Sadly, Rusty's replay file got corrupted. But trust me, if you're a Tier VII Colorado, the last thing you want to see is a three ship division of Tier X Montanas coming around the corner, gunning for you.
Message to the Department of Defense from Secretary of Defense James Mattis
It’s good to be back and I’m grateful to serve alongside you as Secretary of Defense.
Together with the Intelligence Community we are the sentinels and guardians of our nation. We need only look to you, the uniformed and civilian members of the Department and your families, to see the fundamental unity of our country. You represent an America committed to the common good; an America that is never complacent about defending its freedoms; and an America that remains a steady beacon of hope for all mankind.
Every action we take will be designed to ensure our military is ready to fight today and in the future. Recognizing that no nation is secure without friends, we will work with the State Department to strengthen our alliances. Further, we are devoted to gaining full value from every taxpayer dollar spent on defense, thereby earning the trust of Congress and the American people.
I am confident you will do your part. I pledge to you I’ll do my best as your Secretary.
SAM- Special Air Mission. Traditionally, modern US former presidents depart on a final flight in their jet.
Former President Obama* headed for one of his favorite vacation spots, Palm Springs.
I just happened to be outside smoking when SAM 44 Heavy made its first approach to Palm Springs International Airport (KPSP)
Indicentally, you’ll notice the weather is terrible here. The first approach went missed, and as I write this, SAM 44 Heavy is holding over the Thermal VOR (TRM).
*damn that feels good to write
Half a decade into its search for a new handgun, the Army has chosen Sig Sauer's version of the Modular Handgun System, according to a Thursday announcement from the Army.
The new sidearm will replace the M9 Beretta, the Army's pistol of choice for more than 30 years.
"I am tremendously proud of the Modular Handgun System team," said Army acquisition executive Steffanie Easter in the release. "By maximizing full and open competition across our industry partners, we have optimized private sector advancements in handguns, ammunition and magazines and the end result will ensure a decidedly superior weapon system for our warfighters."
The Army first announced the competition for the MHS back in 2011, but multiple delays left the most recent solicitation deadline at February of 2016.
Here’s what pisses me off about our military procurement system.
It’s. A. Pistol.
And it has taken 5 years just to run the selection process for what is essentially one of the least important pieces of military equipment.
It is simply not that hard. If the services had a little more flexibility to handle the smaller acquisition programs, they could have simply bought a couple of each of the leading contenders, given some for testing, and gotten troop feedback from the others, then simply bought what they needed in about 6 months.
The vast layers of bureaucracy that we’ve accreted over the years to improve procurement and eliminate waste have simply turned every program into a sclerotic mess that simply takes too long to buy anything, and of course, time is money in procurement. The longer it takes, the more it costs.
Actually, it’s the maiden victory. I took her out twice on Tuesday night, and got slaughtered both times. This Wednesday outing was the first victory. In fact, I had pretty good luck with her all day. Not perfect, but not bad. But as big and powerful as she is, she’s also a big target, and very often the focus of everyone’s attention.
First, you may have noticed I have a stable of regulars that I tend to division up with. Two of my favorites are LT Rusty, and Grump Wagon.
As it turned out, by chance last night, Rusty and Grump found themselves in a battle together. On opposite teams. And of course, as soon as Rusty spotted Grump, he made it his personal mission to kill Grump.
Secondly, clans are now in World of Warships, so I started one. Task Force Whiskey. The clan tag is XBRTC, if you’re interested. There’s a limit of 30 players.
Which, now I have to spend a crapload of time redistributing all the commanders skill points. Ugh.
Also, with a little bit of luck, I hope to get a clan started soon. Will advise.
On the night of January 16/17, 1991, my company, A Co., 7th Bn., 6th Inf., a part of the 1st Armored Division, was in an assembly area in the empty quarter of Saudi Arabia. We were still waiting for our combat vehicles to be unloaded.
The night sky that evening was very clear. We had for weeks seen considerable air activity, of course. But in the small hours of the morning, while standing guard, I looked up and saw more aircraft than usual. Quite a lot more. North they went. And about an hour later, south they came as still others streamed north. Soon, someone picked up the BBC on the radio, and already the news was out that the air attack of Desert Storm had begun.
We wouldn’t even link up with our Bradleys until the 1st of February. But all day and night, we could see coalition aircraft heading to make our eventual ground assault easier.
A meme from last year.
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Two navy fighter jets flew to Portland today to deliver a special thank you.
They appreciated the help of two Air Force Reservists stationed with the 304th Rescue Squadron. The pararescue jumpers (PJ's) helped save lives during an awful aircraft malfunction at the naval base on Whidbey Island.
On December 16, 2016, three Navy F-18 jets warmed up at the Whidbey Island naval base alongside Puget Sound.
Suddenly something went very wrong.
“During the start sequence, one of the aircraft experienced an over pressurization,” said Commander Jon Crawford.
With the pilot and weapons officer inside, the pressure built to incredible, deadly levels.
“To the point where the cockpit failed and it exploded outward,” he said.
Commander Crawford said that has never happened before to an F-18.
The two on board, members of his squadron, were badly hurt and barely alive. He's not revealing their names.
Here's a bit more on that really bizarre cockpit overpressurization incident at NAS Whidbey back in December.
Making fun of the Air Force is fun and easy, but the PJ community is special, and having them there seems to have contributed greatly to saving the lives of two aviators.
Some time in 2018, the People's Republic of China is expected to launch an indigenously-built conventionally-powered aircraft carrier. She likely owes much of her pedigree to a most unlikely source, the World War II Royal Navy. How so? The story is but a part of the interesting, sad, and some might say jinxed career of the last of Australia's aircraft carriers, HMAS Melbourne.
HMAS Melbourne was originally laid down in April of 1943 as HMS Majestic, the namesake of a six-ship class of British light fleet carriers, which was a modified design of the 16-ship Colossus class. Slightly larger and heavier initially than the Colossus design, HMS Majestic was still incomplete when the Second World War ended in August of 1945. A prostrate and bankrupt Great Britain obviously could not afford to continue building capital ships for which there was suddenly little or no need, so Majestic and her sisters (along with hundreds of other warships in various stages of construction) were laid up incomplete.
At 690 feet in length and around 18,000 tons loaded, HMS Majestic's original design put her somewhere between the US Essex-class fleet carriers (880-feet, 27,000 tons), and the Independence-class light carriers (622 feet, 12,800 tons) for both size and capability. The aircraft complement was about fifty. Speed, however, was just 25 knots, significantly slower than the US "fast carriers".
Late in the war, and in the immediate post-war period, the size and weight of carrier aircraft grew significantly. As a result, the design for Majestic and her sisters underwent many revisions. A reinforced flight deck, angled to allow for simultaneous launch and recovery operations, a steam catapult, and updated radar and electronics all made their way into completion plans. As with many Royal Navy ships considered surplus, the Majestics (and Colossus class) were offered up for sale (along with dozens of pre-war and wartime cruisers, destroyers, corvettes, and auxiliaries). Construction would be accelerated once sale was likely, and Majestic herself, bought by Australia as HMAS Melbourne , was finally completed in 1955. She followed her near-sister HMAS Sydney into service, the latter commissioned in 1948. By this time, weight had crept up to almost 22,000 tons, and increased draft decreased Melbourne's top speed to 24 knots.
HMAS Melbourne would serve the Australian Navy until 1982, when she was decommissioned and laid up. During that service, Melbourne was sometimes thought to be a jinxed ship. That reputation grew from two tragic incidents. Incredibly, the two incidents were eerily similar.
The first occurred on 10 February 1964, as Melbourne was shaking down near Jervis Bay after a long refit. Accompanying her was the destroyer HMAS Voyager, a modern post-war ship also coming out of refit. While positioned as plane guard for Melbourne, Voyager and the rest of the formation reversed course, a maneuver which put the smaller ship forward and to starboard of Melbourne. The details of the incident are better chronicled elsewhere, but Voyager, in maneuvering to return to plane guard station (astern and to starboard of the carrier), inexplicably turned not to starboard but to port, taking her across Melbourne's bow. The bigger ship sliced through Voyager, and 82 sailors were killed or drowned.
Almost unbelievably, five years later, while operating with the US Navy in the South China Sea, Melbourne would again collide with a plane-guard destroyer, with similar results. On the night of 3 June 1969, USS Frank E. Evans (DD-754), a Sumner-class destroyer, was on plane guard station, maneuvering with ordered course and speed changes which her captain believed were being mirrored by the rest of the formation. Again, the details have been well-chronicled. But a mix-up in code books, hence a mix-up in signaled course and speed, eventually put Evans in a position to cross Melbourne's bow. Once again, the stem of the Australian carrier sliced through a destroyer, cutting Evans in half, killing 74 US sailors. The stern of the destroyer somehow stayed afloat, and was towed into port.
Melbourne, despite her reputation as a jinxed ship, continued to serve, and was modernized extensively in 1971, which gave her the capability to handle A-4 Skyhawk and other modern carrier aircraft. She underwent refit again in the late 1970s, and was due for another in 1981, which was subsequently canceled as Melbourne was targeted for replacement.
She participated in a number of SEATO and NATO and joint exercises until, in 1982, the elderly ship was finally decommissioned. Parts availability was very problematic, and cost of maintenance was becoming prohibitive. Laid up in a 180-day status for reactivation as a helicopter carrier, Melbourne was eventually struck in 1984. She was sold for scrapping, finally (after a failed deal with a company to turn her into a casino), to a Chinese company in 1985, and subsequently towed to Guangzhou.
The Chinese, however, did not put ex-Melbourne to the cutting torch for many years. Instead, naval engineers and other PLA Navy officials closely examined everything about the hulk. Her design, construction, welding, catapult, metallurgy, and engineering layout were all extensively studied. Never had the Chinese had an aircraft carrier in their possession, not even a 43-year old one. They did not waste the opportunity. The intelligence community believes they compared their notes on ex-Melbourne with their thorough examination and refit of Liaoning, the former Soviet carrier they commissioned in 2012 after extensive renovation and modernization. Much, it is assumed, of what they learned from the two ships has guided their efforts in constructing their first Chinese-built aircraft carrier. There is even speculation that the flight deck of ex-Melbourne was removed and installed ashore to train Chinese naval aviators. (I wonder if pissing and moaning about crew rest sounds the same in Mandarin?)
Interestingly, one of Melbourne's sisters served even longer than she. HMS Hercules was completed and sold to India, where she was commissioned as INS Vikrant. She lasted in service until 1997, before being a museum ship until 2012. Sadly, she was scrapped in 2014. URR here, by the way.
My gameplay has been utter crap since I took a week off for Christmas. Seriously, not one game worth rendering to video. But WoWs has published the 2017 developer’s diary, with hints about what changes will come to the game in the coming years.
Patch 0.6.0 should be coming soon, and the biggest change it will bring is revamping the commander’s skills.
We should also see clans introduced soon. I’ve been urged to start a clan, and would be happy to do so. I need suggestions for a good name for the clan, so let me have your ideas. Also, if/when I do start one, I’ll likely start a Facebook page for it.
Faced with an acute need for Atlantic escorts on the eve of World War II, the Royal Navy adapted a whalecatcher design as an anti-submarine escort, known as the Flower class corvette. The ships were deliberately designed that commercial shipbuilders could lay them down, as opposed to only being built in traditional naval shipyards. Simple construction, and a simple triple expansion steam plant, kept building times low, and left more expensive steam turbines available for other, more capable warships. Above all, the need was to build large numbers of corvettes as quickly as possible.
Living conditions aboard the corvettes were spartan, even by the RN’s standards of the day. Of course, virtually all the crews were landsmen facing their first experience with the sea, so they didn’t quite grasp how poorly they had it.
The Flower class ships were extremely seaworthy, but had a very uncomfortable ride, and early ships especially were very wet.
Still, as crude as they were, they were effective escorts, with effective sensors and weapons to face the U-Boat threat, and helped greatly to keep Britain afloat during the early years of World War II.
And of course, no post on the subject of RN corvettes would be complete without mention of The Cruel Sea, the wonderful book and movie about the fictional corvette HMS Compass Rose.
RICHLAND James Mattis, the retired Marine Corps general President-elect Donald Trump plans to nominate for defense secretary, came of age in a cloistered community created by the federal government at the dawn of the nuclear age.
In this town carved out of the sagebrush lands of Eastern Washington, nearly everyone had a parent working at the nearby Hanford Engineer Works, site of a large-scale nuclear reactor. The atom bomb was the town’s business, and Columbia High School, Mattis’ alma mater, bore a mushroom cloud atop its crest.
Mattis graduated in 1968, as a shy, skinny kid whose parents never bought a television and encouraged him to read from a big home library.
In a storied Marine career, he emerged as a keen student of history known for compassion and respect for those he commanded, impatience with bureaucracy and a relentless determination to pursue enemy forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.
An interesting look at the small town roots of GEN Mattis.
Read the whole thing.
STUTTGART, Germany — The U.S. Army began unloading tanks and other weaponry in the German port of Bremerhaven Friday, marking the arrival of the first wave of gear that will support the rotation of an armored brigade in Europe.
Over the next several days, the equipment will be offloaded and moved by rail, commercial lines and convoy into staging sites in Poland.
The arrival of the military hardware and troops from the Fort Carson-based 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division marks the start of the first full-time presence of a tank brigade in Europe since the last armored units on the Continent were inactivated several years ago.
Just need another dozen or so BCTs and the supporting brigades, and it will be about right.
The airborne divisions of the US Army in World War II were certainly glamorous, and even today are popular subjects of entertainment, as witnessed by the spectacular success of HBO’s Band of Brothers miniseries.
But when the 82nd and 101st divisions were first converted from infantry divisions to airborne divisions, they each only had one regiment of parachute infantry. The other two regiments in the division organization were glider infantry. And of course, the division artillery couldn’t be airdropped, so it too was gliderborne.
And unlike parachute infantry, glider infantry wasn’t a volunteer outfit. For that matter, for a long time, they didn’t get jump pay, or even wear the special uniform that the parachute guys wore.
Eventually, before the invasion of Normandy, the organization of the divisions would see two parachute regiments and one glider infantry regiment.
Training infantry to become glider troops was somewhat simpler than parachute training, but there was more to it than simply sitting down and going for a ride.
The primary mount of US glider infantry was the Waco CG-4A, a simple (but not crude) glider of tubular steel, wood, and fabric construction. Useful load was the two pilots and 13 troops, or a jeep, or a 75mm pack howitzer.
Waco was the designer of the CG-4A, but like many WWII aircraft, production was undertaken by several companies. We find it rather amusing that of the nearly 14,000 built, some 1000 were built by Gibson Refrigerator.
The massive F-105 Thunderchief is famed for its role in Rolling Thunder during the Vietnam war. Its early service, however, was plagued by technical issues. The first production model, the F-105B, was quite unsatisfactory, and only 71 were built. Lessons learned from that early model, coupled with improved avionics, were implemented in the main production model, the F-105D.
Between a trip out of town over the holidays, and a really nasty man cold, I’m sorry for the light posting. I’m trying to improve on that!