US Navy Seizes Weapons Bound for Yemen

This is worrisome. U.S. Navy Intercepts MASSIVE Cache of Iranian Made Weapons In Arabian Sea.

The weapons were apparently bound for the Houthis in Yemen, in violation of UN resolutions.

The weapons seized include 150 ‘Dehlavieh’ anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM), which are Iranian-manufactured copies of Russian Kornet ATGMs. Other weapons components seized aboard the dhow were of Iranian design and manufacture and included three Iranian surface-to-air missiles, Iranian thermal imaging weapon scopes, and Iranian components for unmanned aerial and surface vessels, as well as other munitions and advanced weapons parts.

I don’t expect the media to make much of this, since Iran was Obama’s friend, or something. (Hat tip to Ninety Miles from Freedom.)

The Liberation of Auschwitz: January 27, 1945

History. Ignorance. Rinse. Repeat. The Shocking Liberation of Auschwitz: Soviets ‘Knew Nothing’ as They Approached.

The first Soviet Soldiers entered the camp at 9 AM.

Eighty-eight pounds of eyeglasses. Hundreds of prosthetic limbs. Twelve thousand pots and pans. Forty-four thousand pairs of shoes. When Soviet soldiers poured into Auschwitz in January 1945, they encountered warehouses filled with massive quantities of other people’s belongings. Most of the people who owned them were already dead, murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust’s largest extermination and concentration camp.

The Germans had spent some time trying to destroy evidence of the camp, but much remained, including about 9000 prisoners. Only 7500 would survive.

Most of the other perpetrators of the Holocaust denied their involvement. [Rudolf] Höss [the SS officer who served as Auschwitz’s commandant for more than four years] did not. While he awaited his execution, he wrote his memoirs and expressed remorse for his crimes. He was hanged near the Gestapo quarters at Auschwitz—Poland’s last public execution.

New US Aircraft Carry to Be Named After WWII Hero

I expect that the media will ignore this story, because they probably can’t use it to make Trump look bad. Navy Will Name A Future Ford Class Aircraft Carrier After WWII Hero Doris Miller.

This will be the second ship named in honor of Miller, and the first aircraft carrier ever named for an African American. This will also be the first aircraft carrier to be named in honor of a Sailor for actions while serving in the enlisted ranks.

And there’s a history lesson….

On Dec. 7, 1941, Miller was collecting laundry on the battleship West Virginia (BB-48), when the attack from Japanese forces commenced. When the alarm for general quarters sounded he headed for his battle station, an anti-aircraft battery magazine, only to discover that torpedo damage had wrecked it. Miller was ordered to the ship’s bridge to aid the mortally wounded commanding officer, and subsequently manned a .50 caliber Browning anti-aircraft machine gun until he ran out of ammunition. Miller then helped move many other injured Sailors as the ship was ordered abandoned due to her own fires and flaming oil floating down from the destroyed Arizona (BB-33). West Virginia lost 150 of its 1,500 person crew.

Miller received the Navy Cross for his actions. (Hat tip to Godfather Politics.)

Not Climate Change, and Not “Just” Arson

Of course he was laughing. Muslim charged for starting Australian wildfire laughs after court hearing.

Jihad Watch Director Robert Spencer noted Islamic jihadis have identified setting fires as a tool of jihad.

In 2018, the ISIS-linked Al-Ansar Media claimed wildfires in California were retribution for America’s participation in the civil war in Syria.

Don’t expect to see this story on the 24 hour news channels. Doesn’t fit the narrative. Find my previous post on this topic at this link.

Flinging Calamari at Submarines?

Not quite. The Rise of the Attack Cephalopods. “Squid Anti-Submarine Mortar, it was a thing.”

Sarge at Chant du Départ has a history lesson. Pay attention; you might learn something. (It will only hurt for a minute!)

Now lest you think that this was a device for flinging calamari at enemy submarines (also known as “pigboats,” wait for it…), nope it was actually just the Brits with their penchant for giving things interesting names. Such as the Directorate of Miscellaneous Weapons Development. If ya can’t figure out who will use it or what it will be used against or even if you really need it, then assign the project to the DMWD. (No doubt where the LCS got its start…)

DMWD was responsible for the Hedgehog (another anti-submarine weapon, see the link above) and the Mulberry Harbor, used to create landing docks at the D-Day beaches, to offload ships and get material ashore.

Go read the whole thing. (I will warn you, it goes downhill from highbrow history to lowbrow humor pretty quickly.)

Does Anyone Remember the Libyan No-fly Zone?

Of course not. Because the Democrats don’t want to remember, and besides most of the country has the memory of a fruit fly. Here’s a reminder.

That’s a clip from Comedy Central’s The Daily Show With Jon Stewart from 3/21/2011 talking about the missile-enforced no-fly zone over Libya while Qaddafi was still in power. (A no-fly zone that destroyed a group of tanks, bombed Qaddafi’s residence, …)

So do actual attacks on our embassy count as imminent threats? I would say, “Yes!” But then I’m not woke. (You can tell from where I live and what I drive.)

This was completely predictable

It begins: Virginia forms active militia to protect sheriffs, citizens from unconstitutional laws.

Virginia – Earlier in the week, we reported on how lawmakers over in Virginia were threatening to use the National Guard if members of local law enforcement refused to enforce laws passed in the state that they felt violated the second amendment.

Well, looks like Tazewell County isn’t going down without a fight. On top of calling themselves a second amendment sanctuary county, they’re also crafting a militia as well. The Virginia county has taken the movement that has swept across the state and added an element that is sure to trigger pro gun-grabbing politicians in the state.

This is really not going to end well. But then as the saying goes… TINVOWOOT. (Hat tip to The Daley Gator.)

The Ardennes Counteroffensive and the Belgian village of Noville

A History Lesson. You might learn something. (It will only hurt for a minute.) This Was the Most Horrific Battle at the Battle of the Bulge.

The Ardennes Counteroffensive, known colloquially as The Battle of the Bulge, took place from 16 December 1944 to 25 January 1945.

Shortly after 10:30 am on December 19, 1944, 26-year-old Major William Desobry picked up his field telephone, called his combat commander, Colonel William Roberts, and asked if he could withdraw from the Belgian village of Noville. Desobry had been holding off the entire German 2nd Panzer Division—some 16,000-men with more than 120 tanks and assault guns—for the last six hours with only 400 men and a handful of tanks and tank destroyers.

With so many Germans bearing down on him, Desobry knew that staying could mean suicide. Roberts, from his Bastogne headquarters in the Hotel LeBrun, gave an answer that probably made Desobry’s blood run cold. He told the young officer to hold the phone line.

With the sounds of battle reverberating against his headquarters walls, Desobry held the line. After what must have seemed like an eternity, Roberts came back on the line. “You can use your own judgment about withdrawing,” he said, “but I’m sending a battalion of paratroopers to reinforce you.”

There is much more of course. Go read the whole thing for a story of bravery, like you wouldn’t see out of today’s 26-year-olds or 18-year-olds. Bastogne you may have heard of, Noville not so much. Hat tip to The Feral Irishman, who has some thoughts on the 1965 film “Battle of the Bulge.”

A Date Which Will Live in Infamy

December 7th, 1941. The Japanese, surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in order to convince the USA to let them do as they wanted to in the Pacific. Epic Fail.

Pearl Harbor is a U.S. naval base near Honolulu, Hawaii, that was the scene of a devastating surprise attack by Japanese forces on December 7, 1941. Just before 8 a.m. on that Sunday morning, hundreds of Japanese fighter planes descended on the base, where they managed to destroy or damage nearly 20 American naval vessels, including eight battleships, and over 300 airplanes. More than 2,400 Americans died in the attack, including civilians, and another 1,000 people were wounded. The day after the assault, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan.

After Pearl Harbor came Midway. After Midway came Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And after that came unconditional surrender. So like I said. Epic. Fail.

A Military K9’s Sendoff

A retired K9 reaches the end of the line. Weblo’s Final Flight: A Special Operations Military Working Dog Receives Hero’s Goodbye.

“Our working dogs are selfless in everything they do simply to please their handlers and those who work with them,” said Sergeant Major (retired) Jeremy Knabenshue, a veteran who worked as a K9 handler in the U.S. Army. “They give everything they have — to include their lives — without question to protect their pack.”

Coffee or Die usually worth a look.

Ratko Mladic Guilty of Genocide

People don’t even remember the war in Bosnia, let alone the people who were responsible for the atrocities. Ex-Bosnian Serb commander Mladic convicted of genocide, gets life in prison.

Both Republican (Bush the Elder) and Democratic (WJ Clinton) administrations ignored the war in Bosnia, even though it was waging only a couple of hundred miles from Germany. Or so. But then people don’t remember how World War One got started.

The U.N. Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia found Mladic guilty of 10 of 11 charges, including the slaughter of 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica and the siege of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, in which more than 10,000 civilians were killed by shelling and sniper fire over 43 months.

As for the United Nations, their role in Srebrenica has been white-washed.

The Dutch peacekeepers looked on helplessly as Serb forces separated men and boys from women, then sent them out of sight on buses or marched them away to be shot.

The UN Peacekeepers put up no resistance when confronted by Serbs. And stationing UN “troops” in Srebrenica was just stationing a supply depot for the Serbs.

It is hard to learn the lessons of history, if no one studies history. And no one remembers Srebrenica.

Why Are We Fighting So Many Wars?

I would love to know what this is costing the US taxpayer, in a line-item format. Overextended?

The image is disturbing. How many places are we deploying our military? Too many. (Click the image to enlarge.)

This comment on yesterday’s post by fellow Lexican, all around good guy, and retired officer of the Naval Service (who goes by the moniker Air Boss* – for such he once was), made me do a little research.

We need to stop fighting multiple undeclared wars all over the world without the full participation of the American People.

October 25, 1854: The Charge of the Light Brigade

On October 25th, 1854, during the Crimean War, a British light cavalry brigade was ordered to make a disastrous charge. The Charge of the Light Brigade, 160 165 Years Ago.

Czar Nicholas I of Russia basically Went to war with the Ottoman Empire. France and England were disturbed at his territorial goals, which apparently included Constantinople. This would give the Russian Fleet access to the Mediterranean Sea. Fighting broke out in 1853, and Britain and France declared war in March of 1854.

As for the battle in question. Egos got in the way of communication. Orders were poorly understood, and not communicated correctly. A lot of people died as a result of idiocy on the part of officers. Which was apparently not that uncommon in the 19th Century.

In the end, of the roughly 670 Light Brigade soldiers, about 110 were killed and 160 were wounded, a 40 percent casualty rate. They also lost approximately 375 horses.

The Alfred, Lord Tennyson poem, “The Charge Of The Light Brigade”, was written to immortalize the bravery of the men involved. The most famous couplet from that poem is probably, “Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do & die.” The poem begins as follows.

Half a league half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred:
‘Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns’ he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

The First Lady of Naval Cryptology

[UPDATE: Some folks seem to think I spelled Cryptography incorrectly in the title to this post. But that isn’t how Agnes Meyer-Driscoll was known. See Remembering the First Lady of Naval Cryptology. I originally referenced the NSA’s site, because why not. Maybe I should have used the Navy’s site.]

Agnes Meyer Driscoll sounds like an extraordinary woman. She was born July 24, 1889 and passed away on September 16, 1971.

In June 1918, about one year after America entered World War I, Agnes Meyer enlisted in the United States Navy. She was recruited at the highest possible rank of chief yeoman and was assigned to the Code and Signal section of the Director of Naval Communications. Except for a two-year hiatus, when she worked for a private firm, Agnes Meyer Driscoll (she married in 1924) would remain a leading cryptanalyst for the U.S. Navy until 1949.

She worked to break the Japanese naval codes of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. She worked to break the cipher of the Orange Machine, which wasn’t quite the Japanese Enigma. And she did work on Enigma, though that code was broken by the British.

In 1949 she transferred to the Armed Forces Security Agency, which became the National Security Agency in 1952. She retired in 1959.

Hat tip to Coffee or Die (which is becoming one of my favorite reads). 7 Badasses in the U.S. Navy — Who Aren’t SEALs! Which is worth your time in its own right. (Beach Jumpers, the USS Seahorse, and more.)

The White Rose of Stalingrad

Lydia Vladimirovna Litvyak (Лидия Владимировна Литвяк) 18 August 1921 – 1 August 1943. She was known to everyone as Lilya. ‘The White Rose of Stalingrad’ was a female pilot who terrorized the Nazis.

Litvyak was only 20 years old when Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa, the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. The young girl rushed to the recruiter and tried to join to be a fighter pilot. The recruiters sent her packing. In their minds, she was just a small, young girl.

In truth, she was flying solo at 15 and was an experienced pilot. A biographer estimated she trained more than 45 pilots on her own. She knew she could do this. So instead of giving up, she went to another recruiter and lied about her flying experience, by more than a hundred hours. That did the trick.

She flew a number of missions in an all-women fighter regiment, but was later transferred to a mixed gender regiment over Stalingrad.

The Wiki says she was the first female pilot to shoot down an enemy fighter in combat, and she was the 2nd woman pilot to achieve the title “Ace.”

Back to “We Are the Mighty.” On August 1st, 1943:

“The White Rose of Stalingrad” was last seen being chased by eight Nazi ME-109 fighters on an escort mission south of Moscow. Her body was lost until 1989 when historians discovered the unmarked grave of a female pilot in the Russian village of Dmytrivka.

The next year, Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev awarded Lydia Vladimirovna Litvyak the title “Hero of the Soviet Union,” the USSR’s highest military honor.

Badass of the Week’s story on Litvyak is fairly colorful, and worth a look as well.

For the next year, the White Rose of Stalingrad ignited enemy fuselages up and down the Eastern Front. She was transferred to a Guards Regiment, the elite of the Soviet military, and flew as a Junior Lieutenant and Flight Commander in the recently-established all-female 586th Fighter Air Regiment. She flew bomber escorts, attack missions, and was so ridiculously awesome that she was given a James Bond license to kill at will – she was assigned “Free Hunter” status, meaning that she was free to go balls-out into enemy airspace without orders to do so. Over that year she flew 66 combat missions, sometimes four or five a day, including one attack when she busted through a gauntlet of AA guns and fighters to shoot down an observation balloon that was fucking with the Red Army and helping Nazi artillery range their shells on Russian positions outside Stalingrad. So fuck those guys. She notched twelve solo kills – the most of any woman ever – and had four or five more assisted kills. Basically, she kicked some Fascist ass.

Lilya Litvak was one of only 2 female fight-pilot, aces in history. The other was her wingman Katya Budanova.

This video is 10 minutes, longer than I like for something like this, but interesting enough to be worth your time. It isn’t perfect, but there you go. YouTube will choke on the privacy settings in your browser; use the link when that happens. (You do have privacy cranked up to 11, don’t you?) And no, the video isn’t perfect, but then what it?

A NOTE: Several people have asked me, “Why all this Soviet history?” Well, I love WWII history, and I’ve studied a lot of the American and British involvement, but the Russian side of things I hadn’t studied until just recently. I also love stories about strong women, and given that the Russians were the only country who deployed women in combat in WWII, it seemed natural to look into it.

It is sad really that the some of the same people who will defend studying Lee’s Army of Virginia and what they managed to do during The Civil War will give you grief, if you apply the same standards elsewhere. The Soviet Union was a horrible country, but some of the things its citizens and soldiers did were amazing.

It is also nice to throw some sand on the people who say women have no place in combat, by pointing out the pilots and snipers who did amazing things. History can teach you a lot, if you bother to look.

John A. Chapman: July 14, 1965 – March 4, 2002

PawPaw’s House brings us the story of a Combat Controller in the United States Air Force who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. John Chapman, USAF.

John Chapman was a US Air Force combat controller. These guys work closely with units on the ground to help deliver assets to the battle. (That’s a gross over-simplification).

There is drone video of the engagement in question, and commentary at the link above.

Trigger warning. This is combat footage where men fight and die.

Sounds Like Red China Is Determined to Invade Taiwan

At least at some point in the future, and they are pissed that The United States is interfering. China cries foul at US Abrams, Stinger sale to Taiwan.

Shortly after news broke on Tuesday (July 9) that the U.S. State Department has approved US$2.2 billion worth of Abrams tanks, Stinger missiles, and other equipment, the Chinese government has cried foul at the deal, saying it represents “outside interference” with the “Taiwan question” and urged the U.S. to immediately cancel the deal.

Taiwan is not “internal” to Red China, no matter how much they say otherwise.

The Largest Military Invasion in History

As I’ve mentioned, the Soviet side of World War Two has captured my attention recently. Why was it that when the rest of the world didn’t think women had a place in combat, the Soviet Union was fielding women snipers, and whole regiments of women bomber and fighter pilots?

The answer is Operation Barbarossa, the largest military invasion in history.

On June 22, 1941, more than 3 million German (and other) troops, spearheaded by panzer divisions and supported by the Luftwaffe, invaded the Soviet Union. Before grinding to a halt less than 100 kilometers from Moscow, Operation Barbarossa would inflict 4.9 million military casualties on the Red Army, and destroy 1000s of towns and villages. It would destroy tanks, and planes, and nearly destroy the Soviet Union.

While the Wiki and other sources are good for a quick overview (the link above is to Britannica), most of my knowledge comes from Operation Barbarossa: Hitler’s Invasion of Russia 1941. That link is to Amazon, but I got a copy of the book courtesy of my local public library. (As several people have noted, it is NOT the definitive account of that period of the war. It is too short. There is a 3-volume set that probably fills that bill, in the Osprey Campaign Series, but I haven’t gotten to it.) It is a bit dry, considering the nature of the material, but it does seem to be a good overview of the campaign. I’m sure there are more readable accounts of what went on, but that volume covers information from both sides of the conflict.

While I can’t go into details here it is a hell of a story. The treaties signed between Germany and the Soviet Union that the Nazis never intended to honor. The initial invasion that all but destroyed Soviet command and control. The ensuing insanity of the Russian generals, and the secret police, until reality intruded. The Soviet Union’s wholesale dismantling of industry in the west and moving it to the east, followed by “scorched earth” tactics denying everything to Germans – destroying their own railroads, power plants, etc. On the German side there were war crimes. The Germans were especially brutal to the civilians.

As summer turned to fall and winter, the Germans had problems with the Russian weather. First the fall rain turned the mud in Russia into a paste that could stop German panzers. From the Wiki

Additional snows fell which were followed by more rain, creating a glutinous mud that German tanks had difficulty traversing, whereas the Soviet T-34, with its wider tread, was better suited to negotiate.

That winter saw temperatures that were exceptionally cold, early in December. This was significant because of the destruction of Russian railroad engines. The Russians used a different gauge track, so Germany had to rebuild any railroad that they intended to use, and then when winter set it, the German engines could not maintain steam pressure in the cold. (That is COLD!)

Even so, the Germans managed to come within a very short distance of Moscow. Though I think they were stopped as much by logistics as by the Red Army.

On 2 December, part of the 258th Infantry Division advanced to within 24 km (15 mi) of Moscow. They were so close that German officers claimed they could see the spires of the Kremlin, but by then the first blizzards had begun.

The other problems from the cold were coming up. Lack of cold-weather uniforms were only the start. Germans were running short of everything, because the tanks – even with the problems they faced, kept outpacing their wheeled support vehicles.

Operation Barbarossa was the largest military operation in history — more men, tanks, guns and aircraft were committed than had ever been deployed before in a single offensive. The invasion opened up the Eastern Front (World War II), the largest theater of war during that conflict, and it witnessed clashes of unprecedented violence and destruction for four years that resulted in the deaths of 26 million Soviet people and about 8.6 million being Red army deaths. More people died fighting on the Eastern Front than in all other fighting across the globe during World War II. Damage to both the economy and landscape was enormous for the Soviet Union as approximately 1,710 towns and 70,000 villages were razed. [Reference]

There isn’t room in a post like this for everything, and the War Crimes of the Einsatzgruppen (“Deployment groups” of the Schutzstaffel – SS – were paramilitary death squads) could fill a book, let alone a post. One of the more interesting (and disturbing) events surround the Jewish Ghetto in Vilna, and the Fareynikte Partizaner Organizatsye (United Partisan Organization) and Abba Kovner. Before there was a Marvel Cinematic Universe, and even before there was Mr. Steed and Ema Peel, there was Nakam, “The Avengers.” Though that would come after the war. Fareynikte Partizaner Organizatsye was the resistance in the Vilna Ghetto. Even in the face of eyewitness testimony, a large number of Jews in Vilna didn’t want to believe that the SS was committing mass-murder. Kovner understood, and the FPO took to the woods to fight the war alongside other Soviet Partisans. There are books written about Vilna, the uprising, Kovner and The Avengers.

The same people who will talk about recognizing the valor of soldiers commanded by Robert E. Lee during the Civil War, have given me grief over recognizing the accomplishments of the Red Army during The Great Patriotic War. (That’s what the Russians still call World War Two.) The Confederate States of America was not the greatest government ever, but Lee, and his troops, fought with valor, and honor, and what they did was even recognized by the Union veterans before the Turn of the Century. The Soviet Union was an awful government, but the Red Army did some amazing things in defending Russia from the Nazis, even – and especially – if you consider the insanity of the officer corps, Stalin and his government, let alone the Secret Police. And they managed to do some things right, like move their industry when it became clear they couldn’t protect it. That kept that industrial base out of German hands – it was one of the reasons Hitler wanted to invade – and it meant that they could continue to prosecute the war for the next 3 years. And the Soviet Union’s ability to call up reserves, in the face of what can only be described as devastating losses, impressed me.

Note: By way of comparison, the D-Day invasion consisted of “nearly 175,000” men.