER EFFECTIVE! Repeated bombing missions often failed to hit their targets by MILES!! And even when targets were hit, the German was usually pretty good at repairing damage in short order. Churchill ruled out saturation bombing as being too destructive?? Collateral damage to the city of St. Nazaire proper would be excessive and create too much anger and hate among the French people. After all, it was they [the French] the allies sought to liberate!!

As a morale booster, St. Nazaire had a similar effect as did the World War One [WW1] expedition to Zeebrugge. “We are fighting back [this was 1942, after all], we are hitting the enemy where he lives, we are making the enemy keep his head down, we are making him bleed and wonder where we are coming from!!!”

Pinpoint, “surgical strikes” from the air was not possible at the time. You go with what you got and hope for the best. A lot of considerations are taken into account before deciding what to do. St. Nazaire was successful, albeit with heavy British casualties, but the objective was obtained, and the lives of a lot of French save in the process! That was as good as it was going to get? I think so!


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This is coolbert:

Here is the British naval officer who conceived [?] and led the Zeebrugge raider naval task force.

"he planned and led the famous 1918 raids on the German submarine pens in the Belgian ports of Zeebrugge and Ostend"

The Baron Admiral Sir Roger Keyes.

A distinguished naval fighting officer whose entire career seemed to prepare him for unconventional, special operations missions. [such as Zeebrugge]

A combat naval officer at home either at sea or on the land. A brown [inland], green [coastal], and blue [deep-water] water sailor experienced in all facets of naval warfare.

* "small naval launches under junior officers [such as Keyes] were sent out for weeks at a time to patrol the coast, probing the estuaries and creeks where Arab slavers hid with their cargoes . . . Often gunfights ensued as the slavers tried to make their escape."

* "he went [In April 1899] . . . to the rescue of a small British force which was attacked and surrounded by irregular Chinese forces while attempting to demarcate the border of the Hong Kong New Territories. Keyes went ashore, leading half the landing party, and, . . . he led the charge which routed the Chinese and freed the troops."

* "He sprang ashore [during the Boxer Rebellion], followed by a landing party of 32, armed with rifles, pistols, cutlasses and explosives."

Able to lead ashore, at a moments notice, naval infantry in furtherance of a mission.

[naval infantry being sailors picking up a rifle and fighting on land as common infantry as necessary. NOT marines in the ordinary sense of the word!]

Even - - on one occasion - - [the Boxer Rebellion] - - going ashore and operating SOLO, armed with only a revolver. Imagine that, one man against 300 million or so [I exaggerate here, of course, but you get the picture, don’t you!]. Well, he was an officer in the Royal Navy, was he not!!??

Even at an advanced age, during World War Two, was brought out of retirement and empowered by Churchill to conduct combined/unconventional/special operations against the coastline of Nazi occupied Europe once a fortnight [once every two weeks]!!

They just don’t make them like Sir Roger anymore, do they? Naval officers proficient and experienced in warfare on land and on the sea? Today, the naval officer is an aviator, a man who gives the command to fire missiles, or a technician who operates a nuclear reactor and has studied nuclear physics?

During the age of Fourth Generational Warfare [4GW], men such as Sir Roger are again a necessity? The generalist adept on land and at sea, a tactician who can fight in the traditional naval manner, or who could even lead naval infantry [?] without hesitation?

Hard to find such people!



Thursday, June 12, 2008

“Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

This is coolbert:

That Chinese naval base on Hainan Island is high on the planning agenda for the operations staff of the U.S. Navy?

A port facility designed to service and protect Chinese submarines, including those of the nuclear variety, must be a prime and major target for American forces in case of conflict with China. Neutralization or destruction will be A MUST!

Of particular concern must be that cave inside a mountain, affording impregnable [??] protection to a nuclear “boomer”. A cave rendering a submarine nestled inside as IMPERVIOUS??!!

The question is being asked - - right now perhaps - - by American naval planners - - “how to get at that baby [nuclear submarine]??”

[I am assuming here that both sides have eschewed the use of atomic weaponry!!]

American attackers have a variety of CONVENTIONAL MEANS available to attack that Chinese naval base and in particular that cave inside a mountain.

* Cruise missiles and JDAM's. The former fired by submarines, surface vessels, naval aviation. The latter dropped from high altitude by a B-52. Munitions of this conventional sort aided with terminal guidance [laser designators or GPS] from ground-based U.S. forces such as ANGLICO or Navy SEALS. [GPS guided munitions using signals from orbiting satellites and a ground-based surveyed radio transmitter can pinpoint location down to centimeters??]

* Naval mines laid on the ocean floor in close proximity to the Chinese naval base. Such mines can be pre-positioned surreptitiously and activated ONLY in time of conflict or impending conflict!?

An alternative form of attack also exists for U.S. naval forces? NOT out of the question. An unconventional, special operations mission, the type of which captures the imagination of the public.

Have an expendable American warship, preferably a destroyer-class vessel, laden with tons of high explosive, SAIL INTO THAT CAVE AND BE DETONATED!! Do this WHILE THAT NUCLEAR “BOOMER” IS SEEKING REFUGE IN THE MOUNTAIN SHELTER!!

There is - - precedent for this sort of thing?? From both World Wars?

(1) Zeebrugge. North Sea Belgian port facility occupied and used by the German in World War One [WW1], primarily as a submarine base. Attacked by the British Navy in 1918, neutralization of the port facility being the goal. A raid that DID NOT go as planned, results being only meager, very qualified. WITHIN ONE WEEK, THE PORT WAS BACK UP AND WORKING!! But the INTENT and CONCEPT were sound, the execution being POOR!!

"two old submarines, which were filled with explosives to blow up the viaduct connecting the mole to the shore. HMS Vindictive was to land a force of 200 Royal Marines at the entrance to the Bruges Canal . . . submarine HMS C3 . . . destroyed the viaduct as planned, by explosion . . . The plan to sink three old cruisers to block the flow of traffic in and out of the Port of Bruges-Zeebrugge did not go as planned."

(2) St. Nazaire. French Atlantic seaport. Attacked by the British in 1942. Goal was to destroy the Normandie dock. Largest dock [dry dock?] in the world at the time, and the ONLY dock [dry dock?] outside of German home waters capable of servicing German battleships still afloat at the time [Tirpitz, Scharnhorst, Gneisnau]!

The St. Nazaire raid was eminently more successful than the WW1 adventure at Zeebrugge. An American WW1 destroyer [under Lend-Lease to the British], packed full of high explosive [tons!!] and having a strengthened bow, rammed the Normandie dock at high speed and was detonated, destroying the dock as planned. IT WAS NOT UNTIL 1947 THAT THE NORMADIE DOCK WAS BACK IN OPERATION!!

"The obsolete destroyer HMS Campbeltown . . . rammed the St. Nazaire lock gates and was blown up, ending use of the dock"

At St. Nazaire, ancillary attacks were also made by ground components of the raiding force. British Marine and Army commando units going ashore, placing and exploding demolitions at key facilities, further destruction of the St. Nazaire port facility being accomplished in the process WITH COLLATERAL DAMAGE AND FRIENDLY [FRENCH] LOSS OF LIFE BEING MINIMIZED IN AN EXTRAORDINARY AND DESIRABLE MANNER!!

"Commandos landed on the docks and destroyed other dock structures"

Some special comments are due regarding these types of unconventional, special operations military missions:

At least in the case of Zeebrugge, the effect was more a morale booster than anything else! Damage, as described previously, was not as planned, the port facility back up and running within a week. THE PUBLIC HOWEVER, WAS ENTHRALLED BY THE VERY IDEA OF HITTING THE ENEMY WHERE THEY LIVE, EVEN IF THE OVERALL RESULT WAS NIL!!

These special operation military missions are the sort of duty most persons in the military aspire to, but few actually ever participate in? Drama is present that is almost totally lacking during all other aspects of military duty? Volunteers are usually readily found for such endeavors? Read two accounts from Zeebruggee here and here. Good stuff!

Both at Zeebrugge and St. Nazaire, British casualties were very high, even catastrophic [??]! One must always balance, in the aftermath, the gains with the losses. THE VERY NATURE OF THESE SPECIAL OPERATIONS MISSIONS USUALLY ENTAILS HEAVY LOSS!!

Now, as for the crew, skeletal, [I am speaking facetiously here??] that will sail that American warship INTO the Chinese mountain cave - - I am looking for volunteers! C’mon now, there must be some?


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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Art of War IV. [Conclusion]

This is coolbert:


"it will be less a campaign than a hunt." - - Jalisco federal commander General Jesús Ferreira [Cristero War].

"a bloodless blitzkrieg, that would not last any longer than December 20 [this on December 11]." - - Grachev [Russian Minister of Defense prior to the First Chechen War]

"Experts", speaking in a casual, self-assured manner, turning out to be "dead" wrong!! A conventional, over-powering [on paper] and over-confident military force being stymied, humiliated and often downright badly beaten at the hands of an opposing irregular force of lightly armed but highly motivated partisans??

Such was the case in the First and subsequent Second Chechen War .

The subject of much of the cathartic writings as found on the Suvorov [?] web site, the ArtofWar.

"ca·thar·sis [cathartic]
1. the purging of the emotions or relieving of emotional tensions, esp. through certain kinds of art, as tragedy or music . . .
3. Psychiatry. a. psychotherapy that encourages or permits the discharge of pent-up, socially unacceptable affects.
b. discharge of pent-up emotions so as to result in the alleviation of symptoms or the permanent relief of the condition."

The writings of Mironov in particular stand-out. "Vyacheslav Mironov. Assault on Grozny Downtown"

Mironov is an equal to Tolstoy and Novikov in this regard. Writes in the manner of a modern, with all the nitty-gritty gory detail as the former two Russian writers would not have done?

"Someone took the mag off his assault rifle and quickly took out several cartridges. There was no other way to stop [the] bleeding, but to use this barbaric approach . . . A soldier came forward with two opened cases in his hand. The bandages were removed at once and he quickly poured the gunpowder from the cases into the wound. One of the guys touched it with his torch and the powder burned with a flash that blinded us for a second. The wounded soldier jumped up, but we saw that the bleeding had stopped."

A wounded Russian soldier is bleeding to death and modern techniques do not staunch the bleeding! Cauterization of the wound as would have been in the era of the Crusades, the Romans, the Greeks, and before them the ancient Egyptians - - was used to stop the profuse bleeding. Remember, this is Christmas Day 1994!!!

It is perhaps impossible to describe the traumatic effect the First and Second Chechen War has had on the modern Russian Army. Disaster after disaster was the RULE rather than the exception for the Russian troops sent into Grozny. [Grozny is best translated as HOSTILE!! Really!!] Entire companies and battalions would disappear on missions, obliterated in a manner never anticipated by the Russian high command. At the hands of a lightly armed but determined foe, the basically untrained and almost totally raw Russian troops suffered shameful defeat after defeat. Such was the fate of the Maikop Brigade [as mentioned in the account of Mironov], for instance. Told to capture and hold the Grozny downtown rail station, the brigade was surrounded, outfought, defeated, pitiful remnants being withdrawn with humiliation!!

"The battle for Grozny cost [the Maikop Brigade] 157 casualties, including 24 officers (including Colonel Savin), one warrant officer (Russian: прапорщик) and 60 NCOs and soldiers killed and 12 officers, one warrant officer and 59 NCOs and soldiers missing (presumed dead). The brigade also lost 22 T-72 tranks, 45 BMP-2s, and 37 cars and trucks."

And this was just ONE instance among many!

Today, eight years after the beginning of the Second Chechen War, the area of Chechnya is a partial wasteland, devastated by two wars of no-holds-barred warfare!! A sullen Chechen population and "occupying" Russian troops are presently at arms length, but both awaiting another round of hostilities??!!

"The conflict greatly contributed to the deep changes in the Russian politics and society." Deep changes to include [but not limited to]:

* "Many of the veterans [from the Chechen wars] came back alcoholic, unemployable and antisocial."

* "Thousands were also physically disabled for life"

* "Russian policemen lose their qualifications and professional skills during their duty tours in Chechnya." ["This conflict was linked to the rising brutality and general criminalisation of the Russian police forces."]

Catharsis will have to take place at a much deeper and profound level. Writing [Mironov and others] of what occurred by survivors is only a beginning and partial surcease to a situation totally bad for all!!??



Sunday, June 08, 2008

The Art of War III.

This is coolbert:

Continuing with extracts from the Victor Suvorov ArtofWar [?] web site:

"Professionals Of The War - - Caravans". By Sergey Shumskikh

[Sergey was a lieutenant in a Soviet Spetsnaz unit? Patrolling along the border between Pakistan and Afghan. Ambushing caravans [pack animals], carrying war munitions to the Afghan guerrilla fighters.]

"Our main task was not allowing caravans, from Pakistan territory, with ammunition and weapon to the country. Our company was considered the best at that war based on captured weapon, number of killed 'dukhs' and own casualties"

Afghan fighters were referred to by the Soviet troops as:
"dushman’s" [meaning of dushman unknown] or "dukhs", ["dukhs"=ghosts or spirits in Russian]

Question - "Did you use trophies yourselves?" [trophies in this sense means equipment captured from the enemy]

Answer - "We had right to have only what we needed for the war. For example, very comfortable Italian boots, and Chines[e] breasts – [breasts=ammunition pouches?] it was easier to carry more ammunition in them. We got also 'dukhs' clothes, American mortars."

"Actually I didn’t see anything better then Soviet weapon but those mortars [American mortars]. They were much lighter then ours, the mines ["rounds", mortar "bombs"] for them were packed without any grease, we didn’t need to wipe them dry, as we had to do ours."

With the exception of American mortars, this Soviet Spetsnaz commander rates all foreign small arms and military munitions as inferior to the Soviet variety. Very interesting! With regard to the mortars, the American brand would be lighter in weight, rifled, made of superior alloys, etc. And firing a mortar "bomb" NOT requiring a anti-corrosive coating [cosmoline like?]! Both the Soviet mortar and "bomb" require "cleaning" ["wipe them dry"] before using!

NOW, the "superiority" of the American mortar would be something that Soviet military planners and general officers of the Red Army staff would find to be meaningless. To the Soviets, the "advantages" of the American mortar would be considered to be rather hindrances and even drawbacks!!??

Yes, the American mortar is lighter in weight. Yes, the American mortar is rifled and more accurate. Yes, the American mortar is more finely made with better metallurgy. AND, yes, the American mortar bombs do not require cleaning before use. All this is true, yes! BUT!!

The Soviet style cast-iron, smooth-bore mortar firing a cast-iron mortar "bomb" can be manufactured cheaper, easier, quicker, and in MUCH greater numbers. YOU CAN PROLIFERATE THE BATTLEFIELD WITH SUCH WEAPONS. Also, a cast-iron mortar "bomb", albeit one that requires "cleaning" - - "when a cast iron bomb bursts it shatters into very small splinters, which form a dense fragment pattern. - - Suvorov"

And if the Soviet soldier has a greater ordeal in carrying a heavier mortar and requires more time to "clean" [degrease] the mortar "bombs" he fires, well, that is the lot of the soldier! Perform your mission and don't complain!



Art of War II.

This is coolbert:

Motto of the Siberians - - "Siberians do not surrender, and do not take prisoners".

During the Afghan War, the Soviet Army suffered about 20,000 battlefield casualties and also about 300,000 non-battlefield casualties!! That latter figure, casualties from non-combat sources, is just astounding. My intuitive response is that this was primarily hepatitis from drinking bad water.

It seems that my suspicions and intuition were pretty much right on the money?

These anecdotal accounts [thanks to the ArtofWar web site] from the Afghan war and the First Chechen War seem to indicate that this is so!


(1) From the accounts of Sergey Shumskikh , Spetsnaz troop who served in Afghan:

Question - "What was the most difficult thing for you during the war?"

Answer - ". . . Hepatitis, and other infection diseases . . . We took restricted amount of water so everybody lost a lot of weight under the heat."

The response of the Soviet Army to the clean water problem during the Afghan campaign was to limit THE AMOUNT OF WATER CARRIED ON AN OPERATION!! You became less dependent on the water to begin with, carried less weight, required less resupply, and were less inclined to find sources of water that were suspect.

(2) From the writings of Vyacheslav Mironov. "Assault on Grozny Downtown"

"By now Com-batt [Russian battalion commander] poured out Vodka [the alcohol] and Ivan and myself settled down too. If anybody tells you that we fought here intoxicated, - spit him in his face. At war, people drink for disinfection. Not often you can boil your water or wash your hands properly. Our corpsmen's motto is: "Red eyes never go yellow" [red eyes from drinking booze - - yellow eyes from jaundice/contaminated liver]. As for the drinking water, we had to get it from the Sunzha River - a tiny river that flows thought the whole of Chechnya and, of coarse, through the Grozny. Only no one could possible tell how many human and animal corpses drifted in there, which meant we could forget about the proper hygiene."

Suvorov does state that each Spetsnaz trooper did have a means available to decontaminate potentially infectious and dirty water:

"Wherever a Spetsnaz soldier has to go he takes with him one flask of water with him - - 810 grams. Apart from that he has a little bottle of small brown disinfecting tablets. You throw one of the tablets into watter polluted with oil, dysentery bacillae and soap suds, and in one minute all the filth falls to the bottom and you can pour off the top and drink it. Pure water produced in this way has a revolting taste and a strong smell of chlorine . . . Anyone who knows what real thirst is like will drink this treated water with the greatest of pleasure."

Historically, the two biggest killers in wartime have always been and probably always will be water and feet!! NOT enough water to drink or drinking bad water kills a lot more troops than bullets on the battlefield!!



Saturday, June 07, 2008

Art of War I.

This is coolbert:

See this web site. Very good stuff. Endless source of material not obtainable anywhere else?

Cathartic writings of Russian participants from the Afghan and Chechen wars. Non-fiction, poetry, history, prose. Translated in some measure from the Russian to English. An Internet site promoted and sponsored by the Soviet era defector, Suvorov?

"ca·thar·sis [cathartic]
1. the purging of the emotions or relieving of emotional tensions, esp. through certain kinds of art, as tragedy or music . . .
3. Psychiatry. a. psychotherapy that encourages or permits the discharge of pent-up, socially unacceptable affects.
b. discharge of pent-up emotions so as to result in the alleviation of symptoms or the permanent relief of the condition."

"Annotation: The Art of War project is dedicated to the soldiers of the recent wars. To the survivors and perished."

There is a long history of Russian military men who have become writers of significance. Tolstoy [Crimean War] for one. Lesser known is Novikov [Russo-Japanese War, 1905]. From Suvorov:

"Lev Tolstoy, then a very young officer, wrote Sevastopol Stories, in which in contrast to the government's propaganda, he described the war as he saw it himself . . . Tolstoy was not an exception. Look at the newspapers from the time and you will be surprised to see how Russian officers, even generals, wrote in almost every issue [differing medias?] criticising their own government for lethargy and clumsiness and for their inability to rule the country or direct the army. Lev Tolstoy stood out from all the critics of the regime only because he was more talented than the rest . . . Novikov [an uneducated sailor], gathered a mass of material about the blunders of the Russian Naval Staff and of the Admirals who had taken part in the war [Russo-Japanese War, 1905] and . . . began to publish it"

The Russian tradition continues. Bully for them!!



Thursday, June 05, 2008

"Alastaire - - situation please!!"

This is coolbert:

[click on all images to see a larger picture!]

"Threat: The Home Secretary in the fictitious cabinet is also an alien"

England is under attack. By an alien force. Evil doers who can impersonate a human. These are the Skrull. Green-skinned extraterrestrials [lizards?] who have intentions toward the human race that are not benign!! [this theme is taken from an episode of Dr. Who??]

"YIKES! The dashing Prime Minister discovers that three members of his Cabinet are really aliens in disguise."

Prime Minister Gordon Brown enlists the help of the Super Heroes, to include Captain Britain.

A comic book of course. A comic book in the same league as the graphic novel, of which I am so fond!! And I must add, very well done too.

There is of course going to be controversy over this comic. An alien invasion of England? Foreign element posing as native citizens! With evil intentions. I just know someone is going to read something into all this. Devoted readers to my blog can guess with a high degree of certainty what I am thinking of here?

A parallel type of graphic novel comic had a similar theme in World War Two [WW2]!

The trio of "Captain America", "The Submariner" [Prince Namor] and "The Human Torch" battled the forces of fascism and did so with panache'. These three comprise the "Invaders". [good guys]

* Captain America.

"Captain America was the alter ego of Steve Rogers, a sickly young man who was enhanced to the peak of human perfection by an experimental serum in order to aid the United States war effort. Captain America wears a costume that utilizes an American flag motif, and is armed with an indestructible shield that can be thrown as a weapon."

"An intentionally patriotic creation who was often depicted fighting the Axis powers of World War II"

* The Submariner.

"When World War II broke out Namor put aside his differences with the surface world and fought alongside the team of Allied heroes that called themselves the Invaders"

"a history of having fought with the Allies during World War II in the superhero team the Invaders."

"Alastaire, situation please!!"

The British government is trying to condition English youth that there is an alien invasion occurring right now, as we speak? An invasion that must be countered, by all means, fair or foul?

Some will see this!!

"Thwaack", "bam", "aaarghh", "grrrr"



Monday, June 02, 2008

Rocky Mountain Arsenal

This is coolbert:

Visit this web site and read the interesting history of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal:

"Rocky Mountain Arsenal History"

An arsenal for the U.S. military, first constructed in 1942 as part of a crash program to manufacture chemical munitions and incendiary weaponry for the war effort.

"Many factors led to choosing the Arsenal's location." To include:

* "a place far removed from any coastline"
* "an area with established transportation routes"
* "a safe distance from the metropolitan area"

Located on the high plains east of Denver, on what was, at the time, strictly farming and ranching country. Safety was a major concern in the selection process, to be sure. Location close enough to Denver meant that a large enough willing and able work force could also be mustered.

"19,883 acres of prairie and farmland east of Denver had been selected to be the future site of Rocky Mountain Arsenal, a chemical weapons manufacturing center."

An arsenal that did yeoman work during both the era of World War Two [WW2] and the Cold War. Both as a manufacturing enterprise and a repository. A facility now in the transition stage to becoming a nature preserve!

"yeo·man - –noun - - 6. performed or rendered in a loyal, valiant, useful, or workmanlike manner, esp. in situations that involve a great deal of effort or labor"

During WW2, facilitated the manufacture of:

* Poison gases - - Mustard - - lewisite - - chlorine.

* Incendiary weapons - - napalm.

During the era of the Cold War:

* Poison gas of the nerve variety - - GB.

* Rocket fuels.

Those stockpiles of chemical munitions are now all gone. Thank GOD too! Stuff is dangerous even when stored. More hazardous just moving then destroying in situ. The land the arsenal was built on is now surrounded by sub-division and urban sprawl from the Denver area? Very difficult to destroy all those munitions and do so in a safe manner!

"in si·tu - - adj. - - In the original position. - - Confined to the site of origin."

That does even count the waste product from the manufacture of chemical weaponry AND rocket fuel. Stuff of itself is toxic and deadly, and must ALSO be dealt with.

[when all those GB gas bombs were first manufactured, absolutely no provisions were made for eventual destruction! The planners and designers had always assumed that the gas bombs would be used in some capacity and no need for disarming was ever contemplated!!]

I can recall that there was an effort in the early 1970's to pump liquid wastes located at the arsenal into a well 12,000 feet [4,600 meters] deep created an enormous amount of controversy. Was reputed to have caused earthquakes [induced earthquakes, man-made] in the Denver area. An inactive fault zone was said to have been made active by disruption from so much liquid wastes pumped deep into the upper crust of the earth. Where earthquakes were non-existent, NOW were common.

Rocky Mountain at some point will seem to have been revived and turned back to nature? A noble experiment that we all hope succeeds. ONLY many years will tell. I would guess that as many years would be needed to restore the prairie nature of the land as the facility was in operation. Sixty years or so!

Just don't drink the water!