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Sadly, no one can make this movie

The head of a notorious pro-Kremlin mercenary group has told inmates at a Russian prison that they will be set free if they survive a six-month tour of duty in Ukraine, but executed if they try to desert.

The offer was made to convicts at a prison camp in central Russia by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a wealthy tycoon who runs the Wagner Group private military contractor. The group’s fighters have been accused of war crimes in Ukraine and Syria.

“In six months you will go home, having been pardoned,” Prigozhin, 61, told inmates at the prison in central Russia. “There is no chance of returning to prison.” Those who refuse to fight after arriving in Ukraine would be classified as deserters, he said. “And then they will be shot.”

The plot’s already been used, hasn’t it?

Arlington and Confederates

This does seem a bit off, more than a bit off:

Panel says Confederate memorial at Arlington cemetery should be dismantled

We don’t tear down monuments to the German dead of the wars – the dead are the dead, not political footballs.

Plus there’s the obvious point that Arlington is actually in Robert E Lee’s own damn garden.

Why would any of us want to tie up with Germany militarily?

Olaf Scholz called for a common European air defence system in a major speech on the EU’s future on Monday, saying the bloc needed to close ranks against Russia.

Mr Scholz, the German chancellor, said such a system would be “a security win for the whole of Europe” as he proposed reforms on military cooperation.

Given that Germany’s not going to bring any military to the table?

“Russia will define itself in opposition to the European Union for the foreseeable future. [Vladimir] Putin will exploit any disagreement between us, any weakness,” he said in an hour-long speech at Prague’s Charles University.

Vova’s not really said that much about the EU. It’s NATO he hates….

On that 20% RAF target

Given that the UK is some 13% BAME, then why are the RAF trying to recruit 20% such?

Because in the age group they’re recruiting from it’s more like 20% BAME. Which is an interesting comment on how fast it all is changing, isn’t it?

Umm, no, really, just no

Troops at the 170-year-old Victoria Barracks traditionally play pipe calls three times a day, once at 6am, again at 12.30pm for lunch and finally at 6pm for the last parade.

However, in a message to the Ballater & Crathie Community Group on Facebook, Major Weir said it had become “apparent not everyone enjoys getting up at 0600 to Johnny Cope” – a popular Scottish folk song.

He said he had received a number of “somewhat polite complaints to his staff”.

While asking if people could stop swearing at the soldiers, Major Weir wrote: “I’ll move morning pipe call to 0700hrs weekdays and there will be no pipe calls at weekends.

“I hope this gesture demonstrates my desire to integrate with the local community at the expense of my own orders.”

Just no.

Move near to a barracks then tough…..

Has to be read to be believed

How 13 Whitehall mandarins crippled Britain’s aircraft carriers – and how to fix them

Incredible report from Lewis Page. The paper’s libel lawyers will have been all over this. We must assume that he can back it up therefore…..

Umm, no, not really

Two nuclear bombs exploded in 1966 after US aircraft involved in mid-air collision over Palomares in Almería

I think we’d have noticed if they had.

Of the four 1.5 megatonne nuclear bombs the B-52 was carrying, three fell to Earth, of which two exploded as conventional bombs, spreading radioactive debris over a wide area, while the fourth landed in the sea. It was recovered 80 days later.

The triggers went off, perhaps, but the nuclear bombs did not.

Nice try but no ceeegar

Ukraine must be rebuilt as a fortress of Western values – here’s a blueprint
If the people of Russia look across the border and see a beacon of Western capitalism, it will be the final rebuke to Vladimir Putin

How about the place be rebuilt as a fortress of Ukrainian values? That’s what folk are dying for isn’t it?

So, what was it?

Ten killed and 200 injured in Jordan toxic gas explosion
Footage on state TV shows cylinder plunging from crane on a moored ship at Aqaba, causing a violent release of a yellow gas
He called on residents of Aqaba to “stay in their homes and shut all windows as a precaution”, saying the chemical substance was very dangerous but not specifying what it was.

Be interesting to know. Industrial or arms?

Can’t these people sodding count?

Britain’s decision to delay the purchase of 14 Chinook helicopters to save money will actually cost taxpayers £300 million because they will be more expensive later, an official report has found, amid warnings of a “worrying inability to control costs”.

It’s a $2 billion contract.

If inflation is 10% a year then that’s $600 million off the price for a 3 year delay (you know, -ish-ish). The nominal sum might well rise to try to meet that.

But the idea that delay in spending money in inflationary times adds to the net present cost is an absurdity, isn’t it.

Yes, yes, the enemy, now be fair

Russians turn to crowdfunding for ill-equipped soldiers in Ukraine
Everything from rifle scopes to boots have been sent to troops, paid for by ‘patriots’ through fundraising initiatives

Why are they “patriots”? Why the “”?

We see endless stories about how Estonians (was it?) have crowdfunded a drone for Ukraine for example.

Yes, yes, war, enemies, friends, etc, but let’s be British about this, shall we?

Which numbers should we believe?

Russia may have lost a third of the invasion force it sent into Ukraine as its offensive continues to struggle in the face of stiff resistance, British military intelligence has said.

Not, perhaps, that one. Apparently 190,000 went in. And one third of that is 65k odd. Do we believe that’s the death number there?

Probably not. Or, we probably would believe that units amounting to 65k have been degraded sufficiently that without significant reorganisation, relief and or renewal they’re not ready to fight. That we might indeed believe.

“Russia has now likely suffered losses of one-third of the ground combat force it committed in February,” it said.

“Russian forces are increasingly constrained by degraded enabling capabilities, continued low morale and reduced combat effectiveness.

“Many of these capabilities cannot be quickly replaced or reconstituted and are likely to continue to hinder Russian operations in Ukraine.

We have military types reading here, what say you? Do they mean “one third no longer effective fighting units” or do they mean 30% in coffins?

Former Worstalls

Someones putting up RAF career records, bit by bit.

They reached GrandPops.

One of the things this confirms is an old family story that he was indeed at Cranwell with Frank Whittle. Both of them being aircraft apprentices (ie, common folk taken on to be artificers) who were picked up by the RAF to train as officers and thus cross into being gentlemen. The RAF being the first of the services to do this in modern times as I understand it.

There’s a mention of him in The Times archives in, I think, 1929, when he walked away from a crash bomber. Telling the journo that that was his 8 th crash so far…..

Not hugely a surprise

President Putin is demanding that provinces in the far east of Russia provide him with 200 “volunteer” soldiers a week but he has spared Moscow from recruitment, according to a Ukrainian think tank.

The Centre for Defence Strategies said that the Kremlin was concentrating its recruitment on the far east and Siberia to sustain the war in Ukraine.

Armies have often concentrated on the rural rubes for their footsloggers….

Hmm, well, yes, good initiative but

I even collected metal from the missiles but couldn’t find anyone to buy it,” says Myrhorod. “I’m 30 years old. I’ve got legs and arms, but nobody wants them.”

From missiles it’ll be mostly aluminium. $1500 a tonne for scrap, maybe, about? Not many buyers in an actual war zone, to be fair, but definitely worth piling up in a courtyard for when it’s over.

The actual thing that’s worth tons of money is the brass scrap from fired bullets and shells – the cartridges. There’s actually a whole specialist little industry segment that deals with it.

Has to be specialist because, of course, before you put it into a furnace you’ve got to really know, know know know, that it’s expended and not merely a misfire.

The Russian Steamroller

Used to be a big thing in European geopolitics. Even, a Big Thing.

It would take Russia near forever to actually mobilise its troops. But given the fertility of those serfs once it did there would be just so many ill-trained mobs of cannon fodder that no professional military would be able to resist it.

The Germans sorta disproved this in WWI – tech plus training beats numbers. They lost the rematch.


Vladimir Putin is set to declare all-out war on Ukraine as his military chiefs seek “payback” for their invasion failures, according to Russian sources and Western officials.

Frustrated army chiefs are urging the Russian president to drop the term “special operation” used for the invasion and instead declare war, which would enable mass mobilisation of Russians.

Just how much use is ill-trained, or even untrained, infantry on a modern battlefield? My best guess is close to zero, and that approaching from the negative side.

Actual military minds here might be able to illuminate…..

Just to add from personal observation. Yes, Russian conscription, supposedly all adult males (except those with any connection to get them out of it, ie, near all the urban middle classes and above) have had that basic training. But the idea that the Russian military actually believes they’ve done anything other than hand lift potatoes in that time is absurd. What probably matters here is how much Russian politics believes they’ve done anything other than hand lift potatoes. One of those things about autocracies, the autocrats might not be all that well plugged into reality.