The Naming Commission set up by Congress to propose new names for military bases named for Confederate generals has recommended that eight bases be renamed. I served at two of them. If the recommendations are accepted, Fort Gordon will become Fort Eisenhower, and Fort Bragg will become Fort Liberty.
One of the persons whose name was under consideration for a base name was Alvin York. York, who won the Medal of Honor in WW1, did his stateside training at (then) Camp Gordon and served in the 82nd Division in France. The 82nd is one of the principal units at Fort Bragg.
Although the recommendation proposes to rename four bases after Medal of Honor recipients, Sergeant York’s connections to either base apparently didn’t impress the Commission. Or perhaps he was passed over because he was a Southerner.
The Russian Army has lost substantial amounts of irreplaceable (on any short term) equipment and a large number of irreplaceable professional soldiers during Putin’s adventure in Ukraine. As the war continues, the Russians will have to move more of their remaining cadre of professionals from around the country to the active war zone, and that will require staffing other garrisons with inexperienced, poorly trained conscripts.
If I were a senior commander in the Peoples’ Liberation Army, the view to the North across the Amur River might become more tempting than the view to the East across the Taiwan Strait.
Drone footage shows that the Russians set up a field camp and dug trenches in the Red Forest near Chernobyl. The forest got its name when the trees there turned from green to red as they died from radiation poisoning. They were bulldozed, a layer of sand spread over them, and new trees planted. After more than 35 years, the place is still so radioactive that the Ukrainians stay away.
It appears that the young Russians were unaware of what had happened at Chernobyl in 1986. It’s not something that fits into approved State History in Russia. (You’ve got to be carefully taught.)
Of course, the senior military leaders who were alive in 1986 would have known, but they didn’t tell the men under their command—yet another leadership failure.
My podcasting partner Stacy McCain has a post up about the Russian casualty figures that were “leaked” yesterday. If true, they indicated that the Russians are taking around 1,000 casualties (400 killed) per day. I’m skeptical. That the figure seems high, but, considering the Russians’ general incompetence, their losses could be that bad.
While the Russians have improved the technology of their weapons since the Second World War, they made few significant changes in the structure of their army. It is in many ways the same force Zhukov led almost 80 years ago, mostly a bunch of poorly trained conscripts led by corrupt NCOs and inept officers. The equipment may be more technologically advanced, but that makes it more susceptible to poor maintenance. However, today’s Russian army is very different from the Zhukov’s force—it is not repelling an invader; it is not fighting a Great Patriotic War. For now, the Russians are losing senior officers to snipers and drone strikes. How long will it be until the fragging begins? If it hasn’t already.
Meanwhile, Ukraine is fielding a highly motivated force armed with some of the be best weapons of the 21st century. The best Western technology backed by the West’s manufacturing capacity isn’t being sent as aid to Russia but to Ukraine. The Javelin and other anti-tank weapons are doing to Russian armor what the machine gun did to Infantry in the First World War. And Western intelligence service are clearly providing real time information.
The Russians may still win through brute force and sheer numbers, but the race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. Sometimes the victory belongs to the smart and the brave. That’s beginning to look more like the Ukrainians than the Russians.
One of the reasons the Russian advance had gone more slowly than Putin expected is that the Russians are having trouble getting food, fuel, and other support to their troops.They clearly lack the assets to maintain a reliable supply train. Poorly maintained trucks running on cheap, unreliable Chinese tires may be the undoing of their campaign. While the Russians may not be able to keep their soldiers fed, the Ukrainians are helping them stay warm by the fires of vehicles set alight by Javelins and Molotov cocktails.
Of course, the Russians may still pull off a costly win via overwhelming numbers, but the war in Ukraine shows the truth of the principle that amateurs study tactics and professionals study logistics.
I mentioned in a previous post that my father was the only Infantry officer to accept the surrender of a German submarine during WW2. I’ve had a couple of requests for the details, so here’s a brief telling of the tale—
Captain Hoge’s Combat Intelligence Team was attached to the 66th Infantry Division during their operations in the west of France mopping up German forces cut off by the main thrust through France. While the division was moving along the coast, they captured several naval installations. One day, they overran a U-boat base that had been heavily bombed by the RAF. All the subs, except one, had been sunk, and the intact boat was trapped by the wreckage of the others. When the boat’s captain surrendered the intact vessel, it turned out that my father was the senior allied officer present, so he accepted the surrender. During the surrender, the boat captain gave my father his sidearm.
I have the captain’s Luger here on my desk as I write this.
Dad had a couple of other good war stories. One was about a bank robbery he investigated. That one became the basis for a movie.
I have no idea whether the story being pushed by Bob Woodward about Mark Miley’a phone calls to his Chinese counterpart are true. Or whether the story about an allied signal intelligence operation intercepting at least one of the calls is true. I am troubled by the the stories being believable.
If Miley is the Woodward’s source, one wonders why he thought it would be a good idea to let the tale out into the wild. Who did he think would approve?
I really does look as if when 2020 turned 21, it started drinking openly.
Reuters reports the transcript of Joe Xiden’s 23 July phone call with Afghan President Ghani contains the following—
Biden: Mr. President, Joe Biden.
Ghani: Of course, Mr. President, such a pleasure to hear your voice.
Biden: You know, I am a moment late. But I mean it sincerely. Hey look, I want to make it clear that I am not a military man any more than you are, but I have been meeting with our Pentagon folks, and our national security people, as you have with yours and ours, and as you know and I need not tell you the perception around the world and in parts of Afghanistan, I believe, is that things aren’t going well in terms of the fight against the Taliban. And there’s a need, whether it’s true or not, there is a need to project a different picture.
Wow! It’s a good thing he didn’t ask Ghani to do something such as conducting an investigation. That would have been an impeachable high crime or misdemeanor.
I understand the frustration of the actual warriors feel because of the incompetence of the the generals and admirals who are supposed to be leading them. I turned down a promotion to major and left the Army Reserve rather than continue to serve under Carter’s Pentagon crowd.
I foresee that Carter’s second term was much too optimistic an expectation for the Xiden Administration. Let’s pray that we can still avoid the likes of Buchanan’s second term.
White House press flack Jen Psaki has admitted that it is likely that there will be American citizens still stranded in Afghanistan after 31 August. Indeed, given the current progress in the evacuations, there will probably be thousands of Americans who want out and who can’t get out by 1 September.
There were only 52 American hostages trapped in Tehran in 1979/80.
You know that thing about Carter’s second term being the best case scenario. It was clearly too optimistic.
Too many of the wrong people have been caught up in the Afghanistan fiasco for The Media to quietly go along with the Xiden Administration’s attempts to edit the news. During the long war, reporters who spent time in Afghanistan made friends among the Afghan people. Other reporters have college friends or family members working with NGOs in the country. These personal connections to real people in real distress are The Media them to challenge Xiden’s spin.
Here are a couple of examples.
The Guardian has reported in a significant difference between the American and French governments’ version of the minutes of a phone call between Joe Xiden and French President Macron. A British newspaper is reporting on the French lecturing us on moral behavior.
The White House’s readout of a call between Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron on the crisis in Afghanistan leaves out an impassioned plea from the French president that the US and its allies have a “moral responsibility” to evacuate Afghan allies.
ABC has now published the entire transcript of the Xiden interview conducted by George Stephanopoulos, including about 1,000 words that were edited from the broadcast version. The full version simply makes Xiden look even less prepared to handle the crisis.
People who haven’t been to Room 101 yet tend to be supportive of friends and family, even over the demands of the Inner Party.
There is no question Joe Xiden owns the catastrophic nature of our exit from Afghanistan. He can’t dodge that. However, the failure of the entire enterprise was predetermined years ago by George W. Bush when he failed either to limit the mission to a brief punitive expedition (as against Mexican bandits in 1916) or to conduct a successful war of total destruction of the enemy (as against Germany and Japan in WW2).
What is essential in war is victory, not prolonged operations.