First Wave at Omaha Beach On June 6, 1944, the Allies invaded occupied France. S. L. A. Marshall Nov. 1, 1960 [The Atlantic]
When he was promoted to officer rank at eighteen, S. L. A. Marshall was the youngest shavetail in the United States Army during World War I. He rejoined the Army in 1942, became a combat historian with the rank of colonel; and the notes he made at the time of the Normandy landing are the source of this heroic reminder. Readers will remember his frank and ennobling book about Korea, The River and the Gauntlet, which was the result of still a third tour of duty.
Fucking Inappropriate. No matter what I do, it always ends this way. The money gets spent. The whiskey runs out. The hangover always comes, and the show is always over. TW for graphic discussion of combat, PTSD, pretty much everything war-related. [more inside]
Susan Schorn - How to Kick a Guy in the Balls: An Illustrated Guide [more inside]
How the US Stumbled into the Drone Era [WSJ] As ubiquitous as Predators, Reapers, Global Hawks and their ilk may now seem, the U.S. actually stumbled into the drone era. Washington got into the business of using drones for counterterrorism well before 9/11—not out of any steely strategic design or master plan but out of bureaucratic frustration, bickering and a series of only half-intentional decisions.
A props and armor designer for film, Samantha Swords takes her work seriously. Very seriously. In February of 2013 she won the Harcourt Park World Invitational Longsword Competition . There appears to be a growing interest in competitive european sword fighting in the US.
Possibly the most loved and used fighting knife in the world, the Fairbain-Sykes Fighting Knife is a stilletto daggar designed and produced during WWII for commando troops and still used to this day. The knife was designed for a precise grip and a long thin blade that could go through a Soviet Army greatcoat to the ribs and slice, rather than tear, for faster death. The knife's history is worth a small book alone, but the two men who invented it also helped invent modern police fighting and close combat, and probably inspired Q from James Bond. [more inside]
In the Indianapolis suburbs, officers said they needed a mine-resistant vehicle to protect against a possible attack by veterans returning from war. A look at the redistribution of surplus tools of combat to state and local law enforcement. (SL NYT)
Warning: Graphic footage. Little is known about the origins of the Abkhazian Network News Agency, ANNA. What we do know is that the agency, nominally from the breakaway Georgian republic Abkhazia, has been covering the brutal Syrian Civil War while embedded with the SAA on its Youtube channel (be sure to enable English captions). Defiant and unapologetic about its pro-government position, the videos nevertheless provide a unique perspective on what is perhaps the most well-documented war in history. Brief sample: GoPros mounted on tanks, civilian traffic driving by tanks, near misses, and close quarters combat. Sometimes the other side is taking a video too. [via /r/CombatFootage and /r/syriancivilwar] [more inside]
TV's longest-running World War II drama, Combat! aired on ABC between 1962 and 1967. "It was really a collection of complex 50-minute movies. Salted with battle sequences, they follow [US Army King Company's travails during the invasion of France, starting with the landing at Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944 -- D-Day. It's] a gritty, ground-eye view of infantrymen trying to salvage their humanity and survive." [more inside]
What Combat Feels Like, Presented in the Style of a Graphic Novel. An animated film based on a true story by Iraq veteran Colby Buzzell (previously).
"We condition the poor and the working class to go to war. We promise them honor, status, glory, and adventure. We promise boys they will become men. We hold these promises up against the dead-end jobs of small-town life, the financial dislocations, credit card debt, bad marriages, lack of health insurance, and dread of unemployment. The military is the call of the Sirens, the enticement that has for generations seduced young Americans working in fast food restaurants or behind the counters of Walmarts to fight and die for war profiteers and elites."-- War is Betrayal. Persistent Myths of Combat, an essay by Chris Hedges of Truthdig. Responses within. [more inside]
The diverse range of misconceptions and erroneous beliefs within historical fencing studies today is considerable. But there are perhaps some myths that are more common, and more pervasive, than others. This webpage presents an ongoing project that will continually try in an informal and condensed manner to help address some of these mistaken beliefs.
"Women get flustered under fire. They're too fragile, too emotional. They lack the ferocity required to take a life. They can't handle pain. They're a distraction, a threat to cohesion, a provocative tease to close-quartered men. These are the sort of myths you hear from people who oppose the U.S. military's evolving new rules about women in combat. But for women who have already been in combat, who have earned medals fighting alongside men, the war stories they tell don't sound a thing like myths" [more inside]
The 80s horror film genre called, and then you got a beep and turn-based squad tactics video games were on the other line, and it was a pretty confusing phone call basically but in the end you got the message that someone wanted Camp Keepalive back. Because it is awesome. And it runs on Windows and OSX and you should download the demo right now. [more inside]
Today, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta will announce that the Pentagon has lifted its 19 year old ban on women serving in combat roles in the military. [more inside]
The permanent collection of the (US) National Veterans Art Museum in Chicago contains more than 2,500 pieces of art by 250 artists, all of which can be seen at NVAM Collection Online. The site includes biographical material on the artists who created the work. Featured Artwork. A small selection. (Via. Images at links in this post may be nsfw, and/or disturbing to some viewers.)
Six years ago, US Army Captain Ivan Castro was severely wounded in a mortar attack in Iraq that left him permanently and completely blinded. Today, he's one of only three blind active duty Army officers, and the very first to serve in the US Army Special Forces. Thirteen months and 36 surgeries after the attack, Castro ran the 2007 Marine Corps Marathon in 4:14 and the Army Ten Miler in 1:25. And he's still going: In the last 15 months, he's completed 14 marathons. Why? "Because I still can. Because people need to see what's possible." [more inside]
Danish author Sven Hassel (Wikipedia, official site) has passed away at the age of 95. (Danish - Translation) Hassel fought for the Germans during WWII and became famous after publishing Legion of the Damned, a semi-autobiographical account of the war. He went on to write thirteen more books following the adventures of his convict battalion, incuding Wheels of Terror which in 1987 was made into the movie The Misfit Brigade staring Bruce Davison and David Patrick Kelly (clip). He will be remembered fondly by all who browsed the bookshelves of charity shops as young men.
'While they never met, they had some things in common. Both were Army captains, engaged in important work for the nation, their costly educations paid for by U.S. taxpayers. Ian Morrison, 26, returned to Fort Hood, Texas, last December after nine months flying 70 combat missions over Iraq. Dr. Michael McCaddon, 37, was an ob-gyn resident at Hawaii’s Tripler Army Medical Center. The pilot and the doctor shared one other thing: they found themselves in a darkening, soul-sucking funnel that has trapped some 2,500 military personnel since 9/11. Like them, each died, at his own hand, on March 21, nearly 4,000 miles apart.' [more inside]
100 Firefights, Three Weeks: Inside Afghanistan's Most Insane Fight
"In its first three weeks in Afghanistan’s Sangin district, the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines got into more than 100 firefights and sustained 62 casualties. The insurgents managed to negate the Marines’ night-vision gear, and rendered their traditional close-combat tactics useless. Things got so bad, the 3/5’s superior officers even suggested pulling their troops back. That didn’t happen. Instead, the 3/5 went after the militants, hard. When the 3/5 came home, they told counterinsurgency historian Mark Moyar all about their deeply unconventional approach to what was already an unconventional war."This is an excerpt in Wired of Moyar’s 74-page after action report. (pdf) [more inside]
Ray Bribiesca: "Crazy Shots" (via "60 Minutes" video extra) Interview of "60 Minutes" correspondent Lara Logan highlighting Ray Bribiesca, the Vietnam War veteran responsible for some amazing combat footage. [more inside]
USMC Warrant Officer (ret.) Michael D. Fay served as a combat artist from 2000 through January 2010 under the History Division of the Marine Corps University. He once described his orders from them as "Go to War. Do Art." Fay was deployed several times to Iraq and Afghanistan, and has been keeping a blog of his sketches since 2005. [more inside]
PanzerBlitz is a tactical-scale board wargame of armoured combat set in the Eastern Front of the Second World War. The game is notable for being the first true board-based tactical-level, commercially available conflict simulation (wargame). It also pioneered concepts such as isomorphic mapboards and open-ended design, in which multiple unit counters were provided from which players could fashion their own free-form combat situations rather than simply replaying pre-structured scenarios. (related)
In 1990, the first BattleTech center opened in Chicago in the US. The centers were based around networked play of the BattleTech (related to the Battletech RPG) and Red Planet combat and racing games via immerse pods. BattleTech enthusiasts have gone so far as to purchase new and decommissioned pods to set up their own centers. Occasionally, pods go on tour.
Team Lioness is the name given to a group of female soliders, (and the documentary about them) who were some of the first women in modern American warfare to engage in frontline combat — something that is officially forbidden by the military. "The female support soliders were assigned to the 1st Engineer Battalion and they were recruited to accompany Marine units during raids. Originally, the female soldiers were there to search and detain any women they came upon and to guard the unit's Arabic interpreter. Over time, however, as the situation in Ramadi deteriorated, the Marine units transitioned into a more offensive role, baiting insurgents into firefights in order to draw them out. Until officers higher up the chain got spooked over the possibility of a female soldier killed in combat and quietly disbanded the unit, members of Team Lioness were often right in the thick of things, including some of the fiercest urban firefights of the Iraq War."
Above Enemy Lines (youtube 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) is a BBC Documentary about a RAF Chinook crew on their tour of duty in Afghanistan. Part 4 and 5 of the film deal with the crew attempting to rescue a wounded 19 year-old soldier from a combat zone.
Female Single Combat Club [nsfw]. An extensive site about women fighters around the world and in history. In English and Russian. Previously.
Gutterfighting - any means, fair or foul, to save your life. Including The Kengla/Styers Short-End Technique. [tip o' the hat to Warren Leonhardt's 007 post] [related]
Real women. The gladiator - epitome of male combat, well, not always male. The gladiatrix (mNSFW) is no myth. The evidence exists.
Pentagon to Soldiers: Don't Post those Trophy Videos Online ... another said it made him feel good to bring the gruesome reality of a soldier's life in Iraq to those living safely behind their "clean, white picket fences at home". ...the taking and posting of trophy video served as some kind of relief from the psychological stresses of serving as a soldier in such a violent and acutely dangerous place. ... and from PBS' Mediashift: Your Guide to Soldier Videos From Iraq
Women are prohibited from being assigned to combat roles, but some still find themselves on the front lines. "Before this war, people only imagined how women would react in combat roles and thought that they couldn't handle it ... Now we see that women are bonding with the men and not going to pieces." Also, an interview with Kayla Williams, author of 'Love My Rifle More Than You'.
Go Rangers This is the tale of a young man who lost an eye to a suicide bomber in Iraq and THEN joined the U.S. Army Rangers. I don't think that he was busy calling his Mom.
Marines recall faulty body armor. In yet another blow to the struggle to supply soldiers with adequate armor, 5,277 defective vests were recalled today from troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. In response to the armor shortages, new Oklahoma legislation would create "Patriot Plates," a $35 license plate of which $20 would go to supply body armor for Oklahoma soldiers. Soldiers have been lacking this armor for months now. According to an April GAO report: (PDF)
But at least we can sleep soundly knowing that manufacturers are seeing record profits from all of this.
Because of the shortages, many individuals bought body armor with personal funds. The Congressional Budget Office estimated (1) that as many as 10,000 personnel purchased vests, (2) as many as 20,000 purchased plates with personal funds, and (3) the total cost to reimburse them would be $16 million in 2005. (P. 78)Another continuing problem is a lack of adequately armored HMMWVs. "Current HMMWVs are protected only by canvas tops and have no additional armor protection." (P. 122) In this case, for protection from ambushes and roadside bombs, an add-on armor kit is required. However, "as of September 2004, the Army supplied 8,771 of the 13,872 Add-on Armor kits required by CENTCOM but still needed 5,101 additional kits to meet all requirements." (P. 121) Attacks on vehicles have accounted for as many as 40 percent of the 1,037 deaths attributed to hostile action.
But at least we can sleep soundly knowing that manufacturers are seeing record profits from all of this.
Journal of Manly Arts "European and Colonial Combatives, 1776 - 1914." A special section of Journal of Western Martial Art.
''It's possible,'' Lt. Col. David Branham of the Air Force says, ''that in our lifetime we will be able to run a conflict without ever leaving the United States.'' On the end of the most remote-controlled war yet, this article in the NYtimes discusses a not-too-distant future in which missile-toting unmanned helicopters and hummingbird-sized surveillance planes can swarm upon any target at the control of war planners deep beneath Tampa, Florida.
Front-line troops disproportionately white, not black. While blacks are 20% of the military -- compared with 12% of the U.S. population -- they make up a far smaller percentage of troops in combat jobs on the front line. In a host of high-risk slots -- from Army commandos to Navy and Air Force fighter pilots -- blacks constitute less than 5% of the force, statistics show. Blacks, especially in the enlisted ranks, tend to be disproportionately drawn to non-combat fields such as unit administration and communications. ''If anybody should be complaining about battlefield deaths, it is poor, rural whites,'' says Charles Moskos, a military sociologist at Northwestern University in Illinois.
Hurah! It's Friday! Time to do some work! Well, actually, no. But this is a seriously good game that combines "pairs" with something of the "Street Fighter" genre. It's also written by a mate of mine who I went to uni and shared a house with. Anyone else got any 1 or 2 player games worth wasting the day with? 5 hours to go to beer and counting ...
Pip Tattersall is the first woman to win the Green Beret of the Royal Marines, but she still can't fight in combat. Is the British army ignoring thousands of years of history, or is Martin van Creveld right?
Amazing Photo of real hand to hand combat. The page is in Greek but the (600K) picture on top is, I think, worth your while. This is a photo taken by a British liaison officer to the partisans in the Greek island of Crete during WWII (named John Eberson or Emberson), as a group of guerillas confronts a German patrol. What is amazing is the fact that Emberson reached for his camera instead of his gun... This is the closest view of a combat situation I've ever seen captured on film - does anyone know of anything similar on the web? Caption translation inside this thread's comments.
A Scourge of Small Arms "The root causes of ethnic, religious and sectarian conflicts around the world are of course complex and varied, typically involving historical grievances, economic deprivation, demagogic leadership and an absence of democratic process. Although small arms and light weapons are not themselves a cause of conflict, their ready accessibility and low cost can prolong combat, encourage a violent rather than a peaceful resolution of differences, and generate greater insecurity throughout society--which in turn leads to a spiraling demand for, and use of, such weapons."