Monday, 26 September 2016

Willie Peter

There were several emotional comparisons between Aleppo and Dresden in yesterday's papers. Of course, if Churchill and Sir Arthur Harris had ordered the 'terror' bombing of German cities after 1949 they could have been prosecuted as war criminals, and likewise had the Germans shot 330 Italian hostages at the Adeantine caves after 1949, this, too would have been a war crime. As it is, both actions were within the terms of the Geneva convention when they happened, and thus free of criminal blame.

The use of White Phosphorus, WP or Willie Peter in US vernacular, was defended by US General Peter Pace in 2005; "(WP is) a legitimate tool of the military, used to illuminate targets and create smokescreens. It is not a chemical weapon. It is an incendiary". WP has been used by the US most recently in Iraq and Afghanistan, and also by the KSA, Israel and by the Ukrainians. Now, it is alleged, it is being used by Assad against ISIS and the insurgent rebels in Aleppo. 

Given our biggest ally's reliance on White Phosphorus munitions, it is perhaps a little disingenuous of the UK ambassador to to the UN to condemn its use in the Syrian civil war. No doubt the FCO instructed him to bluster and whine and the poor man was just doing as instructed.   

As ever, the military of both sides are just doing what the military of the world always has to do. Those really responsible for the prolonged death and suffering are the heartless Saudi, Turkish, US and European powers who fund and arm the continued killing with their support of ISIS, Al Queda and other Sunni insurgents against the Syrian government.


Anonymous said...

Harris was right, and revisionists since wrong. After all, the Germans started it, and if they got over a million tons of bombs on them, in comparison to the lesser amount they dropped on us, so what?

After all, the day and night bomber offensive kept thousands of 88 dual-purpose AA and antitank guns in Germany and not in Italy, France or on the Russian front, along with a million personnel, and vast numbers of shells. There was a major impact on war production, which would undoubtedly have ramped up more. Effort was engaged in putting factories underground that would have been better employed from a German perspective elsewhere.

As for Dresden, at the time Germany was firing off ballistic and cruise missiles at us.

More to the point, the bomber offensive kept much of the Luftwaffe bottled up in Germany, so the allies had command of the air in Normandy - out of effective range, which is probably why there wasn't more carnage on the beaches than the Americans arranged for themselves. As they refused to anchor their Mulberry properly, the single Mulberry harbour would have been vulnerable too.

Undoubtedly the bomber offensive shortened the European war because of these factors, even if the bombing of factories didn't. Which meant that the Germans were eventually lucky they didn't go on until August.

With the benefit of hindsight, Harris should have used Mosquitoes to suppress AA and searchlight sites, and should have attacked German nightfighter airfields more aggressively.

As for the Middle East - what help did any of them give us? They outbred their economies, and the fewer of them there are in future, the happier I'll be.

Raedwald said...

Anon - I don't disagree with you, but had the 1949 ban on city bombing been in the pre-war version of the Geneva convention, the bombing of Guernica may have caused a whole different course of events anyway.

I repeat, Harris was NOT a war criminal and neither were the hugely courageous bomber crews who died so valiantly and in such numbers. What they were doing was, simply, lawful at the time it was done.

Demetrius said...

As someone on the wrong end of a lot of bombing all I can add is that when the RAF and the US planes, many from close to home, went and flattened German cities we were cheering them in the streets and regarding our fliers as heroes.

Anonymous said...

Raedwald said:

'The use of White Phosphorus, WP or Willie Peter in US vernacular, was defended by US General Peter Pace in 2005; "(WP is) a legitimate tool of the military, used to illuminate targets and create smokescreens. It is not a chemical weapon. It is an incendiary".'

The British Army's L118 'light gun' uses hexachloroethane to produce a smokescreen. The munition, designated L45, is base ejection whereby three canisters are ejected prior to impact via a mechanical (L92) or electronic (L132 or L163) time fuze. Very effective screen as I remember, get the wind direction right and you can hide a company attack. Both 29 Commando Regiment RA and 7 (Parachute) Regiment RHA use the L118.

n.b. A white phosphorus smoke shell has never been adopted by the UK for the L118.

That is all.


Man with Many Chins said...

I have to chuckle at the brass neck of the US ambassador referring to the activities of the democratically elected Syrian government and its Russian allies as "barbaric". Lets just have a think about the civilian death toll caused by the American war machine over just the last 20 years shall we.

anon 2 said...

Thanks Raedwald, Anonymous, Demetrius, Steve, et al, for the facts and empirical truths you all present today. It seems increasingly important to do that while living memory survives.

For the last 40 years, every American I've ever met has excoriated the British because of Dresden. Me? I'm just an inferior nobody, an English Bitch who dares to suggest that the Germans needed stopping, and that it's a pity they couldn't take some of their own medicine in the process.

In view of the fuss yanks make about a few buildings attacked on one day, 9/11, it might be worth considering why they never acknowledge the continuous bombings of London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield, Leeds, Coventry, Harrogate, etc. etc. etc. It seems that, if our us-based 'allies' have heard of those primitive, insignificant settlements and bomb-sites, they probably think the places are in Germany. Germany, you see, was the poor victim of the aggressive, evil British in two petty quarrels we hyperbolize as 'World Wars'. We started the fights, dontcha know. And as vicious, ignorant, stupid, lower-class helots who never did anything but exploit and profit from the rest of the world by the brute force of our huge, marauding, 'mean', bullying armies, we need eliminating from the face of the earth so that our superiors (Germans, French, Italians, Hungarians, etc) have a chance to rebuild it ......

In short, America is our Frenemy. It is a fake ally. From the time its British colonialists ganged up with their european counterparts on that side of the pond - they have plotted and fought against Britain. Most Loyalist settlers left, remember, especially after their civil war.

And if 20th-century yanks* did my grand-uncle the immense favour of building an airbase on his Essex farm in WW2, it was only because someone had realized that Hitler intended heading their way. Even if they ever noticed the V-2s buzzing overhead towards London, hey, those were just primitive fire-crackers. Once America invented real missiles, a united states of europe - in the image of the us of a - would give equal opportunity to all those created equal ...

America could consequently double its size without ever realizing that it's The Biggest Lie The World Has Ever Known.

BTW: has anyone noticed the humanitarian fuss they're revelling in at the moment? It looks as if they're importing and welcoming crowds of "refugees" into their cities and towns... To verify, check out online info like "Refugee Council USA", or

*Overpaid, overs**ed, and over 'ere

Anonymous said...

anon 2. Who are these Americans? To quote from Wikipedia: In four raids between 13 and 15 February 1945, 722 heavy bombers of the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and 527 of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) dropped more than 3,900 tons of high-explosive bombs and incendiary devices on the city. The Yanks did it by daylight, and took 748 Mustang sorties as well.

The septics have too many Irish in their culture: green beer at St Patrick's day in Boston, not only kennedys but also O'barmy having irish blood, etc. This means that they swallowed the potato famine nonesense and all the Irish revisionist crap that the vile inhabitants of the Emerald Isle have spewed forth to justify their own fecklessness. (Very lacking in feck, those Paddys!) The septics were seriously after the Japs from the 1920s onwards, and eventually provoked the little bastards into fighting back, starting with the 1922 Washington Naval Accord that broke the Anglo-Japanese naval alliance and - because the septics have lots of feck - fecked over the Royal Navy.

Not much of a friend, but patronising their former enemy, which we haven't been for 2 centuries ...

G. Tingey said...

In Syria there are no "good guys"
What scares me is that this is our re-run of the Spanish Civil War.
Even there, the republic had communists as its defenders, unfortunately, as well as people wanting democracy.

anon 2 said...

Oh Anon (17:18), I don't think the enmity died for 200 years, though some of it may have napped. Overall, they like to suggest that they invented freedom and king-free government and maintained it in spite of us!

Indeed, though, many of them are Irish, and RC to boot; some may even bury the religious angle and identify as 'Scots-Irish'. Many others are German; "The Economist" has recently claimed that they outnumber the Irish.* Perhaps we shouldn't forget that the Teutonic group opposed alliance with Britain during WW2. That would be one reason why Churchill had to work hard to bring them in.

And then the frogs ... well, we all know how that goes. I think it worth remembering, too, that Franco-German 'filosofy' (aka 'The Frankfurt School') has long dominated their academic scene -- as its twin Fabianism has in Britain for over 100 years. Marxism is not pro-British.

Then there are the Italians: a few years ago one of their Brooklyn variety was furious with me for not using his accent when I was in America talking to Americans. He didn't understand that I couldn't copy his ugly noise to save my life, or that his version of the language is unique to him and his area ---[and the Mafia who hold sway there].

Hispanics are another story. They're long-term enemies who nurture dislike of the 'Anglo' ... perhaps because we slowed their gallop into the West and South? As they continue to march northward, they look closer to making Spanish at least the 'second-language' of the country.

And, as my previous links I suggest, different and recent influxes complicate the issue. How many of these people even know where Britain is (or should I say "was")? But the earlier-mentioned will be the 'hand that feeds them', along with the one-time slaves who've learnt to blame us for their place in it all.


Anonymous said...


Syria: White Helmets Staged ‘Russian Bombing’ Scene Near Aleppo, Lapped-up by Mainstream Media


Anonymous said...

Anon 2. No doubt various US factions wanted to profiteer from the European War, but dear old Adolf declared war on the US immediately after Pearl Harbour. Incidentally, the USS Ward fired on a mini sub and sank it. What sort of a navy shoots like that in peacetime if they aren't expecting a war? Sure, the Japs were bad guys in China and Korea, but the septics thought they could provoke a nice little Pacific war while the Europeans were busy ...