Author Archives: xbradtc

About xbradtc

Kicking poon and taking names since March 2009

Strategical Thinking is Hard

We’re still sitting here stunned that our President straight up stated that we have no strategy for dealing with ISIS.

Look, that may be. But that leads me to two points.

1. It’s not that hard to string together some mouthsounds that may be gobbledygook, but at least can be pointed to as a strategy- “coalition, international partners, degrade, interdict, engage, kinetic,” whatever your favorite buzzword bingo entry is.

2. Strategy isn’t THAT hard. If you kill enough of them, they quit fighting.

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Crew Quarters

Business Insider has a brief photo essay on one of my favorite topics, the hidden crews quarters on long haul jetliners. On really long flights, the pilots and cabin crew can rack out for a bit in these snug, but comfortable spaces. Submariners will find them familiar.

b Boeing 777 4

And while the BI post only shows the 777 and the 787, most large long haul jets have the option for quarters, including the 747, the A330, A340, and of course the massive A380.

http://www.flightglobal.com/assets/getasset.aspx?itemid=24920

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Blacks Must Confront Reality – Walter E. Williams – Page 2

To put this violence in perspective, black fatalities during the Korean War (3,075), Vietnam War (7,243) and all wars since 1980 (about 8,200) come to about 18,500, a number that pales in comparison with black loss of life at home. Young black males had a greater chance of reaching maturity on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan than on the streets of Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Oakland, Newark and other cities.

via Blacks Must Confront Reality – Walter E. Williams – Page 2.

Even back in the 90s, before the Iraq and Afghan wars, I used to point this out to parents when I was recruiting in Gary, IN.

I’m tired of being told to check my privilege, and embrace and respect other cultures.

No, other cultures suck. They’re terrible. They cause nothing but misery, poverty, and early death.

I don’t want you to respect my culture. I want you to JOIN my culture.

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Trench Food

Most of the US new is passing over the World War I centennial, but for Britain, it was such a powerful force in their history, their papers are covering it in somewhat continuous detail.

And one interesting piece was on the feeding of Tommy throughout the war.

They say an army marches on its stomach, so feeding the two million men who were in the trenches at the height of the First World War was some task. It was a great achievement that in the entire conflict not one British soldier starved to death.

Yet no one should think that the Tommies enjoyed the food that was served up by the military. According to the wags on the frontline, the biggest threat to life was not German bullets but the appalling rations.

Most despised was Maconochie, named after the company in Aberdeen that made this concoction of barely recognisable chunks of fatty meat and vegetables in thin gravy.

When served hot, as per the instructions on the tin, it was said to be barely edible. Eaten cold for days on end in the trenches, where a warm meal was usually no more than a fantasy, it was said to be disgusting.

It was the stated aim of the British Army that each soldier should consume 4,000 calories a day. At the frontline, where conditions were frequently appalling, daily rations comprised 9oz of tinned meat (today it would be known as corned beef but during the First World War it was called bully beef) or the hated Maconochie.

Additionally the men received biscuits (made from salt, flour and water and likened by the long-suffering troops to dog biscuits). They were produced under government contract by Huntley & Palmers, which in 1914 was the world’s largest biscuit manufacturer. The notoriously hard biscuits could crack teeth if they were not first soaked in tea or water.

Simply adding tinned beef that could be issued to individuals was something of a major advance in ration technology. On the other hand, the Brits have never been famous for their cuisine, and such a limited menu would quickly become very monotonous. Coupled with the difficulties in heating the food, it’s not hard to see why the average Tommy was disappointed with his rations.

Battle to feed tommy, ww1, world war one, world war one food, soldiers food, imperial war museum,

When we think of a military ration today, the MRE springs to mind. In fact, the term ration is a technical one, meaning all the food intended for one soldier, for one complete day. Back in the days before the MRE, the C-Ration or the K-Ration, when the Quartermaster delivered food to a troop unit, it was fresh or canned food in bulk. How much food to deliver was computed by multiplying the daily ration for, say, beef, by the number of troops in a given unit. For instance, if the ration called for 1-1/4 pounds of fresh meat per day, per soldier, and a rifle company had 150 troops, the Quartermaster knew to deliver 187.5 pounds of meat.

As the article notes, how the troops might be expected to cook such a ration was their problem, not the Quartermaster’s.  Obviously, that changed over the course of the war.  The US Army faced many of the same challenges in feeding its troops in World War I. As a result of the dissatisfaction with field feeding in the Great War, a truly massive effort was put into improving the Army’s field feeding in World War II, resulting not just in the aforementioned C-Ration and K-Ration, but improved methods of transporting fresh and frozen foods, a much improved Army wide methodology of procuring rations, increased numbers of cooks, vastly improved field kitchens, and means of transporting hot foods forward.

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The U.S. Army Is Sending More Tanks to Europe — War Is Boring — Medium

U.S. Army troops from the 1st Cavalry Division are headed for NATO’s eastern border as the Ukraine crisis keeps churning. And these soldiers are bringing Abrams tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles all the way from Fort Hood in Texas.

Detachments from 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry will spend the next few months training with America’s friends and allies in the region. This unit is a so-called “combined arms battalion” with tanks and fighting vehicles.

The force will also take over from American paratroopers who have been in Eastern Europe since April. The Pentagon has been rotating troops through the region since Russia forcibly annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region earlier this year.

But the M-1 tanks and M-2 fighting vehicles are a new twist. Previous troops from the 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team have no heavy armor.

Of course, tanks and other armored vehicles were already major features at recent NATO gatherings. Back in May, American soldiers trotted out their Abrams and Bradleys during major war game in Germany called Combined Resolve II.

M-1A2 tanks from the EAS stockpile train in Germany during Combined Resolve II. Army photo

But the ground combat branch pulled out the last permanent tank units in Europe last year. A pool of Abrams and Bradleys—the European Activity Set—in storage in Germany are the only such vehicles on the continent at present.

Troops drove vehicles from the EAS stockpile during Combined Resolve II. In October, another battalion of soldiers from the 1st Cav will pull these tracks out of storage again for the third iteration of that exercise.

via The U.S. Army Is Sending More Tanks to Europe — War Is Boring — Medium.

One battalion of armored vehicles, split roughly  evenly between tanks and Bradleys. Call it 60 armored vehicles give or take a few.

Spill asked me about this the other day.

Until the EAS was established, there were precisely zero US tanks in Europe for about a 1 year period.

Flash back to the end of the Cold War, say, 1990, when I was in Europe.

There were two corps, four divisions, two separate heavy brigades, and two armored cavalry regiments.  Very roughly, 54 maneuver battalions, at around 60 tracks each.  That’s 3240 armored vehicles. That doesn’t count the war reserve stocks maintained there. Nor does it count the POMCUS sites with sets of vehicles for stateside units to fall in on and take to the field.

2/8 Cav may be a fine unit, but a single battalion isn’t really going to have the Russians quaking in their boots.

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Gama Goat

We’re a touch under the weather today, so content is kinda thin.

The 1-1/4 ton M561 Gama Goat was a very high mobility tactical vehicle issued to maneuver units to replace the Korean War era M37 truck. In addition to being used to haul general cargo, it served as an 81mm mortar carrier, an ambulance, and to carry S-250 communications shelters.  Powered by a two-stroke diesel engine, it was astonishingly loud. It was also incredibly uncomfortable to ride in, at least in the back  cargo portion. My first unit in Hawaii had Goats when I arrived, and I spent more time than I care to remember being shuttled around in one. Its replacement, the Humvee, might have slightly less off road mobility, but it was far, far more comfortable, and oh so much quieter to ride in.

Edit- I forgot, the spelling is Gama, not Gamma

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AT-4 Live Fire

The M136 84mm rocket launcher is always fun to shoot. It is a disposable single shot High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) weapon. 

Normally for training, a subcaliber training device is used. Essentially a 9mm single shot pistol firing a special ballistically matched tracer round. But there’s no substitute for shooting the real thing from time to time.

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