Open Thread – 4 April 2016



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95 Responses to Open Thread – 4 April 2016

  1. BabelFish says:

    For those that watched the first season of ‘Bosch’ on Amazon, the next season has been released. A little less intense at first, it picks up speed during the season. The writing is still linear, the dialogue crisp and the acting and characters are engrossing. Season 3 has already been picked up.
    We also watched the first episodes of ‘The Man in the High Castle’. I think old Phil Dick would be happy with the iteration of his creation. It took me some time to get comfortable enough with the concept of an alternative history to the WW2 era but, again, it is mostly well acted and written. And, the ending of the last episode is true to Dick’s visions of science fiction.

  2. Parj says:

    I foud this analysis very interesting

  3. Chris Chuba says:

    I want to start a thread on the Battle of Kursk for few reasons.
    1. While it’s a difficult choice, I’d choose this as the greatest battle of WW2.
    2. I have recently read three books that have altered my view on it.
    3. I’d like to see if anyone on this board would like to contribute to this topic, including other book recommendations.
    The three books are …
    1. David Glantz, “When Titans Clashed” (more of an overview of Kursk, plus I read a paper by him)
    2. Niklas Zetterling, “Kursk 1943: A statistical Analysis”
    3. Valeriy Zamulin, “Demolishing the Myth …”
    For those who are unfamiliar with Kursk, it was the Battle of the Bulge on the Eastern Front. It was the last, large scale offensive by the German army and the greatest concentration of German armor in a single offensive. After this battle the Red Army went over to the offensive and kept the initiative for the rest of the war.
    Here is a 45 minute webisode (in English) produced by the Russians in 2102 which is a joy to watch
    and a map depicting the original lines and high water mark of the battle
    In the original narrative that I read many years ago, the Germans suffered massive armor losses by foolishly attacking well prepared Soviet defenses. Their defeat was a fate accompli before the attack even started.
    In the revised version, the Germans had normal, but not crippling, operational losses. Their total loss of armor during the offensive phase was about 300 tanks and SPG’s but they remained in capable fighting condition before abandoning the offensive on 7/17/43.
    This is not to disparage the Red Army it was a solid tactical victory. The significance Kursk was that for the first time, the Red Army was able to stop a German offensive at the beginning instead of getting crushed and then having to recover like they did the previous two summers. Using a combination of numerical superiority and improved tactics, the Russians were able to force the Germans to retreat and then launch their own counter-attack. They shut down the German offensive in the north (aka the central front) after a short advance. In the south (aka the Voronezh front) they parried a more successful German advance long enough to hasten a German withdrawal on 7/17. A counter-offensive in the north by the Russians at Orel and a pending counter-offensive further south at the Mius River caused the Germans to abandon their operation.
    This is by necessity a very terse overview, the Battle of Kursk has many controversies and details that I glossed over. I believe these controversies exist because the Red army had just crossed the threshold where they surpassed the German army if you factor in BOTH their superior numbers AND improved tactical skill. Man for man, the German army was still better, but the Red Army was in its ascendency, a year later they would be a much more effective army and achieve very decisive offensive victories. Whenever you have an inflection point, it creates opportunities to ponder the what if’s. The what if’s are interesting but to me the tide was rolling in and the outcome, while not exactly the one the Soviets has planned, was no accident.
    Some observations about the battle:
    1. While the Germans ‘only’ lost about 300 out of about 2,200 tanks/SPG’s. The Red Army did manage to damage up to 1,000 more but the Germans were able to repair most of them in the field within a day or two. Unlike the battle of the Bulge, the Germans had all of their fancy logistic toys, like specialized field cranes and were well supplied with both fuel and ammunition. This surprised the Russians and may have contributed to their decision to try a head on attack at Prokhorovka as they wrongly thought the Germans were depleted.
    2. By this time of the war, the T34 had gone from being a state of the art tank down to a good enough tank. The German tanks and SPG’s outgunned T34 and could destroy it at any practical combat range. Meanwhile, the T34, in the worst case match up, could only destroy a Tiger tank by shooting at its side armor from a range of 500m and was totally ineffective against its frontal armor (as were just about all of the Red Army’s field guns). To make matters worse, the Russians had a surprisingly large number of light T70 tanks, comprising about 30% of their tank force. In 1944 the Russians would significantly close this quality gap with their next generation armor but none of this was available in 1943 at Kursk.
    3. David Glantz emphasizes the increased competency of the Red Army while Zamulin, a former Director of a museum at Prokhorovka, shows a view of an army in transition; giving examples of brilliant competence along with tragic mistakes. Fighting defensive battles against a competent enemy is tough and the Germans were at the top of their game. Zamulin mentions that the approach of the 5th guards tank army at Prokhorovka was the first example of a forced march by a Russian mechanized group, over a long distance, about 400 miles, that experienced very few losses from either mechanical failure or air attacks which were common in previous attempts. He believes this to be an overlooked accomplishment as they arrived just as the last defensive belt was being tested by the 2nd SS Panzer Corp.
    4. Zetterling’s main theme is that this was not a blood fest as compared to previous battles on the eastern front. This makes sense to me. The Russians were more professional. The Germans would encounter a well placed Russian strong point and stop, they don’t do stupid attacks. The Germans would wait for combined arms, artillery, air force, etc. However, this gives the Russians an opportunity to either retreat in good order or reorganize their defense; this is less costly but slows down the pace of their advance.
    5. That Prokhorovka itself was not the largest single tank battle in history, is not that interesting to me. It was a large tank engagement, as many as 400 Russian vs about 200 or less German tanks. Zamulin makes an additional point that much of it was against well prepared German anti-tank guns. Overall, Kursk was the largest concentration of German armor during the war.
    6. The Germans had 146 Tiger tanks at Kursk, sure, you can disable its tracks and then drop artillery shells on top of them but not having field guns that can take it out directly from its front armor was a disadvantage that troubled the Russians. The impact of the Tigers was larger than their numbers wouldo indicate. A total of 10 were lost by 7/17, more would have been disabled but that number is hard to pin down. Zetterling dedicated his book on German losses, armor strength, etc, while it’s a statistical analysis it is actually good reading. He has a knack for presenting the material in a very readable manner. I especially liked how he compares the matchup between the German vs. Russian armor in the field.
    7. It’s fair to say that both the Germans and the Russians surprised each other at Kursk. The German advance was much slower than in previous summers. In 1941, Army Group Center was able travel 140 miles in 11 days, they encircled Minsk and the Red Army lost 350k soldiers. At Kursk, they only penetrated 20 miles in 12 days in the southern sector, and cut off one rifle corp which inflicted 15k losses. However, things did not go as planned for the Red Army. They intended to pin the Germans in between the first and second defensive belts, wear them down, and then launch their counter-attack. Instead, the 2nd SS Pz corp was able to break through both defensive belts, test the last defensive belt, and the Russians were forced to call up their strategic reserve to prevent a break out but they were able to do it.
    8. If anyone wants to discuss the Manstein controversy, feel free, I have an opinion but my post is already too long.

  4. IMO the MSM has failed to capture much of current events. Is this deliberate?
    One example, despite the President’s recent speech reduction worldwide of fissonable material peaked by 2004 and the annual costs and expected costs of maintaining and upgrading the Nuclear Triad are largely hidden from public view.

  5. Gatun Lake says:

    I’ve been thinking of the devotion of Gen. Richard E. Cavazos’s wife Caroline as he fades away. Army wives…

  6. Valissa says:

    Weds night 4/6 at 9pm on your local PBS station…
    PBS to Premiere 2-Hour Special NOVA’S VIKINGS UNEARTHED, 4/6
    New evidence of Viking life in America?
    View From Space Hints at a New Viking Site in North America

  7. Stonevendor says:

    The old eyes are confounded. Please tell. What is that blooming in the woods?

  8. Matthew says:

    So, the success of the Russian campaign now compels Moscow to dump Assad? See
    Time for another PB or TTG update, please.

  9. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Colonel Lang, SST;
    I would really appreciate your analysis of the “Putin stole 2 billion” story that is all over the Borg-controlled media.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  10. Vince says:

    Unfortunately, I can’t remember the author or title of a book I read some years ago about the creation by the Germans of battle groups on the Eastern Front during WW2. In a way, these battle groups were the complete opposite of formations such as battalions, regiments, divisions, corps etc as splendidly described by Patrick Armstrong in his recent Russian Tank Army post. They were the opposite in the sense that a German commander would cobble together a fighting group in the heat of battle and gather together whatever he could to maintain a line of defence: artillery remnants, damaged infantry companies or platoons, anti-tank units, mortar sections, tanks if he were lucky, HQ staff if he were even luckier. If I remember rightly, they varied greatly in size according to circumstances – from forces in the hundreds to ones in the low thousands. I guess they were the creative response of a force (the Wehrmacht) which was getting crushed by the inexorable Soviet advances. They were short-lived formations, by their very nature, but very effective according to the German author. Has anyone else come across this approach from other armies in recent years?

  11. Kutte says:

    Since this is an “Open Thread” I would like to raise the
    subject of conspiracy theories. Of course, if you consider
    there is not enough time & space on SST for that, I have to
    take it on the chin. Now we all know of course that there are
    absolutely kinky conspiracy theories, such as Adam Weishaupt
    of the Illuminati ruling the world from his grave or Dr. Fu
    Man Chu sitting in a cave in Tibet and pulling the strings.
    However, if you consider what we know (and what we have
    forgotten) about real conspiracies, it would seem frivolous
    to dismiss every conspiracy *suspicion* as BS. So, how does
    one judge it, when a Chinese diplomat (supposedly) told an
    Israeli diplomat: “I know the protocols are a forgery!” and
    then adds with a grin: “…but they are the best forgery I
    ever saw”. The protocols may be anyone’s brainchild, there
    may be no “wise men of Zion”, but their contents is a damn
    good recipe to gain control. Is it BS to suspect that
    somebody deliberately made them public in such a clumsy
    manner? Whenever somebody expresses an inconvenient opinion,
    somebody else discovers the same is written in the protocols,
    therefore it has to be BS. Look at a fellow called “David
    Icke”. He writes a lot of presumably true things about the
    Rothschilds, and then adds that they are reptiles from outer
    space. When you try to talk about the Rothschilds, people
    start laughing and say: “You believe they are reptiles from
    outer space?”. So, how realistic or BS is it, to suspect that
    Baron R. picks a run-down soccer-player from the street and
    says: “Here is X Dollars. Write all these things about me,
    and then add that the R. family is from outer space!”. Too
    absurd to believe even for one second? (I am *not* saying it
    is like that!). I can cite another example: During the war
    there was a Nazi spy with the pseudonym “Cicero”. He was some
    sort of a butler at the British Embassy in Ankara, and the
    Nazis had provided him with a key to the vault. He managed to
    copy a complete plan for the invasion in Normandy. The
    consequence? Hitler said: “Why on earth would the British
    deposit this plan in Ankara?”. So, how foolish is it to
    assume that the British had discovered Cicero, and, instead
    of exposing him, they placed the plan, in the hope that
    Hitler would say the exact same words quoted above (I am
    *not* saying it was like that). This blog in particular has
    many excellent experts, how about explaining the reasons for
    rejecting a conspiracy *suspicion* instead of just dismissing
    it. The conspiracy suspicion about princess Diana seems to me
    very unlikely. How would the assassins arrange for her
    chauffeur to get drunk and hit the curb? On the other hand,
    after the collapse of East Germany, a lot of absolutely
    shocking details came to light, that would have been laughed
    out of the room had they been presented at the time they
    happened. Absolutely prominent politicians were in the pay of
    the East German secret service (STASI). The election of the
    chancellor in 1972 was bought for a mere 100,000 Marks by the
    STASI. How much money is that in comparison to the money
    available to the 1%? They would spend that much on lighting
    up their cigars with $100 bills! So, hopefully contributions
    will be made to specify criteria to use for separating
    reasonable or at least plausible suspicions from sheer BS.
    What is a conspiracy suspicion, a theory, or absolute BS? If
    it looks like a conspiracy, and walks like a conspiracy, and
    quacks like a conspiracy, it is a conspiracy?
    How insane is the conspiracy(?) theory that somebody, via an
    organization generally know as “Gladio” effectively helps
    ISIS in carrying out acts of terror. How insane is the
    conspiracy(?) theory that Erdogan and kin kept ISIS solvent?
    A lot of people have reason to believe that they are
    intelligent, not out of conceit, simply by having observed
    that they can solve problems quicker and better than others.
    They have, however, no reason to believe that they are
    resistant to any “sleight of hand”. They can enter a hut on a
    fair and have a “magician” pull nails out of their nose and
    coins out their ears. They don’t know how it’s done, but they
    know it’s deception, But what if they don’t have the advance
    knowledge? What if the “magician” lives in a mansion and is
    legally allowed to call himself a professor? There was once
    an excellent cartoon (I think in the “New Yorker”) where a
    poor patient was lying on the couch of a psychiatrist, and
    the doctor compassionately asks him: “So you are suffering
    from the paranoia that there are people with rabbits ears?”,
    whilst the patient looks at him in horror as he notices the
    two big rabbits ears on the doctor. Many newspapers offer
    columns with experts advive. What if you write to them about
    conspiracies, and they present a kind looking professor with
    horn rimmed glasses, who patiently explains it’s all BS, and
    you recognize he’s the one somebody else pointed out as the
    chief conspirator. What I am trying to get at, is there any
    sort of recipe to tell fiction, suspicion and fact apart?
    As a reminder: You, Colonel Lang, believe the attack on USS
    Liberty was deliberate and not accidental. This has been
    rejected and “debunked” as conspiracy theory. So don’t you
    think it is important to get the right range on what is
    fiction, suspicion, or fact? Somebody give us orientation. I
    shall be interested on whether this creates any echo.

  12. Trey N says:

    Well, here’s some great news — if there’s anything at all to this theory:
    Meanwhile, domestically, another couple of interesting theories:
    Coupled with the news here of the resurrection of the 1st Guards Tank Army, as well as the increasing success of the R+6 in Syria, it looks like the Borg could soon be on the run both at home and abroad.
    What wonderful news that would be! Hasten the day….

  13. turcopolier says:

    There are some things that seem so implausible that I refuse to have them discussed as a serious matter on SST. OTOH I am willing to allow things to be discussed that people like the Zionist community wish to dismiss as “conspiracy theory” so as to establish a meme to be accepted as truth. In re the attackS on USS Liberty the Zionists want you to believe that the attack on the Liberty was an oops moment but in fact USS Liberty was repeatedly struck by Israeli air over a period of several hours and in the midst of that the Israeli navy attacked the ship with gunboats. If that is not enough to indicate to you that the attacks were deliberate then I remind you that I read the transcripts of talk between the first Israeli flight commander in the attacks and his base. So for me the deliberate nature of the attacks cannot be called “conspiracy theory.” pl

  14. turcopolier says:

    The Kampfgruppen were built by assembly for a given task from pieces of formations built exactly the way that Armstrong describes. The US Army has been set up to do the same thing since the adoption of the ROAD division structure in the early ’60s. pl

  15. steveg says:

    re: Panama papers
    The borg has given Putin and his associates
    the lead in the expose of off shore money
    laundering and asset obfuscation.
    Imagine that. No mention so far of US participants.
    Clinton Foundation anyone?

  16. turcopolier says:

    Red Bud. pl

  17. Trey N says:

    Great comment! The sheeple have been successfully brainwashed and conditioned to believe that when good things happen in the world, it’s because decent people have planned and worked hard for those outcomes. When utter evil and depravity occurs, however, it’s because “well, you know — shit happens…” (shrug).
    I don’t see how anyone with even two firing synapses can look around at all the evil in the world today and think that it’s all simply a result of happenstance and coincidence — no planning by anyone anywhere, no meetings of like-minded psychopaths trying to steer/create events to their own advantage, etc etc — but then again, I never cease to be amazed by mankind’s capacity for destructive self-delusion….

  18. BabelFish says:

    Slaves to ratings and E. Murrow is long dead and cold. If they can’t fit Trump into their bloviating, they must feel they failed. MSM seem to contain three themes. What Trump said, horrible weather and, oh yeah, what Trump said.
    They have deteriorated into sock puppets.

  19. BabelFish says:

    I would love to do some of the archaeology on those sites (with a healthy dose of Deep Woods Off liberally applied).

  20. sillybill says:

    Red Bud blossoms are edible and are good in salad.

  21. turcopolier says:

    I fixed the link. pl

  22. different clue says:

    The “opposition” weren’t able to topple Assad themselves and they never will be. Therefor they still demand America to do it for them at America’s own expense. Since Obama and the Borg still WANT to topple Assad they keep catapulting the “Assad must go” propaganda in hopes of recruiting the American public to the cause of toppling Assad. Obama and the Borg still feel that if they can just make the sale, that an American majority will support them and then they can go ahead. And that’s why the “opposition” is still given column inches in the MSM.
    What the RussiaGov wants Assad to do or agree to has more weight because the RussiaGov was pretty important in helping the SAR beat back the Jihad Rebellion to a standstill at least. If the RussiaGov wants to see an eventual genuine election, the RussiaGov may advise the SAR on how to conduct. The RussiaGov may even suggest the SAR put ex-President Jimmy Carter and the Carter Center in charge of observing it.

  23. cynic says:

    I’ve just watched that programme on BBC. It was quite interesting, and they’ll probably find more such sites, although so far it only seems like a boat-repair camp for forging nails.
    What could be more interesting is if they took up the idea that the Vikings actually ventured much further afield, and during a period of less ice they got right through the ‘north-west passage’ and that Vinland etc were really on Vancouver Island and adjacent territory.
    Here’s a nice site where the idea is discussed in detail:

  24. turcopolier says:

    I feel bad for people who do not live where the blooming red bud peeks from the edges of the forest in early

  25. turcopolier says:

    The use of dummy shell companies is pretty nearly universal for governments for reason of statecraft and for “high net worth” individuals to hide their money from public view. Sometimes they do that because they do not want the folks back home to know how rich they are. Sometimes they do it to avoid taxation. Syria took to hiding money abroad when the US/UK Borgists made it impossible for the SAG to openly buy aviation fuel and other needed materiel. When I actively did individual consulting, banks and forensic accounting companies frequently asked me to do Due Diligence to identify who potential clients, depositors and the like really were. I know a lot of people including a lot of retired policemen and spooks. I subbed a lot of this out to a long list of people whom I knew and we often could get pretty close to actual identities even though that is often buried under several layers of shell companies in different countries. This business eventually dried up for me. I suspect that was because we all too often learned the truth or came close to it. In Putin’s case I have no idea what the activities of his friends and relatives amount to and how they may or may not connect to him and I will not enquire. The SVR, FSB,etc. have nothing to worry about concerning me. BTW, there are about 800 law firms doing such incorporations across the world. pl

  26. cynic says:

    The most objective discussion of the Protocols that I know of is that by Peter Myers on his site Neither Aryan nor Jew.
    Anyone who doesn’t like it should take it up with him, not me.
    About Icke and his reptilians, maybe it’s a defence against being sued for libel (under laws stricter in the UK than in the USA),by very rich people, who would now be laughed at by their peers if they appeared to take him that seriously.
    Conspiracy to one degree or another is inherent in human affairs. Those who want you to ignore anything they sneeringly label a conspiracy theory, may have an unworthy motive in doing so. Adam Smith famously remarked that no meeting of tradesmen can end without a conspiracy being hatched against the public. FDR told his protegee LBJ that nothing in politics happens unless somebody wanted it to happen. Official investigations may be intended not to reveal the truth. Kennedy’s assassination is still controversial. Only on 9/11 did skyscrapers fall into their own footprints at free-fall speed vaporizing as they fell, allegedly from the sort of impacts they were designed to withstand and after brief exposure to the sort of heat which leaves other tall buildings standing after burning for much longer. Maybe the laws of physics took a dislike to those towers and conspired against them. That would be strange as they have a good reputation for reliability, quite unlike the statements of the US government.
    As a rule of thumb, be suspicious of anything that is heavily touted by the mainstream media, governments or the interests behind their policies.

  27. Tyler says:

    My favorite conspiracy theory is that the Forest Service, National Parks Service, and Bureau of Land Management are covering up the murder of people by sasquatch.
    But the Orwellian quality of the news was really demonstrated with Snowden, and how “The NSA spies on your emails is a conspiracy theory” became “Everyone knows the NSA reads your emails!”.
    I think the stuff with the Gulen Cult viz Turkey is pretty interesting, imho.

  28. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    CNN’s coverage of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign has been so sparse that his supporters are now calling it the Clinton News Network. They may be more egregious in this regard but they’re by no means alone.

  29. Stonevendor says:

    Following up on PL’s mention of the Liberty, I am sending this along: Long, with lots of references to transcripts of aircraft to controller communications. Don’t get too excited by the link , I tired it and got an error message.

  30. pl and Stonevendor,
    I believe that is a photo of a New England forest in the Autumn. The red leaves are burning bush trees that have widely escaped captivity and have become invasive in the region. The predominant trees in he photo appear to be shagbark hickory. There is an abandoned stone wall in the photo. They are also ubiquitous in the region.
    The redbuds here in Virginia are a more purplish hue and are beautiful. I have a half dozen or so growing wild at the edge of my yard. I drove to Richmond yesterday and noticed them in full bloom all along I-95. The white blooms of the wild dogwoods are also out. A beautiful sight.

  31. Henshaw says:

    Seems we have all been wrong about the origins of IS, but fortunately, we’ve got US Central Command to set us straight.
    According to <“>> , IS actually started in Syria and spread to Iraq. I guess David Kilcullen and the rest had just better get busy on their revisions, the Borg has spoken.
    Seriously, what is their thinking in launching such a demonstrably false narrative?

  32. turcopolier says:

    IMO generals at CENTCOM were kissing ass in Washington with administration slaves like Clapper. pl

  33. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Re: “What could be more interesting is if they took up the idea that the Vikings actually ventured much further afield . . . ”
    Just such a discovery may have been made just before the turn into the 20th century in rural western Minnesota: the Kensington Runestone. It was dismissed as a fraud early on by professors at the U of MN and has for the most part that’s been the consensus. However the father and son who discovered it and claimed they found it ensnarled within the root system of a tree stump they were removing both went to their graves sticking by their story. One of the reasons cited by the skeptics was that the stone had an unknown symbol on it that was unknown to scholars of ancient Norse writing. However about a century later that character was discovered engraved in stone at a site on an island in the Baltic. The Minnesota-based forensic geologist took up the matter at the request of Olof Oman’s descendants and his judgment, based on the stone’s weathering, is that it is likely genuine. He ultimately wrote a book about it.

  34. Valissa says:

    Hey Trey… humans love to conspire… it’s multidimensional conspiracy chaos out there, anything can happen… I think a great name for a geopolitical soap opera on Syria would be “When Conspiracies Collide” 😉
    Conspiracy quotes
    Conspiracy cartoons

  35. Inspired by Colonel Lang’s forest photo, I’ve decided to upload a few photos of my immediate environment to Google Photos for all to see. This is one of the reasons I enjoy retirement in Virginia so much.

  36. Trey N says:

    In WW II, the German army displayed some very flexible command arrangements. Early in the war, kampfgruppes were usually ad-hoc combined arms units assembled for a particular mission, often at the regimental level. Later in the war, especially on the Eastern Front, the term usually referred to the burned-out remnants of infantry divisions; at times several of these KGs would be combined to form a Korpsabteilung (a temporary new “division” which was often renumbered on a permanent basis).
    The mix-and-match of units for whatever a situation called (often a dire emergency after 1942) could go as far up the chain of command as army level: Army Detachment Hollidt and Army Detachment Kempf were created after the Stalingrad disaster in southern Russia.
    The US Army displayed a similar flexibility with the Combat Commands (A, B, R) of its armor divisions in 1944-45, calling the temporary combined-arms formations “task forces.”

  37. Valissa says:

    Thanks for the reviews! I watched the 1st season of Bosch and enjoyed it, but haven’t gotten around the watching the 2nd season yet. I’m more motivated to now 🙂
    I read ‘The Man in the High Castle’ many years ago and have been looking forward to watching the series with my husband. I love alternate histories! Having caught up on all our TiVo’d episodes of ‘Colony’ and ‘The Expanse’ (both were excellent!) we’re ready to start another sci-fi series. A friend recently suggested we watch Orphan Black… and the reviews I’ve seen have been very encouraging.

  38. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    This seems to be a useful article about it: “Public Slams Mainstream Media For Putin Focus After Panama Papers Leak”

  39. Anonymous says:

    “Ancient horse dung is helping to track Hannibal’s route across the Alps”
    Valissa, archeology seems to be a rather fallible endeavour. I own a copy of an archeological study of the american imperial expansion worldwide circa XXI century, published in the year 3421 AD, where archeologists affirm with great confidence that there is mounting evidence that americans were in fact a nomadic bull-herding tribe. I have no idea how they came to such conclusion.

  40. turcopolier says:

    If memory serves WW2 German divisions were organized by arm “pure” regiments or battalions: infantry, tanks, artillery, self propelled guns, etc. Effective employment demanded cross attached all arm teams, hence the practice of making up kampfruppe. pl

  41. turcopolier says:

    US Army armored divisions in WW2 were designed to be easily organized for combat by cross attachment under three brigade type headquarters: CCA, CCB and CCR. the infantry divisions were much more rigid in their structure. After the interregnum of the ponderous Pentomic divisions in the fifties, all US Army divisions were organized under the ROAD concept which was essentially the WW2 armored division model. pl

  42. Fred says:

    The redbuds were in bloom at The Hermitage over Easter and had a beautiful lavender/purplish hue. Quite beautiful.

  43. Valissa says:

    LOL… archaeologists come up with the darnedest things 😉 (*)
    * probably about this book

  44. Trey N says:

    I saw that cartoon about the sheep several years ago, Valissa, and it’s still one of my all-time favorites (perhaps because that’s the typical response one gets when talking to sheeple…).

  45. Trey N says:

    Yes, German divisions in WW II were so organized; I believe that was the way all major armies of the period formed their divisions.
    Unlike the fairly standardized US Army divisions of WW II, however, the German army evolved into an incredibly complex organization over the course of the war. Even the backbone of the army, the pre-1939 infantry divisions, were raised in a series of annual “waves” that differed in training and equipment. The panzer divisions that led the invasion of France in 1940 varied greatly in their TOE; a couple were equipped entirely with captured Czech T-38 tanks!
    “The Panzer Legions” by Samuel Mitcham gives a brief history of every German armored formation in WW II; trying to keep up with the bewildering variety of units, their organization and equipment, deployments, destructions and resurrections, etc will make your head spin.
    And then there are the SS divisions and brigades, the Luftwaffe field divisions, the parachute divisions, and the Hermann Goering Panzer Division all competing with the Heer for scarce manpower and resources, not to mention the “static divisions” garrisoning the Atlantic Wall in 1944 and the Volksgrenadier divisions raised later that same year.
    To bring the units in Army Group South up to strength for the 1942 summer offensive, the panzer divisions in AG North and AG Center were cannibalized by reducing their tank component to one battalion per regiment. In October 1943 the regular army infantry divisions were reorganized from the 3 regiment, 9 battalion standard to a 3 regiment, 6 battalion standard, and the number of squads in each rifle platoon were reduced from 4 to 3; in May 1944 there were further revisions.
    All of this was further complicated by the heavy reliance of the infantry divisions on horse-drawn transportation from the beginning of the war to the very end.
    The Red Army also underwent a series of complex changes from 1941 – 1945. Studying how the rival forces on the Eastern Front adapted and evolved as the war progressed is a fascinating exercise.

  46. Kutte says:

    Thanks for fixing the link. I had missed this one, latest
    thing I was aware of was that the tapes went missing. The
    only echo I generated was some mild mannered sarcasm about
    sasquatch. It reminds me of a scene in the move “The longest
    day” (supposedly based on a true event). A group of American
    and German soldiers are approaching each other in the dark,
    not yet able to make out whether the other group are friend
    of foe. As they get close enough, a huge explosion occurs
    somewhere, and everybody’s eyes turn there, as they walk
    past each other. Only one American soldier notices that the
    others are Germans and screams his head off. Nobody pays
    attention and finally they are past each other, and the guy
    looks on with incredulity. Seems I cant get myself arrested
    even when running naked thru the street, thru sheer lack of
    interest. One last attempt, after that I shall sit in front
    of the mirror and debate the matter with myself. My point
    was actually not the USS liberty case itself, but the
    incredible flood of “debunking” that it caused. If nobody
    else finds that conspicuous, that’s too bad. Just google
    “The Lie that Won’t Die” and you get 5,300,000 hits, add
    “semite” and you still get 4,800,000, because it’s
    anti-semitic, of course. I could not find your name
    anywhere, apparently you are hard to “debunk”. Now why would
    there be such a huge, and presumably expensive, army of
    professional debunkers? IMHO, there is an excessive
    readiness to dismiss everything as conspiracy straight away,
    like a conditioned reflex. Now excuse me for concluding my
    contribution, I am off to a meeting with aliens from outer
    Chers everybody, even so. Kutte

  47. LondonBob says:

    Add a zero and double it. The St Pete network have got filthy rich in the past decade or so.
    It has little effect though as firstly the Russians expect it, and secondly if you look at GDP per capita, life expectancy etc. then Putin’s rule has also led to the enrichment of the general Russian population as well. Under Yeltsin corruption happened on a greater scale, most of the money ended up in Israel or the West, the country was humiliated and living standards collapsed.
    That said just one opposes the new cold war doesn’t mean one should be apologist for the excesses of the current Russian elite. Most Russians long for strong rule of law and a less rapacious elite.

  48. LondonBob says:
    Trump’s long time political adviser Roger Stone has written about the USS Liberty. It is things like that, and not his AIPAC speech, that was written by his on in law, that account for much of the hysteria directed at him.

  49. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Colonel Lang,
    Many thanks. I know about the use of dummy corporations for circumventing country or company-specific embargoes. The use of these devices for hiding/protecting personal wealth by the rich, I understand. External funds controlled by Putin or FSB through proxies for Russia-specific activities I also acknowledge. What I fail to see is the utility of such a fund for Putin’s “personal wealth”. At his position, with his actions, he seems to be only interested in Russia and Power. At this level of the fight a “golden parachute” might not have the meaning, or utility, it has for lesser minds-say for a two-bit thief like tayyip erdogan of Turkey, or for a globalist mercenary like George Soros. Running away and living off his stash at a Riviera if things go bad does not seem to be Putin’s style-but I could be mistaken. If he had to run from Russia, where would he run to, and what good 2 billion or 40 billion do for him there?
    Ishmael Zechariah

  50. sillybill says:

    TTG – beautiful pictures. Do you make tea or tincture from the echinacea or is it just butterfly bait? (my wife is an herbalist and makes lot’s from a surprisingly small patch)

  51. Matthew says:

    TTG: Absolutely magnificent photos.
    BTW, do you know anything about the status around Azaz?

  52. The Beaver says:

    Ha ha ha , can’t stop laughing since i read this :
    “We have used the power of digital forensics to expose the details of Russia’s aerial and ground attacks in Syria using information entirely from open sources, available to be viewed and verified by anyone.”
    The report, Distract, Deceive, Destroy: Putin at War in Syria is by Maksymilian Czuperski, John Herbst, Eliot Higgins, Frederick Hof and Ben Nimmo. Higgins is head of Bellingcat, the UK-based website that specialises in analysis of open source material such as aerial photographs and in crowdsourcing”
    Brown Moses – him again , the couch potato from the UK who was adamant that Assad was killing his people with sarin when he has never set foot in Ghouta 🙁
    Atlantic Council which bent over backwards when they received a call from the Hariri family and which receives donations from 25 foreign govt !!!

  53. Bandolero says:

    New front of the Borg in Karabakh?
    What just happened in Karabakh seems to me like the Borg just opened a new front. It’s quite clear that Aliyev did start the fighting to conquer terrotory, while Erdogan has his back. Quote:
    Amid Heavy Fighting, Azerbaijan Claims “Liberation” Of Some Karabakh Territory
    Azerbaijan’s military claims to have “liberated” some territory in Nagorno Karabakh after the heaviest fighting in years broke out between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces over the disputed territory.
    Fighting that broke out overnight April 2 has already resulted in an unprecedented death toll …
    Colonel Cassed has some maps of territory conquered by Aliyev with his offensive on Karabakh:
    But both Erdogan and Aliyev in Washington just not only met each other – they also met major Borg operatives there. Of course, everybody knows that Armenia supports Karabakh and Russia is allied with Armenia in the CSTO and the Eurasian Union. So, an Azeri attack on Karabakh may easily be seen by the Borg as a new pressure point against Russia.

  54. cynic says:

    Yes, that’s a nice one, although by the 1360’s they might no longer have been regarded as Vikings. There’s also people like Gloria Farley who had a site and a book called In Plain Sight about early voyagers and settlers to North America.
    Barry Fell was probably the most famous, and the books of Joseph Farrell are interesting.It seems that everyone had got to America long before Columbus. There was another woman who wrote about ancient Chinese settlements, and I recall seeing websites of people who think they have found evidence for ‘someone’ building canals between the sources of very pure copper around Lake Superior and the headwaters of the Mississippi.

  55. Kutte says:

    Well, at least cynic is not cynical about conspiracy suspicions.
    Shall follow up your links. Thanx

  56. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Azerbaijan Republic – a.k.a. the old Iranian provinces of Nakhjevan & Aran – a New Jersey by the Caspian Sea – has been buying weapons during past decade of high old revenue for war against Armenia.
    On the other hand, of the 3 states of the Minsk Process – France, Russia, and the United States – France has been most unhelpful over a 20 year period in settling the Nagarno-Gharabagh War; largely due to the strong Armenian lobby in France.
    After Armenians shot down an Iranian C-130 in 1996 that was carrying the families of Iranian diplomats, Iran has not attempted any mediation.
    Turkey has supported and will support Azerbaijan – because of vague feelings of Pan-Turkism and very concrete sentiments against Armenia.
    NATO states & Russia will support Armenia.
    I do not see any upside in this for Borg.

  57. annamaria says:

    Atlantic Council has used “open sources” to inform Mr. Ewen MacAskill, the Guardian’s defence and intelligence correspondent, that “Russian claims on Syria airstrikes ‘inaccurate on grand scale.” This is the same Atlantic Council that has elevated Mr. Eliot Higgins, a specialist in women’s underwear, to a position of a Senior Fellow and New Information Frontiers, Future Europe Initiative Expert ( This is what Wikipedia tells about this particular Senior Fellow at Atlantic Council: “Higgins has no background or training in weapons and is entirely self-taught, saying that “Before the Arab spring I knew no more about weapons than the average Xbox owner. I had no knowledge beyond what I’d learned from Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rambo.” Higgins does not speak or read Arabic.” (Frederick Kempe is the President and CEO of Atlantic Council).
    The report was actually written by some Damon Wilson, EVP of the Atlantic Council. This great bleeding-heart humanitarian served from 2007 to 2009 “as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council. He managed interagency policy on NATO, the European Union, Georgia, Ukraine, the Balkans, Eurasian energy security, and Turkey, and planned numerous presidential visits to Europe, including US-European Union and NATO summits. Previously, Wilson served at the US embassy in Baghdad as the Executive Secretary and Chief of Staff, where he helped manage one of the largest US embassies, played a key role in overseeing the embassy’s effort to design and implement a civilian surge throughout Iraq.” And this bloody weasel came out for a daylight to show his concern for a human life? – No way!

  58. Max H says:

    That’s hilarious. I now have an excuse when my wife suggests that we hike the Appalachian Trial on our vacation.

  59. annamaria says:

    A minor addition, Mr. Damon Wilson “has been decorated by the Presidents of Estonia Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, and Poland for his efforts to advance transatlantic relations. He also serves as a Senior Adviser to the US-Ukraine Business Council; is a member of Commander, US European Command…”
    I guess we should expect great things from Ukrainian economy any day. Why the US embassy in Baghdad comes to mind?
    In his report (based on “open source”) Mr. Wilson was particularly disturbed by the “alleged use” of cluster bombs by RF against ISIS. He was obviously was not familiar with the following reports which presented the factual information on the use of the cluster bombs by the US ally:

  60. sillybill,
    I often thought about brewing my own echinacea tea, but always decide to leave them all for the goldfinches in the fall. They swarm over the flowers once the seed heads try out.

  61. Matthew says:

    different clue: This is why the anti-Assad crowd want a “transition” not election. They will choose a council of pro-NATO lackeys who will then “supervise” any subsequent election.
    BTW, if this story is to be believed, then the more successful Russia is on the battlefield, the more incompetent they become as negotiators. See
    Who knew that the Alawites would “break” from Assad–right as he starts crushing the opposition. (Face palm.)

  62. turcopolier says:

    The Squatchers think that east coast Bigfoots migrate north-south on the AT. So, if you got lucky… pl

  63. Matthew,
    Don’t know much about Azaz. I do read that Hizbollah, IRGC and SAA forces are gathering to renew the offensive in the north and west.

  64. Trey N says:

    Read Fell’s books years ago; he was definitely a ground-breaker.
    Farley Mowat, in his book “Alban Quest” (apparently also published as “The Farfarers”), proposes an interesting theory about Europe-to-North America voyages/settlement shortly before the Vikings.
    Recent DNA studies are providing fascinating data about large-scale historical migrations, many confirming old legends. I hope to live long enough to see a true history of the world combining translated records from ancient archives, archeological digs, DNA studies, and maybe new methods yet to be invented.
    More likely, I’ll have to wait until I’m on the other side of the grass, when I can (hopefully) talk to the ancients and get the story straight from the horse’s mouth….

  65. steve says:

    As a bonus, you’d get to meet Newfoundlanders, some of the most wonderful people on earth.

  66. different clue says:

    “Some” Alawites is not necessarily the same as “the” Alawites, certainly not the same as “all the” Alawites.

  67. different clue says:

    All this deserves longer thought and reply than I now have in the few minutes before my shift starts at work. One very short little thing I once read is this: that when the Twin Towers were built, the 5 Mafia Families totally dominated the building trades in NYC. So whoever paid for those billion dollar buildings may have only gotten 250 million dollar buildings, with the Mafia Families keeping the other 750 million dollars for themselves. So maybe the buildings were not really built to withstand very much impact at all . . . let alone the impact the billion-dollar-payers for the buildings said they were designed to withstand.

  68. fjdixon says:

    Since it is indeed an open thread:
    • Chas Freeman: (particularly good line on American amnesia being sufficient to allow us to hide our own Easter eggs).
    • Pillar with good article on ‘just what the hell it the objective anyway’:
    • An lastly Nagorno-Karabakh:

  69. Matthew says:

    different clue: As I thought. The disinformation blizzard is really thick right now.

  70. cynic says:

    I like the idea that ice age people paddled and hunted along the edges of the ice floes and weren’t bothered about which continent they were near. Also in recent decades people have found stone tools and arrow points in America that are of the same type as in Europe, much older than had been previously taught.
    Have you come across a book by M.J.Harper called The History of Britain Revealed? John Michell endorsed it as ‘The most outrageous book I have ever read.’ (He wrote enough to know!)He shows that the evidence for generally accepted explanations is not very strong and it can be interpreted in other ways than those imposed by the rulers of academe.(Rather like Cremo and archaeology.)He has a site called Applied Epistemology where alternative explanations may be argued over.

  71. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Chas Freeman has a piece up at Consortium News about the USA’s foreign policy dysfunction. Very much worth the read. Here’s an excerpt:
    “With so many people now on the NSC staff, there are now a hundred frogs in a hundred wells, each evaluating what is happening in the world by the little bit of reality it perceives. There is no effective process that synergizes a comprehensive appreciation of trends, events, and their causes from these fragmentary views.
    “This decision-making structure makes strategic reasoning next to impossible. It all but guarantees that the response to any stimulus will be narrowly tactical. It focuses the government on the buzz du jour in Washington, not what is important to the long-term wellbeing of the United States. And it makes its decisions mainly by reference to their impact at home, not abroad. Not incidentally, this system also removes foreign policy from the congressional oversight that the Constitution prescribes. As such, it adds to the rancor in relations between the executive and legislative branches of the federal establishment.”
    Related is a Counterpunch piece by John McMurtry about why the Borg is so freaked out about Donald Trump.

  72. alba etie says:

    Col Lang
    Where I was born in Nacadoghches, Texas is Heaven on Earth in the Spring when the red bud , dogwood & magnolia bloom . It is a verdant paradise from early march to early May usually .

  73. Fred says:

    Since this blizzard is being put out by those who won’t fight for their principles let me paraphrase the old truth: Don’t believe the yellow snow.

  74. Fred says:

    Interesting reading from Chas Freeman:
    “From the National Security Adviser on down, NSC staff members are not confirmed by the Senate. They are immune from congressional or public oversight … but seek to direct policy and to carry out diplomatic and military policy functions on their own.”

  75. Poul says:

    What to do in a post-IS world? Paul Pillar looks at how one secures the victory.

  76. Ulenspiegel says:

    “This is not to disparage the Red Army it was a solid tactical victory. ”
    I would say it was a clear operational success, it was the first time the Red Army was able to stop a German operation in summer time with all its implications for 1944.
    However, the tactical pereformance was not impressive, despite a clear numerical advantage of 2:1 the Red Army still lost 4 soldiers for each German soldiers, and 6 tanks for each German tank, that was not sustainable and no improvement from earlier years.
    (The higher Soviet losses in 1941/42 were due to a large number of POWs as result of German operational success, not of better German tactical performance.)

  77. cynic says:

    That’s certainly a consideration which the relevant authorities should have investigated; but they are remiss. Certainly something like that happened in China recently, and again in Taiwan. Some people judged responsible may have been shot. Is there any concern that other big buildings in New York might collapse for slight reasons? If the Mafia have developed some means of turning rubble into dust as it falls and leaving a pool of molten metal that is hot for a long time, I wonder why they would have bothered, and why they don’t seem to be using these inventions elsewhere. People who get so lucky as to have terrorists or the Mafia demolish buildings which they were soon going to have to pay for themselves to be demolished, and then be able to claim two insurance payouts might also be invited to share the secrets of their good fortune with judicial authorities. Not in this case however. Nothing to see here, move along, just believe what TV tells you!

  78. Trey N says:

    I have not come across Harper’s book, but I’ll keep an eye out for it now (lots of used bookstores here in Austin).
    I have a history degree, but to me the “mainstream history” in many/most cases is the equivalent of the “lamestream media.” For instance, I just love how throughout “known” history rivers and oceans are considered highways of travel and commerce, but they were insuperable barriers to ancient/prehistoric/primitive/whatever/man….
    The Sitchen/Velikovsky/Rohl school of ideas still intrigues me (Rohl is especially good at pointing out common-sense observations that just destroy the accepted ancient Egyptian chronology, which thereby also takes down the rest of the standard Mediterranean world time-line).
    Christopher Knight has written a couple of books, Uriel’s Machine and Civilization One, that contain some very interesting data and theories (esp Civ One).
    There may be a lot of sand to sift through with off-mainstream authors, but there are definitely nuggets of gold worth the effort. All one needs is a healthy curiosity, an open mind, a healthy sense of skepticism, and a good amount of just plain old common sense.

  79. Trey N says:

    I thought Frank Zappa said “Don’t eat the yellow snow”

  80. Fred says:

    Yes, but since the borg blizzard is all about bad ideas.

  81. bth says:

    Was USS Liberty an event so extraordinary as to be considered an outlier in relations between Israel and the US at the time or was it part of a broader pattern? There is also the nuclear materials diversions during the period which again is rarely discussed in public.

  82. Tyler says:

    I don’t need an excuse to avoid the Appalachian Trail beyond the fact that people just tend to -vanish- on that thing and the powers that be don’t really seem to care. I’d rather hike the Arizona Trail personally.

  83. Tyler says:

    To be fair, I too am a specialist in women’s underwear, mainly in the extrication and removal section.

  84. BraveNewWorld says:

    “Over 125 investigations into Israeli Espionage in America… stopped due to political pressure.”…FBI Counter Intel Officer John Cole.
    So feel good about this.
    “Once the first F-35Is arrive here in December, state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) will begin installing a tailor-made C4 system on top of the central avionics embedded in the joint strike fighter.”

  85. Neil R says:

    “I would say it was a clear operational success, it was the first time the Red Army was able to stop a German operation in summer time with all its implications for 1944.”
    And you ought to label it as a strategic success. After the battle, the Ostheer no longer had the initiative in the east. Guderian knew this was likely even before the final decision to go ahead with the Zitadelle. Even if the Ostheer were able to eliminate the salient, so what? The standard of “success” was a decisive victory on the scale of Fall Blau leaving the Red Army incapable of decisive action at least until the end of 1943. It’s not just the destruction of armored vehicles that mattered. More importantly the Panzerwaffe lost almost irreplaceable veteran manpower.
    “However, the tactical pereformance was not impressive, despite a clear numerical advantage of 2:1 the Red Army still lost 4 soldiers for each German soldiers, and 6 tanks for each German tank, that was not sustainable and no improvement from earlier years.
    (The higher Soviet losses in 1941/42 were due to a large number of POWs as result of German operational success, not of better German tactical performance.)”
    So the POWs didn’t count as “losses”? What is combat? Is it only to kill or destroy quantifiable number of men, combat vehicles, weapons systems? Or is it possible that in combat one must break the will of the enemy to stop him from continuing to fight? I hardly think a Soviet general would’ve thought that his people were doing just great tactically but were losing at the operational level (There were exceptions like the 62nd Army at Stalingrad obviously). In fact one could make a case that the opposite held true until 1943. How good was the German performance at the operational level during the Winter offensive of 1941 and Operation Uranus? Yet I’m sure people at armor schools around the world still study the 11th Panzer’s defense at the Chir River in Dec. 1942.

  86. Trey N says:

    “Over 125 investigations into Israeli Espionage in America… stopped due to political pressure.”
    It’s much worse than just that (as infuriating as that is):

  87. Ulenspiegel says:

    OK, I should have given the definitions first. 🙂
    For the estimation of tactical success the numbers for KIA and WIA are compared, the sum of KIA, WIA and POW are a rough metrics of operational success at least as long as both sides show the same tendency to give up. Usually only break-throughs that could be exploited by larger formations led to high numbers of POW.
    The ratio of KIA+WIA did not change very much between 1941-1944, the high Soviet losses in 1941/42 were caused by POW, who were captured in the Kesselschlachten. At Stalingrad 1942/43 and when Heeresgruppe Mitte was destroyed in 1944 we saw this on the other side, while the KIA+WIA was still in the 1:3 range.
    Hope my arguments become somewhat clearer.

  88. cynic says:

    An excellent article. I was just about to post it myself as a description of the ramifications of the Borg!

  89. different clue says:

    I was only thinking of the Mafia families skimming so much money off the price of the buildings as to leave the buyer with a cheap crappy building which would fall right down when hit by a very big very fast plane. I was thinking of the Mafia families not caring what might or might not happen with the building years after being built so long as they walked off with their lion’s share of the money spent on building it.
    So in a sense, it would be a “no conspiracy needed” theory of why the building fell straight down so impressively.
    Just as if the Three Gorges Dam suddenly collapses and sends all that water down the Yangtze River, no conspiracy need be invoked. Just Cheap Commie Crap Construction.

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