Those ‘Known Unto God’

article-2580854-1C4996F400000578-727_636x411Twenty British WWI heroes are finally given full military funeral in France 100 years after they were killed during Battle of Loos. Twenty British soldiers killed during the First World War were today laid to rest near the battlefield where they died nearly 100 years ago. The bodies were discovered in 2010 near during clearance work for new buildings near Vendin-le-Vieil, north of Arras in France. All of the men died at the Battle of Loos in 1915, today they were buried at the Dud’s Corner, a cemetery run by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission located in the town of Loos-en-Gohelle.article-2580854-1C498BF500000578-637_964x541The only one to have been identified by name is Private William McAleer, 22, from the 7th Battalion the Royal Scottish Fusiliers, whose step-great-nephew Stephen McLeod was present at the ceremony. Among the other soldiers who died during the fierce battle were a Northumberland Fusilier, another six Royal Scottish Fusiliers and a member of the York and Lancaster Regiment. The 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland accorded military honours to the men as they were buried, with the unidentified soldiers commemorated as ‘Known unto God’. Pte McAleer’s coffin was given his own burial plot, with his headstone reading ’13766, Private W. McAleer Royal Scots Fusiliers, 26th September 1915, age 22′. The remainder were buried in six other plots side by side. article-2580854-1C4988A900000578-566_964x544Family above: Stephen McLeod, the step-great-nephew of Private McAleer, was present to watch his ancestor buried. Mr McLeod, a former soldier with the Black Watch, said he had not known how Private McAleer died.article-2580854-1C4B119700000578-72_964x547‘All were Killed In Action.’ A lone ‘Piper’ from the battalion plays a lament for the dead during the service.

More hereTwenty British WWI heroes are finally given full military funeral in France 100 years after they were killed during Battle of Loos Devastation below: The attack in Loos happened simultaneously as the French attacked the German lines at Champagne and at Vimy Ridge in Arras.article-2580854-1C43AFD200000578-237_964x481article-2580854-1C49888900000578-828_964x460

We little thought when leaving home

That he should ne’er return;

And now he lies in a soldier’s grave,

And leaves us all to mourn.

Had I but seen him at his last,

Or watched his dying breath.

Or heard the last sigh of his heart

Or held his aching head.

Sleep on dear son, in a foreign grave,

Your life for your country you nobly gave,

No friends stood near you to say good-bye,

But safe in God’s keeping now you lie.

Nameless his grave on the battlefield gory,

Only a cross on a mound of brown earth;

Died in the pride of his youth and his glory,

Far from his home and the land of his birth.

Sleep on dear son, in a far off land,

In a grave we shall never see;

But as long as life and memory last,

We shall remember thee.

Finally… Rest In Peace wee bonnie lads, now you will never be forgotten. Yours Aye.

Filmed as it happened…

article-2563909-1BB8205900000578-222_636x382  The American military’s attempt to enlist the film industry’s help, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor brought the U.S. into the war, began as the brainchild of a few senior officers. Directors such as John Ford, Frank Capra, John Huston, George Stevens and William Wyler had already shown that they could win the people.article-2563909-1BAD08A300000578-626_634x410

At 6.30am on June 4, 1942, film director John Ford, a three-time Oscar winner, hunkered down on the concrete roof of the power station on Midway Atoll, one of a cluster of tiny North Pacific islands roughly halfway between the California coast and Tokyo. The 48-year-old and his crew, equipped with 16mm cameras and hundreds of feet of Kodachrome colour film, were preparing to shoot. But this was a blockbuster unlike any he had filmed before.WWII ATTACK ON PEARL HARBORAs Ford watched from his tower, with its unobstructed views across the island and far out to sea, a swarm of Zeroes, the Japanese Imperial Navy’s long-range fighter planes, began to fill the sky over the Pacific. He and his team started shooting film as soon as the first formation approached. Then, as he later reported, ‘hell started to break loose’. ‘The planes started falling – some of ours, a lot of Jap planes,’ Ford said. ‘One [Zero] dove, dropped a bomb and tried to pull out, and crashed into the ground.’ Ford saw the Zeroes dive-bombing at objectives like water towers. He had his camera trained on the hangar as a Zero dropped a bomb from 50ft. ‘The whole thing went up.’ MORE HEREHow an elite squad of Hollywood’s greatest directors recorded the bravest – and bloodiest – actions of World War II  Yours Aye.

Carry on! Carry on!

Alfred_Theodore_Joseph_Bastien_-_Canadian_Gunners_in_the_MudIt’s easy to fight when everything’s right,
And you’re mad with the thrill and the glory;
It’s easy to cheer when victory’s near,
And wallow in fields that are gory.
It’s a different song when everything’s wrong.
When you’re feeling infernally mortal;
When it’s ten against one, and hope there is none,
Buck up, little soldier, and chortle:

Carry on! Carry on!
There isn’t much punch in your blow.
You’re glaring and staring and hitting out blind;
You’re muddy and bloody, but never mind.
Carry on! Carry on!
You haven’t the ghost of a show.
It’s looking like death, but while you’ve a breath,
Carry on, my son! Carry on!

And so in the strife of the battle of life
It’s easy to fight when you’re winning;
It’s easy to slave, and starve and be brave,
When the dawn of success is beginning.
But the man who can meet despair and defeat
With a cheer, there’s a man of God’s choosing;
The man who can fight to Heaven’s own height
Is the man who can fight when he’s losing.

Carry on! Carry on!
Things never were looming so black.
But show that you haven’t a cowardly streak,
And though you’re unlucky you never are weak.
Carry on! Carry on!
Brace up for another attack.
It’s looking like hell, but – you never can tell;
Carry on, old man! Carry on!

There are some who drift out in the deserts of doubt,
And some who in brutishness wallow;
There are others, I know, who in piety go
Because of a Heaven to follow.
But to labor with zest, and to give of your best,
For the sweetness and joy of the giving;
To help folks along with a hand and a song;
Why, there’s the real sunshine of living.

Carry on! Carry on!
Fight the good fight and true;
Believe in you mission, greet life with a cheer;
There’s big work to do, and that’s why you are here.
Carry on! Carry on!
Let the world be the better for you;
And at last when you die, let this be your cry:
Carry on, my soul! Carry on!          

Robert William Service 

Brothers in Arms..

article-2559329-1B7C62FF00000578-517_964x347Princes William and Harry today joined the flood relief effort by helping soldiers to lay sandbags in Datchet. The royal brothers secretly joined members of Harry’s Household Cavalry regiment to shore up the defences just a stone’s throw from the Queen’s residence, Windsor Castle. More Here Including Video Footage: Royals to the rescue! Princes William and Harry chip in with the flood effort as they help soldiers lay sandbags along the Thames

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Meanwhile, the head of the Environment Agency Lord Smith, (Baron Smith of Finsbury) - a former Socialist Labour minister who has been heavily criticised for his response to the floods crisis – was far away from affected areas as he was seen outside his home in Islington, London. The grandee has faced repeated calls for his resignation over accusations the Environment Agency exacerbated the scale of the disaster by failing to dredge vulnerable rivers.

Yet another left-wing champagne guzzling socialist, living off the fat of the land.      Yours Aye.

Isn’t it strange how princes and kings,
and clowns that caper in sawdust rings,
and common people, like you and me,
are builders for eternity?

Each is given a list of rules;
a shapeless mass; a bag of tools.
And each must fashion, ere life is flown,
A stumbling block, or a Stepping-Stone.    R.L. Sharpe.

Family pride, and the pride of a Nation…

article-2542454-1AD1B6DF00000578-325_636x382All three sons of the Wise family of Arkansas enlisted in the military (bottom right) and two of them lost their lives in service to their country. A recent Washington Post report details the life of youngest brother Beau (left, middle in bottom right), the only surviving son who has been banned from future deployments in his job as a Marine. It was while greeting his brother Ben’s casket in 2012 that the commandant of the Marines promised his mother, Mary Wise (right in top right), that he wouldn’t be seeing any future action. Beau says he doesn’t like being compared to Matt Damon’s character in ‘Saving Private Ryan’ because he enlisted in the military, and wasn’t drafted, making a choice about his future. Now, he works as a cleric at a Washington state base lounge, and still yearns for the fulfilling life of action on the battlefield. MORE HERE: : Amazing courage of sole surviving military son DISAPPOINTED he is banned from returning to the front line after his two brothers were killed in Afghanistan  There are no words that can follow such a sacrifice.                     Yours Aye.

For the benefit of others…

Last night I watched a program that I heard is referred to as a ‘docudrama’, which in simplistic terms is a factual documentary set around people & their social inadequacies, who dwell and survive in James Turner Street, Winson Green, a deprived inner-city area  of Birmingham; where drama is an everyday occurrence, or so we are led to believe. Described by the small clip in the following link. Channel 4 ‘Benefits Street’ James Turner StEvery major town throughout the UK, Europe and the Western world suffers the same as depicted within the ‘docudrama’, though the levels of despair can vary dramatically. In all fairness to the people concerned in James Turner Street, the camera does lie, and with some fancy cutting and jaunty camera angles, it portrays the street in a far worse light than what appears in reality. In addition to this, there are thoroughly decent hard-working people who live along the street who are rarely shown, sadly they are now suffering the stigma associated with the socially inadequate portrayed, of whom live on government benefit, and survive through the murky world of fraud, theft, and drug dealing. Under these circumstances, the young have very little chance of breaking away from the legacy handed down by their parents, who in turn are part of a vicious circle of generations that have lived their whole lives on benefits, whose contribution is purely to the black economy that surrounds them. Two residents with their shoplifting spoils, as shown on the program supporting the black economy…Benefits-Street-2997886

I despair at the youth of today, who allow themselves to be dragged down by their parents, who should know better through attending a digitally enhanced educational system, but continue with the hand that life dealt them. There are those special few who sign on for a military life, who do break free of the chain, and go on to make a true life for themselves, and for their children that follow. Additionally there are those who seek work further afield, and break free of the conditions encircling them. 

Just recently I was privy to a collection of conversations, that took place between several ‘mid-teen’ potential candidates for a job opening. During the verbal interview each candidate was asked if they had a role model in life, and if so who, and why? All except one quoted a celebrity. The ‘one’ in particular mentioned a school friend, who had scrimped and saved to pay her own way towards a six month voluntary position working with a humanitarian group in Greece. The ‘one’ secured the vacant post, mainly due to her qualifications, but also supported by her verbal interview, and work ethics, which impressed the three person panel. After the interview my good friend asked who her school friend used as a role model, her reply was “Kate Nesbitt, the first female in the Royal Navy to win a Military Cross.” Kate Nesbitt receives M.C.  A 21-year-old, five foot tall sailor, with a heart of oak…Kate_NesbittMedical Assistant Able Seaman Class 1. Kate Nesbitt M.C. Royal Navy Whose Citation reads ”Under fire and under pressure her commitment and courage were inspirational and made the difference between life and death. She performed in the highest traditions of her service.”watson_2779776b 

A few days ago ‘The Jolly Roger’ sent a link referring to Drever Watson (formerly Ms. Drever Belle McDonald), who had recently died aged 89.  A Royal Naval nurse, who in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War cared for former prisoners of the Japanese who were too traumatised to return to normal life in Britain. At the outbreak of war, Drever’s mother, Stewartina McDonald, was in charge of the Red Cross in Dartmouth, and at 16-years-old Drever was recruited as a Red Cross volunteer. On her first day she was put on what were called “special duties” — sitting for hours with a mortally wounded young sailor until he died. Only in 1944, when she was 20, was Drever allowed to join a Voluntary Aid Detachment (or VAD) and be sent overseas. She became a theatre nurse at the Royal Naval Hospital Bighi in Malta, but it was after the war that she saw the severest casualties. These included some wounded from Burma and PoWs of the Japanese who were landed in Malta to be treated for trauma.  A compassionate caring woman from a generation sadly leaving us, the same generation who would be proud of those stepping into their footsteps today…Operational Awards List

Indeed, only this morning I had a reply from ‘Coffeypot‘ that included a link to  Lance Corporal Kylie Watson M.C. Royal Army Medical Corps  who was summoned to the office of her Commanding Officer for a ‘fireside chat’ she feared the worst. ‘Do you know why you are here?’ he asked the combat medic. ‘Am I in trouble, Sir?’ she enquired. ‘No,’ he told her, ‘You’ve been awarded the Military Cross.’ The 23-year-old, whose tour of Afghanistan’s Helmand province was her first as a fully qualified battlefield medic, was stunned. ‘Are you sure you’ve got the right soldier?’ she asked. But there was no mistake. The extraordinary heroism she displayed by twice running into Taliban fire to treat wounded comrades had been recognised with one of the UK’s highest honours. A 21-year-old, five foot tall soldier, with nerves of steel…

All is not lost when we have past and present role models such as these, and there are so many more untold heroes who make up for the ‘ill disposed’ found in our inner-cities, not all of which have a military background. There are decent folk who give their time, as well as their money to assist those in need.socialist chamagne   The two champagne socialist clowns to the right are NOT classed as decent folk. They are as GUILTY as hell, and should be tried for treason for trying to destroy the country, and its economy when they were in power.

No doubt there will be a few socialist left-wing ‘nutters’ reading this who will pour scorn over my scribing’s, who will state that the right-wing Tory government are at fault! When in fact the same nutters stayed silent over the same diseased streets that existed under the last Socialist Labour government, who added to the problem by opening our borders to a mass influx of economic and social immigrants without back ground checks. And then blatantly lied over the numbers involved, who were then allowed to bleed the benefit system dry.  ‘Gawd’ knows what the second episode will bring, but I, yours truly, will watch it, even though I know it will only get worse…            Yours Aye.

Please do not think that I infer for one minute, that the heroines mentioned come from such a background as the ‘ill-disposed’ accredited to James Turner Street. 

Scotsman hunting Nazis of New York

Donald MacLaren . Pix Info : The MacLaren of MacLaren Copyright photo by Les Wilson mobile 07966 155 905 les@leswilson.com 16th Nov  .2011In the summer of 1940, as British pilots fought desperately for the skies of southern England, the battle was joined on a very different front, thousands of miles from the coast of Kent. It was fought through the political salons of Washington DC, the boardrooms and the smoky nightclubs of New York. The protagonists had no uniform save that of a well-tailored suit; their weapons were native cunning, a plausible manner, and, from time to time, a concealed revolver. This was the secret battle for America, ordered by Winston Churchill himself, and the fate of the free world hung upon it  ‘Highland Clan Chief’ Captain Donald Maclaren. Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders.  

Today, the untold story of how British agents went to war on Wall Street can be revealed, a story pieced together from a remarkable collection of secret intelligence reports lying untouched for decades. Uncovered by the ‘Mail on Sunday,’ the documents show how British agents took on Nazi sympathisers in the US with a masterful campaign of dirty tricks and disinformation, how they outmanoeuvred Hitler’s network of American allies and how they,  ultimately, destroyed the Third Reich’s powerful business and intelligence empire across the water.

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Today, amid talk of special relationships and historic links, few remember that a sizeable part of American opinion was pro-German, even as Europe burned – or that many well-placed Americans were virulently anti-British. There was a strongly held belief, particularly in corporate and financial life, that the Nazis were the best bulwark against the advance of Communism. In fact, America and its vast industrial output were vital for the Nazi war effort. German companies ran extensive US subsidiaries and supplied the Third Reich with pharmaceuticals, chemicals and the latest technology, directly or through South American subsidiaries. The Third Reich needed information, too. Long before the outbreak of war, German firms had placed networks of deep-penetration agents across the American business world. There was open sympathy for the German cause and it extended to the very top of American society. Sullivan & Cromwell, a powerful New York law firm, brokered numerous deals between American business and the German companies that helped bring Hitler to power. 

Clan MacLaren Crest Badge Wall Plaque - Cold Cast BronzeREAD THE FULL STORY: The ‘spying’ Scotsman who hunted the Nazis of New York: The amazing story of Britain’s clandestine war on Hitler’s agents… and his big-money backers in the US

The article is well worth reading, and no doubt the documents, along with the intricate research will lead on to a cracking book. I just hope that the inevitable film that follows is not a hashed history re-write, by some Hollywood actor/dreamer/producer.      Yours Aye.

Once were warrior Vikings

images-1images-2The Norwegian army has announced it will feed soldiers a vegetarian diet once a week in an effort to cut down on ecologically unfriendly foods. ’Meatless Mondays’ have been introduced at one of the country’s main bases and will soon be rolled out to all units in a boycott of food whose production contributes heavily to global warming. With livestock farming accounting for almost 20 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, the army’s proposal has been welcomed by environmental groups. Norwegian army turns vegetarian; going to war against climate change by cutting ‘ecologically unfriendly’ foods  bska00328hc  Norwegian army admits losing 1,200 rifles. Every 10 days, an assault rifle goes missing from the tally of assault rifles in the Norwegian Armed Forces, and some end up in the hands of criminals, a military spokesman has admitted. The battlefield assault rifle AG3, a Norwegian copy of the Heckler & Kock G3, was the weapon used to kill a policeman in an infamous 2004 heist on an armoured car company that shocked a nation for its ruthlessness. The army now admits 1,265 such rifles have vanished. “One weapon gone missing is one too many,” armed forces spokesman Capt. Eivind Byre told broadcaster NRK. Norwegian army admits losing 1,200 rifles

imagesNorway’s male soldiers allowed ponytails. The new rules follow complaints from a male officer that while female soldiers were allowed to keep their hair in a loose braid or ponytail, man with longer hair had to gather it into a knot or hair net.  Jan Eirik Finseth, the defence chief of staff, confirmed to Dagbladet that “the disputed wording has been changed to a gender-neutral form in the upcoming revision of the regulations.” Vegard Utne, from the department of defence’s culture and tradition department, said he did not expect significant changes as a result of the revision. “I do not think it was hair that stopped people from wanting to enter the military before, but I can well understand why someone would want to keep the ponytail when they are here.” he told the newspaper. Norway’s male soldiers allowed ponytails…viking_warriors

Viking warriors were once highly feared across Europe because of their brutal attacks and unorthodox weapon of choice, the battle axe. Well known for their close quarter fighting style and their heavy hitting warriors the ‘berserkers,’ viking shock troops who used their double edged battle axe whilst high on herbal type drugs such as anmirifta to enhance their mood for battle.stamfordbridge2 

So what happened all these years later, where did it all go so horribly wrong? Meat free Mondays, and losing weapons not even connected to a battle…images And now the military boys want equal rights with the girls, and grow pony tails? I doubt the Norse God, Heimdallr will be blowing the mythical Gjallerhorn to warn of the Viking Apocalypse ever again, as it looks like he was the last of the Viking warriors? It’s enough to make a Viking actor want to tear his good eye out.      Yours ‘Eye’

Polaris All Terrain Vehicle

Sportsman ® WV850 H.O. – Polaris All Terrain Vehicle ($14,999- everybody wants one)…position-5-6-largeDESIGNED FOR TODAY’S WAR FIGHTER1st developed for the U.S. military, TERRAINARMOR™ tires give mobility to today’s operator that has been threatened by enemy ballistics, treacherous terrain, and other mission crippling obstacles. image-2Dear Father Christmas, I have been a good boy this year, I have rescued two puppies and given them a good home, as well as a good name to each. I clean my teeth three times a day, and shower twice daily. I keep my room and home clean and I have even stopped partaking in alcoholic beverage. Blah, Blah, Blah. Please could I have a Sportsman ® WV850 H.O. – Polaris All Terrain Vehicle as my main Christmas present, as I’m sick to death of finding a large bag of cinders under the Christmas tree every year, with my name on it!   Jeezus H Christ, gimme a break mate.            Yours Aye.

Cat lovers, here’s a Supacat that growls

130910093917-photoThe Light Reconnaissance Vehicle 400 (LRV 400) is an exciting new addition to the Supacat range of high performance off-road military vehicles. Supacat have partnered with the race vehicle designers, QT Services Wildcat, to develop the LRV and market it into the defence sector. Supacat are able to offer this vehicle as a fully integrated military variant including the entire spectrum of Integrated Logistic Support products and services.130910094001-photo5Using the renowned Qt Wildcat race vehicle as a start point, Supacat has combined Qt Services’ world-wide pedigree in rally raid competition with Supacat’s well-known military vehicle prowess, offering unrivalled performance for a vehicle in this size and weight class. High speed through harsh environments’ is the LRV’s strength, offering the user an ideal light weight rapid intervention vehicle for special forces, border patrol, reconnaissance or strike forces.    (QT’s race proven design used in the African Tuareg rally 2012)dunes photo 2  The race proven design incorporates a tubular space-frame chassis with state of the art suspension providing superb performance, reliability and safety. The LRV’s size and weight enables effective air portability, including tactical CH-47 internal loading. Whilst primarily fulfilling light force reconnaissance and strike concepts of operation, low-weight armour solutions can also be fitted as an option. A variety of communications and weapons systems can also be integrated depending on the customer’s requirements.   “Anbody will tell you, that no one from the British Armed Forces  is happy unless he’s got a cup of tea,” explained James Clark from Supacat. “So we have an inbuilt boiling vessel that constantly maintains water at just the right temperature for a decent mug of tea”  Digestives-400gThe Light Reconnaissance Vehicle is capable of pushing out 100 mph, which technically is the fastest boiling armoured 4 X 4 ‘kettle’ on the planet. What I would like to know; Is there a cylindrical holder for a packet of digestive biscuits?      If not-why not?      Yours Aye.

Shuffle off this mortal coil…

Royal Marines BadgeA Royal Marine Sergeant is convicted of murder of Taliban insurgent who was shot in the chest at close range The execution was captured on a camera mounted on the helmet of one of the Commandos charged with murder in Helmand Province in September 2011. Three marines, known only as Marines A, B and C deny killing the man, who was lying in a field seriously injured after an Apache helicopter attack. In the audio of the incident a single gun shot can be heard followed by groans from the insurgent. Marine A (Sgt) then told the Taliban insurgent: “There you are, shuffle off this mortal coil you c***. It’s nothing you wouldn’t do to us.” He then turned to his two Marines and said: “Obviously this doesn’t go anywhere, fellas. I just broke the Geneva Convention.” 

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Among several blogs I peruse daily is the excellent Cambrian Dissenters as scribed by Daniel Thomas. Daniel presented the following post to his blog regarding the topic as it entered the Courts Martial a fortnight ago; British Government’s War On The Military – Heroes Prosecuted, Enemies Rewarded In turn I posted a comment, of which I leave below in full… (My opinion of the actions of Marines, A, B, and C, remain the same.)

Ex BootneckOctober 26, 2013 at 5:17 AM

Daniel. The Bootneck SNCO whose interpretation from Shakespeare’s Hamlet of “Shuffle off this mortal coil, you c***,” will now find his words immortalised, as they echo around every WO & Sgt’s Mess within the Corps, as well as each respective RM Commando Unit.

Sadly those same words, along with the rest of the SNCO’s commentary referring to the Geneva convention will be his undoing. Rank stupidity for all concerned using head-cam’s, which will be the petard that takes them all out. (Had the digital age kicked off in the mid 70′s, there would have been a requirement to place a tender within the commercial sector; to deal with the ‘industrial-level’ of Courts Martial resulting from Head-Cam footage).

Head-cams and digital recording has no place on any modern battlefield or in any hostile environment, it is a double edged weapon, which all too often has created legal carnage against the user, and provided a bleating opportunity to left wing flip flop wearing liberals. In a hostile situation we all act differently, there are many of us who have taken a split second decision based on hard earned experience. In my own humble opinion the SNCO took one that was not necessary, especially with the amount of digital recording systems on the ground as well as in the air. Lions, sick and tired of being led by donkeys…

“What dreames may come, When we haue shufflel’d off this mortall coile, Must giue vs pawse.”            Yours Aye, Ex Bootneck.

‘Taliban hung our mates’ body parts from trees during six months of hell’: Horrific testimony of Marines fighting in ‘Death Valley’ Some thing that should be taken into account when his sentence is handed down, as well as his previous sterling service.

Rank stupidity, which the Royal Marines Sergeant (soon to be reverted to Marine, to then become an Ex Bootneck with loss of pension) will now regret for the rest of his life, which some say along with his dismissal from the Corps is sentence enough.      Yours Aye.

The USMC, LandRover, & the V-22 Osprey

Playing Devil’s advocate here with this post; taken from The STARS AND  STRIPES written by By Ray Locker. USA TODAY Published: October 31, 2013.                           Search continues for elusive vehicle to fit aboard Osprey      (click to enlarge)3rd_Battalion_3rd_Marines_Osprey_flights   For 14 years, the military has struggled for an answer to a seemingly simple proposition: Develop a jeep-like vehicle that will fit onboard the tilt-rotor V-22 Osprey and then drive off the plane and into battle. The Marines finally deployed their version of the vehicle in combat two years ago. Special Operations Command, which has a long wish list of capabilities it wants the vehicle to have, is still waiting. But it’s getting closer. Last week SOCOM extended part of General Dynamics Ordnance and Technical Services’ contractor support deal for another year because the command ordered a third vehicle as part of $5.8 million deal to provide 10 of the SOCOM variants of the vehicle. 

That’s because, the SOCOM document says, General Dynamics “is the only company with the expertise and knowledge to fully support the requirement in order to successfully execute the V-22 ITV contract.” Just like the Osprey itself, which was grounded early in the last decade for a series of fatal crashes, the quest for what the Pentagon calls the Internally Transportable Vehicle (ITV) is a long one filled with reports of management failures in the Marine Corps, major cost overruns and allegations of favoritism and corruption. A 2009 Pentagon inspector general report said the Marine Corps System Command mishandled key elements of the contract and allowed development to continue without performing adequate testing.   (This pic, M1161 Light Strike Vehicle. Pic below. M1163 Prime Mover)500_M1161-1The Marines have two different versions of the ITV, the M1161 Light Strike Vehicle and the M1163 Prime Mover, which is built to tow artillery carried on the Osprey. They are the result of a General Dynamics partnership with American Growler, which adapted a 1950s-era M151 jeep to fit on the Osprey. The U.S. government sold versions of that jeep to the Dominican Republic for $30,000, while the Pentagon was paying $100,000 for the Growler vehicle in 2005. Since then, the price has jumped to more than $200,000 a vehicle! images293_M1163_In_UseOne part of the delay is SOCOM’s extensive wish list. It must, among other things, do the following: * Provide a Gentleman with a lighter for his cigars  (I did make this one up)3-1954-Land-Rover-Series-I-86-inch-600x450 A 350-mile range while loaded with a 2,000-pound payload and driving an average of 45 mph. It should travel 450 miles unloaded. (Check: box ticked) Performance and Weights 

* Carry three wounded troops with room inside for medical personnel to work without sticking out from the inside of the vehicle.
images(Check: box ticked. The internal fittings for configuring additional litters/stretchers allows a total of six wounded to be carried, with room for medical personnel) 

* Operate in temperatures ranging from -25 degrees to 125 degrees.  (Check: box ticked)

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3_zpsf3e3e840 * Drive off the Special Operations version of the Osprey, the CV-22, in 60 seconds after landing.      (Check: box ticked? ‘RAF Merlin Agusta-Westland AW101 Helicopter’)EH101_02_2_More than 600 British Royal Marine commandos of 42 CDO RM, are completing an annual six-week exercise, Black Alligator, which is at the U.S. Marine Corps’ Air-Ground Combat Center in Twenty-nine Palms, Calif. Royal Navy Merlin Agusta-Westland AW101 HelicopterCOMMANDOS HONE FIGHTING SKILLS IN US DESERTDrive up a “60 percent slope both in the forward and reverse direction at a constant speed, stop, shut off engine, restart engine, and continue on grade with no loss of stability.”   (Check: box ticked)16-L316-13-EXT-850x425Whether the vehicle ultimately works for special operations missions remains to be seen, but the demand for their version of Osprey is growing. The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the CV-22 may be going to bases in Central Africa to help in the fight against messianic warlord Joseph Kony. That mission, USA TODAY reported in September, could last deep into 2015. End 

LandRover has served the British Military admirably since the 1950′s. It is one of the most adaptable military/civvie vehicles in history. The most significant parts of modern day LR’s are interchangeable through every type of make and model. The Military versions can carry light weight clad armour for personnel, for use as and when required. The whole concept of a military light-weight vehicle for the V-22 Osprey is sitting right in front of the nose of General Dynamics Ordnance and Technical Services, who could adapt and make a LandRover vehicle under licence in the U.S. A current standard Defender 90 (short wheel base) costs £19,000. A military version is just over half of the cost. 

The spin-off for General Dynamics is that they would have a vehicle that would be sought after by every one within the U.S. civvie market, as their capability and wizardry when it comes to concept vehicles and machinery is world-renowned..queen-elizabeth-driving.

Even vehicles on the second-hand market produce a viable product for dealerships. This wonderful woman has owned and driven one throughout her life, as has the ‘character’ below. There must be an ounce of credibility somewhere within the LandRover brand, which is marketable for the Military in the U.S. as well as within civvie street.      In My Humble Opinion of course…            Yours Aye.Picture-of-James-Bond-and-the-Land-Rover-car

“England expects that every man will do his duty”

The_Battle_of_Trafalgar_by_William_Clarkson_StanfieldEngland expects that every ‘foreign’ man will to do his duty: For the nautically minded, click the picture to enlarge, it will allow zoom to show enhanced detail… Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar is thought of as one of Britain’s greatest military achievements. But new research by the National Maritime Museum and the National Archives has shown that the fighting was done by hundreds of foreigners, including some Frenchmen. Of the 13,000 who served on the 33 ships to take part in the battle, 1,260 of them were born outside of Britain or Ireland. They came from as far afield as Africa, India, America and another 20 European countries. While most were from neutral or allied nations, 24 Spaniards and 54 Frenchmen also served in the 1805 fleet.

One was Pierre Lomac, 25, from Bordeaux, on HMS Conqueror, whose Marines took the surrender of Vice Admiral Villeneuve, the leader of the French and Spanish fleet. Benitte Grinzolo, 22, from Spain, sailed aboard HMS Mars which was heavily damaged in the battle.  Another name which stood out was Jane Townshend who served on the Defiance, and is the only woman proven to have been present, though witness accounts describe others being there. She is listed as carrying out ‘useful services’, which were likely to have involved tending the wounded, cooking and washing. Among the furthest from home were Zada Del Sulva, 31, from Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil, and Hampoo Hang, 34, born in Guangzhou, China, on HMS Royal Sovereign, the flagship of Rear Admiral Collingwood, and the first vessel into action.

From being a young lad I have heard tell of the daring goings on at the Battle of Trafalgar, (with a keen interest as my family served through the actions as Marines; my great, great, Grandfather [KIA 21 Oct 1805] and his brother, who survived; both served as Marines aboard Nelsons Flagship HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar 21 Oct 1805). Mentioned in a previous post Spanish flag sinks off Gibraltar In the past I have also mentioned a cracking read of the same battle for those that way inclined Trafalgar: The Biography of a Battle: Author, Roy Adkins I can smell the cordite and smouldering canvas as I type.    Yours Aye.

A final toast for the Doolittle Raiders

On April 18, 1942 sixteen B-25 medium bombers launched from the USS Hornet to conduct the first air raid deep into Japan during WWII. The raid successfully cast doubt on Japanese military leadership and was a tremendous boost to American morale back home. America had struck its first blow since Pearl Harbor.

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The remaining Doolittle Raiders will gather in Dayton, Ohio, for a final time next month.  The revered World War II heroes will lift their goblets, sip their 117-year-old cognac and say good-bye to a decades-old tradition of gathering with their comrades to reflect on their contribution to American history.

As part of the ceremony, a traditional toast is held before a set of 80 goblets inscribed with the name of each Raider. Each goblet turned upside down represents a Raider who fell or has since passed away. 

Here’s to the old breed.

Semper Fidelis

The Land Rover Defender…

The end of the road for the Queen’s favourite 4×4, as the Land Rover Defender is set to cease production in 2015. But a replacement is already waiting in the wings The Defender can be traced back to early 1990s, but is still based on the 1948 model. article-2449593-189BE95A00000578-864_634x497 Having this year reached its pensionable age of 65,  one of Britain’s best-loved vehicles, and a favourite with the Queen is to cease production.queen-elizabeth-driving For now! The last of the current Land Rover Defender’s will roll-off the production lines of Jaguar Land Rover’s (JLR) Solihull factory in the West Midlands in December 2015. But already a bold new successor for the 21st century is on the drawing board ready to replace it. A small ‘family’ of Defenders is even being prepared, including a sporty beach-buggy style.

Time & tactics have changed within the Military, though there will always be a requirement for a type of Land Rover Defender utility vehicle. Having used them in a variety of forms for most of my adult life, I can honestly say I am not saddened to hear the end is nigh for this wonderful aluminium clad beast. Especially when the military start to off load them onto the civvie market. The pick up price will plummet, as will the price of parts, which are already around in abundance. Bootneck’s zeroing weapons; WMIK Land Rover’s      Yours Aye.On The Range.

The dark days before the ‘Inter-web’!

Earlier today I had to go through my old Marines boot locker searching for a photograph for a mate, 23 years of memories, misery & laughter, all in one old steel box. I was fortunate enough to go through the first half of my military career pre-digital, when a shout of ‘mail’ stirred the soul and made the heart pump faster, except when the letter lottery brought disappointment through a ‘no’ shout from the company clerk (ah well, perhaps tomorrow). In the day when a  Marine receiving a ‘Dear John’ would post it up on the Company notice board for all to read, with a simple scribe added ‘Navy Inn 19:00 hrs, all welcome’. You can guarantee all would attend for a pint or more, and then bounce around several other pubs, and inn’s of the Barbican, after which all forgot the reason why…barbican_pubIn the days before social communication became a lost art, the ‘craic’ or barrack room banter, was the glue that bonded every one together, especially through tough times. Even today, messages relayed on a personal and private level through expressive wit, remains unbeaten, and cannot even be challenged by e-mail. Take for instance an individual using his palm to slap his forehead (face palm) accompanied by a slight groan when he realises he has dropped a tactical clanger (secondary to that would be a ‘massive’ clanger, the size of the Sheet Anchor off HMS Ark Royal) normally followed by dropped shoulders, the head drop, and then chin on chest. pixellated digital icons don’t even come close to revealing true expression.

One particular ‘Boss’ I nurtured straight from the box was a young ‘Sub Lt,’ who took to his learning curve like a DUKW to water. We had a great rapport; when he dropped a massive clanger he would go through the sequence, and with his chin on his chest he would murmur “Issue 12 Marines with live ammunition, I’ll be next to the wall at the guardroom, waiting”… My quick response would be “I want 12 volunteers for a firing squad”; it was the ‘craic’!  One of HMS Ark Royal’s Sheet Anchor’s, Plymouth, Devon.6981563799_c16155cb3a_oOne time Young Sir had to organise a days live firing on the ranges of Dartmoor, his first major evolution ‘hands on’ task for the fighting company, which sounds simple; but not so, taking into account the range templets required, admin support, and co-ordination between Marines & civvie departments of the ‘un-civil’ service… On the day of the race, at o-crack-sparrow-fart (very early morning) I was waiting at the range hut on a cold wet miserable Dartmoor-heading the advance party setting up the range. The ‘Boss’ had just arrived and was hovering at ten thousand feet and climbing, until I hauled him back down. He kept checking his ‘to-do’ list, muttering “I’ve forgotten some thing” over and over again. Standing in front of him I said “Boss chill out, I went through your list yesterday, you’ve ordered every thing but the sink out of the Coy Sgt Maj’s heads“, which fell on deaf ears.

Shortly after, the look on his face told me the penny had dropped; I watched him go through the ‘massive’ clanger routine, with an added extra, he stopped breathing! he looked at me and said “I’ve just remembered! I’ve forgotten to pick up the ammo from the magazine”. I gave him my best wide-eyed cartoon stare, with mouth open, intentionally! Because within the hour, a Company of 120 Marines with weapons prepped and ready to roll, would be descending upon us, to put the first rounds of the day down the range.        The absolute master of the ‘implied face palm’ often copied, never matchedfacepalm4cr-1He stared at me for an answer, then mumbled “issue 12 Marines with live ammunition… shit, they can’t even shoot me, I’ve left the ammo behind” I replied with; “I want twelve Marines with fixed bayonets” it was enough to bring a half-smile to his face, which turned into a half-moon grin when the Landrover and ammo trailer turned up minutes later. Some thing I had organised as a fail safe, when I photocopied his scrawled hand written ‘to do’ list the day before. As an experienced SNCO I would have had my arse kicked across Dartmoor’s skyline by the Coy Sgt Maj, had the evolution gone pair shaped. The ‘Boss’ had learned a valuable lesson, which cost him a few beer’s that evening, even better was the day went by without any further hitches, he achieved his tick in the box.

When monumental cock ups of Sheet anchor proportions happen via the military web, we lose the visual response, which was all part of the ‘craic’. More importantly, we also lose the cases of beer, that became the unwritten rule for the fine.            Yours Aye.