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January 17, 2004

1966 - US Nukes Spain

brokenarrow_palomares_bomb1.jpg


On this day in 1966, the US accidentally nuked Spain with 4 B28 hydrogen bombs aboard a B-52 that collided with a KC-135 tanker. There were four aircrew from the B-52 that survived, none on the KC-135. No one on the ground was hurt. Four bombs fell, two exploded their TNT loads (which are part of the nuke process). Fortunately for everybody in the area, the safeties worked, and we "only" spread 7 pounds of plutonium and americium around the area.

This kind of accident is called a Broken Arrow. This particular incident was dramatized in the movie Men of Honor where the diver Carl Brashear loses his leg during the recovery operation for the bomb that went into the Mediterranean.

The terms used for nuclear inicidents in DoD speak are:

Broken Arrow: This term identifies an accident involving a nuclear weapon or warhead or nuclear component, involving significant damage to the weapon and/or surrounding area that requires a massive response.

Bent Spear: This term is used to identify and report a nuclear weapon significant incident involving a nuclear weapon or warhead, nuclear components, or vehicle when nuclear-loaded. This covers things that result in non-dangerous damage to a weapon or that involves serious PR problems. Dropping a tool on a missile nose cone, or a fender bender in a truck carrying a nuke for example, can generate a Bent Spear report. Nothing like having your name on the President's desk within 24 hours... And an expensive report of survey for that nose cone. Why? if you dinged it sufficiently, that ding will generate enough drag that a Pershing II warhead might deviate enough from it's flight path to effectively miss it's target. Yeah, it's a nuke - but it really is a very small one, which we could do because we built the missile to be so accurate. If you dinged a cone, it had to be shipped back to the US for repair. That's expensive!

Empty Quiver: "A reporting term to identify and report the seizure, theft, or loss of a U.S. nuclear weapon."

Faded Giant: "A reporting term to identify an event involving a nuclear reactor or radiological accident."

Working with nukes was no fun. It was nothing but opportunity to fail after opportunity to fail. Not to mention scary every time you went through the assembly process. I was never so happy as when the Army decided to get out of the nuke business!


by John on Jan 17, 2004 | Observations on things Military
» Blog o'RAM links with: Whence Wanders W (LOTD)
» Sgt Hook links with: Rocket Scientist
» The Laughing Wolf links with: A Good Read

January 16, 2004

Picture of the Day

"People sleep peacably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." ­ George Orwell

Special Forces Soldiers respond to a rocket-propelled grenade attack from a rooftop in Samarra, Iraq. The Soldiers are deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the multinational coalition effort to liberate the Iraqi people and end the regime of Saddam Hussein. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jack Morse.

Sleep well all. Even you trolls who think people like these guys are anathema to all the is good and great. Because the rest of us know that without them, there would not be much that was good and great.

And for you guys who were into the french stuff yesterday...

(aren't all men into 'french stuff?')

Here is the upper portion of the French wall.

On top, a Chassepot, the french 'needle gun'.
Then the Gras, the cartridge conversion.
Then the Kropatschek, the inspiration for the Lebel.
Then a M1907/15 Berthier/Lebel.
Then two versions of the Berthier carbine... and since I'm in a hurry I have of course forgotten the nomenclatures! Wait - M1916!
And last, if the R35 carbine version of the M1886 Lebel rifle - which is in yesterday's pic.

Update: As I slip into "French Bashing" here now and again, I should make something clear. Unlike many of my fellow-travelers, I respect the individual French soldier for his individual courage, endurance, and willingness to risk all for his people. But I have little respect for the governments and senior military leaders (there are exceptions, GEN Gamelin, for example was trying very hard to modernize the french army prior to WWII) who lead/misused and abused those soldiers. So, in short, where I make (or let stand unchallenged) the old "only dropped once" kind of comments, I am intending it as a slap on the leaders, not the led. The French High Command and political leadership of WWI (like the Brits, frankly) were unworthy of the sacrifice they demanded of their soldiery.

Dans le Français traduit par ordinateur :: Pendant que je glisse dans l'"Français frappant" ici de temps en temps, je devrais rendre quelque chose de clair. À la différence de plusieurs de mes camarade-voyageurs, je respecte le soldat français individuel pour que son courage, résistance, et bonne volonté individuels risque tous pour ses personnes. Mais je fais respecter peu pour les gouvernements et les chefs militaires aînés (il y a les exceptions, GEN Gamelin, par exemple essayait très dur de moderniser l'armée française avant WWII) qui lead/misused et maltraité ces soldats. Ainsi, en bref, où je fais (ou laissez le stand incontesté) le vieux "seulement une fois laissé tomber" genre de commentaires, je le prévois comme claque sur les chefs, pas mené. La commande élevée française et la conduite politique de WWI (comme le Brits, franchement) étaient indignes du sacrifice qu'elles ont exigé de leur soldiery.

Just because I'm in the mood for cannon...

First - the 13-pounder Nery Gun from the Imperial War Museum... representing artillery technology 100 years ago. All Redlegs have a soft spot in our hearts and heads for this gun and the gunners of Battery L, Royal Horse Artillery.

Action at Nery, 1st September 1914. During the fighting retreat from Mons, Battery L of the Royal Horse Artillery bivouacked by a small town of Nery. Their temporary halt was interrupted during the early morning cavalry patrol warning of the imminent arrival of a large German force of cavalry, infantry and artillery. almost immediately German shells began bursting amongst the battery, accompanied by a rifle and machine gun fire. 3 guns were knocked out before they could be brought into action and two more were disabled soon afterwards, while the British gunners sustained heavy casualties. the remaining no. 6 gun with a scratch crew managed to maintain a steady fire for some two hours inflicting heavy casualties on the Germans until reinforcements arrived, driving off the surviving German unties. Three Victoria crosses (one posthumously) and two French medaille militaire were awarded and two NCO's were commissioned after the action.

Second, the Panzer Haubitze 2000, representing the current state of the "heavy' art. Which, as Daddy Rumsfeld says, "Is bad." I don't care. I like this gun and it's Brit counterpart, the AS90.

Hat tip to JMH for the PzH2K pic.

by John on Jan 16, 2004 | Artillery

January 15, 2004

F-18 Drivers miscalculate.

FA-18 Mid-Air Collision

Two F/A-18 Hornets from Top Gun were Dogfighting and made a head on pass, just a bit too close. One got home with part of the left wing and left vertical fin and rudder missing, while the other jet is missing everything forward of the cockpit pressure bulkhead and is a flying convertible because the canopy is shattered too.

These guys are lucky.

It shows how rugged these aircraft are...Also shows how good our pilots are.

The pilots would have been justified in "punching out" but instead, they chose to bring the jets in. This endangered their lives but saved the taxpayers about 80 million dollars. What is especially intriguing is in picture 03, notice the radome, radar and all of the avionics equipment, everything, in front is gone. This created several problems for the pilot: aerodynamics, eventual loss of hydraulics due to loss of fluid, navigation, and probably the most amazing, as the pieces fell away, some debris had to be ingested by the engines (F.O.D.) and he still was able to bring it home.

Hat tip to Mike L!

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Misha has some good gun rights linksluttage going...

The Emperor is on a firearms roll today, fueled in part by myself and Kim du Toit. You should go read Misha's post (and the links, of course) as it provides context and grit to my posts about Mr. DeMar in Willmette, Il. Note, the Emperor, however grudgingly, will admit and retract when it finds out he, in military parlance, "Anticipated the Command"!

by John on Jan 15, 2004 | Gun Rights

Another gratuitous gun pic.

One thing I have to say about my french rifles (most of which went from France to Arab nations, and then into the surplus market) is that despite the number of users and wars the users fought in - the weapons are in pretty good shape. Compared, say, to german, british, and russian weapons (though the arsenal reworks are nice).

Here's the lower part of my "French Wall".

Just partially visible is a Berthier M1916 rifle.
That's followed my a M1883/M93/R35 Lebel, with the correct short bayonet.
Next is a pre-war MAS M1936 that got the post-war rework (for you grognards out there who know what you are looking at!)
Next is a Syrian contract MAS 49. Anybody having the french version and do not want it anymore, drop me a line... if you don't know the difference, the french version does not have the integral bayonet - that is a feature of the Syrian rifles.
That's followed by a MAS 36/LG48, a post-war MAS 36 with an integral grenade launcher.
Last, but not least, the MAS 49/56 a product-improved MAS 49, and the first rifle in a long time for the french that had a blade bayonet rather than a cruciform spike.

Cheers, all - off to the Evil Squirrel's Nut Mines.

Update: As I slip into "French Bashing" here now and again, I should make something clear. Unlike many of my fellow-travelers, I respect the individual French soldier for his individual courage, endurance, and willingness to risk all for his people. But I have little respect for the governments and senior military leaders (there are exceptions, GEN Gamelin, for example was trying very hard to modernize the french army prior to WWII) who lead/misused and abused those soldiers. So, in short, where I make (or let stand unchallenged) the old "only dropped once" kind of comments, I am intending it as a slap on the leaders, not the led. The French High Command and political leadership of WWI (like the Brits, frankly) were unworthy of the sacrifice they demanded of their soldiery.

Dans le Français traduit par ordinateur :: Pendant que je glisse dans l'"Français frappant" ici de temps en temps, je devrais rendre quelque chose de clair. À la différence de plusieurs de mes camarade-voyageurs, je respecte le soldat français individuel pour que son courage, résistance, et bonne volonté individuels risque tous pour ses personnes. Mais je fais respecter peu pour les gouvernements et les chefs militaires aînés (il y a les exceptions, GEN Gamelin, par exemple essayait très dur de moderniser l'armée française avant WWII) qui lead/misused et maltraité ces soldats. Ainsi, en bref, où je fais (ou laissez le stand incontesté) le vieux "seulement une fois laissé tomber" genre de commentaires, je le prévois comme claque sur les chefs, pas mené. La commande élevée française et la conduite politique de WWI (comme le Brits, franchement) étaient indignes du sacrifice qu'elles ont exigé de leur soldiery.

by John on Jan 15, 2004 | Guns by Nation | Rifles
» King of Fools links with: Interesting Links

January 14, 2004

Rendezvous with Death

This combat video is not for the faint of heart. But some of you out there ask what it's like.

Well, this is as close as I can get you. It's not work-safe if you don't work for the military. Not for the squeamish or children. Definitely rated R for combat violence.

But, in the final analysis, this is what we warriors do. We kill people, break things, and control what's left - at the direction of the civilian leadership of this nation.

As for the Iraqi soldier's in this video, well, they had a rendezvous with death - and sometimes in war you find yourself between a rock and a hard place with nowhere to go, nowhere to hide, and no way to surrender. At that time and place, it sucks to be you. Sometimes you see death coming. Sometimes it seems the hand of Mars just reaches out and smacks you. These guys got smacked.

To save my bandwidth (and improve your playback) it's better to download it than to stream it. Here it is. If it makes you unhappy - you were warned.


I have a rendezvous with Death
At some disputed barricade,
When Spring comes back with rustling shade
And apple-blossoms fill the air -
I have a rendezvous with Death
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.

It may be he shall take my hand
And lead me into his dark land
And close my eyes and quench my breath -
It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death
On some scarred slope of battered hill,
When Spring comes round again this year
And the first meadow-flowers appear.

God knows 'twere better to be deep
Pillowed in silk and scented down,
Where love throbs out in blissful sleep,
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,
Where hushed awakenings are dear...
But I've a rendezvous with Death
At midnight in some flaming town,
When Spring trips north again this year,
And I to my pledged word am true,
I shall not fail that rendezvous.

Alan Seeger, 1917

by John on Jan 14, 2004 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler links with: Who Said War Doesn't Have It's Own Savage Beauty?
» murdoc online links with: More on the Apache video

Gratuitous gun pic

I've been bad. Busy busy busy. Remodeling the house. Gout (note to self, can't have any more large steaks, sigh. Entropy sucks). Cleaning the next room in prep for moving the remodel to that room. Then there is the whole "analyzing the Army of the Future" job thing I do to fund all that stuff. Oh, and today it's "Unclog the kitchen drain stack". Po' po' pitiful me.

Which means you haven't been getting pictures. And I know what drives my hit-o-meter.

So, here is a pic from the archives:

The top three rifles are my Commission 88s. They happen to have been covered in this space- here.

Next under is the Italian Vetterli M1871, which was the Italian's first cartridge arm adopted in any numbers.

In order below that are most of my SKS's. On top, Albanian. From the way the receiver is machined, it looks like the Albanians used Chinese machinery. They added their own touches, like the extended forearm wood and a cocking handle based on the AK. Under that is a Soviet 1951 dated rifle. Followed by a Chinese military (not one of the bajillions produced for sale in the US, but an earlier, fully machined, martially marked rifle). Next under that is an early Chinese SKS, made with mixed Soviet/Chinese parts, that is marked to a militia unit. Next under (and last) is my Romanian rifle. Not pictured is a 1954 dated Soviet and my Yugo. Speaking of Yugos - that's a Kosovo-capture Yugo flag hanging behind the rifles.

Obviously, there needs to be an SKS Gun P0rn series!

by John on Jan 14, 2004 | Rifles
» Say Uncle links with: More gun porn
» The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler links with: Who Said War Doesn't Have It's Own Savage Beauty?
» King of Fools links with: Interesting Links

January 13, 2004

Go see BlackFive's new post!

As many of you (especially from those .mil/.gov domains) know, the Chief of Staff, Army, GEN Schoomaker is pretty much having everybody add the flag to the camo uniform, in order to promote the "Expeditionary Mindset."

As you also know, local commanders can make a regulation more stringent, but not less stringent. Seems some local commanders have added to the reg.

While you're at it - if you are having a bad day, go visit LeeAnn - hers was worse/more entertaining. Thanks Pam!

The broken-down Bejus Pundit belies his crunchiness and waxes lyrical!

Starship Troopers, here we come!

The Army has spent a lot of money in the last 40 years on Tankers, Mech Grunts, Flyboys, Flag Wavers, Gun Bunnies, and Log Toads. So, of course, we find ourselves in a light infantry combat environment. We needed all the other stuff to get ourselves to this point, that is not really intended as a sharp criticism. We have been increasing our spending on Crunchies (light infantry, so-called because that's the sound they make when run over by tanks) in a trend that started before OEF/OIF.

DARPA is working on combat suits that will 'enhance' a soldier's performance and endurance.

And now, we have serious proposals for laser rifles. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you theT1S1.

Hat tip to Mike L. for the pointer!

January 11, 2004

We're not sure - but we bet this would...

help the "Bejus -- The Busted-up, Almost Roadkill, Danger Ranger of "Call Me an Ambulance"" get back in the harness...

It does me!

Courtesy of the Flea, we Stand Up! Hook Up! GO!GO!GO!

About those chem rounds in Iraq...

Blaster has some thoughts on the subject.

I'll defer to the expert - who still 'knows people'.