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December 24, 2005

Christmas Eve...

SWWBO and I are off to spend Christmas with the Old Vet and his Lady, as well as the Armorer-Sister and her family. We may or may not check in much. The Old Vet has not yet discovered the joys of cable modemry and wireless.

Bill - if you notice the Christmas Posts aren't posted, publish 'em, wouldja?

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by Michael Marks

I had no Christmas spirit when I breathed a weary sigh,
And looked across the table where the bills were piled too high.

The laundry wasn't finished and the car I had to fix,
My stocks were down another point, the Chargers lost by six.

And so with only minutes till my son got home from school
I gave up on the drudgery and grabbed a wooden stool.

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SC 5048. Christmas dinner of enlisted men at Valdahon, 1917.

The burdens that I carried were about all I could take,
And so I flipped the TV on to catch a little break.

I came upon a desert scene in shades of tan and rust,
No snowflakes hung upon the wind, just clouds of swirling dust.

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SC 163532. A 1942 Santa arriving by tank instead of outdated sleigh. Sgt. Hiram Prouty playing Santa for British children. Dec 5, 1942. Perham Downs, England. M.3. Tank of 1st Tank Group. Sgt. Prouty, member of 175th Inf.

And where the reindeer should have stood before a laden sleigh,
Eight Humvees ran a column right behind an M1A.

A group of boys walked past the tank, not one was past his teens
Their eyes were hard as polished flint, their faces drawn and lean.

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SC 196443-S. Pfc. Edmund Dill opens the Christmas package received from his wife. His buddies share the treat. Left, Pfc. Carl Anker; Right, Sergt. Ted Bailey. ETO, 11/18/44

They walked the street in armor with their rifles shouldered tight,
Their dearest wish for Christmas, just to have a silent night.

Other soldiers gathered, hunkered down against the wind,
To share a scrap of mail and dreams of going home again,

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SC 262132. 25 Dec 1944. Sgt. Edward F. Good feeds his buddy a leg of Christmas turkey, Pfc. Lloyd Deming. Both are casualties at the 2nd Field Hosp, (San Jose, Mindoro, PI)

There wasn't much at all to put their lonely hearts at ease,
They had no Christmas turkey, just a pack of MREs.

They didn't have a garland or a stocking I could see,
They didn't need an ornament--they lacked a Christmas tree.

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SC 197242. Seated at a box in a storehouse for artillery shells, in Germany, Pvt. Walter E. Prsybyla, member of the 2nd Infantry Division, addresses Christmas cards to the folks back home. 11/30/44. B Btry, 37th FA, 2nd Inf. Div., FUSA, Heckhalenfeld, Germany.

They didn't have a present even though it was tradition,
The only boxes I could see were labeled "ammunition."

I felt a little tug and found my son now by my side,
He asked me what it was I feared, and why it was I

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SC 387038. Men of Co "F", 9th Inf Regt, 2nd U.S. Inf Div, enjoy their Christmas Day dinner at CO HQS, Korea. 25 December 1951.

I swept him up into my arms and held him oh so near
And kissed him on the forehead as I whispered in his ear.

"There's nothing wrong, my little son, for safe we sleep tonight
Our heroes stand on foreign land to give us all the right,

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CC 73569. Vietnam…The Army Band plays Christmas music at the Tan Son Nhut Airbase during the holiday season. 22-29 Dec 1970.

To worry on the things in life that mean nothing at all,
Instead of wondering if we will be the next to fall."

He looked at me as children do and said, "It's always right,
To thank the ones who help us and perhaps that we should write."

And so we pushed aside the bills and sat to draft a note,
To thank the many far from home and this is what we wrote:

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"God bless you all and keep you safe and speed your way back home.
Remember that we love you so, and that you're not alone.

The gift you give you share with all, a present every day,
You give the gift of liberty and that we can't repay."

Michael Marks: "I freely submit this poem for reprint without reservation--this is an open and grateful tribute to the men and women who serve every day to keep our nation safe." Ergo, used with permission!

And we would be remiss if we were to neglect our Canadian Brothers-in-Arms, who serve alongside us in Afghanistan and do stand in harms way.

Be Safe, everybody. And God Bless You, Each and Every One! Especially you Atheists, who can't mind...! But especially the Denizen/nes, to whom we may add a few officially for the New Year. Whether they want to be associated with us or not...

And may there be none of this, today and tomorrow.

This day in 1944. 24 December.

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Infantrymen, attached to the 4th Armored Division, fire at German troops, in the American advance to relieve the pressure on surrounded airborne troops in Bastogne.(Photo credits: U.S. National Archives)

This year I'm excerpting from the Official History - The Ardennes: Battle of the Bulge, by Hugh Cole. Continuing with that theme:

The assault on the morning of the 24th followed what had become standard tactics with the 4th Armored. First came a short concentration fired by the artillery. There followed an advance into the village by two teams, each composed of one tank and one infantry company working closely together. As at Chaumont and Warnach there was little trouble from the enemy artillery, for by this time the 5th Parachute Division was rationed to only seven rounds per howitzer a day. Mostly the German infantry held their fire until the Americans were in the streets, then cut loose with their bazookas, light mortars, and small arms. While the two assault companies of the 53d advanced from house to house the tanks of the 37th blasted the buildings ahead, machine-gunned the Germans when they broke into the open, and set barns and out-buildings afire with tracer bullets. One team burst through to the northern exit road and the garrison was trapped. By 1100 the village was clear. Most of the 328 prisoners taken here were from the 13th Parachute Regiment, which had just been released from its flank guard positions farther to the east on Heilmann's insistence that the 5th Parachute Division could not possibly block the American drive north with only two of its regiments in hand.

The pitched battles at Bigonville and Warnach on 24 December made a considerable dent in the front line fighting strength of the 5th Parachute Division but failed to bring CCR and CCA appreciably closer to Bastogne. CCB, the most advanced of the combat commands, had only two platoons of medium tanks left after the affair at Chaumont and had spent the day quietly waiting for replacement tanks from the repair echelons and for the rest of the division to draw abreast. Meanwhile the American paratroopers and their heterogeneous comrades inside the Bastogne perimeter fought and waited, confining their radio messages to oblique hints that the 4th Armored should get a move on. Thus, at the close of the 23d McAuliffe sent the message: "Sorry I did not get to shake hands today. I was disappointed." A less formal exhortation from one of his staff reached the 4th Armored command post at midnight: "There is only one more shopping day before Christmas! " [Ok, ok, emphasis mine, I admit it!]

If you're still interested, see the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

December 23, 2005

Another small giant has passed..

...and another light of the Greatest Generation dims. Jeff Quinton has the story of Lt. Col. Horace “Sally” Crouch.

A Doolittle Raider. There's a select group of men. The first to strike back at Japan - flying from the deck of the Hornet, made famous when Roosevelt referred to her as the "Shangri-la."

Now is the time at Castle Argghhh! when we dance, In Memoriam.

This all brings to mind something percolating in my head since last night, when SWWBO and I went to eat at a local eatery, the Ten Penny Bar and Grill, just up the road from the Castle.

The place was full of people I knew, from work or Rotary, and SWWBO for some reason was impressed with all the people I know. Bob and Gary from work were there with their families, as was Bill and his daughter, from Rotary. Bill, an active Rotarian for many years, is now in his 80's - still active, but slowing down a bit. They were done with dinner, and Bill doesn't get around as well as he used to once. At least today he didn't need his walker. But Bill was a Soldier once, and young, to borrow a phrase.

And, as they say, "It's not the years, it's the mileage."

Bill jumped into Normandy in 1944. He jumped into Holland in 1944. He was trucked into Belgium, this little town called Bastogne, in 1944. And Bill walked and rode trucks into Germany in 1945. I'm guessing that those were some hard miles.

Like these three excerpts from another Screaming Eagle, Donald Burgett, who fought side-by-side with Bill. From his book Currahee! - a worthy read for anyone who wants some insight into American Soldiery - yesterdays or todays.


The time was 1:14AM, June 6, 1944. Suddenly the green light flashed on.

"Let's go," screamed Lieutenant Muir at the top of his voice, and he, along with Carter and Thomas, gave the big bundle a shove. Lieutenant Muir followed it out: Carter did a quick left turn and following him into the prop blast: Thomas did a right turn and followed Carter. I could see their static lines snap tight against the edge of the door and vibrate there with the force of the outside wind pulling them.

"Go," a voice screamed in my brain, "hurry!" Speed was the most important thing now, so we would all land as close together as possible. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion again, but I knew that it was really happening in just fractions f seconds as I made my right turn into the door and with a left pivot leaped into dark space.

There were thirteen men following me out the door, but I couldn't see any of them. Doubled up and grasping my reserve chute, I could feel the rush of air, hear the crackling of the canopy as it unfurled, followed by the sizzling suspension lines, then the connector links whistling past the back of the helmet. Instinctively the muscles of my body tensed for the opening shock, which nearly unjointed me when the canopy blasted open. From the time I left the door until the chute opened, less than three seconds had elapsed.. I pulled the risers apart to check the canopy and saw tracer bullets passing through it; at the same moment I hit the ground and came in backward so hard the I was momentarily stunned.

Continue reading in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Some people are having *too* much fun

Such as the inestimable Fuzzybear Lioness, who is appears to be making a bid to displace Bad Cat Robot as the blogosphere's premier snarkstress.

Heh. Picking on the old guy.

Howsomever, she *did* manage to squeeze out a compliment

I don’t remember much of what we talked about, but I know I enjoyed myself. Maybe next time I’ll let him get a word in edgewise.

I have that effect on wimmin. I'm a walkin' 'rita, in that respect.

Unfortunately, the effect is usually short-lived and they get back to nit-picking as soon as the chocolate's gone...

Yeah I know--I still need to post the details of that particular journey from Helheim. I'm just taking a quick break from saving the Free World contractoring so's I can earn my keep. After all, John dragged my ass into this gig keeps threatening reminding me that I'm supposed to spend my entire waking life inject the occasional bit of humor into the proceedings around here...

Looking for a work-safe singing Christmas card? Crank it up--this is one everybody (except the Simon Legree who keeps peering over your cube wall) will enjoy. Nice research, Szilvi, Gergely and Zoltan.

H/t to V29.

And the Lady Christine weighs in with an updated (and whimsical) combination of The Night Before Christmas Meets It's A Wonderful Life.

Thanks, Ma'am!

Dbie the AFSister has a--well, sorta-kinda "work safe except for ry"--Christmas card.

Barb takes a non-PC peek at the season. And about the headphone warning? Be very afraid--you already know she's *not* a shrinking violet!

Geez--Santa working for the NSA? Jay over at Stop the ACLU has done the research. Tsk. Who'd a-thunk it...

Up in Alan's neck of the woods, Darcey of Dust My Broom takes a swipe (and connects) at the hypocrisy of Libs.

*sigh* Back to the grindstone.

by CW4BillT on Dec 23, 2005 | Denizen Link-Fest!

Oh, let's have some Grinchiness...

We hafta be fair and balanced, right? Sez so in some penumbra or emanation somewhere...

Watch out, fat man! H/t, CAPT H.

Heh. Just, heh. As a conservative who moves in Charitable circles... I could tell some stories. As a property-rights advocate, the owner can do what he wants, IAW whatever contracts may be in place - but this is just small-minded, mean, petty, and childish. And shows the owners true colors.

And, in a spectacular display of my bad taste - though there are some that are badly done, I don't think all the targets here look all that bad. Though I'd hope, if I was a neighbor, they got turned off around 10PM or so... Ours are on a timer to shut off around midnight - but the left and right neighbors are protected by foliage, and the high school across the street is unoccupied save for people with bad intentions...

Dolt. There is a time and a place. What an arrogant poltroon.

Update: I'd like to thank the bearded fat guy (no, it wasn't a mirror, nor Santa) who, sharing a few moments in proximity to me while I was headed away from Westlake's Ace Hardware (their fault, too - it was their Christmas Muzak he was singing along with) who left me with this damn earbug... Fleas on my dog.

For those being Net Nanny'ed from the site... check the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry.

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by John on Dec 23, 2005 | Pugnacious Stupidity
» Stop The ACLU links with: Merry Christmas To All

America Supports you...

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Thousands of Christmas wreaths are nestled against headstones in Section 27 at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., on Dec. 15, 2005. Hundreds of volunteers gathered at Arlington to place more than five thousand donated Christmas wreaths on head stones in the cemetery. The 14th annual wreath laying event is a result of Worcester Wreath Company owner Morrill Worcester's boyhood dream of doing something to honor those laid to rest in the National Cemetery. DoD photo by Master Sgt. Jim Varhegyi, U.S. Air Force. (Released)

And the living -

America Supports You: Company Decorates Military Families' Homes By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA American Forces Press Service WASHINGTON, Dec. 22, 2005 – A professional decorating company aimed to make this holiday season a little brighter for military families by donating Christmas decorations to more than 30 families of deployed servicemembers. Christmas Decor, a Texas-based company that specializes in designing and installing outdoor holiday decorations, chose the families from more than 200 applicants across the country and gave them a customized decoration display, said Brandon Stephens, director of marketing for Christmas Decor.

The whole thing is here. You should drop by and say thank you. [note to trolls: If you hate what they're doing, buzz off, it's their money and time.]

News from the Fronts...

The ever estimable fellas at Strategy Page have two real gems today.

I wonder if the left's darling, Peacekeeping, will remain as popular with them when they regain power in Congress and get to play with the budget:

PEACEKEEPING: Training More Expensive Than For War December 23, 2005: Training for peacekeeping is turning out to be more expensive than getting ready for a war. A prime example of this can be seen in the U.S. Army's JRTC (Joint Readiness Training Center) at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Not too long ago, putting a brigade through a month of realistic training at JRTC cost $2 million. But it costs $9 million to run the same brigade through a month of peacekeeping training (for Iraq or Afghanistan.) The major additional cost is payroll. Over 800 civilians, including either Afghan or Iraqi-Americans, are brought in and trained how to act as civilians, aid workers, reporters and so on. In effect, the troops get to play parts in a very realistic simulation of what the trainees are going to face for real in a few months. About two hundred veterans of those battle zones dress, and play, the part of the various bad guys. All this is supervised by troops and civilians who run the JRTC. Thousands of man hours go into setting the scene and writing the script. Unlike a movie, however, there can be many endings to this adventure. The trainees have many, very realistic, opportunities, to make mistakes. Thus the debriefings are one of the most important parts of the exercise. The trainee commanders are given a blunt assessment of their performance. If they didn't make some mistakes, they are reminded of that, and asked if this was just luck, or that they knew what they were doing. For mistakes, the correct solutions are provided.

The rest is in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry.

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On this day in 1944. 23 December.

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TWO WAY TRAFFIC AT BASTOGNE by Olin Dows, Belgium, 1944. Center for Military History Collection.

This year I'm excerpting from the Official History - The Ardennes: Battle of the Bulge, by Hugh Cole. Continuing with that theme:

When daylight came on 23 December the 26th Division had little to show for its night attack. The 104th Infantry held Grosbous, but the 328th was checked at Grevils-Brésil by a company of stubborn German infantry backed up with a few tanks. In the woods south of Grosbous the men of Company E, 104th Infantry, had taken on more than they had bargained for: a couple of hundred riflemen from the 915th Regiment led in person by the regimental commander. (The American regimental commander had to throw in Company I, but even so this pocket was not wiped out until Christmas Eve.)

Although the right wing of the 26th Division was driving along the boundary between the isolated forward regiment of the 352d Volks Grenadier Division and the incoming Fuehrer Grenadier Brigade, only a small part of the new brigade was in contact with the forward American battalions early on the 23d. The German brigade commander had been seriously wounded by a shell fragment while reconnoitering on the previous evening, the hurried march to action had prevented unified commitment, and the heavy woods south of the Sure made control very difficult. Also there were troubles with fuel.

The rest is in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by John on Dec 23, 2005 | Historical Stuff
» The Middle Ground links with: Patton's Prayer

December 22, 2005

And in keeping with what may (or may not) be considered tradition

Please accept (with no obligation, implied or implicit), our best wishes for an environmentally-conscious, socially-responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the Winter Solstice Holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of either the religious persuasion or the secular practice of your choice (with all due respect for the religious / secular persuasions and / or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all) and a fiscally-successful, personally-fulfilling, and medically-uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2006, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great (which is not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country or is indeed the only "America" in the western hemisphere) and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform, or sexual preference of the wishee.

[By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others, is void where prohibited by law and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher.
This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.]

Heh. Now that *that's* out of the way...

As a trucker stops for a red light, a blonde catches up. She jumps out of her car, runs up to his truck and knocks on the door. The trucker lowers the window and she says, "Hi! My name is Heather and you are losing some of your load!"

The trucker ignores her and proceeds down the street.

When the truck stops for another red light, the girl catches up again. She jumps out of her car, runs up and knocks on the door. Again, the trucker lowers the window. As if they've never spoken, the blonde chirps, "Hi! My name is Heather and you are losing some of your load!"

Shaking his head, the trucker ignores her again and continues down the street.

At the third red light, the same thing happens again. Breathlessly, the blonde gets out of her car, runs up and knocks on the truck door. The trucker rolls down the window. Again she says, "Hi! My name is Heather and you are losing some of your load!"

When the light turns green the trucker revs up and races to the next light.

When he stops this time, he hurriedly gets out of the truck and runs back to the blonde. He knocks on her window and, after she lowers it, he says...

"Hi! My name is Jack and it's winter in Minnesota and I'm driving the salt truck!!"

Recently, in 2005...

A little photo essay...

...lest, with my recent emphasis on the Battle of the Bulge, you think I'm being neglectful of something else, just as important...

Click here for some background music.

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Alpha Company, 1-151 FA , 720th Military Police soldier reacts to small arms fire during a search mission in Al Madain, Baghdad, Iraq, 20 September, 2005. U.S. Army Photo by SPC Gul A. Alisan (Released)

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U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Chuck Hipple, Charlie Troop 4-14th Cavalry 2nd Platoon, Fort Wainwright, Alaska, cleans his weapon on the Stryker vehicle prior to providing an over watch while Army and Marines look for weapons cache and people that oppose the coalition forces east of the Syrian boarder by the Euphrates River, during Operation Clydesdale, during Operation Iraqi Freedom Oct 01, 2005. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Andy Dunaway) (Released)

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U.S. Army Specialist Anthony Noger, 82nd Airborne Division, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, Bravo Company, 1st Battallion, Fort Bragg N.C., watches a door whle on patrol in Tal Afar, Iraq on Sept. 15, 2005 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. James L. Harper Jr. (Released)

Just as in 1944 we were trying to reach this - and make it stick...

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So too in 2005 we are reaching for this... and making it stick.

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Politically Correct Twelve Days of Christmas Eurocentrically imposed midwinter festival.

Check behind the curtain. Don't want to attract any Kossacks... or the ACLU trying to make the case that since I receive a government pension and do contract work for the government, and therefore, as my income exceeds SWWBO's non-governmental derived income, that in fact, this site is more than %50 subsidized by public monies; therefore mentioning Eurocentrically imposed midwinter festivals with a religious derivation, thus ambushing Enligtened Rationalist Beings who might stumble in here accidentally, thereby violates the Establishment Claus. [sic]

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by John on Dec 22, 2005 | I think it's funny!
» Righty in a Lefty State links with: Christmas cheer

On this day in 1944. 22 DECEMBER.

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This year I'm excerpting from the Official History - The Ardennes: Battle of the Bulge, by Hugh Cole. Continuing with that theme: the Bastion of the Battered Bastards of the 101st.

To the U.S.A. Commander of the encircled town of Bastogne.

The fortune of war is changing. This time the U.S.A. forces in and near Bastogne have been encircled by strong German armored units. More German armored units have crossed the river Our near Ortheuville, have taken Marche and reached St. Hubert by passing through Hompre-Sibret-Tillet. Libramont is in German hands.

There is only one possibility to save the encircled U.S.A. troops from total annihilation: that is the honorable surrender of the encircled town. In order to think it over a term of two hours will be granted beginning with the presentation of this note.

If this proposal should be rejected one German Artillery Corps and six heavy A. A. Battalions are ready to annihilate the U.S.A. troops in and near Bastogne. The order for firing will be given immediately after this two hours' term.

All the serious civilian losses caused by this artillery fire would not correspond with the well known American humanity.

The German Commander.

To the German Commander:


The American Commander.

I would note: The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are all about "Nuts". It's the cloistered elites in their echo chambers and Summer Patriots (Winter Soldiers my butt - Winter Soldiers (like those in Valley Forge), don't run from a fight because they got 3 ti-ti 'Hearts).

The American Commander was Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe, Division Artillery Commander of the 101st Airborne Division.

Redlegs (like yours truly) aren't usually noted for their brevity.

McAuliffe's troops weren't the only ones inspired by his response. There was extra effort on the home front, too.

The story is continued in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by John on Dec 22, 2005 | Historical Stuff
» The Middle Ground links with: Castle Argghhh! Nuts!
» The Middle Ground links with: Patton's Prayer and Training Letter 5

December 21, 2005

Fighting Insurgents.


Al-Reuters, 21 Dec 05 On December 21, 2005, Al-Qaeda fighters, Ba-athist militiamen, and Sunni Insurgents staged an ambush some three miles from FOB Kearny, in the Sunni Triangle. Ordered to rescue a besieged logistics convoy, Captain William J. Fetterman and 80 soldiers were decoyed over MSR Cheyenne by a small number of Insurgents led by the young jihadi warrior, Abd al-Aziz, into a trap where over 1000 insurgents waited in hiding. Fetterman's pursuit over the MSR, in violation of the ROE, led to the death of his entire command.

The shooting started about noon, and was over by 12:30. Many of the bodies were found by Capt. Ten Eyck that afternoon. They were stipped and mutilated much in the same manner as were the contractors at the Fallujah Bridge earlier.

If that news item were real, can you imagine the calls for disengagement - how we were losing the war and should just pull out?

The clever among have already figured this out. The event described above happened. On this day in 1866, when the US Army of the Plains was fighting a wily enemy on his own turf.

The Fetterman Massacre.

The situations are different, the motivations are different, certainly on our side (though I'm sure Kossacks will snort at that). I'm sure there are those on the insurgent side in Iraq who would comfortably identify with the Cheyenne, Arapaho and Sioux warriors on that cold December morning in 1866.

But if they do - they should perhaps take a good look at where that fight led...

And we know where that victory led... the Wagon Box Fight in 1867, and ultimately, through Little Big Horn to Wounded Knee.

You can't really push this analogy too far. The stakes and motivations are vastly different - but a salient point remains the same: Far better for the insurgents to win their power through the ballot box, by joining the consensus, and helping shape the future - than fight it and lose.

by John on Dec 21, 2005 | Historical Stuff
» Bloggin' Outloud links with: Blog Awards For The Rest of Us

H&I Fires, target list updated during the day.


CHARLESTON, S.C. (AFPN) -- A formation of 17 C-17 Globemaster IIIs assigned to the 437th and 315th Airlift Wings at Charleston Air Force Base fly in formation. The flight, which demonstrates the U.S. Air Force's strategic capability, is the largest formation of C-17s to take flight from a single base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Richard T. Kaminsky)

Just a sidenote: The aircraft you see here can deliver 1,734 paratroops. In WWII, that would have taken 62 Dakotas. And the DC-3s couldn't have handled anything near the amount of non-self-loading-cargo because the weren't roll-on, roll-off.

Update: If you need more Plane Pr0n, AFSis has pics of her little brother's bird up over at the Jungle Warfare Center.

I was gonna say - here's one that Rose caught that Jay at Stop the ACLU missed... except I'd be wrong - Real Teen got it some days ago! I shoulda known.

Yer welcome, fellas. I *do* like a good caption contest, even if I can't get my paid-nothing-for-her-labor blogslave to do one... she claims we're too much fun. How *wrong* izzat, anyway?

Adjutant Barb watches her blogson, via Moonlight.

Update: Philosopher Kat on A War Without Heroes - and what you can do about it.

Update: Fuzzybear Lioness walks the walk - and delivers some of those laptops she's was all over us about. Updated Update: And someone she was expecting for lunch in Philadelphia better have shagged their sorry butt over there or fur will fly....

Updated Update
: Apparently Bill *someone* managed to save their own sorry butt. I'm sure a suitably self-serving whitewashed report as to why this gentleman almost stood up Fuzzybear Lioness left a purty gurl alone in the big city will surface....

Update: Jack acknowledges what some of us bloggers don't - however deep our passion, we're amateurs. One of the reasons *I* throttled back, I know, is a dawning realization of outcome for the input. We've been a Mortal Human, then NZ fiddled his algorithm, and our ranking dropped more in keeping with our traffic. We're now a Playful Primate. Why? One reason is... We don't link to the big blogs that much anymore. They're usually on a story quicker than we are, and you've seen the stories already, why pile on to the groupthink? We link more to smaller blogs - we were small once, too. And we still do it, even though you molluscs don't bump us much in the Ecosphere [ 8^) ]

We're #571 in Technorati, with 7,467 links from 987 sites. We have a traffic rank of 267,760 in Alexa. We average (currently) 2009 uniques a day (happily, the overall trend is higher all the time).

In other words - fewer people visit here than read my local, small-town newspaper. And at least a third of them wander in blinking owlishly in the security lights, from Google. Except for the ones who come in with their raincoats and no pants from Google.

Just to keep it all in perspective.

Update: Here's a new twist. A military guy conducting a protest outside the White House.

Update: Okay - who wants to organize the First Castle Tour of Canada!?! New symmetry: Oh! Calcutta - O! Canada!

Practicing PhillySpeak

Yo, you want dat wid or widdout?

*walking off munching a soft pretzel with cheese, dipped in mustard*

More on this later--if FbL doesn't get lost in the Big City...

Those who know, know. Those who don't--well, stop by later.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

If you don't watch TV, you've missed the constant chirping about today being the shortest day in the year.

And I'd like to know why none of them ever tell you what the *tallest* day of the year is...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Only two more voting days for the best new banner at Omar's place.

Denizenne Christine's a finalist--and her entry looks great! The five finalists are displayed for your consideration here. Again, voting is by e-mail only, but then, so's the best way to contact John when he snarks in the wrong comment thread.

[no, you can look for *those* on your own--I'm in enough trouble already...]

Yo! Gitcher good-lookin' sef' over to Omar's and vote for the best one of the five!

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by CW4BillT on Dec 21, 2005 | General Commentary

On this day in 1944. 21 December.


Outskirts of Neffe, Belgium, 1944, by Olin Down. Center for Military History Collection. may have officially been the shortest day of the year - but for participants it probably seemed like it would never end. For many, however, it ended all too soon. This year I'm excerpting from the Official History - The Ardennes: Battle of the Bulge, by Hugh Cole. Continuing with that theme:

The hardest blows dealt the 2d Battalion defenders at Dom Butgenbach came on 21 December. After repeated pleas from the 12th SS Panzer the guns and Werfers which had been used at Krinkelt-Rocherath were committed, and the entire 25th Panzer Grenadier Regiment was also made available, as well as one battalion or more of the 12th SS Panzer Regiment. About three hours before dawn guns, mortars, tanks, and Werfers began pounding the American foxhole line, which was outlined by a double row of trees, and the few houses in Dom Butgenbach. This fire continued unremittingly until the first light in the east, inflicting many casualties, destroying weapons by direct hits, and tearing large gaps in the main line of resistance. American counterbattery fire was intense but failed to still the enemy shelling. Now, as the Germans crossed the fields in assault formation, the American forward observers called for a defensive barrage to box their own front lines. At least ten field artillery battalions ultimately joined the fight (for this batteries of the 2d and 99th Divisions were tied into the 1st Division fire control system) and succeeded in discouraging the German infantry.

The rest is in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry.

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December 20, 2005

This Just In

From one of my reactionary buddies who insists on calling Holiday carols *Christmas* carols...

I was passing through a small Southern town and saw a Nativity Scene in the town square. I was delighted to see that great skill and talent had gone into creating it.

One small feature bothered me.

The three wise men were wearing firemen's helmets.

I was completely at a loss to explain it, so I left. But I found a "Quick Stop" on the edge of town, so I asked the lady behind the counter about the helmets.

She exploded, "You damnYankees never do read the Bible!"

I assured her that I did, but it had been a while since I'd perused the Gospels and simply couldn't recall anything about firemen in Matthew, Mark, Luke or John.

She sniffed and jerked her Bible from behind the counter, ruffled through the pages and finally jabbed her finger at a passage.

She stuck the passage under my nose and said, "See? Plain as day, it says right here, 'The three wise man came from afar.' "

Thanks, Mo--I needed that!

Assad loses his mind.

Jim B points us to this from the World Tribune:

LONDON — Syria has signed a pledge to store Iranian nuclear weapons and missiles.

Heh. That headline should read: LONDON — Syria has signed a pledge to be targets number 1 through "No stone left standing one upon the other" in the both the US and Israeli Air Tasking Orders by agreeing to store Iranian nuclear weapons and missiles.

Really. How dumb is this guy? Of course, since at the moment, *we're* sitting across the land route, perhaps he's expecting aerial delivery... I would guess Assad figures he's never going to be asked to make good on the deal.

With an American Army sitting in Iraq, this just seems dumb. Unless Assad *wants* us to stay there...

Seaman Petty Officer 2nd Class Stethem.

I was going to post on this next - but Bloodspite did it every bit as well as I would have.

Stuff caught by the H&I fireplan today...

...some being targets from yesterday. Which happens. Sometimes target intel is slow...

First up - *still* providing earthquake relief in Pakistan.

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U.S. service members prepare to externally load humanitarian relief supplies onto a CH-47D Chinook helicopter at Muzaffarabad, Pakistan on December 17, 2005. The United States military is participating in humanitarian assistance operations, Operation Lifeline, in support of Pakistani-led relief efforts to bring aid to victims of the devastating earthquake that struck the region October 8, 2005. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Barry Loo)

Just sayin'.

Boudicca thought you Airpower Types might be interested in this view of the latest version of the F-16, the F-16I, which might be in the news, should Israel decide to act, for better or worse, on their concerns about the Iranian attempts to build the Islamic Bomb.

Bob at Confederate Yankee and Jay over at Stop The ACLU have a look at different sides of essentially the same story. Me, I don't know that the FISA thing will have traction or not. But I never thought Clinton would get impeached, either. I don't know enough to have an informed opinion, so, uncharacteristically, I'll keep mine to myself.

For news from those of us in the mushy middle (as perceived from the bi-polarites) the latest edition of RINO Sightings is available here, courtesy of Kesher Talk.

Damian Brooks points us to this post by Andrew at Bound By Gravity - about "American Patriots, Canadian Warriors." While I was aware of Americans enlisting in Commonwealth Forces during the early part of WWII (The Eagle Squadrons of the RAF, as an example - the sheer number in Canadian service had escaped me. Interesting aside here... Alan of GenX@40 has mildly snarked that in the two big wars of the last century, Americans came late to the fights, even after the threat was obvious. So, here we are, trying to come early, and Alan snarks. There's no satisfying some people. Just noting...

CAPT H. sends us this - the efforts of a Canadian to mine Google Earth for... Canadian Fortifications. I will admit to doing this on the US side. Sadly, some of our more interesting structures are not yet in the hi-res areas.

Other things historical that caught a target tic today...

1915 Russian troops capture Qom, Persia (Note - this is the *best* route into Iran, with another being through Turkey. If we ever invade, and try to do it via the Gulf, or Iraq... it will be a long, dangerous journey to get to Tehran. If it comes down to that - I hope there are more players in the game.

1917 Soviet secret police - the Cheka, NKVD, KGB, etc. - formed
1924 Adolf Hitler freed from jail early - D-oh!
1933 Bolivia & Paraguay sign ceasefire in Chaco War. Great Mauser Rifles from that era *are* available...
1944 Battle of Bastogne: 101st Airborne division surrounded - read about that... here!
1989 Operation Just Cause begins: US troops invade Panama. A Banana War I missed.

See the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry for targets from yesterday that went unserviced and were revalidated for today's target list. (Ooooo, Army-talk!)

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

On this day in 1944...

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INFANTRY AGAINST TANKS Ben Nason Center for Military History Collection

This year I'm excerpting from the Official History - The Ardennes: Battle of the Bulge, by Hugh Cole. Continuing with that theme:

A second try came just before dawn, this time straight down the road from Büllingen. Ten German tanks in single file were sighted as they came over a slight ridge to the front of Company F. Two tank destroyers and three antitank guns drove the tanks off or at least caused them to turn west in search of a weaker spot in the 2d Battalion defenses. In the next thrust a platoon of Company G was badly cut up before friendly artillery finally checked the attack. Fifteen minutes later, apparently still seeking a hole, the Germans hit Company E, next in line to the west. The 60-mm. mortars illuminated the ground in front of the company at just the right moment and two of three tanks heading the assault were knocked out by bazooka and 57-mm. fire from the flank. The third tank commander stuck his head out of the escape hatch to take a look around and was promptly pistoled by an American corporal.10 By this time shellfire had scattered the German infantry. Nor did the enemy make another try until dusk, and then only with combat patrols.

Relatively quiet in this sector - unless this was the day you died.

The rest is in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry.

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December 19, 2005

Tis the Season...

To indulge Boquisucio, Admiral of the Moat Fleet. Click the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

H&I Fires.

First off, I endorse Bill's comment at the bottom of his post below. Second, Endorsements 'R Squared: I endorse MSG Keith's endorsement.

Interesting spam note I got this weekend... typos included. I should note it did *not* come to the Castle Email Box... *that* would have made sense.

Subject: military vehcile engine part
Date: Sat, 17 Dec 2005 11:24:09 +0800

Dear Sir,

I am James Shen from a diesel fuel injection parts Plant, hope we can help you in the line of military use diesel fuel engine parts.

With more than 20 years experience in this field, our factory is producing the parts: HD90101A and HD8821.They are used in the engine system of M35A2 and M60 tank. Their most competitive price (almost one tenth of the product which made in USA) and the same quality will meet your need fairly.

We are one of ADS members. Our products have a good reputation with sound quality and competitive price in European market, South American market and other countries.

If you feel interested in our products, please let us know any time. We are always within your touch.

Thanks and best regards,

James Shen
private mail: [deletedbythearmorer]

Perhaps someday the Castle Motorpool will include a Deuce, but I suspect we're never going to have an M60. And dude, you are *never* going to be in our touch, I assure you.

Military Transformation... Or bringing a new meaning to Urban Renewal and Weed and Pest Control.

I guess it depends on your neighbo(u)rhood. While the Brits go through some real pains contracting - the Ozzies are looking at expanding... H/t CAPT H and Kat. BTW, here's a Lessons Learned/Summary of Ops regarding Ozzie participation in OIF. Here is the official release of the 2005 Defence Update. We've already noted the Canadians are changing directions, along similar lines to the Australians. For many years the America Britain Canda Australia alliance has been ABca. Now perhaps, within their means and needs, it's going to return to ABCA. Let's hope it doesn't shift to AbCA.

Speaking of pain - then there's those overworked, under-equipped fellas in the Coast Guard bending their new ship... which (new ships) they need more of. Larry K (my USCG guy) opined thusly:

I may have mentioned that the Coast Guard is replacing the old USCGC Mackinaw (not to be confused with the Mackinac which is different … in a small service why they have so many confusing names is a puzzle to me … the USCGC Neah Bay is ported in Cleveland but Station Neah Bay is in Oregon I think) with a brand new Great Lakes ice breaker after over 60 years service.

The old one is still on duty into 2006 and may actually have to be extended. The new cutter has not even been commissioned yet and has already had a mishap and now a change of command.

I will post a links and you can read the stories. But apparently this new type of ship which has AZIPODS instead of traditional props and rudders can be a bit tricky to operate.

Here is the initial story with video (if you are going to mess up do not do it in front of the press).[emphasis mine, saith the Armorer] Also it was as they were entering Grand Haven which is known as Coast Guard City (for an interesting reason by the way).

Now perhaps Larry will share the interesting reason...

In conclusion: Civil Affairs Troops.

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Marine Corps Civil Affairs troops pose with their urban renewal toolkit.

When the artillery stops, that's when you got to go out and start making friends." LTG Jan Huly, Deputy Commandant for Plans, Policies, and Operations.
I have signed new tables of organization mission statements for the active and Reserve component artillery regiments (and) battalions. The New mission statements assign each artillery regimental headquarters and each cannon battalion with a secondary CMO (Civil-Military Operations) mission. GEN Mike Hagee, Commandant of the Marine Corps, ALMar 061/05

Marine Transformation takes an interesting turn. "If we're going to do the things we think we're going to be doing in the future, the kinds of fights that we're getting into, the kind of stability operations... we need more civil affairs capability," said LTG Huly, quoted in the Marine Corps Times.

I was at the Class VI (military liquor store) this weekend and I saw the Marine Corps Times with a headline screaming (to me) "Artillerymen Will Now Do Civil Affairs." Now *that's* some transformation! The transition of the Artillery from a Combat Arm to a Combat Service Support arm is complete. That's an inside joke. Those who know, know.

While it makes sense, as described here over at Strategy Page, and Army artillerymen have been fighting as Infantry in Iraq, it is still cause for bemusement. But - yes, it *does* make sense, for in the COE (geek-speak for Current Operating Environment) the artillery has a large number (unlike the real CSS units) of trained organized troops whose primary specialty is not in high demand. The question truly is "Why not?" vice "Why?" You can ask (as some have) why not stand up more units like the Seabees, etc? The short answer is simple: Standing up new units means standing down old ones, or recruiting and training more people. Taking an existing unit and tweaking it is simpler.

And, as an artilleryman, I don't believe it will impact the ability of the units to maintain their ability to shoot quickly and accurately. Especially since the gunnery process is now so highly automated - maintaining the skillz in the Fire Direction Center was more challenging when data was done manually (said the hoary old manual FDO veteran). The guns represent the science of fire support, and that, I think, is a skill that can be maintained under this new paradigm. The art of fire support takes place with the Fire Support Officers at the supported maneuver units - and that relationship and training need is not really touched by this change. Besides, it will make artillery soldiers more employable when the get out or retire.

Civil Affairs units are set up to do the planning and coordination, not to do large-scale execution. A vacuum exists. So what happens is, services or operations in the civil-military operations field cannot be done as rapidly as required. What happens is we miss what's called a 'golden hour' to earn the trust and confidence of the local people."

And the left thinks the services can't think outside of the box. It may take a sledgehammer to get our attention, but even a lefty should be able to love this development. Coming soon to a newspaper near you:

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April 2010: Marine Corps Civil Affairs Unit helping local officials with weed and pest control...

I wonder what the Big Unit thinks about all this? Cassandra?

On this day in 1944...

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BREAKFAST IN THE SNOW. Battle of the Bulge by Robert N. Blair Center for Military History Collection

I thought this year I'd excerpt from the Official History - The Ardennes: Battle of the Bulge, by Hugh Cole. Continuing with that theme:

On 19 December German General Staff officers from the high headquarters of WFSt and OB WEST appeared in the battle zone to peer over the shoulders of the combat commanders and diagnose the irritating failure to achieve a complete breakthrough. The conclusions they reported (which obviously took no official account of stubborn American resistance) were as follows. The check sustained in this sector could not be attributed to intervention by Allied air, an interesting reflection of the importance which Allied air-ground cooperation had assumed in German tactical thought by the end of 1944. The road net opened by the advance on 16 December had not been put in good repair. This the observers attributed to a breakdown of the para-military Todt Organization, whose labor groups were charged with the mission. Since the whole concept of the Todt Organization reached high into the realm of Nazi politics and personalities, this open animadversion is surprising and undoubtedly caused some consternation. The chief source of failure, said the General Staff observers, was the inadequate training of the troops who had been used in the attack. The conclusion reached as to the future conduct of operations on the Sixth Panzer Army front was simple enough and in accordance with established German doctrine: more maneuver room must be secured so that the attack could "unfold"; the entire Elsenborn area, therefore, must be won and at once. The right wing must be brought abreast of the 1st SS Panzer Division, at this moment twenty miles to the west of Stoumont.

This new plan, probably only a reflection of conclusions already reached in the higher echelons, actually had gone into effect on 19 December when German tanks and infantry made the first serious attempt to drive northwest from Büllingen, shoulder the Americans out of the Butgenbach position, and open the Büllingen-Malmédy highway.

Continued in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry.

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Another Contest!

But *not* one of ours. This one's transnational. Omar, at Iraq the Model, is looking to spruce up his site with a new banner (hey, he took first place in the Middle Eastern category, so why not, right?)...

But first, a little digression.

You may have wondered why Denizenne Christine dropped off the radar screen last month. She's been a mite busy; she's a contestant--a finalist, no less--in Omar's banner contest.

I like it!

The five finalists are displayed for your consideration here. Voting is by e-mail only--Omar's evidently picked up on the concept of ballot-stuffing--but it's painless. So drop in, vote for the best one of the five and add a hearty "Congratulations" in your e-gram to Omar.

by CW4BillT on Dec 19, 2005 | Denizen Link-Fest!

December 18, 2005

Just in case you missed it.

The President tonight. No, Raymond, we aren't there yet.

Since the removal of Saddam, this war – like other wars in our history – has been difficult. The mission of American troops in urban raids and desert patrols – fighting Saddam loyalists and foreign terrorists – has brought danger and suffering and loss. This loss has caused sorrow for our whole Nation – and it has led some to ask if we are creating more problems than we are solving.

That is an important question, and the answer depends on your view of the war on terror. If you think the terrorists would become peaceful if only America would stop provoking them, then it might make sense to leave them alone.

This is not the threat I see. I see a global terrorist movement that exploits Islam in the service of radical political aims – a vision in which books are burned, and women are oppressed, and all dissent is crushed. Terrorist operatives conduct their campaign of murder with a set of declared and specific goals – to de-moralize free nations … to drive us out of the Middle East … to spread an empire of fear across that region … and to wage a perpetual war against America and our friends. These terrorists view the world as a giant battlefield – and they seek to attack us wherever they can. This has attracted al Qaida to Iraq, where they are attempting to frighten and intimidate America into a policy of retreat.

The terrorists do not merely object to American actions in Iraq and elsewhere – they object to our deepest values and our way of life. And if we were not fighting them in Iraq … in Afghanistan … in Southeast Asia … and in other places, the terrorists would not be peaceful citizens – they would be on the offense, and headed our way.

September 11th, 2001 required us to take every emerging threat to our country seriously, and it shattered the illusion that terrorists attack us only after we provoke them. On that day, we were not in Iraq … we were not in Afghanistan … but the terrorists attacked us anyway – and killed nearly 3,000 men, women, and children in our own country. My conviction comes down to this: We do not create terrorism by fighting the terrorists. We invite terrorism by ignoring them. And we will defeat the terrorists by capturing and killing them abroad … removing their safe havens … and strengthening new allies like Iraq and Afghanistan in the fight we share.

I'd rather fight them over there, than over here. Giving them what they want hasn't worked (see the 90's), so, absent capitulation, let's take the fight to them.

Otay. There's a long way to go. But it wasn't a short road to get here, either.

The Ostrich Option isn't a good one. Nor is surrender.

And no, this *isn't* same old same old. Everything *prior* to 9/11 was same old, same old. Just because it's more comfortable, and doesn't make us realize that it *is* still a dangerous world out there, let's not turn back the clock. Let's finish this job.

Answering Requests...

JTG asked for more A12 pics (and I've included the inline engined A8 he remembers...) and Master Chief Airdale was whining about Buffaloes...

First up, the A8/12 Shrikes.

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More here, here, and here.

Now for them Buffalo... they were popular aircraft for a while.

Here, a Brit, Dutch East Indies, a Finn, like both Bill and JTG mentioned, of course, we flew them, too.

And *at least one* turned coat, however reluctantly.

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Of course, the 30's were a time of ferment in the aircraft world... what with Lex's predecessors deciding that landing on the pitching deck of an aircraft carrier in crappy weather was too easy - so they went for the brass ring... or rather, steel ring suspended beneath the belly of an airship.

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Not to be outdone, however - here's Bill, as a younger aviator, participating in his signature Flying Rodeo event, Airplane Roping. Tying it off was a real challenge...!

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For more fun with photos, try out The Right Place Caption Contest.

For fun with food... Carnival of the Recipes #70 is being hosted by brainiac CalTechGirl at Not Exactly Rocket Science.

by John on Dec 18, 2005 | Aircraft

The Christmas Party of Argghhh!

For those who don't follow She Who Buys Me Machineguns' saga this holiday season will have missed the fact that the Armorer usually has 5 pretty fun Christmas Parties in the season. My firm's, Beth's firm's, Rotary, the client's, and the sub-section of client's (the guys I actually work with day-to-day, vice the whole organization).

The client, being government, everybody pays out-of-pocket for those. Rotary, being a fund-raiser, ya pay some more (but it's still a fun party). The corporate parties are paid for by the firms, with mebbe a kicker for spouses. I hate doing parties stag. Really hate it. Suffice it to say that this year, SWWBO's travel schedule has prevented her from going to *any* parties, and all the money we paid for her to attend... well, ain't getting any of it back. There's a used Lee-Enfield rifle-equivalent of our cash gone back into the economy as donations...

I did attend the Rotary party, and while I put in an appearance at my company party, my heart wasn't in it, and rather than paste on a happy face, I left early. As in during the cocktail hour, *before* dinner, after I had made nice with the Senior People. I just couldn't force myself continue to be pleasant, and *that* would have been rude to everybody, just being a depressed lump at the table, tapping my fingers waiting for everything to end. So I left. I spent more time driving to and from than I spent at the party itself. Sometimes the Armorer just isn't a people person.

So why all this recitation of that doom and gloom? Simple. KCSteve to the rescue! Steve is a reader who lives in the KC area and is a member of Missouri Carry. He invited me to their local Christmas party, held last night at the Total Range complex in St. Joseph, Missouri (just north of here, for those not up on their regional geography).

It was odd, being among a bunch of people who *really* know their modern stuff, given that the Armorer thinks anything younger than 35 or so years of age is a punk. I saw some *very* nice carry pieces, target pieces, a combat shotgun... all in hands of nice, polite, but *very* serious people. Steve's wife was there, and she's a live wire... Steve, like me, is a large, scary man with a beard. Unlike me, he's married to a very petite woman (SWWBO is *regular* sized). A very petite woman who likes to shoot her pistol... with a laser on it... and that laser dot doesn't move very much at all. I only wish I was as steady as she is... for those who remember the Lethal Weapon movie with Mel Gibson's character shooting the happy face on the target? This pistol-packin' momma can actually do it...

The range can take hiigh-powered rifles (though I didn't ask about .50's), and they have a combat shooting range inside - a shoot house. And they do force-on-force in there, too, with training ammo. That might be fun, if I get to feelin' the need to get shot at again. Definitely a venue under consideration for the Blog Shoot of Arggghhh! this spring.

I won the nonexistent prize for oldest weapon. Being the Armorer, I took something historical. In this case, Georg, the Luger.

For an 87 year old guy, Georg shoots pretty well, hampered only by the fact that his assistant isn't anywhere near as good as he is. No jams, functioned flawlessly with American Eagle fmj fodder, at 20 yards. For such a stubby barrel, Georg ain't too bad, though he takes a while to reload. Yeah, yeah, I know, get a loading tool. Heh. All of us older guys take a while to reload... but I digress.

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The flyers in the 7 and 8 ring are all me in rapid fire. The trend left is a function of my glasses and lighting. I was paying attention to what I was doing with the trigger finger and grip. Shooting wearing progressive lenses is a challenge. If I was shooting competively, I'd get purpose made glasses for respective ranges.

For shooting bad guys in the parking lot at night... I think I have it down, even if I can't do a happy face.

by John on Dec 18, 2005 | Gun Rights | Pistols
» Stop The ACLU links with: Sunday Funnies
» Kesher Talk links with: Welcome to the RINO Carnival
» Kesher Talk links with: Welcome to the RINO Carnival

On this day in 1944...

I thought this year I'd excerpt from the Official History - The Ardennes: Battle of the Bulge, by Hugh Cole.

The 2d Division Withdraws to the Elsenborn Line 19 December

At 1800 on 18 December the V Corps commander attached General Lauer's 99th Division to Robertson's 2d Division. General Gerow's instructions, given Robertson late on 17 December for a defense of the Rocherath-Krinkelt-Wirtzfeld line until such time as the isolated American troops to the east could be withdrawn, finally were fulfilled on the night of 18-19 December when the remnants of the 1st Battalion of the 393d and the 2d Battalion of the 394th came back through the 2d Division lines. These were the last organized units to find their way to safety, although small groups and individual stragglers would appear at the Elsenborn rallying point for some days to come. Then, despite the fact that the 2d Division was hard pressed, Robertson made good on his promise to the corps commander that he would release the 99th Division elements which had been placed in the 2d Division line and send them to Elsenborn for reorganization within their own division. The tactical problem remaining was to disengage the 2d Division and its attached troops, particularly those in the twin villages, while at the same time establishing a new and solid defense along the Elsenborn ridge.

The failure to break through at the twin villages on 18 December and so open the way south to the main armored route via Büllingen had repercussions all through the successive layers of German command on the Western Front. Realizing that the road system and the terrain in front of the Sixth Panzer Army presented more difficulties than those confronting the Fifth, it had been agreed to narrow the Sixth Panzer Army zone of attack and in effect ram through the American front by placing two panzer corps in column. The southern wing of the 1st SS Panzer Corps, in the Sixth Panzer Army van, had speedily punched a hole between the 106th and 99th American divisions and by 18 December the leading tank columns of the 1st SS Panzer Division were deep in the American rear areas. The northern wing, however, had made very slow progress and thus far had failed to shake any tanks loose in a dash forward on the northern routes chosen for armored penetration. Peremptory telephone messages from the headquarters of OB WEST harassed Dietrich, the Sixth Panzer Army commander, all during the 18th and were repeated-doubtless by progressively sharpening voices-all the way to the Krinkelt-Rocherath front. But exhortation had been fruitless.

Continued in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry.

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