Category Archives: American Military History

Makin Burial

The Makin Raid of 1942 and the Recovery of the Marines Lost After the Battle

In August 1942 the 2nd Marine “Raider” Battalion raided what was then called Makin Island in the Gilbert Archipelago of the South Pacific.  The present name of the island is Butaritari in the island nation of Kiribati.

In 1942 the island had a small, roughly 160 man garrison, and was the site of a Japanese Airfield.  The raid was conceived as a way for the Marines to gather intelligence on what and how many Japanese forces were stationed in the Gilbert Islands.  The plan was for 211 men from companies A and B of the 2nd Marine “Raider” Battalion led by LTC Evans Carlson to land on the island under cover of darkness, neutralize the small Japanese garrison and ransack the island for anything of intelligence value before destroying the facilities and leaving the island.  The Marines would land from two submarines the USS Nautilus and USS Argonaut using small rubber boats equipped with outboard motors.

View of Makin Island from the Periscope of the USS Nautilus Before the Raid

View of Makin Island from the Periscope of the USS Nautilus Before the Raid

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Remains of a prematurely detonated Car Bomb (VCIED) outside of Ad-Daw, Iraq in January 2005

Periodic World Craziness Update # 27

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship.

Suicide Bomb Instructor Accidentally Detonates, Kills 21 Students In Iraq:  I just about fell out of my chair laughing when I read this story.  I was reminded of the moron one afternoon in January 2005 who came out of a side road racing towards me and my wingman’s Bradley’s as we were driving into Ad Dawr, Iraq.  As he got to about 300m from our two vehicles his car suddenly disintegrated.  Stuff like this is why Arabs make horrible fighters.

Remains of a prematurely detonated Car Bomb (VCIED) outside of Ad-Daw, Iraq in January 2005

Remains of a prematurely detonated Car Bomb (VCIED) outside of Ad-Daw, Iraq in January 2005

 

North Korea warns South and U.S. over “provocative” drills:  I start to get the feeling that at some point either the US or more likely, South Korea is going to call North Korea’s bluff.

Ukraine protests turn into fiery street battles:  The brewing conflict in Ukraine bears watching.  Ever since the Orange Revolution and the 2010-2011 politically charged ouster and criminal prosecution of former president Yulia Tymoshenko I have been convinced that a day of reckoning is coming in Ukraine between the pro-Western and pro-Russian factions.  It appears that day is here.  The question now is whether the violence will escalate or if a peaceful solution will be found.  I am not sure enough to make a call one way or the other.

Iranian official on nuke deal: ‘We did not agree to dismantle anything’:  I am pretty sure that in the end we will fin out that the only people who benefited from this deal with Iran is Iran.  They probably already have enough enriched Uranium for their needs.  Thus any ‘deal’ with the West is a win-win for them.

Kiev Truce Falls Apart, and Unrest Resurges:  The question I have now is not if but when the situation in the Ukraine will degenerate into civil war and if Russia will send troops to “assist” the regime.  If Russia sends troops will the EU sit idly by and watch the rebellion be crushed is the next question at the top of my list and I am afraid the answer to that one will probably be yes.  I simply cannot envision any European country being willing to risk soldiers lives to help themselves much less the Ukraine.  The only countries I can see helping Ukraine are Poland, Czech, and maybe France or Britain.

North Korea envoy warns on US-South Korea military exercise:  The DPRK begin pounding on the war drums yet again loudly screeching that they are relevant.  The war scares NK generates are rapidly becoming the modern version of the “boy who cried wolf.”

Iraqi army clashes with militants near Fallujah:  based on my personal experience daling with what Iraqis call soldiers I expect that any Iraqi Army attempt to recapture Fallujah and Ramadi will turn into bloody failures.  Arabs in particular are the stereotype of incompetent soldiers as the history of Arab Wars against Israel show.

Germany preparing third financial rescue for Greece:  On the geopolitical front the EU is apparently preparing to get Greece to triple down on the so-far failed policies of their efforts to save the Greeks from themselves.  I just wonder if the EU power brokers seriously think they will ever really get their money back or if they are just playing sops to the northern tier of EU countries.  The continual support to Greece shows that the Eu is in fact a suicide pact, at least as far as Greece is concerned.

WWII Animated Day-by-Day

Below is an animated map of the progress of WWII day by day from 1 September, 1939 to October, 1945 when the last major units of the Japanese military surrendered.  It provides a fascinating view of the way in which the fortunes of the went back and forth.

Periodic World Craziness Update # 26

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship.

 China’s State Media Blame U.S. for Near Collision of Warships:  I start to wonder how far and how fast China is willing to ratchet up tensions over the Senkaku’s?  It seems that China is not unwilling to provoke an incident.  What happens if they pull something like this in the future and the US retaliates by sinking a Chinese ship, maybe even their beloved waste of a carrier?  Never mind that this whole incident is akin to Hitler blaming Poland for WWII.

India-US row over arrest of diplomat Devyani Khobragade in New York escalates:  though this piece is not strictly military it begs the question of what the US thinks it is accomplishing in the realm of international relations.  The Obama administration and State Department seem to have a positive talent for making enemies of friends and making enemies hold the US in even more contempt than had hitherto been the case.  From the “reset” with Russia, bowing to the Saudi king, Benghazi, to weakness against Iran American foreign policy has been one set of disasters and mistakes after another under the current president.  One thing is certain, the next president can just about only make things better.

Saudi Arabia warns it will act against West’s policy in Middle East:  It has only taken Saudi 3 years to realize that Saudi and Western intentions in Syria are not the same?  I am actually surprised that they figured it out this early.  Then again, I fully expect Saudi financed arms to end up disproportionately in the hands of Muslim extremist groups as well.  I also expect Saudi to express dismay at such thoughts but continue to buy arms anyway.

Russian city hit by suicide bombing for second straight day:  I will not be surprised in the slightest is Chechen rebels make more than one attempt to attack the olympics.  Expect more attacks as the games approach as terrorists try to scare off people and teams from the games.

Al-Qaeda-linked force captures Fallujah amid rise in violence in Iraq:  Further proof that the US accomplished exactly nothing besides killing Saddam Hussein with the 2003 invasion.  Modern geopolitics is wonderful.

U.S. troops prevented from helping even as al Qaeda overruns Iraqi cities:  Kerry says war no longer belongs to Americans:  Of course, what would anyone expect to hear from the waste of oxygen that Kerry is?  This is the guy that dishonored himself and his comrades from his own war after all.

General: Strategic Military Satellites Vulnerable to Attack in Future Space War:  Does anyone seriously think that space assets won;t be the first thing destroyed in any future war between reasonably developed countries.  If the US dos not have plans to knock down opponent’s satellites in the case of conflict then we have some pretty big morons running our nation’s defenses.

Security alert in southern Russia as bodies found in bomb-rigged cars:  Anybody willing to take bets on some kind of terrorist attack at the Winter Olympics next month?  I am not.  Russia’s Muslim terrorists are even more rabid than those elsewhere.  Remember, it was Caucasian Muslims that perpetrated the Beslan attack in 2004 that killed 380 and the Moscow Theater Siege that in 2002 in which 133 hostages were killed.

The misuse of American might, and the price it pays:  One the best analysis pieces I have read about the failure of American strategy in Iraq in a good long while.  Well worth reading.

Periodic World Craziness Update # 25

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship.  

Syrian Regime Chokes Off Food to Town That Was Gassed:  What is the point of a siege if food is allowed through the siege lines? I will never understand modern bleeding hearts.  They should be happy the government forces are not catapulting disease ridden corpses into the besieged area or trying to poison the water supply.  Since when is war supposed to bloodless and not affect non-combatants? Update: Starving rebels eat lion from a Damascus zoo - Apparently the siege is doing what a siege is intended to do.  I am not shocked.  Further, the guys in the picture look anything but starved.

COIN Doctrine Under Fire:  Wow, now after the manifest failure of COIN doctrine everywhere it has been tried somebody found the courage to say it out loud and that is news.  With warfighting strategies like COIN it is no wonder terrorists are not afraid of America.  Of course, stories like this are not helpful in making our enemies fear us either.

Endless Afghanistan? US-Afghan agreement would keep troops in place and funds flowing, perhaps indefinitely:  Who has not seen this coming?  since apparently we are unable or unwilling to achieve our stated victory conditions in Afghanistan we are now negotiating an endless presence.  Does this mean they can always claim progress?  Watch the metrics used to judge effectiveness get more and more divorced from any reality as time passes.  Update-US and Karzai agree on language for pact  Update again- Oh wait, they don’t agree.  Karzai tacks on additional demands to previously agreed on language  Yet another Update- Iran’s President determined to maintain uranium enrichment sites: The only change after the deal is that Iran’s position has not changed  Update: Saying no to Karzai: I am becoming increasingly convinced that the US will be leaving Afghanistan next year.  I am not sad.

Norwegian army goes vegetarian… to fight global warming:  While this story does not speak to any current conflicts it does speak to the the current state of Western militaries.  Apparently, it is not just the US military who spends as much time thinking about and implementing postmodern policies as fighting wars.  This is one of those stories that if you think about if it was not so funny you would break down in tears.

China creates air defence zone over Japan-controlled islands:  Will these islands or other similar disputes serve as a pretext for the next shooting war in Asia?  The lengths to which China will go in its hunt for regional prestige are truly startling.  I am not certain they would not risk a shooting war if they think they get too much pushback from Japan on these islands. Update- China sends warplanes to newly declared air zone: I wonder how far China is willing to go to provoke an incident and if they are willing to start a war at this time.  They are certainly going out of their way to start an incident over matters of prestige.

New Law in Egypt Effectively Bans Street Protests:  I don’t quite know what to make of this.  I expect it is the military trying to clamp down even harder on the MB.  The question is whether enough MB leadership was rounded up this past summer.  I expect we will find out when we see if the insurgency in the Sinai spreads across Suez Canal to the rest of the country.

FBI warns about Americans joining Islamic fighters in Syria:  Didn’t we hear warnings similar to this at the height of the Iraq War?  The wonder is not that naturalized citizens return home and radicalize, it is that the US continues to allow such security threats to reside in the US and naturalize in the first place.

Syria: US and UK suspend aid after Islamist fighters seize weapons stores:  I wonder this has not been a bigger story in the West.  It is essentially what many have been calling for.  Perhaps the story is being buried because conservatives want no aid going to the rebels while liberals are in live with them?