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04 April 2016

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BabelFish

Bosch:

For those that watched the first season of 'Bosch' on Amazon, the next season has been released. A little less intense at first, it picks up speed during the season. The writing is still linear, the dialogue crisp and the acting and characters are engrossing. Season 3 has already been picked up.

We also watched the first episodes of 'The Man in the High Castle'. I think old Phil Dick would be happy with the iteration of his creation. It took me some time to get comfortable enough with the concept of an alternative history to the WW2 era but, again, it is mostly well acted and written. And, the ending of the last episode is true to Dick's visions of science fiction.

Parj

I foud this analysis very interesting

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIfSwt489e4

Chris Chuba

I want to start a thread on the Battle of Kursk for few reasons.
1. While it's a difficult choice, I'd choose this as the greatest battle of WW2.
2. I have recently read three books that have altered my view on it.
3. I'd like to see if anyone on this board would like to contribute to this topic, including other book recommendations.

The three books are ...
1. David Glantz, "When Titans Clashed" (more of an overview of Kursk, plus I read a paper by him)
2. Niklas Zetterling, "Kursk 1943: A statistical Analysis"
3. Valeriy Zamulin, "Demolishing the Myth ..."

For those who are unfamiliar with Kursk, it was the Battle of the Bulge on the Eastern Front. It was the last, large scale offensive by the German army and the greatest concentration of German armor in a single offensive. After this battle the Red Army went over to the offensive and kept the initiative for the rest of the war.

Here is a 45 minute webisode (in English) produced by the Russians in 2102 which is a joy to watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ichrcupEbvA

and a map depicting the original lines and high water mark of the battle https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e0/Battle_of_Kursk_%28map%29.jpg

In the original narrative that I read many years ago, the Germans suffered massive armor losses by foolishly attacking well prepared Soviet defenses. Their defeat was a fate accompli before the attack even started.

In the revised version, the Germans had normal, but not crippling, operational losses. Their total loss of armor during the offensive phase was about 300 tanks and SPG's but they remained in capable fighting condition before abandoning the offensive on 7/17/43.

This is not to disparage the Red Army it was a solid tactical victory. The significance Kursk was that for the first time, the Red Army was able to stop a German offensive at the beginning instead of getting crushed and then having to recover like they did the previous two summers. Using a combination of numerical superiority and improved tactics, the Russians were able to force the Germans to retreat and then launch their own counter-attack. They shut down the German offensive in the north (aka the central front) after a short advance. In the south (aka the Voronezh front) they parried a more successful German advance long enough to hasten a German withdrawal on 7/17. A counter-offensive in the north by the Russians at Orel and a pending counter-offensive further south at the Mius River caused the Germans to abandon their operation.

This is by necessity a very terse overview, the Battle of Kursk has many controversies and details that I glossed over. I believe these controversies exist because the Red army had just crossed the threshold where they surpassed the German army if you factor in BOTH their superior numbers AND improved tactical skill. Man for man, the German army was still better, but the Red Army was in its ascendency, a year later they would be a much more effective army and achieve very decisive offensive victories. Whenever you have an inflection point, it creates opportunities to ponder the what if's. The what if's are interesting but to me the tide was rolling in and the outcome, while not exactly the one the Soviets has planned, was no accident.

Some observations about the battle:
1. While the Germans 'only' lost about 300 out of about 2,200 tanks/SPG's. The Red Army did manage to damage up to 1,000 more but the Germans were able to repair most of them in the field within a day or two. Unlike the battle of the Bulge, the Germans had all of their fancy logistic toys, like specialized field cranes and were well supplied with both fuel and ammunition. This surprised the Russians and may have contributed to their decision to try a head on attack at Prokhorovka as they wrongly thought the Germans were depleted.

2. By this time of the war, the T34 had gone from being a state of the art tank down to a good enough tank. The German tanks and SPG's outgunned T34 and could destroy it at any practical combat range. Meanwhile, the T34, in the worst case match up, could only destroy a Tiger tank by shooting at its side armor from a range of 500m and was totally ineffective against its frontal armor (as were just about all of the Red Army's field guns). To make matters worse, the Russians had a surprisingly large number of light T70 tanks, comprising about 30% of their tank force. In 1944 the Russians would significantly close this quality gap with their next generation armor but none of this was available in 1943 at Kursk.

3. David Glantz emphasizes the increased competency of the Red Army while Zamulin, a former Director of a museum at Prokhorovka, shows a view of an army in transition; giving examples of brilliant competence along with tragic mistakes. Fighting defensive battles against a competent enemy is tough and the Germans were at the top of their game. Zamulin mentions that the approach of the 5th guards tank army at Prokhorovka was the first example of a forced march by a Russian mechanized group, over a long distance, about 400 miles, that experienced very few losses from either mechanical failure or air attacks which were common in previous attempts. He believes this to be an overlooked accomplishment as they arrived just as the last defensive belt was being tested by the 2nd SS Panzer Corp.

4. Zetterling's main theme is that this was not a blood fest as compared to previous battles on the eastern front. This makes sense to me. The Russians were more professional. The Germans would encounter a well placed Russian strong point and stop, they don't do stupid attacks. The Germans would wait for combined arms, artillery, air force, etc. However, this gives the Russians an opportunity to either retreat in good order or reorganize their defense; this is less costly but slows down the pace of their advance.

5. That Prokhorovka itself was not the largest single tank battle in history, is not that interesting to me. It was a large tank engagement, as many as 400 Russian vs about 200 or less German tanks. Zamulin makes an additional point that much of it was against well prepared German anti-tank guns. Overall, Kursk was the largest concentration of German armor during the war.

6. The Germans had 146 Tiger tanks at Kursk, sure, you can disable its tracks and then drop artillery shells on top of them but not having field guns that can take it out directly from its front armor was a disadvantage that troubled the Russians. The impact of the Tigers was larger than their numbers wouldo indicate. A total of 10 were lost by 7/17, more would have been disabled but that number is hard to pin down. Zetterling dedicated his book on German losses, armor strength, etc, while it's a statistical analysis it is actually good reading. He has a knack for presenting the material in a very readable manner. I especially liked how he compares the matchup between the German vs. Russian armor in the field.

7. It's fair to say that both the Germans and the Russians surprised each other at Kursk. The German advance was much slower than in previous summers. In 1941, Army Group Center was able travel 140 miles in 11 days, they encircled Minsk and the Red Army lost 350k soldiers. At Kursk, they only penetrated 20 miles in 12 days in the southern sector, and cut off one rifle corp which inflicted 15k losses. However, things did not go as planned for the Red Army. They intended to pin the Germans in between the first and second defensive belts, wear them down, and then launch their counter-attack. Instead, the 2nd SS Pz corp was able to break through both defensive belts, test the last defensive belt, and the Russians were forced to call up their strategic reserve to prevent a break out but they were able to do it.

8. If anyone wants to discuss the Manstein controversy, feel free, I have an opinion but my post is already too long.

William R. Cumming

IMO the MSM has failed to capture much of current events. Is this deliberate?

One example, despite the President's recent speech reduction worldwide of fissonable material peaked by 2004 and the annual costs and expected costs of maintaining and upgrading the Nuclear Triad are largely hidden from public view.

Matthew

The Russians sure know how to put on a tradeshow: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/29/russias-campaign-in-syria-leads-to-arms-sale-windfall

Gatun Lake

I've been thinking of the devotion of Gen. Richard E. Cavazos's wife Caroline as he fades away. Army wives...

http://www.stripes.com/news/veterans/retired-general-who-made-history-and-created-legacy-now-ravaged-by-dementia-1.402465#

Valissa

Weds night 4/6 at 9pm on your local PBS station...

PBS to Premiere 2-Hour Special NOVA'S VIKINGS UNEARTHED, 4/6 http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwtv/article/PBS-to-Premiere-NOVAS-VIKINGS-UNEARTHED-46-20160401

New evidence of Viking life in America? http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35935725

View From Space Hints at a New Viking Site in North America http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/01/science/vikings-archaeology-north-america-newfoundland.html

Stonevendor

The old eyes are confounded. Please tell. What is that blooming in the woods?

Matthew

So, the success of the Russian campaign now compels Moscow to dump Assad? See http://www.politico.com/story/2016/03/obama-syria-bashar-assad-221306

Time for another PB or TTG update, please.

Valissa

Ancient horse dung is helping to track Hannibal's route across the Alps http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3522997/Ancient-horse-dung-helping-track-Hannibal-s-route-Alps-Remains-mountain-pass-left-general-s-army-marched-Italy.html

Ishmael Zechariah

Colonel Lang, SST;
I would really appreciate your analysis of the "Putin stole 2 billion" story that is all over the Borg-controlled media.
Ishmael Zechariah

Vince

Unfortunately, I can't remember the author or title of a book I read some years ago about the creation by the Germans of battle groups on the Eastern Front during WW2. In a way, these battle groups were the complete opposite of formations such as battalions, regiments, divisions, corps etc as splendidly described by Patrick Armstrong in his recent Russian Tank Army post. They were the opposite in the sense that a German commander would cobble together a fighting group in the heat of battle and gather together whatever he could to maintain a line of defence: artillery remnants, damaged infantry companies or platoons, anti-tank units, mortar sections, tanks if he were lucky, HQ staff if he were even luckier. If I remember rightly, they varied greatly in size according to circumstances - from forces in the hundreds to ones in the low thousands. I guess they were the creative response of a force (the Wehrmacht) which was getting crushed by the inexorable Soviet advances. They were short-lived formations, by their very nature, but very effective according to the German author. Has anyone else come across this approach from other armies in recent years?

Kutte

Colonel,

Since this is an "Open Thread" I would like to raise the
subject of conspiracy theories. Of course, if you consider
there is not enough time & space on SST for that, I have to
take it on the chin. Now we all know of course that there are
absolutely kinky conspiracy theories, such as Adam Weishaupt
of the Illuminati ruling the world from his grave or Dr. Fu
Man Chu sitting in a cave in Tibet and pulling the strings.
However, if you consider what we know (and what we have
forgotten) about real conspiracies, it would seem frivolous
to dismiss every conspiracy *suspicion* as BS. So, how does
one judge it, when a Chinese diplomat (supposedly) told an
Israeli diplomat: "I know the protocols are a forgery!" and
then adds with a grin: "...but they are the best forgery I
ever saw". The protocols may be anyone's brainchild, there
may be no "wise men of Zion", but their contents is a damn
good recipe to gain control. Is it BS to suspect that
somebody deliberately made them public in such a clumsy
manner? Whenever somebody expresses an inconvenient opinion,
somebody else discovers the same is written in the protocols,
therefore it has to be BS. Look at a fellow called "David
Icke". He writes a lot of presumably true things about the
Rothschilds, and then adds that they are reptiles from outer
space. When you try to talk about the Rothschilds, people
start laughing and say: "You believe they are reptiles from
outer space?". So, how realistic or BS is it, to suspect that
Baron R. picks a run-down soccer-player from the street and
says: "Here is X Dollars. Write all these things about me,
and then add that the R. family is from outer space!". Too
absurd to believe even for one second? (I am *not* saying it
is like that!). I can cite another example: During the war
there was a Nazi spy with the pseudonym "Cicero". He was some
sort of a butler at the British Embassy in Ankara, and the
Nazis had provided him with a key to the vault. He managed to
copy a complete plan for the invasion in Normandy. The
consequence? Hitler said: "Why on earth would the British
deposit this plan in Ankara?". So, how foolish is it to
assume that the British had discovered Cicero, and, instead
of exposing him, they placed the plan, in the hope that
Hitler would say the exact same words quoted above (I am
*not* saying it was like that). This blog in particular has
many excellent experts, how about explaining the reasons for
rejecting a conspiracy *suspicion* instead of just dismissing
it. The conspiracy suspicion about princess Diana seems to me
very unlikely. How would the assassins arrange for her
chauffeur to get drunk and hit the curb? On the other hand,
after the collapse of East Germany, a lot of absolutely
shocking details came to light, that would have been laughed
out of the room had they been presented at the time they
happened. Absolutely prominent politicians were in the pay of
the East German secret service (STASI). The election of the
chancellor in 1972 was bought for a mere 100,000 Marks by the
STASI. How much money is that in comparison to the money
available to the 1%? They would spend that much on lighting
up their cigars with $100 bills! So, hopefully contributions
will be made to specify criteria to use for separating
reasonable or at least plausible suspicions from sheer BS.
What is a conspiracy suspicion, a theory, or absolute BS? If
it looks like a conspiracy, and walks like a conspiracy, and
quacks like a conspiracy, it is a conspiracy?

How insane is the conspiracy(?) theory that somebody, via an
organization generally know as "Gladio" effectively helps
ISIS in carrying out acts of terror. How insane is the
conspiracy(?) theory that Erdogan and kin kept ISIS solvent?
A lot of people have reason to believe that they are
intelligent, not out of conceit, simply by having observed
that they can solve problems quicker and better than others.
They have, however, no reason to believe that they are
resistant to any "sleight of hand". They can enter a hut on a
fair and have a "magician" pull nails out of their nose and
coins out their ears. They don't know how it's done, but they
know it's deception, But what if they don't have the advance
knowledge? What if the "magician" lives in a mansion and is
legally allowed to call himself a professor? There was once
an excellent cartoon (I think in the "New Yorker") where a
poor patient was lying on the couch of a psychiatrist, and
the doctor compassionately asks him: "So you are suffering
from the paranoia that there are people with rabbits ears?",
whilst the patient looks at him in horror as he notices the
two big rabbits ears on the doctor. Many newspapers offer
columns with experts advive. What if you write to them about
conspiracies, and they present a kind looking professor with
horn rimmed glasses, who patiently explains it's all BS, and
you recognize he's the one somebody else pointed out as the
chief conspirator. What I am trying to get at, is there any
sort of recipe to tell fiction, suspicion and fact apart?

As a reminder: You, Colonel Lang, believe the attack on USS
Liberty was deliberate and not accidental. This has been
rejected and "debunked" as conspiracy theory. So don't you
think it is important to get the right range on what is
fiction, suspicion, or fact? Somebody give us orientation. I
shall be interested on whether this creates any echo.

Trey N

Well, here's some great news -- if there's anything at all to this theory:

http://journal-neo.org/2016/04/03/the-cloak-and-dagger-inside-the-kerry-briefcase/

Meanwhile, domestically, another couple of interesting theories:

http://www.unz.com/akarlin/trumps-seven-nations/

https://www.traditionalright.com/the-election-the-rise-of-white-political-consciousness/

Coupled with the news here of the resurrection of the 1st Guards Tank Army, as well as the increasing success of the R+6 in Syria, it looks like the Borg could soon be on the run both at home and abroad.

What wonderful news that would be! Hasten the day....

turcopolier

kutte

There are some things that seem so implausible that I refuse to have them discussed as a serious matter on SST. OTOH I am willing to allow things to be discussed that people like the Zionist community wish to dismiss as "conspiracy theory" so as to establish a meme to be accepted as truth. In re the attackS on USS Liberty the Zionists want you to believe that the attack on the Liberty was an oops moment but in fact USS Liberty was repeatedly struck by Israeli air over a period of several hours and in the midst of that the Israeli navy attacked the ship with gunboats. If that is not enough to indicate to you that the attacks were deliberate then I remind you that I read the transcripts of talk between the first Israeli flight commander in the attacks and his base. So for me the deliberate nature of the attacks cannot be called "conspiracy theory." pl

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/uss-liberty/

turcopolier

TreyN

The Kampfgruppen were built by assembly for a given task from pieces of formations built exactly the way that Armstrong describes. The US Army has been set up to do the same thing since the adoption of the ROAD division structure in the early '60s. pl

steveg

re: Panama papers
The borg has given Putin and his associates
the lead in the expose of off shore money
laundering and asset obfuscation.
Imagine that. No mention so far of US participants.
Clinton Foundation anyone?

turcopolier

Stonevendor

Red Bud. pl

Trey N

Great comment! The sheeple have been successfully brainwashed and conditioned to believe that when good things happen in the world, it's because decent people have planned and worked hard for those outcomes. When utter evil and depravity occurs, however, it's because "well, you know -- shit happens..." (shrug).

I don't see how anyone with even two firing synapses can look around at all the evil in the world today and think that it's all simply a result of happenstance and coincidence -- no planning by anyone anywhere, no meetings of like-minded psychopaths trying to steer/create events to their own advantage, etc etc -- but then again, I never cease to be amazed by mankind's capacity for destructive self-delusion....

BabelFish

Slaves to ratings and E. Murrow is long dead and cold. If they can't fit Trump into their bloviating, they must feel they failed. MSM seem to contain three themes. What Trump said, horrible weather and, oh yeah, what Trump said.

They have deteriorated into sock puppets.

BabelFish

I would love to do some of the archaeology on those sites (with a healthy dose of Deep Woods Off liberally applied).

sillybill

Colonel,
Red Bud blossoms are edible and are good in salad.

turcopolier

kutte

I fixed the link. pl

different clue

Matthew,

The "opposition" weren't able to topple Assad themselves and they never will be. Therefor they still demand America to do it for them at America's own expense. Since Obama and the Borg still WANT to topple Assad they keep catapulting the "Assad must go" propaganda in hopes of recruiting the American public to the cause of toppling Assad. Obama and the Borg still feel that if they can just make the sale, that an American majority will support them and then they can go ahead. And that's why the "opposition" is still given column inches in the MSM.

What the RussiaGov wants Assad to do or agree to has more weight because the RussiaGov was pretty important in helping the SAR beat back the Jihad Rebellion to a standstill at least. If the RussiaGov wants to see an eventual genuine election, the RussiaGov may advise the SAR on how to conduct. The RussiaGov may even suggest the SAR put ex-President Jimmy Carter and the Carter Center in charge of observing it.

cynic

I've just watched that programme on BBC. It was quite interesting, and they'll probably find more such sites, although so far it only seems like a boat-repair camp for forging nails.

What could be more interesting is if they took up the idea that the Vikings actually ventured much further afield, and during a period of less ice they got right through the 'north-west passage' and that Vinland etc were really on Vancouver Island and adjacent territory.

Here's a nice site where the idea is discussed in detail:
http://www.spirasolaris.ca/1aintro.html

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