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06 September 2020


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You will need a paid installer. The bureaucrats will find a way to hamstring SpaceX until they agree to divvy up the windfall via local franchises.



It gets better. They are already testing laser connections that will obviate the need for time-consumptive data transfers via uplink/downlink to ground stations, instead employing massive data transfers between satellites when practical; incredible rates of data transfer may thus often be available. In the CNBC post linked in this post from Cryptogon, read the section at the end on space laser testing.


Hot stuff if this can be made to function reliably.

The Twisted Genius

From past articles I've read, the UFO on a stick will automatically seek out the Starlink satellites without the need for manual calibration. Right now, it would need a clear view of the northern sky. Once the entire Starlink constellation is in orbit, It will probably just need a clear view of the sky. Connection from the UFO antenna to the house modem/router will probably be a choice of cat5 or 6, coax or fiber. That could be done by a homeowner or any contract network installer.

Signing up for service will most likely mirror buying a Tesla. Sign up for it online, choose your service plan and wait for the UFO on a stick to be shipped to your door. Surely there will be dedicated and/or contract technicians available for house calls, much like Tesla. Now those enjoying the option of working from home will be able to also work from their cabins in the mountains or cottages on the beach. I agree the money will be rolling in. In addition to individual customers, local and even some national governments will see this as a way to connect their people to the internet. Although, some governments may want to ban those UFOs on a stick.



Excellent summary. You think monthly fees and billing will be handled how?

The Twisted Genius


I don't see why Starlink would handle their billings and payments any different than other satellite services like SiriusXM or Garmin. SiriusXM is strictly yearly plans with monthly billing, auto-charging of a credit card and annual auto-renewal. Garmin is more flexible with monthly plans available. I imagine smartphone service would be another viable billing/payment model, but I can't be sure since I don't use that stuff.

In the real hinterlands and in other countries, perhaps other systems will be used. I can see Musk setting up agreements with local banks or stores to accept cash payments for his Starlink service. I'm sure he's looking into these alternate methods if he envisions Starlink to be a true global service.



Just watched the film "Greyhound." impressive stuff. Never realized the U-boats would fight it out on the surface with the escorts.

The Twisted Genius


I watched it a few weeks ago. I thought it was a well done film. I rank it in the same circle as Das Boot. I've read several accounts of U-boats at war including the exploits of Gunther Prien and Otto Kretschmer. Prien sailed into Scapa Flow and sank the HMS Royal Oak. Kretschmer was know for surfacing in the middle of a convoy and using one torpedo to sink each ship. They might duke it out with smaller escorts on the surface if forced into the situation, but not by choice. Kretschmer ran an intelligence ring while a prisoner in Canada. His fellow prisoners constructed a radio and sent intel gleaned from newspapers and magazines back to Berlin.

Mark Logan


Re: "...U-boats would fight it out on the surface with escorts."

The movie seems to be loosely based on the duel of the USS Borie.

The Brits had already discovered a wounded sub might pop up close aboard and had their bows specially reinforced for ramming. Clearly the Borie crew had been drilled for the possibility.

I imagine surrender was on the menu only for the rare U-boat crew who were swimming or in life rafts.



We found ourseselves in a gasthaus in Frankfurt in 1969 at a shared table with a couple of U-Boat survivors and their women. We had a great time until the talk got too close to home for all of us. We parted great friends and returned to dine together often but we never spoke of old comrades again. This was at a place called the "Kurhessicher Hof."


In October 1943 Admiral Dönitz cancelled his "fight back" doctrine for his U-Boats. Prior to that some of them armed with quad mounted 20mm Oerlikons also successfully fought off air attacks.

Naval historian Samuel Morison cites 781 German U-Boats lost along with 32,000 officers and men. The U-Boats sank 2575 merchant ships totaling 14.5 million tons. It could have been worse if the Type XXI, XXIII, and XXVI boats had become operational. Morison, and British Lord Admiral Cunningham, claim Dönitz's great tactics extended the war. But they claim his "Integral Tonnage Concept" was unsound strategy as US & Allied shipyards built ten times as many ships as his U-Boats were sinking.



TTG doesn't seem to have accepted Doenitz' "fight back doctrine.

The Twisted Genius

pl and leith,

The fight back doctrine was against attacking aircraft, primarily in the Bay of Biscay. Several U-boats were converted into Flak-boats to trap attacking aircraft to support this doctrine. They only had limited success before the doctrine was abandoned.


I am in no way disagreeing with TTG's comments. Morison says fighting back on the surface was normal in the early years of the war. He cites several cases in his two volume account of the Battle of the Atlantic.

There were certainly some boat commanders that still fought it out on the surface after October 1943 when Dönitz revoked the 'fight back doctrine'. Many of those like the U405 that the USS Borie rammed in November 43 had no choice as they had been forced to the surface by damage from depth charges.

The Brits probably knew of many more cases. The book on which the Greyhound movie was based was written by an English novelist.


Leith and TTG

I read the novel long ago but don't remember much about it. Some interesting plot details; Krause, (the CO) had been passed over twice for commander before the war, but right after PH they promoted him and gave him a Fletcher Class destroyer right out of construction. That sounds like what the process would have been. The Dead Zone in the middle of the ocean largely disappeared as escort carriers were fielded. The mess men (at that time nearly all Black or Filipino) had positions as loaders and such things when the ship was in action. An interesting feature was one of the U-boat captains transmitting nastiness to the convoy ships. Outside the context of the film, my uncle John commanded an LST straight out of construction until she was sunk in the Admiralties. He said the thing he missed the most about her loss was that he had a nice little cabin and his own steward while he had her.

Mark K Logan

TTG, Leith.

They clung to surface attacks as long as they could, and a wolf pack would seek to attack the escorts first sometimes. They apparently had an early version of a SONAR-seeking torpedo.


See page 23 for when Doenitz finally gave it up. Right around Oct of 43.


I suspect TTG is correct that the fight back doctrine was primarily against attacking aircraft. And despite Morison's claim it may have been a idea started by U-Boat skippers and not by the UBootewaffe or the Kriegsmarine. There is much on the internet about U758 fighting back against air attack. But that was south of the Azores and not Biscay Bay:

'Heavy antiaircraft fire and smart, cagey tactics saved U-758 and incidentally encouraged its team-mates in the fatal belief that "fight back" doctrine was the answer to a submariner's prayer. In his report of the engagement, Mansek radioed; "Eight carrier planes warded off; one shot down, four damaged."...'

See pages 11 thru 13 of: https://archive.org/stream/WildcatsAvengersCS9/safr_WildcatsAndAvengers_access_147128_djvu.txt

I don't envy your Uncle John's tour on an LST. Flat-bottomed - they bounce around like corks or fishing bobbers in even the smoothest sea state.


I think Morison may have also been incorrect about the Oerlikons. Those 20mm quads on the U-Boats were probably the Rheinmetall 2 cm Flakvierling:


The Twisted Genius

Those LSTs were certainly not made to ride out a typhoon. Our infantry company was embarked on the USS Cleveland, LPD-7, during a joint exercise with our Marines along with Filipino Marines and Army troops. The Filipinos were aboard an LST. Prior to an amphibious landing, both ships had to steam out to sea due to an approaching typhoon. While we could still go on deck, I watched the LST bobbing around wildly in the heavy seas. During the night, we were all confined below deck. It was rough enough on the LPD. I could only imagine how bad it was on the LST. In the morning as we approached the beach, I saw the LST kick up a rooster tail and steam for the beach. It was sinking and beached itself.

The landing commenced as planned. We talked with the Filipino troops over the next few days. They said it was a bad night at sea and it was touch and go. A lot of prayers emanated from the LST that night.

The Twisted Genius

I think a lot of the early U-boats only had a single 20mm gun along with the 88mm deck gun. Not a lot to take on a destroyer or corvette. Still, surface running was the only way to put up any fight or to keep up with the convoys. Most torpedo attacks against convoys were done surfaced, especially at night. Prien crept into Scapa Flow surfaced, took on the Royal Oak and escaped on the surface as well with a few destroyers looking for him. Those boats were really surface boats capable of submerged running rather than our post-war boats or even the German's type XXI.



I have ridden LSTs across the Caribbean from Panama to Puerto Rico and in the Red Sea. Yes, a rough ride in heavy weather.



I may have told you this in the past, but my uncle's little ship had landed 1st Cav troops on one of the Admiralties and had backed off the beach and turned parallel to the beach getting ready to go out to sea when a couple of Japanese aircraft came over a ridge on the island and hit her amidships.


Mark Logan - Thanks for the link to that Dönitz Essay. Two comments:

1] Never realized before reading his essay that early WW2 German torpedos had some problems with magnetic exploders and depth-keeping. Those sound like the exact same problems as COMSUBPAC had with the scandal of Mark-14 torpedo misfires. But it seems the Kriegsmarine solved the problem swiftly, whereas in the US it took 20 months and a major pissing match with BuOrd.

2] Dönitz mentions the German success in breaking the code used for communication with the Atlantic convoys. But he never mentions the other Kriegsmarine intell successes such as decrypting: the most widely used British naval code by 1935; some US codes which helped with the successful U-Boat Operation Drumbeat within sight of the American coast; plus various others including some French, Soviet and Danish code systems. Their problems were slow decryption and distribution.

Mark K Logan


Donitz was a smart guy. We were lucky he wasn't listened to, IMO.

On the original question, of if subs duked it out on the surface with escorts by choice, I wonder if you might think this plausible:

For a period the German navy did so. That took a lot of guts but a convoy typically spread out over many square miles and the half-dozen or so corvette/light destroyer escorts had to cover all sides. If a wolf pack of 10 subs all brought their 88s to bear on one on the flank they would not be out-gunned, and if they successfully took out a single escort on the flank the convoy would be, for a time, wide open. Why not torpedo the escort? Would if you could be it's a small target, probably zig-zagging all over the place, and these attacks were night attacks, mostly.

I know the British A/S ace, Walker, quickly and strongly advocated grouping some escorts together about this time, and perhaps this was part of the reason.


Mark Logan -

Extremely hard to coordinate such an attack. AFAIK all US DEs & DDs sunk on convoy duty were by torpedo.

88s were damn fine for both AA and AT by the ground forces. But the below link states the U-boat "...was a poor gun platform since it rolled a lot, and ocean waves frequently washed over, making the gun platform slippery and hazardous. ... A further factor was deck guns had no range finders, so engagements had to be done at close range." They were eventually phased out by Dönitz.


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