Floating Base?

San Antonio Class Transport Dock

San Antonio Class Transport Dock

Source of full sized version of the image above

Sometimes the news just doesn’t quite ‘get it’…

On a news crawler there was a statement that the USA was rushing to set up a ‘floating base’ in the middle east for use in some kind of attack or other on Somalia and / or Iran.

Makes it sound exotic an like some kind of super carrier… the reality is much more prosaic.

We have a class of ship called an Amphibious Transport Dock. The one being deployed is of the Austin Class (and was followed by The San Antonio Class which is pictured above and looks more ‘stealthy’). Many of the Austin class have already been decommissioned and many of those have been scrapped. (Why? Don’t ask why, down that path lies insanity and ruin. -E.M.Smith)… Only in America could we have a wonderfully designed fleet of ships that we periodically cut up, sink, or scrap out.

At any rate, one of them was in the process of decommissioning (The Ponce) and as the latest Seal Team raid to rescue hostages worked out well (and given the ‘leaving the area’ plans of Mr. Obama) and given that ANOTHER guy got nabbed by the Somali Pirates: They decided maybe having a place to put some guys and equipment for such raids would be “a good thing”. Having scrapped or decommissioned most of these, they decided to pull this one back from the brink; clean it up and refit it, and send it over.

Not much of a base, really. More like a floating warehouse and dock with a helicopter pad.

At any rate, if you hear that news, now you know what’s REALLY being sent over.

Some Links

The registry of the Austin Class where you can see which are already decommissioned with links to the Navy page with specs and disposition. (Some are just in the mothball fleet, others are scrapped out.)

Wiki on the Ponce

USS Ponce (LPD-15), an Austin-class amphibious transport dock, is the only ship of the United States Navy that is named for Ponce in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, which in turn was named after the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon, the first governor of Puerto Rico and European discoverer of Florida.

Her keel was laid down on 31 October 1966 by the Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Company of Seattle, Washington. She was launched on 20 May 1970 sponsored by Mrs. John J. Hyland, and commissioned on 10 July 1971.

Has a nice picture of it too:

USS Ponce

USS Ponce

Much Larger sized image

CBS News story about it

List of news storys (web search) about it

In Conclusion

Well, it’s nice to see it being saved from the scrap heap. It would be nicer still if we took all the ones in mothballs, put Seal Teams on them, and parked them around Somalia. Might have a lot fewer pirates grabbing ships…

Would make a lot better use of tax money than giving it to electric car companies to burn, then go bankrupt… or solar companies… or …

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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65 Responses to Floating Base?

  1. tckev says:

    I find it interesting that the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre – ICC Commercial Crime Services at
    http://www.icc-ccs.org/piracy-reporting-centre
    has been hacked by the idiot so figures for how piracy worldwide can not be accessed.
    We need the equivalent of Navy Seals on the Internet!

  2. Ian W says:

    Out on their own these ships are extremely vulnerable so I presume someone has seen fit to also save the required fighting vessels to support USS Ponce.

  3. Æthelwold of Wessex says:

    Oh dear, the USS Ponce!

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Ponce

    “Term originated in the UK and came to prominence in the 1960’s, initially to describe a pimp”
    Us Brits are doing the same thing, decommisioning ships that are very much needed, like the Fearless Class.
    We’re also the bright lot, who’ve ordered a couple of aircraft carriers, but have no planes to fly off them and even plan to mothball one ship as soon as it’s built!

  4. kakatoa says:

    E. M. says- “Would make a lot better use of tax money than giving it to electric car companies to burn, then go bankrupt… or solar companies… or”

    Our friends at CARB thought it would be a good idea to require more eclectic cars……

    “The board unanimously approved the new rules, which require that one in seven new cars sold in the California in 2025 be an electric or other zero-emission vehicle. The mandate also included a 75% reduction in smog-forming pollutants by 2025 and a 34% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over the same period.”

    http://www.examiner.com/cars-in-los-angeles/california-air-resources-board-passes-new-emission-standards

    That “75% reduction in smog forming pollutants” part of the requirements will take some work. Why they won’t go/support with the obvious (to me anyway) CNG vehicles option to get 80% of what they want (cleaner air) in a cost effective manner is beyond me.

  5. Andrew says:

    Nice post Chief, excellent explanation. I live near Bremerton, WA so I understand what ‘mothball’ means, lol.

    Regarding this ships vulnerability…if it is ‘parked’ out in the blue waters it would only be vulnerable to some nation state, which would be a de facto declaration of war.

    The pirates with AK’s and RPG’s are not much of a threat to a USN ship…I trust The Cole taught us a few things.

    To my point…If I were involved in ‘planning’ stuff at the Pentagon…I might consider employing some disinformation on occasion…I mean it ain’t hard to grab some mothballed ship, make a few additions…a few modifications…and well…think about the ship Howard Hughes modified to go pick manganese off the sea floor…

    I ain’t saying that is what is happening with The Ponce…I am just saying things are not always what they appear…and sometimes that is on purpose…always keep the bad guys guessing, right?

    Andrew

  6. mitchel44 says:

    Put it in the hands of free enterprise, issue letters of marque and watch the pirates disappear.

    Just like Vegas, what happens on the high seas, stays on the high seas.

  7. adolfogiurfa says:

    As for pirates: They exist because their existence is guaranteed by UN “human rights”. Stop pirates´discrimination!

  8. P.G. Sharrow says:

    To put a ship like that on the line will require 2 destroyers and the group will require 2 supply ships. To station such a position will require 2 such groups of ships. Not a small deal, although about 1/2 the effort that a carrier group would require. The use of a near 50 year old ship will not do much for dependable availability ether. Too bad the Obamanation is going to fund the welfare industry by cutting the defense department. 16 less ships in the fleet has just been announced and now greater demands for more deployments. I remember when the 15 year old fleet oiler I was on was given $80,000 and 3 months instead of the scheduled 10 month overhaul and refit because it was needed back on the line and money was not available. $80,000 was about enough money for a paint job on a ship that was the size of an aircraft carrier.
    I spent 4 years in the Westpac fleet in the first few years of the Vietnam war. Too many demands on too few ships, 20 to 30 years old. Not good at all. Our military is less then half the size of the military of “Desert Storm” era. Deployments wear out ships and men very fast. After about 6 months, quality of service degrades, accidents increase markedly. Rotations are needed for rest & repair. Interesting, The very first job of the US Navy was the suppression of Muslim pirates. Nothing changes in over 200 years. pg

  9. R. de Haan says:

    Saving a single ship from the scrap yard won’t change anything.
    The area they have to control and cover is much to big.

    That said we should look at the root problem. Our Nations are run by a pack of idiots who are in the spell of an ideological agenda. I tell you. The biggest morons pulling the strings in the UK, France, Germany and the USA. Dissolving entire armies and scrapping perfectly good ships to pay for freaking wind mills, bailouts and other socialist feel good hobbies simply makes no sense to me.

    That is, until you listen to what the Global Economic Forum has to say: “Capitalism works no longer, so is the concept of National States”.
    So as they are building their new anti capitalist doctrine they plan to abolish our National states.
    Not much left in need of military protection.

    I have never seen so much waste of money, equipment and resources in my life time. Our establishment is ignoring the lessons from our history.
    The basic lesson is that totalitarian socialist doctrines don’t work.
    They don’t work on a continental scale and they certainly won’t won’t work on a Global scale.

    The reemergence of piracy proofs that.

    What it also proofs is that it’s a bad idea to not address a problem.

    The problem we have today is the Obama Administration and it’s Agenda.
    If the Obama Administration is removed, the Agenda still remains.

    We have to address both.

    If the US can be turned on a dime, so will Europe.
    But first the US must abandon the Agenda and that’s more important than fighting a few pirates hijacking Chinese and Saudi ships.

  10. kakatoa says:

    R. de Haan says- …..”The area they have to control and cover is much to big”……….

    Back in 1917 my grandfather was an engineer (with electronics being his specialty) in the Coast Guard. He was stationed on wooden sub chaser (the WWII version of this ship was called a PT boat- ex.= JFK’s PT 109) and they were able to cover a lot of ground. I have a picture of grandpa with T. Edison as they were doing some trials with some new fangled sonar on his ship.

    To E. M.’s point I think if the Navy’s (governments) of the world wanted put an end to the piracy they could do it. Why they don’t I am not sure. The politics of international relations are a bit beyond my expertise. It is interesting that one of Presidents Wilson’s 14 points had to do with open and safe seas- Point 2-“Absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas, outside territorial waters, alike in peace and in war, except as the seas may be closed in whole of part by international action for the enforcement of international covenants.” I have been reading a book by Margaret Macmillan entitled “Paris 1919- Six Months That Changed The World” which covers the peace treaty that ended WW1 and set up the League of Nations. It’s an interesting read by the way.

  11. E.M.Smith says:

    I have to take a lunch break, so more in a bit, but for right now just one comment:

    Per this ship needing a lot to defend it… Ever consider that as a ‘scrapper’ pulled back from the brink it might be considered disposable?

    What, you expect this administration to actually care about and support the group of soldiers they put in harms way? Rather than thinking them, too, a bit disposable…

    How did Clinton ‘handle’ Somalia? Too little, too timid, and no long term support. Who is our Secretary of State? Um… Clinton…

  12. sandy mcclintock says:

    I wonder if the total cost of running these bases were used for building infrastructure in Somalia, would this reduce the need for piracy ;) ?
    I am reminded of the film ‘Charlie Wilson’s War’ – well worth watching.
    I wonder if the US had built schools etc in Afghanistan after the USSR pulled out, would we be seeing dead soldiers and the GFC aftermath now. (my son in the Navy (!) has just returned from Afghanistan so I ponder on thesematters)

  13. I tend to agree with Andrew.
    It is a ship saved from the scrapyard.
    It has no local or self-defence support.
    It is a sitter for an attack that can be used as an excuse to start a war.

    Time will tell!

  14. cm says:

    I’ve read that the Somalian Pirate problem was started because of the Western companies dumping Toxic waste off the cost of Somalia causing the fishermen to become Pirates.
    The BBC did an interview with the “Admiral of the Somalian Navy” about it a while ago(you can’t make this stuff up).During the interview it was made clear that the Admiral doesn’t actually have a Navy to command.It was also made clear that the Somalian fishermen had been complaining about “toxic dumping” for many years . I also remember reading about a “tsunami” washing the “toxic waste” ashore. I’m not condoning piracy in any way but i dont think this is as simple as its being made out to be.

  15. Jerry says:

    Somali pirates: ? irritating for sure, but the problem of the US Navy and my tax dollars, hmmm not so much, though I agree most anything is better than windmills and such I do not want the Navy sent out there on some undefined mission by a Commander in Chief who will not even say the word VICTORY Rather the ship owners spring for a few Quad 50’s (for long range) Just to see if firepower works better that whining.

    and a sack full of these for pitching over the side. (real ones!!)

    and a ‘deck sweeper’ or 3 or 4, if anyone does get on board.

    http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=street+sweeper+shotgun&mid=E533D6736473EBB6D9E3E533D6736473EBB6D9E3&view=detail&FORM=VIRE7

    http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Street+Swipper+Shotgun&view=detail&mid=C4CFBF1C7707B43C9929C4CFBF1C7707B43C9929&first=0&FORM=LKVR14

    @P,G. Sharrow

    Sadly one thing that has changed in 200 years is that it is now Politically Incorrect to suppress Muslim pirates – we elected one President.

  16. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jerry:

    What IS that thing with the rotary magazine? I WANT ONE!!!

    My major complaint about full autos is that with 30 rounds and even just 600 rpm you have all of 1/20 of a minute or 3 seconds of fire… Not that puppy!

    @cm:

    I heard that too. IIRC, it was largely European dumping. Still, the correct answer is to compensate for damages, not accept piracy.

    @Sandy McClintock:

    Except that you can’t lead people to peace, culture, or economic prosperity. They must make that choice on their own. Best you can do is remove impediments (and not even all of them) and point in the direction. As fast as we can build girls schools in Muslim countries, they can tear them down…

    For that reason I’m generally in favor of a “one and done” approach. You try doing it ‘the nice way’ and if they respond with stupidity and destruction then you speak to them in the language they have chosen, and return the destruction…

    @Ken McMurtrie:

    Or just blind stupidity on the part of Dear Leader…

    As you said, time will tell.

    I do think it makes a nice RV for a seal team or two sitting 100 to 200 miles of the Somali coast. I think they would be able to defend it against pirate boats… In fact, with air support ‘on tap’ it would likely make a nice “Honey Pot”. Park it, let it be known where it is. As the pirates come out to try and take it: “One missile, one pirate boat”…

    And it IS disposable. So if someone does knock a hole in it, the seals just load up into an LCAC or chopper and head off to the nearest Navy ships. We’ve usually got something going to or fro from The Gulf…

    Whatever it is, it will be interesting to watch things unfold…

  17. Ralph B says:

    One reason behind scrapping this ship is the power plant. Most new ships are gas turbine powered and very fuel efficient. The Ponce is powered by steam. Depending upon the state of her engineering plant the cost to overhaul may not justify keeping in service…top speed is only 20 knots…

    Steam has an advantage in that you can burn just about anything (during WWII the Japanese burned crude right from the well) but other than that it takes more manpower to operate and can’t hold a candle to gas turbines in efficiency

  18. Matthew W says:

    I wonder how well we are able to monitor Iranian submarines?

  19. Andrew says:

    @Matthew W

    They can detect whale farts from a very long distance. I am sure the US Navy, along with the Brits, Russians and Israel all know what each major Iranian ship sounds like on sonar, based on the unique noises each one makes.

    I am sure things have improved since The Hunt for Red October, and they could do it then!

  20. R. de Haan says:

    I read about a tactic parking some subs on the ocean floor waiting for enemy ships to pass bye and than attack them.
    We also had the incident’s a few years ago off the coast of Taiwan when Chinese subs surfaced within the defense ring of a US Battle Group undetected.

    Many people forgot about the super fast torpedo’s the Iranians developed.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4871078.stm

    How much propaganda and how much reality is hidden in these kind of media reports nobody knows.

    What I do know is that the Iranian Navy is absolutely no match for the Iranian forces and a single US battle group has an incredible fighting power able to lash out at any target in Iran but the risk of losing a ship is always present.

    We have the factor luck, human cunningness and determination and it’s most effective property, to improvise and adapt.

  21. adolfogiurfa says:

    @R. de Haan: Talking about Iran: Don´t you think they have been perhaps driven to manufacture “antique” A bombs, a la 1948 style?, that would be laughable. I suspect latest models may be smaller than a cell phone.

  22. Jerry says:

    It is an American 180. There are dual and quad setups but I have not found one firing on You tube yet.

    http://www.elmfg.com/am180/index.html

    http://www.elmfg.com/am180/articles/mgn12-95.html

    There are hoops to jump thru and Gov. Moonbeam AINT gonna like this. or this:

    http://www.proguns.com/usas-12.asp

    You already downloaded Truecrypt, now headed off to the dark side of class III firearms – just how famous do you want to be? :) I probably got more red flags than a May Day parade, but I don’t run a subversive denier blog that allows people like me to post. :)

  23. E.M.Smith says:

    @Ralfph B:

    Oooh! Good point! Steam is also slow to get started and shut down, has a pretty good thermal signature, and sometimes is pretty noisy…

    OTOH, if it’s mostly going to be parked, knock the crude out of the boiler, oil what needs oiling, and send it out. Speed doesn’t matter much and longevity is one trip…

    @Matthew W:

    We can spot and monitor Russian / Soviet subs anywhere in the ocean, pretty much. (Though harder since some tech for making precise propellers got ‘shared around’…)

    Iranian subs are more crude, and ought to be fairly easily found. IFF they are tracked from origin to parking place… But if one is parked somewhere and moving on batteries, it will be a bit of an issue.

    From:

    http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/making-waves-hawaii-perspective-washington-politic/2012/jan/18/will-iranian-subs-torpedo-hopes-peace/

    HAWAII, January 18, 2012 – Amidst widening tensions over crashing stealth drones, nuke scientist assassinations and the massed navies of Washington and Tehran in one of the most strategic waterways of the world, today a senior Iranian military officer is being reported by Fars News Agency as saying Iran’s submarines can “hit an aircraft carrier traversing in the nearby regions.”

    Iran’s arsenal includes a small fleet of “SSKs” or diesel electric attack submarines, three Russian produced Kilo-class ships which can dive to 240 meters, have an estimated endurance of 45 days at sea and are equipped with six 533mm torpedo tubes.

    Western navies have long been concerned about the threat that SSKs pose. When operating on battery power, SSKs produce the majority of their underwater noise by the flow of water moving across their hull, making them extremely difficult to acoustically detect by sonar.

    Alternately submarines can be detected by the magnetic fields their metal hulls create however the smaller size of SSKs makes detection akin to a swimmer looking for a dropped ballpoint pen on the bottom of a large, muddy pond.

    During the 1982 Falklands War, the British Navy fought against a single, technologically inferior Argentine sub yet could neither detect it nor destroy it, despite expending massive ordinance after numerous false sonar contacts. While technology has significantly improved since the Falklands, Iran’s SSKs, with their stealth and size, do have the potential to attack American ships by surprise.

    IMHO it all comes down to their modestly low residence times on the bottom and the need to frequently return to the surface or ports.

    As long as OUR subs are tailing them from origin to parking place on the bottom, we’ll nail ‘em. If we are not watching them, then they can sneak out, park for ‘a while’, and launch a sneak attack at a passing ship. Yeah, they die shortly after that, but hey, Muslims like that sort of thing…

    The other point I’d make is that “side scan sonar” has improved a lot in the last few decades. Given our bottom imaging abilities, even sitting on the bottom may no longer work…

    There was a recent news story about a ’round thing’ on the sea bottom near Sweden about the size of an large ship that had mighty darned good images of it via side scan… AND I’m pretty sure we’ve got Really Detailed side scans of the bottom from all our prior ‘visits’ to Iraq… so computerized detection of ‘anomalies’ ought to be pretty much ‘push the button and read the report’… though we may not need to even push the button…

    Story with picture here:

    http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/08/03/swedish-booze-hunters-may-have-found-ufo-on-ocean-floor/

    IMHO, at 300 feet down, it’s more likely a structure built during the last ice age glacial on dry land than any crashed UFO…

    @R. de Haan:

    It seems to me that the bigger risk from that torpedo is just that it could be launched form a land / shore based location. The Strait of Hormuz is 34 miles wide at the narrow bit and the navigable width even less. So once you have a fast torpedo that can cover about 25 miles, it starts to be Real Hard to get a carrier through without some underwater equivalent of a Aegis…

    Unless you are willing to preemptively bomb any shore installation every time you come / go, it’s going to be a problem…

    I note that it means about a 1/10 th hour burn time for the Iranian missile / torpedo… So, can it keep up 220+ mph underwater for 6-7 minutes? Unlikely, but …

    @Adolfo:

    The limit on bomb size is fixed by the nucleonics of Plutonium. That makes the smallest critical mass about the size of a baseball. You can get it a little smaller by adding A LOT of conventional explosives to compress it, but that makes the Gizmo bigger…

    Limit is about the size of a modest Howitzer shell.

    You can make a ‘briefcase bomb’ via annular confinement and Be reflector techniques (and I’m not going to say more than that – and only say that as it’s in the public domain) but getting to the size of a womans purse would be hard to do…

    Basically, you need that ‘baseball’ of metal to be ‘assembled’ at greater than 4000 fps explosively. That sets your lower bounds.

    Uranium has a larger sized lump of fissionable ‘boom stuff’ so starts out larger, but can be ‘assembled’ more slowly so the explosives needed shrink. Net about the same size (modulo explosive compression effects).

    I’ve got a thesis about using shaped charges for the ‘assembly’, but would not discuss it in electronic media…

    OK suggested reading: “The Curve of Binding Energy” by McPhee. A book about Theodor Taylor, the guy who designed ’boutique nukes’ for the USA and with lots of interesting stuff in it.

    A decent uranium based ‘gun type’ bomb can be made from a modern tank cannon cut down. It could be made about the size of a modern 2000 lb bomb or torpedo by just about any society on the planet that can make a tank and only needs the enriched ‘special nuclear material’.

    Other hint:

    The Indian nuclear bomb tests included using plutonium and U233 from power nuclear reactors, proving that ‘power reactors’ can make ‘boom stuff’ and that Thorium can be used to make U233 to make ‘boom stuff’. (As Taylor hints in “The Curve of Binding Energy”). FWIW, the US test named “Mike” included a U233 bomb, so “we” knew this too…

    I’m fairly sure I can plot a ‘back door’ to ‘boom stuff’ using chemical means that does not need massive nuclear enrichment. That, too, will not be discussed by me in electronic media.

    Combine those two, and I’m pretty sure that with conventional power reactors (of a selected type) I could have a workable bomb in about a decade using only chemical means (once the reactor was running) and could fit it into a conventional sized casing. THAT scares the hell out of me as I’m not as good at this as folks like Taylor…

    It is my belief that the Indians did just that.

    http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/india/nuke/

    shows their first test as being in 1974

    http://www.cised.org/uraniumenrichment_INESAP.pdf

    India’s interest in uranium enrichment
    dates back to the early
    1970s. But it was only in 1986 that
    Indian Atomic Energy Commission
    Chairman Raja Ramanna announced
    that uranium had successfully been
    enriched. According to one report,
    a pilot scale plant has been operating
    in the Bhabha Atomic Research
    Center complex since 1985.4 A larger
    centrifuge plant has been reportedly
    operating at Rattehalli, Karnataka,
    since 1990.

    Notice a disconnect in the dates?…

    You don’t go from ‘first interest’ to ‘blowing up device’ in a year or two… and you don’t have ‘first success’ a dozen years after your first bomb was made…

    I’ll wait while folks figure out what this means for the world…

    ( I REALLY hope I don’t have the ‘necessary conditions’ happen in the news to let me explain my ‘back door’ idea more; as that means way too much global risk from publication having happened…)

    UPDATE:

    Oh dear. Looks like cat is out of bag…

    http://www.ingmarlee.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=86:the-smiling-buddha-blast-a-canadas-candu-snafu&catid=20&Itemid=19

    Three years later, in 1974, India exploded its first nuclear device, nicknamed the “Smiling Buddha,” at Pokhran, Rajasthan, using plutonium from the CIRUS reactor. Turns out, Canada’s reactors are just great at producing weapons-grade plutonium. Canada did not bother to ask India to comply with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards nor for any accounting of the amount of plutonium the CIRUS produced. India claims that its agreement with Canada did not preclude the use of CIRUS-produced plutonium for “peaceful” nuclear explosions. India described its Smiling Buddha blast as a “Peaceful Nuclear Explosion,” but predictably, as soon as Pakistan saw that India had the Bomb, it put its shiny new CANDU reactor to work developing its own nuclear weapons. Canada is clearly a major proliferator of nuclear weaponry and is completely complicit in the nuclear arming of both Pakistan and India.

    So, CANDU type reactor, slow breeding of Pu or U233 using either U or Th as inputs. The rest will be left unsaid.

  24. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jerry:

    See my prior comment…

    Now you know why I run off to Whole Foods to do my blogging ;-)

    and ‘go dark’ when something goes bump in the night…

    BTW, I’m pretty sure I’m ‘on the books’ due to some other things I’ve done, but in a good kind of way. (Suggested something that is saving lives – nuff said.) Basically, I’m on the “good guy” side, so I think that helps. ( I hope that helps?)

    Oh, and “want one” does not mean I get one… Shortage of time, money, lifespan, closet space, spousal indulgence ;-)

    FWIW, my major “Home Defender” is similar in some ways to that shotgun link. Not quite over the line into ‘license land’…

    Take an 8 round “defense” type shotgun. Put on it a short 24 inch or so rifled barrel and a short or pistol grip stock. Now you have 8 in the tube and a gun that can reach 100 yards with slugs / sights or does a rapid spread of pellets from ‘buckshot’ for low penetration / up close / ‘clearing’… Add a hip pouch and you can stuff more into the loading gate about as fast as you shoot them (in any real world event the normal person is likely to experience).

    With 00 or 000 buck the downrange rate of pellets is about the same as some kinds of machine guns… Yet you can selectively put a slug in the loading gate and lob a VERY LARGE one ounce slug ACCURATELY 100 yards…

    All quite legal, no license needed, and “sporting”… (“Deer rifle barrel” on “pheasant gun” – oh, get a long ‘pheasant’ barrel to put on it when it is in storage with the long stock ;-)…

    I can’t imagine a circumstance, other than 400 yard sniping, where I’d ever need “more”… (especially with a couple of pistols on the hip / in the pocket…)

    And I’d add that you can hand load easily and in a “Mad Max” world can make sabot or flechette rounds that are ‘very interesting’ out of things like nails with flattened heads…

  25. Chuckles says:

    Lets not forget that the Ponce has 8 X 0.50 cal gun mounts, as well as a couple of Phalanx/Goalkeeper close-in 20mm Gatling systems. I really don’t think anyones going to want to argue with those.

    Particularly if the damn thing is bristling with Navy Seals as well?
    Talk about a death wish :)

  26. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M: Back in 1963 I accidentally found something very peculiar:

    http://www.giurfa.com/mass.html

  27. E.M.Smith says:

    A VERY interesting link that describes the Iranian navy efforts in fairly great detail.

    I’m especially fond of the mini-subs and the Kajami class submersible torpedo boat (that can do a shallow submerge, but not move while submerged and looks to have rather small torpedoes.)

    While any one of the craft in that page isn’t much of a problem, they are headed toward exponential growth of the numbers and with some domestic production. In ‘mass attacks’ and as surprise attacks “that’s gonna be a problem”…

    They also have a “Thinking man’s bomb boat”… An explosive packed very fast boat, but with a jet skii mounted aft. The ‘operator’ gets it ‘close enough’ and running true then bails on the jet ski…

    Wonder how many simultaneous small attack boats the defensive screen on a destroyer can handle… and how fast…

    “Quantity has a quality all its own”

    That the Iranians have been ‘practicing’ drive bys of groups of small craft is not a good sign. They are measuring the response and doing the math to find the workable parameters. I think we’ll need to sink a few just outside the risk perimeter.

  28. Andrew says:

    @adolfogiurfa

    Did you invent the ‘Shrinky Dink’?

    Sorry, a little off topic, but that’s what it sounds like.

  29. Ralph B says:

    Steam turbines aren’t all that loud (I say that as I sit here suffering from sever tinnitus due to being a dolt when I was young) I think you are referring to steam engines and the thump thump they make underwater.
    Just one trip…sounds kamikazi-like
    An old style diesel electric sub when operating on batteries is very difficult to detect. Remember we use passive sonar most of the time, active sonar can be tricked, I would not rest on any laurels there. But you had a good point earlier…it would be very easy to build a small shelter on the shore and launch torpedoes from there. remember they are wire guided and using speed control can sneak up on you until the last moment. That IMHO would be the bigger worry. Those super fast torpedoes are pretty much bunk…propaganda value only.
    Weapons grade plutonium does not come right out of the reactor. Yes you can get the percentage high but not to bomb grade. For that you need to process the fuel. Who sold India and Pakistan the centrifuges? That is the question you never hear asked

  30. R. de Haan says:

    Just for the record:

    Iran well prepared for war

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NA31Ak02.html

    The consequences of war for Saudi Arabia

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NA31Ak01.html

  31. R. de Haan says:

    Massive US Military buildup on two strategic islands Socotra and Masirah

    http://warsclerotic.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/massive-us-military-buildup-on-two-strategic-islands-socotra-and-masirah/

    100.000 military by early March

    Since 2010, the US has been quietly building giant air force and naval bases on Socotra with facilities for submarines, intelligence command centers and take-off pads for flying stealth drones, as part of a linked chain of strategic US military facilities in the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf.

    This article is based on a Debka report now behind the pay wall.
    I haven’t found any independent links that confirm the content of the article but.
    I did find Masirah Air Base, Hilf, Oman, see Google Maps and Google.

    I remembered Socotra Island for it’s beautiful “out of this world” vegetation.

    http://www.binscorner.com/pages/s/strange-plants-of-socotra-island.html

    At Global Research I found an article about Socotra Island and the militarization of the region. Yes, it’s all about oil and not about the amazing trees.

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=17460

  32. R. de Haan says:

    This claim made in the Debka article really annoys me.

    “Obama may debunk Republican charges that he is weak on Iran”

    Is Obama really going to wage war with Iran to save his presidency?

    Time will tell.

  33. R. de Haan says:

    @Jerry (00:11:03) : Metal Storm

  34. E.M.Smith says:

    @Ralph B:

    Gak! Steam Engine DOES make me think ‘reciprocating’. I ought to have thought ‘turbine’ but I think of those as “Steam Turbine”, not engine…

    Yes, Steam Turbine much quieter…

    Per Pu and how refined is usable for a bomb… Read about Taylor…

    @R. de Haan:

    Interesting articles… and interesting island where I’d love to spend a season but never will…

    I suspect we may also be preparing to clean up Somalia a bit…

    Iran will only be an ‘air and sea’ thing, not landing troops…

    It’s going to be a mess, though.

    “Wag The Dog?” Call it about mid-September. Right as all the ‘back to school” stuff is distracting folks, and it starts to cool off enough to be active on the ground. Gives about 6-7 weeks prior to election. Just enough to rally around the Commander In Chief and not enough to get fed up with it yet.

    Yeah, I could see it…

  35. R. de Haan says:

    @ E.M.

    I think it’s going to beabout end of March, beginning of April.
    From a tactical point of view they’ll have the entire summer period with relative good flying conditions.

    Besides that, I think the upcoming war will be used as a scape goat for the economic melt down that is currently taking place in Europe.

    We have elections too you know and Sarkozy, Cameron and Merkel cling on to the power. If they can blame the collapse to high oil prices some of the electorate may vote in favor of them.

    Besides that, if the US is accumulating troops already they can’t wait too long.

    I think they will occupy the Iranian coastal area in the strait of Hormuz.
    This makes perfectly sense because it would prevent the iranians to launch marine attacks from land.

    I also think they US will perform a number of special op missions behind the lines to support the bombing raids.

    I also think they will wipe out all military capability, air fields, factories, naval bases, missile sites etc, etc.

    They will clear up Somalia, Syria and any other trouble maker on the block.

    The big question is what the Russians and the Chinese are going to do…

  36. R. de Haan says:

    @ E.M
    “Interesting articles… and interesting island where I’d love to spend a season but never will…”

    Never say never.

  37. Ralph B says:

    EM,

    Steam engines in the engine room are not much if at all louder than a turbine. The turbine you hear the sound of steam going though the nozzles a high pitched continuous noise. At flank speed you can hear the howl of the steam as it passes through the main steam stop valves. Those sounds though are not transmitted through the hull. What I was referring to was the underwater sound signature. Because steam engines deliver their power in pulses the propeller makes the wump wump sound. I believe due to intermittent cavitation. Of note…under 1000hp a steam engine is more efficient than a steam turbine. another note the pulse power of the steam engine is what screws up train tracks and another reason for the demise. (drifting way off topic…). yet another note, steam turbines need a reduction gear and precision machined so as not to make/transmit sound. Steam engines are direct coupled to the shaft usually turning at a few hundred RPM max.

  38. Jason Calley says:

    @ Ralph B Really interesting info about steam engines! As for the pulsing nature of piston steam engines, I would have thought that just increasing the number of pistons would mitigate that problem. Of course that would be obvious, so the fact that that route was not taken indicates there must be some other factors which would complicate the “simple solution.” I am reminded of the aphorism: “For every major problem, there is a solution which is simple, obvious — and completely wrong!” Life is like that.

    @ E.M. and R. de Haan
    Jezz, if I ever start a war, I want you two for my Generals! Tying in somewhat to the discussion about a Saudi pipeline, nations export what they have in surplus. We here in the US are currently the possessors of a surplus in military muscle. That export of muscle has allowed the US to tie sales of oil to payment in US dollars. Sole payment in US dollars — which we can then print — means that the US gets oil cheap. Throw in a kickback from Saudi where they use their excess dollars to purchase Treasury Bonds and you have a tight little system — but only as long as oil production is primarily controlled by the Saudis, and equally importantly, only as long as the US does not abuse its currency creation mechanism by over inflating the money supply. Once the money supply is growing out of control, nations (such as Iran) are driven to drop out of the dollar sales and go to some alternate. Iran, for example, has just agreed to sell to India for gold, and India is adamant that they need to buy. China, I believe, is also discussing direct non-dollar purchase from Iran. In addition, Russia has very good reasons for wishing the US petrodollar a quick death. This is what frightens me about the US move toward conflict with Iran. As long as the ones most affected by forced petrodollar usage were little third world countries, no one cared much. Now, US money creation has reached the point that giants China, Russia and India all begin to see it in their interest to stop the US. The current US military buildup against Iran may be one last US effort to prevent the fall of the petrodollar. This is a very dangerous game now because the players are anything but small third world nations. The big boys from Asia are playing now. That scares me.

  39. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Jason: If an “economic shock” is put in place to fix things, as any economist would advice, things fix in a short term, so suffering it is not too long. (In S.A. we have experienced such a fix, and countries that reject it or make it “slowly”, suffer the most). It´s like stripping out a stuck bandage: It´s better to do it right away. Our specialist E.M. will confirm this.

  40. Ralph B says:

    Brother Adolfo…just look at Iceland as a good example

    Jason…quadruple expansion engines were tried but never really gained traction too many more parts to fail with not enough gain. The Uniflow engine maybe could have been put in multiple banks but by then you are already to the point where it is better to go with a turbine. Also diesels started coming on strong and are far more efficient than steam. Steam engines were the driving force of the industrial age..course once we were industrialized their doom was foreshadowed as better more efficient systems came along. i am as nostalgic as the next guy and love watching a triple run

  41. Jason Calley says:

    @ adolfogiurfa and Ralph B “just look at Iceland as a good example”

    Yes, exactly, good example! And the Great Depression of 1921, the one that never happened because the PTB let the bad companies go broke.

  42. Jerry says:

    @E.M.

    I agree it is hard to beat a 12ga ‘riot’ type shotgun for home or even vehicle. Mine is 8 shot, 20″ bbl., 40″ overall, pump. I even got a screw in choke which is a bit unusual for the type – so could put in a full choke and go duck hunting, lol, or not. I really like being able to load up anything from bird shot, to buck shot, to slugs, to sabots, to flechetts, to beanbag, to frangible, to all of the above. I really would not reload defensive ammunition as lawyers/prosecutors just love to hang that bird around you neck; over the counter stuff works just fine and the guy at the store told you to buy it.

    Flechettes?

    http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/BAM050-1.html

    These are sold as a piece of historic militaria only and
    flechett ammo may be illegal in some places! It is not
    recommended that they be stored in 3″ 12ga shells with a hard card at the bottom of the wad and a thin hard card on top to help adjust the crimp. Rather they are intended as a
    conversation piece and to pin notes to the cork board. The
    fact that they will fit into a .177 air gun is best ignored. or not :)

    @R.de Haan

    yeah, I saw that. Do a bing search on streetsweeper and just follow links around more or less at random – wow, there is some Stuff out there!! Some of which may get you on the EyeWitless News at 6:00 :) The Russian Katyusha rocket launcher is an earlier (WWII) type of ‘tube weapon’ and the US used a similar weapon to bombard island beaches in the Pacific before invasion. These were mounted in a barge and could drop in a few hundred rockets real quick.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katyusha_rocket_launcher

  43. E.M.Smith says:

    @R. de Haan:

    Oh, yeah, Europe… Obama does like letting Europe lead in this dance… (Viz Libya) and he would just hate it to see his EuroSocialist model go down just before HIS election…

    OK, you convinced me…

    Per visiting the island: Not enough money. Spouse has Europe and Japan queue up and I can’t fund even one of them. I’ll be dead before I have enough money for both of them and MY South America tour… only then would Indian Ocean be possible… Yeah, maybe I could win the lottery, or have a Sugar Daddy decide he liked my work, but ‘odds just are’…

    Per ‘methods': We pretty much follow the play book of:

    1) Take out air defense
    2) Take out air assets
    3) Take out command and control
    4) Take out air bases, troop concentrations, government centers
    (Incidental to that, take out Top Bosses… but it’s not targeted assassinations, no, not at all…)
    5) Degrade anything else that seems to need it (arms factories, etc.)

    To this one, this time, we add “take out nuke facilities”.

    While you are likely correct about a US landing at the straits, I think we would hand it over to Arab control. “Greater Oman” has a nice ring to it ;-)

    @Ralph:

    Nice info on what causes the noise…

    As I understand it, one of the major factors of demise for steam train engines was the amount of maintenance and labor to operate. Diesels just run and run and run and two guys in the cab… Not a lot of start up / shut down process time either.

    @Jason Calley:

    OK, if you ever have a war to operate, give me a call ;-)

    BTW, the comments about reloading and flechettes are not for ‘current conditions’. As you point out, for those it is strictly factory stuff. It is more a comment on “after the fall” ability to keep shooting when you are reduced to what can be scrounged from the local dump… old nails etc. FWIW, that was what was done in the Philippines. They raised the use of ‘improvised projectiles’ to a fine art. Interesting bit of history too… During an occupation / prohibition, the shotgun can be VERY easily kept in service. Home made black powder still works and the ‘caps’ are of a size you can make in any small machine shop / bicycle repair place. Wads are ‘whatever’ and projectile is ‘hard whatever’… Maybe I’m too fond of history and need to flag those thoughts better…

    Per petrodollars:

    I don’t think it’s quite that dire. The major reason to tie to the $US is the lack of an alternative currency on the sell side and the desire to monitor / control clearance on the US part. (As dollar sales must clear through a US bank).

    The Euro was proposed and talked about, but as you can see….

    Yen isn’t big enough.

    Everything else is even smaller.

    Clearance in gold has big problems in that the shipping of it is a real PITA and shipping that many tons of gold will create a new growth industry in deep water salvage…

    Oh, and just think what the Somali Pirates would do knowing tons of gold were headed to Iran….

    Sure, you could do clearance via bank vaults in Switzerland… but then it doesn’t really matter if you ‘do the trade in Swiss Francs with immediate conversion to gold’…

    FWIW, you can see the price of oil move with gold for a couple of years, then suddenly decouple into an inverse relationship here:

    http://bigcharts.marketwatch.com/advchart/frames/frames.asp?show=&insttype=Stock&symb=uso&time=10&startdate=1%2F4%2F1999&enddate=8%2F21%2F2011&freq=2&compidx=aaaaa%3A0&comptemptext=gld&comp=gld&ma=0&maval=24&uf=0&lf=2&lf2=4&lf3=1024&type=4&style=320&size=3&timeFrameToggle=false&compareToToggle=false&indicatorsToggle=false&chartStyleToggle=false&state=15&x=36&y=15

    It’s one of the more curious things…

    I suspect it indicates the moment where it went from both being measured against the dollar to being counter traded commodities. Someone is going ‘long oil short gold’ and ‘long gold short oil’. Which just happens to be the same as buying oil in gold… could be nothing but OPEC nations recycling their petrodollars into Swiss Gold Deposits…

    (Longer term gold and oil are very strongly decoupled, but perhaps those times have passed…)

    At any rate, the price of oil will not be particularly cheap to us just from pricing in dollars. IMHO, its more that the EuroZone got cheap oil as their currency appreciated against the dollar. Now that ‘that game is up’, folks are questioning the whole deal.

    (Basically, we can print the dollars anyway. If oil were priced in Euro, we’d swap $/Euro and then Euro / Oil. Saudi ends up with Euro that goes back to a bank and gets swapped Euro / INVESTMENT. If that INVESTMENT is still US Treasuries, all we did was wash dollars through Euro. If that INVESTMENT is gold, the dollar drops and gold rises even if we did the buy in $US. The biggest difference, IMHO, is that the US Treasury gets to monitor GLOBAL oil trade via the $US Clearance and our buys are hidden from view.)

    Other than that, a lot of what you say is pretty much ‘the deal’. After the Arab Oil Embargo of the ’70s, we sent a batch of economists off to Saudi and explained fractional reserve banking and the printing press to them. Suddenly they decided to stick with the $US…

    The recent oil / gold inverse and $/oil decouple (prices have been more stable in other currencies…) leads me to think some of OPEC are ‘changing the deal’ (or China is swinging a lot of $US and gold around).

    I could easily see Venezuela, for example, just selling direct in local currencies throughout Latin America and China continuing to buy in $US (to dump them), while Russia moves to a ‘swap’ basis based on what it wants now. (For a very long time the Soviet Ruble was not convertible, so they are very well versed in barter..) As the Euro decays, I could also see a ‘swap gold for oil’ being asked by The Gulf States. It would all happen in the same Swiss banks anyway, so would largely stay just book entries…

    In essence, it really comes down to something other than the clearance currency of oil. It is the willingness of Saudi (or OPEC more generally) and China to buy US Treasuries. That’s the SHTF moment (if they stop). Even if oil stayed priced in $US. (That’s what happened in the ’70s and why we had The Talk with the Saudi Royals… )

    What scares ME, is that virtually nobody in our government seems to understand that “We are not special” and that at any moment an agreement between OPEC and China to just sell $US instead of buy more (which implies not selling us oil for more paper, net – even if priced in dollars they could request immediate clearance in Fx or gold): and then the US Economy collapses, our government collapses, we have 15% to 20% inflation and accelerating, and no visible way out.

    Basically the same scenario you are worried about, but the trigger is slightly different. No formal drop of $US oil clearance, just a refusal to stack up the paper and an immediate ‘churn’ into other assets. I think we are seeing some of the early signs of that now in the oil / gold inverse…

    @Adofo:

    Substantially, yes. It isn’t really the speed that matters, though. It is the fact that done fast, it is accomplished, and folks move on to rebuilding. Done slowly, all the folks who would lose something take political action to prevent / slow it. Nobody is building new as long as they are hiding / fighting the present. That is what prolongs the agony.

    Same effect as you describe, just a bit more look at what the mechanism entails… I don’t know of any way to get folks to ‘get on with it’ and ignore the ‘bad things’ while doing a slow solution; but theoretically if you could, it could be better. It’s that theoretical but never achievable that traps folks…

  44. R. de Haan says:

    @Jason Calley (15:48:43) :

    Not so far fetched speculations and scenario’s

    India, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran all have brokered deals to finance their business with other currencies but the US Dollar.
    The Chinese and the Russians signed an agreement last year.
    Iran is paid in gold for it’s oil deliveries to India and the Saudi’s just signed a deal with the Chinese to get paid in their currency.

    If I remember well Saddam Hussein, at the top of his power, had threatened to abandon the US dollar for it’s oil trade.

    If I remember well, Gaddaffi, last year threatened to dump the US dollar as well.

    Both countries got attacked and both leaders ended up dead.

    Now with this in mind what will the ruling bankster class decide?

    Russia over the past decade has trailed the US in military exports.
    Over the past years the gap between the US and Russia was less than a few hundred million USD.

    Yes, the US produces more advanced weapons but Russia produces weapons that are extremely reliable and effective at a relative low price. This means they sell a bigger volume. For every fighter jet produced in the US for exports, the Russians have to produce almost three jets for the same turnover in export sales. Yet they have managed to keep up and close the gap.
    Now Russia and China have signed a treaty of military and economic cooperation and announced to abandon the dollar. This was nothing less than a declaration of war with the USA (and Europe via the NATO Treaty).

    Russia over the past years has been dogging the US opposing any decision that came to vote in the UN.
    Russia has this great relationship with the Iranians and all other regimes tht offered them trade and harbors like Syria and Libyia.

    Russia and the Chinese have openly warned the USA not to start any war with Syria, Iran or Pakistan.

    In the mean time, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, possibly Jordan, Syria and…. Turkey signed a security pact two years ago.

    When the Turks clashed with the Israeli’s over the Palestinian Flotilla incident and Israeli exploration efforts outside their territorial waters they cancelled their annual military exercise that included the Israeli and the American Forces.

    Well, the first exercise they organized involved a squadron of Chinese fighter jets that were flown in from China via Pakistan and Tehran and landed on the biggest NATO BASE in Turkey. This has been the biggest act of intimidation (and treason) performed by an Islamic country and a NATO partner.

    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/growing-ties-between-turkey-china-iran-worry-israel-and-u-s-1.317583

    In fact it has scared the hell out of the Israeli’s, the Europeans and the US.

    We now know Turkey is selling/trading security data with iran, China, Syria.
    They even have hacked the NATO transponder codes that allow them to change the NATO friend/Foe identification pointing out any allied or Israeli aircraft as foe. We can be sure the Russians, the Chinese and the Iranians now have this information. This is not small potatoes and the recent capture of a US drone by Iran has much to do with this issue.

    I am convinced that an air raid on Iran will be a most hazardous adventure and it will not surprise me if Iranian air space will be protected by Chinese and Russian fighters. I also won’t be surprised if an attack on Iran by the USA is followed by a an attack on Israel by “The Security Pact”.

    The Greek who have clashed with Turkey for centuries and who offered Israel use of their military bases, even during the biggest economic crises of their times. have been buying any available military equipment that rolls, flies or floats. They too have been spooked.

    I think that any conflict with Iran has the potential for rapid escalation.

    We have entered different times as Western Europe has become a military Achilles Heal. Their strongest border defense during the Cold War has become their weakest, with highway’s running from Moscow to Paris and the weakest leadership in years.

    Restoring the Russian Empire, a life time objective of Putin, never has been easier. Russians are great chess players and from all people in Europe the biggest opportunist.
    Every Russian school kid today knows how to assemble a Kalashnikof blind folded. They are ruthless and no match for the European youth who spent their lives playing computer games and listening loud music that made most of them deaf and dumb.

    Interesting times when want to be empires like the EU are on the brink of collapse.

    Vulnerable empires die fast and power vacuum’s are filled quickly.

    History doesn’t tell us any other story. It just repeats its self.

  45. Andrew says:

    Mann I wish I had time for a longer comment…but alas…a higher calling beckons…namely dishes, laundry and dinner. Maybe more later…

    @Jason…I began reading what you wrote…I would bet we agree more than we disagree…

    @ anyone else that cares…

    Don’t forget the German term Realpolitik…

    I think people too often ascribe human motivations to the behaviors of Nation States…anthropomorphically if you will.

    Generally bad idea…I mean the life expectancy of a human is 80 plus years if you picked the right place to be born…but what is the life expectancy of China.

    One could argue the Vietnam War was a painful teacher of that lesson to the United States…France clued in sooner.

    The Sunni’s and the Shia’s and the Kurds hated each other before Mohammad was a Prophet…and Allah and Yahweh are the same Deity right…its a Abraham thing.

    The Catholics and Protestants were pissing each off before Martin Luther stirred up the pot as I recall from reading Churchill’s account.

    Anyway, got to run.

    Oh…the Germans have another cool word…Schadenfreude

  46. E.M.Smith says:

    @R. de Haan:

    Um, I don’t think they’d have to hack the IFF codes. As a NATO member I think we would have provided to them the settings for their transponders.

    If they hacked the METHOD in the devices, that’s a bigger deal… but still not THAT big. Yes, we’d have to upgrade all the transponders to a new rev, PITA for sure, but if we already know, we’re already “on it”.

    Frankly, I would have designed them as ‘dual level’ from the get-go with us having a “special mode” and everyone else getting a “down one” mode. (Thus not possible to ‘hack’ ours, only ‘theirs / friends”). Then again, I’m a bit more subtle than the typical low bidder… )

    As I understand it, the drone was captured via a GPS spoof, not a IFF spoof. (But who knows, it’s all ‘open news’ so as likely to be planted story as the truth).

    In both cases you can ‘fix it’ with appropriate application of encryption techniques that are well understood.

    I’d be very surprised if it took longer than 6 weeks to make a “fix”, test it, and have it ready for acceptance / manufacture.

    At any rate, the idea that Turkey is on our side now (after the last shift of government) is really a bit daft. I think it will become clear ‘soon’ though…

    Per Russia:

    Yup. Always play for the house. Always play hard ball. If they are not winning enough, large hairy guys with guns show up to ask if you are card counting and “Would like to see back streets now?”

    As long as they are making incremental progress, they are your ‘friend’…

    China is worse…

    Yes, it’s going to be a mess. Wish I knew how to prevent it.

    At least if if happens early Ron Paul will get a bump in the primaries ;-)

  47. R. de Haan says:

    I am Russian, I can do this

  48. R. de Haan says:

    The war initiative can come from unexpected corners, I know, it’s Debka News so add two spoons of salt.

    Assad may start regional war if UN tells him to step down – Gulf sources
    DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 31, 2012, 7:23 PM (GMT+02:00) Tags: Bashar Assad UN Security Council US Russia Israel

    Syrian officers visit Russian aircraft carrier in Tartus port
    In confidential conversations with his advisers, Syrian President Bashar Assad is reported by Persian Gulf sources Tuesday, Jan. 31 to have threatened to start up armed hostilities in the region if the UN Security Council Tuesday night endorses the Arab League proposal for him to step down and hand power to his deputy.
    Those sources told DEBKAfile that the heads of the Syrian armed forces and intelligence have been given their orders and some units are on the ready. Other Middle East sources reported that the Lebanese Hizballah has also shown signs of military preparations in the last few hours. And the Russian flotilla berthed at the Syrian port of Tartus, led by the Admiral Kutznetsov aircraft carrier, also appears to be on the alert for ructions in the wake of the Security Council Syria session.
    During the day, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov warned that pushing the Arab League’s UN resolution was “the path to civil war.” Our Moscow sources report that top-level discussions are still going back and forth in the Kremlin over a final decision on a veto.
    DEBKAfile reports that the military flurry in advance of the critical Security Council session included US naval movements. Sunday, Jan. 29, the nuclear submarine USS Annapolis, escorted by the guided missile destroyer USS Momsen sailed through the Suez Canal to the Red Sea. This looked like a Washington warning for Tehran to keep its military fingers out of Syria if the confrontation there escalates.
    It was not the first time Assad has threatened Syria’s neighbors. On Aug. 9, 2011, four months into his savage crackdown against protesters, he warned Turkey that, six hours after the first shot was fired against Syria, he would “destroy Tel Aviv and set the entire Middle East on fire.”
    That was his answer to Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutoglu when he came to Damascus with a demand from his and other NATO governments that the Syrian ruler stop the slaughter. .
    Davutoglu urged Assad to take a look at Libya and try to understand that if he carried on, he might be in for the same fate as Muammar Qaddafi – a strong hint at military intervention by NATO, including Turkey.
    Earlier still on May 10, one of Assad’s close kinsmen, the international tycoon Rami Makhlouf, warned: “If there is no stability in Syria, there will be none in Israel. No one can be sure what will happens after that. God help us if anything befalls this regime.”

  49. E.M.Smith says:

    There is an odd projection in the middle between bolt an sight, poking up. It moves forward on one shot, back on the next. Very odd action…

    Looks to me like a very simple open bolt machine gun with large bore. I have no idea what that mechanism would be… unless it is some kind of ratchet to turn the magazine?… Perhaps some kind of ‘charging handle’ that wobbles back and forth a bit when not being used? Who knows..

    At any rate, neat gun. You can get ‘close’ in performance with a semi-auto shotgun and large tube magazine and a fast trigger finger. “Show” revolver shooters can match machine guns in cyclic rate, just not in magazine capacity. Saw a demo of one with a semi-auto rifle matching a full auto rifle.

    IMHO, the ‘fire discipline’ of needing to pull for each shot is worth more than higher cyclic rate. Only so much ammo you can carry and better to have it last longer than 30 seconds ;-)

    Still would be fun to have one of them, though…

  50. R. de Haan says:

    Leaving NATO to handle Libya was a big mistake.
    Overall the NATO performance was one of weakness.
    Especially when the Italians withdrew the landing rights on their military base and retreated from their commitments prematurely.

    At some moment NATO run out of bombs and was not able to maintain air cover over the Libyan territory allowing Gadaffi troops to perform counter attacks. The entire rid took almost three months longer than planned.

    I am sure the Russians have been laughing their pants off and smell easy prey.
    Now they are considering (UK and France) a similar plan for Syria.

    Besides that. I really wonder since when Allied fire power serves the Muslim Brotherhood and their cronies.

    Since when do we mandate the concept of an Islamic Sharia state.

    The clowns in the EU and US Governments have created two new Iran’s, Libya and Egypt and one additional candidate, Iraq now a full member of the Iran/Turkey Security Pact.

    Collective madness has become pandemic.

    If I didn’t know any better I would ask our “Professional Russian” from the AA 12 demo to open up a new Gulag in Siberia and send our Illuminati on a permanent holiday.

  51. E.M.Smith says:

    Well… A Los Angeles class sub. Lots of cruise missiles, some torpedoes, and can lay mines… Also some can deliver Seal teams…

    There are SOOooo many fingers in this pie, trying to figure out who is angling for what, and who is “false flagging” whom, and which bluff is directed at what ends…

    I think it will come down to how Russia votes. Nyet and we know they are supporting Syria (then OUR fat is in the fire – with that much prep to then do nothing?…) if “Da” we know they are siding with the rest of the Arabs and expect a payback afterwards. If abstain, we know nothing.

    Not approving, but unwilling to go against the Arab League … tossing Assad under the bus, but maybe for reasons specific to Assad…

    OK, so if this is supposed to “go up” via Syria, then ‘accidentally’ spread to Iran once they decide to involve themselves… We’ve got a couple of cruise missile platforms in the gulf and with lots of neat sonar toys… And a whole fleet load of air support.

    UN Vote, then Russian Sulking / Protests. Show of ‘attempt to compromise’, then Russia abstains under Arab League complaints (prearranged, of course). A couple of ultimatums to Syria, then Assad has a Bad Day and molests another group of civilians. The “take down” begins with air assault on Syrian air assets and command and control.

    As soon as Iran starts to respond, the “Gulf Assets” take down major Iranian facilities and start dunking ‘coastal defenses’ and take down air defenses.

    Under cover of THAT, Israel hits the Iranian nuclear facilities.

    Since we don’t need “boots on the ground” in Syria (the locals doing the deed once the Palace is gone…) the boots get “redirected” to Iran near the Strait…

    Saudi holds a press conference to “Denounce” Israel for their attack and complain about both Assad and the attack on Syria, suggests strongly that folks need to not invade Syria… Meanwhile folks looking at Smoking Iran get to hear all of us complain that they ought not to have stuck their nose into a UN / NATO operation and we’re all so sorry they made that choice…

    Sound at all close?

    If Syria is the “trigger” feint, I think that moves the likely date up to closer to late February / March. ( IF they did it on April 15th nobody in America would notice as they would be stunned by the tax bill ;-)

  52. Andrew says:

    Assad has yet to be tested on the Big Stage, so I would doubt Ivan would get sucked into some punks little games…presumable when it is only to save his neck…no pun intended…Saddam and Bob Marley el Sirte would agree if they were alive.

    Putin is KGB…KGB understand MADD. But as mentioned earlier…don’t trust the Russians. “Trust but verify”…or something like that…

    Is it cheating when you bluff in poker? Does that explain Jonathan Pollard?

    I am just saying you can count on your true friends but who are they? Also, I would argue that even your true friends can’t be trusted. Churchill respected FDR and trusted him enough to bathe in front of him…but they didn’t share everything.

  53. Jason Calley says:

    @ Andrew “I am just saying you can count on your true friends but who are they?”

    True, but only people (and bunnies — I’ll say it before E.M. does!) can have friends. Like most people, I say things like “Israel is America’s friend” or “Mexico is our good neighbor” or “Canada is our closest ally.” They are all similar to saying “My automobile is a close friend to the water heater” or “the number seven is a good neighbor to the number eight.” Though the illusion of nations acting as a whole is hard to erase, all political events are actually the expression of human actions chosen and performed by individuals. If the US goes to war, it is because certain human individuals decided to.

    “Also, I would argue that even your true friends can’t be trusted. Churchill respected FDR and trusted him enough to bathe in front of him…but they didn’t share everything.”

    While I have no way of knowing the truth of the matter, there is at least one report that Churchill had Roosevelt killed. http://www.prouty.org/coment11.html

  54. R. de Haan says:

    Yes, I’ve heard about the FDR murder scheme in the past.
    Murder plans also floated around during 1940 when FDR still kept the US outside the war.

    Political murder is something of all times.
    Remember the recent call to murder Obama because he doesn’t serve the Israeli Agenda by an Israeli publisher.

    Even the Netherlands experienced political assassinations like the murder on Pim Fortuyn. The death of a Secretary of Justice and a former Dutch Minister and Member of the Euro Parliament are suspect.

  55. Jason Calley says:

    @ R. de Haan “Political murder is something of all times.”

    Indeed, sir, I think you are correct. And that just goes to show that politicians may tend to have a set of ethical values that differs from the Average Joe.

    And by the way, let me acknowledge how much I enjoy reading the ideas I get from you, and E.M. and all the rest of the regular crowd here. Some of the regulars, I regularly disagree with, but it is extremely rare that I do not end up having to at least re-examine my thoughts about things. I thank you all!

    @ E.M. Regarding “Floating bases”, you mentioned missile platforms in the gulf. Has the US ever considered using converted oil platforms offshore of trouble spots?

  56. Andrew says:

    @ Jason and @ R. de Haan

    How about Pakistan, Pervez had Bhutto killed …or that Ukrainian PM with the arsenic…

    I doubt Churchill plotted to kill FDR, hell he could have drowned him in the bath tube and not been investigated. Churchill was tough, read about his escape in the Boer Wars. FDR was a cripple…

    Churchill would have…and did try to get the US into the war…and no doubt he would have tried harder had not the Japanese got involved.

    Also remember, who would have become the new President? Churchill thought FDR was soft on ‘Uncle Joe’ as they called Stalin. During FDR’s third term the VP was Wallace. Truman was only the VP for a few months and I don’t think was even briefed on the Manhattan Project until he was President.

    Wallace, dropped over his soft stance towards the Soviets, was the Progressive Party Nominee against Truman (d) and Dewey (r) in 1948.

    So I am going to pull out Occam’s Razor out and slice up the ‘Churchill killed FDR’ speculation…but I will read the link…with as open of a mind as I can…hopefully later today.

    Andrew

  57. R. de Haan says:

    Here’s a strategy on Iran:

    http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/files/rc/papers/2009/06_iran_strategy/06_iran_strategy.pdf

    It contains a scenario for a false flag attack to justify a bombing raid on Iran and prevent diplomatic isolation.

  58. Pascvaks says:

    “Ahhhhh.. WAR! The Stuff of Legend.”

    (Honest, you don’t want to hear the truth.)

  59. Pingback: Poisoning Stalin (And FDR?) « Musings from the Chiefio

  60. E.M.Smith says:

    Heard Hillary on the Nightly News berating Assad of Syria and saying that folks needed to choose Assad or The People Of Syria. At the same time Russia was reported to be asking for some kind of ‘use of force’ language to be removed from some UN vote.

    Didn’t catch the details and I was running down and FDR tunnel ;-)

    But so far it looks like we’re on track for a month of posturing before Russia finally lets the vote go through (or NATO just acts…) on Syria…

    (Gonna read that False Flag article right after I sleep tonight, er, this morning, er, tomorrow, oh heck, whatever it is after you are awake all night…)

  61. Pascvaks says:

    OBYuan and Little Hill need to get the Russians to go into Syria and clean the place up; tell Moscow that it’s all their fault and they need to take out the garbage.

  62. Pascvaks says:

    OT/
    02-FEB-2012 13:57:07 -17.46 167.17 5.3 10.0 VANUATU ISLANDS
    02-FEB-2012 13:53:45 -17.60 167.19 4.9 13.4 VANUATU ISLANDS
    02-FEB-2012 13:34:38 -17.81 167.15 6.9 10.1 VANUATU ISLANDS
    02-FEB-2012 10:44:07 -17.87 168.43 4.8 147.2 VANUATU ISLANDS
    01-FEB-2012 16:20:35 -16.93 168.58 4.7 239.6 VANUATU ISLANDS

  63. E.M.Smith says:

    @Pascvaks:

    See the quake thread. It’s had a 7.x scale event;

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/quake-sumatra-7-3-tsunami-warning/

    Per Syria:

    Perhaps we need a bit more of The Great Game, but played more “friendly’. Just tell Russia:

    “We’re tired of this whole Middle East thing. Would you like Syria? It’s yours if you clean it up. Wouldn’t mind if you made Lebanon Orthodox Christian while you are in the area. Yeah, it puts you on the back door of Turkey, a NATO member, but they’ve not been real ‘pro-west’ lately… Let us know if you need them kicked out of NATO prior to ‘liberating’ Kurdistan…”

    Yes, playing the European game of “Here, let me hold your coat”…

  64. E.M.Smith says:

    @R. de Haan:

    “Political Killing” is just another tool in the kit…

    BTW, I’m about 1/2 way through that Brookings policy doc. Talk about your ‘mind numbing prose’… 170 some odd pages of accurate, but completely devoid of passion or imagery…

    This means that neither of the diplomatic options
    is a sure thing. They are not doomed to failure, but
    neither are they guaranteed to succeed. Neither
    may have a better than even chance of success, and
    we cannot know with any degree of certainty just
    what their true probability of success is.

    What’s wrong with:

    ‘Might work, might not. Dice roll’

    My “convert and compress” algorithm is working WAY overtime to extract the useful info from the “Government Vague-Flowery Non-Offense Stroke Everyone Speak”…

    Only now reached the more, what did Obama call it? “Kinetic” options…

    Maybe the emotional engagement will pick up there.. ;-)

    @Andrew:

    Look at the timing. Just BEFORE the election. I suspect the timing got blown and they never expected FDR to pass his ‘physical’ for his 4th term.

    One of the links puts emphasis on the point that FDR was simply not fit to run again and the presidency OUGHT to have gone to Dewey or ‘some other Democrat’.

    The plans of mice and men are often gone awry…

    So I would see it as a plan to ‘slowly disable and kill if needed’ with the intent being to cause a ‘rotation’ at the next election.

    Any time two folks are in a room and one ends up dead, the other one is subject of an investigation and rumor. Easier to just avoid all that unpleasantness and ask “Would you like a bit of my favorite tea?”… (Or perhaps a special ‘gin and tonic’ with a bit of grapefruit juice…) It is a standard goal to have the result of a covert op displaced in time and space from the operative… It also avoids the possibility that you have things ‘gone awry’ and some steward shows up at a bad moment… or “Uncle Joe” catches it on his microphones…

    For my money “Slip a bit of poison” and wait for the election is much much simpler than “Strangle and drown while in spaces controlled and monitored by others and with the mandatory investigation”.

    Finally, once you KNOW that someone is set on destruction of your empire, swapping for another is at worst a “delays things a bit” and at best a “clear win”…. In a choice of “fail” vs “delay OR win”, you dump the “fail”…

    @Jason Calley:

    Glad you enjoy the place (and YOU contribute too!)

    Oil platforms are very vulnerable. Way too slow to move into place, then can’t run if needed. Easy to sink (no hardened skin, few inner bulkheads).

    I suppose you could put one far enough from some places to be usable, but…

    It can take months (many) to move them from one side of the world to another. Proper ships are weeks to days (depending on where to where..)

    Oh, and they are not very easily hidden… Lots of angularity, physically large.

    I’d rather have a ship (like above) and / or an Aegis and / or a sub and / or a proper aircraft carrier… and as “price is no object” …

    Since a ‘missile platform’ is just a launcher bolted to a boat, I’d rather convert ships… (Think what all could be launched from a converted SMALL oil tanker, you know, the ones too small to be very interesting anymore… or ‘larger than a battleship’…) Convert the tanks to weapons storage. Add an ‘inner liner’ in the single walled hulls (the ones being discontinued) as armoring. (Heck, you could likely just do some kind of shotcrete and put an inner skin behind that for a kind of ersatz composite armor…) Then strip all the piping off the top deck and replace it with defensive gun works. Replace the hatches with “launch stations” flush into the deck. Add some below decks munitions handling works.

    Voilà! A ‘super giant missile launcher’ that could take out darned near any country on earth smaller than Russia, Canada, the USA and China. (Due to distance from the seas). As South America mostly has cities of merit near the coast, the fact that you can’t flatten the back of the Amazon is not so important. Ditto Australia, but desert instead. Heck, even Africa has the ‘far bits’ full of sand. The thing would be ‘self mobile’ and could probably make 20 kts.

    Relatively cheap (the missiles inside would cost more, so you could leave it part empty much of the time or when headed to ‘very hostile’ waters). You could even have part of the acreage be a large helipad for airborne resupply. Relatively fast and deployable. With modest internal bulkheads and some inner armor it could take a lot of modest sized fire. (Though not the typical anti-ship missiles, I’d expect.) Biggest issue I see is just that tankers are a bit thin and flexible and tend to damage in rough seas. Decent internal reinforcing could likely fix that (part of the armoring and bulkhead work…)

    Oh, and as old oil tankers get deprecated for environmental reasons far faster than old oil rigs get retired, you have a large supply and low relative costs most of the time, for equipment that is less ‘used up’.

    ( In thinking about it, an ersatz ‘composit armor’ of “Skin steel, shotcrete in wire mesh, foam – low flammable polymer, inner steel, kevlar blanket, inner walls” would likely add cheap survivability, let you ballast the ship better, and stiffen the ship in rough seas – with the bulkheads. If the ‘foam’ were to excess, it might even be enough to prevent full sinking… There is just SO much excess space in one of these you would not lose any effective fire power from adding chunks of foam in the bows, middle, and rear..)

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