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What Cyberwar Could Look Like

Yesterday afternoon, something funny happened. A broadcast of C-SPAN was interrupted and replaced by a feed from RT, the Russian propaganda channel for a few minutes:

C-SPAN posted an explanation on its Twitter account, blaming the glitch on a “routing error”:

Fair enough, mistakes happen. And sometimes they cluster, because MSNBC was also having technical difficulties yesterday:

No comment yet from MSNBC on what happened.

Finally, since glitches often come in threes, the lights mysteriously went out in the middle of Rep. Mike Pompeo’s hearing to become the head of the CIA. Perhaps in good fun, Senators tweeted about the odd occurrence:

The Senate superintendent attributed the outage to work being done in the neighborhood by the electric utility.

So maybe there really is nothing to see here. Except that coming as it does at the crest of a news cycle completely obsessed with Russian meddling, it serves as a reminder of just how much chaos a concerted cyber attack could potentially wreak, even without touching more vital assets like power plants, hospitals, and traffic control systems.

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  • rheddles

    Got any foil to spare? I’ve got some leftovers I need to wrap.

  • Disappeared4x

    Which Rule of Three is being invoked here? Did three trees fall in the forest? Look: cows cause climate change. Sorry, three too many confirmation hearings…

  • Frank Natoli

    All war is a constant see-saw battle between offense and defense. Trenches and machine guns in the Great War made the defense impenetrable…and then the Brits invented the tank. Nobody bothered with defensive software because it was “unnecessary”. Now it’s most definitely necessary. Good news for software engineers, I guess.

    • f1b0nacc1

      Actually, rapid-fire artillery played more of a role than machine-guns, but I am just quibbling….grin…

      (Note: Please do not take offense at my quibbling. I see you are interested in military affairs just as I am, so I feel comfortable sharing little comments like that back and forth. I do NOT mean any slight by it)

      • Jim__L

        I teach my kids that WWI was a war of Man vs. Machine… and Man lost. WWII on the other hand, was a far more interesting war of Machine vs. Machine… and Man still lost.

        Made for some great movies, though.

        • f1b0nacc1

          Ah, but that was the narrative throughout the 19th century. The massive advance of technology (and the failure of military thinking to keep up with those advances) led to the horrific death tools in almost all of the large-scale wars that came up during that century. WWI is remembered as unique primarily because it was the first really big war (in Europe) where the British (who have such an active tradition of military history) were involved on a large scale.

          I do like the description of the Machines winning…. An outstanding way to describe it!

        • Disappeared4x

          Not about the same Machines of War, but E.M. Forster’s 1909 novella “The Machine Stops”, continues to be prescient re: Human vs Machine. In the public domain at this link:

          https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Machine_Stops

          It was the talk of London at the time. A gem that should be read today.

          • Jim__L

            That’s a really, really eerie story, at least the first bit that I’ve read so far. Long-distance communication, dependency, near-miraculous fabrication, people preferring to communicate electronically… wow.

          • Disappeared4x

            I know! 1909 – still prescient.

        • Frank Natoli

          WWII on the other hand, was a far more interesting war of Machine vs. Machine… and Man still lost.
          In “The World At War” episode 25 “Reckoning”, the late great Stephen Ambrose summarizes “the fascists in Germany and Italy were crushed, the imperialists in Japan were crushed, and never was justice better served”. That was a victory of man, eh?

          • Jim__L

            Good point. Some Men won against other far worse Men, but compared to machines we still got chewed up pretty bad.

      • Frank Natoli

        I can tell the difference between constructive and destructive criticism, and since yours is always the former, I welcome it, especially because I learn something in the process.
        Curiously, there were reciprocal learning experiences after the Great War. As the great André Beaufre noted, the French [and British] learned how difficult it was to maintain tanks, so their “experience” was negative, whereas the Germans learned what it felt like to be attacked by tanks, without any way of fighting back, so their experience was “next time, we’ll do the attacking with tanks”, which thanks to Guderian [with a little help from BH Liddell Hart and JFC Fuller] they did masterfully. Conversely, the Germans bombed London with zeppelins and Gothas, as far as the Germans could see with minimal results, but as far as the English could see with terrifying results. So again, in a reverse learning experience, the Germans abandoned strategic bombing, but the Brits and Americans both had four engine types from the very beginning, and left every major German city without one brick still atop another.

        • f1b0nacc1

          Thank you for seeing the intent behind my comments.

          The French and Brits drew many of the wrong lessons on tanks during WWI, but a bit part of that was due to how they interpreted both their successes and their failures. The Brits, for instance, correctly observed that tanks without strong infantry support were easily neutralized, and that the speed difference between tanks and infantry caused them to get ‘out of sync’. This, combined with the very strong political position of their cavalry commanders, led to the disastrous development of ‘infantry tanks’, with almost no anti-armor capacity, and their ‘crusier’ tanks with very poor armor protection. The early days of WWII showed how destructive these developments were. The French, on the other hand, became obsessed with fixed defenses as a way of stopping tanks, and on offense ignored the tremendous problems associated with coordinating tanks and supporting arms. Hence French tanks (even the good ones, and they did build some quite credible tanks) almost all had the crippling weakness of one-man turrets (which made coordination almost impossible), and a fatal disinclination to use radios in tanks (except for command vehicles).

          The Germans, on the other hand, learned from their failures. The A7V design, for instance, was an overly complex mess, suffering from numerous mechanical weaknesses, but most especially poor mobility. Unlike the British, the Germans developed a useful mobility doctrine early in the inter-war years. Actually this was accomplished without the help of Liddell-Hart, who was widely regarded by most German Panzer commanders who knew anything about him at all as something of a crank. Fuller had a slightly better reputation, but once again it was more political than anything else. Read Guderian’s Panzer Leader, for instance for a good insight into this. Remember also that German generals wrote extensively before the war, then after the war (when they were being interviewed by American and British historians) often changed their tune to flatter their new masters. It is interesting to remember that the foremost advocates of highly mobile warfare were NOT panzer officers but infantry and air officers like Rommel and Kesselring. While Guderian, for instance, is remembered as a great armor thinker, he was primarily a believer in armor as an end in and of itself. He tended to favor unbalanced formations (too little infantry support), and ultimately the Panzer force had to be reorganized as a consequence of how poorly this worked out in combat. He *was* on the other hand, a tireless advocate of developing the panzer force, and this strategic (rather than operational or tactical) insight is why we remember him.

          German tank design (and their use of tactical aircraft) reflect this. The Germans were well aware that they could not win a long campaign, so they were ultimately dependent on a short, sharp strike to achieve victory. This is why they avoided a strategic air arm, for instance…the sort of attrition that kind of warfare involved would not be possible for them. They knew that only quick deep strikes that would disrupt and then destroy their enemies quickly would work, and they built their tanks and aircraft to facilitate this. This is why you see German tanks built to operate in large masses to shatter the line, not to support wide infantry advances, and aircraft to provide tactical and counter-logistical strikes in direct support of the army. It also shows up in how badly the Luftwaffe failed when it was used in a strategic role that it was never designed for.

          Anyway, sorry about the long monologue….as you can guess, this is a passion of mine!

          • Frank Natoli

            Oh, dear, I cannot let this slight to BH Liddell Hart go unanswered!
            One of Liddell Hart’s more obscure books was his biography “Sherman, Genius of the Civil War”. Liddell Hart thoroughly documented Sherman’s greatest achievement, not the march to the sea, but the taking of Atlanta, when Joseph E. Johnston, then in command of forces comparable to Sherman’s, knew what to expect, but not exactly. In each and every case [but one], Sherman out-thought the Confederacy’s greatest defensive general, always appearing somewhere other than where Johnston knew Sherman “must” appear next.
            Fast forward 80 years. Liddell Hart, whom some refer to as a crank (!), is in the fields of France, and meets with George Patton and “P” Wood, commanding 4th Armored. Patton tells Liddell Hart that he, Patton, had used Liddell Hart’s bio of Sherman for a DIY tour from Chattanooga to Atlanta, learning how Sherman out-thought Johnston, and how he, Patton, and Wood were doing unto the Germans what Sherman did unto Johnston [and Hood].
            Doesn’t sound like a crank to me!

          • f1b0nacc1

            Actually, I like BLH, and find his civil war history to be quite excellent. Please note that I said that the GERMANS found him to be a crank, and for very good reasons. Their rejection of BLH was not his historical work, but his strategic perscriptions, notably his obsession with ‘the indirect approach’. This isn’t all that unusual, when you consider that as a British historian, he grew up in an environment of strategic thinking that rejected any other approach. Given Britain’s size, small army, powerful navy, and location on an isolated island, it is difficult to imagine what OTHER approach they would have seen as useful. Unfortunately, BLH failed to understand that there were alternative approaches that could arise from alternative circumstances.

            Your discussion of the approach to Atlanta is in fact a perfect example of this. Sherman was a craftsman to be sure, and I firmly believe that he was one of the finest (if not the finest) general in the war (and that includes the grossly overrated Lee). With that said, Sherman only succeeded in his movement on Atlanta AFTER Johnston was removed by Jefferson Davis (who I firmly believe was a deep cover mole working for the Union) and replaced with John Bell Hood. Hood eschewed Johnston’s brilliant manuvering (which had stymied Sherman’s drives forward, an assessment that I take from Sherman’s own dispatches) and instead launched a direct counterattack (where McPherson was killed) that frittered away any advantage that he might have had.

            Patton did certainly respect BLH’s history of the Civil War (note again that I agree with this assessment), but he just as certainly rejected his indirect approach in France. Operation Cobra (arguably Patton’s finest achievement, the only possible competitor being his amazing dash to the rescue during the Battle of the Bulge) was almost the exact reverse of the indirect approach, and one that BLH was skeptical of for precisely that reason. Patton did precisely what Sherman did, by going directly for the target in question, rather than attempting to finesse it.

            In a similar fashion, the Germans (who had little option other than defeating their opponents quickly and decisively, before their resources ran out) were fine with flanking operationally, but understood that strategically they had little choice than to destroy what was before them rather than simply dislocating them. The general comment from most Germans about BLH (Kesselring said it best, but he was hardly alone) was that he felt that BLH was strangely silent on what the German’s were supposed to do during the Great War in the West where they lacked a significant navy, and no flanks existed to be turned.

          • Frank Natoli

            Liddell Hart:
            With that said, Sherman only succeeded in his movement on Atlanta AFTER Johnston was removed by Jefferson Davis and replaced with John Bell Hood.
            Except that is not what Liddell Hart wrote, see “Sherman”, pages 318-319:
            Although tied to a direct line of strategic approach, he [Sherman] had manoeuvred so skillfully within the limits thus imposed on him as to gain each of the stepping-stones on his way to the goal, and finally the goal itself, without committing his troops to a direct attack save once — at Kenesaw…
            In contrast, the enemy army had been constrained twice during Johnston’s tenure, and four times during Hood’s, to throw themselves in vain assaults on the key positions in which Sherman’s manoeuvres had placed him.

            And note that Hood did not replace Johnston until Sherman was post Kenesaw and “within sight of Atlanta”, page 282:
            But already, during the night, Johnston, finding himself outwitted and with his opponent in secure possession of two strong bridge-heads behind his flank, took the only possible course — that of retiring to Atlanta before he was cut off from it…
            On the night of the 17th, just as the advance of Sherman’s army from its bridge-heads had been reported, Johnston received a telegram from Richmond saying: “As you have failed to arrest the advance of the enemy to the vicinity of Atlanta, far in the interior of Georgia, and express no confidence that you can defeat or repel him, you are hereby relieved from the command…which you will immediately turn over to General Hood.”

            Robert E. Lee:
            the grossly overrated Lee
            I confess most of my understanding of Lee comes from Douglas Southall Freeman, having read his four volume bio of Lee and three volume “Lee’s Lieutenants”. Southall Freeman’s assessment, which I agree with, is that Lee was an extremely able commander who, however, as a matter of principle would not micromanage his subordinates. To that end, the only man who fit hand-in-glove with Lee’s methods was Jackson. Only a Jackson could and did secure Lee the Cannae at Chancellorsville. Only the absence of Jackson at Gettysburg permitted the federals to emplace on Cemetery Ridge. Had Jackson, not Ewell, been commanding, Jackson would have swept the federals off the ridge and Lee would have met Meade in the field somewhere between Gettysburg and Washington. In that event, it is quite likely Lee would have been victorious, and the war weary North would have let the South go. Southall Freeman quotes GFR Henderson’s bio of Jackson [I’ll be damned but I cannot find the quote in Henderson or Southall Freeman], noting an Episcopal bishop, who had been an ordinary chaplain in Taylor’s Louisiana regiment, unveiling a statue in Baton Rouge, circa 1870, and just before pulling the cord, intoning “when in thine divine writ it was ordained that the Confederacy must fail, it became necessary for Thee to remove thine servant Stonewall”.
            George Patton:
            Nobody has more respect for that man than me. After reading the peerless Carlo D’Este’s bio “Patton, a Genius for War”, I obtained from the National Archives a print of Donald Gordon Squier’s 1932 charcoal portrait of Patton, while he was serving in Hawaii, and that framed print hangs in my office [next to Mickey Mantle and Don Larsen]. That said, Patton’s genius in the Bulge was moving Third Army into Belgium, in worst possible winter weather, after breaking off his attack in the Saar. But once he arrived south of Bastogne, he made a number of unfortunate mistakes. Bradley had ordered Patton to give 10th Armored to Troy Middleton and VIII Corps, which Patton reluctantly complied with. One of the combat commands had arrived between Neufchateau and Bastogne, approximately eight miles out. But Patton’s Hugh Gaffey, commanding 4th Armored after the relief of the great “P” Wood, insisted on pulling that combat command back, and Patton made his thrust from Arlon, which was not only many more miles from Bastogne, but in the face of much heavier German resistance. The relief of the 101st Airborne on the day after Christmas was just barely in time.
            Patton’s greatest glory was in France. And although much negative has been written about his penchant for publicity, the fact is, as Charles MacDonald noted, while most guys in the front lines were lucky to know their own company commander, never mind battalion or regiment or higher, every man on the line knew Patton, quite often saw him, and all were proud to be Third Army.

          • f1b0nacc1

            We are going to turn this into a very long thread I see….grin…

            Liddell-Hart:

            BLH is good with timing, but ignores context. Given the size of Sherman’s army, and the nature of the terrain involved, Johnston could do little more than retreat slowly and carefully, else he would have been enveloped and destroyed. Sherman knew this (see his dispatches, particularly his letters to both Halleck and Grant), and proceeded accordingly. His attack at Kenesaw was a huge error, by his own admission, as he acknowledged that simply moving carefully on Johnston’s alternate flanks would have done the trick if pursued with sufficient patience. In a similar fashion, Johnston’s two attacks against Sherman were more on the nature of spoiling attacks, consisting in both cases of less than 20% of his overall force, and never intended to do much more than forestall a move by Sherman. The quick termination of those attacks (Sherman, ever the aggressive defender complained that he never had a chance to strike back) indicates that he wasn’t interested in actually taking ground, merely disrupting Sherman. Hood, on the other hand, attacked four times with almost all of his army, and in all cases (we know this from the orders he issued to his troops) was interested in throwing the Union back from Atlanta, something that by then was simply not an option. Also note that Johnston was smart enough to coordinate with CSA irregulars behind Sherman’s lines to disrupt his increasingly long supply lines and slow down his advance, where Hood saw only a direct assault as a viable option. Lee said it best “Hood is a bold fighter, I have less confidence in his other attributes” Finally Johnston was in fact relieved when he was pushed back to the outskirts of Atlanta, but by then his position was stronger, and Sherman no longer could manuver him out of it since Atlanta was after all the target. Keep in mind that Davis loathed Johnston, and the two men quarreled constantly. This was merely an excuse for Davis to get rid of a hated subordinate, and replace him with one of his pets.

            RE Lee:

            Lee had the great good fortune to spend most of the war fighting against some of the worst generals in the Union army. As the war went on, however, the quality of the opposition improved (and the quality of Lee’s subordinates declined) and the results of Lee’s choices deteriorated. I agree with you that the loss of Jackson was a blow to Lee, but if Lee was that dependent upon a single subordinate, he can hardly be considered deserving of the reputation that he had. I don’t much care for Freeman’s works, magisterial though they are. I don’t consider Chancellorsville (largely made possible by Hooker’s grotesque incompetence) to be anything near a Cannae (the Army of the Potomac survived that day and fought again, which in and of itself negates the comparison), and though it was a sparkling victory, it also shows Lee’s critical weakness…he was utterly unable to understand how to follow up his own tactical victories. Lee was wonderful in winning tactical victories against McClellan, Pope, Burnside, and Hooker, but once the Union was able to get adequate (Meade) or even superior (Grant) generals in place,his ‘genius’ disappeared. Lee was a fine man, and superlative tactical thinker, but he lacked any sort of broader strategic grasp, and was hugely inadequate in handling personnel. Oh, and on a related note, I doubt that Jackson would have had more luck than Ewell at Cemetary Ridge. Jackson was ferocious of course, and had a grasp of mobile warfare that few could equal, the Union had enough troops in place to stop him this time around…

            Patton:

            I agree almost completely with your assessment of Patton. While I concur that his handling of the Third Army’s relief of the 101st was a bit off-target, it was hardly dilatory, and more importantly it managed to completely disrupt the German strike forward. This last point is essential, as the point of the whole thing was not to simply relieve Bastogne, but to stop the Germans, or even (as Patton wanted) to destroy them. We know from the German generals that this is what THEY were worried about when it became clear that the Third Army was on the march, and its impact on the outcome of the battle was clear. I often regret that Patton was not allowed to make the deep strike into the shoulders of the Bulge, as he originally wished.

            Thank you so much for this delightful exchange….

          • Frank Natoli

            Sherman:
            Also note that Johnston was smart enough to coordinate with CSA irregulars behind Sherman’s lines to disrupt his increasingly long supply lines and slow down his advance
            And this begets my very favorite anecdote in Liddell Hart’s “Sherman”. Everybody, on both sides, knew Sherman would move from Chattanooga on Atlanta, which theoretically made Johnston’s defense “easy”, since Johnston knew what Sherman had to do. The real question was: what comes after Atlanta? Sherman’s quartermaster saw the problem of keeping the supply lines from Atlanta back to Chattanooga open as impossible, given the CSA irregulars you mention. Ergo, Sherman and the quartermaster are in conference, staring at a large map on the wall, and the quartermaster asks Sherman directly: what happens after Atlanta? Sherman takes a deep drag on his cigar, and replies “salt water”. The quartermaster stares at the map, and asks “Charleston or Savannah”? Sherman flicks the ash from the cigar and replies “yes”.
            Lee:
            HOW could you denigrate Southall Freeman??? May God forgive me, I found Southall Freeman’s works as precious as a Protestant Evangelical finds Holy Scripture. In any case, permit me to digress to the original Cannae: according to Livy, Hannibal’s general of heavy cavalry, Hasdrubal, begged Hannibal to pursue what was left of the legions, then retreating south to Rome. Hannibal refused, at which Hasdrubal raised his hands to the heavens and said “the gods have given you many gifts, but pursuing and annihilating a beaten enemy is not one of them”. Of course, as you note, Lee could not have done the same to Hooker, even if Lee wanted to.
            Patton:
            The two events in the Bulge that guaranteed the Germans would never cross the Meuse, never mind take Antwerp, actually had nothing to do with Patton. It was the extraordinary fighting of the Robertson’s 2nd Infantry Division and Lauer’s 99th Infantry Division in the north, stopping Sixth Panzer cold in front of the Elsenborn Ridge. And it was the extraordinary fighting of the Hasbrouck’s 7th Armored Division, in particular Clarke’s CCB, in St. Vith [and Hoge’s 9th Armored CCB, and one infantry regiment each of the 106th ID and 28th ID], severely slowing Fifth Panzer. The 101st Airborne [and Roberts CCB of 10th Armored] just barely won the race into Bastogne, holding out long enough for Patton and Third Army to break through.
            And yes, thanks for the great exchange.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Ah, your Livy quote is delightful…I first saw that reference from Claudius, but never realized that he got it from Livy…

            I enjoy Freeman’s writing, but he reminds me a great deal of what my mentor used to describe as the ‘boats and battles school of military history’. An immensely talented writer, I just find his overall historical grasp a bit less engaging. (grin…)

            Your characterization of the fighting of the 2nd and 99th (the latter in particular, a fantastically courageous group of men) as well as the men in the “fortified goose egg” at St. Vith. One of my closest friend’s fathers with attached the 28th’s divisional artillery, and he has some truly hair raising stories to tell. In truth though, the German attack was doomed before it was ever undertaken, not really surprising as it was ordered by a certifiable lunatic in the last stages of mental collapse. With that said, both sides fought gallantly under horrific circumstances.

          • Frank Natoli

            I enjoy Freeman’s writing, but he reminds me a great deal of what my mentor used to describe as the ‘boats and battles school of military history’.
            Enjoying a particular writer is much like choosing a wine for a particular food, there is no right or wrong, simply what works for you. But permit me to quote Southall Freeman’s earnest forward, Volume I of “Lee’s Lieutenants”, page xxix. I felt very strongly that Southall Freeman accomplished what he tried to do. You don’t?
            To make the requisite investigation, to decide upon a method of treatment, to assemble the notes, to write and to revise has been a labor of eight years, but that have been pleasant years. A writer of biography can ask for nothing more interesting than to begin with a score of names in printed military dispatches and then to work over historical materials of many sorts until names become personalities, characteristics emerge, and reports take on the sound of a voice. At first, one had the feeling that these Confederates had ridden so far toward oblivion that one could not discern the figures or hope to overtake them before they had passed over the horizon of time. In the end, there was the sensation of reaching their camp, of watching the firelight on their faces, and of hearing their brave and genial conversation.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Freeman fell in love with his subject matter (I suspect before he started writing about them), always a bad thing when you are trying to write history. As a writer, I cannot fault this, but as a historian, I think that he comes up a bit (only a bit, but still a bit) short.

          • Andrew Allison

            see above

          • f1b0nacc1

            Thank *you* for your kind remark.

            By any chance, are you a fan of the utterly hilarious Blackadder Goes Forth series?

          • Frank Natoli

            I read somewhere that most Britons’ “knowledge” of World War I comes from the Blackadder season that parodied that war. I did think the episode where Blackadder had killed the general’s canary [or was it pigeon?] was hysterical.

          • f1b0nacc1

            His pigeon….Speckled Jim, which he raised from an egg… (grin)…

            The final episode was touching though. I saw a very recent (2016) interview with Rowan Atkinson where he noted that he receives email about that ending to this very day.

          • Disappeared4x

            So, is the tank battle sequence M4Sherman one-on-one with German Tiger 1, in the film “Fury” as accurate as the claim? (no need for detail, my NOTexpertise in military hardware is just deep enough to understand what others write!)
            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/867fec91a4509c3c793be0103cad0e7f97846e64531d41dbefbc569ade8786f9.jpg

          • Frank Natoli

            f1b0nacc1 may differ, but my answer is “yes”, it’s accurate. That Sherman had a muzzle brake, which implied a high velocity 76mm gun, which still could not penetrate a Tiger’s front glacis [nothing except a 90mm could], but was effective in the rear and possibly the side. And that, of course, is what the crew was trying to do.
            Just a few Shermans, not the one in the film, were “Firefly” Shermans, which was not only a high velocity 76mm but also a very heavy round, 17 pounds. To the best of my knowledge, only the British operated Fireflies [and they engineered the up-gunning]. It was Sherman Fireflies that killed the greatest tank ace of all time, Michael Wittman, inside his Tiger in Normandy.

          • Disappeared4x

            Thanks! I had read about the historical accuracy of the tanks in that one-on-one battle in “Fury” before seeing the film. Good to get your insight.

          • f1b0nacc1

            We agree on every detail and in general….grin…

          • f1b0nacc1

            Frank’s comments below are absolute correct in every particular.

            If you want a really useful look at tank combat from popular culture, take a peek at “Kelly’s Heroes”, where the details of dealing with Tiger tanks when all you have handy is a Sherman are laid out beautifully.

          • Disappeared4x

            The deployment to Poland of the U.S. Army, 4th Infantry Division’s 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team means imagining the M1 Abrams vs. Russia’s T90. Great Cyber-war thread, yes?

            Jan 12, 2017:
            https://www.defense.gov/News/Article/Article/1048463/eucom-commander-us-armored-brigades-deployment-to-poland-significant

          • f1b0nacc1

            The T-90 is merely a tarted-up T-72, and though its fire control system is vastly improved (well….twice nothing is still nothing), it still lacks the protection and effectiveness of the M1A2. On the other hand, the Russians would (in any direct conflict) have a huge numerical advantage which would tend to even the odds a bit.

            I rather doubt that the Russians would bother with that sort of risky endeavour, however. Much more likely that they will focus on the Ukraine and some of their unfinished business in the Caucuses (not to mention Syria), where the chance of a disastrous escalation is much smaller.

          • Disappeared4x

            Just read scenario of a Kiowa Warrior painting six T-90s for two Apache Longbows in Estonia, the opener in 2013 “Command Authority”, Tom Clancy’s last Jack Ryan novel.

            The premise is Russia disbelieves NATO will come to Estonia’s aid. Wrong decision when Jack Ryan is President.

            The risk to the Baltics is dependent on NATO’s will, which depends on USA’s will.

            Returning to reality: The deployment of the 3rd ABCT to Poland is a USA initiative, not NATO.

            It makes geographical sense for Russia to control the Baltics, not that there is anything good about that for Estonians.

            I went to the wrong thread to reply here, and joined your fine F-35 thread with Aaron. Mostly offering this link from Dec 11:
            http://www.defensenews.com/articles/f-35-triggers-conceptual-overhaul-in-israel-air-force

            This is so much fun, except the pace…I admit I am following news on Melania. ‘Vogue’ green lights the return of glamour! The buzz is about Melania’s ‘WH glam room’; speculation on designers; disclosure that FLOTUS shops online. Now, the other Trumps are normalized, all except PEOTUS.

            Getting through the Paris 2-state shuffle means a movie tomorrow: Fences. ironic title.

          • f1b0nacc1

            The movie is surprisingly good. I don’t think that Denzel is nearly as talented a director as he is an actor (he is the emotional center of the film, no matter how much drivel you hear about Viola Davis), but still, he has managed to make the material work.

            The real key to making the F-35 work for the Israelis will be to exploit its usefulness as the ‘glue’ for multiple systems on and off the platform. In practice this means being able to integrate other fighters, SAMs, drones, etc., perhaps even making use of the arsenal plane concept that the US has been exploring for the F-35 here.

          • Disappeared4x

            Viola Davis is a great actress. It is the last matinee here.
            F-35, as a topic, will be here again.
            I can not believe “The Devil Wears Prada” is on cable again. More Gabbana, Less War.

          • Disappeared4x

            Patton the Goldendoodle NOT going to the WH:

            “…When the Trumps arrived in Palm Beach for Christmas, Pope steeled herself and went to Mar-a-Lago.
            “I walked over to him, through the Secret Service, and I told him, ‘Donald, I’m sorry. You can’t have Patton,’ ” she said.
            Turns out the future president was also having second thoughts. …”

            http://nypost.com/2017/01/15/trumps-friend-fell-in-love-with-dog-she-offered-for-white-house/

            And, the NNT campaign is morphing into Make America Glamorous Again:

            “…The events begin Tuesday with the Chairman’s Dinner, which includes diplomats, dignitaries, donors and backers.

            Trump tapped powerhouse party planner Stephanie Winston Wolkoff to oversee the event, as well as a candlelight dinner on Thursday and the three inaugural balls Friday.

            A former Vogue events director, Winston Wolkoff had planned the Met Gala for years. She is also a friend of Melania Trump’s. …”

            http://nypost.com/2017/01/15/trump-involved-in-every-detail-of-upcoming-inaugural-festivities/

            See you later, in another thread.

          • Frank Natoli

            take a peek at “Kelly’s Heroes”, where the details of dealing with Tiger tanks when all you have handy is a Sherman are laid out beautifully
            You are thinking of the scene were Donald Sutherland / Oddball, hanging on the muzzle end of his Sherman’s 76mm, in a stage whisper back to his crew says “Mark VI, got him by the ass”?

          • f1b0nacc1

            Precisely. I would have also accepted the wonderful tank assault on the rail yard (done to the accompaniment of Hank Williams singing ‘All for the Love of Sunshine’), as an outstanding example of how a tank platoon can quickly overrun a poorly prepared position.

            The key to a long and successful life as a Sherman crew was to make use of the tank’s real advantages (reliability, mobility, and – especially in the E8 – a very fast turret slew) to move tactically. It is interesting to note that when the Sherman was able to manuver freely, it had an excellent record against even tanks like the Tiger or the Panther, but when it was forced to attack frontally (the bocage country was the best example of this), it tended to do very poorly.

        • Andrew Allison

          I’d like to thank both you and my friend f1b0nacc1 for the fascinating discussion below. I’d also like to commend to you both Ken Follet’s extraordinary Century Trilogy. Among many, many other things, it describes the (literally) bloody lunacy of the British Army Command in WW1.

          • Frank Natoli

            Thank you, and I will get a copy of Follet.

          • Andrew Allison

            I look forward to your opinion of it.

          • Frank Natoli

            Just ordered book one via http://www.abebooks.com. Used hardcover, good condition, $3.77 including shipping.

  • Fat_Man

    Once is an accident. Twice is a coincidence. Thrice is enemy action.

    • rheddles

      Not when the enemy is PECO. Then it’s business as usual.

  • Jim__L

    Comrade Kev should be having one of those wonderful days at work, that only happen when the boss sees everything going exactly according to plan.

    Not that Putin is responsible for any or all of these things — but the fact that everyone is SAYING that he is, that “Russia’s back, baby!” — he must be having a blast.

  • FriendlyGoat

    Whatever can be stolen or vandalized to the point of destruction—-will be. Russia and China may sponsor and encourage advanced-level actors. But there is no reason why Iran, DPRK, ISIS or even lone wolves cannot also learn how to disrupt. This will be with us for the rest of our lives as a “new norm”.

  • Disappeared4x

    Add Ukraine’s hackers to this 2016 election cyberwreck, based on a report at Politico, and activity by the Atlantic Council: “Opinion: Ukraine Tried to Tip the Election in Clinton’s Favor: Evidence reveals that Ukraine intervened to tilt the election in favor of its national interests”
    By Michael Sainato • 01/12/17 12:33pm

    http://observer.com/2017/01/ukraine-hillary-clinton-donald-trump-election/
    Are the best hackers in Ukraine? Did Mossad train migratory birds to hack Ukraine into hacking Russia into invading Estonia?
    Apologies: taking a break with Tom Clancy’s 2013 “Command Authority” where Russia invades Estonia because Estonia relied on NATO, instead of building a wall. A perfect read for Friday the 13th, 2017.

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