The Tetris Challenge – military edition

The so-called “Tetris Challenge” appears to be sweeping through the Twitterverse.  In it, military, first-responder and other units and organizations display their equipment, laid out in a tight pattern as if to fill up every space (as in the video game Tetris), and photographed from above.  A quick Internet search on “Tetris challenge” produces dozens of links, and “Military Tetris challenge” focuses in on that aspect of it.  A lot of people appear to be having a lot of fun. I’ve been browsing through military-related Tetris Challenge pictures.  Here are a few examples (click each image for a larger view).  First,

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QCprepper said…

I recently came across an extraordinary voice recording on YouTube that brought back many memories.  Before I embed it, a little background information is necessary. South Africa bought ENTAC anti-tank missiles from France during the 1960’s.  Like many such first-generation weapons, they proved pretty useless in combat, scoring some hits, but many more misses.  During the 1970’s, MILAN anti-tank missiles were added to the inventory, including a version produced under license.  However, this was a short- to medium-range missile, and did not provide the long range or striking power the Army wanted for bush warfare.  Unfortunately, thanks to the 1977 arms embargo against South

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Saturday snippet: urinary frigidity

A few weeks ago, I published an excerpt from the late Brigadier Dick Lord’s history of the South African Air Force, “From Fledgling to Eagle“.  It was well received, particularly because it was very funny, and I had several requests for more of his tales of flight and fighting in the service of three different countries.  I’m happy to oblige, and I’ll post more snippets from his books at odd intervals in future. This tale comes at the end of his advanced training as a pilot in Britain’s Fleet Air Arm, during the very early 1960’s.  It’s taken from his autobiography, “From

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It’s a bittersweet feeling . . .

Two Russian Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bombers are paying an official visit to South Africa at present.  They landed at Waterkloof Air Force Base near Pretoria yesterday.  Here’s video of one of them on final approach, escorted by two South African Air Force Hawk trainer aircraft.  I know the area where the photographer was standing very well;  I’ve stood there myself more than once, watching aircraft arriving and departing. It was a bittersweet sort of feeling for me to watch that video, for two reasons. The first is that, back in the days of my active military service, any such Russian (i.e. Soviet) aircraft showing up within

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An amazing find in naval and military history

I was amazed to read about a recent discovery in England. A sketch hand-drawn by Admiral Lord Nelson showing his plan for victory at Trafalgar has been discovered tucked inside the pages of a scrapbook after nearly 200 years. The map was found by Martyn Downer, a historian who is an expert on Nelson, in a book dating from the 1830s which was recently sold at auction. It shows his plan for splitting the Royal Navy fleet into three divisions to break and destroy the enemy French and Spanish lines coming out of Cadiz harbour. Lines representing wind direction also appear on

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I bet that got dust up his intakes

An Algerian Mig-29 made an extraordinarily low pass over Mecheria airfield a few days ago.  If he’d towed a lawnmower behind him, I reckon he’d have got a full bag of grass cuttings in no time at all . . . The heavy smoke from the engines is a hallmark of the Mig-29, just as it was for the F-4 Phantom II. The later development of the MiG-29, the MiG-35, is better in that respect, but the smoke is still visible. Peter

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Not so much a flypast as a blowdown

It seems an Indonesian Mil Mi-35 gunship (an export version of the Mil Mi-24) recently made an unexpected and very low flypast during rehearsals for a military parade in the Natuna Regency, in the Riau Islands.  That proved to be not a good idea . . . I hope they had backup copies of those billboard posters.  I suspect the originals were probably damaged beyond repair. Peter

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The President’s decision in Syria, and the cost of war

Following President Trump’s decision to pull back US forces from a potential conflict with Turkey in parts of Syria, he’s come in for fierce criticism from many quarters.  I support his decision, as I stated yesterday.  In that article, I said: I’ve been on the front lines of a war like that – a war that the political masters on both sides kept going for years longer than it need have lasted, solely because of their intransigence and blinkered vision.  Many paid for those shortcomings in blood;  but it was never the politicians who paid.  It was always the men in uniform.  I don’t

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Well, just what the hell do they expect?

So President Trump, after a long conversation with President Erdogan of Turkey, decided to pull US troops back from the area of Syria where Turkey wants to establish a “buffer zone” or “neutral zone”.  In doing so, it may expose some elements of Kurdish forces – elements already recognized by the USA as terrorists – to Turkish retaliation or aggression or whatever you want to call it.  Now, neocons and other right-wing voices are raised in righteous condemnation, calling President Trump’s decision a “betrayal” or a “mistake” or a “blunder” or whatever. Just what the hell did they expect? Would somebody please tell me what, in

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A very interesting statistic from the Israeli Air Force

The Israeli Air Force is renowned as a ferociously effective defender of its country.  Its pilots are amongst the most professional in the world, and it operates the most up-to-date aircraft it can afford.  Therefore, I was struck by an interview given to Breaking Defense, revealing a very interesting statistic. “Last year 78 percent of the IAF’s operational flight hours were performed by UAS [unmanned aerial systems]. This year the number jumped and is 80 percent,” Lt. Col. S. told me at the Tel-Nof Air Force base, where the largest Israeli drone, the Heron-TP flies from. The Heron, the squadron commander said, is performing a

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