Quotulatiousness

November 21, 2017

Otto von Bismarck – VI: Germany! – Extra History

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

Extra Credits
Published on 18 Nov 2017

You would think that capturing the Emperor of France would end the war, but… no. Who could Bismarck negotiate with? Eventually he forced an interim government to cave to his demands, and at the same time convinced the rest of the German states to unite with Prussia.

November 14, 2017

The Last Hussar – August von Mackensen I WHO DID WHAT IN WW1?

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

The Great War
Published on 13 Nov 2017

August von Mackensen was one of the most prolific generals of World War 1. He served with distinction on the Eastern theatres. The Gorlice-Tarnow Offensive, the conquest of Serbia and Romania were all possible thanks to him. He was raised with the belief in Prussian glory and held onto this belief even after the war ended.

November 13, 2017

Otto von Bismarck – V: Prussia Ascendant – Extra History

Filed under: Europe, France, Germany, History — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 06:00

Extra Credits
Published on 11 Nov 2017

The northern German states now looked to Prussia for leadership, but that power brought increased attention from their enemies. Bismarck engineered a war with France by striking at Napoleon III’s pride and wound up winning a runaway victory to secure Prussia’s diplomatic power.

November 6, 2017

Otto von Bismarck – IV: The Iron Chancellor – Extra History

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

Extra Credits
Published on 4 Nov 2017

Bismarck turned up the heat on his long-term plan to unite the German Confederation under Prussian leadership. He allied with Austria to seize a piece of disputed land, then maneuvered them into a war that he decisively won. Even an assassination attempt could not stop him.

October 30, 2017

Otto von Bismarck – III: Iron and Blood – Extra History

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

Extra Credits
Published on 28 Oct 2017

Bismarck was just starting to get the hang of diplomacy when the throne of Prussia passed to a new Frederick Wilhelm who promptly sent him away to Russia. But then Bismarck got tapped to serve as the Head of Government and began pushing for his great project: the unification of Germany.

October 22, 2017

Otto von Bismarck – II: A Man of Great Ideas – Extra History

Filed under: Europe, Germany, History — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 06:00

Extra Credits
Published on 21 Oct 2017

1848. Revolution swept Europe as the working class rose up to claim their freedoms from an oppressive ruling class. But as a member of that ruling class, Bismarck had some resistance to this movement. He channeled his wild energy into productive avenues, gradually becoming the man of realpolitik that we know today.

October 16, 2017

Otto von Bismarck – I: The Wildman Bismarck – Extra History

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

Extra Credits
Published on 13 Oct 2017

Otto von Bismarck became the greatest statesman of a generation, but he began as an intransigent and irresponsible youth. He coasted through college, got himself thrown out of an early political appointment, and caused havoc with his divisive opinions during a meeting of parliament.

October 8, 2017

QotD: Excess officers

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

Excess? The German Army of WW II somehow managed to fight off for six years – that, or beat the ever loving crap out of – nearly the whole world with under three percent commissioned officers. Roman legions, perhaps the most formidable fighting machines of human history, got by with six to eight. Six to eight percent? Not on your life; six to eight, period, six military tribunes, a legate, and – arguably – the praefectus castrorum, who was more in the line of a late entry officer, as per the British system. Think about that one, one officer per every eight hundred men. And it was plenty.

What have we got? As of 2013 we had over eleven percent commissioned in the Marine Corps, seventeen percent in the Navy, almost nineteen percent in the Army, and nearly twenty percent of strength being commissioned officers in the Air Force.

The problems with having this many officers are multifold. I can only cover some of the more important ones.

This high a percentage of officers almost certainly means that there are people running around with bars and leaves and even eagles and perhaps stars who probably should have been non-coms. They may have the education and intelligence to be officers, but as a matter of attitude, outlooks, values, and approaches to things, they’d have been happier if they’d been wearing multiple stripes. I used to see a lot of this among lieutenants who decided to go Special Forces. In almost every case I have seen, these were guys who really wanted to be squad leaders which, in SF, they could be. The effect of commissioning so high a percentage of people has tended to be having an NCO corps weaker than it should have been and weaker than it needs to be. This tends to exacerbate another problem, officers will tend to micromanage if they’re allowed to. They will be allowed to, if there is a common perception that the NCO corps needs to be micromanaged, which, because some numbers actually do need to be micromanaged, casts them all in a questionable light in some circles. There’s another reason, one having little or nothing whatsoever to do with NCOs, for that kind of micro-management.

Tom Kratman, “There Are No Bad Regiments…”, Everyjoe.com, 2015-10-12.

October 5, 2017

The greatest general you’ve probably never heard of

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

I missed this article when it was posted in September: Iskander Rehman discusses the life and times of Byzantium’s greatest general, Belisarius:

Belisarius begging for alms. Painting by Jacques-Louis David, 1781.
(Via Wikimedia)

In 1780, the great neoclassical painter Jacques-Louis David completed one of his finest works. Entitled “Belisarius Begging for Alms,” the oil painting depicts an aging warrior, blinded with a hand outstretched, seated at the base of a colossal Roman monument. His feet are bare, his beard unkempt, and his armor draped in coarse rags, dull in sheen. A slender walking cane rests to his side, propped against a stone slab bearing the name of a famous former general — Belisario, or Belisarius. A beautiful woman, her face etched in concern, drops a few coins into an upturned helmet, and whispers words of consolation. Her husband, a man in the vigor of youth and full military regalia, is in shock, his arms raised and his mouth open. He has just realized that the stricken veteran is his former commander, the legendary Belisarius himself.

Although his name is not as well known as it once was, Belisarius has long been considered one of history’s finest tacticians. Under the orders of the Byzantine emperor Justinian I, the sixth century general reclaimed vast tracts of Western Roman territory, from northern Africa to the Italian peninsula. Frequently outnumbered and leading an eclectic grouping of warriors composed of romaioi (Eastern Romans), foederati (Barbarian allies), and ethnikoi (specialist ethnic troops), the Thracian commander greatly expanded the footprint of the Byzantine empire at a time when many thought that Rome’s ancestral lands had been irredeemably lost. The fact that many of these conquests, as we shall see, only proved fleeting, has, if anything, only burnished his myth, transmogrifying the soldier into something of a crepuscular icon — Western Europe’s last great Roman protector before the advent of the so-called Dark Ages.

For Liddell Hart, Belisarius was also the consummate practitioner of the so-called “indirect approach” and the “master of the art of converting his weakness into strength; and the opponent’s strength into a weakness.” T.E. Lawrence, an avid reader of the ancient military classics, considered “the Thracian genius” to be one of “three really first-class Roman generals in history” (the other two being Scipio Africanus and Julius Caesar) and encouraged his friend, Robert Graves, to write the novel Count Belisarius. This piece of historically informed fiction retraces Belisarius’s military campaigns and was much admired by Winston Churchill, who is said to have often turned to it for guidance during the fraught early years of World War II.

Who was the man behind the myth? And why do the tales of Belisarius’s life and military exploits continue to resonate, firing the imaginations of great men from David to Churchill and Lawrence of Arabia? What insights can be gleaned, not only from his campaigns, but from the Eastern Roman Empire’s strategic literature more broadly?

October 3, 2017

Jagmeet Singh wins the federal NDP leadership race

Filed under: Cancon, Politics — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

The NDP have finally selected a leader who may be able to recapture some of the “lightning in a bottle” phenomenon of the late Jack Layton’s time as party leader (and bring back some former NDP voters who plumped for Justin last time around). Jay Currie is enthusiastic about the new guy:

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh taking part in a Pride Parade in June 2017 (during the leadership campaign).
Photo via Wikimedia.

… I was cheered to see the rollover victory of Jagmeet Singh for the NDP leadership. Singh seems to be from the pragmatic end of the NDP and will be relatively immune from identitarian and intersectional attack simply because he’s brown and wears brilliant turbans. He’s intelligent, well spoken and has a bit of charisma. And he is just going to kill Justin Trudeau in places Trudeau needs to win.

It is simplistic to say that the Sikh community in Canada will universally support one of its own, there will certainly be a temptation to defect from Trudeau to Singh. While that might have some effect in Tory ridings, it will be felt most strongly in seats which have traditionally swung from Liberal to New Democrat and back again.

I am not sure, however, that Singh’s ethnicity is his biggest threat to Trudeau. By 2019 the emptiness of much of the Liberal’s program will be apparent to all. The broken promises, the tepid policy initiatives and, above all, the fiscal incompetence on the revenue side and on expenditures will be pretty apparent. For small business owners and consumers with half a clue, the combination of the lunatic small business tax measures and the expensive, but pointless, carbon tax will pour votes into the Conservative column. But with Canada’s first past the post system, that may not be enough.

Singh’s real threat to Trudeau is in marginal seats where the Libs beat the Conservatives by a few thousand votes in the last election because a) people had had enough of Harper, b) Justin seemed bright and shiny. People who would have voted NDP in the past were so eager to get rid of Harper they voted for Trudeau. Mulclair simply lacked the appeal to keep the faithful in the pews. At a guess, the rank and file NDP voters, as well as the multi-culti virtue signallers, will be much more inclined to give Singh a go. Which means he has the capacity to bleed off Liberal voters in significant numbers.

September 24, 2017

Why Was Haig Still in Command? I OUT OF THE TRENCHES

Filed under: Britain, Europe, History, Military — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 06:00

The Great War
Published on 23 Sep 2017
Ask your questions here: http://outofthetrenches.thegreatwar.tv

In this week’s OOTT episode we talk about Douglas Haig, the trenches on the British Islands and silencers.

September 14, 2017

The art of leadership and other secrets

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

In Taki’s Magazine, Steve Sailer remembers the late Jerry Pournelle, including a helpful leadership tip he once shared:

I didn’t meet Jerry until 1999, but I’d known his son Alex in high school. The Pournelle family asked me to go with them to Kansas City in August 1976 to the science-fiction convention at which Heinlein, the central American sci-fi writer of the 20th century, received his lifetime achievement award. (But I had to be at college that week.)

But Jerry, one of the great Southern California Cold Warriors, had a remarkable number of careers, starting as a teenage artillery officer during the Korean War, which deafened him in one ear. (At the lunch table, he’d choose his seat carefully to position his one remaining good ear next to his guest.)

He once recalled a question from the Army Officer Candidate School test:

    Q. You are in charge of a detail of 11 men and a sergeant. There is a 25-foot flagpole lying on the sandy, brush-covered ground. You are to erect the pole. What is your first order?

The right answer is:

    A. “Sergeant, erect that flagpole.”?

In other words, if the sergeant knows how to do it, then there’s no need for you to risk your dignity as an officer and a gentleman by issuing some potentially ludicrous order about how to erect the flagpole. And if the sergeant doesn’t know either, well, he’ll probably order a corporal to do it, and so forth down the chain of command. But by the time the problem comes back up to you, it will be well established that nobody else has any more idea than you do.

He also quotes Dave Barry’s breakdown of Pournelle’s monthly columns for Byte magazine:

In 1977 Jerry paid $12,000 to have a state-of-the-art personal computer assembled for him, supposedly to boost his productivity. By 1980 that led to his long-running “Chaos Manor” column in Byte magazine in which he would document his troubles on the bleeding edge of PC technology. As fellow word-processing aficionado Dave Barry explained jealously, Jerry got paid to mess around with his computers when he should be writing:

    Every month, his column has basically the same plot, which is:

    1. Jerry tries to make some seemingly simple change to one of his computers, such as connect it to a new printer.

    2. Everything goes hideously wrong…. Sometimes there are massive power outages all over the West Coast. Poor Jerry spends days trying to get everything straightened out.

    3. Finally…Jerry gets his computer working again approximately the way it used to, and he writes several thousand words about it for ‘Byte.’

    I swear it’s virtually the same plot, month after month, and yet it’s a popular column in a magazine that appeals primarily to knowledgeable computer people.

I like to imagine Steve Jobs circulating “Chaos Manor” columns to his executives with scribbled annotations suggesting that some people would pay good money to not have to go through all this.

September 8, 2017

Grant Vs Lee Who Was The Better General?

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

Published on 17 Aug 2016

Today I break down the book: Grant And Lee: A Study In Personality And Generalship By J.F.C Fuller

Here’s a quick break down of the two personalities

Grant: common sense, logical, simple plans with incredible precise execution, the ability to bring a whole lot of moving pieces into focus, and finally the ability to think clearly under stress.
Lee: The ability to motivate his men to an incredible degree, an extremely kind man, very good at doling out troops to his commanders when in a defensive situation.

This video goes into more detail on all of this, I hope you enjoyed!

August 25, 2017

Great Northern War – I: When Sweden Ruled the World – Extra History

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

Published on 19 Aug 2017

A young boy king had inherited the crown of the Swedish Empire, and his neighbors saw an opportunity to attack. To their surprise, young Charles XII of Sweden turned out to be a fearsome opponent who quickly repelled their assaults – and then sought revenge.

July 7, 2017

Turmoil In The Reichstag – The Kerensky Offensive I THE GREAT WAR Week 154

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

Published on 6 Jul 2017

WW1 Flying Event with Indy & the Crew: http://bit.ly/TGWStowMaries

The German home front is shaken by a political scandal this week 100 years ago. A member of the Center party reveals that the German unrestricted submarine warfare is not achieving what the German high command had hoped for. Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff, who pretty much run Germany as a military dictatorship by now, also dispose of chancellor Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg. Hollweg was actually secretly involved in peace negotiations but that chance is gone with him too. Russia unleashes their Kerensky Offensive on the Eastern Front and puts further pressure on the Central Powers.

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