Sunday, April 29, 2012


This is coolbert:

From the John Hawks weblog we have this item that caught my attention right away:

"If, as Keegan hypothesizes, the ration was one pound of meat and two of bread (requiring two pounds of firewood) per man per day, an army of 30,000 ate out a location pretty quickly"

Sir John Keegan in this particular instance hypothesizing that an army of 30,000 men during the Black Powder era of warfare, on the march requiring sustenance on a daily basis a significant consideration for a military commander AND THIS ONLY FOR MANPOWER.

As for the feed and watering of horses that were integral to the movement of the baggage train, the cavalry, the horses needed to pull the artillery, that is an entire additional matter of even more consequence, as should be obvious. Military campaigns during the age of Black Powder were generally put on hold during the winter, troops going into quarters, horses not being able to forage for themselves.

NO consideration either given for drink. Armies of the period [Black Powder] as part of the contract with a soldier agreeing to generally provide so much beer [northern Europeans] or wine [southern Europeans] per day ALSO as part of the daily ration! NO beer or wine and you ran the risk of mutiny!

"lieutenants think tactics, generals thing logistics"

Water from wells, rivers and lakes often disease ridden, and of considerable danger to a soldier to drink from, that number of troops dying while on campaign often in magnitudes beyond what ever casualties were sustained in battle.

[water and feet historically have been the two biggest killers of soldiers and not battle! Either not having enough water to drink or consuming dirty and diseased water, and those troops having bad feet falling out on the march and being set upon by marauders!!]

Read this CIC article by Al Nofi from StrategyPage. Even while in quarter, that rather smallish [even for the time] army of William the Conqueror [1066] the logistical requirements immense, the DISPOSAL OF DETRITUS, EXCREMENT OF MEN AND ANIMALS BOTH A MAJOR PROBLEM THE SOLUTION OF WHICH IS UNKNOWN TO THE HISTORIANS!



This is coolbert:

That DDG-1000 "Zumwalt" class destroyer, cost of $7 billion apiece cannot be said to be under-armed.

Will carry a mix of weaponry that does give it a formidable capability.

Designed and as envisioned to be used primarily [?] in littoral [green] waters, close to shore, bombardment of targets far inland the goal.

DDG-1000 equipped with a mix of guns, rockets, and missiles task tailored in the case of the latter.

To include:

* 57 mm guns. Two of them.

* 155 guns. Two of them, the AGS [Advanced Gun System].

* ASROC [anti-submarine rockets].

* Sea Sparrow missile. The enhanced version effective against enemy aircraft and anti-ship missile attack.

* Tactical Harpoon.

Those missiles a mix of which is task tailored for the mission, giving a capability against enemy submarines, aircraft, and anti-ship cruise missiles including the supersonic variety.

Helicopters are also organic to the DDG-1000 class, a chopper able to have a combat capability on demand? This is not clear.

That Advanced Gun System [155 mm] two of them, able to hit targets inland up to extraordinary ranges with great accuracy and lethality. Can fire a mix of conventional and precision-guided rounds but is not able to fire any of the currently available 155 mm artillery ammo as might be found in the arsenals of the army or marines.

It is significant that the U.S. Marines as of 2003 has restored the status of ANGLICO units both active duty and reserve? Those AGS crucial at long range highly reliant on the ANGLICO for target selection, terminal guidance of precision and enhanced munitions, etc.

I guess that the argument with the "Zumwalt" class destroyer is that for the cost so few of them [three] are scheduled to be built? As I have said, given ordinary deployments and re-fittings that will mean that any given moment only ONE of these vessels will  be at sea anywhere in the world.


DDG 1000.

This is coolbert:

Right now, as we speak, in the works and under construction, latest and greatest version American naval destroyer class under construction, the DDG 1000 class vessel, a warship that in the final form will cost $7 billion per copy. ONLY a grand total of three to be built.

Thanks to intelhub:

"Navy Spending $21 Billion on Three New Destroyers, Part of Response to China’s Military Buildup"

"The new DDG 1000 Zumwalt class destroyer will focus on attacking land-based targets, leveraging stealth technology to allow the vessel to get close to shore before being detected and letting loose the massive advanced arsenal on the warship."

Weaponry as planned for and as envisioned to include a variety of missiles in task tailored packages and the Advanced Gun System, the latter having LAND-BASED targets in mind.

DDG 1000 a high technology warship requiring only half the crew of previous destroyer incarnations.

COST recognized as a major factor, the entire class so expensive that ONLY three total to be built. Generally speaking, that means at any given moment one DDG 1000 will be at sea, deployments, in port refurbishment and refitting being what it is with modern warships!

"Originally, the Navy wanted 32 of the massive destroyers, but that was quickly cut down to 24, then seven, and now a mere three due to the absurd costs associated with the vessels."

Propulsion, weaponry, a design process and procurement that takes decades etc. NO ONE ever said the military was cheap and DDG 1000 is no exception! Obvious.


Thursday, April 26, 2012


This is coolbert:

 "anyone who provokes or hurts the DPRK's dignity would be undoubtedly defeated."

From the headline of Chinese English website xinhuanet:

"DPRK marks army's 80th founding anniversary"

The main points:            

• "The DPRK held a national meeting to mark the 80th anniversary of the founding of the KPA."
• "The founding of the KPA ushered in a new history of building the revolutionary armed forces."
• "Kim Jong Un would strengthen the might of the KPA and lead the Korean revolution to a new victory."

 "PYONGYANG -- The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) held a national meeting on Wednesday to mark the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People's Army (KPA)."

 "the founding of the KPA by commander Kim Il Sung 80 years ago ushered in a new history of building the revolutionary armed forces."

NOW, courtesy of Bert we have MORE key points:

* Kim Il-Sung was a Red Army [Soviet]  officer who fought at Stalingrad during World War Two!

* Those North Korean People's Army [NKPA] contingents that invaded South Korea in June 1950 were veterans of the Chinese Civil War and again veterans of the Red Army [Soviet] who fought the German at Stalingrad.

[such info as gleaned from the interrogations of NKPA POW as captured by American forces during the Korean War!!]

NOW you know the rest of the story! Nuff' said?


Wednesday, April 25, 2012


This is coolbert:

From that Washington Post article dated 2009:

"The cash-strapped government of Kim Jong Il, which struggles to maintain and buy fuel for its aging tanks and armor, has concluded it cannot win a conventional war, according to U.S. and South Korean military officials." [this of course before the death of Kim Jong Il!]

Decades now from the historians will be asking the question as to WHY the North Korean even when possessing what seems at least on paper an overwhelming military advantage, NEVER did attack the ROK [Republic of Korea], destroy by a blitzkrieg style offensive the South Korean army and those American military units permanently station in the south.

The desire often and most vociferously so expressed by the communist leadership in Pyongyang to unify the Korean peninsula with communist domination and USE MILITARY FORCE TO DO SO!

Again for over a period of three decades now the NKPA [North Korean People's Army] on paper having a demonstrable and frightening advantage over South Korean and American military forces, and yet, NO attack ever came. And WHY?

The answer is perhaps, pure, plain and simple, MALNUTRITION?

Decades of antiquated and antediluvian agricultural policies have created long-term food shortages, MALNUTRITION THE NORM RATHER THAN THE EXCEPTION, at least an entire generation of North Korean youth growing up stunted and almost dwarfish, food shortages and hunger endemic! This is so?

Anecdotal accounts seems to suggest that this is so? NO ONE doubts the ability of the NKPA to START a war, but perhaps there is a definite and realized impossibility to maintain the pace and tempo as required by the blitzkrieg to an ultimate conclusion. Again, plain, pure and simple, the physical wherewithal is LACKING?

"U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Thursday North Korean IQs are feared to be falling due to prolonged malnutrition."

"'There's a concern that their IQs are going down because of malnutrition and insufficient diet,' . . . 'People in the North Korean military...are 4 foot 10 inches (145 centimeters), these are men, and less than 100 pounds (45 kilograms)'." [this according to Rumsfeld]

"It is clear that the all-powerful army - once quarantined from food shortages and famine - is starting to go hungry."

"'Everybody is weak,"'says one young North Korean soldier.'Within my troop of 100 comrades, half of them are malnourished,' he said."

And THERE IS PRECEDENT FOR THIS! German troops and industrial workers in the munitions sector during both World Wars unable to maintain the pace, hunger prolonged creating NOT conducive to operations that require a rapid tempo, advance thwarted!

1. "Erwin Rommel . . . often bemoaned the demands placed upon his poorly fed troops'. The Allied blockade of the German Empire . . . was responsible for food shortages and widespread malnutrition in Germany and allied countries. When inadequate provisioning was combined with the gruelling night marches preceding the battle of Caporetto, a heavy toll was extracted from the German and Austro-Hungarian forces."

2. "On the eve of World War I, in 1914, the annual death rate from accidents among workers at the Krupp Essen plant was 4.1 per thousand employees, a figure that by 1917 had risen to 8.7 per thousand, as the tempo of production increased, while employee health deteriorated from malnutrition and overwork."

3. That German 352nd Infantry Division as defending the Omaha beach head, 6 June 1944, comprised primarily to teenagers who had suffered malnutrition, SOLDIERS FELT TO BE INCAPABLE OF NOTHING FURTHER THAN DEFENSIVE OPERATIONS, PHYSICALLY UNFIT FOR FURTHER AND MORE INTENSIVE DUTY!

"manpower problems . . . The replacements, mostly teenagers, were physically unfit for all but limited military duty, because of food shortages in Germany."

That is all there is to it? That populace of North Korea has been for decades now incapable of military action as would be needed to initiate and more importantly sustain an offensive of major proportions the defeat of ROK and US forces in the south the goal? That is all there is to it? This is just one mans' opinion.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012


This is coolbert:

 Thanks to the BBC instances of American troops during the Korean War engaging in killings of civilians almost indiscriminate in nature, harsh and brutal!

 "Kill 'em All': The American Military in Korea"

"Undertrained and underprepared"

"Things began to go wrong almost immediately for the American troops. Those who were rushed to the front line straight from occupation duty in Tokyo in July 1950 were undertrained and underprepared . . . US commanders were outmanoeuvred by North Korean units using guerrilla methods to target US lines from the rear."

"The surprise attack from the North had generated a very real refugee crisis. Just weeks after the conflict had begun, up to two million refugees were streaming across the battlefield; they clogged the roads and the UN lines."

And mixed in with those refugees the four man teams [many of them] of NKPA guerrilla fighters. Men dressed as civilians and carrying handguns, daggers and hand grenades. Forcing women to sometimes carry weaponry on their person disguised under the long robes of the Korean woman.

The North Korean People's Army [NKPA] always incorporating guerrilla/partisan activity into all military operations!

Four man North Korean guerrilla fighters indistinguishable from civilians during hours of darkness attacking American troops, wreaking havoc.

American commanders taking steps and measures, draconian in nature to deal with the unconventional warfare threat.

Long columns of refugees stopped by American military police and the persons of the Korean unfortunates subjected to intensive body pat-down, search.  THE ORDER HAVING BEEN GIVEN TO MACHINE GUN ANYONE DEFYING THE STOP AND SEARCH IN ANY FORM, THOSE FLEEING TO THE RIGHT OR THE LEFT OF THE COLUMN KILLED WITHOUT WARNING!! [Columns of refugees stopped with a rice paddy on either side of the road, clear field of fire available!]


I can easily imagine a goodly number of Korean women modest in nature not wanting to be patted down by an American MP fleeing and being killed NOT EVEN FOR HAVING WEAPONS ON HER PERSON!

Those American troops "undertrained and underprepared" also facing an adversary at that exact instant PERHAPS THE BEST TRAINED AND MOST COMBAT READY HARDENED INFANTRY IN THE WORLD! A sizable percentage of those NKPA troops veterans of the Chinese Civil War and many also having fought at Stalingrad with distinction!!

Hard and cruel both, undeniably so, desperate circumstance calling for desperate measures, egregious and again draconian and regrettable in nature. War was not easy then, not easy now, never will be.


Monday, April 23, 2012


This is coolbert:

 1. ONLY today, thanks to we have these headlines - - the newest North Korean leadership, as headed by Kim Jong-Un threatening in the most DIRE manner consequences and using what is described as a "specificity" "unusual".

"N. Korea vows to turn South's leadership to ashes"

 "PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — North Korea sharply escalated the rhetoric against its southern rival, claiming it will soon conduct 'special actions' that would reduce South Korea's conservative government to ashes within minutes"

 "the military message, attributed to the 'special operation action group' of the Korean People's Army's Supreme Command, was unusual in its specificity"

That special operation action group those ranger/commando/special operations units of the North Korean Peoples Army [NKPA} prodigious for their size and rugged training, very dangerous folks no matter what the situation? That is what is being referred to here?

 2. As reported in the Washington Post as of 2009 the NKPA INCREASING THE SIZE of what was already the LARGEST contingent of ANY ranger/commando/special operations unit in the world!

A marked increase by re-training existing infantry as special ops troops!

"North Korea Massively Increases Its Special Forces

 "SEOUL -- North Korea has massively increased its special operations forces, schooled them in the use of Iraqi-style roadside bombs and equipped them to sneak past the heavily fortified border that divides the two Koreas."

 "Their low-tech, low-cost training includes throwing knives, firing poisonous darts and running up steep hills wearing backpacks filled with 60 pounds of rocks and sand, said Ha Tae-jun, a former South Korean commando who has debriefed captured members of the North's special forces. They are also drilled in street warfare, chemical attacks, night fighting, martial arts, car theft and using spoons and forks as weapons"


 "North Korean special forces have demonstrated remarkable fighting ability and grit when cornered inside South Korea. In 1968, a 31-member team attacked Blue House, the presidential residence in Seoul. Although they failed to assassinate President Park Chung-hee, they killed 68 South Koreans over the nine days it took to track them down. Several commandos committed suicide to avoid capture, one was unaccounted for and one was taken alive."

 It being reputed that the one commando unaccounted for repatriated himself back north, has continued quite successfully with his military career even many decades later still on active duty, now a senior NKPA officer AND ALSO AS ALLEGED A CLOSE ADVISER TO THE NEW LEADER, KIM JUNG-UN!!

 In all cases, take the North Korean threats seriously, they mean business and have the physical and mental wherewithal to follow up with their incendiary and ill-considered statements!!


Saturday, April 21, 2012


This is coolbert:

Again from the comment to the blog:

"Your qualifications for stating that this was 'NOT' possible"

My qualifications would include firing U.S. Army range fire way back when [1966], passing the five day course a MUST to graduate from basic training.

Firing the high-power M-14 rifle for score at a various ranges varying from short [110 meters?] to long distance [250 meters maximum].

That M-14 rifle using the NATO round [7.62 X 51] and roughly comparable to the round as fired from the British SMLE rifle [.303 caliber].

 The M-14 a semi-automatic weapon, not bolt operated, featuring a twenty round magazine [I don't believe on range fire we ever loaded the mag to more than ten rounds for any specific shoot!]

 My particular M-14 fired for training during range fire and qualification NOT ZEROED, A LAPSE BY THE DRILL INSTRUCTORS AND A VERY UNFAIR TEST OF MARKSMANSHIP!!

I barely qualified at the end of the five day course but at least DID qualify.

 [it has been suggested that I was either very good or very lucky. Firing an unzeroed weapon IS an unfair test of marksmanship. I might like to think that I am very good but know better!]

Those targets also of the pop-up variety, at longer ranges [175 meters and out] the size of a man from the legs up and appearing for only about five seconds, not giving you much time to shoot, targets at less than 175 meters having the appearance of a man from the shoulders up and only fleetingly appearing.

 Range fire I must admit was a challenge and a fair test and was GOOD TRAINING.

 That M-14 rifle in 1966 lasted at the standard rifle as carried by the common soldier in the U.S. Army for only about eighteen months and was then replace by the M-16.

Again, with regard to Snoxall, the "Mad Minute" and the record of thirty eight hits on a 12 inch bull at a range of 300 yards [274 meters], operating that BOLT ACTION rifle so fast with RELOADING and achieving such a degree of accuracy at range with a high-power weapon does astound but then I have said I defer to authority.

Once more, just because I cannot run a four minute mile [1500 meters] does not mean someone else can!



This is coolbert:

Thanks to the tip from Mish we have the story of Juliet Marine and their novel and apparently one-of-a-kind naval warship using concepts that modern technology only now make for a feasible and do-able naval vessel.

GHOST! A cross of designs that almost confuses? Is it a plane [wing-in-ground], a ship, a hydrofoil, etc., what exactly is it? And apparently uses the concept of super-cavitation in a way not before seen except for glide bombs [German] and torpedoes [Soviet].

See here a gallery of images of the GHOST!

"We have already developed a surface variant of a super cavitating craft and are planning to apply our unique technology in a UUV prototype."

"While the GHOST is a surface vessel, the hydrodynamics of the twin submerged buoyant tubular foils are also a test bed for Juliet Marine's next planned prototype, a long duration UUV"

"The GHOST is a combination of stealth fighter aircraft and attack helicopter technologies packaged in a marine platform."

"Juliet claims that it can develop systems in one third the time and at one third the cost than achieved through usual military procurement procedures. Juliet has developed 'Ghost' which they claim to be the world’s first supercavitating ship. Reportedly Ghost achieves very high speed through hull friction that is 1/900th of conventional surface ships."

GHOST! Supercavitating warship that resembles a plane, a ship, nothing else like it exists anywhere? 

Designed to be used in littoral [green] waters close to shore and not pelagic [deep water]. Appears to be designed to for stealth in mind, radar reflecting surface and coating that makes the vessel hard to detect using conventional technologies.

And is seen as a solution, a cheap and dirty remedy to the scourge or piracy. Also from a cost standpoint has a lot of advantage as a weapons system for sale to foreign navies few of which have a pelagic "overseas" and power projection mission [few navies worldwide have such a mission!].

And GHOST is only the start. This company is designing right now, as we speak "a long duration UUV" [unmanned undersea vehicle?] a submarine I would assume, with super-cavitating technology and NO CREW, able to perform the mission of a much large submersible but without any danger to personnel, remotely controlled from afar and with awesome capability!!

GHOST is not only the future, GHOST is now!


Thursday, April 19, 2012


This is coolbert:

Back to the topic as originally a Military Thoughts blog entry from way back when. The record of English Sergeant Snoxall, firing a "Mad Minute, the "Lord Robert's Shoot", using the British SMLE rifle to fire and hit a 12 inch [4.72 cm.] bulls eyes thirty-eight [38] times at a range of 300 yards [274 meters] USING A BOLT ACTION RIFLE THAT WOULD HAVE TO BEEN RELOADED AT LEAST THREE TIMES WITH TWO FIVE ROUND CLIPS PER RE-LOAD!!

"The Lee-Enfield's superiority as a battle rifle: British Sgt. Snoxall recorded 38 hits on a 12-in. bull at 300 yards in only sixty seconds. Proficiency... the rifle was rapidly loaded in order to fire as many rounds as possible in one minute, dubbed by participants, 'the mad minute'. No other hand-operated bolt action service rifle can claim such a record. Enfields rule!"

This comment to the Military Thoughts blog entry:

"Snoxall's achievement is a well-documented result. Please note that he was a musketry Sergeant Instructor, not an average squaddie (english for 'grunt'). In 1914, he would have been using a Rifle, No 1 or a Rifle, Short, Magazine, Lee Enfield (more commonly known as an SMLE). This rifle is the reason that, early in World War I, German troops were convinced that the British had machineguns. Your qualifications for stating that this was 'NOT' possible', please?

NOT that I doubt this record, but for some time have been trying to find details. The record was at a range of 300 yards, one minute fire, load, fire, etc. And hits that 38 of them on the 12 inch bull in the center of a four by four foot target as I understand it. That is HITS ON THE 12 INCH BULL AND NOT ON THE FOUR BY FOUR FOOT TARGET THEN?? Can this be absolutely confirmed as true?

And the response from an acknowledged authority on the British SMLE rifle who responds:

"Yes, that is hits on the bull. I found this reference in some Musketry Instructions in England when I was there in 1980-81."

Without question an amazing feat! Even for the experienced shootist such as myself I DO find this achievement of Snoxall to be astounding. The contradictions present and faced by the marksman in such a situation are numerous to include:

* Speed.
* Accuracy.
* Distance.
* Power.

I defer to the persons who are authority in this matter. My own expertise and experience with high-power rifle fire [M-14] at long range [maximum of 250 meters] seems to suggest that the rapid repeated reload and ability to engage a target with the bolt-action SMLE in the manner as accomplished by Snoxall is just not possible. It seems however I AM WRONG!! Indeed, even Bert can be wrong!

Just because I cannot run a four minute mile does not mean someone else cannot run a four minute mile. Just because I cannot high jump seven feet does not mean someone else cannot high jump seven feet. Etc.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cost Efficient?

This is coolbert:

Here from various web sites some comments and statistics regarding the American strategic aerial offensive against North Vietnam [Rolling Thunder, 1965-1968].

A strategic aerial bombardment campaign carried out by tactical aviation, that combination of USAF and naval aviation [Yankee Station] attempting to put the big hurt on the communist North Vietnamese, "persuade" the leaders of North Vietnam to cease and desist, end hostilities, negotiate or face obliteration.

 "The air defense system in North Vietnam was almost non-existent in 1965, but by the end of 1967 it became one of the most complete and sophisticated systems in the world. SAM sites increased from 15 in 1965 to 270 by 1968; missiles fired from these sites increase from 200 in 1965 to almost 3,500 in 1967. The number of AAA guns grew from 700 in 1965 to over 7,400 in spring of 1968."

NO, not merely one of the most, was the MOST complete and sophisticated!!

"The flow of men and supplies continued to increase throughout the campaign [Rolling Thunder]: 'In 1965 approximately 12,000 North Vietnamese soldiers had infiltrated South Vietnam, but by 1968 over 300,000 North Vietnamese troops had entered South Vietnam.'"

That North Vietnamese air defense system notwithstanding, A LOT OF "BIG HURT" DONE TO THE INFRASTRUCTURE OF NORTH VIETNAM some targets destroyed repeatedly, undeniably a lot of damage done.

"according to reports the bombing destroyed 77 percent of all ammo depots, 65 percent of fuel storage facilities, 59 percent of all power plants, 55 percent of major bridges, and 39 percent of railroad yards."

"The large North Vietnamese labor force also did much to offset the destruction that Rolling Thunder accomplished. This force (over 300,000) of laborers was able to quickly repair the damage to major targets and almost nullify bombing efforts"

Many of those targets bombed, repaired, bombed, repaired again, over and over!! The communists indeed were VERY determined!

Again, North Vietnamese forces arrayed against the American "Yankee air pirates" formidable in scale, a million man army [in totality] required to defend against the USAF and naval aviation onslaught. TO A DEGREE, THE AERIAL BOMBARDMENT CAMPAIGN FROM THAT STANDPOINT [manpower drain on North Vietnam] COST EFFICIENT?


Air Defense!

This is coolbert:

Moshe Dayan and Martin van Creveld both correct in their pronouncements that the Second Indo-China War was perceived as a case of the strong beating up on the weak. The very strong United States military "seen" by observers both in the U.S. and abroad for that matter as supremely and overwhelmingly so all-powerful, possessing advantages that the adversary [North Vietnamese and Viet Cong] had no valid response to.

One moment Charlie Brown. This perception was not totally valid when it came to North Vietnamese air defense. That air defense guarding North Vietnam from aerial attack by American tactical aviation flying in a strategic bombing mission [Rolling Thunder] very sophisticated and advanced perhaps without equal in the world at that exact moment [1965-1968].

"Supported by communist allies, North Vietnam fielded a potent mixture of sophisticated air-to-air and ground-to-air weapons that created one of the most effective air defenses ever faced by American military aviators."

Homeland air defense of the North Vietnamese heartland, NOT merely one of the most effective, PERHAPS THE MOST EFFECTIVE AND LETHAL!!

The North Vietnamese air defense [AD] consisting of that correct mix of weaponry to include:

* Fighter/interceptors. MiG-17, MiG-19, and MiG-21.
* Surface-to-air-missiles [SAM]. Exclusively so [?] SA-2 Guideline.
* Anti-aircraft-artillery [AAA]. Quad fifty-caliber [12.7 mm], 23 mm, 37 mm, 57 mm, 85 mm, and 100 mm.
Those larger caliber AAA guns some of which were radar guided.

An AD apparatus requiring a force of 700,000 troops to man and employ in combat.

An assemblage of radar, communications, aviation, missiles and guns an apparatus without peer, massive, dangerous.and to a degree unanticipated [?] by American planners.

In addition a 300,000 man quasi-military force dedicated to repairing in an expeditious manner damage as caused by Rolling Thunder air strikes, it reported that a goodly percentage of those laborers Chinese nationals [what percentage is unclear]!

A million man force and impedimenta [taken in totality] strictly in defense of North Vietnamese airspace, that gauntlet having to be run by American tactical aviation en route and homeward bound at all times lethal, North Vietnamese AD roughly in size to those air defense forces of Nazi Germany during World War Two [WW2], the memoirs of Albert Speer remarking that such a force was an enormous drain on manpower and resources.

To what extent the North Vietnamese AD was a mere imitation of the Soviet era PVO Strany or was adapted to local conditions [Vietnam] I cannot say. I think it is safe to say that the AD as encountered by American combat aviators in the skies over North Vietnam was far more advanced and determined than ever anticipated.


Monday, April 16, 2012


This is coolbert:

Well, you can imagine in an instant that this Internet headline would catch my attention right away.

"George Washington voted Britain’s greatest enemy commander"

"American revolutionary leader George Washington has been voted the greatest enemy commander to face Britain, lauded for his spirit of endurance against the odds and the enormous impact of his victory."

The 5,000 participants in the survey having five military commanders to choose from. Washington among the select elite few to also include:

* Michael Collins.
* Napoleon Bonaparte.
* Erwin Rommel.
* Mustapha Kemal Ataturk.


* Washington conceded NOT to have been an outstanding battlefield tactician the man surely not an equal in that regard to say a Napoleon or a Rommel.

* Washington AN outstanding leader perhaps without peer? Willing and able to continue when others were not and able to succeed when others were not. The historians are in agreement [??] that without a Washington the American Revolutionary War would have failed. I believe this to be so.

* Washington too having at that exact moment of the American Revolution having the MOST to lose of all participants? Was the third richest man [through inheritance on the side of Martha the wife] in the colonies.

* The courage and physical command presence of Washington on the battlefield again without question, the man undeniably very brave and a leader of the foremost ability.

* His Britannic Majesty George III in response to his being told that Washington had been offered but refused the "kingship" of America saying: "if this indeed be true Washington is the GREATEST MAN ALIVE!!" Indeed he was!!

* Ataturk a divisional commander at Gallipoli BUT NOT the overall commander. Liman von Sanders making the major decisions, issuing the commands for those Turkish units in opposition to British and allied forces.

Anyone disagree with the results of this survey? I for one do not!


Sunday, April 15, 2012


This is coolbert:

"Victory goes to the strongest battalions" - - Napoleon.

Here with the REAL REASON for American and South Vietnamese defeat during the Second-Indo-China War.

Those "reasons" as enunciated by Dayan [thanks to van Creveld] and Truong valid as stated but immaterial as to the REAL REASON?

The REAL REASON the communist forces emerging triumphant in the classical manner of warfare [1975] due to:

* Divisions of tanks. [armor heavy formations]

* Divisions of artillery. [massed units of artillery]

* Massed divisions of tanks and massed divisions of artillery operating in concert.

Those massed and prodigious formations of tanks and artillery operating in concert creating an inexorable force used in a prodigal way, CONCENTRATED AND FOCUSED, almost literally blasting a path for further advance and annihilating those South Vietnamese army combat arms units [ARVN] willing and able to continue the fight, the ARVN not having the physical wherewithal to combat such an adversary in the first place, also in time losing as well all moral and mental capacity to do so unit cohesion disintegrating!

From the time of the communist Easter Offensive [1972] and even more so during the final push on Saigon [1975] those South Vietnamese army units [ARVN] faced with an adversary employing armaments for which the ARVN had NO answer. THAT SOUTH VIETNAMESE ARMY HAVING BEEN ORGANIZED, TRAINED, EQUIPPED TO FIGHT THE SAME ENEMY THE U.S. ARMY FACED IN VIETNAM [light infantry of the North Vietnamese Army], THE ARVN FINDING THEMSELVES AT A DISTINCT AND OVERWHELMING DISADVANTAGE, NO AMELIORATION OR REMEDY TO THE PROBLEM POSSIBLE!!

[it has been suggested that the Tet Offensive of 1968 was a clear indication of American intelligence failure in Vietnam. Perhaps an even greater failure was the additional failure of American intelligence to detect and understand the very MASSIVE armor and artillery build-up that preceded the Easter Offensive of 1972! That those massive formations of tanks and artillery were not observed in some fashion is indeed a mystery not ever fully explained?]

That Republic of Vietnam [RVN] government in Saigon unable to deal with the situation, American air power withheld, the troops on the ground [ARVN] finding themselves vastly outgunned and without support or help on the way, collapse AND ULTIMATE DISINTEGRATION was not only a matter of time but inevitable.

Overwhelming force used in an overwhelming manner "poor intelligence" "hearts and minds", "ineffectual government" [Saigon] and "privileged sanctuaries" small potatoes compared to the REAL REASON for the final outcome.


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Vinh Truong.

This is coolbert:

Yet from one more author, a most authoritative figure if there ever was one, as to the REASONS for allied defeat in Vietnam. American and South Vietnamese both unable to prevail over the communists. Vinh Truong a South Vietnamese military officer of some standing and an escapee from a re-education [concentration] camp AFTER THIRTEEN YEARS OF INCARCERATION!

As extracted from the book by Truong:

"Vietnam War: The New Legion, Volume 2 By Vinh Truong"

"When I [Truong] looked into myself, I knew that I would remain faithful to a code of personal honor attached to what I understood as the ideals of my country's form of government rising above the confusions of the political and military leadership. This became explicitly clear to me when I was interviewed by allied-officer in my class Squadron Officer School at Maxwell Air University Alabama. They asked me 'What I thought of the war', and I recall telling them that I thought it make no sense to me to try to defend South Vietnam so long as the border areas of Cambodia and Laos were conceded to the Hanoi . . . But I could see no strategy being applied that had prospects of success . . . 'my patriotism was stronger than my unhappiness about poor US intervention strategic policy!'"

Concerning Truong:

"Vinh-Van-Truong was recruited by U.S. Special Forces in Project Delta 1964-65 and graduated from the U.S. Air University, Maxwell, Alabama, for Squadron Officer School and Academic Instructor School, 1967-68. He was 213th Squadron Commander, 1970-71, 51th Wing Combat Commander, 1972-73, and Chief of Staff of Helicopter branch of VNAF Headquarter 1973 until Saigon fell"

[and in the aftermath of South Vietnamese surrender, thirteen years an inmate of a communist re-education [concentration] camp!!]

"[Truong] discusses the three Axioms in the dominant interpretation of the U.S.-Vietnam War that were established by the invisible permanent government right after the National Security Council meeting on September 21, 1960. They are: - 1. There was never a legitimate non-communist government in Saigon (dissolution GVN) 2. The U.S. had no legitimate reason to be involved in Vietnamese affairs (Tonkin-Gulf-Incident) 3. The U.S. could not have won the war under any circumstances (U.S. troops honorable withdrawal)"

When Truong speaks we all need to listen. Truong and his fellow compatriots now living in the U.S. have a web site dedicated to discussion of the Second Indo-China War. It might be interesting to engage in dialog with them language barriers aside.


Dayan & Creveld.

This is coolbert:

Here according to that most distinguished Israeli military historian as found at TheShalomCenter web site REASONS for American defeat in Vietnam. As posted on the Internet in 2004, only when the low-intensity insurgency in Iraq had initially begun.

Reasons for American defeat in Vietnam as originally observed and enunciated by the great Israeli general officer Moshe Dayan. Dayan in the aftermath of the Six-Day War [1967] traveling to Vietnam in the capacity of a civilian and reporting on the war in a series of articles for the Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv. [that series of articles became a book!]

"that the most important Israeli newspaper of the time, Ma'ariv, proposed that he [Dayan] go to Vietnam as a war correspondent he jumped on the idea. The articles he wrote were published in Ma'ariv as well as the British and French press."

Dayan as a military man with the most illustrious career and with prescience identifying and elaborating on those weaknesses and liabilities that the American military in Vietnam faced. Weaknesses and liabilities that in the opinion of Dayan doomed from the onset the American effort to failure.

Reasons to include:

* "First, according to Dayan, the most important operational problem the US Forces were facing was intelligence, in other words the inability to distinguish the enemy from either the physical surroundings or the civilian population"

* "Second, as Dayan saw clearly enough, the campaign for hearts and minds did not work"

* "The third and most important reason why I [van Creveld] think Vietnam is relevant to the situation in Iraq is because the Americans found themselves in the unfortunate position where they were beating down on the weak"

With regard to that third and most important reason, those thoughts are more or less those of van Creveld and NOT Dayan? The psychological dimension to warfare especially within the realm of a low-intensity anti-insurgency cannot be denied. Vietnam whether right or wrong was perceived as an instance of the most powerful by far nation on earth as beating up a poor and weak nation and doing so without a whole lot of justification.

The war in Vietnam was lost in the streets of New York City and not on the battlefields of South Vietnam? This is largely the consensus of the military historian, Dayan and others at the time seeing the picture clearly much more than most?


Wednesday, April 11, 2012


This is coolbert:

From the web site YNet we have the story of the now released-from-prison Israeli army officer Omar al-Hayeb.

"IDF officer who spied for Hezbollah released from prison"

"Bedouin lieutenant colonel convicted of espionage, drug trafficking, released after less than 10 years in prison"

The one man [Israeli Arab] most entrusted with catching infiltrating terrorists and drug smugglers himself a drug smuggler and also a spy for a terrorist organization [Hezbollah]! Serving ten years of a stiff sentence and only now released for compassionate reasons - - ill health!

Tzahal the Israeli military employing tracking units, Israeli Arabs able to "cut-sign", detect the trail of a hostile infiltrator, follow the spoor of the quarry as would a hunter after prey, in the old fashioned and ancient manner. This is the Desert Reconnaissance Battalion!

"The Natural Detectives: Desert Reconnaissance Battalion"

"The Desert Reconnaissance Battalion (Hebrew: “Gadsar”) is unique in many regards. It’s comprised almost entirely of Bedouin soldiers and stationed near the Gaza Strip, where its soldiers use their unique skills to track terrorists and thwart infiltration attempts into Israel."

That type of mortal combat of the mass production, mechanized, industrialized, by-the-numbers variety that has been fought ever since the time of the Great War [1914] not eliminating the need for military tracker units! Persons able to cut-sign, discover the presence of an adversary and follow a trail

Since the end of World War Two [1945] those instances of military tracker units to include:

1. Iban/Dayak. Malaya Emergency.
2. Selous Scouts. Rhodesian Bush War.
3. 31 Battalion. Bushmen trackers.
4. Bedouin Scouts. Israel Arabs.

Read further of those techniques as used by the scouts [Bedouin], age-old and venerable methods an art form almost, but very effective and having an obvious military application within the context of the low-intensity conflict when done by those practitioners small in number.

"The Secret Techniques of IDF Bedouin Scouts"

"Here are five techniques used by our trackers which make them the best of the best":

"3) Avoid twilight:

"The hours of twilight, when the light constantly changes and vision gets poorer, are hardest on the eyes.  Either scout during the day, or at nighttime with a flashlight, but don’t try your luck in that transition period."

The Iban/Dayak of the Malaya Emergency in contrast rather PREFERRING and ONLY tracking during those hours of immediate sunrise or sunset. That time with the longest shadows allowing for the best conditions for following a track? So I have read.

For those of you interested, there is a school where you can learn the skills and abilities of the tracker, a science and an art form both. The Tom Brown Tracker School. Good luck and good hunting, whatever your game, the ancient and venerable ways still exist.



Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Katyn & Smolensk.

This is coolbert:

From the Chicago Tribune almanac today. On this day two years ago now:

In 2010 " Polish President Lech Kaczynski was killed along with 96 others - - including his wife, political leaders and heroes of Poland's resistance to communist rule - - when their airplane crashed outside Smolensk, Russia. The group was on its way to mark the massacre of thousands - - of Polish prisoners of war in a forest glad called Katyn by Soviet Military police in 1940."

Some obvious and instantaneous clarifications needed here:

1. Tens of thousands [22,000?] and not merely thousands.

2. A massacre yes but much more, a carefully planned execution, with malice afore thought of the most diabolical and malevolent variety!

3. NOT merely POW [prisoners of war] but the entire elite of the Polish nation. Priests, intellectuals, political figures, military officers, academics. The gamut of that core nucleus from which the leadership of a nation is found.

4. NOT Soviet military police. The NKVD, the Soviet secret police.

"The Katyn massacre, also known as the Katyn Forest massacre . . . was a mass execution of Polish nationals carried out by the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD), the Soviet secret police, in April and May 1940 . . . Of the total killed, about 8,000 were officers taken prisoner during the 1939 Soviet invasion of Poland, another 6,000 were police officers, with the rest being Polish intelligentsia arrested for allegedly being "intelligence agents, gendarmes, landowners, saboteurs, factory owners, lawyers, officials and priests."

All pedantics aside, I had planned to blog on this particular event as considered within the wider context which now goes back seventy years now.

From the original headlines as it was two years ago thanks to the BBC:

"Polish President Lech Kaczynski dies in plane crash"

"President Lech Kaczynski and scores of other senior Polish figures have been killed in a plane crash in Russia."

"the plane apparently hit trees as it approached Smolensk airport in thick fog."

That commemorative event as planned those passengers on the crashed aircraft again that very elite of Polish society and culture, INCLUDING FROM WHAT I UNDERSTAND AT LEAST HALF OF THE POLISH GENERAL STAFF ON BOARD!!

"Poland's army chief, central bank governor, MPs and leading historians were among more than 80 passengers."

My instantaneous and intuitive reaction two year ago was this was a deliberate instance of MEACONING! False navigation signals sent deliberately to deceive the pilot, relying upon instruments as he was at that exact moment, all perishing as a result and with deliberate malice on the part of the Russian. Without a shred of evidence that was my "instantaneous and intuitive" reaction! As it was seventy years ago so it remains now too? Kill the Poles!

This tragic incident from two years ago has been deemed after thorough investigation to have been an accident and MY "instantaneous and intuitive reaction" is just plain wrong? So seems to be the consensus BUT speculation and just downright suspicion remains and in some quarters is quite strong, THIS WAS NOT AN ACCIDENT!

From almost seventy years ago now, the death of Polish wartime commander General Sikorski seeming to suggest that there is indeed precedent for this type of event, death by airplane crash at the most inopportune moment ALSO related to events as occurred at Katyn AT THE TIME!!

"In July 1943, a plane carrying Sikorski plunged into the sea immediately after takeoff from Gibraltar, killing all on board except the pilot . . . Investigators later concluded that Sikorski's injuries were consistent with a plane crash."

Sikorski wartime commander-in-chief of all Polish armed forces and de facto leader of the Polish government in exile, ASKING TOO MANY UNCOMFORTABLE QUESTION REGARDING KATYN.

English investigation of the 1943 airplane crash also strongly suggesting that this tragedy too was an accident, nothing more, similar to events as they recently [2010] transpired in Smolensk.

The David Irving book:  "Accident: The Death of General Sikorski" [get your own free download] that authoritative work [?] on the subject ruling out conspiracy or other acts of sabotage. Disaster as it was in 1943 and the death of General Sikorski due to an overloaded aircraft the cargo of which was not fastened down or positioned correctly? This seems to be the case.

Devoted readers to the blog will forgive those with fevered imaginations such as myself, the coincidences as occurring being too numerous to not arouse suspicion?



This is coolbert:

 "the world's highest battlefield."

From only this weekend a very tragic story, an entire Pakistani army battalion HQ being wiped out, buried by an an avalanche.

Pakistani army unit on the Siachen glacier, that line-of-contact, disputed territory in Kashmir between India and Pakistan, the HQ buried by an immense and very destructive avalanche of snow. That area of the world, the mountainous terrain on the border between Afghan and Pakistan extending northward to the Hindu Kush [Hindu killer] having the worst winter [cold alone?] in fifty to sixty years.

NOW THIS! Troops already living in the "dead zone" in danger of death from the altitude, also in danger from a mountasinside of snow collapsing on them with high speed, being buried alive a cruel and terrible fate. That "dead zone" altitude above 14,000 feet beyond which human habitation and survival impossible, the body slowly but surely deteriorating A SOLDIER NO MATTER HOW FIT PHYSICALLY STRESSED WELL BEYOND THE BREAKING POINT AT ALL TIMES!

"Avalanche buries 124 Pakistani soldiers and 11 civilians"

"ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - An avalanche engulfed a Pakistani army battalion headquarters near the Indian border on Saturday, burying 124 soldiers and 11 civilians, with no sign of survivors 17 hours later, the military said."

"Siachen is in the northern part of the Himalayan region of Kashmir. The no-man's-land of Siachen is 20,000 feet above sea level."

"Military experts say the inhospitable climate and avalanche-prone terrain have claimed more lives than gunfire."

MORE troops killed by that combination of altitude and cold than from gunfire and enemy action! Absolutely and undeniable.

Avalanche during the era from one hundred years ago, the Great War [WW1] also a severe problem. That alpine no-man's land between the forces of Italy and the Austro-Hungarians witnessing combat without amelioration during the four years of war, the threat of avalanche and destruction of entire units not only a possible, but a common occurrence! From the web site "Avalanche" by Richard Galli:

"During the three-year war in the Austro-Italian Alps at least 60,000 soldiers died in avalanches . . . Ten thousand died from avalanches in the 'lesser' ranges of the eastern half of the high front -- the Carnic and Julian Alps. In the 'high' Alps to the west, the Ortler and Adamello groups, the Dolomites, avalanches claimed 50,000 lives."

NOT necessarily man-made caused avalanches either. Naturally occurring and a danger to both side. Alpine warfare dangerous even when not in combat with the enemy, snow, cold, fall, avalanche! The forces of nature prevailing over man given enough time, cold in particular that one element the human body least able to withstand.

I was under the distinct impression that the various mountain combatants during WW1 used the avalanche as a DELIBERATE WEAPON OF WAR! Avalanches set off purposefully to bury your adversary alive under a mountainside of snow! This does not seem to be the case, apocrypha prevailing in common lore.

That Tyrol and the Italian Alps, always dangerous regardless of season, much more so during the winter, sunny and warm Italy NOT always so!


Monday, April 9, 2012


This is coolbert:

From a comment to the blog by Anonymous:

"The MMIII (LGM30G) [Minuteman III ICBM] was only ever capable of carrying 3 re-entry vehicles (warheads) never 10 (that was the retired Peacekeeper (MX) and the Navy D5. My understanding is that all landbased missiles have been reduced to one RV in accordance with ongoing nuclear forces negotiations. Most everyone gets facts about ICBMs incorrect, it would be nice if people would do real research"

And Anonymous is 100 % correct and I must admit so ashamedly for not doing my homework, but please keep in mind that most of my blog entries are done off the top-of-my-head, off-the-cuff and with quite often merely a minimum of research. I HAD INDEED THOUGHT THE MINUTEMAN III WAS EQUIPPED WITH TEN WARHEADS!

American strategic forces slowly but surely reducing that inventory of warheads on station and ready to go. This is an ongoing process for some time and will continue. Conventional thought is that about one thousand [1,000] warheads total are sufficient to deter any aggressor under any circumstances?

And all the info you need to know is in the wiki?

1. "Single Reentry Vehicle (SRV)"

"The Single Reentry Vehicle (SRV) modification enabled the United States ICBM force to abide by the now-vacated START II treaty requirements by reconfiguring Minuteman-III missiles from three reentry vehicles down to one."

2. "Safety Enhanced Reentry Vehicle (SERV)"

"Beginning in 2005, Mk-21/W87 RVs from the deactivated Peacekeeper missile will be placed on the Minuteman-III force under the Safety Enhanced Reentry Vehicle (SERV) program."

That newer warhead on an older missile, but still a very potent combination, the W87 nearly a half-megaton of explosive power, more than enough to do a lot of damage and deter aggression and allow that instantly ready on call force to be more flexible with continued deadliness!!

"Starting in 2007, 200 of the W87 warheads from now-retired MX/Peacekeeper missiles will be retrofitted onto much older Minuteman III missiles, with only one warhead on each missile."

Thank you again anonymous for the heads up!!



This is coolbert:

Thanks to an Israeli web site we have this development of low level technology ordnance being made SAFER!

"Learning from Tragedy, IDF Develops Safer Hand Grenade"

"The new grenade will not explode if struck by a bullet – as happened to [the] grenade that killed Major Eliraz Peretz [2010]."

"The IDF Ground Forces will begin using a new, safer type of hand grenade in the course of the year, reports the IDF Website. The safer grenade will not explode if struck by an enemy bullet."

"The grenade is an upgraded version of the veteran no. 26 grenade. However, the spark that detonates its explosive component will only be lit if the grenade's safety has been removed."

And this actually did occur. Israeli soldier killed when the hand grenade he was wearing prematurely detonated - - struck by a round from an enemy rifle.

Precautions taken but I have to ask if this is not an instance of extreme cases make for bad law and policies? Mandated but how many times does this occur on the battlefield to make a difference? I guess if one soldier is save it is worthwhile. But that enemy bullet would have done some lethal damage anyhow? Of course the damage done when a grenade is in contact with your body and explodes is rather extreme, the doc is not able to patch you up as you are dead more or less instantly.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Grant & the Jews.

This is coolbert:

At this time of Passover and Easter this headline from the New York Times in the book review section creates excitement and consternation in some circles. A review of a book describing how General Grant EXPELLED THE JEWS, ALMOST IT SEEMS IN THE MANNER OF AN EGYPTIAN PHARAOH!

"The Exodus From Paducah, 1862 ‘When General Grant Expelled the Jews,’ by Jonathan D. Sarna"

Thanks to Janet Maslin

"Jonathan D. Sarna’s provocative new book . . . an account of how Gen. Ulysses S. Grant issued an order to expel Jews from their homes in the midst of the Civil War."

"On Dec. 17, 1862, Grant issued the order that read: 'The Jews, as a class violating every regulation of trade established by the Treasury Department and also department orders, are hereby expelled from this department within 24 hours from the receipt of this order.' . . . on Jan. 4, 1863, one week from the day (Dec. 28, 1862) on which Paducah’s Jews were actually expelled, President Abraham Lincoln ordered Grant to revoke the controversial edict."

The context of this general order most important to understand, and as it was too ONLY applicable to those areas under the command of Grant, the Tennessee Department. Grant in the capacity NOT ONLY as a military commander but also as a military governor and as such possessing extraordinary powers.

US Grant finding the presence of war profiteers, speculators and gougers, persons behaving in an unseemly manner during a time of conflict, ordered to leave their homes and depart forthwith!

The Jewish merchant, the trader, the traveling salesman [the smous] found with frequency in America and especially in all parts of the American frontier, relied upon for merchandise, not easily obtainable goods and news from afar and thought of generally in a positive manner.

That situation changing during a time of war, hardship and chaos creating circumstances that some took advantage of much to the anger of Grant, Ulysses reacting in a fit or rage and anger, tempestuous action not well thought out and regrettably so!

How extensive was the degree of profiteering I would have to ask and also that Grant made a poor choice of words that was ill-considered and in the heat of moment undeniable.

More history lessons from the American Civil War that are rarely known or understood by the lay public coming to light this many years after the American Civil War was fought, and good for it too!


Friday, April 6, 2012


This is coolbert:

Warning: This blog entry links to a web site that contains an image of full frontal female nudity. If such material offends you hit escape NOW!

War as has been the topic of previous blog entries must be thought of as consisting of three definite and defined stages, those being:

1. What led up to the war.
2. The fighting of the war itself, the mortal combat.
3. The aftermath and consequences of the war.

From the English Daily Mail web site we have this article with graphic images - - some of those events that occurred AFTER German surrender in World War Two.

To an extent the war continuing even when mortal combat having ended, the movements of tens of millions of persons in a manner that world has not seen since [1945] resulting in millions more additional dead, the various combatants having ceased to fire on one another.

"The year of vengeance: How neighbours turned on each other and anarchy erupted in the aftermath of WWII"

"Just imagine living in a world in which law and order have broken down completely: a world in which there is no authority, no rules and no sanctions."

"In the bombed-out ruins of Europe’s cities, feral gangs scavenge for food. Old men are murdered for their clothes, their watches or even their boots. Women are mercilessly raped, many several times a night."

NOT total chaos and a breakdown of all authority, a degree of order imposed by the victors in the war [England, USA, Soviet Union] but in general an upheaval as bad in some circumstances as the war itself!

In particular those movements of tens of millions of persons, POW, ethnic Germans, displaced persons [DP] and impressed forced laborers of all nationalities creating a lot of animosity and hatred, a desire for vengeance manifesting itself in the killing of civilians by other civilians.

Also too a clear demarcation between the western allies [England and the USA] and the forces of communism as led by the Soviet Union. That Cold War began in 1945 and did not end for forty-five years thereafter.

Recall too that this situation was not unique to Europe. A similar set of circumstances existed also in the aftermath of Japanese surrender in the Asian/Pacific theatre. Mass killing, upheaval, movement of persons on a Biblical scale - - and all after what is called VJ day!

And thank you Dominic Sandbrook and his fine article!


Thursday, April 5, 2012


This is coolbert:

"Gettysburg and Waterloo were almost equivalent battles, with 
each of the four combatant armies suffering about 23,000 casualties"

American historian using unique and advanced methodology able to calculate more precisely the number of military dead combined from the North and South during the American Civil War. About 20 % more dead [from all sources] that had been previously estimated! Thanks to the New York Times newspaper!

"New Estimate Raises Civil War Death Toll"

"For 110 years, the numbers stood as gospel: 618,222 men died in the Civil War, 360,222 from the North and 258,000 from the South — by far the greatest toll of any war in American history."

"But new research shows that the numbers were far too low."

"By combing through newly digitized census data from the 19th century, J. David Hacker, a demographic historian from Binghamton University in New York, has recalculated the death toll and increased it by more than 20 percent — to 750,000."

That population of the United States in 1861 about 40 million persons, northern and southern states total. That three-quarters of a million dead soldiers combined from both sides, men exclusively, from the most youthful, robust and energetic demographic, especially so from those southern states in rebellion, disease and not battlefield death constituting the largest portion of the casualties - - as mentioned farm boys in particular more susceptible to fatality from illness and sickness than city dwellers!!

Historical interpretations of events now much more better understood through the use of statistical methods, a careful gleaning of existing records and computer manipulation techniques hitherto unavailable to researchers from previous periods.

Let me too put that three-quarters of a million dead in the proper context. During the Second World War American deaths military all services in all areas of operation totaled about four hundred thousand [400,000], almost no civilians killed. That from a population in 1940 of around one hundred forty million [140 million persons]!



This is coolbert:

One if by land, two if by sea and three if by air.

Those large-scale combat engagements at the earliest stage of the Second-Indo China War, the American military in a heavy-handed manner with full combat force most regrettably and inauspiciously so not faring as well as might have been desired. Shapes of things to come not fully understood at the time.

1. Gulf of Tonkin incident. The "fog of war" epitomized, American naval units having thought to fought off a night-time naval action against North Vietnamese torpedo boats. An action perhaps only fictional, thought to  have occurred but now generally accepted as a "mirage".

2. Flak trap. American combat aviation [USAF and naval combat air both] tactical warplanes not faring so well in the skies over North Vietnam, encountering massive and very lethal assemblages of North Vietnamese surface-to-air-missiles [SAM] and anti-aircraft-artillery [AAA]. That very deadly and unexpected combination again lethal!

3. Ia Drang Valley. American combat infantry in major ground combat with units of the North Vietnamese Army [NVA] for the first time, casualties excessive almost catastrophic!

For the first time ever, the American military prepared in ADVANCE for a war, that level of Cold War preparedness allowing for a rapid deployment of assets in as ready-to-go a state of readiness as was possible.

In the air, at sea, and on the ground the results NOT exactly as anticipated, outcomes to these initial combat actions less than favorable, again, inauspicious and even troubling.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012


This is coolbert:

From the previous Ia Drang blog entry:

"Especially at Albany so many in leadership positions INSTANTLY AND MORE OR LESS IN SECONDS CUT DOWN BY SUPER-INTENSE ENEMY FIRE, THOSE HIGHLY VISIBLE AT THE TIME BADGES OF RANK IN PARTICULAR ALLOWING FOR CONCENTRATED NVA FIRE TO BE DIRECTED AT THOSE ATTEMPTING TO CONDUCT AN EFFECTIVE DEFENSE. Albany became a battle with privates in command of whatever unit structure remained or those remnants forming from the survivors of wiped out squads and platoons!!"

American infantry during the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley quite often finding themselves leaderless,  their company grade officers either dead or wounded, removed from the action, lower ranking troops having to assume a command position, direct those personnel still effective, junior soldiers unaccustomed to assuming that role of a combat commander!!

Lieutenant Marm, awarded the Medal of Honor [MoH] for his heroics at Ia Drang [LZ X-Ray] having made the proper observations commenting in the aftermath of the battle that each and every non-commissioned officer [NCO] in the U.S. Army given a combat situation needs to be able to do three things [and do them well I would assume!]:

1. Organize a defensive perimeter.
2. Operate a radio in two different nets.
3. Employ indirect fire [artillery and mortars].

Each and every NCO [sergeant] regardless of specialty skill or branch [combat arms, combat support or combat service support] able at a moments notice able to lead troops in combat, even if only defensively A MUST!

With regard to # 3, NOT ONLY employ indirect fire but in the modern context employ ALL supporting fires, indirect and also close-air-support to include helicopter gunships!!

The extreme nature of Ia Drang somewhat negates the lessons learned? Devoted readers to the blog with combat experience can comment?


Tuesday, April 3, 2012


This is coolbert:

NOW thanks to the Army Times the type of story that YOU DO NOT WANT TO READ ABOUT!

Retired U.S Army general officer [his exact rank at the time of retirement not given] a child molester entering a guilty plea. A paedophile [it is not clear if the victim was a boy or a girl] on his way to prison, his once high rank and station notwithstanding!!

"Retired general pleads guilty to sex abuse"

"HILLSBORO, Ore. — A 71-year-old retired Army general has pleaded guilty to sex abuse charges and agreed to a 10-year prison sentence."

"Evidence showed Heldstab abused a young victim for nearly a decade until the victim finally told someone when he was 19"

It is my understanding that general officers even when retired remain on the rolls of the army for the rest of their life until they terminate this existence. General officers are said to possess such a degree of experience, training, and ability that their skills may yet be in demand, if the situation warrants. Recall to active duty for instance in a case of general mobilization.

The retired general began to engage in this sordid form of behavior ONLY upon retirement? I think not! And more is out there and perhaps even worse? I fear so! Let justice be done in any case!

This too reminds me of the strange case of General Edwin Walker. Cashiered from the military decades ago now, retired [?] and TWICE arrested for morals charges, approaching men in the washroom in an untoward manner! Walker a distinguished combat soldier of the highest repute, NO ONE ever at any time suspecting the man had a hidden aspect to his life!

C'est la vie and C'est la guerre!!



This is coolbert:

Here is one of those stories you like to read about. The bad guy getting his comeuppance and in a big way and at the hands of a military veteran.

Thanks to the Military Times for the story:

"Hero vet stops robbery with MMA choke hold"

"He never knew what hit him."

"A 38-year-old who attempted to rob a Grand Rapids party goods store was grabbed with lightning speed and floored by a heroic Iraq vet who happened to be the in shop, a local Fox affiliate reports."

"Zach Thome, a mixed martial arts-trained former soldier, put gunman Brandon Slanger, 38, in a rear naked choke hold and held him until police arrived."

The villain, threatening dire consequences for those that did not cooperate with him, floored and put into a choke hold and subdued by a military veteran from the Iraq Wars [which war it is not clear]! The habitual criminal now facing a stiff and well deserved prison sentence in large measure because of the military man having the physical and mental wherewithal, the knowledge and ability to fight, using martial arts techniques to overpower the gunman [it is not clear if this Brandon did indeed have a firearm but he did claim he had one!].

Again, the ex-military man having the gumption and just plain guts to fight it out when others would not!

Bravo big time and hooray!!

Offhand I am able to think of only two other such similar instances.

1. From decades ago a Frenchman off duty, off base but still in uniform, set upon by three knife wielding men. That Frenchman described as a member of the unit that protects and guards the French nuclear arsenal not only fighting off his assailants, but killing one - - the other two being put to flight. Again - - bravo and hooray.

2. And more rencently a retired American, a senior citizen, part of tour group in Costa Rica, those tourists confronted by armed robbers, the American probably ex-military also [70 years of age], overpowering the bad guys, killing one armed attacker the remainder put to rout. This American presumably at one time a Navy SEAL, an army Ranger, Special Forces or a Marine! Someone prepared and ready to fight and knowing how to do so.

Such events are indeed rare, regrettably occurring only too infrequently. But when they do, once more, bravo and hooray!!


Sunday, April 1, 2012


This is coolbert:

From that account of Jack Smith "Death in the Ia Drang Valley, November 13-18, 1965" courtesy of "The Saturday Evening Post", 28 January 1967 and as seen by the man at Ia Drang LZ X-Ray, American Skyraider USAF aircraft providing close-air-support [CAS] to those American forces on the ground:

"a couple of our Skyraiders came in. One of them dropped a lot of stuff that shimmered in the sun like green confetti. It looked like a ticker-tape parade, but when the things hit the ground, the little pieces exploded. They were antipersonnel charges"

That lot of stuff as dropped [dispensed] by the Skyraiders having very lethal consequences for the North Vietnamese soldiers in contact with the American troops at X-Ray. Sub-munitions not properly identified but reasonably thought to have been of the BLU-3 or BLU-18 variety? Bomblets the "Sandy" dropping by the hundreds from a dispenser over the battlefield, each and every bomblet lethal for a considerable radius!

1. BLU-3. "BLU-3 Pineapple was a cluster bomblet, 360 were deployed from the CBU-2A cluster bomb. It was used extensively in the Vietnam War by American forces. It was named 'Pineapple' because of its appearance. On impact the bomblet explodes scattering 200 steel pellets at high speed."

"The BLU-3/B 'Pineapple' was a fragmentation bomblet for use against personnel and unarmoured targets. After release from the aerial dispenser, the bomblet was stabilized by six pop-out drag vanes. It detonated on impact, and dispersed 250 high-velocity steel pellets."

And NOT large in size, small, and green, resembling confetti, YES!

"Length: 95 mm (3.75 in); with vanes extended: 170 mm (6.7 in), Diameter: 70 mm (2.75 in)"

2. BLU-18. "The BLU-18/B was a dispenser-delivered anti-personnel fragmentation bomblet. It had two spring-loaded arming vanes, which extended after release from the dispenser. The bomblet rebounded after impact, and the impact-armed delay fuze therefore resulted in an air burst slightly above ground"

Similar to a "Bouncing Betty" type of land mine. Also not large, small, tiny even and green also!

"Dimensions (vanes in stored position): 46 mm x 61 mm x 61 mm (1.8 in x 2.4 in x 2.4 in)"

That American military able to bring to the Vietnam battlefield a level of firepower and destructiveness as NEVER POSSESSED BY THE FRENCH DURING THEIR WAR AGAINST THE VIET MINH! Even magnitudes in excess of what was available to the French during the First Indo-China War.

These BLU only two of several types of cluster bombs and bomblets as available to the USAF and of the type dropped [dispensed] at Ia Drang!!


Ia Drang.

This is coolbert:

Ia Drang Valley, Chu Pong Mountain, Vietnam.

Those of you that have read the book by Moore and Galloway: "We Were Soldiers Once...and Young" or seen the Mel Gibson movie of the same name will be more than familiar with the story of LZ X-Ray: "the first major battle of the Vietnam War between the American Army [USA] and the People's Army of Vietnam [NVA/PAVN] - Regulars".

That American  air mobile battalion of light infantry airlifted onto a landing zone [LZ X-Ray], unbeknownst to them the LZ located directly on top of a base camp for a NVA divisional sized unit.

That air mobile battalion of Colonel Moore instantly and irrevocably so pinned down, unable to advance beyond the perimeter of the LZ, casualties excessive even catastrophic, annihilation even a possible!

That battalion surviving and only so emerging from three days of the most intense combat by a combination of hard fighting, reinforcement, indirect weapons fire [artillery] and a LOT of close-air-support [CAS].

LZ X-Ray however should be understood to be ONLY HALF THE STORY OF IA DRANG VALLEY, CHU PONG MOUNTAIN!

Further combat as seen at LZ Albany the rest of the story.

One of those reinforcing battalions as having previously been engaged at X-Ray ambushed and also nearly wiped out, decimated to an extent of no longer being a cohesive and combat effective unit, so heavy was the casualties!!


The story of LZ Albany as best told by Jack Smith, American infantryman present at the scene, repeatedly wounded, surviving only barely, and as recounted in:  "Death in the Ia Drang Valley, November 13-18, 1965" , thanks to : The Saturday Evening Post, 28 January 1967."

"Sandbag For A Machine Gun: Jack P. Smith on the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley and the Legacy of the Vietnam War".

Jack Smith recently passed away and of course the son of the famous American journalist and TV evening news anchor Howard K. Smith!

That account of Jack Smith an outstanding anecdotal account of combat, worthy of inclusion into any anthology! Read the whole thing for yourself!

Regarding both X-Ray and Albany the word debacle is not used lightly but is almost considered to be appropriate?

That first major and large-scale engagement between American army and NVA forces did not go so well from the American standpoint, admittedly so at the time or not!

In the aftermath of both LZ X-ray and LZ Albany the order was given from the highest command for all leadership ranks serving in Vietnam to WEAR ONLY SUBDUED NAME TAGS AND BADGES OF RANK!! Especially at Albany so many in leadership positions INSTANTLY AND MORE OR LESS IN SECONDS CUT DOWN BY SUPER-INTENSE ENEMY FIRE, THOSE HIGHLY VISIBLE AT THE TIME BADGES OF RANK IN PARTICULAR ALLOWING FOR CONCENTRATED NVA FIRE TO BE DIRECTED AT THOSE ATTEMPTING TO CONDUCT AN EFFECTIVE DEFENSE. Albany became a battle with privates in command of whatever unit structure remained or those remnants forming from the survivors of wiped out squads and platoons!!


* Those American soldiers at Ia Drang each and every one parachute qualified, paratroopers the finest and best and most prepared infantry the American army could deploy to Vietnam!

* Those American officers commanding at all ranks and echelons of command too the finest and best infantry officers the American army could deploy to Vietnam!

* Inexplicably - - twice at Ia Drang, the American infantry was surprised and much to their chagrin nearly annihilated. This cannot have been considered to be anything but an inauspicious and unfavorable start to major ground combat as undertaken by American forces in Vietnam. Even established a trend and tenor that was to last the entire duration of the war?