Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Tacticool Tuesday- Just go do what MDT tells you to

I have been quite busy of late and have been completely remiss on my weekly Tacticool Tuesday posts.  Not trying to show the community what a lazy guy I really am, but when I spent a few moments to make my rounds with the "go-to" blogs, I realized that there are several posts over at Mason Dixon Tactical that were absolute gold and needed to get pushed out over here.

I know there is a lot of cross-over between the two blogs so forgive me if this is old news to you.  If it is, then go read it again until it sinks in.

Choosing Your Survivalist Weapons Battery

Questions To Ask When Upgrading Your Gear

And the equipment posts he referenced from Bushbeater:

Identifying Equipment Requirements

Shows you how much I pay attention to other blogs, but I must confess my ignorance to the Bushbeater blog.  It certainly looks like there is a ton of good info and well worth your time.

Who will speak for you?

Go to the 9:55 mark for the wonderfully expressed comments on Mike by Mr. Brian Keith at the Boomershoot 2016 event.

He asks the very salient question, who has been your advocate for freedom?  In the absence of that person, who will stand for your freedoms?  And finally, when will you begin to stand for your own?

This Hero had quite some time to get acquainted with the bullet that had his name on it.

Lingering bullet wound kills St. Louis-area Army vet 45 years after Vietnam

Sent in from Mr. Peters.  Much appreciated, but I apologize I could not have been more timely in getting this out to coincide with Memorial Day.

Ghandi was once quoted as saying, "The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated".  I would add that the level of civility can also be measured in how the society rehabilitates its war wounded.  PFC Michael Fray caught a bullet near Chu Lai, Veitnam in July 1969. The bullet lodged in his neck; a wound that should have killed him, (especially given what we now consider to be quite crude methods of combat medicine), left him instead a quadriplegic.

“I always admired him for his perseverance and attitude,” said Becky Ballard, an occupational therapist who recently retired from the VA after working with hundreds of spinal cord injury patients, including Frey. “The will to live is strong, but not as many people had as many obstacles as Mike.”

What I find amazing is how we hold so jealously to the last dying embers of life and will continue to fight for it despite the endless road blocks, detours. and setbacks life gives us.  I think this is especially true for people, not necessarily Soldiers, but people that have overcome tragedy and trauma.  We fight for every last minute because the alternative is to surrender to it.  Yes, we all will not make it out of this alive, but we will give everything, every minute of every day, to make it count.

Monday, May 30, 2016

How much is enough?

There was a bit of a lively discussion on the Sipsey Street Facebook page on how much ammunition was enough.  At the risk of getting into a philosophical argument, I was reminded of a story about my WWII vet Great Uncle and what he had by his front door in the wilds around Grand Haven, Michigan.

He placed an M1 grand and two bandoleers of ammunition by the door, presumably for snakes of the regular and two legged variety.  When he was asked as to why he had not just one. but two bandoleers to go with the rifle, he quipped that sometimes one is just not enough.

Got ammo?  Better yet, got training to go with that ammo?

For those that gave the ultimate sacrifice

To my Brothers that did not make it back or were gone well before your time, you are remembered.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Just wait until July 4th.

More to file under it is going to be a long hot summer.

Veteran Memorials Vandalized Prior to Memorial Day

"Memorials to veterans in a Los Angeles neighborhood and a town in Kentucky, as well as a Civil War veterans cemetery in Virginia, were damaged as the nation prepares to mark Memorial Day, officials said."

"In Virginia, the Petersburg National Battlefield has apparently has been looted, the National Park Service said. Numerous excavations were found at the Civil War battlefield last week, Jeffrey Olson, and agency spokesman, said in a news release Friday. Petersburg National Battlefield is a 2,700-acre park marks where more than 1,000 Union and Confederate soldiers died fighting during the Siege of Petersburg 151 years ago."

Jesus H. Tapdancing Christ, that is some sick shit.

"In Los Angeles' Venice neighborhood, the wall for missing veterans has been tagged previously, but the latest vandalism covers the bottom half of the memorial for much of its length."

"In Henderson, Kentucky, Jennifer Richmond, a spokesman for the Henderson Police Department, said the community is devastated and working frantically to repair and replace the crosses that were put on display for a Memorial Day ceremony in Central Park."

Yep.  Its going to be a long hot one this summer.

100 Years Since Verdun Celebrated

In a show of support, Angie and Francis make nice and say some generic pro-EU things.  So that's nice. They probably glossed over a few things though.

For the uninitiated here is a quick rundown on the war:

In reality, Verdun was a meat grinder much in the way that the Somme and the Battle(s) of Ypres became.  Much for the same reason too.  The Germans still were riding high on the exploits of Fredrick the Great and thought their military might would be unmatched.  Frederick the Great was instrumental in developing how Germans would look at maneuver warfare, but they were hanging on to 130 year old laurels.  To be sure, the German Empire, (just 45 yeas young at this point),  was still angry over the Wars of Religion and the 30 Years War which had killed 1 out of 3 Germans and left them out of major European politics for a couple of hundred years.  Hubris was coupled with an aged and doddering higher command which was in no particular hurry to change with the times.  Years later, the Germans would have to relearn the lessons of Pyrrhic stubbornness to the point of of annihilation on the Eastern front, (Kursk and Stalingrad come to mind).  Not to be outdone, Americans took their turn at the meat grinder in the Hurtgen Forrest from 1944 to 1945.

I have traveled to Verdun and walked inside Fort Vaux and the memorial at Douaumont.  Both are well worth the trip to see.  Time has washed over much of the fortifications but you can still see parts of the trenchworks around the area.  The memorial, with its thousands upon thousands of crosses is a sight to behold.

It is no mistake that the German word for battle, "Schlacht", also means to butcher.

Sunday Jams - Haters gonna hate

To the guy who keeps complaining about what should or should not be placed on Sipsey Street, perhaps this is more your speed:

Now stop bitching.  No one cares.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Driverless convoys

A convoy of U.S. Army vehicles will cruise along a stretch of Interstate 69 in Michigan as part of an initial testing of driverless military vehicle equipment on public roadways.
A convoy of U.S. Army vehicles will cruise along a stretch of Interstate 69 in Michigan as part of an initial testing of driverless military vehicle equipment on public roadways. Representatives from the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center and the Michigan Department of Transportation held public information sessions on the testing Monday in eastern Michigan. In late June, the vehicles will test a piece of technology that's critical in the development and testing of driverless and connected vehicles, the Times Herald of Port Huron reported. Someone will be behind the wheel of each vehicle, which is equipped with features from the driverless vehicle systems, including adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist, The Flint Journal reported. Six radio transmitters will be set up along Interstate 69 to allow for groups of five vehicles to broadcast speed, distance, and traffic issues as directed over the frequency, said Alex Kade, chief system architect in ground vehicle robotics for the Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center.

The military's new stealth bikes

What runs on electricity and mystery fuel, moves at 80 miles per hour, generates enough power to run communications gear and is quieter than a conversation? Say hello to the military’s stealth motorbike. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, launched the stealth bike competition back in 2014. Today, the two prototypes faced off on the expo floor of the of the Tampa Convention Center, part of the National Defense Industrial Association’s Special Operations Forces Industry Conference. The Silent Hawk by Logos and the Nightmare from LSA Autonomy could be cousins. DARPA has funded both to phase two development under a small business innovative research award, essentially two non-competing grants to develop the technology. Both bikes feature cutting-edge hybrid multi-fuel engines that can burn a variety of combustibles like JP-8, Jet A-1, gasoline, propane, etc.. “If it’s gasoline, tell it it’s gasoline, tell it it’s something else. It will figure it out,” said Alex Dzwill, and engineer with Logos.

State Defense Force ordnance officers take note. What was old can be new again. "Raytheon Wants to Hot-Rod Old 'Patton' Tanks."

Well, now. There's a thought. How many M-48 and M60 are sitting in front of VFW halls and National Guard armories as static displays? How many can be refurbished in case of civil war?
The venerable M60 could get upgrades that make it more competitive with some of today's tanks.
For three decades, the Raytheon M60 (informally called the Patton) was America's primary main battle tank. Though the tank was replaced in the early 1990s by the M1A1 Abrams, thousands are still operational abroad. They're all candidates for an upgrade that Raytheon says can make them competitive on the battlefield, and at one-third of the cost of a modern main battle tank like a Russian-built T-90S, German-built Leopard 2A7, or America's own M1A2 SEP(v)3 Abrams. It's am appealing idea for M60 users like Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Oman.
"You have hardware that's of 1960s-1970s pedigree. The supply chain for some of the original equipment is gone," says Rimas Guzulaitis, senior director for platform sustainment and modernization at Raytheon "But you still have countries operating them who need to modernize, eliminate inefficiencies, add accuracy and lethality. They need to keep the M60 relevant."
The M60A3 Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) would hot-rod the Patton via kits supplied by Raytheon and its partners. The new V-12 diesel engine is rebuilt with stronger internals, increased fuel and airflow capacity, better cooling and more compression, and coupled to a strengthened transmission. The changes bump its output from 750 to 950 horsepower.
The Patton's turret can be converted from hydraulic to electric power. Hydraulics are hard to maintain and the hydraulic lines running through the M60's hull are downright dangerous. The kit replaces them with digitally-controlled electric wiring and actuators, making the turret quieter and lighter while allowing it to rotate faster. In place of the original 105mm M68 rifled gun, the M60 SLEP slots in a 120mm M256 smooth bore cannon.
"It's directly out of the M1A1," Guzulaitis says of the gun. "It's substantially more accurate, definitely more lethal, it's lighter and it allows you to use a wider range of NATO-partner ammunition." The gun's range is "substantially greater than an off-the-shelf M60 cannon," too, thanks to a not only the gun itself but also the new digital fire control and sight systems that come with the SLEP. The new configuration has sighting and fire control linked via Ethernet integrated with a laser day sight and night thermal sight, all connected to the electronic turret drive.
Making the Patton lighter and faster raises the possibility of adding additional armor, though none is offered as part of the SLEP. Nevertheless, Guzulaitis asserts that increased speed, firepower, digital control, and maneuverability are significant self-protection improvements.
"A legacy M60 tank requires you to stop to shoot to achieve a high level of accuracy," he says. "The new system allows you to shoot on the move, which equals increased survivability. If you have to stop to shoot, you're opening yourself up to getting hit."
The fire control portion of the upgrade has been fielded on 80-plus tanks in Jordan for over a decade. Raytheon recently integrated it with the improved drivetrain, turret, and gun in live-fire testing at the Army's Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. The company has yet to ship any SLEP kits, but there are three customers in various stages of Foreign Military Sales approval process right now. That means we'll likely see hot-rodded Pattons in the Middle East soon.

Low tech weapons

Unbreakable® Umbrella

Army catches up with 1946. What was old is new again. More on the Carl Gustav

From Wikipedia:
The Carl Gustaf (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈkʰɑːɭ ˈɡɵ̞stɑːv]; also known as, Gustaf Bazooka and M2CG) is an 84 mm man-portable reusable anti-tank recoilless rifle produced by Saab Bofors Dynamics (formerly Bofors Anti-Armour AB) in Sweden. Although most rounds fired by the Carl Gustav work on the classic recoilless principle, modern rounds sometimes add a post-firing booster that technically make it a rocket launcher.
The first prototype of the Carl Gustaf was produced in 1946 as a lightweight anti-armor weapon, one of many similar designs of that era. While similar weapons have generally disappeared from service, the Carl Gustaf remains in widespread use today. A combination of light weight, low cost and widely varied ammunition types, makes the Carl Gustav extremely flexible and able to be used in a wide variety of roles where single-purpose weapons like the M72 LAW passed out of service as newer tank designs rendered them ineffective.
In its country of origin it is officially named Grg m/48 (Granatgevär - "grenade rifle", model 48). British troops refer to it as the "Charlie G", while Canadian troops often refer to it as the "84" or "Carl G". In U.S. military service it is known as the "M3 Multi-Role Anti-Armor Anti-Personnel Weapon System" (MAAWS) or "Ranger Anti-tank Weapons System" (RAWS), but is often called the Gustaf or "the Goose" or simply the "Carl Johnson" by American servicemembers. In Australia it is irreverently known as "Charlie Gusto" or "Charlie Gutsache" (guts ache, slang for stomach pain).[5]
The United States Army will soon begin distributing a weapon system introduced in 1946. The M3 Carl Gustav rocket launcher will bolster the firepower of rifle platoons, giving them a much-needed edge. Developed by Bofors (now Saab), the Carl Gustav is a lightweight, man-portable recoilless rifle. Recoilless rifles are like a cross between an artillery gun and a bazooka: While they have propellant at the base of the projectile like a rocket, the propellant doesn't burn beyond the barrel, meaning the projectile flies unpowered like a bullet or artillery shell. Unlike artillery, propellant gasses are directed backwards, counteracting the weapon's recoil and making it "recoilless". The weapon is referred to as a "rifle" due to the spiral rifling in the barrel, which stabilizes the projectile.
The story continues:
The U.S. Army fielded a number of recoilless rifles after World War II, in calibers from 57-millimeter to 106-millimeter. The Army saw these rifles as anti-tank weapons meant to counter the T-55 and T-62 tanks of the Soviet Army. The Army retired these weapons when Dragon and TOW anti-tank guided missiles came on the scene
The end of the Cold War and the rise of new threats such as Iraqi guerrillas and the Taliban posed a problem for the U.S. The shaped charge warheads of anti-tank missiles are less effective against buildings, bunkers, and enemy troops in the open. Anti-tank missiles are also very expensive, meaning you could spend up to $50,000 to blow a $500 mud hut to smithereens. Finally, anti-tank missile launchers with their complex guidance systems are heavy and difficult to lug though rough terrain
The M3 Carl Gustav solves all three problems. The weapon is basically a tube with grips and an aiming sight. It can fire High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) rounds to take out tanks and armored vehicles, and High Explosive (HE) rounds meant to attack structures and enemy personnel. The shells have a diameter of 84 millimeters—or 3.3 inches—meaning they can pack a real punch. The individual rounds are relatively inexpensive, and the launcher weighs just 14 pounds.
U.S. Special Operations units, who need portable, lightweight firepower, have been toting the M3 Carl Gustav since 1989. Some regular infantry units in Afghanistan have carried the Carl Gustav since at least 2011, but they had to request and show a need for the weapon to get it. Now, Infantry Brigade Combat Teams in the U.S. Army and National Guard will receive these weapons at a rate of 27 per brigade, or one per platoon of 40 soldiers.
Despite the Carl Gustav's age, it's actually more versatile than many high tech weapons, making it useful in tomorrow's conflicts. In the new "hybrid warfare" pioneered by Russian forces in the Crimea, armies could face "little green men" (paramilitary troops) one moment and armored vehicles the next. The M3 will be able to counter both. Not bad for a 70-year-old weapon.

Clinton Foundation? Chinese Mandarins? Anti-gun politicians? They're shocked! Shocked, to find corruption going on here!

Inquiry Highlights Terry McAuliffe’s Ties to Chinese Company

Monday, May 23, 2016

DIY Insurgency

What happens when the capabilities that we give to special operators can instead be deployed by amateurs?

From Mike: Required reading for Threepers.

Ghost Fleet.

New Fast and Furious emails show Obama administration obstructing Congress

But there is no pressure for an investigation. Indeed, the entire Fast and Furious scandal is now ancient history, the press having concluded there was nothing there. No amount of new information will get the New York Times or Washington Post to reopen the files on the case, and the rest of the media will almost certainly fall into line. The Obama administration can claim success. They were able to stretch out their response to the investigation to the point that with just months to go in Obama's term, no one cares if the facts of the case are revisited or not. They conducted a classic Washington cover-up campaign that did as it was supposed to do: it protected the principals – Obama and Holder – from being held accountable for their stupidity and criminal activity.

Herschel Smith: Irrational Christian Bias Against Guns, Violence And Self Defense

You see, by invoking the police, Benjamin has said too much. He isn’t really a pacifist, he doesn’t really want to perish at the hands of criminals, and he doesn’t really take the teachings of Christ as seriously as he claims. He just believes in the same thing all progressives do – monopoly of force. The ugly little truth of progressives, including Christians who have progressive tendencies, is that they haven’t yet been able to turn away from the state as savior and protector, judge and jury, lawyer and arbiter. They are statists, and their reflexive tendency is to attempt to reconcile their statism with the Holy writ.

Valediction of a Three Percenter by Mike Vanderboegh

"Valediction -- noun, An act of bidding farewell; a leave-taking; a speech or statement made as a farewell." -- Merriam Webster Dictionary

(Note from Mike: As time gets close, I wanted to get these words out while my mind is still clear.  Don't write my obituary just yet, but these words needed saying.)  
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. -- Ephesians, Chapter 4, 1-6.
"I love my country, my God and my kind. I have served them all and I want no praise of song or prose." -- C.C. Sheats, Alabama Unionist
Valediction of a Three Percenter
For many years I have introduced myself as a Christian libertarian who believed in God, free men, free markets, the rule of law under the Founders' Republic, and that the Constitution extended to everyone regardless of race, creed, color or religion. As I take my leave from this existence, I must admit that the Constitution, as the Founders crafted it, is now or soon will be dead -- killed by corruption and collectivism and mostly by our own sloth and moral cowardice in opposing its enemies.
Yet if the Constitution is dead as an organizing and unifying force in this nation, the principles enunciated in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights can never die as long as there remain free men and women who believe in the Founders' vision. This is the essence of the Three Percent, that no matter how small our numbers are -- if we remain armed and determined -- we may yet preserve the flickering flame of liberty.
However principled, you must still be clearheaded about the realities facing us. We are on the brink of chaos that will make the agonies of the former Yugoslavia look like child's play. Anyone who believes otherwise is whistling past the graveyard of history. There will be no deliverance from the rigged game of national politics. If any of our traditional liberties are to be saved it will be on a local basis of community, county and church, secured by your own efforts, your own organization, with your own friends and neighbors according to the principles enunciated by the Founders. I envisioned the Three Percent movement with that local focus in mind, as a philosophy, a discipline, of the armed citizenry. I enunciated some of these in the Three Percent Catechism. The growth of the concept has been startling. Yet many of those who claim to be "Three Percenters" haven't a clue about the principles upon which the movement was founded. While the concept of a determined minority of the armed citizenry has continued to grow, so has confusion about the mission of the Three Percent and how that mission should be carried out. I summed up the Catechism in this way:
"These four principles -- moral strength, physical readiness, no first use of force and no targeting of innocents -- are the hallmarks of the Three Percent ideal. Anyone who cannot accept them as a self-imposed discipline in the fight to restore the Founders' Republic should find something else to do and cease calling themselves a "Three Percenter."
As said in the Washington Post just this morning by B.J. Soper of the Central Oregon Constitutional Guard: "If we're going to effect change it has to be done at a local level." Anything that takes time and resources from such local efforts is a waste that we cannot afford. At its most basic and irreducible, what the Three Percent movement was designed to do was to REBUILD THE CONCEPT OF CITIZENSHIP, one citizen at a time. This begins with you, with each and every one of us. Citizenship is defined by the dictionary as "the state of being vested with the rights, privileges, and duties of a citizen." Three Percenters are insistent about all three of those components of citizenship, that is why our collectivist would-be masters are so hateful and afraid of us -- we actually take citizenship seriously, as a way of life, and not just a word. This attitude makes us scary even to folks who silently agree with what we say -- we LIVE what they CLAIM to believe. But that is the difference between a citizen and a subject, between free people and mere inhabitants of a place. If I am remembered at all, let me be known as a citizen of the Founders' Republic.
Not long after my doctor gave me the final prognosis, I was told by a reader that I would be recalled as someone "who taught us how to fight on every battlefield." It was humbling to me for him to say so, but that is what a citizen does -- he fights on every battlefield to best of his ability and resources. And if after I am gone the Three Percent movement should prove to be my living monument, it will be because it is made up of citizens of the Founders' Republic, faithful to their vision and to God's will and purpose.
God has blessed me throughout my life with many friends and supporters. I could not have accomplished anything without them. They are all truly citizens in all senses of the word. I am proud to have known you. It has been an honor. Now I leave you behind on this battlefield to carry on the fight. I wish I could stick around but God seems to have a different schedule in mind. Your futures and those of my family -- all our families, our friends -- indeed our country as envisioned by the Founders as well as our entire way of life are in your own hands, yourselves alone, subject to the will and infinite power of God. God does not promise us victory. He does command us to stand. The Founders bent their knees in prayerful supplication to the Almighty. I believe that the string of improbable events that comprised the miracle of the Revolution can be ascribed to nothing less than God's will. He may yet provide others.
But absent a miracle, your victory will be won by citizens rising to the duties and challenges of citizenship. It will be won one citizen, one locality, one community at a time -- according to the example of the Founders, organizing fellow citizens in the light of Three Percent principles.
As for me I have tried to live up to the epitaph of Chris Sheats, an Alabamian who I long ago admired as a member of my pantheon of American heroes:
"I love my country, my God and my kind. I have served them all and I want no praise of song or prose."

Saturday, May 21, 2016

U.S. orders body armor plates from 3M

The U.S. Defense Logistics Agency has ordered 177,000 body armor plates from Ceradyne Inc., a subsidiary of 3M. The lightweight enhanced small arms protective inserts, or ESAPI, are inserted into outer, modular tactical vests to provide torso protection against small-arms fire. The order is worth $92.7 million. Deliveries are expected to begin this year.

Everything's bigger in Texas

Sunday Jams - Tito and Tarantula

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Apparently we can't even compete in armor crew skills.

U.S. Crews Fail To Place in NATO Tank Competition

Logistics, Necessities and Improvisations

AHC is running a series on "Against All Odds," about desperate fights throughout military history. Among these is the valiant stand of 2nd BN 120 Infantry Regiment at the battle of Mortain, France, in August 1944.
My interest was drawn to one anecdote from that action, so I looked for more details and found it here: 'Operations of the 2nd Battalion, 120th, 30th Infantry Division) at Mortain, France (Personal Experiences of a Company Commander)' by Major Ralph A. Kerley.
There are three points in this report that bear mentioning with relevance to today. The first is that there are some things that cannot be substituted for. On Hill 314, after the battalion was cut off, that essential item was radio batteries. According to the AHC documentary there was one artillery forward observer who had laid in an extra supply of radio batteries and in the end it was the only way the battalion had of communicating with the supporting artillery which in the end saved the position after the infantry had pretty much run out of ammunition.
By the end of the second, Kerley reports:
The last of the K rations were consumed at noon, ammunition was dangerously low and the evacuation of dead and wounded was impossible. This was one of the most serious problems confronting the company commanders. Communication with regiment was entirely by radio, and this contact was sporadic. Regiment was requested to supply by air some food, ammunition and medical supplies.
On the third day:
The 8th of August was fairly quiet. The enemy made no serious attempt to take the position. He continued his attack, by-passing the HILL #314. The observers on the Hill #314 had all round observation and made the most of it. The enemy supply lines and rear areas were constantly harassed by our artillery. The serious problem of food, ammunition and medical supplies still confronted the battalion. Radio batteries were rapidly weakening. In an effort to conserve the batteries, only one company turned on its radio at a time, with the exception of calling fire missions. Orders and information received from regiment was disseminated to the companies by patrol. . .
On the fourth day:
Attempts by the regiment and the remainder of the division to relieve the battalion had failed. The first gnawing pains of hunger and thirst were appearing. The ammunition supply had dwindled to practically nothing. Several of the severely wounded died during the night. . . In an effort to relieve the situation, supplies were loaded into two of the division by faster aircraft. Division tried next to schedule a flight of C-47’s for the supply mission. Finally, after four requests were made through slow moving channels, a flight was scheduled for 10 August. This information was relayed to the besieged men, but due to past unpleasant experiences with close supporting air, there was some doubt of success in the minds of the men. The enemy had no doubt been monitoring our radio and knew the existing situation.
Foxhole on Hill 314.
This was immediately followed by a German surrender demand, It was obscenely refused.
True to their promise, the enemy launched a strong attack at approximately 2015 hours. The battalion ammunition supply was so low, the enemy encountered little resistance other than our artillery. After the enemy had penetrated the position, the E Company Commander called artillery on his own position. This broke up the attack and the enemy took a severe beating. This success served as a ‘shot in the arm” to the sagging morale of the men on the Hill.
The survival of all the men on the hill had rested on the flickering of just a few radio batteries. Today's technology rests even more on portable power systems, especially batteries. Lesson One: Batteries are an indispensable item as much as ammunition. Yet there are many of us who are careless about this vital logistical element of success.
Lesson Two: Careless communication arms the enemy. This is so obvious it should not require explanation.
Kerley also provides a third lesson: Improvise, adapt and overcome. The air drop scheduled for the 10th was a partial failure:
Approximately one half of the drop landed far into the enemy lines, but at least, the battalion had some food, ammunition and a limited amount of medical supplies. One of the most important items contained in the drop was radio batteries. A report was made to regiment of the drop and an attempt to schedule another drop was made, especially for medical supplies. In the meantime, the S-3 of the 230th Field Artillery Battalion had an idea to relieve the situation. Ten rounds of M-84 (base ejection HC smoke)) ammunition were opened, and the smoke canisters and base ejection charge removed. The rounds were then filled with medical supplies, bandages, dressings, sulfanilamide and morphine syrettes. The steel disc in the nose was replaced to prevent the fuze, when detonated, from ruining the contents. Four other shells were treated likewise, and were filled with sand to approximately the same weight. These rounds were to be used for adjustment. The S-3 then made his intentions known to the men on the Hill and gave instructions for opening the projectiles. The adjustment was completed at approximately 2130 hours, and the medical rounds were then fired. None of these rounds were recovered due to ricochets and darkness. Even though the medical supplies were badly needed, the presence of food and ammunition served to raise morale to a new high. As soon as the mist lifted on 11 August, the artillery again attempted to fire in medical supplies. Six rounds were fired and all were recovered. This operation was only partially successful, however, the concussion being too great for the containers of the morphine and plasma.
Kerley's account (as with all military history) should be read for such universal lessons. -- Mike
105th Medical Battalion Aid Station (30th Inf Div) established in the vicinity of Mortain, treating casualties after the battle, Mortain, France, August 1944
Mortain after the battle.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Science is settled, man. Or something. Dammit.

"Futurist and Market Analyst Peter Temple says cycles show that the world is entering a 500 year ‘Little Ice Age’ and that the Dow Jones will crash 90% in value by 2020."

Need link to good gunsmith in central Ohio

Have a family member who needs a couple of jobs done by a competent gunsmith in the Central to northern Ohio area. The first is the replacement of a front bead sight on a Mossberg 500 cylinder bore barrel. The second, requiring much more finesse, is the restoration of a rusty Ithaca Model 37 heirloom that was gifted by their grandfather. Not looking for a museum quality job, just recovering the weapon's utility. Anyone having experience with a good one, please email us at the George Mason address.

"The Gurka RPV Civilian Edition, a street-legal tactical vehicle designed to withstand just about anything."

"If and when the apocalypse ever comes, it won’t be the meek who inherit the Earth. It will be whoever can afford one of these bullet-proof beasts: Introducing the Ghurka RPV Civilian Edition, a street-legal, 13,500-pound off-road vehicle designed to roll through war zones like a rhinoceros in a petting zoo. Built by Terradyne, a Canadian manufacturer of armored personnel carriers and light tactical vehicles, the Ghurka RPV can ram through chained gates and drive in water up to 30-inches deep. It can also withstand 7mm armor-piercing rounds. And it’s packing heat: the 6.7 liter V8 turbodiesel delivers 300hp and 660 Ib.-ft. of torque, as well as a top speed of 70mph. The only catch? It costs $278,000. But, hey, you can’t put a price on indestructibility."

Tacticool Tuesday - How realistic is your training?

Much appreciated Mr. Typeay for sending this one over on a Bob Owens article with some interesting questions:  They're using real bullets?

And the local news piece from Detroit:  New gun training program in Eastpointe uses real bullets, scenarios

The Big Idea for the range is introduce the trainee to approximate real life gun fights by ditching the Simunitions for real bullets. 

“For me, even having a ton of shooting experience, some of it – I don’t want to say goes out the window – but in a stress scenario you kind of stop thinking about all that,” says gun owner Stefan Bahri.

When you are in a high stress situation, your vision narrows, your heart races, your mind clouds and compartmentalizes into single blocks of information.  Assuming you have the weapon already on you, you see bad guy, recognize threat, reinterpret threat, brain signals to hand to reach for gun, you reach for gun, so forth and so on until you have the sights lined up and pull the trigger.  In the mean time your mind reels at the prospect of having to shoot another person.  You will always fall on your lowest level of muscle memory developed through training.  Always. 

That nice Kimber carry gun you throw on your hip on occasion to show off to your buddies but dare not shoot to lower the value?  It does very little for you when you need it.  That shotgun that you keep in the master bathroom, you know...just in case, you took to the range once.  You never cleared your house.  You never identified how many steps it takes to get to your living room in pitch black.  You never trained. 

This is also true for the BOB, BOV, route plan, martial arts training, expensive commo gear, food grinder, plow, you name it.  We keep these weapons and "stuff" around just on the off chance that it will be needed.  Might as well include some realism in your training to best approximate real world experiences. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

A Sipsey Street Event in Pinson Alabama this coming Friday and Saturday

This coming Friday and Saturday, May 20 and 21, we will have a liquidation sale of all military surplus items.  Here is a short list:

USGI Belts and extenders
Y Suspenders
M65 Field Jackets, all sizes
ALICE Packs, Medium and Large
ALICE Pack Frames, extra straps, and pack boards
AK Mag pouches, various makes
SKS and Chinese grenade chest harness
Various foreign military pouches, vests, uniforms
Camping cooking gear galore
USGI and Commercial Canteens with covers, 1 and 2 qt.
BDUs and ACUs all sizes
USGI Boots, Older Black leather and Newer Tan, various sizes
German and USGI mess kits
Assorted WWII, Korea and Vietnam era vintage militaria
Books and Magazines out the wazoo
Sleeping Bags
Food Grade 5 Gallon Buckets with o rings and lids

The sale will be held at Mikes' house at 6635 Womack Road, Pinson, AL 35126.

We will also sell autographed III% t-shirts. Unfortunately, we are unable to ship out t-shirts at this time, so this will be the only way to get autographed shirts from the original batch.

Update:  The sale will be held between 9:00 and 4:00.

Defensive Operations in Urban Areas - Lesson 1: Defining Defense

I have had overwhelming requests for Praxis posts to teach current Army doctrine adapted for everyone else.  To date, the most popular post I have done was the original Defense post relating to some of my experiences during the Surge in 2007-2008.  I see the utility in expanding this subject into a series of posts to delve further into the subject of defensive operations.  In time, I will expand these Praxis posts to tackle the subjects of Offense, Sustainability, the basics of Maneuver warfare, and other aspects of 4th Generation warfare that have not been covered in the many excellent Praxis posts in the Sipsey Street archives. 
Hundreds of hours poring through information on the internet will not replicate actual training.   The information I will push out will be from current and historical examples but not everything will translate to your situation.  I will mainly be speaking to an audience interested in neighborhood or town defense.  Smaller footprints like a farm or duplex will have its own challenges that stem mainly from the lack of available manpower.  Anything larger than population centers above 10,000 will have unique challenges that are bigger picture, but the fundamentals of defense remain.  It is incumbent upon you to take the information, throw out what you do not need, adapt it to what you know, and then test it out.  Testing as much as practical before you will need it is the resounding advantage that you have over everyone else.  I wish you nothing but success in your journey to building a better citizen.


The strength of offense lies in the ability to choose the time and the place from which to attack.  Defense is generally stronger because the defenders can choose the ground, improve upon it, and then direct internal resources where it is needed.  The defender will be in position prior to the event, so they will have the “home court advantage” to mold the battle space into what will play into their strengths.  Even if it is only moments before the attack, a defender can use the natural or manmade structures to channel and disrupt the momentum of the attacker.  Defense gives you the ability to not only hold the ground, but to wait until there are less attackers, (due to attrition), or more information has been presented.
Of course, offense is more decisive because only through the attack can you secure a victory.  Victory in your situation may be simply defending a homestead, but eventually you will have to go on the attack if you want to completely eliminate an enemy force.  Examples in American history since the 1950’s where western niceties prevented the military from  directly engaging with an enemy on their home turf are abundant.  Korea at the 38th Parallel, Vietnam with Laos and Cambodia, and the Global War on Terror with Syria and Iran all readily spring to mind.  The opponent was then able to continuously regroup, rearm, and reengage.  We lost the will to fight only when we artificially tied both arms behind our backs.  Offense can bring you victory, but you must first be able to keep what you have.  Every task, after all, does not require a hammer.
There are several reasons to go on the defense.  Traditionally it is, of course, used to stop an attack but it can also be used as a delaying tactic until a better opportunity presents itself.  Defense can be for a specific purpose such as the protection of a population, key terrain, important buildings and infrastructure.   Defense is also a form of information gathering.  The type of enemy, what weapons they use, distinctive uniforms, and tactics can also be gleaned from a defensive posture.  In the defense, you will have the base of operations to employ reconnaissance elements to feed you information*. 
There are two characteristics of defense, disruption and flexibility , that you will want to be familiar with.  With disruption, keep in mind that the success of an attack rests largely on its momentum: the swift and decisive movement to violence that overwhelms the defendors either through superior numbers or firepower.  The defender can disrupt that momentum, slow it to a crawl and even prevent the attack from proceeding.  You can accomplish this by breaking up their formations, disrupting their intelligence gathering and reconnaissance capabilities, isolating units through channeling the attackers to places they would not want to go, or disrupting their communication and supply nodes.
Flexibility of defense may seem counterintuitive if you think of defense in terms of a Maginot Line of rigid walls and bunkers, but in reality commanders must have the ability to maneuver their resources around the battle space to maximize the defenders advantage to match the attackers strength.   An excellent example of optimizing your manpower and resources can be found in We Were Soldiers Once, And Young and is illustrated fairly well in the movie adaptation.  Another successful defense is that  of Rorke’s Drift by 150 British Soldiers against 4,000 Zulu warriors is an excellent example of using terrain and resources, (and just a few hours of warning), to defeat overwhelming hoards of determined attackers. 
In a town or larger population center, you will have the ability to form rings of defenses around your area.  This is presuming that the area you have to defend is not so large as to make it impractical to hold.  Being unable to judge the battle space and know your limitations is the critical flaw in defensive planning.  

So you must be saying at this point, “okay, great, now what do I do”? As defined by the Army, there are three types of battle positions in defense.

Primary positions – These are your main positions of defense.  They will have the bulk of your forces and allocation of resources.  The primary positions are set along the likely avenues of approach for attackers.  This will be bridges and overpasses, cross roads and road junctions, or other avenues of approach.  When planning, keep in mind that avenues of approach can be 360 degrees around your location.  You will need to look at local airports, rail junctions, forested areas, waterways, or anything that could be a blind spot or attractive avenue of attack. 
Alternative Positions - These are the positions that you will station a reserve unit or assisting weapons platform to assist the primary position.  You will have a designated marksman, suppressive fire weapon, or squad of defenders that can augment the primary positions if they are in danger of getting overrun. 
Strong Point – The Strong Point is your redoubt and the last stand before you abandon the defense.  It is heavily fortified and should be provisioned in the event that the unit becomes surrounded and isolated.  The presumption of the strong point is that you will be able to call in reinforcements and this position is to insulate you until the cavalry arrives.  This, of course, is not the case with every unit.  I would strongly advise that you plan in multiple avenues of escape.  I beg the pardon to my proud Texan readers, but dying in an Alamo-esque battle, while romantic, will not advance your cause.

Depending on how much time you have to set up a defensive position, you can employ certain tricks to direct your assets to where it is needed and when it is needed.  You can use range cards to determine where you need to put your weapon sights at known distances.  For the uninitiated, the range card is a drawing of certain obvious terrain features and their distances. 
The advantage of the defender lies in the ability to set up these devices ahead of time to disrupt, dissuade or prevent the attack.  The Defender can employ various early warning systems or pyrotechnics in an either offensive or defensive manner.  Trip wire, flash grenades, smoke, punji sticks, dead falls, rock traps, and man catchers; there is no end to devious inventions that humans have developed over the millennia of killing each other to help improve their defenses.  With passive security devices, you will need to be cognizant that a mine or trap does not care if it is your child or your enemy that trips it.  You will need to be completely aware of this fact and guard against the device being used improperly.
Quick Reaction Forces, (QRF), is another tool the defender can use to move fighting forces quickly to where it is needed when you are in a fixed defensive position. The QRF is a squad or platoon size element that is on call 24 hours a day with the express purpose of getting to a location quickly to assist the defenders.   In taking the long and macro view, this was essentially what the original Minute Men were.  The Army will segregate their QRF force in a designated area and will leave them alone for everything but the most mundane chores.  Once the call comes up, they are to drop everything and come to where they are needed.  The QRF is the best example of how a commander can use the flexibility of defense to their advantage.  The weak point in this is the availability to disseminate accurate, clear, and timely information as to where they need to be sent.  Much has been written on battle field communications here and elsewhere, that I would strongly advise you to seek out.
At some point you may have to abandon your defense and retreat to another location.  This is especially important for skirmishers that are in improvised defenses that are not suitable to defend against the brunt of a concentrated attack.  Prior to the attack, you will want to establish a "disengagement line".  This line is an arbitrary distance that you determine that says that if the opposing force is able to advance to a certain point, it will be impractical to defend and so everyone will know that they will need to abandon the position and retreat to a better defensible location.
Many different mathematical equations exist to give you an idea of how many attackers are needed to overwhelm the defenders.  While helpful to bean counters and armchair war gamers, it is not very useful to defensive planning.  Your opponent will throw everything that they can at you until they give up the attack, are destroyed, or move on to an easier target.  Proper planning does prevent piss poor performance.  The advantage of the defender is in the ability to consider a piece of land or a populated area and determine what they can do to improve their chances of living and success of the mission. 

An old Platoon Leader of mine drilled into my head to “improve your foxhole a little every day”.  Your particular foxhole can be your house, your block, your subdivision, or your town.  Each place presents itself with unique challenges and advantages to defend.  One huge advantage that is generally glossed over by historians is the advantage of defenders when protecting their own homes and families.  Forsaking your family and neighbors by failing to plan and prepare for their defense is unthinkable.  Simply by reading this series on defense, you can no longer claim ignorance to the subject.  You now have responsibility to prepare what you can now, by having the discussions with yourself, your family, and anyone that will allow you to bend their ear. 
*Mikes note:  Most of your success in the defense relies on your ability to employ reconnaissance of all types.  This includes electronic but especially patrolling, and it will give you a clear picture of what is going on in your neighborhood and the surrounding terrain.  Also, the best way to disrupt an attack is to know that it will happen.  You can initiate a counter attack when the enemy is must vulnerable and does not expect it.  In essence, when he comes out of his hole to attack your hole.  The small teams of SOG in Vietnam keenly understood this. When the VC crawled out of their tunnels and consolidated their force, the SOG was able to identify those muster areas and brought in air support to destroy the attack before it was able to materialize.  In it's way, intelligence is the most critical element of defense. 

It harkens back to Sun Tzu; “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

Sunday Jams - R.L. Burnside

A little Mississippi Blues.  Also, a definite language warning on the first one.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

From Mike: "Virtual Militarism Grows Into Real Peril for Russia."

As the tanks and missiles depart from Moscow, the paroxysm of self-glorification also dissipates, leaving behind the inevitable hangover and the “Now what?” question. Last year, the answer was ultimately found in launching the military intervention in Syria. But this time around, the escape from this adventure—even if it goes smoothly, which would take a lot of luck—needs to be outshined by a new “victory.” The options, however, are growing progressively limited as money begins to run out—while remaining in high demand by Russia’s corrupt state-owned enterprises and embezzlement networks. Putin cannot be sure that the forthcoming parliamentary elections, tightly managed as they are, might not unleash an avalanche of heretofore hidden mass discontent, as they did in late 2011. He has only a few weeks to invent a new cause to rally the masses in support of more of the same, but his subordinates seem to be out of ideas.

From Mike: Please read this entire link to get the point I'm trying to make.

So, then, thanks to leftism and America's taken-for-granted success, most Americans no longer understand what it means to be American. Those who do are called conservatives because they wish to conserve the unique American idea. But conservatives now constitute not only a minority of Americans, but a minority of Republicans. That is the primary reason Donald Trump -- a nationalist, but not a conservative -- is the presumptive of Republican nominee. As I noted from the outset, I will vote for him if he wins the nomination -- because there is no choice. But the biggest reason he won is scary.

Even the Squares are getting into this wacky Prepper swing

Prepping for Doomsday: Bunkers, Panic Rooms, and Going Off the Grid

Riding in on the zeitgeist, Realtor.com produced a mildly amusing fluff piece on prepping and the potential cash cows that are big and small "p" Preppers. Not that it is their fault, they just see the community in dollars and cents. It is to be expected, I suppose, that they have of neither a grasp on the question or the answer as to why people spend the money on the things they do.

Not wanting to bore you with going over the same information that any prudent person with a thimble full of prepping knowledge already knows, I did want to go over a couple points.

If you have the 200K+ to drop down on a whole panic room, I'm pretty sure you can swing a whole retreat. With food and water. And guns. And probably have enough left over to buy some friends to share it all with. Building a room with a very finite amount of resources in a high rise seems pretty short sighted to me. The question of "is this sustainable" should be pretty paramount to most everything you do that matters. I will add one caveat to this: only very rarely in history has a population seen Mad Max style blood in the streets. So planning for a widespread and total collapse of civilization actually does seem pretty far fetched. However, never in history did they have the threat of EMP's or designer germ warfare or any of the dozens of horrors that can be thought of to rip through the thin veneer of civilization. If you were dead set on "bugging in" due to you or a family member being unable to travel it is certainly better than nothing. I have seen discussions on the interwebs about digging your own saferoom in the foundation of a basement or other hidden structure. If you do choose that route, remember that OPSEC is your friend.

"Survivalists are also particularly hungry for metal containers they can convert into shelters and bury underground, as well as Quonsets, those steel, half-moon-shaped shelters that can be built into mountainsides, says Jake Crites, a real estate broker at Jake’s Old West Properties in Ashfork, AZ. He’s seen a big uptick over the past two years."

Let's think about those underground storage containers for a minute. It may seem like a viable option but you just cant plop one in the ground and call it a day.

How about those underground tanks? You might want to read this. Of course, it can also be done right so don't let that dissuade you.

No matter were you are in your prepping, I think we all can agree how expensive the "stuff" part of it can be.  The land and dwelling being the biggest expense by far is certainly not an easy decision.  I am not anywhere near being where I want to be, but everyday I move closer to the goal line.