Wednesday, June 28, 2017


This is coolbert:

From the Internet web site G2mil an anecdotal account the smooth-bore mortar as to be preferred over the rifled version.

"Heavy American Mortars In WWII"

 "'After spending several weeks on and near the infantry line [Philippines, 1945, WW2], I concluded and reported that rifled bore mortars are ineffective because the rounds have to be fired at about 60 degrees max so the rounds won't 'boat tail' in as duds.  In addition, the smooth bore mortars appeared to be more accurate to me, even though the 4.2 inch chemical mortar did some good work, but the lack of drift from spinning in the smooth bore mortars and the inability of rifled mortars to drop shells in almost vertically left me totally convinced that smooth bore is the only way to fly"

That Soviet army during the Second World War [WW2] for a variety of reasons finding the smooth-bore cast-iron mortar firing a cast-iron mortar bomb [everyone in the world with the exception of the U.S. Army calls the projectile as fired from a mortar a bomb] as the indirect fire weapon of choice!

From the Soviet perspective the smooth-bore cast-iron mortar cheaper, easier and quicker to manufacture.


The splintering of the cast-iron mortar bomb also more desirable. More and worse damage and injury to enemy personnel!

A Soviet spetsnaz troop having seen action in Afghan however of the opinion that American rifled mortars better than the Soviet brand. Lighter alloy material, rifled, less need to lubricate and protect the weapon.

So what are we to think?



This is coolbert:

From the time of the American Revolutionary War an instance of biological warfare as waged by the British against the rebellious colonists and the Continental army?

Never heard of this before!!

"The New World of the western hemisphere was devastated by the 1775–1782 North American smallpox epidemic."

"The epidemic occurred during the years of the American Revolutionary War (1775–1782). At the time limited medicinal options existed to help stop the transmission, and therefore the fatalities from the smallpox epidemic were as common as those from the battles of the Revolutionary War.

"It is not known where the outbreak began, but the epidemic was not limited to the colonies on the Eastern seaboard, nor to the areas ravaged by hostilities. The outbreak spread throughout the North American continent. In 1775 it was already raging through British-occupied Boston and among the Continental Army's invasion of Canada. During Washington's siege of Boston the disease broke out among both Continental and British camps."


* Was this pestilence deliberate or accidental?

* Washington was of the opinion it was deliberate?

* The British too suffered from the malady?

* The Continental army did invade Canada!

* Never a good idea to release bio-warfare agents unless you possess an antidote!


Tuesday, June 27, 2017


This is coolbert:

That American industrial output during the Great War [WW1] from one-hundred years ago an essential and integral aspect the construction of merchant shipping.

"'Help your Uncle Sam win the war': Extraordinary collection of First World War propaganda posters intended to boost US morale comes up for sale"

* Patriotic war posters collected by Wall Street analyst David Schwartz are going up for sale this week

Among those particular posters:

As accompanying this caption it is stated that: "The Emergency Fleet Corporation was formed in April 1917 to acquire and build more merchant ships, to help bring food and military supplies across the Atlantic to Britain, France and to a lesser extent Russia"


The German deprived of imported food during the Great War but the allied nations of England, France and Russia not doing a whole lot better. Large quantities of food [primarily grain?] as shipped to the allies ameliorating the situation.

Also to what extent I am not clear these vessels participating in relief efforts in the aftermath of the war, especially with regard to the Soviet Union. BULK CARGO OF FOODSTUFFS WHAT THEY ARE CALLED SAVING THE LIVES OF UNTOLD MILLIONS AFTER THE SHOOTING HAD STOPPED!!


Monday, June 26, 2017


This is coolbert:

Here with several infographics each having a military dimension.

"Information graphics or infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present information quickly and clearly. They can improve cognition by utilizing graphics to enhance the human visual system’s ability to see patterns and trends"

Thanks to the Numberphile Internet web site. Lovers of numbers!

"The Greatest Ever Infographic - Numberphile"

1. "Minard's map of Napoleon's Russian campaign."

"1861 saw the release of an influential information graphic on the subject of Napoleon's disastrous march on Moscow. The graphic’s creator, Charles Joseph Minard, captured four different changing variables that contributed to Napoleon’s downfall in a single two-dimensional image: the army's direction as they traveled, the location the troops passed through, the size of the army as troops died from hunger and wounds, and the freezing temperatures they experienced." Click on image to see an enlarged view.

Further another representation, an infographic, that same march on Moscow by the Grand Army of Napoleon but in presented in a modern manner, a rotating 3-D cube.:

2.  "Napoleon's March on Moscow 3D Space-Time Cube"

Those casualties of the French army invading Russian very well documented. About 500,000 total in the invasion force, 430,000 of which marched on Moscow, only 30,000 making it make alive to friendly territory!! Russian sources report 100,000 men of the invading force taken prisoner and the remainder [300,000] their bodies cremated!!

2. "DIAGRAM of the Causes of Mortality in the ARMY in the EAST."

"In 1857, English nurse Florence Nightingale used information graphics to persuade Queen Victoria to improve conditions in military hospitals. The principal one she used was the Coxcomb chart, a combination of stacked bar and pie charts, depicting the number and causes of deaths during each month of the Crimean War." Also click on the image to see an enlarged view.

Queen Victoria was able to understand this infographic? My impression was that the Queen was not the brightest light bulb around. Maybe those closest to her said this was good to go and she just nodded her head.


Sunday, June 25, 2017


This is coolbert:

As enunciated by an acknowledged aviation authority and for your edification some air power terms and definitions.

 "There are sometimes other terms used, but they all come down to . . . four"

1.  "Air supremacy:  in effect, total control of the air, such that enemy air and counter-air forces cannot affect operations for the side with AS.  An example would be the NATO air ops over Bosnia in the 1990s and the Coalition Forces' dominance in both the Gulf War and in Operation Iraqi Freedom."

2. "Air superiority.  One side dominant, but subject to sudden surges or unexpected massing of enemy forces to oppose it.  More often associated with battlefield superiority, wherein one side or the other focuses its air forces over a particular region in order to attain dominance for a battle or campaign.  Examples would be the Air superiority of Allied air forces over the Normandy region during the D-Day invasion.  German forces still had thousands of fighters and bombers available and could have massed them in the area to fight that campaign, if it dared to give up tenuous parity over various Russian fronts or open all of Germany to unfettered bomber offensives in the absence of fighter opposition.  Air superiority examples could also include much of the Pacific Theater in WWII, where Allied or US air forces had local superiority whenever carriers were in the area, but which advantage was lost when the carriers left."

3.  "Air parity.  Neither side has a definitive advantage.  Each side's ground forces are subject to aerial strikes against them, making maneuvers and supply difficult.  Examples would be Germany vs Russia in the late 1943 to mid 1944 period, US versus Japanese forces during the Guadalcanal campaign (at times, the Japanese were dominant in that conflict).  Perhaps even the line up of opposing forces in the Korean War could be considered 'parity'"

4.  "Less than parity.  Self explanatory.  The period when your ground forces ask angrily where their cowardly Air Force might be hiding"

With regard to # 4 the French during the Battle of France [1940]!!.

Thank you aviation authority!!


Survival II.

This is coolbert:

From the collected works of the Soviet era defector Suvorov some descriptions of special purpose [Spetsnaz] unit battle training wilderness survival and important aspect. As is germane to the previous blog entry:

"when a Spetsnaz soldier sets out, whether for a week or a month, the duration of the operation makes no difference. He always takes with him exactly the same quantity of food - - 2,765 grams [three pounds]. It frequently happens that in the course of an operation, food, water and ammunition are dropped from aircraft. But it may not happen, and then he has to make out as best he can. Nearly three kilo-grams of food is a great deal, bearing in mind the usually high caloric content of the specialty developed and prepared food. But if it's not enough then he will have to obtain food independently. He might kill a deer or a wild boar; he may catch fish, eat berries, mushrooms, hedgehogs, frogs, snakes, snails and earthworms; he can cook up birch bark and acorns . . . there's plenty a hungry man can eat, especially if he is equipped with the concentrated experience of many centuries."

"One of the most important aspects of full battle training is the technique of survival. In the Soviet Union there are plenty of places where there are no people for thousands of square kilometers [1,000 square kilometers = 386 square miles]. Thus the method is to drop a small group of three or four men by parachute in a completely unfamiliar place where there are no people, no roads and nothing except blinding snow from one horizon to the other or burning sand as far as the eye can see. The group has neither a map nor a compass. Each man has a Kalashnikov automatic, but only one round of ammunition. In addition he has a knife and a spade. The food supply is a minimum, sometimes none at all. The group does not know how long it will have to walk - - a day, five days, a fortnight [two weeks]? The men can use their ammunition as they please. They can kill a deer, an elk or a bear. That would be plenty for the whole group for a long journey. But what if wolves were to attack and the ammunition were finished?"



Saturday, June 24, 2017

Survival I.

This is coolbert:

Devoted readers to the blog will understand that these headlines caught my attention right away.

Survival Russian style. As taught to the military.

NOT so much that wilderness survival skills are taught as to WHO is doing the teaching.

Old Believers of the Russian Orthodox Church!!

Old Believers adherents to a strict and ancient form of Russian Orthodoxy. Persons persecuted for many centuries and seeking refuge as far from the rest of humanity as possible. Refuge to include such a place being the Siberian northern arboreal forest. The taiga.

Old Believers not only able to exist in the taiga but thrive. Knowledgeable in all aspects of wilderness survival, live off the land if need be, and again not merely existing but thriving!!

1. "Siberian Old Believers teach Chinese officers to survive in taiga"

"Novosibirsk, June 13, Interfax - A military delegation of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China has undergone a source of training for the special task force and alpines of the Russian army with instructors from a local Old Believer community on the foothill of Western Sayan on the border of Tuva and the Krasnoyarsk Territory"

. . . .

"The Old Believers taught the Chinese guests basic skills of surviving in the wild nature of Siberia: how to navigate the terrain, climb rocks and cross gorges and water obstacles, get fire, food and drinking water, organize a stay for the night, and give first medical aid.

"South Siberian Old Believers are skillful pathfinders, hunters and good economic people. They have lived by themselves, passing their traditions from generation to generation, for over three centuries."

2. "Old Believer bootcamp: Russian army learns survival skills from reclusive sect"

"Members of an isolated Orthodox community are teaching special forces how to navigate the Siberian wilderness,"

"A group of Russian special forces has emerged from a month-long training camp in the Siberian wilderness, led by members of a staunchly traditionalist religious sect."

See from this excellent You Tube video the type of life as led by the Old Believer in the taiga:

"Agafia. Hermit Surviving in Russian Wilderness for 70 years"