Category Archives: war

Centennial of ANZAC Landings at Gallipoli

Today marks another significant centennial of the Great War.  (Yesterday marked the centenary of beginning of the Armenian Genocide.)  The ANZAC landings at Gallipoli took place on 25 April 1915.  It is a very special ANZAC Day.  From last year:

anzac hat

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.

 gallipolilanding

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.

Anzac-Periscope_rifle_gallipoli_1915-3fab43c3

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.

4 Comments

Filed under army, Artillery, engineering, guns, history, infantry, leadership, logistics, navy, Russia, ships, Uncategorized, veterans, war, weapons

General Mattis Speaks to Veterans

mattisdeploy-750x400

From remarks at the Marines’ Memorial Club in San Francisco, April 16th, 2015:

Our country gives hope to millions around the world, and you – who knew that at one time your job was to fight well – kept that hope alive. By your service you made clear your choice about what kind of world we want for our children: The world of violent jihadist terrorists, or one defined by Abraham Lincoln when he advised us to listen to our better angels?

I searched for words to pay my respects to all of you here tonight and had to turn to others more articulate than I to convey what our service meant. Someone once said that America is like a bank: If you want to take something out, then you must be willing to put something in.

For the veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars – poorly explained and inconclusive wars, the first major wars since our Revolution fought without a draft forcing some men into the ranks – the question of what our service meant may loom large in your minds. You without doubt have put something into the nation’s moral bank.

Rest assured that by your service, you sent a necessary message to the world and especially to those maniacs who thought by hurting us that they could scare us.

No granite monuments, regardless of how grandly built, can take the place of your raw example of courage, when in your youth you answered your country’s call. When you looked past the hot political rhetoric. When you voluntarily left behind life’s well-lit avenues. When you signed that blank check to the American people payable with your lives. And, most important, when you made a full personal commitment even while, for over a dozen years, the country’s political leadership had difficulty defining our national level of commitment.

You built your own monument with a soldier’s faith, embracing an unlimited liability clause and showing America’s younger generation at its best when times were at their worst.

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., arguably the most articulate justice in the Supreme Court’s history and himself a combat-experienced infantry officer in our awful Civil War, said: “As life is action and passion, it is required of a man that he should share the passion and action of his time at peril of being judged not to have lived.”

You, my fine veterans, are privileged that you will never face a judgment of having failed to live fully. For you young patriots were more concerned in living life fully than in your own longevity, freely facing daunting odds and the random nature of death and wounds on the battlefield.

So long as you maintain that same commitment to others and that same enthusiasm for life’s challenges that you felt in yourself, your shipmates, your comrades and buddies, you will never question at age 45 on a shrink’s couch whether you have lived.

Veterans know the difference between being in a dangerous combat zone and being in close combat, seeking out and killing the enemy. Close combat is tough. Much of the rest of war is boring if hard work. Yet nothing is mentally crippling about hard work in dangerous circumstances, as shown by generations of American veterans who came thankfully home as better men and women.

Close combat, however, is an “incommunicable experience” – again quoting Holmes. Then there was Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, the Union general, who spoke of war’s effects, distinguishing the impact of close combat from military service in general. He said that such combat is “a test of character, it makes bad men worse and good men better.”

We are masters of our character, choosing what we will stand for in this life. Veterans today have had a unique privilege, that of having seen the tenacious spirit of our lads, like those young grunts preparing for a patrol by loosely wrapping tourniquets on their limbs so they could swiftly stop their own bleeding if their legs were blown off. Yet day after day they stoically patrolled. Adversity, we are told, reveals a man to himself, and young patriots coming home from such patrols are worth more than gold, for nothing they face can ever again be that tough.

Now, most of us lost friends, the best of friends, and we learned that war’s glory lay only in them – there is no other glory in warfare. They were friends who proved their manhood at age 18, before they could legally drink a beer. They were young men and women taking responsibility for their own actions, never playing the victim card. Rather, they took responsibility for their own reaction to adversity.

This was something that we once took for granted in ourselves and in our buddies, units where teenagers naturally stood tall, and we counted on each other. Yet it is a characteristic that can seem oddly vacant in our post-military society, where victimhood often seems to be celebrated. We found in the ranks that we were all coequal, general or private, admiral or seaman. We were equally committed to the mission and to one another, a thought captured by Gen. Robert E. Lee, saying his spirit bled each time one of his men fell.

Looking back over my own service, I realize now how fortunate I was to experience all this and the many riotous excursions I had when I was privileged to march or fight beside you. And a question comes to mind: What can I do to repay our country for the privilege of learning things that only you in this room could have taught me? For today I feel sorry for those who were not there with us when trouble loomed. I sometimes wonder how to embrace those who were not with us, those who were not so fortunate to discover what we were privileged to learn when we were receiving our Masters and Ph.D.s in how to live life, and gaining the understanding and appreciation of small things that we would otherwise have never known.

How do we embrace our fellow citizens who weren’t there? America is too large at heart for divisions between us. If we became keenly aware of anything at war, it was what is printed on our coins: “E Pluribus Unum” – out of many, one.

We veterans did our patriotic duty, nothing more, certainly nothing less, and we need to “come home” like veterans of all America’s wars. Come home stronger and more compassionate, not characterized as damaged, or with disorders, or with syndromes or other disease labels. Not labeled dependent on the government even as we take the lead in care of our grievously wounded comrades and hold our Gold Star families close. We deserve nothing more than a level playing field in America, for we endured nothing more, and often less, than vets of past wars.

For whatever trauma came with service in tough circumstances, we should take what we learned – take our post-traumatic growth – and, like past generations coming home, bring our sharpened strengths to bear, bring our attitude of gratitude to bear. And, most important, we should deny cynicism a role in our view of the world.

We know that in tough times cynicism is just another way to give up, and in the military we consider cynicism or giving up simply as forms of cowardice. No matter how bad any situation, cynicism has no positive impact. Watching the news, you might notice that cynicism and victimhood often seem to go hand-in-hand, but not for veterans. People who have faced no harsh trials seem to fall into that mode, unaware of what it indicates when taking refuge from responsibility for their actions. This is an area where your example can help our society rediscover its courage and its optimism.

We also learned the pleasure of exceeding expectations. We saw the power we brought when working together as a team. We learned alongside one another, in teams where admired leadership built teamwork, where free men and women could change the world.

Now having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world and having worked with others of many cultures, having worked in one of the most diverse teams on earth – that of the U.S. military – and having faced down grim circumstances without losing our sense of humor or moral balance under conditions where war’s realities scrape away civilization’s veneer, we have learned that nothing can stop our spirit unless we ignore Lincoln’s call to our better angels.

American colleges and businesses know your pedigree for commitment, reliability and loyalty. This is why so many corporations and startups aggressively recruit veterans. As San Francisco-based Uber sums it up: Veterans deliver higher value. Bellwether companies like Microsoft, Uber, Starbucks and more act on that premise.

I will close with words again borrowed from others.

From Alexander Dumas: You should be satisfied with the way you have conducted yourselves, “with no remorse for the past, confident regarding the present and full of hope for the future.” When you retire to bed you should sleep “the sleep of the brave.”

If Jackie Robinson, a sparkling ballplayer and veteran of World War II, could write his own epitaph on leadership by saying “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives,” then you who are fortunate to have learned so much living in the greatest country on earth while making an impact so young – you should recognize that our country needs your vigor and wisdom. It was gained at great cost to our comrades and to our Gold Star families, who need to see their sons’ spirits live on in your enthusiasm for life.

I am reminded of Gen. William Sherman’s words when bidding farewell to his army in 1865: “As in war you have been good soldiers, so in peace you will make good citizens.”

38 Comments

Filed under Defense, guns, history, leadership, SIR!, veterans, war

“Bandini!”

Those who know, know.  Part III.

Oh, and it’s NEVER Black Flag out there.  When I say never, I mean ALWAYS.  ‘Cept when it’s freezing-ass cold.

2 Comments

Filed under girls, history, Humor, leadership, marines, Personal, recruiting, stupid, training, veterans, war, weapons

Muslims Murdering Christians in Kenya

gunmen3

Or, as this Administration would couch it, this is either another tragic college campus shooting that highlights the need for stricter gun laws, or just some folks shooting at other folks, in which no one religion is responsible.   NBC News has the story.

Al Shabab, an al Qaeda-linked terror group based in neighboring Somalia, claimed responsibility for the pre-dawn attack. Sheik Abdiasis Abu Musab, the group’s military operations spokesman, said many Christians were being held by the militants. “We sorted people out and released the Muslims,” he told Reuters.

Witnesses corroborated the Al-Shabab claims:

When the gunmen arrived at his dorm he could hear them opening doors and asking if the people who had hidden inside whether they were Muslims or Christians. “If you were a Christian, you were shot on the spot,” Wetangula told The Associated Press. “With each blast of the gun I thought I was going to die.”

Prayers for the lives of the Christians who are hostages to these muhammedan monsters.  And for the souls who died because of their faith.  It is likely too late to pray that our Islamist sympathizer of a Chief Executive would have a pang of conscience about the massacres perpetrated by the radical Islamists whom he refuses to name as America’s enemies.   Reverend Wright got his wish.  God did damn America, with lazy, media-brainwashed voters who twice elected the empty-suit charlatan whose “hope and change” has eroded liberty, alienated our allies, and emboldened our enemies.

By all means, however, let’s avoid calling these filthy animals what they are.  Let’s instead make a deal with Iran to facilitate their nuclear weapons efforts.   Understanding that some things are not negotiable.

6 Comments

Filed under army, Around the web, Defense, guns, history, islam, nuclear weapons, obama, Politics, stupid, terrorism, Uncategorized, war, weapons

CAIC WZ-10 in Pakistan

Recently China has provided the WZ-10 attack helicopter to Pakistan to help defend and police it’s Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA).bThe WZ-10 is replacing the AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter operated by the Pakistani Army. Replacement has given us a first time opportunity to see the WZ-10 up close (photos courtesy of the China Defense Blog):

   

     

5 Comments

Filed under army, Defense, helicopters, war, weapons

Salient Visible Characteristics of Fighting Ships

from Fahey’s “Ships and Aircraft of the US Fleet

I have a knack for finding interesting militarily historical artifacts and after reviewing my purchases at the second annual Pritzker Military Museum and Library booksale, this is a lesson I keep having to relearn. I had that feeling I should purchase that copy of Fahey’s  “The Ships and Aircraft of the U.S. Fleet“, in this instance, available there as a 5 volume set, which already having a tendency to listen to feeling, I purchased.

I found a document from the Office of Naval Intelligence dated 11 March 1942 titled: “Salient Visible Characteristics of Fighting Ships.” It provides an interesting glimpse of what the US Navy was like during World War 2. Thusly:

Hesitation caused by the uncertainty as to whether a vessel is friend or foe may lose for the aviator his opportunity to attack, and for the naval officer may result in the loss of a ship or failure to discharge a mission or destroy an enemy vessel.

Heady and still very relevant stuff especially for those currently deployed.

Below you’ll see my pictures of some of the document. Enjoy:

 
 

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

1 Comment

Filed under ARMY TRAINING, history, navy, ships, veterans, war, World War II

This Iranian nuke deal keeps getting better and better!

Via Politico.

 

No specifics, nothing written, perhaps not even anything that Iran and the international negotiating partners say as one—that’s the most to expect out of the nuclear talks now running up against the deadline in Switzerland, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said Friday.

But even concluding this round of talks with that level of ambiguity, Hammond said, would count as a significant success. And he thinks they’ll get it.

H/T to Ace, who also has this terrific post about France even recognizing what a shit sandwich Obama is telling them to take a bite of.

In the comments yesterday, Bill asked a question:

I’m curious to hear XBRADTC, your reason for seeing Iran as any real threat to us.

Reasons for Iran BEING a regional power:
1. More people
2. More industrial capacity
3. A culture that goes MUCH further than “a bunch of nomadic shepherds in the Desert”
4. a Solid national Identity which WASN’T carved out of the carcass of the Ottoman Empire.

Reasons Against:
1. They say ugly things all the time to gin up domestic and regional support.
2. They are actively engaged in supplanting Shia’a Islam as the dominant creed in the region over Sunni Islam. (The Islam that DAESH and Al Quaeda support).
3. They REALLY don’t like the USA. (Big surprise, we REALLY don’t like them either).
4: They ACT like a regional power. (Kinda like the US did with Mexico).
5. (the big one) They have the capacity to build a nuclear weapon and there is not a damn thing we can do to stop that short of nuclear genocide or an invasion and occupation of a fiercely nationalist country with 77 million people who will ALL hate us.

If I were in charge of Iran, I WOULD WANT A NUKE TOO. Because it’s the ONE guarantor of territorial and national sovereignty that even the USA cannot afford to ignore. Saddam didn’t have one. And if he HAD, and had the means to deliver it to NYC, I doubt Operation Iraqi Freedom would have happened.

So what are your alternatives? Short of an invasion that would take every asset in our inventory to deal with and probably require a draft for manpower to deal with the rest of our obligations? I’m open to suggestions. I have no more love of the Mullahs than you do. But I’d like to hear a clear, specific and detailed counter-strategy to limited containment.

I think Iran should be a regional power, for the very reasons Bill listed. I would love to see a stable, productive Iran as a positive influence on stability in the region.  I’m not even terribly concerned with their status as a theocracy. We’ve managed to get along reasonably well with other theocratic states. Indeed, if the 1979 capture of our embassy and the hostage taking of our personnel were a one time incident, I’d be prepared to forgive, if not forget.

But Iran has a thirty plus year record of using terror against any and all who are not its vassals. They blew up a Jewish cultural center in Buenos Ares! They are also, of course, the force behind Hezbollah, which itself has a long history of violence against Americans and our interests.  And as Esli noted in his response to Bill’s question, there’s an awful lot of American blood on Iranian hands. For instance, as up-armored Humvees in Iraq were able to defeat simple IEDs, Iranian supplied Explosively Formed Penetrators were used to kill our troops.

As to Iranian desire to have nuclear weapons, I’m against proliferation just on general grounds. Regarding Iran specifically, the deterrent effect of an Iranian weapon would certainly allow them to be far more obnoxious on the international stage than they already  are. Worse still, it will lead to further proliferation. The only question becomes, who would be the next country to have nuclear arms, with Saudi Arabia the likely winner of that race. They would probably simply purchase them from Pakistan. If you proliferate enough, the probability of someone actually using nuclear weapons begins to approach 1. That is not to say that New York or Los Angeles would be the target, but one problem with nuclear wargaming has always been shown to be entanglement and escalation. Once one weapon has been used, it is a virtual certainty others will be, and who knows where that will end? While my first concern is always for the safety and well being of the United States and her people, I also would generally like to not see any major metropolitan area vanish in a brilliant flash of light. Not even our enemy’s.

As to what we can do, let’s start with what we shouldn’t have done. We shouldn’t have legitimized Iran’s nuclear program by negotiating with them, particularly since the “goals” of this program are farcical.

Aside from that, there is a wide array of options we could have, and can still undertake. First, we should have provided at least moral support during the Green Revolution of 2009. It would have been nice if the average Iranian could have heard (via VOA or other information sources) that the United States supported them and was not their enemy.

Other non-kinetic options include an array of economic sanctions. The sanction regime until recently in place was surprisingly effective.  Competent diplomacy could have made them even more effective, even to the point of being draconian.

Were we really interested in turning up the heat, we would have vastly increased our domestic oil production, enacted legislation allowing the export of oil, and then imposed an embargo, or even blockade, on Iranian oil exports.

We could also have undertaken covert actions to undermine the ayatollah’s regime through funding of internal dissidents.

Finally, we could undertake military action to deny Iran its nuclear program. Even short of an invasion and occupation, quite a bit could be done to thwart the Iranian’s progress. There is quite a bit of infrastructure that is quite vulnerable, even if major portions of their program is at hardened sites. Electrical generation and transmission, critical to centrifuge operation, is difficult to harden.  Targeting key personnel in the program is another option.

While I’ve listed options as a spectrum, a truly effective effort to deny Iran would fuse these elements together.

Instead, we’re bullying our allies into joining an agreement that isn’t even worth the paper it won’t be written down on!

13 Comments

Filed under war, weapons