I am always interested in Partisan warfare and weaponry and this one is amazing.
Stay Alert, Armed and Dangerous!
Fantastic post about a very dangerous time in World History.
Stay Alert, Stay Armed and Stay Dangerous!
Netflix just came out with a really well made Historical Cold War Drama titled The Siege of Jadotville. Now this time period will not be familiar to most folks, but For those of you familiar with the Cold War History of Africa, you will definitely remember the Congo Crisis and the 1961 CIA sponsored Assassination of Patrice Lumumba (which the movie begins with).
One of the reasons why the superpowers were interested in the Congo, particularly the province of Katanga, is that this region had one of the largest seams of Uranium (which can be weaponized to make nuclear weapons) in the world and in addition provided half or more of the worlds supply of Copper and Cobalt, which interestingly enough, was needed to build the guidance systems for ICBM’s, which both the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R were building at a break neck rate in 1961. The Geo-Political aspect of this conflict is extremely in-depth, which gives the movie a whole different feel than just “another war movie.”
Side note: For you Weapons junkies like me, this movie has some really nice period correct hardware in it as well, to include:
Interesting tidbit: The Swedish Garl Gustav M-45 was used by US Army SOG Forces in Vietnam throughout the sixties and into the early seventies. John L Plaster in his excellent book Secret Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines with the Elite Warriors of SOG discusses their use in detail.
Stay Alert, Stay Armed and Stay Dangerous!
It’s 1988. World War Three has begun, with the armies of the Soviet Union and the rest of the Warsaw Pact pouring over the Inter-German Border. Their destination: the Rhine River and beyond, dealing NATO a knockout blow that will end the war.
Meanwhile at sea, an equally titanic battle is about to take place. A Soviet Kirov-class battlecruiser, attempting to intercept a U.S. Navy carrier battle group, is intercepted by the battleship USS Iowa. The biggest ship-against-ship battle since the World War Two is about to begin. Who wins?
Built in the late 1980s, the Kirov-class battlecruisers were designed—like much of the Soviet navy at the time—to neutralize American carrier battle groups during warfare. American aircraft carriers were a threat to not only the Soviet mainland but also Moscow’s nuclear missile submarines, and were to be taken out as quickly as possible. A secondary mission of the Kirov class was as commerce raider, designed to cut the flow of American and Canadian ground reinforcements to the battleground in Europe.
The Kirov class were the largest surface warships built since the end of World War II. Each displaced twenty-four thousand tons and measured 826 feet long—nearly as long as an aircraft carrier. Nuclear powered, they could cruise indefinitely at speeds of up to thirty-two knots.
The purpose of the battlecruisers was to attack, and they were well suited for the task. Each carried twenty enormous P-700 Granit antiship missiles. Each, a Granit missile weighed more than fifteen thousand pounds. This was enough to include 1,653-pound high explosive warhead, enough fuel to give it a range of three hundred miles at Mach 2.5, and a both inertial and active radar guidance. Initial targeting data would be provided by the space-based Legenda satellite targeting system, shore-based aircraft, shipboard helicopters or the battlecruiser itself.
Granit was unique among Cold War–era antiship missiles in having an early networking capability. One missile per salvo rises higher than the rest, providing radar targeting information to the rest of the missiles though a network. If that missile was shot down, another would rise to take its place.
The Kirov cruisers were also designed to be self sufficient in anti-air weapons, the overall armament forming a layered defense system. Each carried 96 S-300F long-range surface to air missiles, a naval adaptation of the land-based S-300 system. The ships also carried 192 3K95 short-range surface-to-air missiles based on the Tor, and forty 4K33 missiles based on the Osa. As a last resort, the ships had six AK-630 close-in weapon systems equipped with thirty-millimeter gatling guns.
Read the Remainder at National Interest
On Dec. 24, 1970, an odd airplane touched down at an air base in Thailand. Though it might not have looked like it, this was a top secret U.S. Air Force propaganda plane and the crew had just flown the last of a series of classified missions over neighboring Cambodia.
The Pentagon sent the pilots from the Pennsylvania Air National Guard to help the government in Phnom Penh spread propaganda in remote, rural areas. Though brief, the obscure operation — nicknamed Commando Buzz — paved the way for an all new kind of psychological warfare operation.
By 1970, Washington had been fighting a broad and bloody war in Southeast Asia for nearly five years. North Vietnamese troops funneled weapons, ammunition and other gear through Laos and Cambodia into South Vietnam.
A seemingly endless stream of ideas, from the practical to the absurd andsometimes terrifying, had all failed to cut the communist supply lines. In Laos, with the help of a friendly government, the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency launched a covert bombing campaign and backed a secretive guerrilla army on the ground.
But Cambodia leader Norodom Sihanouk refused to break ties with the Soviet Union and Communist China. An avowed neutralist and supporter of the non-aligned movement, Sihanouk tried to play off all the sides of his advantage.
Ultimately, he found himself surrounded by enemies. Sihanouk coined the French term “Khmer Rouge” — Red Khmers — for his leftist opponents. He similarly derided right-leaning critics as the “Khmer Bleu.”
In March 1970, military officers led by Gen. Lon Nol seized control as Sihanouk was on a world tour of Europe, the Soviet Union and China. Lon and his compatriots believed he gave the North Vietnamese too much freedom and empowered Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge.
The junta rushed to Washington for help. A month after the coup, American and South Vietnamese troops launched an attack into Cambodian territory. In July 1970, the campaign ended after delivering a major blow to Hanoi’s forces.
Unfortunately, Lon’s government couldn’t capitalize on the victory. The U.S.-led offensive drove the communists deeper into the Cambodian countryside, where they could count on popular support.
The Cambodian military, with its poorly-trained and underpaid soldiers, was also no match for the battle-hardened rebels without American aid.
During the Cold War, the United States supported selective nuclear proliferation as a means of deterring a Soviet invasion of Europe. The Russians might not believe that the United States would trade Berlin for New York, but they might find a British or French threat more credible.
Washington did not pursue the same strategy in Asia. Although Japan could easily match Britain or France in economic power and technological sophistication, the United States didn’t see fit to support Japanese nuclearization. Instead, the United States quashed Japanese nuclear ambitions whenever they appeared.
This decision was well considered, given the effect that Japanese nukes might have had on the course of global nuclear proliferation. But had the balance of power in East Asia shifted in a different direction, arming Japan with nukes might have made more sense. Such a development would have had huge implications for the spread of nuclear weapons across the world.
The legacy of World War II
Japan briefly pursued atomic weapons during World War II, although its efforts came nowhere near matching those of Germany, much less the United States. However, the United States destroyed the project’s infrastructure early in the occupation, making clear that Japan would not soon rejoin the community of nations, at least in terms of self-defense.
The precedent of Pearl Harbor rested heavily on American minds, and the idea that Japan might acquire weapons that would enable it to undertake a far more devastating sneak attack was deeply unpopular. While the United States supported British and tolerated French nuclear efforts, Japan was different. Britain and France were part of the victorious Allied coalition in World War II, while Japan was a defeated aggressor state.
As the only victim of a nuclear attack, Japan’s domestic politics made a nuclear turn difficult. However, during the 1960s, the Japanese government actively considered the development of a nuclear weapons program.
Japanese Prime Minister Eisaku Sato argued that Japan needed nuclear weapons to match those of China; however, the United States demurred. Instead, the Johnson administration pressed for Japanese accession to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, ending, for then, Japan’s nuclear ambitions.
Read the Remainder at War is Boring