Saturday, April 30, 2011


This is coolbert:

The White Messiah - - Chinese Gordon.

From the Steve Sailer blog we have this recent entry:

"What the Libyan rebels need"

A reader points out an irony of Obama's War":

"'These Libyan rebels need a white messiah, that charismatic person able to lead them to victory: e.g., T.E. Lawrence, Orde Wingate, Brookes Rajah of Sarawak, Homer Lea.'"

"'Those persons still exist? NOT sure.'"

"Not to mention, the white messiahs of Avatar, Dances with Wolves, and The Last Samurai"

The "myth" and "fable" of the white messiah. The white messiah described as:

"Every age produces its own sort of fables, and our age seems to have produced The White Messiah fable."

"This is the oft-repeated story about a manly young adventurer who goes into the wilderness in search of thrills and profit. But, once there, he meets the native people and finds that they are noble and spiritual and pure. And so he emerges as their Messiah, leading them on a righteous crusade against his own rotten civilization.

"A Man Called Horse . . . Dances With Wolves or The Last Samurai. ..."

Fable and myth! NOT exactly so. A T.E. Lawrence, an Orde Wingate, a Brookes Rajah of Sarawak, a Homer Lea were real live persons. Saw themselves as persons having a special mission in life and each in their own way, to an extent, succeeded. NOT just the thing of the motion picture industry and the fevered mind of a Hollywood screen writer.

Add to that list of names Charles Gordon. Chinese Gordon and Gordon of Khartoum.

"Charles George Gordon. Major-General Charles George Gordon, CB . . . known as Chinese Gordon, Gordon Pasha, and Gordon of Khartoum, was a British army officer, of the Corps of Royal Engineers and administrator. He is remembered for his campaigns in China and northern Africa"

Noted as a commander of government forces during the Taiping rebellion in China. Successfully led troops into battle on all occasions with a fervor that was almost messianic in nature. Gordon was an evangelistic Christian, esteemed in many influential sectors of English society, and EVEN HAD THE APPEARANCE, CULTIVATED PERHAPS, OF AN OTHER-WORLDLY PERSON!!

Another British eccentric with pronounced and strange views, NOT even really Christian in many respects, but seeing in himself INDEED one of the "elect", a man of destiny and perhaps even divinely ordained [?] in that manner!

"He was an eccentric who believed amongst other things that the Earth was enclosed in a hollow sphere with God's throne directly above the altar of the Temple in Jerusalem, the Devil inhabiting the opposite point of the globe near Pitcairn Island in the Pacific.[citation needed] He also believed that the Garden of Eden was on the island of Praslin in the Seychelles."

"Gordon believed in reincarnation. In 1877, he wrote in a letter: 'This life is only one of a series of lives which our incarnated part has lived. I have little doubt of our having pre-existed; and that also in the time of our pre-existence we were actively employed.'"

Such is the mentality of the white messiah? But please do not think this is all fictional or fable or myth. Such persons have existed in the past and do so today? I am not sure!


Friday, April 29, 2011


This is coolbert:

Thanks to the intelligence newsletter web site Intelligence News we have the latest dope - - updates on the mercenaries currently fighting on the side of the Libyan despot Colonel Ghadaffi. The Colonel using outsiders to forestall the rebellion that imperils his regime - - his own military no longer reliable, many of who have joined the rebels! The use of such mercenaries surely a sign that the Colonel is feeling the heat in a big way.

By reputation from a special source the Intelligence News is reliable and can be counted upon for accurate information! "News" is a competitor of the DEBKAfile, the latter considered by the noted blogger Spengler to be "totally unreliable under all circumstances"!

And to the story:

"Hundreds of European mercenaries ‘fighting for Gaddafi’"

"Hundreds of European mercenaries, including large numbers of European Union citizens, have voluntarily enrolled in the armed forces of the Libyan government, and are fighting under the command of Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi . . . up to 500 European soldiers-of-fortune have been hired by the Libyan government to provide 'special services'"

Soldiers of fortune to include almost all [if not exclusively] Europeans AND reputedly: "female snipers from Colombia"!

NOT the types of "mercenaries' as originally employed by the Colonel during the early stages of the rebellion. NOT black Africans [often teenagers] without ANY form or sort of military training whatsoever. This new "crop" of mercenaries evidently highly trained and possibly experienced military men fighting for the top dollar in a dubious cause!!

Against an untrained rabble, a few mercenaries using highly sophisticated and deadly military hardware can do a lot of damage!

Again, the cause these mercenaries fight for is dubious at best - - the attraction being the top dollar [the Colonel has a lot of top dollars to throw around]! The loyalties of such persons is also suspect. The right party or parties throwing MORE top dollars in the right direction and the tables can be turned on the Colonel in the proverbial heartbeat!


Thursday, April 28, 2011


This is coolbert:

Bashir Assad, right now, must be biting his nails, pacing endlessly, asking himself: "is the whole thing coming apart?" Those Syrian troops and his hard-core supporter "head-knocker" elite units, the individual troops of which seem to be having second-thoughts about shooting down their own people. The hand-writing is on the wall and the name of Assad is noted prominently?As reported on the news this evening:

BUT - - not a wholesale mutiny - - not units fighting other units - - at least not yet. Cracks showing, a sign of a weakening resolve, the "head knockers" themselves having grave misgivings about their actions and what they are being required to do!

That "head knockers" are no longer willing to follow the dictates of an authoritarian and oppressive government is surely a sign that "things" are getting out of hand, the despot no longer in control of the situation! Fifty years [?] of rule by the Assad family is coming to an end?

"Activists: Syrian army units fighting each other over crackdown"

"A witness and human rights groups reported clashes between Syrian army units over the crackdown on anti-government protesters in the southern city of Daraa"

"individual Syrian soldiers who refused to fire on demonstrators were executed on the spot . . . some units pulling back from the fighting and siding with civilians . . . a few officers and soldiers, perhaps 20, have refused to shoot at civilians and defended them. Reports that whole section of the army have split up are incorrect"

Normally - - the two indications that a nation is coming apart, that a collapse is at hand are:

1. Elites begin to move their money and possessions out of the country.

2. The "central government" makes "liberal" and unprecedented use of the death penalty, far beyond normal. Lots of executions of the opposition, beyond the nor!

Add the unwillingness of the most elite and politically loyal military and police contingents to follow further orders, SHOOT-DOWN THEIR CITIZENS or outright rebellion!

This situation is unresolved and unstable. A collapse of the regime in Damascus will have profound ramifications the like of which cannot be predicted with even the slightest degree of certainty? If and when a total breakdown occurs, watch out!


Tuesday, April 26, 2011


This is coolbert:

Thanks to the tip from Don Wade and Roma, WLS talk-radio - - heard this on the way to work this morning.

I guess sooner or later there had to be one.

The female military imposter. The woman fake wannabee war-hero. Fond of telling about the close-calls, the war injury, etc. Elizabeth McKenzie!

Of course an officer, decorated, all the while, telling one helluva whopper! A woman too - - again - - I guess sooner or later there had to be one.

Lots of egg and baloney on the face of Elizabeth McKenzie. Community college student with a lot of explaining to do.

NOT an officer, NOT a MP, NOT in combat, NOT EVER having served in the military period!!

"The 20-year-old McKenzie was never injured in combat, had never been to Afghanistan, never been deployed anywhere. In fact, she's never been in the military."

The wannabee in action, as usual! Read all the gory details at the following links:

"Another Imposter bites the dust"

"Minnessota Town Duped by Phony Soldier"

"MSM being honest"

Elizabeth is suffering from mental problems and will need serious and very strong pharmaceutical help for some time? And hide your face from the rest of us for a long time too.



Monday, April 25, 2011

Davis Gun.

This is coolbert:

Here with a description of the Davis Gun with some images.

The gun as mounted on American and British flying boats during the Great War [WW1], intended for use against enemy submarines.

One round [the "true" round] being fired downward, a second "bogus" round of grease and shot fired upward simultaneously, cancelling the recoil. Recoilless!

"The Davis Gun was invented by Commander Cleland Davis, USN, between 1912 and 1914. It was used during WWI by the Americans and the British against submarines. The gun worked on the principal that the recoil from the projectile leaving the barrel of the gun could be cancelled out by the recoil of a counterweight (grease and shot) leaving the back of the gun. The lack of recoil meant that there was no large shock to the aircraft when the gun was fired."

A contraption, a device, an apparatus of which suggests a dubious use? I am not sure. If not worthy, would it have been fielded? Was an idea of merit, further development surely would have proved the concept sound.



This is coolbert:

You too are surprised?

During the Battle of Crete [1941], the German employed for the first time in combat a recoilless gun. A recoilless weapon the intent of which was to provide fire support, indirect and direct, for the paratroop, air landed, and mountain units.

NOT a recoilless rifle, that direct fire anti-tank weapon as developed by a number of nations in the aftermath of World War Two [WW2]. Understand that to be the case.

A recoilless 75 mm. artillery piece, firing conventional artillery and anti-tank ammo, to be used in the indirect and direct fire mode, and also anti-tank if needed. But not having a specialized vented HEAT round as fired by most post-WW2 recoilless "rifles".

"The first recoilless rifle [gun] to enter service in Germany was the 7.5 cm Leichtgeschütz 40 ("light gun" '40), a simple 75 mm smoothbore recoilless gun developed to give German airborne troops some useful artillery and anti-tank support that could be parachuted into battle. The 75 was found to be so useful during the invasion of Crete"

A recoilless gun, that concept being first developed and brought to a degree of completion and fruition with the American Davis gun:

"The Davis gun was the first true recoilless gun developed and taken into service. It was developed by Commander Cleland Davis of the US Navy, in 1910, just prior to World War I. His design connected two guns back to back, with the backwards-facing gun loaded with lead balls and grease of the same weight as the shell in the other gun"

The German recoilless gun not being that light in weight, but being air-droppable and having a decent range for weapon of that caliber. Smoothbore, so I am wondering what the accuracy was.

"Weight 145 kg (319 lbs) - - Effective range 6,800 m (7,434 yds)"

I might be wrong about this, bu the Leichtgeschütz 40 could be broken down into sections and "backpacked" by the crew? This would be an additional advantage, especially in mountainous terrain!

Modern recoilless rifles, direct fire almost exclusively, had a dedicated and specialized ammo that must be fired. NOT so with the Leichtgeschütz 40! Used conventional ammo already being manufactured and found in the inventory.

"One characteristic common to all the German recoilless guns was that they used ordinary shells, albeit with different cartridge cases to cater to the unique issues involved in with the recoilless principles. This gun used the HE shells from the 7.5 cm Gebirgsgeschütz (Mountain Gun) 36 and the anti-tank shell of the 7.5 cm Feldkanone 16, neuer Art (Field Cannon, New Model)"

Even larger caliber and more potent recoilless guns were in the works, on the drawing boards as designs worthy of consideration. But nothing ever came of it? NOT since WW2 and probably NEVER again. Recoilless rifle in the directy fire anti-tank role were replaced some time ago by the anti-tank guided-missile [ATGM]. That recoilless gun, an artillery piece, is also an item passe', gone forever?


Saturday, April 23, 2011


This is coolbert:

"the 'absolute and immediate need' for 'reinforcement by sea shipment
of heavy weaponry if the operation is to get ahead at all.'"

The Battle of Crete [1941], is also illustrative of the relative German ineptitude at amphibious operations. The German, lacking a comprehensive and all-encompassing doctrine for amphibious operations during the Second World War [WW2] also during Operation Mercury [the invasion of Crete] unable to reinforce by sea those air-dropped and lightly armed troops of the Fallschirmjaeger, German soldiers on the ground that first day of Mercury finding themselves in desperate circumstances, planned and attempted seaborne reinforcement unobtainable, ineffectual!

The Kriegsmarine, using ad hoc organization and commandeered vessels [primarily Greek fishing vessels, called caiques], both on the second and third day of the battle turned back with losses, NOT able to land either troops or the gear as needed by the German paratroopers.

British warships able to intercept the approaching German flotillas, the Luftwaffe even having gained aerial superiority!

It not being until one week AFTER the battle had begun that the German naval forces were finally, after great effort, able to land TWO TANKS, those vehicles having a minimal role in further combat.

"Despite the dangers posed by roving British naval forces, the German Kriegsmarine had not entirely given up on attempts to ship heavy weapons to the struggling paratroopers."

"Despite the dangers posed by roving British naval forces, the German Kriegsmarine had not entirely given up on attempts to ship heavy weapons to the struggling paratroopers. On 24 May Oberleutnant-zur-See Österlin, who had led the ill-fated Maleme Flotilla, was given the task of transporting [to the battlefield] two Panzer II light tanks . . . Upon nearing the shore on 28 May, the lighter was positioned ahead of the tug and firmly beached . . . and the two tanks rolled ashore."

Well, after a week of effort, two tanks ashore is the best you can do, what more need be said? All that too, with aerial superiority, the Kriegsmarine not having a "best moment" during Mercury!

It should be noted too that the German during that same period was not alone in lacking a comprehensive and all-encompassing doctrine regarding successful amphibious operations, or properly possessing an understanding of same. The Soviet Timoshenko in conversation with the U.S. General Marshall, voiced his opinion that a cross-channel amphibious assault of the Normandy type was NOT much different than an ordinary river crossing, "and why were the western allies dithering?".


Thursday, April 21, 2011

August 21.

This is coolbert:

"there will be terrifying sights and great signs from heaven" - - Luke 21:11

And INDEED there was a great sign and portent in the heavens. And the correct interpretation was made. This was an omen that bode no good!

August 21, 1914. A total eclipse of the sun, the path of totality passing directly over and observable by the massed forces of the advancing and hitherto victorious Imperial Russian army. The invasion of East Prussia so far successful in an unanticipated manner - - the Russian "steamroller" unstoppable - - so it was thought.

I knew there was something to this and there was! A literary reference to the eclipse, not found in the "Guns of August" by Barbara Tuchman, BUT being found in the book "August 1914" by Alexander Solzhenitsyn [part of the "Red Wheel" saga]. Quoting in entirety from the passage, the writing genius of Alexander far surpassing my feeble efforts and eloquence:

"On the third day (21 August) after they had crossed the German frontier, there was a total eclipse of the sun. Officers had been ordered in advance to explain to the men that this was in the normal course of things, nothing to worry about, and that all they need to do was keep a tight rein on the horses. The simple peasants, however, did not believe them. When it started getting dark in the middle of the sultry day, and birds flew about with frantic cries, and horses reared and tried to bolt in the sinister reddish twilight, the soldiers crossed themselves to a man and muttered, 'It's a bad omen! It bodes no good!'"

Again, indeed, the proper interpretation of this omen was made, astonishingly so! That "unstoppable" Russian steamroller less than a week later routed, put to flight, vanquished on the battlefield in a most humiliating and complete manner, seemingly to never recover - - Tannenberg!!


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Stock Detective VI.

This is coolbert:

Stock Detective - - Conclusion.

General observations & impressions.

Concluding my interview with Deke. American Vietnam War combat veteran who fought in the Rhodesian Bush War as a stock detective, a military and quasi-military mission - - nonetheless - - combat and WAR as that word is generally understood.

Bert: What most surprised you about your Rhodesian experience?

Deke: The shoestring it was run on, as well as how well the Rhode military did against much larger forces of the terrs/g's.I was also surprised at how many black Rhode soldiers there were fighting for the Rhode government. They were highly motivated as well

Bert: While on ranch security, the terrain and weather you encountered was to similar in some ways to what part of the U.S., if any?

Deke: I have to say I've seen nothing quite like the terrain and flora in the US anywhere. The closest might be south and west Texas, but Texas has no Kopjes, no "wait a minute" bushes with thorns in very tree, bush and grass, and no huge animals wandering about. It is hard to equate that part of Africa with anything anywhere else. Weather: was hot, dry, such that the air sometimes sounded like a slow batch of popcorn going off as the seeds popped and crackled in the heat. And there was a time when it was so cold, all we could do was struggle to keep warm, forgetting about any contact with terrs for that night.

Bert: Did you ever meet other Americans and did this surprise you?

Deke: Yes, I met a few and no, I wasn't surprised. It was a gravitating point for a lot of Viet vets with reasons like me for joining up, as well as for adventurers (those latter were the ones who mostly faked their resumes and DD-214 US military discharge papers). At the time, Americans appeared all over Africa to fight against Marxist-led groups, most of them vets from Vietnam, most being known as mercenaries. Some were true professional soldiers and some were just stupid wannabe mercs and pretend heroes who, like the poorly trained adversaries I mentioned, got dead in quick order when they ran into anyone organized or trained.

Bert: Were the Rhodesians generally surprised to encounter an American?

Deke: No, there were Yanks all around. Some were not highly regarded I might add, mostly because of the aforementioned problem with exaggerating or inventing combat experience either to get higher rank upon entering the Rhodesian military or to get into elite units for which they'd otherwise not be qualified.

Bert: The famous American author Robin Moore who wrote the "Green Berets" was for a time the unofficial American diplomat in Rhodesia. Did you ever meet him?

Deke: I really don't recall. If I did, I met him socially only one time in passing at a party or gathering of some kind which included newly arrived Americans. I was advised to avoid him, as publicity in those days was something combat personnel didn't want. I was aware he was there and who he was. He was seen by some local Rhodesians as some kind of CIA plant or intelligence gatherer. I did meet his female assistant, who was aiding him in writing another book, while being his social secretary. She was quite attractive and was also reputed to be his lover. We were also warned by various Americans and Rhodesians to keep away from her for the same reasons.

Bert: That Rhodesian army was described as THE BEST small army in the world, would you concur?

Deke: At the time, yes.

Bert: The Rhodesian troop in particular tended to be very physically fit?

Deke: Yes, very! Most seemed to be farm boys--owners and sons of owners of farms and ranches. They hunted regularly, worked outside a lot, and thus were naturally fit. Most were reservists who, when not on active duty, went back to the farms and sometimes led safaris and the like.

Bert: White Rhodesians primarily a farm boy strong and used to doing hard physical labor out of doors? Accustomed to handling firearms? Also adept at mechanical repair of vehicles? All from farm experience. Natural soldiers?

Yes, see above. Yes to all the questions. As for "natural soldiers", city boys often make very good soldiers too--but the farm boys and outdoorsmen start with a huge advantage; they know the basic soldering skills already: bushcraft, hunting, shooting, making camps and fires in the bush, etc.

Bert: Did the Rhodesians to your knowledge ever attempt to constitute a "Legion" type unit? Foreign fighters only at levels of platoon, company or above?

Deke: I don't recall now. From what I saw, most of the foreigners seemed to be fairly equally mixed in with the Rhodesians. Some units might have more Americans or Brits than another unit, simply because the men would manipulate the system to get transferred to a unit with a friend or friends in it.

Bert: This ends the interview with Deke! And a most interesting item for the blog it makes. Thank you Deke and good hunting!

Deke: Thank you Bert.

This serial is the type of material that needs to be put down on paper for posterity sake, and now has been done so. Thanks again Deke.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Stock Detective V.

This is coolbert:

Stock Detective.

Operations, tactics, and confrontation.

Continuing the interview with Deke. Stock detectives - - protectors of the cows, the herd, stalking and engaging in combat the cattle rustlers of the ZAPU and ZANU insurgents.

Bert: You would proceed by vehicle, horse [?] or foot [?] to an assigned area, wear socks over the boots when leaving the road, then patrol? Was this a moving patrol or did you establish a daytime hide spot, watch and observe for terrs to appear? Then engage with long range fire. During nighttime you used a moving patrol or set up an ambush?

Deke: We would be delivered by Land Rover or some other farm truck to an area we'd pre-planned to patrol and ambush (usually based on local intelligence from villagers and ranch workers). We'd often put on heavy wool socks over our boots before jumping off the truck to start the patrol, and wear them for the first 100 feet or more into the bush. Once far enough away from the road, we'd take the socks off (they'd wear out fast in the bush). The biggest concern was leaving boot tracks visible from the road--one never knew who was using that road and it was easy to spot boot tracks in the middle of nowhere, where no one was expected to be, leaving the road and going into the bush. That would be like putting out a huge neon sign saying, "security forces here!" If our boot tracks were seen, the usual response was for the local guerrilla/terr group to get out of the area, fast. Like I said, even though they outnumbered us by 40 to 3 and even had more deadly weapons, like RPG rocket launchers (similar to Bazookas) and belt fed machine guns, they did not want to face trained me with guns--even if there were just three of us.

We'd usually "patrol" through the bush during daylight hours, often taking detours to find high ground, mostly four and five story tall rock formations called "Kopjes" in Afrikaans (pronounced "Koppies") so we could bring the sniper rifle into effect if we saw the terrs moving below somewhere, while checking at the same time to see if the terrs were using the same Kopje for surveillance like we intended to use it for.

[a pride of lions is also known to use the vantage point of a kopje for surveillance of the surrounding terrain. Watch for "game" and keep an eye on their domain. It is not for nothing the lion is referred to as the "king" of the beasts!]

Our tactics varied: most times we'd move toward general locations where we'd been advised the terrs might have been seen.

Sometimes the intelligence would come from mistakes such as what I said we were trying to avoid ourselves: someone had seen boot tracks where none were expected.

A group of anywhere from ten to forty men leaves a sign as large as a highway in the bush. Or, someone may have actually seem a terr--where there was one, there was a group and most groups were 35 to 40, but sometimes less.

Remember, we were seeking them out during the days most of the time so we could use the advantage of long range shooting before they got close enough to make their numbers count against us. We worked different tactics for day and night, which is why I used the FN at night and the Model 70 during the day. BTW, we rarely encountered any enemy.

Other times we'd have more exact information about locations and trails known to be used by terrs and we'd head for that location and set up a day time ambush, usually picking a site which gave us some clear ground to use the long range rifle fire we intended to give us an edge.

At night, we'd find a suitable site to both "hole up" and at the same time, serve as an ambush site, as we'd expect to be in an ambush mode all night. The site would be close enough to a trail or choke point so we'd hear the terrs moving, yet far enough away that we'd not be in the middle if they ran toward us on the trail before we could stop them. We'd never move at night if we could help it--the noise of our moving would take away whatever advantage we had over the opponents. We'd wait to hear them moving in and surprise them. It sort of worked one night--no one was killed but our not moving caused major problems with one group.

One time we were advised the terrs watered at a certain site and we set up near that location.

Bert: Patrolling and missions were NOT normally from vehicles? You did just not drive around looking for terrs?

Deke: No, never.

Bert: How long generally did you spend in the bush? And between times in the bush your rest period was?

Deke: I am not fully certain but recall five to ten days at a time in the bush before our supplies, particularly water, ran low. We spent around two to four days resting--we didn't 'rest' well since being in a fixed and known location made us nervous. While in the bush we controlled where we were and who knew our presence. In a lodge, resting and picking up supplies, we were now in a known location, seen by many whose loyalties were not known, with time for an enemy force to gather and attack.

Bert: Longest continuous period in the bush?

Deke: I don't recall. No more than ten days.

Bert: It was not a hindrance for that SF SOG man to go on such missions with one artificial leg?

Deke: Not on most of our patrols and ambushes. He was very good at keeping his portion of the mission up to speed.

But one night we had to leave him behind because we'd received news of terrs going to appear at a certain location at a certain time. We had to move very quickly at a speed, which he couldn't keep up with, so we left him at a set ambush elsewhere with an SAS man and another security guy.

Bert: You describe a tracker? That man met an unfortunate and ghastly end. And his job was to "cut sign" and let you know who, where and when? He was a black African?

Deke: Yes. He was a black African with an expertise as a tracker. He chose not to carry weapons, from some feeling that perhaps the terrs, if they came upon him, would take that into account: that he wasn't there to kill them, but only working as a tracker for us.

The tracker whose name I forgot did indeed "cut sign" very effectively and led us often to tracks we would not have seen nor properly interpreted even if we did see them--he could look at tracks and tell you how many men were in the group, whether some were carrying heavy loads, if any were women (almost never), or children, how many hours or days ago they had passed, and whether they "belonged" in that area or not.

I don't know how he was captured, only that he was and what the results were.

[the tracker was slowly tortured over a thirty-six hour period!!]

Bert: You could call an air strike or artillery fire on a terr target?

Deke: No, we were contract security teams with no radio contact with the regulars. We did sometimes have access when in the lodge or ranches to a standard farmers' radio network used to notify the Army of attacks and beg for assistance, but when we were in the bush, we were on our own.

Bert: You had the ability to call upon national level assets [Rhodesian] if needed?

Deke: Only through the ranch emergency network. BTW, one time when we relied on the emergency network (but didn't have to use it), we found out later the radio' was inoperative for some reason.

Bert: Your three man hunter/killer team was willing to fight it out with a platoon sized unit of terrs? Engage them with long range fire for which they did not have a good response? Some persons will find it difficult you executed such gutsy maneuvers? And your reply would be?

Deke: I was there, I have photos and witnesses from my team to confirm what and how we did it and what we planned. Further, any other ranch security survivors can confirm the environment, as well as the various tactics used. Finally, any Rhodesian Army troops can add and confirm information about the terr tactics as well as the ranch security people . . . But the overall tenor of this description would be confirmed by the regular Army troopies as far as I know.

To be continued.


Stock Detective IV.

This is coolbert:

Stock Detective.

The Adversary.

Continuing the interview with Deke, stock detective during the Rhodesian Bush War. Confronting the "adversary", the insurrectionist forces of the ZAPU and ZANU.

The "adversary" referred to as terrs [short for terrorists] as opposed to guerrilla. Terrs [terrorists] - - that definition fully explained!

Bert: The adversary for the most part was very poorly trained?

Deke: Yes very poorly trained.

Bert: Terrs were of the ZAPU and ZANU persuasion. One side was Chinese trained and the other Soviet trained? Any difference in the abilities between the two?

Deke: I don't know. All were universally badly trained. It made my job so much easier.

But it was explained by the fact that most of the terr's ranks were filled with men and boys who'd been kidnapped from their villages in Rhodesia, marched across the border and given six or eight weeks of training which often didn't include much in the way of soldering skills. Marxist-Leninist dogma seemed to fill up a lot of training hours. Most weren't trusted with weapons during the training.

After their training, they would be given an AK and a few magazines and kicked back across the border with orders to attack stores, villages and the like and cause havoc . . . The terrs were absolutely no match for trained fighters and they knew it. So they spent their time in fun terr stuff like torturing, raping and killing innocents . . . My own tracker was captured-- they took about 36 hours to slowly burn him to death.

Depending on which side you fought for, the terrs were either terrorists or guerrillas, but in fact, the vast majority of them seemed to be inclined toward terrorism rather than fighting. They avoided the Army . . . Doing most of their "fighting" against innocents . . .

Bert: Captured POW terrs in uniform were given the normal treatment under Geneva Convention? If not in uniform their fate was?

Deke: I don't know, other than what I was told; thus, my knowledge is insufficient.

Bert: Terrorists in the sense that they avoided contact with and fled when confronted by conventional military force or even the ranch security? They tended to intimidate black Africans through the use of force and attack when possible and kill white Rhodesians, but generally avoid all confrontation with an armed force?

Deke: Yes, from what I saw and heard . . . we had to hide our boots upon first leaving the road to enter into the bush near where we were going to patrol. Once our boot prints were seen, sometimes by the locals who might support the terrs, the terrs would leave the area. We were but three men with guns, but we were even told by the locals that once we were known to be in the area, the 40 man terr groups would leave for another area ASAP. We three carried one bolt action rifle and two FN FAL rifles whose advantage was range and accuracy over the enemy's AK-47s, or at night we'd be with three FN FALs. The terr fully "outgunning" us in weaponry--yet they would leave rather than fight us.

Bert: Terrorists that in a quite deliberate made attacks on civilians with purposeful intent? With relish too?

Deke: Yes, most seemed to enjoy the power they could show over other people. I've noted that attitude before with others who had little power in their own lives until they were made a part of a guerrilla group with little training or discipline: many become murderers and torturers by choice because it gives them a feeling of power. Some were forced into it by their leaders, until it became a way of life. Some hated it. Most or all did it, whatever their motivation or lack of.

Their organization believed from the top that the ends justifies the means--that made it easier to do the acts, since there was no expectation of punishment for what would be "war crimes" in the Western philosophy of war.

To be continued.


Stock Detective III.

This is coolbert:

Stock Detective.

Animals & other dangers.

Continuing the interview with Deke, American Vietnam War combat veteran who fought in the Rhodesian Bush War as a private contractor, a stock detective, as part of what was called ranch security. NOT enlisted in the Rhodesian military. Duty, nonetheless, of a military and quasi-military nature.

Warfare as fought in the African bush of course having the constant possibility of wild animal attack, those critters large and dangerous, capable of killing you in the proverbial heartbeat, EVEN STALKING YOU IN THE SAME MANNER WITH WHICH YOU ARE STALKING YOUR ENEMY!

Also, diseases endemic to an area of the world such as Rhodesia [Zimbabwe now] are also a potential threat to combatants. By far more casualties sustained from illness than from combat!

Bert: A particular unique aspect of war in Africa is the possibility of wild animal attack. Did you ever have an occasion to be attacked or in danger from any of the big five? Rhino, elephant, lion, leopard, Cape Buffalo!

Deke: One night, sitting at an ambush site, we smelled and heard lions nearby--I heard one cough. It sounded like the critter was sitting next to me, it was so loud! But it probably was a quarter mile away or even more (or he'd have had a late night snack)--sound, especially that of something you'd rather not hear, travels far in certain conditions in the bush. If you don't believe me about smelling the lion and knowing exactly what it was, go to the local zoo to the lions' enclosures. You'll realize even an urbanized human can smell and differentiate between a lion and other critters in the bush. And when you've been in the bush for weeks on end, not having your smell senses affected by hydrocarbons (petrol or gasoline), you will discover your sense of smell increases dramatically.

Friends in the SAS [Special Air Services] or in other ranch security work told of elephants walking virtually silently through their ambush (without touching or stepping on the men crouched there) or of losing a man to crocs while crossing a stream at night.

One night, when we "spread out" for an ambush, one of my three man team crept back to my location in the middle of our spread. We were each about 150-200 yards apart for this particular site. As he approached, he was whispering loudly enough to be heard a long distance away, afraid I'd be trigger happy enough to shoot him. He was coming from a direction I knew to be his site, so I wasn't ready to shoot him. It turned out he was very excited. He'd set up in a shallow depression with his FN rifle at the ready. He heard something approaching him and readied himself to shoot. But he heard "snuffling" and grunting and gradually realized it was an animal approaching. He crouched deeper into the hole, hoping it would go by without him having to shoot it to reveal his location. Unfortunately, the wart hog that was coming near turned out to be really pissed off at finding a man in her den. My friend had chosen the wrong place to be. Eventually the wart hog forced him out and he had to make his way to me without getting shot by me. It broke up the whole ambush. He had a hard time living that one down.

Bert: Crocodiles or hippo too were a danger when near water?

Deke: Yes, we feared the crocs most but were told the hippos killed the most people. Still, the crocs were what we watched for the most. I never saw one but we didn't go near large streams on my patrols.

Bert: Foraging for your own food, killing and eating wild game is another aspect of African warfare. How often did you do this?

Deke: Virtually every day or so [only while in camp, at a lodge or ranch house, not while in the field on a mission]. An impala per day was the usual and once I shot a 600 or 700 lb. Kudu. Very tasty! The local villagers were quite satisfied with it too. Whenever I shot more than we needed, it went to local villages. I noted that only the adult men ate the meat--women and children were left with mealy or mashed or ground corn.

Bert: Are you a hunter of whitetail deer, etc.? Food animals. Know how butcher and dress wild game for the table at some later date? A skill acquired before Rhodesia?

Deke: Yes and yes. I must make a change in prior answers here. When we were in the bush, we didn't hunt wild meat--we didn't want to give our positions away by gun shots. In the bush we lived on Brit/Rhode rations and what meat we'd shot earlier--mostly jerked meat. When we lived at the ranches or lodges, we shot an impala per day. [hunting wild game during an operation while in the bush - - the gunshots - - would have obviously have alerted any insurgents in the area.] A local was with us and did most of the butchering in exchange for a portion.

Bert: Local diseases were taken into account and preventive measures taken? Tsetse fly for instance.

Deke: No, not that I recall for us--other than the standard inoculations we all had to take before leaving for Africa. Plague, yellow fever, smallpox, some other things I don't recall now.

Bert: While in the field or even in camp, did you ever take prophylaxis measures against illness such as:

1. Take a daily aspirin?

Deke: No.

2. Take a daily multi-vitamin?

Deke: No

3. Use a lot of unscented insect repellent?

Deke: No, we just stunk and warded off mosquitoes as best we could.

4. Grow a beard to prevent mosquito bites on the face?

Deke: No, though we wouldn't shave on patrols. After ten days we'd have a short facial growth that was shaved off as soon as we came in from the bush.

5. Take medicine for preventing malaria?

Deke: Yes, [anti] malaria pills (atabrine?).

6. Use mosquito netting at night covering the whole head and hands?

Deke: No

Bert: While in water you took special precautions against bilharzia? Tie a string tight around your penis to prevent the parasite from entering through that orifice?

[bilharzia - - a parasite entering the body by drinking contaminated water or having the worm or egg enter through an orifice of the body!]

Deke: Are you kidding?? LoL Never heard of that protective measure!! Nothing like a tourniquet around your most masculine part to make it fall off . . . . [still laughing!!]

The only precaution against bilharzia was to know which water sources were likely to be contaminated (eventually, nearly all standing water sources in the bush were assumed to be) and/or to take all the water we needed with us, not using any from the bush at all. That nearly cost us on one patrol when we ran out of water and were just a few hundred yards from what was known as one of the "sweetest" fresh water sources in the area. We could smell it from where we were, and were gradually becoming heat exhausted and/or dehydrated. We were so tempted, yet knew that this particular source had been fairly well confirmed as being quite contaminated. We were rescued by a ranch party who'd heard us shooting earlier during a contact.

For months and even years after returning to the US from Rhodesia/Zimbabwe (the name was changing even as I was there, as was the government), I worried about bilharzia and the fact that doctors in the US likely wouldn't recognize such an unknown African disease at first, even though I didn't knowingly drink from standing water in the bush. Sometimes we didn't know where the water came from, although we were provided it at the ranches or lodges where we 'rested'.

To be continued.


Stock Detective II.

This is coolbert:

Stock Detective.


Continuing my interview with Deke.

American combat vet from the Vietnam War who served as a stock detective during the Rhodesian Bush War. A face off with the armed insurgents of ZAPU and ZANU. Protecting and guarding the cattle of the ranch owners using military and quasi-military weapons and tactics.

Bert: You carried the sniper rifle, the Model 70. And you zeroed the sniper rifle for what range?

Deke: I zeroed it at 200 yards--I memorized trajectories up to 500 yards, but would be most certain of any target up to 400 yards. Above that, there might be a 50-50 chance of a miss, given the difficulties of determining the exact range beyond 400 yards. A mistaken guesstimate after 400 yards becomes critical at any range beyond that point because of the accelerated rate of drop of the bullet.

[the Winchester Model 70 bolt action rifle with telescopic sight firing the NATO round was used extensively by U.S. military snipers in Vietnam. A superior weapon capable of precise long-range shooting.]

Bert: That Model 70 WAS equipped with telescopic sights?

Deke: Yes, I don't recall the make or power, but I think it was a fixed four power scope--another reason it was only good out to 400 yards (more power is preferred for the longer ranges).

Bert: That Model 70 fired the NATO round and therefore was compatible with the FN FAL round?

Deke: The Model 70 Winchester Rifle that I used was a sporting model, using the .270 deer rifle caliber, not the NATO 7.62x51mm (AKA .308 Winchester round). Not compatible, but it was what I could get when we set up the team.

Bert: Did you use a bipod for the Model 70 or for FN FAL? Use a sling for support when firing at long range?

Deke: No and no.

Bert: That three man hunter/killer team used the sniper rifle and had what other back up weapons?

Deke: FN FAL 7.62x51mm rifles, designed for full and semi auto use. They out-ranged the AK-47s carried by the terrs significantly and gave us a long range advantage . . . At night, I'd exchange my Model 70 Sniper rifle for an FN rifle for myself--shooting at night would be different and, since we had no night vision devices, would not entail any need for sniping skills and weapons.

[the FN FAL rifle is roughly analogous to the American M-14 of the same period. A full-size assault rifle firing that NATO round, semi-automatic, twenty round magazine.]

Bert: You carried a side-arm, .45 ACP Model 1911?

Deke: Yes, I brought several accurized .45ACP pistols for use. My mates usually used 9mm Browning Hi Power pistols (aka Model 1935 or P-35) with what was then considered high capacity magazines: 13 rounds per magazine. My attitude was the bigger the bullet, the better, so I wanted the .45

Bert: The Rhodesians were using the Browning hi-power at that time so your two SF SOG mates carried that weapon for ammo compatibility I would think?. And having a high capacity magazine during a last stand moment would be handy too I would think?

Deke: Ammo compatibility was one reason they carried the Hi-Power. Another was the magazine capacity as you said. However, both had carried the Hi-Power during their cross-border operations on the Ho Chi Minh Trail in the Vietnam War and were very comfortable with it. They did not view their pistols as a true secondary weapon as much as I did, as I shot in pistol competition a lot and was much better qualified with it.

Bert: Did you ever wear body armor or a flak jacket, etc.?

Deke: Yes, wore bullet-proof (more appropriately named bullet-resistant) armor on a couple of occasions, but stopped because of weight and heat problems.

Bert: Did you have night vision devices?

Deke: Never.

Bert: I know the Rhodesians captured from time to time enormous quantities of Soviet small arms and ammo. Including the SVD sniper rifle. Did YOU ever use the SVD or other Soviet small arms on operations?

Deke: I used SKS rifles one time in a lodge when we had some down time--we had very little ammunition for our FNs so when we found a cache of SKS rifles with over a thousand rounds of ammo at the lodge, we felt quite well prepared for whatever might come. I did not see AKs used other than for familiarization purposes at ranges--I have a photo of myself using one then. The word in the bush was not to be seen with an AK--the Army was trained to fire on short notice and having an AK in hand might lead to friendly fire before identities could be sorted out.

I don't recall seeing a SVD at all during my work.

[Soviet SVD a premier sniper rifle, first fielded by the Soviet in 1959 [?], allegedly field tested in Vietnam. Telescopic sights that were infra-red sensitive, a semi-automatic sniper rifle firing that 7.62 X 54R Russian round.]

At one ranch, I used a .375 H&H magnum rifle with a scope, but that was for one emergency that came up while I happened to be visiting that ranch with only my pistols for defense. It was simply a hunting rifle that was handy when the ranch was hit one night in one of its paddocks--it was one that had the territory broken up into 5,000 acre fenced in paddocks.

Bert: While on patrol or ambush, did you ever use land mines for either defensive or offensive purposes? Did you have remotely controlled detonated land mines of the Claymore type?

Deke: Our team had no claymores or the like. I was led to believe that such weapons were rare in the Rhode Army inventory as well, thanks to sanctions. At one point, my team had only had one hand grenade, called locally "the British Mills bomb"--the generic Brit and Commonwealth nickname for all Commonwealth grenades, whether a true Mills bomb or not--I think the term came from the grenades used in World War One. Our plan was to use the grenade as a "contact breaker"--a weapon used to confuse or drive the enemy to ground momentarily when things went bad for us, giving us time to run away and re-group elsewhere.

To be continued.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Stock Detective I.

This is coolbert:

Stock Detective.

From the wiki entry for Bounty Hunter: "During the Rhodesian Bush War, cattle rustling reached epidemic proportions in the late 1970s. This was part of a twofold strategy of the guerrillas against the white minority government in Salisbury. First, it led to starvation in the Tribal Trust Lands, secondly it negatively affected the economy of Rhodesia . . . mercenaries were hired to confront the rustlers. They were called Range Detectives, and most of them were Vietnam veterans . . . Payment was roughly 7 Rhodesian dollars a day, and a 750 Rhodesian dollar bonus for each rustler caught."

Here begins a series of blog entries, an interview with an American Vietnam War combat veteran who was a Rhodesian bounty hunter.

Saw service not with the Rhodesian military but with a private concern, ranch security, working as a "range detective", in American terminology a "stock detective".

An American Vietnam War combat veteran fighting as part of a team, using skills, weapons and tactics of a military and quasi-military to combat the cattle rustling of the black African insurrectionist groups, ZAPU and ZANU!

Those persons, "protectors of the cows", following an ancient and venerable tradition, the Kshatriya warrior of India, the hajduk of eastern Europe, Tom Horn of the American Old American West, in the Indo-European tradition the wealth of the noble or lord being measured in head of cattle - - the prevention of rustling a very serious business, attended to by the man-at-arms.

Consider: "The old Vedic word for war, gavisti, means 'desire for cows'"

Consider that the ancient epic poem of Ireland is: "The Great Cattle Raid of Cooley"!

An assemblage of cows, cattle, a herd, gathered in large part through WAR!

On to the interview!

Bert: Welcome Deke.

Deke: Hello Bert.

Bert: During the Rhodesian Bush War you served as a stock detective? Americans patrolling, looking for terrorist cattle rustlers? A $700 bounty for each rustler caught?

Deke: That is primarily what I did in Rhodesia. $10 per day, a bonus for each terr caught--the "cattle rustlers' I was confronting were all part of the terr group I was never in the Rhodesian Army. I accepted a job doing Ranch security for some Rhode ranchers who were being hit constantly by the terrorists/guerrillas ("terrs" in Rhode terminology).

Bert: Did you have take an oath of allegiance to the Rhodesians?

Deke: As I said, I wasn't in the military officially. So, no.

Bert: Did you have soldier status with the Rhodesians incorporated into their military or would you have been legally by international law considered a mercenary?

Deke: As private contractors working on private land, we had the status the ranchers would have had in self defense. The soldiers acted as if we were part of their forces and in fact, many of the private security troops were Rhode Army reservists anyway, not on active duty and working "on the side" as security people. I would say we weren't considered mercenaries.

Bert: Did you contact someone here in the U.S. first before going to Rhodesia or did you just show up in Salisbury.

Deke: I had contacts, but I'd rather not name them.

Bert: And your route from the U.S. to Rhodesia was through where and how?

Deke: I flew from Miami, FL, via commercial air travel, through Rio de Janeiro, where I changed planes to a South African Airline flight to Johannesburg.

Bert: Was there a primary over-riding factor in your going to Rhodesia or were the factors varied and complex?

Deke: Continuing the war against Communism and its totalitarian governments was my primary motivation. I considered the war in Vietnam as one of many conflicts necessary to fight takeovers by the kind of Marxists who believed in one party government, no freedom, etc. For me, it was a personal crusade brought about by what I thought of as an American national failure which led to a bloodbath in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

An additional motivation was the lack of jobs for Viet vets. When I hunted for work in 1976 and '77 in the US, in at least one third of the few interviews I was invited to, I was told by the human resources people doing the hiring that they would not hire Viet vets because "everybody knows you are all baby killers and drug addicts." I was applying for all jobs from pumping gas at Seven/Elevens up to management in retail stores.

Bert: Did anyone ever warn you that you might lose your American citizenship by your fighting for a foreign nation? A threat that was valid?

Deke: Yes, we were warned not to take the Rhodesian oath because some US government agencies or personnel would try to take away our American citizenship. However, I was aware of a 1960s US Supreme Court decision involving Jewish-Americans who took oaths to Israel to join the Israeli Army. The decision said that American citizenship had to be specifically renounced in order for the citizen to actually lose his citizenship. I was advised that the Rhodesian military would have taken me in without such an oath, even though I knew that oath would not result in loss of citizenship. It was used by the American government to scare away US citizens from joining up.

Bert: And you arrived in Rhodesia in what year?

Deke: I think 1977. Not sure, so long ago....

Bert: Were you single or married prior to Rhodesia?

Deke: Single. I lost some girl friends due to my service in several conflicts over the years.

Bert: Your basic pay was $10 per day?

Deke: Yes, plus room and board, whenever we were "out of the bush", staying in abandoned ranch houses and hunting lodges.

Bert: Besides the $10 per day the bounty on terrs caught or killed was $700?

Deke: $1000 bounty for us.

Bert: Was it common practice for Americans to be deployed in such a fashion?

Deke: No. Again, I was working private security at the time. My two cohorts on most of our field work were both Vietnam Green Beret SOG vets with extensive small unit work behind enemy lines--just what we were doing. They trained me in the field using their Spec Ops experiences in Vietnam for a guide.

[SOG. Studies & Observation Group. American Special Forces and special operations troops during the Vietnam War whose mission was deep-penetration cross-border missions into denied territory, Laos, Cambodia, North Vietnam, primarily to observe the Ho Chi Minh Trail and activity of communist forces on same.]

Bert: And your mission as an American was part of a sniper hunter/killer three man team?

Deke: Yes, I was considered the best shot, as I was involved in competitive shooting for years before going to Rhodesia. I have to point out that in today's environment, I'd be considered not a sniper, but a marksman or sharpshooter. I was very capable of hitting any man-sized target with a telescopic sighted rifle up to 400 yards without worry of missing. I was just a better than average shooter, without all the training that snipers go through today.

Bert: Both you and the terrs wore camo uniforms?

Deke: We were "issued" Rhodesian Army uniforms, but without insignia. The Rhode Army insisted on this in order, they said, to avoid friendly fire incidents between the security people wandering in their areas and sometimes unknown to the Army. Everyone was on adrenaline in the bush and firing might begin without confirmation of one's identity. I don't recall exactly how the uniforms came to us, but it was directly from the military--the uniforms were new, unissued, and in our sizes. I still have mine

Bert: Did you feel at the time you were too old to beat the bush in a low-level position as a member of a hunter/killer team when Rhodesia. The stamina and physical effort required was not beyond you?

Deke: I ran 8-10 miles every single day at that point. My running times were as low as 60 minutes for 10 miles, or six minute miles, which was very good time for any age. I was in better physical shape than anyone I knew. But it must be noted, one of my SF cohorts went out into the bush with an artificial leg, having lost one of his real legs in the jungles of Laos when behind enemy lines along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

Bert: You prepared yourself physically in advance for the Rhodesian adventure? And did so in what manner?

Deke: No, I already worked out hard as I said.

Bert: The actual term used was ranch security? These ranches raised free-ranging beef cattle? Ranches were fenced?

Deke: The terms were ranch security and bounty hunters. The cattle were free ranging, though in some places the ranch--and the roaming cattle and some Cape Buffalo herds as well--were fenced into 5,000 acre segments, called paddocks.

Bert: And the terrs "rustled" for food or just to create havoc or a combination of both?

Deke: The terrs rustled for both food for the larger terr groups and to disrupt the economy, driving the owners out of business and out of the area. In addition, they liked to drive the workers out of work--I think there was an expectation that the workers would blame the owners for their lost jobs and rise up.

At one rather large white-owned ranch, something like 70% of the herd was lost in one year or less, as I recall. The rancher and his wife and 14 year old daughter were targeted and each had to wear or carry a weapon 24/7. They had six to ten men working as security people at one time or another, with contacts against rustlers/terrs (rustlers working for the terrs, if not the terrs themselves) being frequent at times.

Bert: Your U.S. military training was adequate and had prepared you for the ranch security mission?

Deke: My familiarity with bush living as a sometimes outdoorsman/hunter gave me an advantage. And, as I said, both my cohorts during most of the bush work in Rhodesia were former Spec Ops SOG soldiers from the Viet war, working well behind enemy lines in Laos on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. They constantly trained me while in the field on tactics, responses to ambushes, bush living, ambush setting, and so forth. They were highly skilled operators--the kind you hear about who are now Delta Force people. There was no Delta Force at the time, but their outfit was the one that Delta Force was partially created from. I felt I had the best on-the-job training in the world. At least one of my teachers in Rhodesian who I went out on some operations with was an SAS [Special Air Services] soldier who also taught me some of that force's skills.

Bert: Would you do it all over again?

Deke: Yes.

To be continued.


Friday, April 15, 2011


This is coolbert:

"The Supreme Commander"

Here is the strange case of David Deng. Thanks to National Public Radio [NPR] for the tip and story.

David Deng. Chinese national recruiting other Chinese nationals [David and his recruits were uniformly all not U.S. citizens?] to his own personal army.

Uniforms, ID card, training in the desert with air rifles, marching in parades, etc.

"Chinese National Accused In Army Recruiting Scam"

"A Chinese national who said he was the 'supreme commander' of a made-up Army unit orchestrated an elaborate scheme that attracted recruits and their money with the promise that it was a path to U.S. citizenship, authorities allege."

"David Deng, recruited 100 other Chinese nationals . . . to join the 'U.S. Army/Military Special Forces Reserve unit,' then gave them phony U.S. Army uniforms and military ID cards."

"The 51-year-old El Monte man is accused of charging the recruits initiation fees ranging from $300 to $450, with renewal fees set at $120 a year."

A con game, a scam, the intent [?] was to hoodwink unsuspecting Chinese nationals that this all comprised a "path to citizenship"?

This does not seem to be much of a criminal enterprise, if any profit was made by David at all. The fees as "charged" by David were rather nominal, David indeed providing uniforms and training of a sort, NOT profiting by a wide margin from any of his activities.

David is a military "wannabee" of some sort? This is not clear. This represents more of an ego trip for David, he becomes the "big man" that everyone else looks up to, etc. That is my impression.

And the whole episode is almost comical in nature? A fraud was perpetrated - - but NOT a LOT of harm has been done. Criminal nonetheless.

And in a way reminiscent to a degree of the training as administered 100 years earlier by Homer Lea? David perhaps inspired desiring to emulate Homer Lea in a similar manner, but much less successful?


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sea Lion.

This is coolbert:

The German during the Second World War [WW2] - - not having a well thought out and developed doctrine for amphibious operations, whether on the offensive or defensive.

Here from various web sites some speculation and indication, including a simulation, a war game as done by professionals strongly suggesting that in the aftermath of the Battle of France - - 1940 - - the Battle of Britain still being fought in the air - - an attempted amphibious invasion of England by the German army WOULD HAVE FAILED!!

"'Operation Sealion' - was it possible"

"Operation Sealion - summary of an exercise held at the Staff College, Sandhurst in 1974."

Sea Lion, the plan for the invasion of England, the landing force being constructed to an extent from ad hoc elements, able to establish a beachhead, troops in large numbers successfully being landed, but not being able to bring ashore in sufficient quantity the heavy equipment, the tanks, the artillery, or have aerial support from the Luftwaffe as needed.

That exact combination of armor, artillery, and the Stuka dive bomber not being available to the ground troops, the blitzkrieg offensive used with such great success during the Battle of France NOT POSSIBLE!

The war game, the simulation predicated upon the assumption that prior to the landing of troops, the Luftwaffe HAD NOT BEEN ABLE TO ATTAIN AERIAL SUPREMACY IN THE SKIES OVER BRITAIN!

Operation Sea Lion - - Post-war war gaming of the plan"

"In the war game conducted at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 1974, which assumed the Luftwaffe had not yet won air supremacy, the Germans were able to establish a beachhead in England by using a minefield screen in the English Channel to protect the initial assault. However, the German ground forces were delayed at the 'Stop Lines' (e.g. the GHQ Line), a layered series of defensive positions that had been built, each a combination of Home Guard troops and physical barriers. At the same time, the regular troops of the British Army were forming up. After only a few days, the Royal Navy was able to reach the Channel from Scapa Flow, cutting off supplies and blocking further reinforcement. Isolated and facing regular troops with armour and artillery, the invasion force was forced to surrender."

This exercise, this simulation, this war game, the umpires and participants on both side actual combatants from WW2, some of which would have participated in Sea Lion and the defense of Britain if indeed such an invasion had taken place!

"The panel of umpires included Adolf Galland, Admiral Friedrich Ruge, Air Chief Marshal Sir Christopher Foxley-Norris, Rear Admiral Edward Gueritz, General Heinz Trettner and Major General Glyn Gilbert"


Wednesday, April 13, 2011


This is coolbert:

Here with a complete index of blog entries from Military Thoughts and Military Analysis - - men of middle-age or even older, during a time of war, answering the call to the colors, enlisting, not eschewing combat action, in each and every case of man of valor, courage, heroics, real guts!!

Persons to include:

* Frederick Selous.

* Jim Corbett.

* H.H. Munro [Saki].

* Edward Steichen.

* Paul Douglas.

* Steven Hutchison.

Frederick Selous and Edward Steichen.

Frederick Selous.

H.H. Munro.

Jim Corbett.

Paul Douglas.

Paul Douglas.

Steve Hutchison.

Maj. Steven Hutchison the OLDEST AMERICAN MILITARY MAN to lose his life in Iraq.

Age 61, Major Steve a Vietnam vet but not in his own mind too old, NOT lacking the physical and mental wherewithal to do his duty as he saw fit.

AND NONE of these men dotty Englishmen or dotty Americans either.

Real men of vigor desiring to do "their bit" and DOING SO!

Mind your elders!!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Civil War!

This is coolbert:

On this day 150 years ago it began in earnest.

The American Civil War.

The bombardment of Ft. Sumter, the commencement of armed hostilities.

The War Between the States, The American Civil War, the War of Southern Secession, The War of Northern Aggression. Whatever you want to call it.

Four years of very bitter, hard fought and protracted struggle, the Union side eventually unconditionally triumphant, the cost in life very high, 600,000 soldiers estimated killed total, Northern and Southern combined.

A portion of the United States, those southern states in rebellion, laid waste to an extent where recovery was not fully achieved for almost a hundred years later!!

Read in entirety from today this item from the Opinion page of the Chicago Tribune. A reprint of a much previous Tribune editorial - - April 13, 1861 - - with an eloquence I could hardly muster:

"War inaugurated!" "By the act of a handful of ingrates and traitors, war is inaugurated in this heretofore happy and peaceful Republic! While we write, the bombardment of Sumter is going on; and the blood of the few gallant defenders of the glorious old flag which yet, we hope, floats over that fortress is being poured out for their fidelity to the Constitution as it is, and the Union as our fathers made it!"

"The people know the cause of the fratricidal strife. The party, which, in the interests of a barbarous institution, has governed the country for the last 40 years, was beaten in the November election. The verdict of the people which does not touch a single one of the rights of any man, guarantied by the fundamental law, forbids the extension of that barbarous institution into national territory as yet uncursed by its blighting presence. This is the cause of the rebellion which months of effort has ripened into the bloody strife this day commenced! This and nothing else — this determination of a meagre minority to rule a powerful majority — this deification of Human Slavery as the guiding principle and polar star of a free people — are the dragon's teeth which, sown in a pestilent soil, have produced armed men."

"While we write, the issue of the conflict, which is yet going on, is doubtful. Major Anderson contends against fearful odds. His men are few and weary of prolonged confinement, and perhaps awed by the portentous preparations of the enemy. The fleet has not come to his aid. Only the Harriet Lane is in the offing. The accounts of the fray are from the traitors, in whose hands the telegraph is. They represent that a breach has been made of the fortress and that two of its great guns have been already dismounted. Tomorrow will tell us more; meanwhile we pray that treason may have its reward."

"The duty of the Government from this moment is plain. The resources of the Republic must be put forth with no grudging or tardy hand. The strife must be short — the war quick, sharp and decisive. Whatever ample means, courageous men and universal patriotism can do, must be done at once. Our fathers fought seven long years that the Constitution might be framed. We, their descendants, can afford any sacrifices, any exertion, that their labor may be preserved to the world for the blessing of mankind. Now, men of the North, for the struggle!"

Thank you Tribune!


Paul Douglas, USMC.

This is coolbert:

This DOES bear repeating.

From Colonel Craig, USMC, regarding Paul Douglas, the subject of the previous blog entry. Paul Douglas, a man of fifty years of age, enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps as a private.

According to Colonel Craig, USMC:

"I knew the Mayor of Burnham, Il, Rocky Runlet. He went to boot camp with Paul Douglas"

"I asked him how a man of 50 could go through boot camp? He told me Douglas did everything that the other boots did."

Right, and please believe me when I say that USMC boot camp is not for a sissy or someone not willing to put out the effort. Anything but that. Rough and tough, a lot of physical and mental demands at the same time.

And the USMC expects a lot from recruits because to begin with they GET BETTER THAN AVERAGE RAW MATERIAL. Persons, recruits, quite often motivated and willing to test themselves!

AN EIGHTEEN YEAR OLD CAN HAVE A HARD TIME IN USMC BOOT CAMP!! Much less a man of fifty years of age.

I had wondered if Douglas because of his advanced age had been given a "way out" or a "pass", but this is evidently NOT SO!!

Paul Douglas neither desired the "way out" or would have probably accepted one if offered. Again, most remarkable - - I am very impressed. They just don't make them like Paul Douglas anymore.


Monday, April 11, 2011


This is coolbert:

Read this incredible stuff!!

Add the name of this man to the list of those persons, middle-aged, almost a senior citizen, quite willing and able to enlist in the military during a time of war - - and then COMPORT THEMSELVES ON THE BATTLEFIELD WITH HONOR, COURAGE, BRAVERY AND EVEN PANACHE' NOT EVEN SEEN IN MEN MUCH YOUNGER!!

Paul Douglas. College professor, U.S. Marine.

Post-war, an esteemed U.S. Senator from the state of Illinois, highly respected and admired!

And with good reason!!

You can almost not say enough good things about this man.

During the Second World War [WW2] enlisting in the military AT THE AGE OF FIFTY YEARS OLD, IN THE U.S. MARINE CORPS - - AS A PRIVATE! Retiring with full disability pay with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel!

A man, again, middle-aged, close to being a senior citizen, a man in the same mold as a Frederick Selous, a Jim Corbett, a H.H. Munro [Saki], an Edward Steichen!!

"Douglas resigned from the Chicago City Council and . . . enlisted in the United States Marine Corps as a private at the age of 50 . . . Promoted to corporal, then to sergeant, Douglas was kept stateside, writing training manuals, and giving inspirational speeches to troops . . . Douglas was commissioned as an officer, and was subsequently sent to the Pacific theater of operations with the 1st Marine Division."

"On the second day of the Battle of Peleliu, Captain Douglas finally saw action when his unit waded into the fray. He earned a Bronze Star for carrying ammunition to the front lines under enemy fire and earned his first Purple Heart when he was grazed by shrapnel while carrying flamethrower ammunition to the front lines."

"A few months later, during the Battle of Okinawa, Douglas earned his second Purple Heart. A volunteer rifleman in an infantry platoon, he was helping to carry wounded from 3rd Battalion 5th Marines along the Naha-Shuri line when a burst of machine gun fire tore through his left arm, severing the main nerve and leaving it permanently disabled."

"Douglas was given an honorable discharge as a Lieutenant Colonel with full disability pay."

Let it suffice to say that in the history of warfare, you will not find two more intense engagements, combat actions, protracted battle and campaign as you had at Peleliu and Okinawa.

Paul Douglas in the thick of the fray, doing his bit in a manner you would never expect for a man his age.

Paul Douglas makes the rest of use feel very small indeed!!

Paul Douglas had a very powerful patron. Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox. Knox a Republican appointed to his position by President Roosevelt, Knox also from Chicago and a personal [?] friend of Douglas.


Saturday, April 9, 2011


This is coolbert:

Thanks to the Mirror, from only yesterday, a shooting aboard the British nuclear sub HMS Astute. One dead, one wounded. The ship, while at dock, with dignitaries aboard, a sailor from the Astute going berserk for no apparent reason.

That gunman evidently well prepared, captured after a struggle, but the shooter only over-powered after a death and wounding having occurred.

"HMS Astute: Crazed serviceman shoots crew mate dead and leaves another seriously hurt in attack on board nuclear sub"

"KITTED out in body armour, camouflage gear and clutching a rifle, the sailor burst into the control room ready for battle.

"The crazed serviceman then opened fire as VIPs visiting the navy’s flagship nuclear submarine watched in horror."

The most complicated thing made by man, the nuclear-powered and I would have to assume nuclear-armed HMS Astute, rendered inoperable by a single sailor armed with an assault rifle [SA-80].

Some big time questions are going to be asked here?

* This sailor was suffering from grave mental disorder of which there was no indicator or sign? An undiagnosed malady?

* How could the sailor outfitted in such a manner with a weapon have gotten on the ship?

* Was the Astute at that moment nuclear equipped with weapons aboard?

NOT so long ago the Astute was the object of derision in the English press. The ship had run aground and had to towed to safety.

NOW this! NOT a good sign. The Astute will begin to develop a "reputation" of not good repute. A hard-luck ship you do not want to be assigned to!


Poison Gas!

This is coolbert:

Quoting in entirety from the DEBKAfile, Libyan poison gas stockpiles having fallen into the hands of the Libyan rebels and sold to the mortal enemies of Israel.

Just about the most alarming sort of news you can imagine, reported as mustard and nerve agents, very lethal and dangerous.

[the noted blogger David P. Goldman characterizes DEBKA as unreliable under almost all circumstances!]

"Libyan rebels sold Hizballah and Hamas chemical shells"

"31 March: Senior Libyan rebel 'officers' sold Hizballah and Hamas thousands of chemical shells from the stocks of mustard and nerve gas that fell into their hands when they overran Muammar Qaddafi’s military facilities in and around Benghazi, DEBKAfile’s exclusive sources report. The rebels offloaded an estimated 2,000 artillery shells carrying mustard gas and 1,200 nerve gas shells for cash payment amounting to several million dollars negotiated by Iran. The consignments may still be in Sudan en route for Lebanon and Gaza."

Poison gas munitions of this sort are most dangerous and volatile both at the same time. Dangerous to the user as well as the intended target. Have to be kept under tight wraps, closely guarded and stored in a specific and correct manner. CAN BE EVEN MORE DANGEROUS DURING TRANSPORT BY THE USER THAN WHEN EMPLOYED AGAINST THE ENEMY!

Mankind has never been able and probably will never be able to make a container that does not leak to some extent. Unless stored and monitored properly, the possibility exists of accidental release and deaths!

These weapons of mass destruction [WMD] now [?] in the hands of Hezbollah and Hamas? This would constitute a MAJOR threat to Israel - - upsetting any possibility of meaningful negotiations with the Palestinians or Hezbollah?


Friday, April 8, 2011


This is coolbert:

From that web site devoted to the German 352nd Infantry Division defending Omaha Beach:

"To deal with the threat of a cross channel operation, Germany lacked a maritime-operations doctrine. So they drew upon two land-operations doctrine to define their strategy."

The German, a land-power, totally lacking an amphibious warfare doctrine, offensively and defensively both, using "land-operations doctrine" as felt appropriate.

* "The First held that widely separated forward strong-points (a false MLR) would screen a main mobile force hidden in reserve (real MLR) ready to counter-attack the enemy's newly exposed flacks as the enemy turn to envelope these forward post. A successful tactic on the eastern front."

* "The Second, was the River-Crossing doctrine, where all forces are massed on the river bank to annihilate a crossing before a bridgehead is established."

The German during the Second World War [WW2] in particular facing an adversary, the western allies, who on many occasions and on a routine basis resorted to amphibious operations of a massive and overwhelming scale, the German again NOT pre-war or even during the war prepared with a cogent and thought-through doctrine to deal with such operations.

Amphibious landings, sea-borne assaults as conducted by the western allies during WW2 to include:

* North Africa [Torch].
* Sicily [Husky].
* Salerno [Avalanche].
* Anzio [Shingle].
* Dodacanese Islands [Accolade].
* Normandy [Overlord].
* Southern France [Dragoon].

[and of course during the Great War [WW1], Gallipoli, the German Leman von Sanders in overall command of the Turkish defender.]

The German attempting to stop the landings at the "water's edge", on the beach

Those Japanese defenders of Iwo Jima and Okinawa in the Pacific Theatre having asked the German [1944] as to the best method for countering allied amphibious assaults were told: "don't try to stop the allies at the 'water's edge"!

Advice evidently being taken to heart by the Japanese. The American units going ashore both at Iwo and Okinawa NOT being opposed at the beaches, the battle only commencing when a significant portion of the U.S. forces had gotten ashore!!

To no avail in the end, the defender [Japanese] finally overcome by raw combat power, nonetheless American losses heavy, almost unacceptable!!


Thursday, April 7, 2011


This is coolbert:

Thanks to the Jewish Virtual Library and the copyrighted document by Steward Bryant - - an appraisal of the German 352nd Infantry Division [ID].

Defending Omaha Beach during the Normandy Invasion, 6 June, 1944. [Copyright (C) 2002, by Stewart Bryant]

An appraisal from a most interesting source.

The Chief of Staff [CoS] for the division, writing an "after action" report for the U.S. Army, Fritz Ziegalmann a Prisoner of War [POW] captured during the Battle of France 1944.

"The 352nd Infantry Division at Omaha Beach (June 1944)"

"Lt Col. Fritz Ziegalmann (Chief of Staff of the 352ID) wrote a history of the 352nd Infantry Division in Normandy"

The 352 ID giving a good account of itself on 6 June, the situation for the American invader on Omaha Beach for a time in doubt, Bradley giving careful consideration for a time to order a retrograde operation, that Omaha Beach landing force to be withdrawn, the mission in that sector cancelled because of such determined German resistance.

Key points and comments:

* The 352 ID was a German Type 44 [1944?] infantry division. Consisted of a force one-third smaller than previous German ID incarnations, BUT possessing slightly MORE organic firepower.

* The 352 ID PRIOR to D-Day was basically a "green" unit, for the most part untested in battle. This is contrast to the prevailing perception that the German defenders at Omaha Beach were battle-tested, poised and ready for action?

* The 352 ID was formed from cadres of a previous unit - - decimated and destroyed at the Battle of Kursk one year prior.

* Among the 12,000 or so troops that comprised the strength of the division were considerable numbers of non-Germans. Russian volunteers [Hiwis] willing to fight for the German [1,500 ‘Hiwis’]. Auxiliary troops and not a combat formation. Also [auxiliary drivers (French civilian truck drivers)] collaborators, Vichy or fascist-leaning it is not clear.

* The 352 ID replacing a "static division" [the 716th Infantry Division (716ID)]. That German "static division" consisting of second-rate personnel armed with second-rate equipment. A "static division" not capable of anything other than defense, NO offensive capability and perhaps not even able to execute a retrograde movement while in contact with the enemy.

[keep in mind that the allied units landing two years earlier at Dieppe encountered a "statio unit". Those allied units receiving a pummeling and having disastrous casualties as a consequence. Even a "static unit" fighting strictly defensively can give a good account of itself, especially when commanded by an able tactician!! Defense is the stronger form of combat!!]

* This is most significant? "To deal with the threat of a cross channel operation, Germany lacked a maritime-operations doctrine" German military thinkers and planners had NOT thought through with any certainty or adopted a "doctrine" for countering an amphibious assault by an adversary!!

In particular, these two items are of particular interest to Bert:

* "The replacements, mostly teenagers, were physically unfit for all but limited military duty, because of food shortages in Germany." Those 10,000 or so German teenagers, used to "flesh out" the 352ID, were malnourished, hungry, not physically fit as was desired. Food shortages in Germany at least from 1944 and for some time before that were acute, with dire military consequences.

Lieutenant Rommel, at Caporetto in 1917 found out that the men of his unit were unable to maintain a blitzkrieg forward movement due to malnourishment, food shortages in that prior war [WW1] also hampering the German war effort.

* "'Then, there started a very lively enemy carrier pigeon traffic in all sectors of the 352ID from 20th of March to the 20th of May 1944. 27 carrier pigeons were shot!'”

"A French resistance cell in Cricqueville behind Point du Hoc, operated the carrier pigeon operation. -SB"

A sure tip-off, an indicator, an "omen" of invasion was the increased flight from occupied France to England of carrier pigeons as observed by the troops of the 352 ID! Carrier pigeons as provided to the French resistance by the British SOE [Special Operations Executive]!

German counter-intelligence also is reputed to have employed falcons to intercept and bring "down" the carrier pigeons en route to England, secret messages of importance captured with all that might have meant.

The 352nd ID within one month of the Normandy landings obliterated, annihilated on the battlefield, no longer a credible military force.