The radioactive tanks of Chernobyl

There’s a fascinating article at Firearms News titled “The Radioactive ISU-152“.  It describes how some of the biggest, heaviest tanks of World War II returned to the scene of one of their victories, four decades later, to act as saviors rather than destroyers. The SU/ISU-152 was designed specifically to be a part of both the shock and breakthrough elements of the Soviet Deep Battle doctrine. The KV heavy tank chassis would provide the base for the massive ML-20S, a portable version of the standard 152mm howitzer in service. The gun had a range of 10km for indirect fire but was reduced to less

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Heh

Found at Wirecutter’s place: I’d say many of the former military servicemen I’ve met – particularly former Navy personnel – are poster children for the first group.  I can still remember the retired Chief Petty Officer who informed me (very loudly) that coffee wasn’t coffee unless you could stand your teaspoon upright in it, without support.  Also, it had to be as strong and as bitter as possible, “like me!”  As for milk, sugar and that other stuff . . . the less said, the better! It does help one understand why so few millennials, comparatively speaking, will consider military service. 

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Sound and fury from Iran, but what does it signify?

Iran reportedly launched “ballistic missiles” of some sort against US installations in Iraq yesterday, in apparent retaliation for the killing of Qasem Soleimani over the weekend.  However, to my surprise, the missiles apparently hit nothing of importance, and didn’t inflict a single casualty. Contrast that with the precision strike against the Saudi Aramco oil refining facility a few months ago, where Iranian “drones” proved combat-accurate and struck the targets they were aiming for with considerable precision.  There’s no doubt Iran possesses weapons that are capable of inflicting a lot of damage and casualties . . . so why weren’t they used against American forces

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On Iran, the Romans had it right

I’m sure many of my readers are familiar with the later Roman Empire’s famous dictum, “Si vis pacem, para bellum” (“If you want peace, prepare for war”).  It’s derived from Vegetius‘ classic fourth-century text, De re militari (“Concerning Military Matters”). It’s particularly apt to consider that reality when thinking of the targeted killing of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani by US forces in Iraq.  Soleimani was the leading terrorist organizer and controller in the entire Middle East, head and shoulders above all others in power, influence, intellect and ability.  The West had tippy-toed its way around him and his Iranian backers for decades.  President Trump finally

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Santa’s journey – Royal Tank Regiment edition

It seems that, for their last PT parade before Christmas each year, the Royal Tank Regiment in the UK (the oldest tank unit in the world) stages a fun race for wannabe Santa Clauses in their makeshift sleighs.  This Christmas was no exception. Having to eat six mince pies and drink half a gallon of milk at the halfway point might be described as cruel and unusual punishment . . . Peter

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80 years of MiG fighters

The aircraft design bureau headed by Artem Mikoyan and Mikhail Gurevich, which has gone down in history by the amalgamation of the first letters of their last names as MiG, was formed on December 8th, 1939 – 80 years ago, plus a few days.  Today it’s the “Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG” division of United Aircraft Corporation of Russia, and is still going strong. To celebrate the anniversary, the company produced this short video highlighting several of its most famous designs, from the MiG-1 and MiG-3 fighters of World War II, to the MiG-15 that terrorized Allied aircraft during the Korean War, to the MiG-17, –19 and –21 of the Vietnam War era, to the MiG-29 that

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“Trouble in the Wind”

Earlier this year, authors Chris Kennedy and James Young partnered to bring to market a trilogy of alternate-history short story anthologies of combat.  They called it “The Phases of Mars“.  The first book, “Those in Peril“, dealt with the sea and naval combat.  The second volume, “To Slip the Surly Bonds“, dealt with aircraft and aerial warfare. The third and final volume covers war on land, and includes a story by yours truly.  It’s titled “Trouble in the Wind“, and has just been published.  In less than 24 hours, it’s already reached the #1 New Release position on Amazon.com in Science Fiction Anthologies. The

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Not so fast on the Afghanistan analysis!

The Washington Post recently published a lengthy article headed “The Afghanistan Papers:  A secret history of the war“.  It purports to show how the US military lied to the public about the conduct of the war, and covered up important information. The former Naval officer who blogs as Cdr. Salamander was there at the time, and he has a rather different view.  He’s taken the time and trouble to write an extensive essay challenging the errors he sees in the Washington Post article.  I found it intriguing.  Here are a few excerpts from what is, of necessity, a very long essay. With

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How can you fight a war when you’re not allowed to repair your own weapons?

I could hardly believe my eyes when I read this report in the New York Times.  I’ve been aware of the problem from a civilian perspective, but I hadn’t realized that the military procurement bureaucracy hadn’t been able to avoid it, either. A few years ago, I was standing in a South Korean field, knee deep in mud, incredulously asking one of my maintenance Marines to tell me again why he couldn’t fix a broken generator. We needed the generator to support training with the United States Army and South Korean military, and I was generally unaccustomed to hearing anyone in the

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F-4 Phantoms at play in the dusk

Some months ago I put up a video clip of Japanese Air Force F-4 Phantom aircraft, filmed in slow motion at and around the Hyakuri airfield.  Now a companion video has emerged of the last two squadrons of Japanese Phantoms, filmed at dusk and during the twilight hours, also in slow motion. The Aviationist notes: All the remaining F-4 Phantoms of the Japanese Air Self Defense Force are stationed at Hyakuri Base … a fighter squadron, the 301 Hikotai, and a reconnaissance squadron, the 501 Hikotai. The 501 Reconnaissance squadron is scheduled to cease operations and become a fighter unit in March 2020

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