Category Archives: guns

More Splodey

I don’t feel like writing today.

The US Navy in the early 1990s was greatly concerned with small boat swarming attacks on US surface ships, and looked at ways to counter them. A couple of different weapons were used. First, ships in areas likely to face such swarm attacks (that is, in the Persian Gulf) were quickly equipped with .50cal machine gun mounts. But the .50cal is not terribly accurate, nor particularly lethal.

A more advanced approach was to modify the 20mm Phalanx Close In Weapon System giving it the capability to engage not just missiles, but also surface targets. 

A third option was to bolt on mounts of automatic cannons. In the end, that’s what happened, with the 25mm M242 Bushmaster cannon on the Mk38 mount.

Photo: Gunner's Mate Seaman Daniel A. Wright fires an Mk-38 machine gun

Mk38 Mod 1 Mount for M242 25mm gun.

For years, the mounts were swapped in and out as ships entered and departed the 5th Fleet Area of Operations. Originally little more than a pedestal mount, todays Mk38Mod2 mount is a remotely operated, stabilized mount with day and night capability.

http://www.murdoconline.net/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/mk-38-25mm.jpg

Mk38 Mod 2 Mount

Part of the decision making process (but only part) of what gun to mount included studies of the terminal effects of the various cannon rounds and ammunitions available. And that’s were this video comes in.

 

Damn shame to see the MkIII PB getting shot up. It would have been nice to see that up for surplus sale.

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…The More They Stay The Same.

kipsmile_5

Brad’s excellent piece about the weak-minded simps on the far-left being anti-Israel, and openly sympathetic to Hamas, can be corroborated around most any college campus on either coast.  Leftist Progressive “intellectuals” of all ages rail against Israel and the Jews so vehemently that it would make Julius Streicher blush.  They are too dogmatic and stupid to figure out that Hamas would perpetrate on Israeli men, women, and children precisely what ISIS did this week, when it massacred some 1,500 young Iraqi men (filming much of it) in scenes reminiscent of SS Einsatzgruppen on the Eastern Front.  All Hamas lacks is the means.  Which leftists in this country (which include Mssrs Kerry and Obama) seem ever so willing to give them.  To those who would recoil at such a comparison, I would ask, just what do you think “destruction of the Zionist Jews” means?   Hamas is also supported wholeheartedly with weapons and money (so much the more since sanctions were lifted) by our old friend Iran.  (Whom we are told we should trust not to build a nuclear weapon.  They don’t mean what they say about annihilating Israel, either.)

This willful blindness is, however, not a new paradigm.  Obama’s, and the American media’s, pandering to Muslims and outright sympathy for Hamas and its soulless butchers in Gaza, have a familiar ring to them.  Who else but the incomparable Kipling tells us of such a precedent?

Boh Da Thone was a warrior bold:
His sword and his rifle were bossed with gold,

And the Peacock Banner his henchmen bore
Was stiff with bullion, but stiffer with gore.

He shot at the strong and he slashed at the weak
From the Salween scrub to the Chindwin teak:

He crucified noble, he scarified mean,
He filled old ladies with kerosene:

While over the water the papers cried,
“The patriot fights for his countryside!”

So there you have it.  That said, rather than seeing members of Hamas squashed by a fat railroad employee, I would be ever so happy to see some fuel-air explosive dropped on one of their parades.   Same with ISIS.   Too bad Obama, the media, and the far-left are so sympathetic to the former and indifferent about the latter.   T’ain’t much new under the sun.

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Filed under Around the web, guns, history, Iran, iraq, islam, israel, nuclear weapons, obama, Uncategorized, veterans, war, weapons

Facia Georgius: Guadalcanal From The Marines’ Perspective

Below is a re-posting of a blog piece I wrote for USNI in August of 2011.  A bonus is a spirited exchange between the author of the blog (yours truly) and Jim Hornfischer.   Few elements of the Navy-Marine Corps rivalry engender as much emotion as the Marines’ utter contempt for Frank Jack Fletcher.  In fact, I had a long and enjoyable conversation with a RADM a couple weekends ago about the very incident described below, and he was entirely in agreement with my assessment of Fletcher’s blunder.   As the 72nd anniversary of the beginning of the epic struggle for the Solomons approaches, I suggest Hornfischer’s books highly.  Despite our differences regarding Fletcher, his books are a must-read to a serious historian of the Pacific War.  And he portrays brilliantly how thin the line was between success and failure in the struggle for the Solomons.  

The medal above is the “George Medal”, which was an unofficial award commemorating the early struggles of the Marines on Guadalcanal. The image depicts, legend has it, the sleeve of Frank Jack Fletcher, with his hand dropping a hot potato onto the Marines ashore. The inscription is “Facia Georgius“. “Let George do It”.

Let me state that, in my opinion, James D. Hornfischer is unquestionably one of the finest writers of Naval history in the last half-century. His books, especially Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors, are iconic works that tell superbly the tales of the US Navy in the Second World War in the Pacific. However, during a recent episode of MIDRATS, Mr. Hornfischer’s assertions about the US Marines’ history of the Guadalcanal campaign are entirely incorrect. The issue at hand in those assertions is the decision of Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher to depart the Guadalcanal area on the morning of 9 August 1942, after just two days of supporting the amphibious operations ashore.

Fletcher was concerned with the risk to his carriers, Saratoga, Wasp, and Enterprise, by having them tied to support of operations ashore. While understandable, what Fletcher refused to acknowledge was that with amphibious operations, once the landing takes place and forces are ashore, a commander is all in, and must support the forces ashore. The landings by the Marines were the entire reason for having Task Force 61 in the waters of the Solomons. Admiral Turner (commanding the amphibious task force, TF 62) and First Marine Division Commander General A. A. Vandegrift argued the point heatedly in a conference aboard Saratoga, but to no avail.

Chapter 5 of the splendid History of the First Marine Division, “The Old Breed” (Infantry Journal Press, 1949), begins:

The feeling of expendability is difficult to define. It is loneliness, it is a feeling of being abandoned, and it is something more, too: it is as if events over which you have no control have put a ridiculously low price tag on your life.

When word got around Guadalcanal in the second week of August that the Navy had taken off and left the Marines, the feeling of expendability became a factor in the battle.

“I know I had a feeling” says a man who was there, “and I think a lot of others felt the same way, that we’d never get off that damned island alive. Nobody said this out loud at the time. I was afraid to say it for fear it’s come true”.

“But”, says a Captain, “there was an awful lot of talk about Bataan.”

Even the greenest Second Lieutenant in the Division knew enough to understand that an amphibious operation cannot be sustained without Naval support.

The Guadalcanal Campaign, the official historical monograph published by the USMC History Division, is somewhat more matter-of-fact, but still states:

The withdrawal of the supply ships, therefore, was, from a troop standpoint, little short of a catastrophe, but Admiral Turner’s decision was not changed.

And sums up the situation of the Marines ashore this way:

The withdrawal of the transports had left the Marine forces with only a part of their initially scanty supplies ashore. Ammunition supply was adequate, but the situation in the matter of food was serious. Even with the acquisition of a considerable stock of rice and canned food from the captured Japanese area, supplies were so short that it was necessary on 12 August to begin a program of two meals per day. There was a similar shortage of defensive material, barbed wire (of which only 18 spools were landed), and entrenching tools and sand-bags.

The most serious shortage of all, however, from the point of view of the engineers who were charged with the completion of the airfield, was that of specialized equipment necessary for the task. No power shovels had been landed, nor dump trucks.

So, on 9 August 1942, the day Admiral Fletcher departs with his warships of TF 61, and the cargo vessels of Admiral Turner’s Amphibious TF 62, the Marines of the First Marine Division are ashore. But not all of them. Vandegrift’s reserve, the 2nd Marines, is still embarked. Those that are ashore have barely 96 hours of ammunition. They are short of food. The enemy strength and disposition is largely unknown. Their lifeline, the airstrip, is not yet repaired and has no aircraft. They are all but defenseless against the frequent Japanese air strikes.

Vandegrift and his staff had agreed to come ashore with an initial load plan that represented significantly less than their minimum requirement due to constraints on cargo space, with the promise that the Navy would surge supplies to them. Now, most of even that small amount was out of reach of his Marines, headed to sea in Turner’s cargo holds, as the latter was forced to withdraw when Admiral Fletcher’s warships departed.

But for three absolutely miraculous occurrences in the fortunes of war, the Guadalcanal landings might have been a disaster comparable to the loss of the Philippines just a few months before.

The first occurrence is that the Japanese commander, caught off guard, underestimate both the strength of the landing force (believing only a few thousand ashore), and the fighting spirit of the Marines, and did not move decisively to reinforce the small garrison on Guadalcanal with elements of the 17th Army that were available. (A single reinforced battalion of the 28th Regiment, about 1,100 Japanese, was given the mission of re-taking the island.)

The second was the fortuitous capture, with slight damage, of a single bulldozer, which the Marines used to maximum effect to complete a 2,700 foot airstrip on the Lunga plain. Without that stroke of luck, several weeks likely would have passed before any aircraft could have operated out of Henderson Field.

The third near-miracle was the capture of large stores of Japanese canned fish and rice, which becomes a staple of the Marines’ diet in the absence of rations still in the holds of the Navy ships.

Meanwhile, the arduous task of building of bunkers and of obstacles to defend the Marine positions and the all-important airfield, was done by hand in the searing jungle heat. The Marines, short of wire and sandbags, improvised as best as possible. By the time the 2nd Marines arrived (22 August) and additional supplies were landed, the Marines had been engaged in a number of short, sharp fights with the Japanese, the first of dozens and hundreds of bloody slugging matches in the rotting heat of the jungle on Guadalcanal.

The fight for Guadalcanal has been well-documented, and by the time last of the First Marine Division embarked for good from the island, the Division had suffered nearly 700 killed, 1,300 wounded, and more than 8,000 sick with malaria and other jungle diseases. For veterans of that time on Guadalcanal, men who didn’t have our perspective of inevitable victory either on Guadalcanal or in the Solomons, their resentment of (at the time) the US Navy and of Admiral Fletcher (which persists to this day) is entirely warranted.

Fletcher’s departure with his carriers, claiming the need to fuel (“always fueling”, wrote Morrison) was an exceedingly poorly considered move. His decision to do so infuriated Admiral Turner, commanding TF 62, who understood that his ships and their cargo were they keys to survival for the Marines ashore. While Fletcher’s aircraft carriers were precious commodities, his decision to minimize risk to those units had the effect of placing the entire of Operation Watchtower in considerable danger of failure. The lack of supplies and support which the Marines ashore endured in the opening weeks of the fight for Guadalcanal negated Vandegrift’s plans for immediate offensive operations (with an expanded airfield) to clear the island, left them all but defenseless to Japanese air and naval forces, and prolonged what became a protracted and savage fight under unspeakably miserable conditions.

In his efforts to protect his carriers, Fletcher inexcusably risked something even more precious and irreplaceable. The only trained and equipped amphibious force that the United States had in the entire Pacific. The loss of the carriers would have had severe operational implications, but defeat on Guadalcanal, resulting in an evacuation, or worse, capitulation, would have been strategic disaster.

Attempts at “reassessment” of Fletcher’s decision to pull support for the Marines on Guadalcanal, and justifying that decision six decades hence as “prudent”, are exercises in revisionism mixed with ample doses of 20/20 hindsight. The Marines’ bitterness at Fletcher is well-placed. Asserting differently dismisses the situation the Marines faced in mid-August of 1942 vis a vis the enemy as well as their own logistics. The Marines would gain a new respect for the Navy once Fletcher and the overmatched and timid Ghormley are replaced, the latter by the legendary William F. Halsey, who immediately visited Vandegrift and the Marines on Guadalcanal. Halsey’s “battle-mindedness” and promise of the support of the Navy was a refreshing and comforting change from his predecessor, and was immediately reflected in the morale of the Marines ashore.

Mr. Hornfischer’s goal in his exploration of Naval history, to put himself (and his reader) in the shoes of the commander, is extremely admirable. He would be remiss, however, if the sets of shoes he places himself in do not include the muddy boondockers of a First Division Marine on Guadalcanal. Were Mr. Hornfischer able to interview the First Marine Division veterans of Guadalcanal forty years ago, he would have gotten their perspective on those weeks without Navy support, expressed in the most colorful of language. Which needs no revision.

***********************************

Interesting comments from the esteemed author, James D. Hornfischer:

I’m delighted to find this colloquy unfolding in this reputable forum between such well-informed service professionals.

As I tried fervently to convey in NEPTUNE’S INFERNO, I’m sympathetic to the plight of the Guadalcanal Marines who were forced to persevere without air cover or full provisions for a period of time that they could not know at the time. Doing their business under these conditions, they were gallant and resourceful as ever. They are entitled not only to their pride, but also their chagrin. The question is whether the study of this history should end there. Is their heat-of-the-moment rage sufficient to serve as the final word on Frank Jack Fletcher and the Navy’s performance in the campaign? This question pretty well answers itself in the asking.

The blogger labels as revisionist any assessment of Fletcher that does not comport with the partisan, Corps-centric assessments formulated during and immediately after the war and abetted by Samuel Eliot Morison (and never rebutted by Fletcher himself).

The Marines’ resentment of Frank Jack Fletcher was well placed in its day. Our burden today is to see it in light of everything else we know about the complex circumstances that attended the campaign. Most of these, of course, were invisible from the beach. In NEPTUNE’S INFERNO I tried to thread that needle without resorting to the kind of interservice partisanship that characterizes many of the Corps-centric accounts of the campaign.

Admiral Nimitz instructed his commanders at all times to operate under the guiding star of “calculated risk,” that is, to weigh the potential benefits of an action against its potential costs and drawbacks. In choosing how long to expose the Pacific’s only three carriers in direct support of the Guadalcanal landings, Admiral Fletcher determined how much risk he was willing to accept in the opening act of Operation Watchtower. He informed his colleagues in advance of the operation and his decision was extensively debated in advance.

Today, it’s all over but the shouting. History bears out the wisdom of his determination. The Marines were left without carrier air support from the carriers’ withdrawal on August 9 until August 20, when the USS Long Island delivered the body of the Cactus Air Force. The consequences of those eleven days of exposure turned out, happily, to be negligible. The Japanese did nothing to seriously threaten the U.S. position on Guadalcanal during that time. The carriers returned in time to fight the Battle of the Eastern Solomons. (His conduct of the battle demonstrated the sincerity of his caution; he ordered one of his three carriers, the Wasp, out of the battle area to refuel.) Fighting with one hand behind his back, so to speak, he used the Enterprise and Saratoga to deflect the Japanese push. He saved his fleet for that moment and the others that followed. One could well speculate that had he left his carriers near Guadalcanal continuously from August 7, they might have been struck, making the close victory of Eastern Solomons impossible and imperiling the Marine position even more seriously.

This, much like Marine partisans’ complaints of “inexcusable risks to the landing force,” is a fruitless exercise in speculation. It’s only proper to damn Fletcher—or say the “risk” he took was “inexcusable”—by assuming an alternate universe of events where his decisions led to disaster. That’s when you ask the question Why and cast the arrows of judgment at the perpetrators.

It seems reasonable to judge the final wisdom of a particular risk by looking at the results that flowed from it. If we do that, there is no compelling basis for labeling Admiral Fletcher anything other than a winner.

As events actually unfolded, the Battle of the Eastern Solomons marked the beginning of the Navy’s sustained commitment to fight in defense of the Marine position on Guadalcanal, risking its most valuable assets the whole way through. By the time it was over, the Navy had fought seven major naval actions in which its KIA outnumbered infantry KIA by a factor of nearly 3 to 1.

It is entirely coherent to sympathize with the authentic anger of the Marines on Cactus, and simultaneously recognize the balance of merit favoring Admiral Fletcher’s controversial decision. The Marines lacked air cover for eleven days, and a large portion of their supplies, and suffered the bracing uncertainty how long those circumstances would attend.

By the time it was over, the three-to-one KIA ratio stood starkly apparent to anyone who was watching, and victory absolves all sins. General Vandegrift remembered the November 13 deaths of Admirals Scott and Callaghan with his famous dispatch “lifting our battered helmets in deepest appreciation.” To wallow in the bile of interservice partisanship, from a tendentious evaluation of a fragment of events, in spite of the actual outcome of history, is little more than a parlor game that negates the final judgment of the 1st MarDiv commander himself regarding the performance of the fleet. Nearly 70 years after events, we can do better than that.

*********************************************

And response from the “blogger”:

The questioning of Admiral Fletcher’s decision to remove the carriers of TF 61 from supporting the Marines ashore at Guadalcanal is far more than “a fruitless exercise in speculation”, or “bile of interservice partisanship”.

To assert that because the Japanese failed to take advantage of a golden opportunity to interdict the US drive into the Solomons and bring about a potentially crippling strategic setback, the decision Fletcher made to withdraw was correct is to assert that “all’s well that ends well”. Such is a singularly dangerous approach to the study of military history, as it goes great lengths toward the already-prevalent tendency to believe that the winners have little to learn from an ultimately successful outcome.

In any amphibious operation, support from the sea is critical to success, irrespective of the service executing the amphibious assault. Nimitz’ concept of “calculated risk” is in no way sufficient to excuse the willful passing of initiative to the enemy in the very place that was the US main effort at the time in the Pacific. Fletcher left Vandegrift without the forces and supplies to execute his plan ashore, in fact with barely enough to defend a thin perimeter against an enemy whose strength and disposition was largely unknown. That the enemy did not seize that initiative is to our eternal good fortune. We have several bloody examples of what happened in amphibious operations when the initial advantage of the initiative is allowed to pass. At Anzio seventeen months later, Army General Lucas dithered in his beachhead while Kesselring acted, reinforcing the threatened area as fast as he could with every available formation at his disposal. The result was a costly slugging match against what was by then an enemy well prepared to meet the breakout. We should be grateful that Hyakutake was no Kesselring.

It remains speculation, as well, whether Fletcher represented truthfully to Ghormley that both General Vandegrift and Admiral Turner had stated that 96 hours was the time required for full unloading of the transports. Both had done so, and had argued vehemently against Fletcher’s decision while aboard Saratoga.

No, this debate is not “partisan service” anything. Initiative is among the most precious commodities on the battlefield, to be surrendered only at dear cost. Fletcher did so, or rather forced Vandegrift ashore to do so, but the Japanese did not take it. He was, as were the Marines ashore, fortunate in the extreme.

As stated above, the Marines by and large came to respect greatly the efforts of the Navy in the waters around Guadalcanal. It has been a subject of intense study on my part, and worthy of the highest of admiration for the bravery and tenacity of the American Sailor. However, the anger of the Marines and their contempt for Fletcher is understandable. The loss of the transports and the Division reserve crippled the commander ashore, and prevented the undertaking of immediate offensive operations that could have cleared the island before Japanese reinforcements arrived in significant numbers. Instead, Guadalcanal became a protracted and bloody fight on the island and in the surrounding waters that ended only with the evacuation of the Japanese survivors in early 1943.

Fletcher’s decision should be recognized for what it was, a major tactical blunder that could have had severe strategic consequences. That he, and his boss, Ghormley, were removed from command, speaks volumes. That is true, seventy years or seven hundred years after the battle.

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Shotgun with a silencer

In tactical situations, a suppressor is quite handy, if only to make it easier to control a unit. Though they aren’t in widespread use in regular line units, they’re quite common in special operations. They’re also relatively easy to acquire for civilians willing to pay the NFA tax on them.

We usually think of suppressors screwed onto the end of an assassin’s pistol, or on a sniper rifle. Well, here we see one on a shotgun, of all things.

It looks a little unwieldy, but not too bad.

This isn’t the first attempt at reducing the signature of a shotgun. During the Vietnam war, combat shotguns were popular with the Navy SEALs for their excellent close quarters capability. But they were also quite noisy, something that clashed sharply with the SEALs desire for stealth when at all possible. So the SEALs asked if anyone could address that problem. And rather than attempting to change the shotgun, AAI Corporation adapted a technology of theirs to invent the silent shotgun shell.

http://photos.imageevent.com/ricklarson/ammunitionphotos/websize/silent%201.jpg

The shell was a closed cylinder with the tip folded in (think of an inflated balloon, and pushing in with a finger to form a cup). The burning of the powder would cause the cup to expand, forcing the shot down the barrel. But because the cylinder was closed, no gases from the firing would leave the shell. No muzzle blast equals very little noise.

Only a relative handful were made, and few if any were ever used in combat. They had only fair ballistic performance, and a failure of the shell could cause a serious jam for the weapon. Additionally, high costs led to the program being dropped. Still, it was an innovative approach to solving a problem.

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‘Some damn fool thing in the Balkans”

Postcard_for_the_assassination_of_Archduke_Franz_Ferdinand_in_SarajevoGavrilloprincip

Today marks the centennial of one of Western society’s most improbably momentous events.  It was on June 28th, 1914 that the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, the Countess Sophie of Hohenberg, were assassinated in the street of the Bosnian city of Sarajevo.  The events of that day, the failed bombing at the bridge, the missed attempt on the road, the wrong turn by the Archduke’s driver, the opportunity for another attempt on the Archduke’s life, are well-known.  The motives of the assassin, 19-year-old Gavrilo Princip, and his Mlada Bosna (Young Bosnia), a group supported by the infamous Black Hand, are well-documented and, to the serious student of Balkan history, quite familiar.

What is nearly impossible to understand, despite the volumes upon volumes of historical analysis and the (now) generally agreed-upon portrayal of events, is HOW the assassination of an Archduke, the heir to a throne whose sitting monarch despised him, and whom he in turn despised, could be the triggering event that led to the greatest blood-letting cataclysm in Western history.   There are superb pieces of research and analysis, among them Christopher Clark’s 2012 masterpiece The Sleepwalkers, and DJ Goodspeed’s The German Wars (1965), that provide detailed explanations of the diplomatic and military decisions that took Europe from a century of relative peace into a devastating conflict more profoundly destructive than the Thirty Years’ War.   Even with that,  a historian can often do little more than shake one’s head incredulously at the sequence of decisions and miscalculations that would pit the great nations against one another for four bloody years.

I offer, in no particular order, some of the factors which led to what can be described as the least necessary of wars.

A notable mediocrity amongst the foreign ministers of the belligerents, to include England’s Edward Grey, who failed to understand that England’s real interests were in a balance of European power, and not in France’s desire to avenge the humiliation of 1871.  There was Count Berthold of Austria-Hungary, whose distinct lack of subtlety in his demands to Serbia inflamed Russia (who held dreams of being the protector of “pan-Serbism” in the Balkans).   Russia’s Sazonov, a duplicitous and dishonest schemer who collaborated with France’s Poincaré to virtually guarantee war with Germany.  France’s revolving door of Foreign Ministers, none effective, that included René Viviani during what became known as the July Crisis.  Wilhelmine Germany’s Gottlieb von Jagow, whose terrible miscalculation of the Austria-Serbia crisis proved so tragic.

Detached and often delusional monarchs, whose laissez-faire approaches to their respective nation’s diplomatic postures during the critical weeks following the assassination allowed the respective foreign ministers mentioned above, along with military chiefs of those countries, to dictate rather than execute their nation’s foreign policies.  Emperor Franz Josef of Austria-Hungary only briefly interrupted his vacation after the assassination, and was largely absent from the seat of power in Vienna during most of the July Crisis.  When he did return, he was somewhat shocked at the harsh terms of the ultimatum to Serbia, crafted by his own Foreign Minister and Chief of Staff.  Tsar Nicholas in Russia was absent for crucial meetings between French President Poincaré and his own “war party” of Sazonov and War Minister Sukhomlinov, during which it is presumed Russia agreed to war with Germany should she intervene in the Austria-Serbia crisis.  Even the mercurial and impetuous Kaiser Wilhelm, whose envy of the Royal Navy (and subsequent Naval Race with Britain) and imperial desires were perceived by the British as threats to the Empire, was strangely passive during the playing out of the events of July 1914, limiting himself to making marginal notes in the diplomatic messages until the specter of a wider continental war elicited desperation.   The one exception as head of state is the aforementioned Raymond Poincaré, the French President, whose actively malignant role included agitating for the long-desired war of revanche with Germany, and enlisting the Russians to assist France in that effort.

The international order built so carefully by Bismarck in the later decades of the 19th Century was rendered topsy-turvy, with illogical alliances and unlikely enmities that cooler analysis and more competent diplomacy might have gone great lengths to remedy.   Britain had far more in common with Germany than with her traditional antagonist, France.  Germany had been to war with Austria in 1866, when it wrested away the German states from Vienna (and from the very same Franz Josef) to, eventually, in 1871, Berlin.  Kaiser Wilhelm and Tzar Nicholas, cousins (along with George V) and grandsons of Victoria, had warm personal relations, and many more reasons to cooperate over the breakup of European Turkey than to be in conflict.  England, for her part, had been the traditional guardian of the European balance of power before inexplicably abandoning that role in an informal (but in the end, very binding) alliance with France.

To the events of July 1914, technological development and industrialization would be a determinant of not just tactics and doctrine, but also would be a major factor in the shaping and executing of Grand Strategy for the countries embroiled in the crisis.   The mobilization of an army in the industrial age entailed a great deal of preparation, and once executed, left little to no room for equivocation.  To do so would be to throw the proverbial spanner in the works, causing upheaval, delays, and the real spectre of being unprepared and in the midst of deploying when war came.  Thus, when the decisions in the respective governments for mobilization came, war was all but inevitable.  Interestingly, the last continental power to order mobilization was Imperial Germany.  Wilhelm, with the prospect of war looming, had tried desperately to apply the brakes to the rapidly accelerating events.   That German war plans calling for the rapid defeat of France to avoid a two-front war were what impelled the German Army to violate Belgian neutrality is one of the tragic ironies of all history.  It was the invasion of Belgium which, in the end, made inevitable British intervention against Germany, preventing the very victory over France sought by the Germans, and all but ensuring their slow strangulation at the hands of the Royal Navy which they had so antagonized with the Naval Race in the previous two decades.

Of the battlefields themselves, much has been said.  The warning signs of what modern war would be had been plentiful for anyone who cared to see.  Dating to the American Civil War, the increasingly deadly weapons of the Industrial Age had made their presence felt.  Britain, certainly, had experience against an enemy armed with modern metallic cartridge rifles in South Africa, and had employed modern machine guns against its empire’s foes at places like Omdurman and Cape Colony.   Envisioning what being on the other side of the Maxim Gun would entail should not have been beyond imagination for the British Army’s Officer corps.  Modern breech-loading rapid-fire artillery, with recoil systems which eliminated the need to re-position guns after firing, had been in military inventories for more than two decades.  The battlefield tactics of 1914, a full generation behind those technological developments, were an invitation to the subsequent slaughter that ensued, resulting in the profligate wastage of much of the youth of Europe.   The names of the Somme, Verdun, Gallipoli, Jutland, Ypres, Loos, Caporetto, Tannenberg, Passchendaele, and the Isonzo all evoke images of privation and death without purpose, and rightly or wrongly, of incompetent and criminally obtuse military leadership.

The effect of the unprecedented butchery on the psyche of Western civilization is still being felt.  The old order in much of Europe, political as well as social, collapsed utterly.  The confidence in the enlightened nature of Man, of his scientific mastery, and his cultural education, was shattered forever.  Monarchies in Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Germany fell, replaced mostly by the anarchy of revolution.  In the wake of that revolution, spurred in great measure by the War to End All Wars, came the Bolsheviks and National Socialists who would ensure that the horrors of 1914-18 would be just a precursor to the bloodiest of centuries.

However implausible it may seem (and all the more implausible with closer analysis), the impetus for the Great War and all that followed occurred one hundred years ago today, when bullets from a sickly and tubercular young assassin’s pistol ended the lives of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife on a Sarajevo street.  The warnings of Bismarck in the 1878 Congress of Berlin to not allow Europe to devolve into general war over “some damned fool thing in the Balkans” went, in the end, unheeded.

 

 

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Colt is taking over the world.

Visit virtually any gun blog, and one of the most contentious issues is the 5.56mm Colt M4 carbine. Thousands of people will argue against it and push for the adoption of another weapon, and often another caliber.

Oddly, however, surveys of active soldiers are almost universally supportive of the M4. Of course, most soldiers, even Infantrymen, have little experience with military small arms outside of their own issue weapons. Still, the level of satisfaction suggests that while the M4 may not be perfect, it isn’t so egregiously flawed as to require immediate replacement.

And another little secret is that while other nations developed their own 5.56mm weapons about the time the US lead NATO to shift from 7.62mm to 5.56mm as the standard rifle round, many have quietly adopted the M16/M4 platform, at least for certain applications.

Israel equipped its soldiers with the indigenous Galil rifle, but has since seen most of its troops shifted to the M4.

In the mid-1990s, Canada, then equipped with a variant of the FN FAL rifle in 7.62mm, worked with Colt and the US Marine Corps to develop their own version of our 5.56mm M16A2. Introduced into service as the C7 rifle, it and the carbine C8 series (very similar to our own M4) have been the standard service rifle of the Canadians, and have been adopted by several other NATO members, such as Norway, Denmark, and even Iceland.

When the US lead the shift to 5.56mm, Britain developed their own rifle, the fairly exotic looking SA80.

It has not been particularly successful competing in the small arms export market. 

Britain steadfastly claims the SA80 (L85A1 in UK service) is superior to the M16/M4 family.

But the truth is, special operations forces of Great Britain don’t like it, and never have. And they’ve been buying C8 carbines from Canada.

One of the great strengths of the Colt rifle is that it can be customized in an almost unlimited number of ways.

Our friends across the pond at Think Defence have two posts on the Colt in British service (where it’s known as the L119A1).

A Mid Life Colt Canada C8 Upgrade

——

The upgraded, customized version will be known as the L119A2.

L119A2 – Colt Canada C8 Upgrade

L119A2 C8 SFW 640x304 L119A2   Colt Canada C8 Upgrade

I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if Great Britain quietly, slowly makes the Colt the de facto standard weapon over the next few years.

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DHS is Our Standing Army? John W. Whitehead Goes All XBRAD at Rutherford Institute

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“A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty.”—James Madison

Constitutional lawyer John W. Whitehead pens a very chilling summation of the growth of the American Police State.

In the 12 years since it was established to “prevent terrorist attacks within the United States,” the DHS has grown from a post-9/11 knee-jerk reaction to a leviathan with tentacles in every aspect of American life. With good reason, a bipartisan bill to provide greater oversight and accountability into the DHS’ purchasing process has been making its way through Congress.

With that premise, Whitehead summarizes the most disturbing of the erosion of privacy and liberty as DHS becomes the “national police force” and proceeds to shred the Constitution.  It is worth the read.

I am going to be ordering Whitehead’s book, too.

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President Takes Decisive Action in Iraq

In a stunning reversal of his previous equivocation regarding US involvement in the worsening security situation in Iraq, President Obama stated that the US is prepared to act with strength and decisiveness to help defeat the ISIS radical jihadist forces that have engulfed several major cities and killed many thousands of Iraqis.

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There.  That’ll show ‘em.  Worked like a charm with Boko Haram in Nigeria, too.   They certainly have mended their ways.    Administration officials speculate that the Islamic Extremist fighters that have invaded Iraq have little chance of resisting the pressure of tweets and re-tweets that show support for the Iraqi people, and will be forced to withdraw.  On the outside chance that somehow ISIS can withstand such an onslaught of social media, the President is prepared to conjure his best “I’m not kidding” expression and talk about “consequences”, possibly even “dire consequences”.   No word yet on whether or not Secretary of State Kerry will scold ISIS for “behaving in a 7th Century fashion”.   New White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was quoted as saying, “The President is making the best of a situation left him by the previous Administration, which is responsible for declaring the war over and abandoning Iraq to its fate.  Wait, ….what?  That was us?  You sure?  No more questions!”

Gawd, we are so screwed.

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“Fighting Joe” Dunford is the Next Commandant of the Marine Corps

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Congratulations to General Joseph Dunford, nominated by Secretary of Defense Hagel to be the 36th Commandant of the Marine Corps.  Marine Corps Times has the story. 

I have known General Dunford a long time, since he was the MOI at Holy Cross in the late 80s.  I had the distinct honor to serve with then-Colonel Dunford in Al Anbar in 2004, when he was MajGen Mattis’ Chief of Staff.  BGen John Kelly was the ADC, and LtGen James Conway had the MEF (and the MEF SgtMaj was the incomparable Carlton Kent).  What a team!    Joe Dunford also skipped a pay grade.  He was nominated for his second star, and before he pinned on his new rank, picked up his third star!  Nearly unheard of in today’s day and age.

Lord knows, the Marine Corps needs a warrior, and an INFANTRY OFFICER at its helm.   The infantryman is the very soul of the Marine Corps, and the Commandant should be someone who knows him and his comrades intimately.   Besides, the Amos years have not been good.

Congratulations, General Joe Dunford.   Our Marine Corps is in your capable hands.  Right where it should be.   Godspeed.

(I am willing to overlook that he went to BC High.)

H/T to LTCOL P

 

 

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The Las Vegas Shootings

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Yesterday’s tragic shooting of two police officers and an innocent woman in Las Vegas is headline news this morning.    Reports are that a man and a woman opened fire on two police officers while they were eating lunch.  What was also reported was that one of them said “This is the start of a revolution!” before killing the officers.   The news this morning is that they covered the bodies of the slain officers with the Gadsden “Don’t tread on Me” flags now commonly associated with the Tea Party movement.  CNN headlines scream that the couple had “extremist views”, but cite only “law enforcement sources”.

The couple apparently had a “suicide pact”, and the woman reportedly killed the man before turning her weapon on herself.

There are, however, some things to note about the tragedy.  The first is that the news has swept the Bowe Bergdahl fiasco from the headlines, including yet another instance of Susan Rice knowingly lying in front of the TV cameras for America’s consumption.   The second thing to note is that the incident fits so very neatly into the propaganda efforts of this Administration for gun confiscation, for increasing the authority of law enforcement against private citizens, and for the idea that political opposition should be criminalized and demonized so that they may be treated as America’s enemies, to be subsequently crushed using the overwhelming power of government forces.

So, in a way that I would not have been, even during the Clinton Administration, I am deeply uneasy and suspicious of yesterday’s events in Las Vegas.   The Obama Administration has been very close to an outlaw regime, and has condoned or perpetrated criminal activity since Inauguration Day.   The list is long, very long, and I only offer some of the examples here:

  • The patently illegal payment of hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money to unbonded shareholders (largely held by union interests) ahead of bonded shareholders in the auto bailouts was a violation of the law.
  • The Fast and Furious debacle, Holder’s gun-running scheme to make the case for gun confiscation, was certainly criminal, and led directly to the death of a USBP agent, and hundreds of Mexican civilians.  Holder’s claims of ignorance of the details of the operation are laughable.
  • The IRS scandal, in which the powers of the Federal Government were employed in the persecution of law-abiding political opposition, has Lois Lerner asking for 5th Amendment protection.
  • The subpoena of phone records by Justice, without warrant or cause, represents additional criminal misconduct on the part of Holder.
  • The deceit and cover-up regarding the Benghazi fiasco, including witness intimidation and contempt for a Congressional hearing, is yet another violation of law for which this Administration is responsible.
  • Even what Obama hoped would be a propaganda coup with the release of Bergdahl was done in knowing violation of the law, a law Obama vows he would break again if convenient.

In each of the above incidents, the Obama Administration has not only withheld the truth and obstructed justice, but has put forth carefully concocted lies to cover its malfeasance and real motives.   Which is why the shooting in Las Vegas yesterday, which contain every last element that the Obama Propaganda Ministry (with the willing complicity of the vast majority of the press) will maximize to push the Obama big-government, anti-gun, statist, thought-crime agenda, seems so incredibly convenient.

What you will see as a result of the Las Vegas tragedy will be accusations from Democrats and Socialist Progressives that the Tea Party is violent after all, representing a danger to the government and to American citizens.  You will see increased calls for gun control, and gun confiscation, and more “national conversations” about eliminating the Second Amendment.  You will also see this incident leveraged to increasingly identify political opposition to the President and the far-left as being dangerous and requiring increased surveillance, censorship, and other restrictions on liberty.  You will also see police use the incident as a justification for even more abuse of authority, increasingly thuggish tactics, less restraint, and more use of force with questionable cause.

The shooting yesterday in Las Vegas may have been exactly as it is being described, with two extremists who split off from an assiduously law-abiding political movement to perpetrate this awful crime.  But with the Obama Administration’s unscrupulous and criminal history, and its ruthless push toward totalitarian authority against a disarmed and supplicant populace, I have reason to be both cynical and skeptical in a way that I never have before.  Pardon me if there seems to be a faint odor of smoke from the Reichstag about all of this.

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After all, it isn’t like Barack Obama is a stranger to a man and woman who cried “Revolution!” and proceeded to murder police officers.  In fact, Obama’s political career started in their living room.

 

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More About the Reconstituted Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee

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XBRAD told us about this the other day.  He openly questioned its purpose, especially in light of the track record of this Administration to act illegally and oversee the persecution of law-abiding political opponents with the apparatus of their own government.

Well, Eric Holder tells us the purpose of this new task force:

But we also must concern ourselves with the continued danger we face from individuals within our own borders who may be motivated by a variety of other causes from anti-government animus to racial prejudice.

Anyone who doesn’t pick up on the verbiage has missed the last five years of Eric Holder’s corrosive and bigoted black activism.  There was, of course, the FBI memorandum telling us that returning white Veterans who believe in God, small government, and the right to keep and bear arms are domestic terrorist suspects.  There is the military’s “education” (extracted from documents at the Southern Poverty Law Center, no less) that conservative groups and Christian organizations are akin to the KKK.   And that military members may be charged under the UCMJ for supporting and belonging to such groups.  The US military has routinely run training scenarios in which the adversary is “right-wing extremist”, which is to say, actual and otherwise law-abiding citizens who are magically attributed a violent character which requires a military response so they may be “crushed”. Then, there is the study a couple of years ago in which “domestic terrorists” were defined as those who “defended the Constitution” and have reverence for individual liberty.

One has only to quickly peruse the various “See Something, Say Something” Public Service Announcements about terrorism to see that virtually every portrayal of a terrorist is a white male.  All of them.  Despite the 1993 WTC bombing, 9/11, Khobar Towers, USS Cole, the Boston Marathon bombing, and dozens of other domestic attacks and murders perpetrated by Muslim Jihadists, the US Government’s portrayal of terrorists is invariably white and male.

So the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee?  Under an Attorney General who has vowed not to pursue cases that reflect badly on “his people”?   In an Administration that has perpetrated use of the IRS, EPA, Justice, and NSA to visit retribution on individuals and groups that differ politically with the far left?  Place your bets.   Gabriel Rottman, First Amendment lawyer for the ACLU, already has.

Given the already lenient standards for when the government can launch an investigation, the announced task force is both unnecessary and an invitation to investigate Americans because of the beliefs they hold, not because of any wrongdoing.

Which is to say, with this Administration especially, conservative heterosexual white males.  And other, law-abiding political opponents.  And one can reasonably assume that this “Executive Committee” will have all the trappings of due process that comes with a closed-door deliberation of “informed high-level government officials” instead of those pesky and inconvenient Constitutional rights under the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 14th Amendments.

Oh, and by the way…

I… do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

H/T to Fran

 

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The Most Dangerous Job in America

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No, not Bering Sea fisherman.  Not being a cop or fireman.  Cab driver?  Nosiree.  None of those.  Not even close, apparently.  The most dangerous job in America is being an associate of the Clintons.

During the diner scene in the comedy “Tin Men”, one of the characters refers to “Bonanza” patriarch Ben Cartwright as “the kiss of death” because he had three sons by three different mothers, all deceased.   Ol’ Ben has nothing on Bill and Hillary.  The below list does not include Ambassador Stevens and the others killed at Benghazi while serving in Hillary’s State Department, but is still quite remarkable actuarially:

1- James McDougal – Clintons convicted Whitewater partner died of an apparent heart attack, while in solitary confinement. He was a key witness in Ken Starr’s investigation.
2 – Mary Mahoney – A former White House intern was murdered July 1997 at a Starbucks Coffee Shop in Georgetown .. The murder happened just after she was to go public with her story of sexual harassment in the White House.
3 – Vince Foster – Former White House councilor, and colleague of Hillary Clinton at Little Rock’s Rose Law firm. Died of a gunshot wound to the head, ruled a suicide.
4 – Ron Brown – Secretary of Commerce and former DNC Chairman. Reported to have died by impact in a plane crash. A pathologist close to the investigation reported that there was a hole in the top of Brown’s skull resembling a gunshot wound. At the time of his death Brown was being investigated, and spoke publicly of his willingness to cut a deal with prosecutors. The rest of the people on the plane also died. A few days later the air Traffic controller committed suicide.
5 – C. Victor Raiser, II – Raiser, a major player in the Clinton fund raising organization died in a private plane crash in July 1992.
6 – Paul Tulley – Democratic National Committee Political Director found dead in a hotel room in Little Rock , September 1992. Described by Clinton as a “dear friend and trusted advisor”.
7 – Ed Willey – Clinton fundraiser, found dead November 1993 deep in the woods in VA of a gunshot wound to the head. Ruled a suicide. Ed Willey died on the same day his wife Kathleen Willey claimed Bill Clinton groped her in the oval office in the White House. Ed Willey was involved in several Clinton fund raising events.
8 – Jerry Parks – Head of Clinton’s gubernatorial security team in Little Rock .. Gunned down in his car at a deserted intersection outside Little Rock.  Park’s son said his father was building a dossier on Clinton.  He allegedly threatened to reveal this information. After he died the files were mysteriously removed from his house.
9 – James Bunch – Died from a gunshot suicide. It was reported that he had a “Black Book” of people which contained names of influential people who visited prostitutes in Texas and Arkansas
10 – James Wilson – Was found dead in May 1993 from an apparent hanging suicide. He was reported to have ties to Whitewater..
11 – Kathy Ferguson – Ex-wife of Arkansas Trooper Danny Ferguson, was found dead in May 1994, in her living room with a gunshot to her head. It was ruled a suicide even though there were several packed suitcases, as if she were going somewhere. Danny Ferguson was a co-defendant along with Bill Clinton in the Paula Jones lawsuit Kathy Ferguson was a possible corroborating witness for Paula Jones.
12 – Bill Shelton – Arkansas State Trooper and fiancee of Kathy Ferguson. Critical of the suicide ruling of his fiancee, he was found dead in June, 1994 of a gunshot wound also ruled a suicide at the grave site of his fiancee.
13 – Gandy Baugh – Attorney for Clinton’s friend Dan Lassater, died by jumping out a window of a tall building January, 1994. His client was a convicted drug distributor.
14 – Florence Martin – Accountant & sub-contractor for the CIA, was related to the Barry Seal, Mena, Arkansas, airport drug smuggling case. He died of three gunshot wounds.
15 – Suzanne Coleman – Reportedly had an affair with Clinton when he was Arkansas Attorney General. Died of a gunshot wound to the back of the head, ruled a suicide. Was pregnant at the time of her death.
16 – Paula Grober – Clinton’s speech interpreter for the deaf from 1978 until her death December 9, 1992. She died in a one car accident.
17 – Danny Casolaro – Investigative reporter. Investigating MenaAirport and Arkansas Development Finance Authority. He slit his wrists, apparently, in the middle of his investigation.
18 – Paul Wilcher – Attorney investigating corruption at MenaAirport with Casolaro and the 1980 “October Surprise” was found dead on a toilet June 22, 1993, in his WashingtonDC apartment. Had delivered a report to Janet Reno 3 weeks before his death.
19 – Jon Parnell Walker – Whitewater investigator for Resolution Trust Corp. Jumped to his death from his Arlington, Virginia apartment balcony August 15, 1993. He was investigating the Morgan Guaranty scandal.
20 – Barbara Wise – Commerce Department staffer. Worked closely with Ron Brown and John Huang. Cause of death unknown. Died November 29, 1996. Her bruised, nude body was found locked in her office at the Department of Commerce.
21 – Charles Meissner – Assistant Secretary of Commerce who gave John Huang special security clearance, died shortly thereafter in a small plane crash.
22 – Dr. Stanley Heard – Chairman of the National Chiropractic Health Care Advisory Committee died with his attorney Steve Dickson in a small plane crash. Dr. Heard, in addition to serving on Clinton ‘s advisory council personally treated Clinton’s mother, stepfather and brother.
23 – Barry Seal – Drug running TWA pilot out of Mena Arkansas, death was no accident.
24 – Johnny Lawhorn, Jr. – Mechanic, found a check made out to Bill Clinton in the trunk of a car left at his repair shop. He was found dead after his car had hit a utility pole.
25 – Stanley Huggins – Investigated Madison Guaranty. His death was a purported suicide and his report was never released.
26 – Hershell Friday – Attorney and Clinton fundraiser died March 1, 1994, when his plane exploded.
27 – Kevin Ives & Don Henry – Known as “The boys on the track” case. Reports say the boys may have stumbled upon the Mena Arkansas airport drug operation. A controversial case, the initial report of death said, due to falling asleep on railroad tracks. Later reports claim the 2 boys had been slain before being placed on the tracks. Many linked to the case died before their testimony could come before a Grand Jury.

THE FOLLOWING PERSONS HAD INFORMATION ON THE IVES/HENRY CASE:
28 – Keith Coney – Died when his motorcycle slammed into the back of a truck, 7/88.
29 – Keith McMaskle – Died, stabbed 113 times, Nov, 1988
30 – Gregory Collins – Died from a gunshot wound January 1989.
31 – Jeff Rhodes – He was shot, mutilated and found burned in a trash dump in April 1989.
32 – James Milan – Found decapitated. However, the Coroner ruled his death was due to natural causes”.
33 – Jordan Kettleson – Was found shot to death in the front seat of his pickup truck in June 1990.
34 – Richard Winters – A suspect in the Ives/Henry deaths. He was killed in a set-up robbery July 1989.

THE FOLLOWING CLINTON BODYGUARDS ARE DEAD
35 – Major William S. Barkley, Jr.
36 – Captain Scott J . Reynolds
37 – Sgt. Brian Hanley
38 – Sgt. Tim Sabel
39 – Major General William Robertson
40 – Col. William Densberger
41 – Col. Robert Kelly
42 – Spec. Gary Rhodes
43 – Steve Willis
44 – Robert Williams
45 – Conway LeBleu
46 – Todd McKeehan

Of course, I am certain there is an explanation for all of these people meeting an unfortunate and early demise.  After all, the above names have been circulating for a number of years.  In fact, calling the above anything other than a series of tragic coincidences has been labeled by some as “urban legend”.  Just the same, I would like to see the explanations for each and every one of them, and have someone in the risk business calculate the odds that such misfortune could befall 47 people in such a short time.

But I’m sure it’s nuthin’.   And anyway, at this point, what difference does it make?   I’m gonna go play golf.  I hope I can avoid any self-inflicted (or other) gunshot wounds, hangings, plane crashes, leaps from buildings, etc., that are apparently a lot more common than I would have thought….

H/T  Fran

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China Provides a Lesson About Influence Squadrons

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Sort of Sir Julian Corbett meets Woody Allen.  (“Ninety percent of life is just showing up”. )  From Forbes.com:

On Wednesday, Vietnamese officials announced that one of China’s ships intentionally rammed two of their Sea Guard vessels.  The incidents took place on Sunday, the 4th.  Six were injured, according to Hanoi.

“Chinese ships, with air support, sought to intimidate Vietnamese vessels,” said Tran Duy Hai of the Foreign Ministry at a news conference.  Other officials said six other Vietnamese craft were hit.

The incidents occurred after China National Offshore Oil Corp., better known as CNOOC , had on May 2 towed a deep-water rig, the size of several football fields, to an area that Hanoi claims is within its exclusive economic zone, near the Paracel Islands.

Beijing brought a fleet of about 80 vessels to keep the Vietnamese from stopping the oil rig, designated HD-981.  CNOOC called HD-981 a “strategic weapon”at its launch in 2012.

This is not some commercial venture, nor can any Chinese incursion of this type ever be so considered.

…it is clear that the company was using the rig at Beijing’s behest.  “This reflected the will of the central government and is also related to the U.S. strategy on Asia,”said a Chinese oil official, speaking anonymously to Reuters, about drilling in Vietnam’s waters.  “It is not commercially driven.  It is also not like CNOOC has set a big exploration blueprint for the region.”

It did not take long for Chinese leaders to test President Obama’s general commitment to maintain regional security after his eight-day, four-nation “reassurance” visit there at the end of last month.  …This is the first time China has drilled in Vietnamese waters.  Moreover, this is the first time Beijing openly used its “gray hulls”—navy ships—in close support of “white hulls”—civilian maritime craft—while enforcing a territorial claim, according to the Nelson Report, the Washington insider newsletter.  There are seven Chinese naval ships in the vicinity of the rig.

Perhaps President Obama and his Administration can begin to appreciate the value of a truly global Navy with sufficient hulls and capabilities to protect US interests and that of her allies.   An inadequate number of large, expensive capital ships cannot provide adequate forward presence in all the places in which such presence is required, irrespective of the relative combat power of the individual warship.  Wednesday’s events near the Paracels provides an object lesson of precisely that.   China’s example of the use of an “influence squadron” is a telling one.  The PLA Navy is where the PRC wishes it to be in order to further Chinese interests.  Those interests are being furthered at the direct expense of US interests.  And the US Navy, stretched past the breaking point by global commitments with a shrinking force, is notably absent in the role of forward presence.

The entire episode of China’s expansion of exploration into the Paracels, the erecting of a massive rig structure, and the protection of that rig with Navy units shows also that The People’s Republic of China is no more intimidated by the hollow platitudes of President Obama’s guarantees to our Asian allies than Vladimir Putin is by Obama’s incessant harping on non-existent “consequences” for actions along Russia’s borders.  Once again, we have rivals and potential adversaries who understand power.  The ability to influence allies and enemies to act in a way which is in consonance with one’s national interests, and the willingness to use all the elements of national power to bring that about.

The common thread along both Russia’s western border and the South China Sea is a feckless and vacillating United States, whose statecraft is in the hands of naive and talentless amateurs who are rapidly dismantling their own military capabilties.  Small wonder our allies are not reassured by the words of our President.  Because, like our rivals East and West, they know those words are without consequence, because they are without the will (nor soon, the means) to give them meaning.

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Michelle Obama’s Trite and Meaningless Gesture

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By now most of us have seen the above image of First Lady Michelle Obama holding a “hashtag” sign in reference to the kidnapping of nearly 300 Nigerian Christian girls by Islamic extremist terror group Boko Haram. Maddening as it is, the image is appropriately symbolic of the Obama Presidency. This silly idea that “Twitter” hashtags being circulated amongst empathetic bystanders somehow equates to actually DOING SOMETHING is right in line with the abysmally weak and ineffective foreign policy of her husband’s administration. Which is to say bold and serious talk of “red lines” and “changing calculus” is accompanied by stern warnings and finger wagging, talk of “consequences”, “sanctions”, and “pivots”, all amounting, like this hashtag nonsense, to nothing at all of any value or consequence.

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Worse, Michelle Obama’s meaningless little stunt comes after her husband’s State Department assiduously avoided labeling Boko Haram as a terrorist organization for more than four years. The burning of churches, the murder and torture of thousands of Nigerian Christians, elicited not a peep from Michelle Obama. She seems only now to care in the slightest because Boko Haram’s campaign of terror and murder can be seen as a “women’s issue”.   And Lord knows she needs to be at the front lines in the “War on Women”. Just like Hillary Clinton, who now sees Boko Haram as “abominable” and “criminal”, committing “terrorist acts”. For the four years in which the State Department dithered in labeling Boko Haram as terrorists, however, the Secretary of State was that very same Hillary Clinton.

Also, Michelle, the abducted girls are not “yours”. Even though you think some idiotic picture of you with a “hashtag” showing “support” makes them so. They are the children of parents who have lived in fear of violence and death at the hands of these Islamic extremists for half a decade. Those extremists are armed partially by the very same weapons, and trained by the very same fighters, that your husband’s administration provided when it shipped arms to in Libya to overthrow a docile Khaddafi, all the while “leading from behind”.  Those Islamic extremists have now metastasized across Africa, into Mali, and the CAR, Algeria, and northern Nigeria. Boko Haram is, in no small part, what it is because of the wildly misguided and irresponsible policies of Barack Hussein Obama.

Men such as those that comprise Boko Haram and the other malignant Islamist terrorists that are soaking Africa’s sand with blood, Christian and Muslim?  They cannot be reasoned with. They are not open to “negotiation” or “beer summits”. Your pathetic display is fodder for their humor, as it shows how intellectually and morally weak you are. Such men as Boko Haram are not men with whom one can live peacefully, ever.  No, those men need to be killed. When it comes to that, other men, good men, far better men than your husband, leave their loved ones to face the danger and the fear, to risk everything to keep the wolves at bay.   They go because their country calls them to go. And because they know that the safety of those they love depends on their willingness to put their lives on the line to kill those with whom peaceful coexistence is impossible.

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And when some of those good, brave men die keeping us safe, we honor them and remember them. Men like Ty Woods and Glen Doherty, Sean Smith, and Chris Stevens.  Part of that ceremony involves the respectful handling of the symbol of the nation they fought and died for.   That’s right, Michelle. All that for a flag. Because their sacrifice is what stands between our children and Boko Haram. And they gave their last full measure of devotion. While you tweeted. Which is why you will never understand about the flag. Much to your lasting shame. Such men have always been proud of their country, even if you aren’t.  Because you haven’t the wherewithal to understand why you should be.

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Lazarus Calls for Executing Plan URR with Tico Reduced Commission Proposal

Information Dissemination contributor (and Salamander Front Porch regular) Lazarus lays out a good plan which should ring slightly familiar.  Laz’s post contains far more practical information than my conceptual musings, and I am very pleased to see the ideas be floated in such a widely-read forum as ID.

A Ticonderoga class cruiser shorn of most of its combat systems, operations, and supply departments would qualify for nucleus crew status. A U.S. nucleus crew might spend a week to 10 days per quarter underway with these opportunities spread out rather than concentrated in one at sea event. Underway periods need be no greater than 24 hours in duration in order to provide elements of basic crew training. Crews could eat pre-prepared meals for short underway periods, and a shore-based centralized supply office could support individual ship’s logistics and maintenance support needs. All CGs selected for such a program would be assigned to geographic areas relatively free from foul weather sortie requirements. The program would need to be flexible in order to be resilient through periods of fluctuating budget support.

Lazarus points to the wear and tear that the Ticos have endured, and is far more diplomatic than I have been about the cause of their “rapid aging”.

Shortfalls in training and maintenance in the decade of the 2000’s as highlighted in the Balisle report further indicate the class has been proverbially “put away wet” without necessary attention as well.

In short, a bunch of senior Naval Officers, including a number of Admirals, decided that skimping on maintenance and manpower was a good way to save money.  For all of their MBAs and other service experience, that cabal of Officers cost this country and its Navy BILLIONS of dollars in premature retirement of fully capitalized assets, by formulating a stupid and short-sighted plan that ignored the very fundamentals of equipment operation that any Vocational High School Equipment Maintenance and Repair teacher could have taught them in ten minutes.

I do hope someone is listening at Big Navy.  Otherwise more valuable assets and taxpayer treasure go down the drain for the stubborn stupidity of our Navy’s leadership.

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Today is ANZAC Day

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Today is the 25th of April.  It is ANZAC Day, commemorating the 99th anniversary of the landings of 31,000 men of The Australian Division, and the Australian-New Zealand Division (reinforced with two batteries of mountain guns) on the crescent-shaped portion of beach known as Ari Burnu, forever after known as Anzac Cove.

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The ANZAC landing began before dawn on 25 April 1915, and was initially unopposed,  By mid-morning, however, Turkish troops under LtCol Mustapha Kemal had reacted strongly and taken the landing beaches and the precariously shallow Dominion positions under rifle, machine gun, and artillery fire.  Unable to move forward, and hanging onto hillside rocks and scrapes, ANZAC Commander MajGen Sir William Birdwood asked to have the beach-head evacuated.

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The Royal Navy argued that such an evacuation, particularly under fire, was impractical.   So Birdwood was ordered to stay, with the advice given by General Sir Ian Hamilton to “dig, dig, dig!”.  It is from this message, many conclude, that the ANZACs became known as the “diggers”.    Despite herculean efforts and near-suicidal courage, including the tragically costly landings at Sulva Bay in August of 1915, the stalemate was never broken.  Unable to advance, with no evacuation possible, the ANZACs remained locked in their initial positions, enduring conditions even more horrendous than those on the Western Front, until finally pulled out as a part of the general evacuation of the Gallipoli Operation in December of 1915.

ch4_3-2

ANZAC Day has become a day of remembrance for all Australian and New Zealand war dead, but remains especially poignant for the nearly 13,000 Australian and New Zealand soldiers who gave their lives in the foothills of the Bari Sair Mountains, in the eight months of hell on Earth that was Anzac Cove.

At the going down of the sun,

and in the morning,

we will remember them.

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Filed under Artillery, guns, history, infantry, navy, SIR!, Uncategorized, veterans, war

Load HEAT- Janina Gavankar

With strings of recurring roles on shows like Arrow, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, The League and a gazillion other shows, sultry looking Janina Gavankar isn’t a household name, but she’s got an unforgettable look.

Janina Gavankar (1) Janina Gavankar (2) Janina Gavankar (3) Janina Gavankar (4) Janina Gavankar (5) Janina Gavankar (6) Janina Gavankar (7) Janina Gavankar (8) Janina Gavankar (9) Janina Gavankar (10) Janina Gavankar (11) Janina Gavankar (12) Janina Gavankar (13) Janina Gavankar (14) Janina Gavankar (15) Janina Gavankar (16) Janina Gavankar (17)

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Filed under ARMY TRAINING, girls, guns, Load Heat

Hidden Treasure

IMG00228-20140313-1813

It can be found in the most unlikely of places.  This haul of pure naval gold came from the little book library that I found next to the gift shop aboard USS Midway in my sojourn to San Diego for the West Conference.  I saw a sign for “book sale”, which, except for “free ammo”, is most likely to make me stop every time.  I was allowed to go into the spaces that had the books for sale, and found this’n.  I decided to have a little fun with the docent who was running the sale.  When I asked “How much?”, he told me “Ten dollars.”  I worked up my most indignant expression, and said “TEN DOLLARS!  That’s highway robbery!  I won’t pay it!” at the same time I slipped a twenty to his elderly assistant, and gave him a wink.   He was a bit flummoxed, but the old fella gave me a smile.  I asked that they keep the change as a donation, which they were truly grateful for.

Anyway, inside the large, musty-smelling book that had likely not been opened in decades, there is to be found a veritable treasure of naval history.  From the advertisements at the beginning pages from famous firms such as Thornycroft, Hawker-Siddeley, Vickers-Amstrong Ship Repair and Shipbuilding, Bofors, Decca Radars, Edo Sonar, etc, to the line drawings of nearly every class of major combatant in commission in 1964, the book is simply fascinating.

What is first noticeable is that a great percentage of the world’s warships in 1964 still consisted of American and British-built vessels from the Second World War and the years immediately preceding.   Former Royal Navy aircraft carriers were the centerpieces of the navies of India, Canada, France, Holland, Australia (star-crossed Melbourne was a Colossus-class CV) and even Argentina and Brazil.   US-built ships comprise major units of almost every Western Bloc navy in 1964.  The ubiquitous Fletchers, of which nearly one hundred were transferred,  served worldwide, and remained the most powerful units of many Western navies into the 1990s.   But there were other classes, destroyer escorts, patrol frigates, minesweepers, and an untold number of LSTs, LCTs, LCIs, Liberty and Victory ships, tankers, and auxiliaries of all descriptions, under the flags of their new owners.   Half a dozen Brooklyn-class light cruisers went south in the 1950s, to the South American navies of Chile, Argentina, and Brazil.  (General Belgrano, sunk by a British torpedo in the Falklands War, was ex-USS Phoenix CL-46).  A surprising number of the pre-war Benson and Gleaves-class destroyers remained in naval inventories, including that of the United States Navy (35).   A large contingent of Balao and Gato-class diesel fleet subs also remained in service around the world, with images showing streamlined conning towers, and almost always sans the deck guns.

Nowhere is there a ship profile of a battleship.  By 1964, Britain had scrapped the King George Vs, and beautiful HMS Vanguard.   France had decommissioned Jean Bart, and though Richelieu was supposedly not decommissioned until 1967, she is not included.  The United States had disposed of the North Carolinas and the South Dakotas some years before, and only the four Iowas remained.  They are listed in the front of the US Navy section, but not as commissioned warships, and they are also not featured.   Turkey’s ancient Yavuz, the ex-German World War I battlecruiser Goeben, had not yet been scrapped (it would be in 1971), but apparently was awaiting disposal and not in commission.

The 1964-65 edition of Jane’s contains some really interesting pictures and facts. And definitely some oddities.

There is a launching photo for USS America (CV-66), and “artist’s conceptions” of the Brooke and Knox-class frigates, which were then rated as destroyer escorts.  In 1964, the largest warship in the Taiwanese Navy (Republic of China) was an ex-Japanese destroyer that had been re-armed with US 5″/38 open single mounts in the late 1950s.  The People’s Republic of China also had at least one ex-Japanese destroyer in service, along with the half-sisters to the ill-fated USS Panay, formerly USS Guam and USS Tutulia, which had been captured by the Japanese in 1941 and turned over to China at the end of the war.  The PRC also retained at least one river gunboat which had been built at the turn of the century.

Italy’s navy included two wartime-construction (1943) destroyers that had been badly damaged, repaired, and commissioned in the late 1940s.  The eye-catching feature of the photos of the San Giorgios is the Mk 38 5″/38 twin mountings of the type mounted on the US Sumners and Gearings.

A couple other oddities that I never would have known but for this book.  In the 1950s, West Germany salvaged one Type XXI and two Type XXIII U-boats, sunk in the Baltic in 1945, reconditioned them, and commissioned them.  While the Type XXI was an experimentation platform, apparently the two Type XXIII boats (ex-U-2365 and U-2367) became operational boats.    The Israeli frigate Haifa had been a British wartime Hunt-class frigate, sold to the Egyptian Navy, and captured by Israeli forces in Haifa in the 1956 war.

The Indian Navy was made up largely of ex-Royal Navy warships, understandably enough.  But one in 1964 was particularly significant.  The Indian light cruiser Delhi had been HMS Achilles, famous for its role as a unit of Commodore Harwood’s squadron in chasing the German panzerschiff KMS Graf Spee in the Battle of the River Plate in December, 1939.

There is much more contained in the pages of this old and forgotten edition.  This book is an absolute treasure trove of naval history.   And was a most unexpected find.    I have unleashed my inner geek!

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Filed under armor, Artillery, China, Defense, guns, history, Iran, israel, logistics, navy, Personal, Splodey, veterans, war

MORE Things That Make You Go “Hmmmmmmmmmm”

iran-coup

This little tidbit managed to elude the American press.  The SAME American press that can tell you nothing about Benghazi, but everything about the George Washington Bridge scandal, nothing about Barack Obama’s college transcripts, but everything about George W. Bush’s military service (even if they have to make it up.)

From Iran’s Fars News Agency, via Drudge, these statements from Brigadier General Hossein Salami of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps:

“Today, we can destroy every spot which is under the Zionist regime’s control with any volume of fire power (that we want) right from here,” Salami said, addressing a conference in Tehran on Tuesday dubbed ‘the Islamic World’s Role in the Geometry of the World Power’.

“Islam has given us this wish, capacity and power to destroy the Zionist regime so that our hands will remain on the trigger from 1,400km away for the day when such an incident (confrontation with Israel) takes place,” he added.

Well, given by Islam and Barack Obama.  I am sure the General doesn’t MEAN anything by it.   It isn’t like he has the ear of the Supreme Leader or anything.   And I am certain that Iran is bargaining for uranium enrichment in good faith.  The Israelis?  They’re just paranoid.

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Filed under Around the web, Artillery, Defense, guns, history, Iran, islam, israel, nuclear weapons, obama, Politics, Uncategorized, war

Hey Marines! Roll ‘Em Up!

iron mike

USMC recruiting

One of the very first things our first aviator Commandant did was to change what had been a century-long tradition of rolling sleeves up on the Marine utility uniform.  Summer, winter, Desert or Woodland MARPAT, sleeves would be worn down, IAW the “YEAR ROUND WEAR OF THE MARINE CORPS COMBAT UTILITY UNIFORM” guidance.  The regulation eliminated what had been a distinguishing feature of Marines when wearing utilities, the rolled sleeve.  Supposedly, it was to show “solidarity” with deployed Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan.  If you are waiting at Camp Pendleton or 29 Palms for your next turn over, I doubt rolling your sleeves down is quite the act of “solidarity”.

The measure was met with universal disapproval,  and was the first in a long series of missteps and poor decisions on the part of General Amos.  But, it seems, that decision was undone a couple weeks ago.  Behold, MARADMIN 078/14

R 260149Z FEB 14
UNCLASSIFIED/
MARADMIN 078/14
MSGID/GENADMIN,USMTF,2007/CMC WASHINGTON DC DMCS(UC)/F002//
SUBJ/MARINE CORPS COMBAT UTILITY UNIFORM POLICY CHANGE//
REF/A/MARADMIN/181719ZOCT11//
REF/B/MSGID:DOC/CMC WASHINGTON DC MCUB/31MAR2003//
AMPN/REF A ANNOUNCED YEAR ROUND WEAR OF THE MARINE CORPS COMBAT UTILITY UNIFORM (MCCUU) WITH SLEEVES DOWN.  REF B IS MCO P1020.34G, MARINE CORPS UNIFORM REGULATIONS//
POC/M. BOYT/CIV/UNIT:MCUB/-/TEL:(703) 432-3333/TEL:DSN 378-3333/EMAIL:MARY.BOYT(AT)USMC.MIL//
GENTEXT/REMARKS/1.  THIS MARADMIN ANNOUNCES THE COMMANDANT’S DECISION TO CANCEL REF A AND REVERT TO PREVIOUS POLICY FOR WEAR OF THE MCCUU.
2.  EFFECTIVE 09 MARCH 2014, THE DESERT MCCUU WILL BE WORN DURING THE SUMMER UNIFORM PERIOD WITH THE SLEEVES ROLLED UP.  AT LOCAL COMMANDERS’ DIRECTION (BN/SQDN), SLEEVES WILL CONTINUE TO BE ROLLED DOWN IN COMBAT AND FIELD ENVIRONMENTS.  DURING THE WINTER UNIFORM PERIOD, THE WOODLAND MCCUU WILL CONTINUE TO BE WORN WITH SLEEVES DOWN.
3.  REF B WILL BE UPDATED TO REFLECT THIS CHANGE.
4.  RELEASE AUTHORIZED BY MAJGEN M. R. REGNER, STAFF DIRECTOR, HEADQUARTERS MARINE CORPS.//

So, Marines, get thee to the gym or the pull-up bar and get those biceps and triceps HUGE!  Everybody knows that peace is gained and maintained by upper body strength!

sleeves

You have a chance to look bad-ass once again.  Make the most of it!

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Filed under guns, history, navy, Uncategorized, veterans, war

“When democracy turns to tyranny, the armed citizen still gets a vote”

Those wishing to disarm the law-abiding by passing laws infringing on the right to keep and bear arms have been warned.   From over at Sipsey Street:

An Open Letter to the Men and Women of the Connecticut State Police: You are NOT the enemy (UNLESS YOU CHOOSE TO BE.)

The following letter was sent via email to members of the Connecticut State Police, Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection. There are 1,212 email addresses on the list. There were 62 bounce-backs.

15 February 2014

To the men and women of the Connecticut State Police and the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection:

My name is Mike Vanderboegh. Few of you will know who I am, or even will have heard of the Three Percent movement that I founded, though we have been denounced on the national stage by that paragon of moral virtue, Bill Clinton. Three Percenters are uncompromising firearm owners who have stated very plainly for years that we will obey no further encroachments on our Second Amendment rights. Some of you, if you read this carelessly, may feel that it is a threat. It is not. Three Percenters also believe that to take the first shot in a conflict over principle is to surrender the moral high ground to the enemy. We condemn so-called collateral damage and terrorism such as that represented by the Oklahoma City Bombing and the Waco massacre. We are very aware that if you seek to defeat evil it is vital not to become the evil you claim to oppose. Thus, though this letter is certainly intended to deal with an uncomfortable subject, it is not a threat to anyone. However, it is important for everyone to understand that while we promise not to take the first shot over principle, we make no such promise if attacked, whether by common criminals or by the designated representatives of a criminal government grown arrogant and tyrannical and acting out an unconstitutional agenda under color of law. If we have any model, it is that of the Founding generation. The threat to public order and safety, unfortunately, comes from the current leaders of your state government who unthinkingly determined to victimize hitherto law-abiding citizens with a tyrannical law. They are the ones who first promised violence on the part of the state if your citizens did not comply with their unconstitutional diktat. Now, having made the threat (and placed the bet that you folks of the Connecticut State Police will meekly and obediently carry it out) they can hardly complain that others take them seriously and try by every means, including this letter, to avoid conflict.

Some of you are already working a major case on me, trying to figure out how I may be arrested for violating Conn. P.A. 13-3, which bears the wildly dishonest title of “An Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety.” (What part of “protecting children” is accomplished by sparking a civil war?) Not only have I personally violated this unconstitutional and tyrannical act by smuggling and by the encouragement of smuggling, defiance and non-compliance on the part of your state’s citizens, but I have further irritated your wannabe tyrant bosses by sending them standard capacity magazines in my “Toys for Totalitarians” program. I further have annoyed them by pointing out — and seeking more evidence of — the existence of Mike Lawlor’s KGB file (as well as his FBI and CIA counter-intelligence files). In short, I have made myself a nuisance to your bosses in just about every way I could think of. However, their discomfiture reminds me of the wisdom of that great American philosopher of the late 20th Century, Frank Zappa, who said, “Do you love it? Do you hate it? There it is, the way you made it.” Whether you will be able to make a case on me that sticks is, of course, problematic for a number of reasons which I will detail to you in the letter below. I have already done so to your bosses and include the links in this email so that you may easily access them.

But even if you are not working on my case you will want to pay attention to this letter, because tyrannical politicians in your state have been writing checks with their mouths that they expect you to cash with your blood. We have moved, thanks to them, into a very dangerous undiscovered country. Connecticut is now in a state of cold civil war, one that can flash to bloody conflict in an instant if someone, anyone, does something stupid. So please pay attention, for Malloy and Co. have put all your asses on the line and are counting on your supine obedience to the enforcement of their unconstitutional diktat.

I apparently first came to your attention with this speech on the steps of your state capitol on 20 April 2013. It was very well received by the audience but virtually ignored by the lapdog press of your state. If I may, I’d like to quote some of the more salient points of it that involve you.

“An unconstitutional law is void.” It has no effect. So says American Jurisprudence, the standard legal text. And that’s been upheld by centuries of American law. An unconstitutional law is VOID. Now that is certainly true. But the tricky part is how do we make that point when the local, state and federal executive and legislative branches as well as the courts are in the hands of the domestic enemies of the Constitution. Everyone who is currently trying to take away your right to arms starts out by saying “I support the 2nd Amendment.” Let me tell you a home truth that we know down in Alabama — Barack Obama supports the 2nd Amendment just about as much as Adolf Hitler appreciated Jewish culture, or Joseph Stalin believed in individual liberty. Believe what politicians do, not what they say. Because the lie is the attendant of every evil. . .

Before this year no one thought that other firearms and related items would ever be banned — but they were, they have been. No one thought that the authorities of your state would pass laws making criminals out of the previously law-abiding — but they did. If they catch you violating their unconstitutional laws, they will — when they please — send armed men to work their will upon you. And people — innocent of any crime save the one these tyrants created — will die resisting them.

You begin to see, perhaps, how you fit into this. YOU are the “armed men” that Malloy and Company will send “to work their will” upon the previously law-abiding. In other words, this law takes men and women who are your natural allies in support of legitimate law enforcement and makes enemies of the state of them, and bully boy political police of you. So you all have a very real stake in what happens next. But let me continue:

The Founders knew how to answer such tyranny. When Captain John Parker — one of the three percent of American colonists who actively took the field against the King during the Revolution — mustered his Minutemen on Lexington Green, it was in a demonstration of ARMED civil disobedience. . . The colonists knew what to do and they did it, regardless of the risk — regardless of all the King’s ministers and the King’s soldiery. They defied the King. They resisted his edicts. They evaded his laws and they smuggled. Lord above, did they smuggle.

Now we find ourselves in a similar situation. The new King Barack and his minions have determined to disarm us. We must determine to resist them. No one wants a new civil war (except, apparently, the anti-constitutional tyrants who passed these laws and the media toadies who cheer them on) but one is staring us in the face. Let me repeat that, a civil war is staring us in the face. To think otherwise is to whistle past the graveyard of our own history. We must, if we wish to avoid armed conflict, get this message across to the collectivists who have declared their appetites for our liberty, our property and our lives — WHEN DEMOCRACY TURNS TO TYRANNY, THE ARMED CITIZEN STILL GETS TO VOTE.

Just like King George, such people will not care, nor modify their behavior, by what you say, no matter how loudly or in what numbers you say it. They will only pay attention to what you DO. So defy them. Resist their laws. Evade them. Smuggle in what they command you not to have. Only by our ACTS will they be impressed. Then, if they mean to have a civil war, they will at least have been informed of the unintended consequences of their tyrannical actions. Again I say — Defy. Resist. Evade. Smuggle. If you wish to stay free and to pass down that freedom to your children’s children you can do no less than to become the lawbreakers that they have unconstitutionally made of you. Accept that fact. Embrace it. And resolve to be the very best, most successful lawbreakers you can be.

Well, I guess at least some of my audience that day took my message to heart. As Connecticut newspapers have finally begun reporting — “Untold Thousands Flout Gun Registration Law” — and national commentators are at last noticing, my advice to defy, resist and evade this intolerable act is well on the way. The smuggling, as modest as it is, I can assure is also happening. This law is not only dangerous it is unenforceable by just about any standard you care to judge it by. Let’s just look at the numbers mentioned in the Courant story.

By the end of 2013, state police had received 47,916 applications for assault weapons certificates, Lt. Paul Vance said. An additional 2,100 that were incomplete could still come in.

That 50,000 figure could be as little as 15 percent of the rifles classified as assault weapons owned by Connecticut residents, according to estimates by people in the industry, including the Newtown-based National Shooting Sports Foundation. No one has anything close to definitive figures, but the most conservative estimates place the number of unregistered assault weapons well above 50,000, and perhaps as high as 350,000.

And that means as of Jan. 1, Connecticut has very likely created tens of thousands of newly minted criminals — perhaps 100,000 people, almost certainly at least 20,000 — who have broken no other laws. By owning unregistered guns defined as assault weapons, all of them are committing Class D felonies.

“I honestly thought from my own standpoint that the vast majority would register,” said Sen. Tony Guglielmo, R-Stafford, the ranking GOP senator on the legislature’s public safety committee. “If you pass laws that people have no respect for and they don’t follow them, then you have a real problem.”

This blithering idiot of a state senator is, as I warned Mike Lawlor the other day, extrapolating. It is a very dangerous thing, extrapolation, especially when you are trying to predict the actions of an enemy you made yourself whom you barely recognize let alone understand. I told Lawlor:

You, you silly sod, are extrapolating from your own cowardice. Just because you wouldn’t risk death for your principles, doesn’t mean there aren’t folks who most certainly will. And, not to put too fine a point on it, but folks who are willing to die for their principles are most often willing to kill in righteous self-defense of them as well. You may be ignorant of such people and their ways. You may think that they are insane. But surely even you cannot be so clueless that, insane or not from your point-of-view, such people DO exist and in numbers unknown. This is the undiscovered country that you and your tyrannical ilk have blundered into, like clueless kindergarteners gaily (no pun intended) tap-dancing in a well-marked mine field. The Founders marked the mine field. Is it our fault or yours that you have blithely ignored the warnings? If I were a Connecticut state policeman I would be wondering if the orders of a possible KGB mole throwback were worth the terminal inability to collect my pension. Of course, you may be thinking that you can hide behind that “thin blue line.” Bill Clinton’s rules of engagement say otherwise.

The odds are, and it gives me no particular satisfaction to say it, is that someone is going to get killed over your unconstitutional misadventures in Connecticut. And if not Connecticut, then New York, or Maryland, or California or Colorado. And once the civil war you all apparently seek is kicked off, it would not be — it could not be — confined to one state.

This is not a threat, of course. Not the personal, actionable threat that you may claim. It ranks right along with — no, that’s wrong, IT IS EXACTLY LIKE — an ex-con meeting me in the street and pointing to my neighbor’s house saying, “Tonight I am going to break in there, kill that man, rape his wife and daughters and steal everything that he is, has, or may become.” I warn him, “If you try to do that, he will kill you first. He may not look like much, but I know him to be vigilant and perfectly capable of blowing your head off.” That is not a threat from me. It is simply good manners. Consider this letter in the same vein. I am trying to save you from yourself.

For, like that common criminal, you have announced by your unconstitutional law and your public statements in favor of its rigorous enforcement that you have a tyrannical appetite for your neighbors’ liberty, property and lives. It doesn’t take a crystal ball to see that this policy, if carried to your announced conclusion, will not end well for anybody, but especially for you.

Now let’s examine those numbers in the Courant story. You know the size of the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection. Wikipedia tells us that “CSP currently has approximately 1,248 troopers, and is headquartered in Middletown, Connecticut. It is responsible for protecting the Governor of Connecticut, Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut, and their families.” There are but 1,212 email addresses listed on the state website to which this email is going, which presumably includes everyone including secretaries, receptionists, file clerks, technicians, etc. Now, how many shooters for raid parties you may find among that one thousand, two hundred and forty eight that Wikipedia cites, or whatever number will be on the payroll when something stupid happens, only you know for sure. I’ll let you do the counting. They are daunting odds in any case, and as you will see, they get more daunting as we go down this road that Malloy and Company have arranged for you. (By the way, don’t forget to subtract those on the Green Zone protective details, for your political masters will certainly see their survival as your mission number one.) So, how many folks would your superiors be interested in seeing you work their will upon? And of these, how many will fight regardless of cost?

Let’s assume that there are 100,000 non-compliant owners of military pattern semi-automatic rifles in your state. I think it is a larger number but 100,000 has a nice round ring to it. Let us then apply the rule of three percent to that number — not to the entire population of your state, not even to the number of firearm owners, but just to that much smaller demonstrated number of resistors. That leaves you with at least 3,000 men and women who will shoot you if you try to enforce this intolerable act upon them. Of course you will have to come prepared to shoot them. That’s a given. They know this. So please understand: THEY. WILL. SHOOT. YOU. (In what they believe is righteous self defense.) Now, if any of them follow Bill Clinton’s rules of engagement and utilize the principles of 4th Generation Warfare, after the first shots are fired by your raid parties, they will not be home when you come to call. These people will be targeting, according to the 4GW that many of them learned while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, the war makers who sent you. This gets back to that “when democracy turns to tyranny, the armed citizenry still gets to vote.” One ballot, or bullet, at a time.

This is all hypothetical, of course, based upon the tyrants’ appetites for these hitherto law-abiding citizens’ liberty, property and lives as well as upon your own willingness to enforce their unconstitutional diktat. And here’s where you can do something about it. The first thing you have to realize is that the people you will be targeting do not view you as the enemy. Indeed, you are NOT their enemy, unless you choose to be one.

Again, an unconstitutional law is null and void. Of course you may if you like cling to the slim fact that a single black-robed bandit has ruled the Intolerable Act as constitutional in Shew vs. Malloy, but that will not matter to those three percent of the resistors — your fellow citizens — whom you target. They no longer expect a fair trial in your state in any case, which leaves them, if they wish to defend their liberty, property and lives, only the recourse of an unfair firefight. So to cite Shew vs. Malloy at the point of a state-issued firearm to such people is, well, betting your life on a very slender reed.

Thus, my kindly advice to you, just as it was to Lawlor, is to not go down that road. You are not the enemy of the people of Connecticut, not yet. The politicians who jammed this law down the peoples’ throats are plainly flummoxed by the resistance it has engendered. In the absence of a definitive U.S. Supreme Court decision do you really want to risk not being able to draw your pension over some politician’s insatiable appetite for power?

There are many ways you can refuse to get caught up in this. Passive resistance, looking the other way, up to and including outright refusal to execute what is a tyrannical law that a higher court may yet find unconstitutional and therefore null and void. Do you really want to have to kill someone enforcing THAT? Just because you were ordered to do so? After Nuremberg, that defense no longer obtains. (You may say, “Well, I’m just a secretary, a clerk, you can’t blame me for anything.” Kindly recall from Nuremberg one other lesson: raid parties cannot break down doors unless someone like you prepares the list in advance. In fact, you have at your keyboard and in your databases more raw, naked power than any kick-in-the-door trooper. And with that power comes moral responsibility. Adolf Eichmann didn’t personally kill anyone. But he darn sure made up the lists and saw to it that trains ran on time. When the first Connecticut citizen (or, God forbid, his family) is killed as a result of your list-making, do you think that because you didn’t pull the trigger that gives you a moral pass?)

So I call on you all, in your own best interest and that of your state, to refuse to enforce this unconstitutional law. There are a number of Three Percenters within the Connecticut state government, especially its law enforcement arms. I know that there have been many discussions around water-coolers and off state premises about the dangers that this puts CT law enforcement officers in and what officers should do if ordered to execute raids on the previously law-abiding.

You have it within your power to refuse to initiate hostilities in an American civil war that would, by its very nature, be ghastly beyond belief and would unleash hatreds and passions that would take generations to get over, if then.

Please, I beg you to understand, you are not the enemy, you are not an occupying force — unless you choose to violate the oath that each of you swore to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against ALL enemies, foreign and domestic. For their part, the men and women who will be targeted by your raids took an identical oath. Can you think of anything more tragic than brother killing brother over some politician’s tyrannical appetite?

I can’t. The future — yours, mine, our children’s, that of the citizens of Connecticut and indeed of the entire country — is in YOUR hands.

At the very least, by your refusal you can give the courts time to work before proceeding into an unnecessary civil war against your own friends and neighbors on the orders of a self-anointed elite who frankly don’t give a shit about you, your life, your future or that of your family. They wouldn’t pass these laws if they thought that they would have to risk the potential bullet that their actions have put you in the path of. They count on you to take that bullet, in service of their power and their lies. Fool them. Just say no to tyranny. You are not the enemy. Don’t act like one.

Sincerely,

Mike Vanderboegh

The alleged leader of a merry band of Three Percenters

PO Box 926

Pinson AL 35126

As the author states, the above is hardly a threat.  Unless, of course, those men and women of the CT State Police choose to serve their political masters rather than the Constitution they have sworn to uphold.    Law Enforcement officials everywhere, at all levels of government, would do well to read and heed.  In many areas, they are dancing dangerously close to a line they cross at their own peril.    The Second Amendment is the citizens’ last redress against the tyranny of government.

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Filed under Around the web, Defense, guns, history, obama, Personal, Politics, veterans, war

A US-Japan Littoral Combat Ship Design?

The Diplomat has the story.  The possibility is certainly intriguing.  One can assume rather confidently that Japanese naval engineers are somewhat less enamored of “revolutionary”, “transformational”, and “game-changing” as we seem to be here at NAVSEA.  Japanese ship designs, particularly in smaller units, have always been excellent.  Fast, sturdy, powerful units for their size.

…analysts contend that the trimaran would likely be a lighter variant of the U.S. Navy’s 3,000-tonne littoral combat ship (LCS), a platform designed primarily for missions in shallow coastal waters.

According to reports in Japanese media, the high-speed J-LCS would give the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) the ability to quickly intervene during incursions by Chinese vessels near the Senkaku/Diaoyu islets and other contested areas of the East China Sea. Chinese analysts speculate that the J-LCS could be intended as a counter to the PLA Navy’s (PLAN) Type 056 corvettes and Type 022 fast-attack boats, two types of vessels that could be deployed to the region should relations continue to deteriorate. Furthermore, early reports indicate that the slightly enlarged hull of the 1,000-tonne-plus vessels could accommodate SH-60K anti-submarine helicopters and MCH-101 airborne mine countermeasures (AMCM) helicopters.

If Chinese analysts are correct, and I hope they are, it is possible we will see a smaller, better-armed, more lethal, less fragile, and significantly less expensive warship which will be suitable for combat in the littorals.  Our lack of “low-end” capability to handle missions ill-suited for AEGIS cruisers and destroyers, such as mixing it up with ASCM-armed frigates and fast-attack craft, is nothing short of alarming.  It would be of benefit to the US Navy to scrutinize the results of such a design, which at first blush sounds much closer to the “Streetfighter” concept than either current LCS design, and that of the Cyclone-class Patrol Cutters.

It sure as hell would be an improvement over current designs.  Especially if the “joint” US-Japanese LCS actually shipped the weapons systems and capabilities required and didn’t stake success on as-yet undeveloped “modules” whose feasibility has come increasingly into question.

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Disastrously Delusional- Kerry on “Meet the Press”

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The events of this week in the Ukraine, particularly Russia’s de facto occupation of the Crimea, have highlighted the shambles that is US foreign policy.  Aside from revealing the complete impotence of NATO, the situation which has evolved in the last 72 hours has brought to the fore the contrast between the Machiavellian power-broker realism of Putin/Lavrov and the naive and feckless bumbling of Obama and SecState John Kerry.

To the list of foreign policy disasters that include the Cairo speech, the West Point speech, cut and run in Iraq, a stunted “surge” in AFG, the “Arab Spring” debacle, leading “from behind” in Libya, the Benghazi attack and cover-up, supporting Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, being caught bluffing with the “red line” nonsense in Syria, selling out our Israeli allies to make a deal virtually guaranteeing a nuclear Iran, we have the crowning fiasco, and likely the most dangerous in long-term impact for the United States and the world.

Kerry’s appearance on “Meet the Press” today reveals just how misguided and dangerously naive the arrogant amateur buffoons are who are careening our ship of state onto the shoals at flank speed.

This is an act of aggression that is completely trumped up in terms of its pretext. It’s really 19th-century behavior in the 21st century, and there’s no way to start with that if Russia persists in this, that the G8 countries are going to reassemble in Sochi. That’s a starter. But there’s much more than that.

Is he kidding?  Power politics was centuries old when Machiavelli defined it in his works in the 1530s.  Power politics has dominated every century since, including the 20th.  In fact, there is virtually no reason to suddenly embrace some notion of “21st Century” statecraft that is any different from that of the previous five centuries, since the emergence of modern nation-states.  That Kerry and Obama think otherwise, and think the rest of the world behaves accordingly, is the height of hubris.  Treating the world as you wish it to be rather than how it exists is simply bankrupt intellectual foolishness.  But there’s more.

And we hope, President Obama hopes that President Putin will turn in the direction that is available to him to work with all of us in a way that creates stability in Ukraine. This does not have to be, and should not be, an East/West struggle.

There is no excuse whatever, other than a willful ignorance of history, to utter such a decidedly stupid and ill-informed comment publicly.  The central theme to the existence of European Russia is an eight-century long existential struggle between East and West.  The tragicomic foolishness of Hillary Clinton’s “reset button”, so contemptuously ridiculed by Foreign Minister Lavrov, was indicative of just how amateurish and incompetent the Obama Administration’s foreign policy and national security players were, and just how precious little they understood the art of statecraft.  Statements like the above reveal how little those players know about the history of the nations and peoples with which that statecraft requires them to interact.

There is worse to come later in the interview with David Gregory.   These two positively head-scratching pronouncements can rightfully make one wonder how tenuous this Administration’s grip on reality truly is:

David, the last thing anybody wants is a military option in this kind of a situation. We want a peaceful resolution through the normal processes of international relations.

President Putin is not operating from a place of strength here. Yanukovych was his supported president… President Putin is using force in a completely inappropriate manner that will invite the opprobrium of the world.

Such a bizarre pair of assertions is difficult to explain.  The several thousand Russian forces, which include mechanized infantry, attack aviation, and self-propelled artillery certainly seem to point to the notion that Vladimir Putin believed some semblance of a military solution was desired to ensure Russia maintained a friendly buffer between what Putin believes is a hostile West.   A buffer that incidentally includes the strategically vital naval base for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, and has a population demographic of approximately 60% ethnic Russians.

As for understanding a position of strength, one might also wonder just how Kerry would go about defining strength.  There is virtually nothing NATO can do militarily, should they even be willing; the United States, with shrinking defense budgets, is in the midst of gutting its military to pre-World War II levels.   The leverage the EU has over Russia is limited, despite Russia’s very significant economic problems.   Any “opprobrium”, or threats by the US, France, Canada, and the UK to suspend the G-8 Summit, is positively pittance to the Russians in comparison to the security of their strategically essential western neighbors, regions that have countless times stood between Russia and destruction at the hands of a conquering West. Russia has acted virtually unchallenged, presenting a fait accompli to the West that, despite assertions to the contrary, will not be undone.  If ever there was a position of power, Russia holds it right now in the Crimea, and will be asserting it anywhere and everywhere in the “near abroad” that Putin has long promised to secure.

The United States never has had all that much leverage to prevent Russia and a talented autocrat like Putin from leaning on their western border states, despite the fitful attempts by the US to draw some of those states into the Western sphere.  The invasions of Georgia and South Ossetia in 2008 proved that beyond a doubt.  But what is most disturbing about the current crisis is watching the US Secretary of State and the US President misread, misstep, and attempt to bluster their way through another confrontation with a geopolitical rival that is acting without restraint and without regard for the empty rhetoric from the Obama Administration.   The most fundamental lesson of statecraft is that of understanding power.  To that end, we have another object lesson in the use of that power.  There is no such thing as hard power, soft power, or “smart” power.  There is just power.  As it has since antiquity, power consists of the capability to enforce one’s will upon an adversary mixed with the willingness to use that capability.

Putin and Lavrov know that lesson well.  They are hard-bitten professionals who act as they believe necessary to promote Russian interests and improve economic and physical security.  Obama and Kerry are rank amateurs, blinded by an ideology that begets a naive and woefully unrealistic understanding of how the world works.  They have been outfoxed and outplayed yet again, seemingly willingly forfeiting US influence and credibility in pursuit of a badly-flawed world view in which influence is based upon hollow threats and ill-conceived public statements.  Any doubts regarding that assertion should be erased when one listens to the cognitive dissonance emanating from our Secretary of State as he describes the Crimean crisis in terms which have little to do with reality.   It is to weep.

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Ten Years Ago Today

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We flew in to Habbaniyah on a C-130 out of Kuwait, and the pilot juked on the way in, just in case.   Once on the deck, we were dispatched into an Army-Marine Corps convoy headed to Ramadi.  On the way out the gate of the laager, a VBIED detonated next to one of the lead security vehicles, killing two soldiers.  It would be an interesting eight months in Iraq.   The First Marine Division, led by MajGen James N. Mattis, whose ADC was John Kelly and Chief of Staff Colonel Joe Dunford, was one hell of a team (that included the Army’s excellent 1-16th Infantry).

The 1st Marine Division (not including Army casualties) suffered 118 killed and more than 1,400 wounded in those eight months in places like Fallujah and Ramadi, Haditah, and a lot of other dusty villages and towns nobody could find on a map except the men who fought there.   A high price was paid to hold the line in Anbar, to hold elections, and cultivate conditions for the Awakening.   For the Marines and soldiers who did so, recent events with AQ flying flags in Anbar’s cities and towns are particularly maddening.  It was clear that the “cut and run” philosophy of the White House was an exceedingly poor one, and subsequent events show that the so-called “zero option” is as descriptive of the President’s credibility as force levels in Iraq.  And we are set, with the same litany of excuses, to do it again in Afghanistan.

I wondered then what all this would be like, ten years on, should I be fortunate enough to survive.  Some things remain very vivid, the sights and smells, and the faces of comrades.  Others I am sure I would have to be reminded of.  And a few memories, thankfully few, are seared into the memory for the rest of my time on this earth.

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“You Have No Rights!”

It seems that Towson, Maryland police officers verbalized what many in Law Enforcement have shown with their behavior nationwide for the last several years.  A man filming police officers at a disturbance is threatened and assaulted by a police officer who declares at one point that the private citizen he is responsible for protecting and serving has no rights.   The local CBS affiliate has the story.

It is well past time to view these cases in isolation.  I don’t want to hear that.  Nor do I want to hear about how the police “fear for their safety”.  Or how they were somehow justified in threatening jail or declaring which freedoms are permitted.   That, in large dose or small, is tyranny, plain and simple.  Trying to explain it away is to stretch plausibility to the breaking point and beyond in order to find excuses for such behavior.

Of course, police officials are always “concerned” and vow to investigate the “possibility” of wrongdoing.  The assertions that additional training and possible disciplinary action is a solution is entirely in error.  This is not a matter of training but of attitude and sense of unbridled authority and entitlement.  Borne of not being accountable.  David Rocah of the ACLU is quite right.  It is very problematic, and it does reflect a great and growing sense of impunity.

No, the solution to this, eventually and unfortunately, is for police officers like this jackass to face the wrath of an armed populace willing to assert their liberties forcefully.  And if he survives the encounter, he should consider himself lucky.   Of course, it is no coincidence that the Governor of Maryland has all but disarmed the law-abiding.  He, and his police forces, get to decide which of your Constitutional liberties they would like you to have and when.  Which, it should be noted, this Administration desires to make the national model.

Tyranny around every corner, indeed.

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