Author Archives: ultimaratioregis

One Hundred Years Ago, Royal Navy Revenge at the Falklands

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On the morning of 8 December 1914 just before 0800, British Vice-Admiral Sir Doveton Sturdee received word that the German ships he had been searching for had appeared in the frigid South Atlantic waters off Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands.   The day before, Sturdee had arrived from England with reinforcements for the remnants of a British cruiser force that had been shattered in the first defeat the Royal Navy had suffered in a century.

Five weeks earlier, Admiral Maximilian Graf von Spee’s Südsee-Geschwader, consisting of the powerful armored cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, along with cruisers Nürnberg, Leipzig, and Dresden, had routed Rear Admiral Cradock’s undergunned and outmanned cruiser squadron at Coronel, off the coast of Chile.  Cradock went down with his flagship Good Hope (which sank with all hands) when, pounded to a wreck by Scharnhorst, her forward magazine exploded.  Monmouth, Cradock’s other armored cruiser, was also lost with all hands under the fire of Gneisenau and Leipzig.

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Sturdee’s reinforcements were battlecruisers Invincible and Inflexible, 20,0o0 ton vessels armed with eight 12-inch guns, capable of 26.5 knots, and the armored cruisers Kent and Cornwall.  Along with Glasgow and the elderly pre-dreadnought Canopus, Sturdee held a decisive advantage in both gun power and speed over his adversary.  Von Spee was entirely unaware of the presence of the British capital ships, which held a 6-knot speed advantage over Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, both of which were badly in need of overhaul and a hull-scraping.  Spee’s sixteen 8.2-inch guns were more than a match for Cradock’s armored cruisers, but were entirely outmatched by the heavier British batteries of Inflexible and Invincible.

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The opening salvoes were fired by Canopus, masked by the landmass of Sapper Hill.  Unaware as of yet of the presence of two battlecruisers, Spee canceled the planned bombardment, still believing he could disengage and outrun the British cruisers and the elderly battleship.  It was not until near mid-day that horrified German lookouts spotted the distinctive fighting tops of the British capital units.  In a running fight that the German vessels had little chance of escaping, Scharnhorst succumbed to her wounds and rolled over at 1615.  Gneisenau would fight gamely on until the last of her guns were destroyed, and at 1800 she was ordered scuttled by her captain.  Admiral Graf von Spee was not among the 190 survivors plucked from the icy waters.

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The battle had some final acts to play out.  Kent sank Nürnberg at 1930, and in the darkening seas Glasgow and Cornwall hunted down and sank Leipzig.   Only Dresden of Spee’s Südsee-Geshwader escaped, to be sunk in March of 1915.  (Among Dresden’s officers was a young Oberleutnant-zur-see named Wilhelm Canaris, who would go on to famed service in the next war.)

The Battle of the Falklands cost the Imperial German Navy the lives of more than 1,800 sailors.  British losses were ten killed and 19 wounded.  While the victory of Sturdee’s squadron was complete, and avenged Cradock at Coronel, some unflattering issues revealed themselves.  The primary was that British gunnery left much to be desired.  The sinking of Scharnhorst and Gneisenau took more than five hours, and 1,174 rounds of 12-inch ammunition from the battlecruisers.  Even considering Sturdee’s prudent tactics of fighting at or beyond the range of the guns of his opponent, his capital units expended more than half of their ammunition to score fewer than thirty hits on the two German cruisers.  British gunnery shortcomings, the skill and bravery of their German opponents, and the toughness of the German ships, would manifest themselves at Jutland eighteen months later.

In one of history’s ironies, Admiral Graf von Spee’s namesake panzerschiff, KMS Graf Spee, would meet its end almost exactly 25 years later, in December of 1939 in the waters of the South Atlantic once again.  She was scuttled because it was rumored that she was awaited outside Montevideo by British dreadnoughts.

 

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Filed under armor, Artillery, Defense, guns, history, navy, ships, Splodey, Uncategorized, veterans, war, weapons

Domestic Enemies: 2014

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If you read here more than a little, you are familiar with my use of the term “enemies, domestic”.  For the uninitiated, those words are a part of my oath of office as a Commissioned Officer in the United States Marine Corps.  They define, in part, those from whom I have sworn on my life to defend the Constitution from.  Just who are those people?  Well, DaveO among our friends at Op-For provides some superb erudition to the subject:

In August of 2013, I posed the question “Who are ‘Domestic Enemies?’” This question stemmed from comments in an earlier post provided by Mike Burke and Slater. In September of 2013, Colonel Joseph L. Prue, USAF, in his post  “Identifying the domestic enemy” pulled this definition from our Constitution:

Amendment 14, Section 3 states, “No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.” As a military officer, I honed in on the words military and insurrection. To me, this meant that any insurgent against the United States shall not hold any public office to include civil or military.

The Constitutional parameters of: 1) engaging in insurrection or rebellion against the Constitution; or 2) to have given aid and comfort to the enemies of the Constitution.

By that definition we’ve got a  LOT of domestic enemies in America. Folks love to argue that President Obama’s [still unsigned?] amnesty is the very definition of rebellion against the Constitution. Others, myself included, believe Senator Reid of Utah and the anti-war groups such as Code Pink did gave aid and comfort to AQ and its offshoots and the Taliban up until Obama won the presidency, and then the groups were quickly hustled off to rest and recuperate until the next Republican POTUS appears.

But the folks in and behind the anti-war crowd were never anti-war, just anti-America and if hampering the war effort hurt America, they were all for it. Once Obama won, these people could turn to more productive pursuits. They are working on an “American Spring.” Legitimate protests of law enforcement are being hijacked to bring about rebellion. There are problems with race in America, as well as problems enforcing the an unknowable and incoherent body of law. Domestic enemies don’t care about race or relations with the police – domestic enemies wish to supplant the Constitution and become their own law and engage in mass murder. The NSA knows who they are, where they live, and who is paying them. January 20, 2017 can’t come soon enough – we need to cut out this cancer of domestic enemies.

Every link Dave puts in his post is worth the read.  This Administration has embarked on a systematic shredding of our Constitution, and with it, our liberties protected thereby.  The 14th Amendment has already been a casualty, when the Attorney General defined just who would face prosecution for crimes, based on skin color.  DaveO is entirely correct.  January of 2017 cannot come soon enough.
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Filed under Air Force, army, Around the web, guns, history, marines, navy, obama, Politics, terrorism, Uncategorized, veterans, war, weapons

This is What’s Infuriating About Professional Sports

Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo is a very poor shooter.  From the free throw line, he has gone from mediocre to downright abysmal.   Rather than taking Rondo to task for his performance, an article by Celtics beat writer A. Sherrod Blakely at CSNNE on the subject is all but an excuse-making session for a professional basketball player, a ball-handling guard, no less, being such a poor free throw shooter.   Rondo’s coach, Brad Stevens, talks as if there is simply some fine tuning and a confidence issue.

“The only way that it’s going to be brought up is by everybody else on the outside,” Stevens said. “So all we’re going to do is encourage and try to help in the small ways we can. But it’s about feeling good about yourself, about going in and knocking the next one in. That’s a lot easier said than done. That’s something that, I want him on the line again in a tie game with a minute to go. He’ll make those.”

Really?  Seems Rondo has been a terrible free throw shooter his entire career, making a dismal 61.5% (the league average is over 78%) over nine seasons.  He has two years in which he failed to make 60%, and so far this season he has been historically bad.  Rondo is just 9 for 28 from the free throw line, 32.1% thus far in 2014-15.  And he is the guy that is the Celtics’ ball handler, the one who needs to be automatic from the line, because he is the one you want with the ball and a lead in the closing seconds of a tight game.  Except he stinks from the free throw line.  And for years, the Celtics have inserted other players in those situations specifically because their “star” point guard is so bad in the clutch.  You want him on the line in a tie game, coach?  Funny, so does the other team.  Methinks you are full of it.

But don’t worry, Rondo promises to get into the gym and “fix” his problem.

“I’m gonna work on it,” Rondo said. “I don’t have the answer on it now. When I figure it out, I start making nine-for-10 I’ll let you know what I did to tweak it.”

Gee, thanks for the effort.  For a salary of $12.9 million, or $35,000 A DAY, one is glad to know that you are willing to put in the work.  After how many years of piss-poor performance?  How many games has it cost your team in the regular season and playoffs?  After nine professional seasons, NOW you are going to “work on it”?   And then this bit of new-age athletic advice from Coach Stevens:

“So I think that, you go in, put your work in. It doesn’t have to be thousands and thousands of hours. It doesn’t have to be hundreds and hundreds of free throws every session. Just get it right, and move on. And believe in yourself to make the next one because the people around you support you.”

Sorry, Brad, it IS thousands of hours.  Confidence comes with practice.  Thousands and tens of thousands of shots, practicing proper form and fundamentals.  Drills for the fingertips, against a wall.  Time in an empty gym.  A lot of time.  Dedication, and hard work.  Something fewer and fewer professional athletes are willing to put in to turn their talents into skills.  It has nothing to do with “support”.  Good gravy.  Such excuse-making is a source of increasing frustration for me and many others who have been watchers of professional sports.  I routinely turn off games in which I see the mediocrity on display that denotes a lack of hard work, and a lack of mastery of fundamentals.  Empty my wallet to buy a ticket to watch it live?  Not a chance.  I don’t want to hear how much you burn to win on game day, when you cannot be bothered to put in the sweat on practice day.  An hour a day in the gym (positing an 8 hour day, Rondo makes $4,500 an hour) shooting free throws is pretty good work if you can get it.

Despite Rondo’s assurances, I doubt he will get any better, except for fleeting stretches here and there.  He hasn’t in nine professional seasons.  And he has been unwilling to put in the work to improve.  Short of some sort of physical disorder, if he’d have worked, he would be better.  Rondo remains what he has been for his entire career, an awful free throw shooter and poor jump shooter whose shortcomings continue to hurt his team.

If you want to be the star of the team and you stink, don’t be surprised if your team stinks.  And if you are the star and are unwilling to work, don’t be surprised if your teammates aren’t willing to work.  And don’t be surprised if I, and many like me, change the channel.

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Filed under Around the web, Personal

Ferguson: “Certain Instigators”

In this afternoon’s post, XBRAD applied the term “certain instigators” to define the thugs and race-baiters who wish for “black rage” and senseless violence in Ferguson rather than any acknowledgement of facts or desire for justice.   Those instigators have fanned the flames of racial hatred, demanded that due process be set aside so that revenge could be exacted, and assiduously masked the REAL issue of the Ferguson story: police overreach.   (No, I am not talking about the shooting death of Michael Brown.  Reaching for a policeman’s firearm in a wrestling match almost guarantees such an outcome.)  I am talking about law enforcement who treats every citizen as a suspect and potential perp.  Cops that sight in on unarmed civilians and scream that they are going to kill them.  Cops with little restraint, regardless of skin color of either the officer or the citizen.  Who might be eager to suppress that issue?  Our highest law enforcement official in the land.  And the President whose vision of government is one of omnipotence and intimidation.

The old saying, “You’re known by the company you keep”, certainly applies to those two.  Behold, the “certain instigators” of Ferguson:

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Birds of a feather.  They have far more than skin color in common.  They are hucksters.  Bigoted, race-baiting charlatans.  Despicable and dishonest.  They see an opportunity for racial agitation in Ferguson, and in Wappinger Falls, NY, Durham, NC, Sanford, FL, but apparently none in Duncan, OK, or in South Salt Lake, UT, or Chicago’s projects.  And they are indistinguishable from one another, except that two of them are supposed to be supporting and defending the Constitution.

For people like Tim Scott, Alan West, Mia Love, and Dr. Benjamin Carson, skin color is the ONLY thing they have in common with those pictured above.   Something about content of their character, I believe.

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Filed under Around the web, history, obama, Politics, Uncategorized

One of the Greatest NFL Commercialz Eva

I am a fan of the New England Patriots, and as such I seem to be required to hate all things Manning.  Not a chance.  Not only is Peyton Manning one hell of a quarterback (his brother is no slouch, either), but I loved his old man, Archie in the long-ago days when he QB’d the Saints.

One of the things I like best about the Manning clan is their collective senses of humor.   They have had some great commercials (the one in the museum when the old man gives them the look for misbehaving being among my favorites) and Peyton certainly was a hit hosting Saturday Night Live.  But I think my favorite commercial they ever did is this one:

Makes you wanna go out and get football on your phone.  Yo.  Fo’ shizzle.

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Filed under girls, Humor, Uncategorized

SECDEF Fired: Hagel Goes Under the Bus

Chuck Hagel

Big news this morning that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has been fired by President Obama.  Big news, but not surprising.  Hagel has openly contradicted the President several times, especially regarding the Administration’s rather childish assertions regarding the necessity of ground forces in the fight against ISIS.   You will hear various stories about how this was Hagel’s idea, and of course, the media will dutifully report as fact the White House’s version of events.  But that version will be as accurate and honest as WH proclamations on Benghazi, the IRS, Fast and Furious, ISIS intelligence failures, etc.

Though Hagel was not known as a deep thinker, the idea that he somehow couldn’t grasp the deeper and more complex defense issues smells like the intellectual elitism of the self-proclaimed far-left “ruling” class.  It is far more likely that Hagel attempted to keep Obama and his National Security Council grounded in reality, only to be poo-pooed and brushed aside by the overwhelming cacophony from the Marxist ideologues that have the President’s ample ears.   I was never a big Chuck Hagel fan, as he was a Global Zero guy whose viewpoints at various times bordered on the curious, but as SECDEF I thought he was one of the few at the top of the Defense structure with the spine to stand up to the rampant amateurish stupidity that emanated from 1600 Pennsylvania.  We could have done far worse.  We certainly might going forward.

Whether talks were “initiated” by Hagel or not, the nature of those talks were probably discussions about whether Obama was going to keep tossing aside wise counsel or not in favor of the childlike and naive rantings of his fellow-travelers.  And, the answer today seems to be a resounding YES.  Obama will continue to march forward in secular progressive lockstep to the Internationale, wreaking the concomitant damage on US security, foreign relations, and national power.

Funny that the Secretary of Defense that HE chose, to replace another that had had enough (Panetta), is now thought not to be up to the job.  One has to wonder who is.  Michele Flournoy has been mentioned, along with Ash Carter.  One has to think Bob Work is in the mix.  All are far too talented to want to serve out the last two years of the military train wreck that is the Defense Department under Obama.   It is like being hired to coach the Washington Generals, and being told you are expected to win.

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Filed under Afghanistan, Air Force, army, Around the web, budget, Defense, guns, history, iraq, islam, marines, navy, nuclear weapons, obama, Politics, Syria, Uncategorized, veterans, war

Don’t Worry Ladies, There’s Someone for Everyone….

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H/T Melissa N

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Filed under Around the web, girls, history, Humor, Uncategorized