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01 February 2015

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Fred

LeaNder,

To paraphrase Captain Renault Casablanca "I'm shocked, shocked" to find that no German bank or government agency knew there was corruption in Greece before the collapse in 2008. Is anyone going after banker bonus, banker salaries of those who made these loans? No. Is anyone screwing Greek youth out of a reasonable economic future to ensure German banks are paid in full - yes they are.

Europe has a big problem on its hands and just getting payment on these (past and current loans) isn't going the resolve the bigger problem that is being created by the economic enslavement of a generation. Look what happened in Weimar when the vengeful allies got paid in full after enforcing the Versailles treaty by crushing the German economy.

William Fitzgerald

P.L.

I saw it at Christmas time. It was really good on tank crew procedures and dynamics. I thought the best action scene was when the platoon came out of the tree line in line formation to try to take out the Tiger. Brad Pitt was excellent as the platoon sergeant and the rest of the cast was generally good. Thumbs up! as far as I'm concerned.

WPFIII

LeaNder

Fred, I have no skin in the game of finances. Our top institute was run by a Swiss banker, his successors apparently have to face quite a few of serious law suits. Whenever it caught my attention in--from my perspective--dubious deals it was also deeply entangled with US banks. Let me give you one example: cross border leasing.

This is not my field of expertise, and the only close expert I would have in this context has shifted very, very much to the right. There are reasons for this. ... Now he is close to the ground, working for small to medium size firms over here.

The context of his expertise would be a branch of economy that does not exist in the US, as far as I know. We have (had?) a basic difference between a macro and a micro perspective in this field. In any case he was trained with a banking background, followed by university in the macro economic perspective. Not with a perspective on the real factual business, that means. Where it is usually only about cutting one factor: employees. ... The same rules are applied over and over again.

But as much as I love the British, I experienced Britain as a class society, should I be grateful to the US? did they have more influence on Germany?

If I may reduce that to my own field, I preferred a good old cockney accent, midlands, or Scotland to Oxfordian anytime during my time in England. It's not the fault of the people. They have a great humor.

Maybe that's why I have a certain respect for my European brothers that imitate "Oxfordian" so perfectly. I never could force myself to imitate that type of English.

Charles I

I found this reference to Chinese appetites, and this time of year I am always mindful of the fact that the NFL, a ten billion/yr, publicly subsidized, private club pays NO taxes.

Why Is China Buying Up Our Farmland?

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/propublica/2015/02/muckreads_chinese_acquisitions_heroin_treatments_and_california_s_trucks.html

Bacon & bbq lovers, n.b.:" The country now owns 1 in 4 pigs raised in the U.S."

Fred

Yes sir. I think a few members of the "committee of correspondence" would be able to submit some very good work tanks to your tutorage.

Stephanie

rick,

Many very clever people work in it and also write about it. The late Hugh Kenner specialized in writing about Joyce, Eliot, Pound, and, among others, this chap:

http://www.amazon.com/Chuck-Jones-Drawings-Portraits-American/dp/0520087976

Regarding the topic -- pleased for the Pats after all the recent ado.

William R. Cumming

A relatively new book out by Professor Benjamin Ginsberg tying the NATION-STATE system and other elements of modernity to THE WORTH OF WAR!

Looks like worth reading IMO!

William R. Cumming

Another book of possible interest is Benjamin Schwartz's book RIGHTOF BOOM-The Aftermath of Nuclear Terrorism. The engages in a policy discussion of choices available to Nation-States post NUDET!

William R. Cumming

ALL: I saw Charlie Rose interview a retired General Mike Flynn on TV last night [February 3rd] who apparently once headed DIA and supporter of General McChrystal.

He struck me as largely bewildered and lacked few insights and/or answers.

In the interview he made one very significant error boldly stating that the NATIONAL SECURITY ACT OF 1947 was classified until recently.

STATUTES ARE NEVER CLASSIFIED!

WHERE DO WE GET SUCH MEN?

Neil R

WF:

"I saw it at Christmas time. It was really good on tank crew procedures and dynamics. I thought the best action scene was when the platoon came out of the tree line in line formation to try to take out the Tiger. Brad Pitt was excellent as the platoon sergeant and the rest of the cast was generally good. Thumbs up! as far as I'm concerned."

I agree on all points. I was quite surprised by the realism of the tactical aspects of the film. While I didn't care much for the great Alamo scene at the crossroads (Seriously, the SS Pzgr battalion in film had TWO Panzerfauste when in reality the Germans were freely handing them out to children and old men in the Volksturm at the time), some of the details were quite astonishing. Many years ago I had several chances to speak to men of the 4th Armored and 6th Armored during their reunion at Knox. Some of the techniques used by the tank platoon and armored infantry company were spot on:

1. The liberal use of WP rounds. Old tankers told us that they would use the no. 2 section from overwatch to hit Panthers (especially at places like Arracourt) or even Tigers as smoke would blind their sights as no.1 section would close in. In cases where there were inexperienced German crews, drivers would crawl out thinking their tanks were on fire. And of course against enemy infantry, they used WP rounds.

2. Col. James Leach said that in the 4th Armored machine guns were the favored weapons as the division would routinely drive deep and cut up German supply columns and artillery units. And I thought demonstrating how tanks would divide up sectors of fire in column march was spot on as the new bow gunner froze right before the new platoon leader's tank got hit by a Panzerfaust. (The attrition rate of fresh platoon leaders was extremely high even in elite divisions like the 4th and 6th) And gunner's coax against German MG positions was used the right way.

3. I thought I heard the armored infantry platoon leader say "Marching fire." That was a very common technique in the Third Army although I've read men from other armies state that they'd never used it. Since the 2nd Armored was Patton's old division, perhaps it's conceivable that they would have preferred to use it.

4. Since the writer had to make the engagement against the Tiger as exciting as possible (That supposedly is the only running Tiger I in existence which was borrowed from the Bovington Museum), the M4's turret electric hydraulic system failed right before the Fury closed in. Otherwise the Fury might have gotten off 4 to 5 shots given Sherman's turret slew rate plus speed of closure. And Fury's loader was "hot" as kids might say today.

Several scenes and dialogue seem to ring true at least based on what I have read about tank-on-tank actions of WWII as well as what some of the tankers have said years ago. The platoon leader shooting himself had happened more than a few times. Obviously for many tankers the fear of burning alive is the worst thing.

The crew interaction (especially for one that had survived constant action since 1943 which might as well have been a hundred lifetimes for a US tank crew) seemed very realistic. As you know an experienced tank crew often behave like an old married couple who know everything about each other while sometimes annoying each other to exhaustion. Yet I was surprised that the director had crafted a scene in which the loader spotted enemy fire and the driver was already turning toward it even before Pitt gave the command based on the voice of the target identification. I thought the commo chatter seemed very realistic (in addition to acquisition/firing procedures) especially when each crewman said "The best job I ever had" while breathing a sigh of relief after surviving the engagement against the Tiger. And the Fury had the obligatory "cruchy" scene during the infantry support engagement earlier in the film.

SAC Brat

One of my grandfather's buddies was on a tank crew in the ETO and I liked to listen to his stories (as well as my grandfather's about running communications wires). One story that always frightened me were his recollections of crew accidents from being in close proximity to moving equipment inside the turrets.

I was always impressed with how much had to go right for the tanks to be a weapons system and not a ground target. As a mechanic the maintenance required by a gasoline engined tank always sounded daunting.

turcopolier

neil r et al
I found the film fascinating. Having lived in Germany as a child 1946-49 I found the interactions with German civilians particularly interesting. I remember clearly that we,the children of the occupying force, were not at all afraid of the Germans. I used to ride the strassenbahn alone on my way to school and ask policemen in their pickelhaube for directions. A small detail that I found intriguing was the platoon sergeant's sidearm. I did not know that anyone carried that long case Colt .45 in Europe. Also they should have left the tank and run for the wood line with the MGs when the approaching enemy force was detected. pl

Neil R

SAC Brat:

"One story that always frightened me were his recollections of crew accidents from being in close proximity to moving equipment inside the turrets.

I was always impressed with how much had to go right for the tanks to be a weapons system and not a ground target. As a mechanic the maintenance required by a gasoline engined tank always sounded daunting."

US tankers in WWII had it tough as the crew compartment was small when compared to modern tanks. Shermans had very rudimentary turret stabilization (in close quarters against heavier German tanks) and US crews would sometimes fire-on-the-move depending on how good the gunner/TC teams were. Loaders had to know every square inch of the interior as after a mad minute of firing the main gun, smoke and fumes would reduce visibility inside not to mention cause choking as ventilation was terrible. And they had to know where discarded shell casings were lying on the floor.

I've been inside Soviet T-62s and T-72s and their crews had it so much worse as the crew compartment was very cramped. And autoloaders on T-64, T-72 through early versions of T-80 were absolutely atrocious. Not only were they much slower than what a competent US loader could achieve in terms of rate of fire, they would chew up Soviet gunners. As for the danger of a loader getting hit by gun breech block, that's the reason why tank crews drill incessantly with target acquisition/firing procedures.

Shermans were very reliable as far as automotive maintenance was concerned relative to German heavies and certainly every British tank in WWII. But there were enough work to go around for everyone (including platoon leaders) as it is today. One of many reasons why US tankers have opposed the adoption of autoloader for our main battle tanks has been the fact that reducing the crew size to three would overburden a tank crew in terms of maintenance (we have them now on Stryker MGS variant but its primary role is infantry support). The Soviets didn't care as their crews did very little maintenance work (e.g., even something as fundamental as boresighting the main gun). The issue of maintenace/repair comes up quite often whenever old tankers discuss allowing women into Armor. Repairing track, rearming and above all the evacuation of an injured crewman seem to be the primary reasons for the opposition even after assuming female tankers skip the loader stage of crew training.

Jack

Add Charlie Rose to the list. He should have corrected him. But then he would need to be informed. That is not a requirement to host a TV show.

Neil R

Dear Col. Lang:

"I found the film fascinating. Having lived in Germany as a child 1946-49 I found the interactions with German civilians particularly interesting. I remember clearly that we,the children of the occupying force, were not at all afraid of the Germans. I used to ride the strassenbahn alone on my way to school and ask policemen in their pickelhaube for directions. A small detail that I found intriguing was the platoon sergeant's sidearm. I did not know that anyone carried that long case Colt .45 in Europe. Also they should have left the tank and run for the wood line with MGs when the approaching enemy force was detected."

I suppose German readers here could better explain their parents and grandparents' sentiment toward the Americans in the immediate postwar period. From my experience of talking to friends who had escaped the Soviet occupation and settled in West Germany after the war, they seem to have been foremost glad that we weren't the Russians. Perhaps the Berlin Airlift and the Marshall Plan helped to shape their attitudes toward the United States more decisively.

As for M1917, Wardaddy could have traded for it with someone in a support unit when his battalion had been pulled out of the line. Most support troops were issued M1903 rifles in Europe other than junior officers and NCOs who carried carbines. Wardaddy was using a captured Sturmgewehr 44 and perhaps he preferred the revolver to 1911.

I didn't care much for the final engagement. My suspicion is that the technical advisor for the film might have come across the actions of a valiant Soviet tank crew during the Battle of Raseiniai in 1941. A single KV-2 tank had stopped the entire 6th Panzer Division for 24 hours at a crossroads. I would have dismissed it as sheer fantasy had it not been for Erhard Raus who had recounted the engagement in his memoir. However by the spring of 1945 the Germans had plenty of personal antitank weapons. In fact Gavin had English instructions printed for thousands of captured Panzerfauste as the 82nd Airborne used them in 1944-45. I just found it incredulous that an entire SS Pzgrdr battalion could have a couple of them when they were expecting contact against a US armored division.

William R. Cumming

Apparently the President [NSC] has released an unclassified NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY as mandated by statute on Friday 02/04/15!

WH webpage!

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