Quotulatiousness

March 28, 2017

David Fletcher’s Tank Chats #3 Medium Tank MkII* (Vickers Medium)

Filed under: Britain, History, Military — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 20 Mar 2015

The third in a series of short films about some of the vehicles in our collection presented by The Tank Museum’s historian David Fletcher MBE.

In 1923 Vickers Ltd. of Sheffield and Newcastle, started to manufacture tanks for the British Army. They were the first representatives of a new generation of tanks, designed to fight on the move and restore mobility to the battlefield.

As designed the Medium tanks had a 3 pounder gun in the turret; a Vickers machine-gun in each side of the hull and Hotchkiss light machine-guns in the turret. These last were later eliminated in favour of a single Vickers machine-gun, mounted alongside the main gun and described as co-axial, since it elevates on the same axis as the main gun. This modification altered the design from Mark II to Mark II*. Using these tanks the Royal Tank Corps established standards of gunnery which, in their day, were never equalled.

March 26, 2017

Comparing WW1 Helmet Designs I OUT OF THE TRENCHES

Filed under: Europe, History, Military, USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

Published on 25 Mar 2017

Start Your Free Trial For The Great Courses Plus*: https://www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/special-offer?utm_source=US_Influencer&utm_medium=InfluencerYouTube&utm_campaign=143317

It’s time for the Chair of Wisdom again and this week Indy compares World War 1 helmet designs and we talk about the discrimination of Germans in the US during WW1.

March 21, 2017

British Weapons of World War 1 feat. C&Rsenal I THE GREAT WAR Live Stream

Filed under: Britain, History, Military, Technology — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

Streamed live 9 hours ago

Othais’ channel: https://www.youtube.com/candrsenal

In our series about the rifles and pistols today, Othais got his hands on the standard issue rifles and pistols of the British Army in World War One.

March 15, 2017

Serbian Field Marshal Stepa Stepanovic I WHO DID WHAT IN WW1?

Filed under: Europe, History, Military — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

Published on 14 Mar 2017

Serbia’s turbulent history of the late 19th and early 20th century created some hard-boiled military leaders to the front lines of World War 1. One of these was Stepa Stepanovic – but he was not just hard boiled, he also stood with his country throughout the entire war which included the Serbian Exodus to Korfu.

March 14, 2017

British India During World War 1 I THE GREAT WAR Special

Filed under: Britain, Europe, History, India, Military — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

Published on 13 Mar 2017

India was part of the British Empire during World War 1 and it was of vital importance to the war effort. Resources, manufacturing power and over 1.3 million men that served in the Army meant a great price for India to pay during the war. But even before the conflict, the call for independence grew louder and louder.

March 11, 2017

QotD: US Army awards contract, losing bidder launches appeal (of course)

Filed under: Bureaucracy, Humour, Military, Quotations, USA — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

The Services should just acknowledge the reality of contracting anything in the seven-figure realm, and change initial award announcements to read: “The Initial Conditional Award of Contract XYZ is to Defense Conglomerate 1369. Work will commence after all Congressional Outraged Publicity-Seeking Posturing is exhausted and Butthurt Losing Contractor Challenges are adjudicated. We hope to run both those actions concurrently, and anticipate work will commence a minimum of 3-5 years behind schedule and costs grow at an exponential rate during this period, hence the budget supplemental is already in draft form for Newsies, Think Tanks, and Outraged Congresspersons to grind axes with.” Added caveat for this particular contract: “Additionally, a website has been established to collect all the comments from .40/.45 cal and steel-frame fanboyz to rant about How Stupid This Choice Is.”

John Donovan, posting to Facebook, 2017-02-28.

February 25, 2017

Updating the junior rank structure of the Canadian Army

Filed under: Cancon, Military — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Earlier this week, Ted Campbell offered his suggestions on how to address some issues he notes in the lower ranks of the Canadian Army, based on both Canadian and allied armies’ experiences:

There was always a problem with the old (1850s to 1960s) Army rank structure: there was some need to tie rank to trade, but not as tightly, many military people believe, as […] in the Canadian Armed Forces today. Some branches (corps) used to have fairly strict rules; in the old (1960s) Royal Canadian Corps of Signals, for example, the technicians, amongst the very highest paid soldiers in the whole army, could not attend the long, difficult and expensive, advanced (3rd of 4 levels) technician course until they had passed the junior leadership course and they could not attempt the senior leadership course until they had passed the advanced technician’s course, and so on. But that system always excluded some good people. There were, and still are today, many people who can be excellent, even outstanding technicians but cannot lead or manage soldiers. The United States Army addressed this same issue by creating the “specialist” grouping which allowed soldiers to “advance” through part of the pay system ~ higher salaries for technical skills ~ but not the other ~ even higher salaries for leadership. In past years there were many different (paid) grades of specialist but now it is a “rank” equivalent to the US Army corporal for soldiers who have not yet or cannot pass the first level junior leader course. The British Royal Air Force has a similar and, in my opinion, better system …

… which recognizes both technical skill and leadership requirements.

In my opinion we should undo much of what Mr Hellyer did, while thanking him for addressing the pay problem, and restore the junior leadership positions, especially the tank and rifle section commanders, to the real, and younger, junior leaders: those in the rank of master corporal. This will restore the senior leaders to their traditional roles as “guides” and mentors to the junior leaders: both to the corporals and the lieutenants. The ranks of sergeant ~ in several “grades” and warrant officer are often, and very correctly, referred to as the backbone or even the “heart and soul” of the army. That is partly because, traditionally, they stood ever so slightly “aloof” from the rank and file. The lieutenants gave orders, advised, coached and mentored by the sergeants, to the corporals who, then, directly led the riflemen but were also mentored by the sergeants. It was, to repeat the words I used to describe the US constitution, “a fine and finely balanced system;” we upset the balance 50 years ago to solve a pay problem. We should, also, adapt the RAF’s aircraftman/technician to our own needs to allow some soldiers to advance “up” in their technical field (and be paid more) without becoming leaders (and being paid more for that, too).

To do that the Army will have to reform itself.

First, it will have to repose trust in its junior leaders; that’s something that will be hard to do, even after the Army, of absolute necessity, makes junior leader training ~ making privates into corporals and civilians into second lieutenants ~ its highest priority and the job it assigns to its very, very best senior leaders.

Second, it will have to restore the “sergeant’s mess” to its traditional pride of place in the Army by giving the sergeants and warrant officers back the senior supervisory and management duties that have, in far too many cases, migrated “upwards” until they are now done by captains and even majors. Once again, it is a trust issue and we live in a world where many of the most senior leaders are timid because they have been “burned” too often, by their own superiors, when a subordinate makes a mistake. Mistakes are part of human nature; they have to be corrected, forgiven, in most cases, and, very often, used as teaching aids.

Third, the government will need to revise the pay system so that junior leaders are paid more and, meanwhile, the gap between corporal and master corporal and sergeant is maintained.

Fourth, promotions, in the Army, at least, to corporal and to captain must not be automatic. Promotion to corporal must require that one pass a very tough junior leaders course; promotion from lieutenant to captain should be by examination.

But, doing these four things will, in my opinion, give the Army a firm foundation upon which to build and fight.

February 22, 2017

TEDxWarwick – Tim Harford – Management Lessons from the War in Iraq

Filed under: Middle East, Military, USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

Uploaded on 17 Mar 2011

Tim Harford is an economist who writes about economics theories behind our daily lives in books and as a Financial Times columnist. All of his books have been sold worldwide and widely translated, namely The Undercover Economist that has sold one million copies. He is the also only person who runs a problem page “Dear Economist” in Financial Times in which readers’ problems are answered with the thought-provoking economic ideas. Tim currently presents the BBC radio series More or Less and contributes regularly to other radio, TV programmes and publications. His talk in TEDxWarwick this year focuses on the similarities between the War in Iraq and the organisation’s top-down management.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

Interestingly, the name H.R. McMaster pops up a few times in this talk…

So who is this H.R. McMaster dude?

Filed under: Military, Politics, USA — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

John Ringo strongly approves of the choice of Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster for National Security Adviser:

McMaster for NSA.

Fuck. Yeah.

For those who don’t know much about McMaster, just check his wiki [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._R._McMaster] which isn’t all that ‘edited for lefty sensibilities.’

Short answer: Took his troop (company) in against a brigade of Republican Guard (about ten times his firepower) in Desert Storm and stomped them. In 23 minutes. And I mean Stomped. Them. Hard.

Won the Silver Star (very well deserved, there are arguments for DSC. Also later two bronze and a purple heart.)

In Iraq took over a ‘hot’ sector and turned it basically cold. (Then had it go hot when he left when the replacement unit didn’t use the same tactics.) Essentially created the tactics the Marines (under Mattis) later used to get the Al Najar tribes on our side. Which looked to actually be working right up until we pulled out and the place went to shit.

The Old Bull generals at the time hated him. He didn’t take their pronouncements of Olympian Superiority as Gospel. He wasn’t Cold War, zero defect, there’s-nothing-strategically-important enough for them. He was one of the new generation of officers who had been fighting various low-intensity mixed with high-intensity fights since the end of the Cold War. So they black balled him. (Refused to promote him to General.) Bush basically shoved him down their throat and at least partially broke the log-jam against officers with actual, you know, COMBAT EXPERIENCE making rank. (Was one of those big discussions back on boards like this at the time.)

Beloved by his troops. Well respected by his peers and superiors. Mind like a quantum physicist. Edetic memory. Universally curious.

Bright eyed intellectual warrior. Can tell you everything there is to know about the politics of any country on earth down to who’s who of the major players. (Something Trump desperately needs.) Great ‘out of the box’ thinker.

And his ‘high protein, low carb’ fruit salad makes Mattis’ balls shrivel up a little.

Q: If Rommel and McMaster went up against each other, same TOE, same level of training, same numbers, who wins?

A: God. Cause the Almighty would be breaking out the popcorn for that one.

February 16, 2017

“Secretive Army Special Mission Unit Offers Support to Leftist Overthrow of Trump Administration”

Filed under: Humour, Military — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

Whoa! Shit just got real!*

In recent months, ill-informed Leftists who have spent the last 8 years repeatedly telling the public that they do not “need” guns and have no reason to fear the Federal Government (except of course for the police) have discovered that they are totally unprepared to carry out the violent overthrow of the Trump Administration and the revolution that they feel our country so desperately needs.

Those pleas for a military-led coup had gone unanswered (and largely laughed at) by members of the Armed Forces until yesterday, when a little known Army Special Mission Unit responded to left-wing demands for a military removal of the Commander-in-Chief.

Known only as the “E4 Mafia,” this unit appears nowhere in U.S. Army organizational charts but reportedly acts as a major influence in every single Army organization operating across the globe. Because no one in our organization ever served in the military, and because it serves our political agenda (and our research is limited to Wikipedia), it can only be assumed that the E4 Mafia is one of numerous Army Special Mission Units such as Delta Force and SEAL Team Sixty.

The support of “E4M” does not come cheap, however. The following list of demands was passed to Article 107 News in an effort to ensure widest dissemination to sympathetic revolutionaries (Editor’s Note: This message received A LOT of editing for both spelling/grammar and content prior to re-publication here).

H/T to John Ringo, who commented:

You forgot to add ‘top secret’ Army unit. ‘So top secret it appears in no FOIA requests and is officially disavowed by all military sources. A Pentagon spokesman when asked about them responded with a string of obscenities before being led away crying…’

February 7, 2017

Mad Dog’s plan to fix the US military

Filed under: Military, USA — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

John Donovan linked to this Forbes article, saying “This fixes ‘stuff’. It doesn’t fix the GO corps, nor fix the lost institutional knowledge won over decades. But, every journey begins with a single step. And I await (I have no doubt it’s forthcoming, in due course) the plan to fix our inarticulate strategic malaise.”

Secretary of Defense James Mattis has issued his initial campaign plan for rebuilding America’s military, pursuant to a presidential directive signed January 27. If Congress provides necessary funding, the Mattis plan would reverse a steady erosion of the joint force’s warfighting edge that resulted from caps on military spending during the Obama years. In fact, the plan may usher in a surge of spending on new military technology unlike anything seen since the Reagan years.

All four of the military services General Mattis oversees would get a boost, but the biggest beneficiary during President Trump’s tenure will be the service that is currently in the direst straits — the Army. That’s because the fixes the Army needs can be implemented more quickly than expanding the Navy’s fleet or fielding a new Air Force bomber. In fact, making the Army healthy again could be largely accomplished during Trump’s first term — which is a good thing since it is pivotal to deterring East-West war in Europe.

[…]

The Mattis campaign plan consists of three steps, aimed at quickly closing readiness gaps and then building up capability. Like I said, the Army benefits most in the near term because what it needs can be fielded fairly fast. Step One in the Mattis plan is to deliver to the White House by March 1 proposed changes to the 2017 budget fixing readiness shortfalls across the joint force. Readiness includes everything from training to maintenance to munitions stocks.

Step Two, delivered to the White House by May 1, would rewrite the 2018 military spending request for the fiscal year beginning October 1 to buy more munitions, invest in critical enablers, grow the size of the force, and fund demonstration of new capabilities. Step Three, based on a revised national defense strategy, would lay out a comprehensive military modernization program for the years 2019-2023. The revised strategy would include a new “force sizing construct” that would boost the size of all the services, but especially the Army.

It’s odd to hear the world’s largest and most capable military power being described in terms that would more accurately describe, say, the Canadian Army: “So if Congress goes along, the Mattis campaign plan is eminently feasible, and the U.S. Army in particular can be brought back from the brink.”

February 6, 2017

QotD: General officer ranks in the Waterloo campaign

Filed under: Britain, Europe, History, Military — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

There were a lot of generals involved in the campaign in northern France and Flanders that began on June 14, 1815, and culminated in the memorable Battle of Waterloo on June 18th. Altogether there were 240 of them, to command nearly 360,000 troops. And since the troops came from a lot of different armies — British, French, Prussian, Netherlands, Hanover, Brunswick, and a few others, telling the generals apart can be a bit confusing.

[…]

Note that the rank structure is not really comparable to that prevailing today in the U.S. Army. The functional equivalent of a British major general or a French general de brigade or marechal de camp would actually be brigadier general based on their commands. The French rank system was actually much more complicated than may appear from the table. To begin with, the highest actual rank in the army was general de division. Marechal de l’Empire was technically a distinction, not a rank. Now it gets really complicated. A corps commander who was officially a general de division might by courtesy be designated a general de corps d’armee. However, a general de division might also sometimes be referred to as a lieutenant-general, particularly if he was functioning in a staff position. Meanwhile, the chief-of-staff of the army was designated major general. In addition, an officer commanding a brigade was more likely to be designated a marechal de camp (i.e., “field marshal”) rather than general de brigade, which was reserved for officers with special duties, such as the commanders of the regiments of the Garde Imperial. This complexity had developed as a result of the Revolution, which favored functional titles for military officers, chef de battailon for example, rather than major. Unfortunately, staff personnel often required rank, so the old Royal hierarchical titles of rank survived for a long time alongside the functional Revolutionary ones.

Further complicating matters was the fact that in all the armies an officer’s social rank was often used rather than his military rank. Thus, although Wellington was a Field Marshal he was usually referred to as “His Grace, the Duke” without his military rank. In Wellington’s case this could become quite complicated, as he was a duke thrice over, the Portuguese and Spanish having created him such even before the British, and he was also a Prince of the Netherlands. As each of these gave him a different title, references to him in Portuguese, Spanish, or Dutch works can easily become obscure. For example, to the Portuguese he was the Duque de Douro, and one Portuguese language history of the Peninsular War nowhere uses any other name for him. Then there is the problem of multiple ranks. Wellington, for example, was a field marshal in the British, Prussian, Netherlands, and Portuguese armies, as well as being a Capitan General in the Spanish Army. Although none of the other officers in the campaign had so many different ranks, several held more than one. For example, the Prince of Orange was a Dutch field marshal and a general in the British Army, while the Duke of Brunswick, who commanded his division in his capacity as duke, was also a lieutenant-general in the British Army.

Al Nofi, “Al Nofi’s CIC”, Strategy Page, 2000-02-01.

February 4, 2017

QotD: The US Army’s new pistol

Filed under: Humour, Military, Quotations, USA — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 01:00

It has set off the usual round of pontificating and second-guessing on forums and in blog posts as everybody asserts reasons why their own particular snowflake gun should have been picked. Expect flurries of comments about bore axis and “But plastic!” and grip angle from people who don’t shoot, except for the no doubt thousands of flawless rounds their Taurus or whatever has fired. (I’ll wager the couple of boxes they tell you it’s fired when they’re trying to sell it are a lot closer to the true round count than the thousands they claim when arguing on the internet. Logbook or GTFO, Sparky.)

Yeah, I carry a Glock. I’ve carried an M&P, and I’ll probably switch to a P320 in the next couple years when I get bored of working with Glocks. They’re pretty much interchangeable and, unlike a lot of other pistols I’ve sampled over the years, have all been largely trouble-free.

Personally, I think the MHS contest could have been as satisfactorily resolved by throwing a P320, an M&P, and a Glock 17 into a sack, spinning it around a few times, and reaching in and pulling one out. They all work fine, and if there’s a less crucial weapon in modern warfare than the pistol, it probably attaches to bayonet lugs.

Tamara Keel, “So…”, View from the porch, 2017-01-25.

January 24, 2017

Sharpshooters and Snipers in World War 1 I THE GREAT WAR Special

Filed under: Europe, History, Military — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

Published on 23 Jan 2017

Snipers in World War I on the Western Front were used for psychological warfare in quieter times and during offensive to destroy key enemy positions like machine gun emplacements. While the French and the German Army started with rules and regulations for these troops, the British Army quickly had to adapt.

January 22, 2017

German Jäger Corps – Russian Steamroller – Pickelhaube I OUT OF THE TRENCHES

Filed under: Europe, History, Military — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Published on 20 Jan 2017

Indy sits in the chair of wisdom again to answer your questions about the First World War. This time we talk about the German Jäger Corps, the Pickelhaube and compare the Russian Army of WW1 to the Soviet Army of WW2.

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