Well, maybe

Longer than the Houses of Parliament and able to launch up to 108 air strike sorties per day, Britain’s new aircraft carriers will make potential enemies “think twice” about starting future wars, their senior naval officer has said.

The new Queen Elizabeth Class carriers will be become Britain’s most potent conventional weapon and change the way the Royal Navy does business, Capt Simon Petitt said.

Super. Although shouldn’t we actually get some planes on them first?

There’s a cheap explanation for this

Data on the life expectancy of aristocrats in England has fascinated researchers for years. Before the 1700s, dukes and their families had about the same life expectancy as average Brits. So there was no gap in longevity between the rich and the rest of the population.

Then, over the next 100 years, this changed dramatically — and the rich began to pull away from the poor in terms of health.

The professional army.

Before about 1700 aristos were those who led everyone into battle, after, not so much.

And battle does have certain lifespan shortening attributes to it…..

Do the three get a freebie?

A Norwegian fighter jet on a training exercise jet mistakenly machine-gunned a control tower with three officers inside, who survived unhurt, the military said Sunday.

Two F-16s were taking part in a mock attack on the uninhabited island of Tarva off Norway’s west coast when one of them opened fire with its M61 Vulcan cannon, which is capable of firing up to 100 rounds a second.

You know, a sort of return match? right, you, pilot, stand just there. You three, there’s your .50 cal machine guns. You have five seconds, starting……NOW!

So they were well experienced then?

UK firm ’employed former child soldiers’ as mercenaries in Iraq
Former director acknowledges Aegis Defence Services may have recruited former child fighters in Sierra Leone

And I’m really struggling to find out what the problem is here.

Contract documents say that the soldiers from Sierra Leone were paid $16 (£11) a day. A documentary, The Child Soldier’s New Job, to be broadcast on Monday in Denmark alleges that the estimated 2,500 Sierra Leonean personnel who were recruited by Aegis and other private security companies to work in Iraq included former child soldiers.

“When war gets outsourced, then the companies tries to find the cheapest soldiers globally. Turns out that that is former child soldiers from Sierra Leone. I think it is important that we in the west are aware of the consequences of the privatisation of war,” the film’s maker, Mads Ellesøe, said.

Employing child soldiers, obviously wrong. But “former”?

Ellery, who said he was speaking in a personal capacity, told the Guardian that it would be “quite wrong” to ask whether people had ever been child soldiers, as it would penalise people for things they had often been forced into doing.

He pointed out that under UN rules, child soldiers are not liable for war crimes. “They are, once they reach 18, in fact citizens with full rights to seek employment, which is a basic human right. So we would have been completely in error if, having gone to Sierra Leone, we excluded those people.”

How amusing about Skorzeny

A notorious former SS officer known as “Hitler’s commando” reportedly worked as an assassin for Israeli intelligence.
Lt-Col Otto Skorzeny, once described by British and American intelligence as “the most dangerous man in Europe”, was secretly recruited by Mossad after the Second World War, according to Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper.

But then I think there were quite a lot of such around. No, I don’t mean just Nazis who went on to do other things. But men for whom the excitement of war and battle was so great that the actual cause wasn’t the important point at all.

There were such on the British side too, popping up all over Africa in the next few decades. A proper shooting war simply suits some people. They revel in it.

Once the Telegraph would have got this right


The caption is:

Captain Dusek (left) is presented with flowers on arrival in port during a visit to Muroran, located on the northern island of Hokkaido

 Dusek is that first on he left. And it’s an old photo, where he is a Commander of course. Fraud in the provisioning of ships is of course as old as the navy itself. Getting ranks wrong though…..in he old days that second mistake would probably have created more letters to the editor….

So here’s an interesting new military theory

She warned that media stories about Mr Corbyn’s non-interventionism were having a negative impact and imagined a voter saying: “That Jeremy Corbyn you know, faced with terrorists he’d sit down and have a cup of tea with them or something.”

Ms Shawcroft went on: “Now I mean, you know, maybe we should try it! Bombing them and attacking them has got us nowhere, why don’t we get the teabags out?
“You know I did read a while ago about when the EDL were going round picketing outside mosques… One particular mosque in the Midlands somewhere just opened the doors and said would you like to come in for a cup of tea?
“And they went in for a cup of tea and now they’re friends with the EDL. Straight away the EDL are now like oh, well actually these people are not the monsters you know that we’re being told all this time, they’re actually human beings that you can sit down and have a cup of tea with.
“So you know I think we should bear in mind that having cups of tea might actually be the best kind of system of defence and national security that you could have, but there we are.”


Ms Shawcroft, who is on the steering committee for the pro-Corbyn activist group Momentum, has courted controversy previously.

Makes you wonder why the Stalinists didn’t just sit down and have a cup of tea with the kulaks. The BEF with the Panzergruppen.

Yes, Owen Jones is an idiot

More than seven in 10 of Britain’s top military brass had parents with the means to send them to private schools;

The military tends to run in families. People who are in the military get an allowance, from their employer the government, to send their kids to public (for non-UK types, private) schools. Thus is the incidence of the privately educated in the Armed Forces explained, not by inherited wealth.

Rumour has it

Australia boosts defence spending with eye on South China Sea tensions
HMAS Canberra after completion of exercises off the New South Wales Coast.
Australia will buy £100 billion worth of equipment over the next decade – a budget increase of £13 billion – to address China’s growing assertiveness in the South China Sea

Australian icebreaker runs aground in Antarctica

Two stories one after the other in The Telegraph. And rumour has it that they will buy some charts of the rocks and reefs with that 100 billion.

Odd thought.

So, Field Marshals (and Adm Fleet etc) never retire. They just go on half pay.

So, what happens to their accumulated pension rights? Widows pensions, lump sum payouts and all that?

Not a very important question as it happens what, two or three times a generation, but still…..

This is rather fun

A record-breaking British Army sniper who killed Taliban insurgents from more than a mile and a half away has revealed it took six seconds to find out if his hit was successful.
In November 2009 Sergeant Craig Harrison, 40, recorded the longest confirmed kill ever made when he shot two militant assassins from a range of 2,475 metres – more than 900 metres beyond his rifle’s effective range.

The fun being that the bloke he took the record from, a Czech sniper, was part of the group chatting in the pub last night.

And the Americans follow the Royal Navy

I wouldn’t say that this is the whole story but it probably is part of it:

The largest destroyer ever built for the US Navy cut an imposing figure as it drifted down the Kennebec River in Maine and toward the open ocean on Monday.
The USS Zumwalt, a 610-foot, 15,000-ton behemoth, will undergo sea trials before joining the US fleet some time next year.

Its pricetag of $4.4 billion (£2.9 billion) is almost as astounding as its bulk, but Navy Captain James Kirk, the ship’s skipper, said he was “fired up” for the Zumwalt to finally set off for the Atlantic Ocean.

Back when, the UK politicians weren’t all that keen on paying the price for more battleships. Do we really need them?

So the Navy went off and bought things that were pretty much battleships but called them cruisers. And then the politicians, a decade or more later, started to ask, well, do we actually need cruisers? Do we have to pay for them in this modern world? So the Navy went off and bought things that were pretty much battleships but called them destroyers.

Not entirely and absolutely true but sorta.

And of course the final end result of this will be corvettes, sometime in the 2200s, carrying a full air arm.

Yes, and?

In a written reply to a parliamentary question by Left-wing MP Andrej Hunko, Angela Merkel’s government admitted that it was still paying out over €100,000 (£71,000) a year in pensions to survivors and relatives of troops from the so-called Blue Division, in whose ranks Spanish volunteers fought on the Eastern Front.


Mr Hunko, of The Left (Die Linke) party, said it was “a scandal that 70 years after the war, Germany is still paying more than €100,000 a year to Nazi collaborators”.
He added: “At that time, those people volunteered to join the German fascists to fight on their side in the war of extermination in eastern Europe. For me it is incomprehensible that the German government should stick to those payments when so many victims of the war are still waiting today for their rightful compensation.”

The United States stopped paying the last of the Confederate war pensions in the 1980s. Russia still pays Soviet pensions to those who manned the Gulag. Germany is still paying pensions to those who shot people trying to get over the Berlin Wall.

Err, no

Death in Helmand: Is Alex Blackman murderer or merely mortal?

No, really. Whatever the facts of the case (and I know too few to be able to judge) the point is not that Blackman is mortal or not, but that the people he shot turned out to be all too mortal.

Some women can do this but not many

According to a U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center study released in 2004, the average fighting load carried by an infantry rifleman operating in Afghanistan was 63 pounds before adding a rucksack. The average approach-march load in combat, which includes a light rucksack, was 96 pounds. The average emergency-approach-march load, which includes a larger rucksack, was 127 pounds.

True, it’s not the majority of men that can do it either but…..I think I would say that physical differences do mean that outcome equality in the military is unlikely at best.