German Arms to Kurdistan

Deutsch: Dr. Angela Merkel Bundeskanzlerin der...

Deutsch: Dr. Angela Merkel Bundeskanzlerin der Bundesrepublik Deutschland Vorsitzende der CDU Deutschlands (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Germans have decided to help the Kurds out, with some weapons resupply. I’ll say this, when Frau Dr. Merkel resupplies you, she sends some nice (albeit for Germany perhaps obsolete) stuff. She’s also sending enough to be worthwhile.

Arguing that fighting extremism in Iraq is defending Germany as far forward as possible, Chancellor Angela Merkel called for the provision of the weapons, not in lieu of diplomacy — “No conflict can be solved solely militarily,” she said — but because without a strengthening of the friendlies’ military situation, there will be no diplomatic option. Thst occasioned by the collapse of the Iraqi state and the growth of ISIL threatens the stability of Europe — and Germany — too. German military forces, which once staffed a Provincial Reconstruction Team and some specialist elements in Afghanistan, have long since come home, but Germany can send both obsolete and modern weapons — and is doing so. The German parliament, the Bundestag, has approved the initiative.

The first tranche of supplies, already on the way, includes 4,000 obsolete G3 rifles and a million rounds of 7.62mm ammunition. The list of the supplies made available by Germany includes:

  1. 8,000 obsolete G3 7.62mm rifles
  2. 8,000 current G36 5.56mm rifles with optics
  3. 40 obsolete MG3 (aka MG42) 7.62mm machine guns.
  4. 200 Panzerfaust 3 anti-tank recoilless weapons aiming units, with 2500 reloads (self-contained launcher tube with warhead, rocket, and countermass).
  5. 40 “heavy Panzerfausts”  (possibly MATADORs).
  6. 30 MILAN ATGM launchers with 500 rockets.
  7. 8,000 obsolete P1 (Walther P.38) pistols.
  8. 10,000 hand grenades.

German Arms to Kurdistan | WeaponsMan.

G3 Rifles are about as good as what Americans call battle rifles get, I think the M-14 might be better but I’m not exactly unbiased either. MG3/MG42’s? Ask any American infantryman from World War II about them. We made training films about them.

And yes as somebody said there are about 150 Germans fighting in ISIS, along with the Brits, the Americans and all. One of the commenters at Weapons Man sums up my reaction, and I suspect plenty of others

TheSpartanMonkeySeptember 4, 2014 at 15:11
“As many as 400 nominally-German Moslems have traveled to the region to join ISIL.”

Well, let’s hope all the ISIL wanna-bes head over from here, the UK and everwhere else to consolidate in one kill box.


Merci beaucoup, suckers

A Century of Progress; Not

Hindenburg and Ludendorff 1917

Hindenburg and Ludendorff 1917 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At the end of August 1914, Imperial Germany lost World War I, so did Imperial Russia. And even more they did it in the same battle. Talk about no winners at all. OK, let me explain.

In the opening moves of the Great War, Germany all but stripped the Eastern front of troops to make the Schwerpunkt through Belgium heavy enough to win the war. The Germans were pretty confident, and looking at the way it was going, it’s hard to disagree. They had 34 Corps with 2 or more divisions each in the attack, nearly a million soldiers, to compel the French surrender and make peace with Britain and Belgium, and then it would be time to run back across Germany and defeat the Russian Army. It was about as good a plan as could be devised, although the British going to war was a nasty surprise, and led to some delays.

But my main point today is that the Russians managed to get a couple of huge armies moving toward the German 8th army (4 and a half corps, a cavalry division and the Königsberg garrison). And the German general commanding (von Prittwitz) wasn’t up to the job. He got relieved, von Hindenburg was recalled from retirement, and Ludendorff brought back from the Belgian forts,

As he was driven back, German refugees were scattered around Germany, great ladies from East Prussia filled the Kaiserin’s ear with their tales of woe, and the German’s managed to scare themselves into moving three corps from the western front to reinforce 8th Army. Von Hindenburg tried very hard to tell them he didn’t need them, to no avail

And that’s why Germany, lost the Great War, their only chance to win was for it to be short war, and without those 6 divisions the Allies managed to hold (just barely). But they couldn’t win either, and so Europe bled itself white, until the Americans showed up. The whole thing turned into a tragedy that we are still paying for the consequences of today, not least in the Middle East.

And the Russians? Von Hindenburg fought them at Tannenberg, 95,000 Russian troops were captured, 30,000 were killed or wounded, and about 10,000 escaped, thus setting the stage for the Russian Revolution.

Those unneeded German troops were back in the line in a little more than a week, it was too late.

via Great Satan’s Girlfriend.

Of course the boundaries of the Middle East were set up based on Anglo-French treaties after the war. They had nothing to do with much of anything in the real word. One squiggle in one of them is supposedly because Churchill’s pencil jittered. Of course the whole system has pretty much come crashing down in the last six years. It worked fairly well when a benevolent superpower, first Britain, and then the United States, kept it mostly sane. But now, Britain has cut back, and our president (according to reports) simply can’t be bothered.

I note that some analysts are beginning to wonder whether he is physically capable of making a decision. It a concern that came up occasionally about whether such and so would be able to order nuclear release, but this isn’t even a full conventional war, let alone that.

Reports say he has been getting reports on ISIS for a year now, in the presidential daily brief. I have my beefs with American intelligence, mostly I think the rely too much on overhead imagery, and communications, and not enough on what people think, but I have strong doubt that they missed this, so it has to be that somebody wasn’t paying attention.

The State Department spokeschick seemed so proud yesterday that we’ve run something over a hundred bombing sorties, so far, while declining to call it a war. Well, I sort of understand, Congress hasn’t said it’s a war yet, course they haven’t asked for them to either. I have trouble understanding why there isn’t a carrier battle group (or two) in the eastern Mediterranean, nor do I understand why we aren’t running a hundred sorties per day, some of them B-52s and such. but you know, I was brought up that when you find you must fight, you fight to win, all the way to victory. maybe I’m simply old-fashioned but, it worked for thousands of years.

All I know is what I read in the open press, or see on TV but given the givens; the ineffectual means in the Middle East, the lack of enforcement of immigration law, the completely open southern border, and the almost guaranteed certainty that ISIS people have taken advantage of that, and the anniversary of 9/11. I think the only correct advice is to “Keep your head up, your butt down, and check six.” Because I think we’re going to take a hit, and it just might dwarf 9/11, or it might not, cause I don’t know any more than you do. And if my name was Obama, I’d be rather worried about how I was going to explain the loss of the Capitol two hundred years after the British set it on fire.


Should Britain Have Entered the Great War?

downloadTo be honest, I’ve been waiting for this video to become available, because I knew the debate was taking place. Here we have some serious big guns of the British history world taking dead aim at each other on the case of whether Britain should have gone to war in 1914. It is of course, the centenary of the beginning of the Great War (and I’m more and more convinced that this older term, is the correct description) so we will likely be talking about it a fair amount this year. So first do watch the video, it’s really outstanding, and then we’ll talk about it.

So, do I hear you ask, “What do I think?” I think the ‘cons’ win this one but, it’s very narrow and on points, rather , in fact, like the British cabinet itself in 1914.

The main reason for that is that the real causes of Britain going to war were specifically excluded from the debate. I say that because, while the British had won the naval race with the Kriegsmarine, it had ended a few years before, that race had all but forced the British to find allies in Europe, leading to the more or less secret alliances with France and Russia, who were, in fact, every bit as inimical to the British Empire as the Kaiserreich was. One thing it might be easier for us to realize, as Americans, than the British do today, is just how much they were in the catbird seat, and how much resentment that causes. I say that because the position of Edwardian Britain was not that different from post 1945 America’s.

And that’s the thing, in reality, while I’m not the historian that any one of these folks are (and I’ve read books by all of them and been impressed) what the yeas are proposing here is what we in America call isolationism, and we all know better, and I think they do as well. The problem is, those secret agreements were in place, and say what you will about those men, they were honorable men who did their best to keep their word. Should they have been abrogated , in say 1912 or 13? Yes, I think they should have been but inertia is a powerful force. Why else in 2014 does NATO exist, 25 years after the goal it was established to deal with was achieved, the end of the Soviet Union? Without those agreements, there would only have been the agreement with Belgium, and as they said Germany was also a signatory to that, and without the other agreements, that’s a weak cause for war.

As everybody kept saying here, Wilhelmine Germany wasn’t Nazi Germany, although some of the nascent seeds were there. Germany had a very strange dichotomy inherent in it. It was the most socialist state in Europe. (They weren’t kidding about our progressives either, ever wonder why our traditional pre-school, Kindergarten, has a German name?) Bismarck did this, as far as I know, to keep the population under control, and reasonably content. Layered on top of that though was a hereditary military  caste the Jünkers, supposedly descended from the Teutonic knights. Combine that with the Groβgeneralstab (Great General Staff) controlling the military with little coordination with the civilian government, and you get an ugly mix.

And that brings us to one the problems here, the Germans were afraid of a two front war against France and Russia, and their calculations were that it would be better to hold on the eastern front against the Russians and knock France out and then turn and deal with the Russians, who were stronger in numbers, but much slower moving, and it was considered better to lose (temporarily) some farmground in East Prussia, than the Ruhr. It’s a valid calculation, the French in this period were wildly offensive minded, seeming to think that they lost in 1871 because of being on the defensive, and their plans were, in fact, to attack, recapture Alsace-Lorraine and continue on into the Ruhr.

And that was the reason for the famous Schlieffen Plan. The general staff working in a vacuum of its own creation knew that attacking through the Ardennes, and/or the Vosges Mountains was going to be slow and it was going to help the defenders a lot, and so their plan was to drive through the North German plain, where it was nice and flat, with hardly any terrain to impede their movement, that there were other, neutral countries there, well that was their problem wasn’t it?

And so the Schwerpunkt (the main concentration of force would be through Belgium into France to knock the French out of the war before the Russians could get mobilized and moving. It was hoped the British wouldn’t intervene. But as von Moltke the Elder had said, the plan didn’t survive contact with the enemy.

Part of that was that the Russians mobilized faster than expected and attacked into East Prussia, von Schlieffen had reduced strength there as far as he dared to strengthen the west, and the attack disconcerted  von Moltke the Younger, Chief of the General Staff who had already diverted troops from the Schwerpunkt to counterattack in the Palatinate, he now diverted three infantry corps and a cavalry division to the eastern front, when he telephoned Ludendorff commanding there, Ludendorff was astonished and told him he didn’t have any use for them.

That is the background to the miracle of the Marne, where in truth the BEF did fight an outstanding battle to save France, but if the Germans had had those three corps, I doubt it would have mattered. It would have turned into Dunkirk in 1914, and the war would have been lost. In the last analysis, timidity in the Groβgeneralstab was the ultimate cause of Germany losing the war, and it was in 1914.

But, what then? Kaiser Wilhelm and his government, military and civilian, were no civil libertarians but, neither were they Hitler and his henchmen. France did, as Doctor Charmley states recover fairly quickly from the 1870 war, is there any real cause to think it would be different in 1914? The Ottoman Empire would have continued, and perhaps at least some of the problems which ensued from its demise in the middle east might have been avoided. A short war (even lost) might have enabled the Czar to continue ruling, Nicholas was slowly modernizing Russia.

But the original question was Britain, so what would have happened to her? Well, losing wars is expensive, but this one was even more expensive to win. In 1914 Britain was even more in charge of international banking than the United States is today, I don’t think that shock would have materially changed that, particularly since Britain was pretty much immune from anything Germany could do, if a peace was patched up. Bethmann-Hollweg may have had his shopping list, that doesn’t mean he was going to get all, or even most of it, at least as long as the Royal Navy said no. It was still true, as it had been in the Earl St. Vincent’s day when he said, “I don’t say they can’t come, I merely say they can’t come by sea“.Even without a peace, Britain had defeated Napoleon mostly by seapower and the blockade of Europe, I see no reason it wouldn’t have worked again. In fact, it did, in both world wars, Germany nearly starved. It might have led to the Empire turning into the Commonwealth earlier, and also the earlier loss of India, but I wouldn’t bet too much on that, it might have brought them together as well. Britain has always been at its best when it was not so involved in Europe.

And finally, the United States. I think we would have gone on being our presumptuous, provincial selves, not understanding our own strengths, until one fine day, we still would have had to save the day. When? I have no idea. Because without the Great War, the second world war is highly unlikely in the form we know it.

The British did the right, honorable thing in 1914. But that was because they had screwed up their policies before that, and they paid dearly, and still are for those pre-war mistakes.

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70 Years Ago, in Nazi Germany

Seventy years ago today, 200 + Allied airmen tried to break out of a German prison camp. Only 3 made it home. 77 made it out, and seventy were recaptured. But the shocking thing, then and now, is that 50 were murdered by the Gestapo.

While it is by no means a documentary, they made a little move about it.


I can’t speak for you but, tonight in my house, a toast of Scotch will be drunk to those 50 brave men.

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Balance of Power

Europe - Satellite image - PlanetObserver

Europe – Satellite image – PlanetObserver (Photo credit: PlanetObserver)

With the destruction of the Soviet Union, for most purposes, the stationing of United States forces in Europe became unnecessary. It is reasonable to have some based there as a contingency, and it is also desirable that the US help maintain Europe as a nuclear free zone (if you exclude Russia, France, and the United Kingdom). I would say they are diverse enough to take care of it, with merely some warnings from time to time.

The thing is with the end of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, we are no longer dealing with “the rompin’, stompin’, Red Army” where every soldier was a ten foot superman. Russia is a regional power, perhaps a bit stronger than Germany or France, but not as powerful as the United Kingdom, although it does have more nuclear devices, which is why we need to remain engaged.

But much of our problem is that all of Europe has been on the dole for better than half a century. They have had the luxury of having America defend them, without cost to them. Most of their militaries have become parade units not much more useful in a war than the UCLA marching band. And so they’ve had the freedom to support the unproductive and jeer the Americans.

In addition, because of the willful nonsense of the green policies, Europe has become almost completely dependant on Gazprom, the corrupt Russian cartel for their gas and oil.

In my opinion, our major interest in Europe at this point, becomes rather similar to the UK’s in the nineteenth century, make sure nobody take over the whole fool continent, with the additional proviso that nobody gets to use nukes. That doesn’t require a standing American Army in Europe, and we have other needs in defense, so it’s time to come home. Germany will have to feed the Germans.

As for Europe and energy, they need to find some common sense, tsunamis are very unlikely in Germany, and so Fukushima type disasters are as well. Nuclear energy is very clean, and since the plants are built, make more sense than coal plants that aren’t.

It should be a no-brainer for the United States to drill and frack our way, to energy dominance. It’s very obviously in our interest. Near as I can tell, Russia needs oil at about $90/ barrel, if we develop as rapidly as we can, we should be able to force the price well below that.

Who is America’s other persistent opposition? Yeah, Islamic fanatics, some state supported, some not. What do they all have in common? Yep, they’re supported by oil money, so we can expect some subsidence in their activity if we cut their funding by using American oil, and if we’re making money selling oil, we’ll have more good jobs, reducing welfare, Europe will be better off, reducing our subsidies to them. and our opponents will be hurt.

Tell me again why we’re not drilling for oil on public land?

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English: Flossenbürg concentration camp: court...

English: Flossenbürg concentration camp: courtyard of Arrestblock (jail block), site of numerous executions in 1944/45 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Today 69 years ago a group of very brave ,and unlucky men tried to change the course of history. That is the background of Operation Walküre (Valkyrie). In truth, the plan comes off as having elements of (very black) slapstick comedy about it. That doesn’t change the fact that these men (mostly but a few women as well) gave their lives to try to remove Hitler. You are free to believe they did this in the name of the honor of the German soldier, or to get an easier peace, or to save Germany from the Russians, or a half-dozen other reasons, or all of them, I don’t think it matters.


They tried and they failed, and then they died, horribly for the most part.



Who were they, that were implicated? Most were, and are anonymous, and innocent, most likely since at least 7000 people were arrested and nearly 5000 executed.


Here are some you may have heard of:



I found this list here, on Wikipedia., and there are many, many, more.


But the thing that really struck me in reading over the list is this. Two other things died in the furious aftermath of the plot.


This was the end of the old Prussian/German Great General Staff. One can argue about its efficacy as a war fighting construct but one thing is beyond doubt, it carried the institutional honor of the German Army going back to at least the Napoleonic War.


The other thing that died was the old Prussian/German aristocracy, just look at the number of names in that list with the aristocratic von in their names. That prefix in most accounts goes back to returning knights of the Order of St. John Hospitaller who conquered a goodly part of Prussia and Poland to find a place to settle down. We’ve talked before about how the Nazis and the Soviets between them wiped out the Polish nobility, so there was little left.


It would be a fair assessment, I think, to say that World Wars I and II killed of all of the traditional leadership in Europe, with the sole exception of what was left in Britain. France pretty much killed theirs off in the terror. Maybe that’s part of the reason for Europe’s lack of leadership anymore. They haven’t figured out how yet.


It might also be a fair assessment that we Americans are in truth the last representatives of the ‘Old Europe’ because we managed to avoid some of the killing fields that so wounded Europe.



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