Book Review: Breakout: Pioneers of the Future, Prison Guards of the Past, and the Epic Battle That Will Decide America’s Fate by Newt Gingrich

Breakout: Pioneers of the Future, Prison Guards of the Past, and the Epic Battle That Will Decide America’s Fate by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich would probably have been a more interesting book if it had introduced some new ideas.  Sadly, it does not.  The book is nothing more than a rehashing of the tired ideas that have been floating around in conservative circles for years. One would think that in 209 pages of text at least one original idea would appear.  The book is separated into 13 topical chapters with an introduction and a conclusion.  There is an extensive notes section and a surprisingly good index. The topics cover everything … More after the Jump…

Russian Military Equipment Advertising

Here is a comical advertisement for Russian military hardware disguised as a news story.  Russian military hardware best in the world.  Just a reminder, Pravda is Russian for truth and was, probably still is, the official government news organ.  One of the amusing tidbits is their trumpeting of an Iranian claim that a Russian-made ground attack aircraft, the SU-25, took out an MQ-1 Predator drone as an example of the equipment’s superiority.  To repeat, a manned aircraft shot down a drone.  Lastly, as far as I know, all of Russia’s high tech eqipment exports and foriegn licenses are for what are called “chimp” models.  That is, model that do not include all the latest equipment upgrades that enter Russian service.

I  will never forget the look on the Russian soldier’s face in Bosnia in 1996 when we showed him our M3A2 Bradley’s and what they could do.  When he looked at us and said “and we thought we could beat you,” it was priceless.

Book Review: Countdown: H Hour by Tom Kratman

Countdown: H Hour is the third installment in the Countdown series, hopefully there are plenty more still to come as this just built onto the already strong premise of the first two books.   This book happens at the same time as the events in M Day but in the Phillipines as part of the Regiment conducts a completely separate mission to rescue a rich Phillipino businessman who has been kidnapped by a group of Moro terrorists from the Basilan region.   The action is almost non-stop as the short battalion for the mission conducts operations in Somalia, Basilan, and around Manila in the course of the book.   Adam, … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Countdown: M Day by Tom Kratman

This is the second installment in the countdown series, hopefully there are plenty more still to come as this just built onto the already strong premise of the first book. The premise of this book is that after the completion of the mission in the first book the company Stauer created found a home in Guyana and incorporated as M-Day Inc., now the company must defend Guyana and itself from an invasion by Venezuela. Hugo Chavez wants the invasion to distract his people from their deteriorating situation at home. There is a lot more action in this book than the first of the series. This book continues Kratman’s thinly veiled attacks on liberalism and post-modern thought.
This is still a great read though and I recommend it highly. There are also some really great parts but they are included in the Spoiler below the fold:

More after the Jump…Book Review: Countdown: M Day by Tom Kratman

Book Review: Countdown: The Liberators by Tom Kratman

Tom Kratman published his first book, A State of Disobedience, in 2005. This is the first book in a new series by Kratman, I am currently in the middle of reading the second book, which just hit my mailbox last week. The series starts another of Kratman’s “fiction as commentary on the contemporary world” series somewhat similar to his “A Desert Called Peace” series. This does not mean that it is a bad book, it is not. It is somewhat predictable though. I especially like Kratman’s style, he has a gritty down to earth writing style that I love. He does not pull punches. The book is the story of … More after the Jump…

Photo Essay: Geichberg Castle

I got a chance to visit the Geichberg Castle yesterday and decided to post a picture esay of the castle and a brief description of the fortifications and discuss the strong and weak points of the fortifications. The Geichberg is a castle located about 10km west of Bamberg Germany in Unter Franken or Lower Franconia in English.   The castle was completed no later than 1125 as that is the first time it was recorded in documents.   It has been destroyed and rebuilt several times in in its history.   The current incarnation originally dates from 1390 but was extensively renovate in the early 17th century. According to the … More after the Jump…

Sun-Tzu, Clausewitz, and Naval Warfare

The work of neither Sun Tzu nor Clausewitz is adequate to describe naval warfare except in the most general terms. While it is true that until recent times warfare on both land and sea was largely two dimensional, there are factors at work in naval warfare that defy explanation in either Sun Tzu or Clausewitz. The vagaries of wind and weather played a much greater role in medieval naval warfare than on land. The weather was often a determining factor in whether an engagement happened at all. The naval commander was at the mercy of the weather during the age of sail, something that ground commanders did not have to … More after the Jump…

Shout out to 1&1

I use 1&1 as my host and this past weekend was the first time in my site’s 6 month history that the site went down.   I have to say that once I emailed tech support they got back to me quick and id’d the problem very fast and told me what I needed to do an also told me ow to avoid the same thing in the future.   Apparently I either downloaded a corrupt index.html file when I downloaded the latest WP update or it got corrupted when I FTP’d it to my server.   Regardless 1&1 identified the problem and I had my site up and running … More after the Jump…

The Medieval Siege – Part 2

The weapons and techniques used throughout most of siege warfare are remarkably consistent with few innovations.   The notable new weapons were the trebuchet, Greek fire, and Cannons.

            Siege towers or belfries were common if unwieldy weapons used at sieges throughout the medieval period.   They were often made of wood and were built taller than the walls they would be used to assault.   Sometimes towers were wheeled or they could also be built on sleds so that they could be pushed up against the walls.   The most difficult part of using a tower was getting it up to the walls in the first place as most towns and castles were protected by ditches or moats.   These would have to filled in and leveled out before a tower could be moved into position.

More after the Jump…The Medieval Siege – Part 2

Medieval Fortifications

Fortifications have existed since before recorded history and the Middle Ages were no different.   Forts and castles were used throughout the Middle Ages as a means of controlling territory and could even be used in an offensive manner such as the English under Edward I used in the conquest of Wales in the twelfth century.

            Most of the fortifications used in the early medieval period were Roman works that had survived the fall of the empire.   Most surviving Roman fortifications were town walls and even if they did not survive completely they were incorporated into new construction whenever possible.

More after the Jump…Medieval Fortifications

Medieval Weaponry

While weapon archetypes used during the feudal period were the same as that used throughout most of recorded history there were changes and developments in the different weapons and armor.  Â The spear and all its variants were the most widely used weapon of medieval armies.   The spear was the primary weapon used by the barbarian armies’ that conquered the Western Roman Empire in the fifth century.   As the lance, the spear continued to be used the most even after cavalry became the decisive military arm in Europe.

More after the Jump…Medieval Weaponry

WW II Tanks Panther-T-34 visual comparison

Was talking about WWII tanks at work today and while looking at pictures of the various tanks the visual similarities between the German Panther and Soviet T-34 Jumped out at me. The top photo is of a Panther and the bottom photo is a T-34.   I have always read that the Panther was developed specifically to counter the threat of the T-34 but it never hit me how alike they looked.   They have a similar turret, glacís plate, commanders cupola, even the tracks looks superficially similar at a glance.   It just started to make me wonder if the German designers of the Panther had a captured T-34 … More after the Jump…

Technology and 19th Century War

Here is another subject I was ruminating about this morning and last night. What is the relationship between technology and victory?   This is especially important from the late 18th century forward when the pace of technological innovation in western civilization sped up.  Keep in mind that to the modern mind, change is a constant but that was not always the case, indeed for most of human history it was not the case.  For example, the horse was the main means of transport for 90% of human history, it has only been since the 1840’s since the horse began to be superseded and only really since the 1950’s when the horse … More after the Jump…