On March 5th, the Associated Press asked: “What are seemingly jet-propelled cats and birds doing in a 16th century German artillery manual?”
It was a good question. [...]
European History People sent burning pigs stampeding toward their neighbors regularly and would put a rooster on trial for real actually with a lawyer and everything if someone said it laid an egg without a yolk. If someone like that was soberly strapping a rocket to a cat and you interrupted them in their cat-to-rocket-strapping-room they’d look up like “Yeah?” and they would have this big pinky white person expression on their face like it wasn’t even a little bit weird. [more inside]
posted by 23
on Jun 6, 2014 -
"Of all the men known to have boarded the Hunley, indeed, only about half a dozen escaped death in her iron belly–yet McClintock himself survived the war, and one of the keys to understanding the events of 1879 is to establish why he did so."
Scam artists, war profiteers, double agents, possibly faked deaths, and the precursors to the IRA are all tied together by the designers and builders of the first combat submarine to sink a warship,
in the American Civil War.
posted by jenkinsEar
on May 11, 2014 -
This is The Big Picture, an official television report of the United States Army, produced for the armed forces and the American people. Now to show you part of The Big Picture here is Master Sargent Stuart Queen
The series consists of ~822 documentaries produced by the United States Army Signal Corps Army Pictorial Service from 1951 to 1971 to educate both soldiers in uniform and the American public about military concerns as well as things like historical battles, world geography, famous soldiers, the latest weapons, space exploration, strategic objectives, peaceful initiatives, and the life of a soldier. Being a product of the Federal Government it belongs to the the American people, and is thus freely available to all to copy and distribute. Most can now be viewed on archive.org [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Dec 10, 2013 -
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]
posted by zarq
on Dec 2, 2013 -
"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]
posted by zarq
on Apr 25, 2013 -
Frequently dismissed as trivial or unimportant because untrue, rumors are a potent in the information war that characterizes contemporary conflicts, and they participate in significant ways in the struggle for the consent of the governed. As narrative forms, rumors are suitable to a wide range of political expression, from citizens, insurgents, and governments alike. The authors make a compelling argument for understanding rumors in these contexts as "narrative IEDs," low-cost, low-tech weapons that can successfully counter elaborate and expansive government initiatives of outreach campaigns or strategic communication efforts. Narrative Landmines - The Explosive Effects of Rumors in Syria and Insurgencies Around the World [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Apr 4, 2013 -
"Assassination and targeted killings have always been in the repertoires of military planners, but never in the history of warfare have they been so cheap and easy. The relatively low number of troop casualties for a military that has turned to drones means that there is relatively little domestic blowback against these wars. The United States and its allies have created the material conditions whereby these wars can carry on indefinitely. The non-combatant casualty rates in populations that are attacked by drones are slow and steady, but they add up. That the casualty rates are relatively low by historical standards — this is no Dresden — is undoubtedly a good thing, but it may allow the international media to overlook pesky little facts like the slow accretion of foreign casualties." -NYT Opinionator: The Moral Hazard of Drones
posted by flapjax at midnite
on Jul 23, 2012 -
Back in December American Conservative talked about The Changing state of War
One of the most discouraging aspects of the current Republican presidential candidate debates is the discussion of drone warfare, or rather the fact that it is not being discussed at all except to approve of the practice.
Tom Junod of Esquire now discusses in a long article
the targeted killing of an American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki. [more inside]
posted by adamvasco
on Jul 11, 2012 -
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]
posted by zarq
on Jul 12, 2011 -
A Tragedy of Errors.
On Feb. 21, 2010, a convoy of vehicles carrying civilians headed down a mountain in central Afghanistan and American eyes in the sky were watching. "The Americans were using some of the most sophisticated tools
in the history of war, technological marvels of surveillance and intelligence gathering that allowed them to see into once-inaccessible corners of the battlefield. But the high-tech wizardry would fail
in its most elemental purpose: to tell the difference between friend and foe." FOIA
of US cockpit and radio conversations and an interactive feature
provide a more in-depth understanding of what happened.
posted by zarq
on Apr 10, 2011 -
Everybody's heard about the "secret" launch of the military's newest spacedrone the X-37
, and everybody's heard about the other "secret" launch on the same day. The military has launched another type of spacedrone
. This one looks a lot less like this
and more like this
. Unfortunately they've hit a snag
It's all part of the the U.S. military's prompt global strike
doctrine. Some people think this may be a bad idea
. [more inside]
posted by AElfwine Evenstar
on Jun 9, 2010 -
Douglas Rushkoff's latest piece for the Daily Beast got pulled;
everything goes to 404.
However here's a transcript
The set-up doesn't feel much different than the playroom of a die-hard videogame enthusiast—except no one is smiling, high-fiving, or celebrating his hits. They speak in the cool monotone of commercial airplane pilots—
Copy that we got eyes on em…
3-0-5 rifle time of flight 15 seconds….
that's 10 seconds…
5-4-3-2-1 - and splash…
And with that, presumably, some people on the other side of the monitor were blown up.
Jane Mayor writes
in the New Yorker that
according to the New America Foundation’s study
, that in the forty-one drone strikes conducted by the Obama Administration in Pakistan; 98 percent of those killed were civilians. Americans have been insulated
from the human toll.
Problems With Killer Drones
(related UAVs over Sadr City and Death From Above
posted by adamvasco
on Oct 23, 2009 -
the British Balloon Command
was established to protect cities and key targets such as industrial areas, ports, landmarks
and harbours.Barrage balloons
Berthas" were inflatable
, made of rubber-coated fabric, and filled with hydrogen gas used prevent low level attacks by enemy aircraft. The balloons flew anywhere from 500 feet to 10,000 feet. The 15 gauge flying wire that tethered them could clip the wings off a plane. They were also used at sea
and to cover invasions
They were also effective against the V-1 flying bomb and back in the late 80s, at least one general thought they could still be used to protect airfields
posted by Smedleyman
on Mar 24, 2006 -
Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui, two colonels in the People's Liberation Army of China published this back in 1999. It is a striking and trenchant attempt to describe the transformations that warfare has undergone since the first Gulf War, and suggests that the boundary between war and its opposite may be on the move. "We have no reason for optimism. This is because the reduction of the functions of warfare in a pure sense does not mean at all that war has ended. Even in the so-called post-modern, post-industrial age, warfare will not be totally dismantled. It has only re-invaded human society in a more complex, more extensive, more concealed, and more subtle manner. " Short interview posted by the Uyghur American Association, here
posted by derangedlarid
on Jul 8, 2005 -
Men In Black
CNN, Aug 4: Clashes between police and insurgents in the northern city of Mosul left 12 Iraqis dead and 26 wounded, hospital and police sources said Wednesday.
Rifle and rocket-propelled grenade fire as well as explosions were heard in the streets of the city.
A first-hand view of events.
posted by bonehead
on Aug 9, 2004 -
Mutilation of victims and Muslim law The ruling by Sheik Omar Abdullah Hassan al-Shehabi specifies two circumstances in which the desecration of an infidel -- a non-Muslim -- is permitted. One is retaliation "when the enemy is disfiguring Muslim corpses or when it otherwise serves the Islamic nation." The other is when mutilation will "terrorize the enemy" or "gladden the heart of a Muslim warrior."
posted by swerdloff
on Jun 13, 2004 -
Current U.S. Administration
chooses "smart anti-personnel mines" versus "dumb mines".The U.S. military will stop using always-armed, live landmines after 2010. Some may appreciate this move as a valid step toward..more "intelligent" mines, others
More links inside.
posted by elpapacito
on Feb 28, 2004 -
US bills Australia for bombs.
This is the first time I have seen a 'user-pays' principle of modern warfare spelled out in this way. But then again Australia doesn't make a habit of going to war.
'The ADF will also be required to pay an undisclosed amount – believed to be up to $3 million – for satellite time and band width to connect the Canberra war room with command in the Gulf, and enable it to talk directly with SAS troops on the ground. "It was described as the first struggle in the war, to secure band width," said Derek Woolner, defence analysis director at the Australian Defence Studies Centre.'
posted by blue
on May 27, 2003 -
The Real Dr. StrangeLove? Last May 9, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted to repeal a 10-year ban on the research and development of "low-yield" nuclear weapons—defined as nukes having an explosive power smaller than 5 kilotons. (The House committee will take up the measure this week.) The Bush administration has lobbied heavily for the repeal. Democrats oppose the idea on the grounds that "mini-nukes"—by blurring the distinction between nuclear and non-nuclear weapons—make nuclear war more thinkable and, therefore, in the minds of some, more doable.
Scary people. How weird can our new overlords get? I'm afraid to speculate.
posted by nofundy
on May 13, 2003 -
Modeling the Roman Army.
The author of this site uses CAD software to examine the mechanics and problems of manuevering large masses of men in ancient warfare. Good stuff for people interested in the subject.
posted by moonbiter
on Feb 24, 2003 -
Mini Nukes - Major Treaty Threats.
"A leaked Pentagon document
has confirmed that the US is considering the introduction of a new breed of smaller nuclear weapons designed for use in conventional warfare. Such a move would mean abandoning global arms treaties." The document was made available by The Los Alamos Study Group
, which comments "It is impossible to overstate the challenge these plans pose to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the existing nuclear test moratorium, and US compliance with Article VI of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, which is binding law in the US....These plans deserve outrage – first in the United States, and throughout the world. It may or may not be obvious that if allowed to proceed further -- especially in the present jingoistic atmosphere now prevailing in Washington -- the process outlined here will be quite hard to stop. "
posted by fold_and_mutilate
on Feb 20, 2003 -
The eXile's Gary Brecher,
as offensive and amusing as usual, pondering the future of war: "The only enjoyable wars will be the mismatches, when the machine armies are unleashed on the savages. We've seen some of them lately: the NATO air forces working out on Serbia, the US and British planes playing with the Iraqis like a couple of kittens with a half-dead mouse. They're the wars people will enjoy, because the targets are so easy, so undefended, that there are lots of good gun-camera shots. But these wars have a little weakness: they never solve the problem."
posted by GriffX
on Oct 3, 2002 -