Category Archives: army

What Might Have Been: The Polish PZL P.50 Jaszdrab (Hawk)

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Salamander’s encore FbF today was a tribute to the suicidally brave pilots of the Polish Air Force, who rose in small numbers and outmoded machines to contest the modern and lethal Luftwaffe of the Third Reich, seventy-four years ago this week.

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The aircraft that the Polish pursuit (fighter) pilots took to the skies in on that first September morning of 1939 were thoroughly obsolete vestiges of another era.  The PZL P.11 featured on Sal’s porch was a parasol-wing monoplane with fixed landing gear that was a derivative of a design dating back to the late ‘Twenties.  With a top speed of barely 235 mph, it was no match for the German Bf 109D and E models, which were some 120 mph faster and much more heavily armed.

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The Poles watched the once cutting edge P.11 fade into complete obsolescence with the rapid advances in aircraft and engine technology of the mid 1930s (Bf 109, Spitfire, Hurricane, Curtiss Hawk 75), and in 1936 proposed their own all-metal low-wing monoplane fighter with retractable landing gear.  This was the PZL P.50 Jaszdrab (Hawk).   Design work included the mounting of a 870 hp Gnome-Rhone radial, giving the aircraft a designed top speed of around 270 mph.  A more powerful engine, of British design, would have increased performance considerably.  Unfortunate delays in acquiring retractable landing gear and in engine delivery (the 1,350 hp Bristol Hercules radial) slowed development to a crawl.  The first prototype flew only weeks before the German invasion, and the only other airframe never flew.

Plans were to build more than three hundred of the P.50B with the more powerful British engine to replace the outmoded P.11.  The Hercules would have given the Hawk a top speed of around 340 mph.  With a higher power/weight ratio and considerably lower wing loading (26 lb/sqft vs 40 lb/sqft) than the Bf 109E, the Hawk would likely have had excellent maneuverability, climb rate, and acceleration.  The sturdy construction of the P.11 would certainly have been carried over to the P.50.

While the P.50 Jaszdrab most probably would have still been somewhat outclassed by the German fighter, the brave Polish pilots would have been at least in a modern aircraft much more equal to their foes.   Three hundred P.50s in the hands of the brave and skilled Polish pilots, fourteen squadrons instead of ten, may have given the Luftwaffe pause.  The toll they might have taken on the cream of the German fighter strength may have given the equally brave and equally outmatched Polish ground forces some respite from the onslaught.

Perhaps, perhaps not.  But the P.50 in the hands of the Polish Air Force is one of those “what if?” scenarios one cannot help but ponder.

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Filed under Air Force, army, Around the web, guns, history, infantry, planes, Uncategorized, veterans, war

“I Have Not Made a Decision”

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So says President Obama in reference to US military action in Syria.    Problem is, he has.  Two of them, actually.  Whether he acknowledges so or not.  Both of them are exceedingly poor ones.  The first was Obama’s August 2012 ill-conceived bluster about use of chemical weapons being a “red line” for the United States.  Tough talk that sounded good, at least to the untrained ear.

When it seemed that the Assad regime used chemical weapons on rebel forces, in April of 2013, Obama was caught bluffing like a teenager in a grown-up poker game.   So, his second decision was to do nothing after promising “serious consequences” for such use.

Now, the rather predictably beholden news media, led by ABC News, is attempting to tell us that Obama really did not say

“…a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.”

Or, if he did, that he didn’t mean to imply what his words meant.

And now, he is stuck.  The Administration has “concluded” that the chemical weapons, likely Sarin (GB), which is not a gas but a liquid nerve agent, were fired by elements of the Assad regime.  What evidence?  Not very much.  None, in fact, that would stand up to the scrutiny of 2004.

“We have concluded,” the president said, that Assad’s regime “in fact carried these out. And if that’s so, there needs to be international consequences.

“…We have looked at all the evidence and we don’t believe the opposition possessed… chemical weapons of that sort,” he continued. “We do not believe given the delivery system using rockets, that the opposition could have carried out these attacks.”

Anyone with much intelligence background would acknowledge immediately that such an assertion is utter nonsense.  Following a statement from that icon of Foreign Policy, Joe Biden, that there was “no doubt” the attacks came from the Assad regime, the President uses the phrase “we don’t believe” twice in making his assertion.

In truth, neither Biden nor Obama has any way of knowing.  The delivery system?  Such is easy enough to acquire.  In Iraq, the enemy captured or fabricated rail fairings for 122mm rockets, and for the Chinese-made 107mm variety, routinely.   The capability most certainly exists in Syria.  In fact, there are videos of anti-regime elements firing 122mm rockets from captured BM-21 launchers and improvised systems all over YouTube.   Here are two.

So much for the Administration’s assertion on that point.

As for Assad’s chemical stockpiles, my guess is that they have been divided among dozens or even hundreds of caches, with varying levels of security around them, in order to keep Western forces from being able to secure them with special operations forces.   Have the “rebels” (which include Al Qaeda in strength, and other radical Islamists) lain their hands on one or more of those stockpiles?  There is no way for the US to tell.  And it isn’t as if the Assad regime would volunteer the information, even if they knew.

The major point, however, is the question of why the Assad regime would resort to chemical attacks at this juncture.  Regime elements are no longer hard-pressed, the Assad regime is winning.  What would be the strategic purpose of facing international condemnation and risking the alienation of a very powerful ally (Putin’s Russia) to launch a chemical attack that doesn’t even accomplish a tactical objective?   Assad is not a fool.  He understands survival.

This is not to say conclusively that the Syrian government did NOT launch such an attack.  A miscalculation borne of the weakness and vacillation of the US response the first time, a thumb in the eye of America on the heels of the empty “tough talk” of Obama, may have played into the decision.  But I find that eventuality rather unlikely.  Could a junior commander have fired the chemical barrage without authorization?  Also a possibility, and perhaps more likely.  Though I find hard-pressed and increasingly desperate anti-government forces using such weapons with the hope of being saved by outside intervention just as likely.  Especially if they are egged on by an Al Qaeda presence that understands the import of the fall of Assad for the advent of yet another Radical Islamist state in a strategic region.

There are no good options, and thanks to Obama’s indiscretions regarding his “red line” comments, there now are not even neutral options, only bad ones.   Yet another head-on collision with the real world for the arrogant, naive, incompetent, bumbling, indecisive ideologues in the White House and at Foggy Bottom.

And the newly-minted US Ambassador to the UN?  Where was she when the emergency UN session on Syria was held?  On vacation in Ireland.  She did, however, “tweet” on the subject.  Perhaps she even used a frowny-face icon when discussing the chemical attacks.  Not yet a month on the job.  Gotta wonder, how many Corporals have been recalled or had leave canceled in the last two days because of this crisis?  At least Malik was absent in protest, and not in a pub in Belfast.

Our foreign policy is in shambles.   Absolute shambles.

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Filed under army, Around the web, Artillery, guns, history, Iran, islam, marines, navy, obama, Politics, Splodey, stupid, Uncategorized, veterans, war

US Army Leaders Give Subordinates Just Weeks to Cut Staffs, Budgets by 25 Percent

The Secretary of the Army and the Army Chief of Staff have given their staffs just weeks — until Sept. 11 — to report back with “a comprehensive set of recommendations” as to where the service can make 25 percent cuts in funding and manning levels at all Army headquarters elements at the 2-star level and above.

The “2013 Army Focus Area Review Group” plan was spelled out in an August 14 Army document obtained by Defense News.

In some of the strongest language yet about how seriously Army leadership is taking the cuts, the memo bluntly says that “Let there be no mistake, aggregate reductions WILL TAKE PLACE. The money is gone; our mission now is to determine how best to allocate these cuts while maintaining readiness. We expect Army leaders, military and civilian, to seize this opportunity

to re-shape our Army. This effort will take PRIORITY OVER ALL other Headquarters, Department of the Army activities.”

The Group is being led by Deputy Undersecretary of the Army Thomas Hawley and head of Army’s Office of Business Transformation Lt. Gen. Thomas Spoehr. The memo states that the group will have seven “Focus Area” teams, each tasked with developing “bold executable recommendations which will be used to balance the already directed reductions” in the budget projections from 2015-2019. The initial focus areas are:

■ Institutional Headquarters Reductions

■ Operational Headquarters Reductions

■ Operational Force Structure and Ramps

■ Readiness

■ Acquisition Work Force

■ Installation Services and Investments

■ Army C31 [sic] and Cyber

via US Army Leaders Give Subordinates Just Weeks to Cut Staffs, Budgets by 25 Percent | Defense News | defensenews.com.

I think the very first thing I’d do is close anything named even remotely like Office of Business Transformation and get rid of that 3-star slot.

On the institutional side, we’ve already seen the Armor Center and the Infantry Center consolidated to the Maneuver Center. I can think of some other arms and services that might consolidate as well.

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Filed under army, ARMY TRAINING

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Three-quarters of which the NSA can capture and record.

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The above image was front and center on this morning’s Drudge Report.   And it is telling, perhaps more so than even the folks at Drudge realize.

Such an image cannot be viewed in isolation.   Bearing in mind Franklin’s warning about trading freedom for safety, one cannot but be most chagrined at the course of individual liberty during this present Administration, especially if you are not of a preferred color/gender/sexual orientation.

But the image above captures something deeper, more disturbing even than the predictable constriction of individual freedom by secular-progressives who desire a statist command-economy and all the forced equality trappings that go with it.   What the image shows is a US General Officer, sworn to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, explaining how the subversion of that Constitution is helping protect us from bad people.    He is, by transitive property, asserting rather unilaterally (and against the ruling of SCOTUS) that Americans have no reasonable right to privacy in their electronic communications.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Still ringing in my ears is the voice of Marine General James Cartwright, in full uniform, explaining how Constitutional limits on the authority of Title 10 forces represented “obstacles to mission accomplishment” which must be “overcome”, instead of those limits being bulwarks of liberty against the arbitrary and dangerous use of government/military power.

Here is where the political pliability of our senior uniformed leadership is far more than just disappointing, becoming instead a grave threat to our liberty and our Republic.   The willingness of men like General Casey to insert the politically-motivated remarks about diversity in the immediate wake of a Muslim Army MAJOR killing 13 at Fort Hood (while shouting ‘Allahu Akbar!’), and CJCS Mike Mullen violating the most basic of discipline by offering his personal opinion unsolicited, while in uniform, regarding repeal of DADT, are of themselves deeply disappointing and corrosive to the credibility of both men, and that of senior leaders in general.   Marine Commandant General Amos’ alleged actions in subverting the legal rights of Marines accused in high-profile misconduct is yet another example.  But each is a symptom of a much larger problem.

The politicizing of our senior uniformed leadership is not a new phenomenon, but what is a far more alarming and grave situation is the willingness of these senior officers to set aside their oath to the Constitution and to the tenets of their offices in order to comply with and curry favor from their political bosses.   Marty Dempsey’s shameful conduct in criticizing lawful free speech of a Veterans’ group was compounded immeasurably by his despicable actions in the Benghazi incident.  He was quick to call a private American citizen and urge that citizen to refrain from lawful free expression, and did so in the execution of his office.   Not only is that a blatant violation of the Constitution he is sworn to support and defend, but it was patently dishonest.  Even before  Dempsey made that call, he knew that his premise, the supposed video that sparked a spontaneous protest at the Consulate, was a lie.   And he did it anyway, selling his soul and what shreds were left of his honor for his political masters.  Worse, it seems General Dempsey was conspicuously derelict in allowing someone with virtually no Constitutional authority (Valerie Jarrett) to make decisions regarding deployment of military forces, when she likely issued the stand-down order contributing to the deaths of Ambassador Stevens and three brave Americans, and the humiliation of the United States internationally.

The Obama Administration has amply demonstrated its willingness, even eagerness, to identify political opposition as national enemies.  The FBI identification of white Veterans who believe in small government and the Second Amendment as possible “domestic terrorists” happened not long after Obama entered the White House.   Military exercises in which law-abiding political movements are posited as violent enemies of the state have been conducted on more than one occasion.  In fact, the replacing of “Islamic extremist” with “violent extremist” has very intentionally allowed the far-left to demonize gun owners and believers in the right to keep and bear arms with that very label, “violent extremists”.  The media, ideally a check to such detestable action on the part of government and its elected officials, has been all too eager and complicit in the efforts to demonize.

Not long following the Obama Administration’s Alinsky-esque demonizing of those who disagree with the socialist-progressive mantra has come the wielding of the apparatus of government to punish and persecute political opponents, and to cajole and threaten others into compliance and cooperation.  The IRS scandal, in the wake of the Benghazi fabrications, is indicative of both the ruthless nature of this Administration and the dangers of unchecked government authority.  Sibelius’ extorting of hundreds of millions of dollars for the support of Obamacare is another.  The NSA surveillance revelations, first revealed by Edward Snowden, are unsurprisingly far more serious than we had been led to believe.

Our senior Officers, those who swore the oath to support and protect the Constitution of the Unites States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, have become politically pliable sycophants who follow unquestioningly the direction of their political masters.    There may come a time when these senior Officers are faced with the moral dilemma of following orders from senior civilian (and other military) officials they know are in contravention of the law and our Constitution, or standing firm on their oath and honor to uphold that Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.  Alas, it is all too predictable which choice so many of them will make.

The men who held those posts once stood as the guardians of freedom, brave men whose moral and physical courage were to be admired.  Not perfect, even sometimes badly flawed, but loyal to our Constitution and the oaths they swore.  Those days, and those men, are gone.  At the top of this post is photographic evidence.  One more critical protection of our precious liberties has been dismantled, and replaced by yet more instruments of a dangerous Administration to increase and consolidate its hold on power.    Such is the apparatus of rulers of the people, rather than government by the people.   Should we lose our Republic, posterity can point to this time, and to these men, as the true beginning of the end.   The shame and disgrace of those in uniform who helped it along will be eternal.   And those they so desperately wanted to please will still despise and scorn them.

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Filed under Air Force, army, Around the web, history, islam, marines, navy, obama, Politics, stolen valor, Uncategorized, veterans, war

Ta-daaaa!

Lesson to parents of Scouts – if they don’t get it done during the summer, it might not happen for a while. In July 2012, I posted this. I didn’t think it would be a full year later for posting the “after” pics. For one, my son was senior patrol leader for a while, and that seemed to take all of his time and energy. Not only did he stall on his Eagle project, but he stalled on badgework, too. For another, paperwork sure likes to fall through the cracks. One of the adult leaders called me last fall with some great ideas for Rocketboy’s Eagle project, and I answered, “I thought you’d already seen his proposal!”

Anyway, I am proud of what my son has accomplished, with a lot of help. Take a look!

One more before shot-
IMG 096 crop

And the after-
IMG 121 crop
The star still looks wet.
IMG 123 crop
Someone else’s project on the right.
IMG 125 crop
The muffler was a rusty mess before.
IMG 127 crop

Many thanks to Home Depot for donating the consumables and giving us a discount on the hardware and to Kroger for donating sandwiches, snacks, and water. The two other Scouts working on their Eagle ranks put in a lot of sweat equity, so turnabout is fair play – Mr. RFH and Rocketboy helped on one’s project today, and we expect to help the other when it’s his turn.

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Filed under armor, army, Personal, war

Kiowa Warrior Pr0n

The Brigade has quite a few high-Rez pics of the Army’s OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter.
The things crews did with this helo in OEF and OIF is legendary.
Here’s some samples of what you’ll find:

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Go ahead, go look. You know you want to. I’ll be here when you get back…promise :)

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Filed under Afghanistan, army, helicopters, war

Obama “Snubs” Putin, Cancels Meeting over Snowden

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Seems Barack Obama is miffed at Vladimir Putin.   So much so that he has canceled a bilateral meeting with the Russian President coincident with the G-20 Summit in St. Petersburg in early September.  On Leno last night, our esteemed Statesman put forth this gem regarding Putin’s Russia:

“There have been times where they slip back into Cold War thinking and a Cold War mentality”

Such ill-informed and ill-considered commentary is endemic of this Administration’s lack of competence in the sphere of international relations.   Obama has little concept of a “Cold War mentality”, and less of what Russia’s was during those 45 years.  In addition, Obama has no real understanding that Soviet Russia was far more Russian than Soviet in its approach to diplomacy and geopolitics.  And, thus, Russia is today what Russia has been for centuries.   Russia remains xenophobic and deeply suspicious of its neighbors and the west.   Putin, being a REAL Cold Warrior, is imbued with a soul-deep understanding of power politics and the value of economic and military leverage.  He is not willing to come bearing Russian strategic interests for bargain like so many Pokemon cards.

Obama, on the other hand, has no feeling for power politics.  In fact, he is loath to admit that they are the basis for relations between great national rivals such as the US and Russia.  He and his foreign policy team are also willfully ignorant of history, and approach international affairs with a twisted and dangerous belief in moral equivalence, where allies, rivals, adversaries, and sworn enemies are all peers in some Model UN project being conducted at an Ivy League seminar.  This situation partially explains why the US was an active participant in the “Arab Spring”, and the overthrow of two (almost three) admittedly repressive regimes that most represented US interests, and opened the window for Islamic Extremists to seize power in key nations.  It explains Hillary Clinton’s imbecilic “Reset Button” concept to Russia, a nation with a history eight centuries of virulent conflict with the West, as if Putin will be willing to wipe away Russia’s heritage because Barack Obama brings Hope and Change with him.

One of the more enlightening quotes came from one of this Administration’s staunchest supporters, uber-liberal Senator Chuck Schumer.

Sen. Chuck Schumer said Wednesday that “Putin doesn’t deserve the respect after what he’s done with Snowden.” “I know what he’s doing. He’s trying to make Russia a big power again…”

Yes, Chuck, he is.   He said he would, and he has acted on those words.   You and your colleagues on the far-left are the ones who refuse to acknowledge his ambitions for Russia and himself.   If you did, perhaps you wouldn’t be actively eroding the power of your own country so that it will no longer be a great power.

Obama has far more to talk to Putin about than Putin does Obama.  This bit of childish petulance on the part of the American President is indicative of the dangerously ineffectual US foreign policy path.   Yes, Putin does deserve respect.   He is acting in what he perceives are the best interests of his country.

O, that we should have a President who even knows what America’s best interests are, let alone with the courage of conviction, diplomatic acumen, and mastery of statecraft to act upon them.  Seems the “flexibility” Obama promised to Putin includes such foolish charades as this.

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Filed under army, Around the web, Georgia, history, islam, israel, Lybia, obama, ossettia, Politics, Uncategorized