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Monday, 22 January 2018

Indirect Fire

I like stories about Russian ingenuity. I know they're probably not true, but they really ought to be. NASA spent five years and forty million dollars, the story goes, developing a biro that would write in space. The Russians used pencils. That sort of thing.

The most recent is about indirect artillery fire - the sort in which the gunners fire hopefully into the air relying on their maths skills to predict where the shell will land. Thankfully the cerebral activity of gunner officers is usually augmented by forward spotters, who can report where the shell lands and instruct corrections. A hundred years ago, frail canvas biplanes would hover above no-man's land, or poor sods would be hoisted in balloons. Today we've spent millions developing highly skilled forward observers, trained special forces, equipped with high frequency burst radios, laser target designators and the like. The Russians use drones from eBay with go-pro cams. 

Modern steels, unworn gun tubes and munitions assembled by sober workers are century old technologies easy to achieve today. Add simple electronic fire calculators and eBay drones and you have - or rather the Russians do - an indirect fire artillery capability that recently destroyed two Ukranian mechanised infantry battalions in the space of fifteen minutes. 

Our generals are worried. Defence development in the UK is like the Great War; we fling another billion of public money into research and advance a few millimetres. Or not at all. Our ships are equipped with fire control systems that can track a cricket ball but not a Russian or Chinese boosted missile. We simply can't seem to produce the bangs for the bucks any more, whereas Russia, with the GDP of Italy, races ahead with advanced weapons and systems. 

Service chiefs naturally call for more money in much the same way as they call for reinforcements. And I agree that more men, more ships and more tanks are better (the army now has more horses than tanks). But will throwing billions more at defence contractors produce results? It hasn't so far. 

So here's a suggestion. For as long as I've known we've resisted Russian and Chinese spying on our miltech and hardware. Now is the time to turn the tables. Now that we want to make exactly the same leaps without doing the research - i.e. by stealing their secrets - we need to invest more in spies, invest more in bribing their scientists and call for the flower of English womanhood to volunteer itself to staff honey traps for Chinese generals. We should send a battalion of plane spotters to Ukraine, mount 'scientific' research expeditions, equip our trawlers with GCHQ spy gear. Any of which, I suspect, would pay greater dividends than throwing cash at the fatcats of our second rate defence companies.  


DeeDee99 said...

I have no knowledge of defence systems, but based on your observations Raedwald (and I have no reason to doubt them) it sounds like the Russians have absorbed the advice: KISS ....... Keep it simple, stupid.

A few years ago, a manager in my department was faced with an angry resident who was apoplectic that a rotating road surveillance camera had been mounted near his very grand house .... getting a clear view of his property as it turned.

The civil and electronic engineers he consulted to try and remedy this were considering several expensive solutions .... including moving the whole contraption along the carriageway.

I said "why don't you just mount a plate on the upright, so when the camera turns with a view of the property the view is blocked?"

Silence for a few seconds ..... then one of the engineers said "that's a very good idea."


Cascadian said...

Or recognize Russia as an ally, especially as they relate to muslim terrorism.

The next war yUK fights will be in Britain against an insurgency, that's assuming you don't surrender without a fight. The days of empire receded after Suez-get used to it.

Whytf are NATO playing soldiers in Ukraine anyway? Do they want to make sure the Russian gas pipeline that Europe is totally dependent on is in-secure?

Ravenscar. said...

imho, it ain't so much about kit, materiel, it's more to do with have we mustered enough blokes of sufficient determination, capability and wherewithal to don and use it?

The British Army Brass suffers from a total absence of belief in the boys, in the kit, in their role and with MoD enforcing the feminization of the ranks - will only futher fuck things up, figuratively and metaphorically.

On the Russkies, the situation is (when compared to British Army) somewhat reversed, the boys on the front - who knows but the brass and the senior bods are well motivated.

Oh and one other thing, Russia aren't the threat, Germany is more of a threat - the Fourth Reich is running Europe - didn't any one tell the Army Brass - Germany won the peace.

Anonymous said...

Don't Chinese Generals eschew European women on the grounds that their lady-bits are at 90 degrees to the horizontal when standing, instead of 0 degrees?

Quantity has a quality all of its own is an adage well worth considering, which is why we should have re-opened a Harrier production line and filled those carriers with them.

Ed P said...

Cascadian & Ravenscar nail it - the threat to our way of life is from Greater Germania, with its insane attitudes and imported Anti-Christians - we should be allies with the Russians & Chinese.

Budgie said...

Our enemy is the EU.

PeterS said...

'...equip our trawlers with GCHQ spy gear.' Good idea, except that a deep-sea fishing fleet is another asset we no longer have thanks to our enemies without and within.

Poisonedchalice said...

I visited the museum at RAF Cosford last week and I had exactly the same thoughts on where our military mojo had gone. Think about this. After WWII Britain was bust; we had no money. But that didn't stop us from inventing some awesome military stuff and we pretty much led the world. Things like the EE Lightning, the Hawker Kestrel (forerunner to the Harrier Jump Jet) and various missile systems. But we had no money? Maybe that's the trick; remove the funding and tell them to get inventive with almost no budget. Oh, and remove all the fat-cat top brass.

Pat said...

If defence procurement was carried out by people with a real prospect of having to depend on the kit procured things would improve.

Anonymous said...

" and call for the flower of English womanhood to volunteer itself to staff honey traps for Chinese generals."

Yes. Unspoken here it the fact that the flower of English womanhood wouldn't sway a Russian general who has the run of the Russian hen house, so to speak.

Back on topic, don't forget with Pakistani spies right at the heart of Congress for the last eight years, pretty much anything on Democratic computers in Congress has been spilled across the interwebs.

And thanks to Clinton at State, everything there too.

So the Russian R&D budget during the Obama administration might have stretched to a couple of meals in Islamabad or a 56K dial up modem to which ever Cloud repository the Awan brothers stashed all their data.

Anonymous said...

This should be easy for me, I was an Artillery Forward Observer for six years - and an NGO (Naval Gunfire Observer). However this whole Russia thing is not the direction we should be looking. Russia is not ready for a big conventional war and won't be for several decades. The only reason she hasn't been invaded yet (Wolfowist Doctrine?) is she's got a shedload of nukes and can deliver a 20 or 30 megaton warhead on a city near you anytime.

Russian thinking now is to do more with less. On a tactical level they regularly out-think Western military powers and are quite ingenious with their positioning. Nothing is ever wasted. Russia's whole campaign in Syria to defeat ISIS was so cheap in Western terms it was embarrassing: under 5 billion dollars. Like others on here I don't believe she's the main threat.

The main threat to indigenous Europeans is the European political class and that threat is existential in the long term. Why? The ideology comes down to this: "if you can't get the change you want change the people" - and that's exactly what they are doing. Mass immigration is their weapon of choice and they know what it will yield.


Dave_G said...

How much of Britain's GDP is based on arms sales? I suspect a considerable amount indeed and, like the American MIC the rhetoric is in proportion to the sales they need to make.
With China and Russia taking up more of the arms market (stack 'em high, sell 'em cheap) the other major Western arms producers don't have as much of a market as they had in previous, oil-rich, years therefore need to manufacture conflict to keep the production lines going.
Witness the aggression by America against - insert practically any country you wish in here - and the supporting countries (our famous 'special relationship') where such regional disturbances are helpful in shifting military stock - whether or not it's suitable for purpose.
The level of investment by the arms industry is far too significant to be cut back as it will destroy those countries economic outlook so we see a constant scaremongering to justify continued production and, in their eyes, many potential opportunities whether justified or not.
Cranking out the most expensive, generally useless, arms is the easiest way possible to guarantee their continual replacement (F35?). Cheap, reliable equipment will remain useful for decades (AK47) and I know which of those two has killed the most people.
It's a mugs game - the taxpayers, of course, are the biggest mugs of all, played by the military (recently) and the media (constantly). No wonder Russia relies on a nuclear deterrent - it's served them well for half a century.

Sobers said...

Its very simple - if a British scientist had a clever idea for some new wonder weapon, what are the chances he'd be given some money and told to go away and make it happen? Zero I'd say. There would be a) loads of opposition from whichever service would be likely to lose out because of it, b) a million and one committees would have to examine it and pronounce on its viability (and probably racial and sexual diversity as well), c) even if he was given some money to make it happen, said money would be taken up with environmental assessments, risk assessments, you name it, every bit of paperwork known to man. And if it didn't end up working very well, chances are so many brass hats would have bet their promotions and careers on it they would continue to throw money at it even though it was obvious to anyone it was a waste of money and effort.

Meanwhile Igor would be blowing seven bells out of some godforsaken part of the steppes with practical prototypes, until he gets one that works. Or it doesn't ever work, in which he gets sent to mend traffic lights in Omsk.

You can have clever people making stuff happen in a practical manner, or you can have PC environmentally friendly and wonderfully diverse working parties, but not both.

Anonymous said...

"in which he gets sent to mend traffic lights in Omsk."

They must have gone soft, back in the day he'd be digging for gold in a salt mine and only a bowl of rancid fish head soup every fourth Sunday.

Hector Drummond, Vile Novelist said...

>You can have clever people making stuff happen in a practical manner, or you can have PC environmentally friendly and wonderfully diverse working parties, but not both.


jack ketch said...

The real danger facing this country (and no , for once, I don't mean BrexSShite) isn't the EU, nor Greater Germania, nor Little Rocket man's massed ranks of goosestepping kinky Asian sex dolls with guns, nor even PMT.May and Davis. No the real danger isn't even an 'enemy' as such. The real danger, and the ones who will ultimately decide whether BrexSShite is a success or not are the US rating agencies and the International Currency Markets. Both of which we have no control over.

A slightly weaker £ after Brexit would probably be a good thing -parity with the Euro an even better thing but a currency so weak as to be 'lire' not.
And losing even one more letter from our credit rating would wipe any of those supposed savings we are supposed to have thereafter.

Ravenscar. said...

so what do you suggest jack ketch?


jack ketch said...


Surrender to whom? It isn't a question of 'surrendering' . I've said before that as anti-plebs-cide and as anti-BrexSShite as I am, watching the antics of PMT.May and Davis I become more and more convinced that if there is to be a BrexSShite (and unfortunately I don't see how it could be avoided now unless Budgie is right) then it should be a Clean Break. But a clean break that makes us look strong and not like toddlers in the sandbox. PMT.May should sack Davis for Farage, sack Blow-job (but NOT appoint Mogg in his place, he has something of the night about him) and "Pay the man (Juncker) and damn his insolence" (ie announce that the UK will pay whatever the EU demands, to the last cent, up front in cash).

Dave_G said...

(ie announce that the UK will pay whatever the EU demands, to the last cent, up front in cash).

and you can F right off there. Not a penny. The EU are DESPERATE for our money and they should be made to grovel for it. Anyone that thinks that European business won't DEMAND to trade with us post Brexit is a bare faced liar - step forward anyone?

Existing commitments? No problem. Anything else - sing for it.

If this means a WTO exit then bring it on. It won't. The EU simply cannot afford for us to leave without SOME form of agreement and all the cards are in our hands. But since we've got players working as if the game is 'snap' and not 'top trumps' we've got a problem.

Farage and JR-M would wipe the floor with the EU negotiators - which is why they'll never be given the opportunity.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

Pay up? In return for what?

The Quisling has landed.

Budgie said...

Back in the day when it was normal to hear the USSR announce its intention of over-running the world, starting off in the NW corner of Eurasia (where the EU now has its stronghold), we coped without a direct war. So why does our establishment now consider war possible with Russia when it appears unlikely that Russia even has permanent ambitions in EU land, still less the rest of the world? It's nonsense.

It is also clear that Trump is not convinced either, try as the Clinton faction might. Trump was even linked with the Russians before his election (listen to the BBC perennially getting it wrong on that score), which tends to confirm that. However it is likely that, as PotUS, he is talking to the Russians now. Let's hope he is.

Indeed given the Russian border with N Korea, and the proximity of a proud China to both, the play-offs between the USA, China, and Russia, become very interesting. I can see King Kim Jong-un being deposed and N Korea being turned into a form of Hong-Kong as the best realistic outcome we can hope for. Of course the UK and the rEU are bit players - babies in a grown-ups world.

jack ketch said...

@Dave_G, you recall a few days ago RW did a 'nonsense that the Remoaners come out with' post, listing some of the myths, lies and idiocy the remainers spout? Well you've just managed to mirror it with BrexSShiteur ones. The truth tends to be between the two extremes; some EU businesses will demand to trade with us-probably those that have a vested interest in doing so, but some, maybe most, have been pushing for booting the UK out of the EU for almost as long as Farage has campaigned for a leave and they lobbied hard to make sure that Cameron was offered nothing of value.

Us leaving the EU in a clean break won't usher in the Zombie Apocalypse the Projectfearers claim but nationalism and playing top trumps when the game is whist might just. However big your broadsword is, bringing it to a gun fight is a bad idea.

jack ketch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jack ketch said...

(reup for spelling)Pay up? In return for what?

Simply put; for a "AAA" rating and countries around the world actually trusting us enough to want to enter a Free Trade agreement, for keeping the pound rock solid and not having the Great British Rabbit pelt introduced.

Anonymous said...

jack ketch @ 0:16

BrexSShite x2

again @ 11:06

BrexSShite x2

and @ 14:17


Have you any idea how infantile that makes you look? What kind of brain in an adult writes silly made-up names for people who didn't vote the same way you did in the referendum? Is the double capital 'SS' in the middle to remind people that folk who in your opinion voted the wrong way are most likely Nazis? You're cunt mate, members of my family died fighting the Nazis. Wanker.


jack ketch said...

@Steve, if you hadn't noticed by now , whether or not you think me infantile or a cunt or a wanker, really doesn't interest me- if it did I wouldn't comment here. HOWEVER it bothers me greatly you think I voted in the plebis-cide. Never made any secret of the fact I believe referenda for constitutional issues are poison for parliamentary democracies and so far events keep on proving me right. I would go as far as to say that voting in the BrexSShite referenda, whether for or against, was a betrayal of everything our fathers and Grandfathers fought least in WW2.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

I’m curious to know the causality between giving money for nothing to the commissars & keeping a triple A rating. That’s some serious genius going on there.

As for fathers fighting in WW2, I can yell you my old Dad and his 4 brothers didn’t fight in order to be run by the Brussels-Berlin nexus. Or overrun by immigrants, for that matter. One of them developed very spicy opinions on Arabs after spending 3 years in the Middle East and doesn’t like what he sees today at the ripe old age of 97.

Anonymous said...

jack ketch said @ 15:16

'HOWEVER it bothers me greatly you think I voted in the plebis-cide. Never made any secret of the fact I believe referenda for constitutional issues are poison for parliamentary democracies and so far events keep on proving me right. I would go as far as to say that voting in the BrexSShite referenda, whether for or against, was a betrayal of everything our fathers and Grandfathers fought least in WW2.'

You had your opportunity yesterday to say to me directly whether you voted in the referendum. So you can add disingenuous the list. Having a direct say in matters like the our membership of the EU is an order of magnitude above what is normal in a democracy, simply because sovereignty (which is with the people) is being ceded to a foreign entity. My folks fought for us, we, the nation of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, not a bunch of bureaucrats in Brussels so you can fuck off with your 'betrayal' bullshit.

The cunt who betrayed everybody was Edward Heath as he knew he was selling us out and even made a note of it in his diary - published after his death. We voted Leave and if we don't we fight and that's all I have to say about it.


Sackerson said...

I hadn't known of this, but I now see that the Russians did this 2 years ago:

Dave_G said...

@Steve - Ketch was censured by Radders for using the SS 'flashes' in his words and has since reverted to simple capital 'S' - but yes, Ketch is inferring that voters are indeed of the Nazi ilk - tw@t.

@Ketch - those 'some that want to trade' are very welcome - those businesses that want us kicked out (presumably because they can't/(are afraid to) compete with us) will suffer accordingly whether we're in or out. Colour me fcuked-if-I-care.

It doesn't change the fact that the EU is shafted without OUR money - and this is of critical importance. The EU have, since negotiations began, shown themselves to be bullies, dictatorial and oppressive and, quite frankly, DESERVE to be sh@t upon from a great height by refusing them a single penny over-and-above any provable existing commitments.

But since a collapsing EU will have detrimental effects across the world there is a moral duty to try to end this in a manner that avoids such catastrophe but we will get zero credit for anything we do - i.e. handing over £Bn's of OUR money - and, indeed, the EU will take this 'moral stance' and parade it as British weakness and a clear threat to any others who dare to obstruct the behemoth that is the EU. Even some form of GRATITUDE would ease the British attitude but the EU leadership won't bow down to anyone - dictators never do.

And, abrogating your vote gives you bugger-all say in any of these subjects other than to expose your bigotry for all to see.

Anonymous said...

Dave_G said @ 18:52

'@Steve - Ketch was censured by Radders for using the SS 'flashes' in his words and has since reverted to simple capital 'S' - but yes, Ketch is inferring that voters are indeed of the Nazi ilk - tw@t.'

Thanks, I didn't know he'd used the runic letters of our people long ago. So he besmirches them, just like der F├╝hrer did in his time. As you say by not voting he's left the room where the adults are talking and gone to the playroom to act out his fantasies.


Cascadian said...

Sticks and stones, boys.....get a grip, and while I'm at it, less of the "our fathers and uncles" meme. Whatever our ancestors did provides us with no right of censorship.
Why get so bent out of shape about something that is not going to happen. I refer to Brexit, sensible defence provisioning and the ability to find "the flower of british womanhood" with abilities to speak Russian or Chinese. Raedwald has written a fantasy piece to judge our reactions for his own amusement. Good for him, I say.

Raedwald said...

Mostly serious, Cascadian - but yes, my suggested counter-espionage is fantastical.

Our women are prohibited from honey-trap work if they have, as required under the H&SAW Act, carried out a proper risk assessment, and unless the horny little Chinese general provides a Method Statement in advance it's a no-go.

And as was suggested, the sole red-duster flagged deep water trawlers remaining are in fact Spanish. Most of our anoraked plane-spotters have been entrapped by paedophile hunters and are on bail. And whatever scientists we have left just keep asking their employers "What results do you want, squire?".

Cascadian said...

Don't mind me Raedwald, I am just taking the opportunity to mock yUK government whilst I still can before Theresa May's National Security Communications Unit becomes functional and decides what is correct speech.
I fear your analysis of the current yUK "armed forces" is correct, time to give up the pretence of being a world power and concentrate on homeland security, county level militias and an effective coastguard, nothing more is required. Tunisia, Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan surely exposed the "military" as a cruel hoax.