Posts Tagged ‘World War II’

USS Gerald R. Ford Commissioned

Monday, July 24th, 2017

On Saturday, President Donald Trump helped commission the USS Gerald R. Ford, a new aircraft carrier and the first of her class.

The Ford is the first complete carrier redesign since the launch of the Nimitz class in 1975. The Ford has a number of innovative features that distinguish it from Nimitz-class carriers:

  • It can launch about 33% more aircraft than previous carriers.
  • It has a crew of 2,600 sailors, 600 less than a Nimitz class carrier.
  • Two new nuclear reactors, giving he Ford 250—300% more electrical capacity than previous carriers.
  • It uses a new Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) to launch aircraft rather than the old steam catapults. The linear acceleration puts less stress on aircraft frames.
  • Greatly improved duel-band (X and S) radar with a smaller footprint, allowing a smaller island (which is also situated further aft than previous characters).
  • A larger flight deck.
  • Aircraft lifts have been reduced from four to three.
  • Ordnance is moved via higher-capacity weapon lifts. “FEC’s Advanced Weapons Elevator demonstrates a 24,000-pound lift capacity, with 150% overload capacity. Designed to move at 150 feet per minute, it accelerates to full speed in 2 seconds. The state-of-the-art elevators increase capacity over 200% and speed by 50% compared to the legacy elevators.” Ordnance movement paths do not cross aircraft movement paths, reducing traffic problems in the hangars and on the flight deck and lowering rearming time.
  • Fully air-conditioned crew compartments.
  • The Ford’s more powerful reactors will allow it to mount laser defense weapons in the future.
  • Here’s a video of President Trump praising the ship’s namesake President and his naval career.

    Here’s President Trump’s entire speech:

    Here’s Captain Richard McCormack talking about the Ford’s shakedown cruise and the ship’s many innovations:

    Here’s a video showing EMALS being tested:

    The next Ford-class aircraft carrier, the USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79, not to be confused with the previous, already decommissioned USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) aircraft carrier, the US Navy’s last non-nuclear carrier) has already been laid down, and is scheduled to begin sea trials in 2018 and commissioned in 2020.

    Note that in his speech, President Trump called for a 355-ship, 12-carrier navy, which has lead to some talk of bringing the non-nuclear USS Kitty Hawk out of retirement. I think that’s unlikely, though stranger things have happened…

    LinkSwarm for July 14, 2017

    Friday, July 14th, 2017

    Since I just topped up my Strategic Dog Reserve, blogging may get light at some point. But in the meantime, enjoy another Friday LinkSwarm:

  • This may be what’s driving some Democrats’ idee fixe on Russia: a guilty conscience:

    Radical left-wing icon former California Democratic Rep. Ron Dellums was a hired lobbyist for Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr. June 9, 2016, the Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group has learned.

    Dellums, who represented liberal San Francisco and Oakland, Calif., is a long-time darling of left-wing political activists. He served 13 terms in Congress as an African-American firebrand and proudly called himself a socialist. He retired in 1996.

    The former congressman is one of several high-profile Democratic partisans who was on Veselnitskaya’s payroll, working to defeat a law that is the hated object of a personal vendetta waged by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    A national outcry has erupted in the establishment media about Trump Jr.’s meeting with Veselnitskaya. But there has been little focus on the Democrats who willingly served for years on her payroll helping to wage a Russian-led lobby campaign against the law. Congress passed the legislation, the Magnitsky Act, in response to the murder of Sergei Magnistky, a Russian lawyer who alleged corruption and human rights violations against numerous Russian officials.

    According to a complaint filed to the Department of Justice Foreign Agents Registration Act division last July, Dellums failed to register as a foreign agent representing a Russian-driven effort led by Veselnitskaya to repeal the Magnitsky Act.

    Add Dellums to a list that includes Bill and Hillary Clinton and the Podesta brothers of high profile Democrats who have documented financial and lobbying ties to Putin’s government.

  • Democrats intentionally used disinformation from Russia to attack Trump, campaign aides.”
  • Russian journalist on how American journalists cover Russia, especially the Russian hacking story. “The way the American press writes about the topic, it’s like they’ve lost their heads.” Also: “Putin seem to look much smarter than he is, as if he operates from some master plan.” He’s actually a bumbler…
  • You know the Obama Veterans Administration that was only too happy to look the other way while veterans were dying on the waiting list? President Trump’s Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin has helped implement a number of reforms:

    In Shulkin’s five months on the job, the VA has been a whirlwind of activity:

    • The department announced last week that between President Trump’s inauguration and July 3, it had fired 526 employees, demoted another 27, and temporarily suspended another 194 for longer than two weeks.
    • In April, the department launched a new website that lets veterans compare the wait times at its facilities and view Yelp-style reviews of each facility written by previous patients.
    • Veterans Health Administration’s Veterans Crisis Line — designed for those struggling with PTSD, thoughts of suicide, and other forms of mental stress — is now answering “more than 90 percent of calls within 8 seconds, and only about one percent of calls are being rerouted to a backup call center.” A year ago, an inspector general report noted that “more than a third of calls were being shunted to backup call centers, some calls were taking more than a half hour to be answered and other callers were being given only an option to leave messages on voicemail.”
    • At the end of June, Shulkin unveiled the world’s most advanced commercial prosthetic limb — the Life Under Kinetic Evolution (LUKE) arm — during a visit to a VA facility in New York. Veteran amputees demonstrated the technology, a collaboration among the VA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the private sector. (The name alludes to the lifelike robotic hand that Luke Skywalker is fitted with in The Empire Strikes Back.)
    • In May, Shulkin said the department had identified more than 430 vacant buildings and 735 underutilized ones that cost the federal government $25 million a year. He said that most of the buildings are not treatment facilities and could profitably be closed or consolidated. Of course, if he actually attempted to close or consolidate some of the buildings, he might face a controversy along the lines of those touched off by military-base-closing announcements in recent decades.

    Shulkin has also gotten some help from Congress during his short time on the job. At a time when Republican legislators have had enormous difficulty passing big pieces of legislation, they’ve made great progress on VA reform.

    One particular law designed to make the VA more accountable is arguably the most consequential legislation President Trump has signed so far. It establishes speedier procedures for firing employees, gives the department the authority to recoup bonuses and pensions from employees convicted of crimes, adds greater protections for whistleblowers who report errors and scandals, and expands employee training.

  • New Senate GOP bill to repeal ObamaCare has tiny flaw in that it doesn’t repeal ObamaCare.
  • The One Sentence That Explains Washington Dysfunction: “I didn’t expect Donald Trump to win.” So no one was ready to do anything policy-wise once he did. “Among those consequences: The expectation that Republicans might actually try to keep the promises they’ve made to voters over the last eight years.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • No matter which party is in charge of Washington, rain or shine, summer or winter, the deficit keeps growing. “Real monthly federal spending topped $400 billion for the first time in June.” (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • An appeals court vacated the conviction of former New York Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, just the latest in a long line of appeal reversals for former federal prosecutor Preet Bharara. How much of Bharara’s once-sterling reputation was real, how much was showboating, and how much was good press from working at MSM-saturated New York City? (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • “ICE Director: There’s No Population Of Illegal Aliens Which Is Off The Table.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Mexico is reportedly very upset that both the united States and Texas are actually enforcing border control laws.
  • Remember: When you see an anti-Trump or anti-border control march, there’s a good chance it consists mostly of paid Soros shills.
  • Speaking of Soros:

    What we are actually witnessing — in Hungary, in the United States and in many other countries in recent years — is a populist reaction against the elite “progressive” consensus of which Soros is a prominent symbol. There is an international clique of influential people and organizations who share certain ideas about the future direction of political, social and economic policies, and who don’t want to be bothered with debating the merits of these policies. The ordinary people whose lives would be affected by the agenda of the elite aren’t being asked for their approval, and popular opposition to the elite agenda (e.g., the Brexit vote, Trump’s election, Hungary’s anti-“refugee” referendum) is treated by the elite media as evidence of incipient fascism. Never does it seem to have occurred to George Soros, or to anyone else in the international elite, that perhaps their policy ideas are wrong, that they have gone too far in their utopian “social justice” schemes. Unable to admit error, the progressive elite therefore resort to cheap insults and sloppy accusations of “fascism” to stigmatize opposition to the Left’s agenda.

  • Bernard-Henri Lévy makes the case for an independent Kurdistan. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • For ABC, religious liberty organization = hate group.
  • Seattle decides that they want to drive the affluent out of the city. I’m sure many cities in Texas would be happy to welcome them with open arms…
  • And just in case you thought that was going to be the craziest story out of Seattle this week: “Seattle Councilman Objects to Hosing Excrement-Covered Sidewalks Because It’s Racist.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • China’s housing bubble continues to expand. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Kid Rock is running in the 2018 Michigan Senate race. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.
  • On the same subject. “Rock is arguably much better positioned than Trump for a successful political run.”
  • “The man running Sweden’s biggest security firm was declared bankrupt this week after his identity was hacked.”
  • Flaccid NFL ratings lead to Viagra and Cialis pulling out as sponsors. Maybe if they stopped focusing on politics, the NFL’s ratings wouldn’t be as soft….
  • Austin attorney “Omar Weaver Rosales, who filed hundreds of lawsuits against local small businesses alleging technical violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, has been suspended from practicing law in the Federal Western District for three years.”
  • Maine Democratic state rep threatens to kill President Trump, calls gun owners “pussies.”
  • Connecticut now requires a criminal conviction for civil forfeiture. Good. (Hat tip: Borepatch.)
  • “Bad move, Mongo! Moonshine has powerful friends in the slam.” (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Clint Eastwood, when looking to cast American Paris train heroes Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos and Spencer Stone for a movie he’s directing, decided to cast Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos and Spencer Stone.
  • Radiohead gives the finger to anti-Israel BDS movement. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Was Shia LaBeouf always this big an asshole, or did he get worse after Trump and 4Chan broke him? “I got more millionaire lawyers than you know what to do with, you stupid bitch!” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Alyssa Milano is too busy as a member of “the Resistance” to take care of trivia like paying her taxes. Or her share of her employee’s taxes.
  • Woman climbs Mt. Everest to prove that vegans can do anything, dies. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)

  • There’s a Friends of NRA Fundraiser on August 3rd in Georgetown.
  • AMC releases emails from fired Walking Dead producer Frank Darabont in which he states how he’s boiling with rage over subpar efforts by various production team members. It’s not a good look, but if you directed The Shawshank Redemption, I’m inclined to cut you more than the usual amount of slack over your film-making methods…
  • Marvel is actually doing a live Squirrel Girl TV show. Sure, it’s called New Warriors, but we all know what the real attraction is there…
  • A sailor-eye history of the USS Nevada battleship during World War II.
  • Speaking of World War II, here’s a history of the Mulberry artificial harbors that were crucial in unloading supplies right after D-Day.
  • From the George W. Bush Presidential Library in Dallas: Proof that Bill Clinton doesn’t understand the power of metaphors in image form:

  • “Millions Of Policy Proposals Spill Into Sea As Brookings Institution Think Tanker Runs Aground Off Crimea Coast.” (Hat tip: JenDinnj’s Twitter feed.)
  • How did I miss this last week?

  • That Poor Spitfire

    Friday, June 16th, 2017

    A Friday night video that caught my eye:

    “Pilot Cédric Ruet escaped the frightening accident without serious injuries.”

    Tanks For the Memories

    Sunday, December 18th, 2016

    Reading up on The Battle of the Bulge brought research on just how quickly the Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant (where a quarter of all American tanks were built) was assembled.

    Here’s a video on how the the Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant was built. If you can look past the Chrysler rah rah tone, there’s a lot of information on how quickly it was built and what went into building it (including 51,000 tons of concrete, and 13,000,000 pounds of steel).

    Skip ahead to 13:40 to see the first tank off the assembly line drive through a house.

    Evidently they started producing sample tanks six months after groundbreaking and before the entire building was finished. There were giants in the earth in those days…

    Here’s a video of the plant producing and testing M3 Lee/Grant tanks.

    The Grant/Lee tanks were well armed and armored when deployed by the British to North Africa, but the exceptionally high silhouette and extremely limited traversal range for the main gun meant they were quickly outgunned when German Panzer IV’s with their own 75mm main guns mounted in full 360 turrets hit the battlefield, and were quickly replaced by the M4 Sherman tank for European battlefield roles. (M3s continued to be used in the Pacific theater with great success, since it was superior to any tank the Japanese fielded outside the home islands before the end of the war.)

    72 Years Ago: The Battle of the Bulge

    Saturday, December 17th, 2016

    On December 16, 1944, Nazi Germany launched The Battle of the Bulge in a last desperate effort to stave off defeat. It failed due to a combination of stiff American resistance and German shortages of materials and manpower, but it was a hard-fought struggle. Next to D-Day it was the most important Western Front battle of World War II, but as it fades from living memory I thought it offered the opportunity for a reminder.

    LinkSwarm for February 29, 2016

    Monday, February 29th, 2016

    Happy Leap Day, everyone! Enjoy a yuge LinkSwarm, and if you’re in Texas or another Super Tuesday state, take time to dig out your voter registration card for tomorrow.

  • The Case for Cruz: The Math. “In the states where Cruz is ahead of Rubio in the upcoming Super Tuesday, he is either beating Trump or within striking distance. In the states where Rubio is ahead of Cruz in the upcoming Super Tuesday, Trump has a huge lead. Rubio doesn’t lead in a single state.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Sixteen Reasons Why Ted Cruz Is The Better Anti-Trump Than Rubio.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • The Millennial Case For Ted Cruz. “Polls show that Hillary beats Trump in a general election. On the other hand, Cruz beats Hillary in a general election.” (Hat tip: Conservatives for Ted Cruz.)
  • Cruz releases nine years of tax returns, calls on Trump to do the same.
  • Analysis of Ted Cruz’s positions on defense.
  • How Ted Cruz’s ads are so Hollywood slick.
  • Cruz has rebuilt his stump speech around the Scalia vacancy.
  • Lefty Robert Reich’s attacks on Ted Cruz provides yet more reasons to vote for Cruz.
  • Our cultural elites just can’t figure out why those ignorant gun- and religion-clinging redneck freaks of JesusLand keep flocking to Trump when he says he love them. It’s an insoluble mystery…
  • 40 reasons not to vote for Donald Trump.
  • Trump University was a scam. “Many people believe that higher education is a de facto scam. Trump University, Donald Trump’s real-estate institution, was a de jure one.”
  • Hillary heckled.
  • DNC vice chair steps down to support Bernie Sanders. An understandable move, given the DNC is so far in the tank for Hillary under Debbie Wasserman Schultz that supporting Sanders is probably looked on as akin to treason… (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Mark Steyn lays out some grim election analysis: “No one loses as expensively as Republicans.”
  • 720,000 taxpayers have their tax form information stolen from the IRS. Our country is in the very best of hands!
  • Public employee unions are the establishment. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Left-wing protesters shut down lecture on welfare reform at London School of Economics. Here’s the book protester’s don’t want people to read: Adam Perkins’ The Welfare Trait: How State Benefits Affect Personality.
  • Muslim immigrants will cost Sweden fourteen times more than their defense budget. Good thing Germany and Russia are such historically peaceful neighbors…
  • Merkel must have a political death wish: “German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday defended her open-door policy for migrants, rejecting any limit on the number of refugees allowed into her country despite divisions within her government.”
  • Stratfor analyses China’s new military facilities on Woody Island. “While the media’s response to China’s actions on Woody Island suggests that they represent a watershed moment in the militarization of the South China Sea, in reality they are neither surprising nor particularly meaningful.”
  • How disasterous Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro could be removed from power.
  • The truth about the MiG-29. Longish but interesting piece. Turn out the Soviet super fighter was very good at basic fighter aircraft maneuvers, but had poor avionics that severely limited the pilot’s situational awareness.
  • Mass transit doesn’t actually save any energy. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Male feminism is a sort of disease.”
  • Joe Straus’ primary opponent Jeff Judson has a couple of major financial backers, including Alice Walton.
  • Beloved, innocent man shot down by Seattle police. And by “innocent” I mean “a convicted rapist with a gun, crack and heroin.”
  • “Turn down the fucking music.” “The more and more you attempt to compensate for the fact people have no social skills, making the music so loud conversation is impossible, the more and more intelligent and competent people you will drive away.” (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Soldier of Fortune magazine to cease publication.
  • Man makes video designed to show that SERPA holsters are safe, proves the opposite. (Hat tip: Tam via Dwight.)
  • Tweet 1: The bus is turning around. Tweet 2. The bus is on fire. Tweet 3. The bus exploded. (Hat tip: Moe Lane.)
  • The OSS World War II escape knife.
  • LinkSwarm for August 31, 2015

    Monday, August 31st, 2015

    Welcome to the final week of traditional summer. Of course, it used to be that everything (school, football, the new TV year, etc.) started after Labor Day Weekend, but that’s not the case any more…

  • “it’s cute to pretend that Black Lives Matter is actually about making policing better when it’s really just another Democratic party constituency agitprop group.”
  • Texas mandates E-Verify for all state employees.
  • Ten questions about the Iran deal.
  • Indeed, the Iran deal stinks so badly that even Debbie Wasserman Schultz wants to keep the stink of Eue De Failure off herself and the DNC. (Hat tip: Moe Lane.)
  • Europe has begun to reform its welfare systems. (Hat tip Instpundit.)
  • Thanks to government efforts, heroin is now cheaper than cigarettes in New York City. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • McCarthy critic turns out to be a Soviet spy. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • UK Labour leader candidate Jeremy Corbyn: Apologist for oppressive dictatorships.
  • Oh, and he wants to give the Falkland Islands to Argentina. Why, it’s almost as if the hard left yearns for nothing so much as undoing every conservative foreign policy triumph out of spite…
  • And he also called Osama Bin Laden’s death “a tragedy.”
  • Criticizing Muslim antisemitism? That’s a $750 fine in Denmark.
  • Widespread street protests in Kuala Lumpur over corruption and embezzlement by Malaysia’s Goldman-Sachs-underwritten Prime Minister.
  • Still another reason not to use Ashley-Madison: “For every 7750 men, there were 3 women.” “Sausage Fest” doesn’t even begin to cover it…
  • Speaking of sausage, San Antonio woman steals $3000 worth of sausage.
  • Conservatives push back on victimhood identity politics guidelines from the College Board and win.
  • Austin Bag Ban backfires. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • A look back at 1945 plans for the invasion of Japan. (Hat tip: Borepatch.)
  • Ten years of Tam.
  • 70 Years Ago Today…

    Monday, February 23rd, 2015

    U.S. Marines on Iwo Jima raised the American flag atop Mount Suribachi:

    It was not the end of fighting on Iwo Jima. Of the six men in the famous flag-raising picture, three (Harlon Block, Franklin Sousley, and Michael Strank) died in the battle. The three survivors (John Bradley, Rene Gagnon, and Ira Hayes) survived the war, but all have passed away since.

    The Valiant: “One of The Worst Tanks Ever Made”

    Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

    Before we get into the British and U.S. tanks I saw at the Bovington Tank Museum, let’s look at one British prototype tank they had there, the Valiant, AKA “One of the Worst Tanks Ever Designed.”

    Let’s look at the official Bovington description, shall we?

    The Valiant appears to be one of the worst tanks ever designed in Britain. It is difficult to find any contemporary reports that say anything good about it!

    The Valiant was originally designed by Vickers Armstrong to meet a War Office requirement for an Infantry Assault Tank for service in the Far East. During development the project was transferred first to the Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Co. and then to Ruston and Hornsby Ltd. of Grantham.

    The designers were required to apply the thickest possible armour while keeping the weight as low as possible. Inevitably the hull was very small; the front hull casting was virtually moulded around the driver while the turret ring stuck out over the sides of the hull. In comparison the turret appeared to be enormous, as it had to accommodate a three man crew, (commander, gunner and loader/radio operator).

    The Valiant used the same diesel engine as the Valentine (See E1949.344), although it had little else in common with the earlier tank. Design documents exist for an improved version, the Valiant II, powered by a Rolls Royce Meteorite engine, converted to diesel operation.

    Ruston and Hornsby built one prototype in 1944. Trials in 1944 – 45 revealed serious problems. With a power:weight ratio of 7.8hp per ton, the tank was slow. The ground clearance at the rear was found to be too low and the suspension, located partly under the hull, was easily damaged during cross-country driving. More seriously the driver was almost crippled by the cramped driving position and was in danger of being injured by the controls. Furthermore, the controls required inordinate strength to operate them. The tests were abandoned immediately.

    Not surprisingly the Valiant did not enter production, officially because the war was likely to be over before the tank could be introduced into service.

    My pics of the Valiant didn’t come out particularly well, but they do show what an odd looking tank it was:

    P1000545

    P1000546

    And here’s a better pic from the Internet:

    Wikipedia (citing David Fletcher’s book Universal Tank: British Armour in the Second World War), says “The sole Valiant was retained by the School of Tank Technology, where students were treated to an inspection of it at the end of their course and invited to find fault. David Fletcher wrote of this: ‘One hopes they started early in the morning.'”

    Pictures from the Bovington Tank Museum: German Tanks

    Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

    I hope you like tanks.

    Here’s the first batch of pictures taken at the Bovington Tank Museum in Dorset, which I visited on Saturday as a gift to my inner 12-year old. (There are few prospects more pleasing to the preadolescent male mind than being encased in a 30 ton metal killing machine.) The first batch is all German tanks and tank destroyers from World War II. Let’s face it, the Germans had far and away the best tanks, and shortly after the allies managed to catch up, Germany would be about ready to introduce something better. Germany’s problem (as compared to America or the Soviet Union) was an inability to manufacture enough of them. (Good thing for us.) They had an enormous array of German tanks, and probably the best collection outside Germany’s own tank museum in Munster.

    The first picture of the first of two King Tigers (AKA Tiger II, AKA Königstiger, Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. B) they had on display. The mosty powerful tank Germany produced during the war, its 88mm main gun could destroy any tank on the battlefield. It didn’t get on the battlefield until 1944, and Germany produced less than 500 of them.

    The other Tiger II they had there.

    Here you can see the Zimmerite anti-magnetic mine coating the Germans used.

    Selfie, with tank.

    The first of several tank destroyers.

    This is a German tank destroyer that ended up in Finland. Stalin thought he could walk all over Finand, but the Finns tore the Soviets nine different new assholes in the Winter War, though this tank destroyer obviously post-dates 1940.

    Alternate barrel used for the Sturmtiger close assault variant.

    Here’s an early Panzer Mark I command tank. It’s amazing to realize that the initial German blitzkrieg was carried out with relatively slow, under-armed, and underpowered Mark I and Mark IIs, that, with Heinz Guderian’s new tactics of mechanized warfare, were simply Good Enough.

    A Mark II.

    I think this is the Mark III, would would be the mainstay of the Wehrmacht armored divisions through the end of the war.

    A muzzle-eye view.

    Armoured car.

    An 88mm field canon.