On being awarded the Military Cross

The number two gallantry medal for actions involving the enemy, behind only the Victoria Cross.

So a Gurkha Corporal is awarded one (along with others) for the following action.

Corporal Mohansingh Tangnami, 29, from the western part of Nepal, was recognised for his steadfastness under enemy fire throughout the tour.

On one patrol, he carried a wounded comrade to safety before braving fire again to collect the man\’s ammunition and gun to prevent it falling into the wrong hands.

Good man that. His reaction?

"I still don\’t believe that I met the Queen," he said today.

And there are still people who oppose proper pensions and the right of settlement in this country for these men?

Tee Hee

There is a long tradition of the military suppressing news that it considers detrimental to national security by slapping a D-notice on it.

But when the D-notice committee decided that the time was ripe to publish its own official history, nobody imagined that it would fall victim to its own system. The history of the D-notice committee has, in effect, had a D-notice slapped on it by the D-notice committee.

Hurrah, hurrah!

Finally, some sense in this matter:

In reality, Mr Justice Blake said…….. "The court is conscious that at the heart of military life and the sacrifices that soldiers make in the discharge of their duties is the military covenant. "Rewarding long and distinguished service by the grant of residence in the country for which the service was performed would, in my judgment, be a vindication and an enhancement of this covenant."

Damn right, they fight for us, are willing to die for us, it really isn\’t all that much to ask that we offer them the opportunity to live amongst us.

 

Thanks Michael

We owe this little problem to Michael Heseltine.

MOD officials are said to be in talks with foreign powers to offload the Eurofighter Typhoons after running up a £2 billion deficit.

The Royal Air Force had ordered 144 Typhoons and is committed to buying a further 88 after signing up to a trade agreement with Spain, Italy and Germany.

The MOD would incur severe financial penalties if it reneged on the deal and is said to be sounding out other countries to take the unwanted jets.

For it was indeed he, in an orgry of federastism, who signed us up to this take or pay contract in the first place.

Gee, thanks Mickey.

Hang on a minute

Yes, while these two stories do indeed show a gap in compensation, it\’s not quite the gap that this writer thinks it is.

What price a life that might have been? If you are an 18-year-old footballer whose chance of a professional career was ended by an over-zealous tackle that broke your leg, then it is £4.5?million.

If you are a young soldier who loses both legs and suffers brain damage in action in Afghanistan, then it is a fraction of that sum.

I do not begrudge Ben Collett the millions he was awarded in compensation this week, but can it be so readily assumed that every young sportsman or woman who shows early potential will go on to fulfil it, and earn accordingly?

Collett, now 23, and about to begin a degree in English at Leeds, has his health and an independent life ahead. The same cannot be said for L/Bdr Ben Parkinson, the most severely injured British soldier to survive a landmine explosion. His paltry compensation of £151,000 was increased after a media campaign.

The larger number is the total compensation for lost wages that the footballer received. His wages as a top flight footballer would have been large, I think we can all agree (about that sum per year probably) and have then been reduced by the probability that he wouldn\’t make it into that top flight.

The compensation received by the soldier is the immediate compensation. He also (unless I am extraordinarily wrong about how such things work) gets a pension from the Army.

Yes, I too think that his compensation is too low but we should at least be comparing like with like: full sums with full sums, not full sum without ongoing payments.

South Ossetia, Georgia,

Russia and Abkhazia.

You know, I think this one really might be all about the oil.

Not the drilling of it, the transport of it.

Have a look at this map.

If you want to get oil and gas from the Caspian to Europe (which we do want to do) without going through Russian territory (which we do want to do and which Russia would prefer we didn\’t) then you\’ve pretty much got to go through Georgia.

And if you\’re Russia, knowing that your own economy is hugely dependent upon oil and gas, that the countries just to your south are gearing up to increase production, you\’d rather like to be able to control the transport of that, wouldn\’t you?

So, if not toppling the regime and installing a puppet, at least browbeating the Georgians so that they don\’t get uppity ideas about allowing more pipelines across the country…..well, attractive geo-political manouvre, no?

You\’ve even got a couple of minor little ethnic disputes that you\’ve kept bubbling away or 15 years to act as pretexts….

I\’m not normally this cynical, but perhaps this really is all about the oil (pipelines)?

Matthew Croucher

This was always likely, wasn\’t it?

L/Cpl Matthew Croucher will become part of a select of group of just 20 living George Cross holders when the Queen awards him the medal, which is given for acts showing the same level of heroism as the Victoria Cross.

The Marine had less than seven seconds to make up his mind on whether to risk sacrificing his own life to save his friends when the hand grenade rolled onto the ground during an operation in Afghanistan earlier this year.

Without hesitating he chose to chance death and save his three fellow Royal Marines.

A Prediction

The maximum payout for a severely wounded British soldier, currently set at £285,000, is expected to be increased to £570,000, in addition to a guaranteed income for life.

Campaigners have long argued that payments made to soldiers such as Paratrooper Ben Parkinson, who received £152,150 after being seriously injured in a landmine explosion in Afghanistan last year, are unacceptably low.

My prediction? Some little shit will start insisting that this only applies to people wounded from now on.

Giving injured troops priority in the NHS also seems entirely sensible although again I see a potential problem. If troops are vital workers, then so are policemen, NHS workers themselves, outreach workers….how long before we have a truly two tier NHS, one where those who work for the State get priority?

Would have been so much simpler not to have abolished the military hospital system, wouldn\’t it?

You What?

So the French Marines have a display day. So they have some fake hostage release exercises as part of that display day. All pretty normal so far.

Fifteen civilians and two soldiers were injured in the incident which involved a demonstration by members of a marines parachute regiment of hostage liberation exercises.

Four of the 17 were seriously injured, with two described as critical, following "incomprehensible" scenes at the barracks near Carcassone, in the country\’s south-west.

The problem? Someone issued live ammo instead of blanks. Or rather, someone used live ammo instead of blanks.

One soldier had been detained last night. Although no explanation was immediately forthcoming for why the wrong ammunition was loaded into weapons, police said there was no suggestion it was a deliberate act.

Military men might want to contest that no suggestion. I can\’t imagine any way that a trained soldier wouldn\’t know the difference.

Those Iraqi Interpreters

Sigh.

The interpreters, many of whom are married with children, applied to move to Britain under a scheme set up in coordination with the UN’s refugee agency UNHCR. But this first requires applicants to travel to a third country to gain refugee status.

The process is far more time-consuming than simply airlifting the Iraqis direct to Britain – an option that is open only to those who are still working for the British Forces in southern Iraq or a government department.

Ali, who had been waiting in hiding in Iraq, was told in April that he would be among the first batch to go to Amman to apply for asylum. British officials in Basra gave him $6,200 (£3,100) to cover his expenses – married couples received slightly more.

Ali and the rest of the group were then told that “the procedure would take just six weeks”, he said. “When we reached Amman, the UNHCR said we would have to stay six months, maybe longer.”

Wonderful, don\’t you think? That people should have to sit in Jordan for 6 months while the bureaucrats play with pieces of paper? For no real or apparent reason of course: it\’s already been decided that they should come here, that we owe them a debt and that we should pay up on that debt.

So why are the fuckwits doing this to them?

Turn Off the Redial Button!

Tee Hee.

A couple from Oregon lived through the ultimate redial nightmare, however, when they found a three-minute answering machine message from their son, a soldier in Afghanistan who had inadvertently called home during a battle.

The family told KPTV, in Portland, Oregon, that Stephen Phillips and comrades in his military police unit were engaged in a gunfight with Taleban insurgents when his phone pressed against his Humvee and redialled his parents in the town of Otis.

Sandie Petee, Mr Phillips\’s mother, and her husband, Jeff Petee, were out at the time but returned to find the message. They could hear shooting, swearing and desperate pleas for more ammunition.

Soldiers Rights

This all seems very strange to me I must say:

In a blow to Des Browne, the Defence Secretary, a senior judge said troops in combat zones have a "right to life" at all times, even while under fire on the battlefield.

Makes you rather wonder whether the politicians actually read and understood the Human Rights Act 1998 before they waved it into law.

This I rather like though:

But rejecting Mr Browne\’s bid, the judge said: "A finding that there was a failure to act in a particular way does not appear to determine a question of civil liability. I do not think that findings of fact, however robustly stated, can be forbidden."

Rock on Judge! A finding of fact being simply another word fo "truth".

Arms Dealing

Alex picks up on a fun story involving the flogging of very dodgy ammunition by a bunch of 20 year olds to the Pentagon\’s client forces.

What makes it all the more fun for me is that my buddy was the underbidder on that contract. Several times in fact. Clearly too expensive as he intended (and priced accordingly) to deliver in date useful stuff.

A lot of people are wondering how this little company got that contract.

Rifleman Bhanubhakta Gurung VC

Quite.

Here.

However, during the night the Japanese attacked Snowdon East in overwhelming strength, killing half the Gurkhas on it; the remainder, completely out of ammunition, managed to cut their way through to their comrades on Snowdon.

The following day "B" Company, with which Bhanubhakta was serving, was ordered to retake Snowdon East "regardless of cost".

Bhanubhakta\’s citation (in which his name was spelled Bhanbhagta) recorded that: "On approaching the objective, one of the sections of the company was forced to the ground by a very heavy light-machine-gun, grenade and mortar fire, and owing to the severity of this fire was unable to move in any direction.

"While thus pinned down, the section also came under accurate fire from a sniper in a tree some 75 yards to the south. As this sniper was inflicting casualties on the section, Rifleman Bhanbhagta Gurung stood up and, while fully exposed to heavy fire, calmly killed the enemy sniper with his rifle, thus saving his section from suffering further casualties."

Bhanubhakta then began to run for the top of the hill, yelling for his comrades to follow him. Though the casualties were heavy, the section ploughed forward until within 20 yards of their objective, when the Gurkhas were again halted by exceptionally heavy fire.

Without waiting for any orders, Bhanubhakta dashed forward alone and attacked the first enemy foxhole. Throwing two grenades, which killed the two occupants of the trench, he immediately rushed on to the next enemy foxhole and killed the two Japanese in it with his bayonet.

All this time he was under continuous light-machine-gun fire from a bunker on the north tip of the objective, and two further fox-holes were still bringing fire to bear upon the section. Bhanubhakta dashed forward and cleared these trenches with bayonet and grenades.

He then turned his attention to the machine-gun bunker, and realising, as the citation put it, that it "would hold up not only his own platoon which was not behind him, but also another platoon which was advancing from the west", he pushed forward a fifth time to knock out the position.

"He ran forward and leapt on to the roof of the bunker from where, his hand grenades being finished, he flung two No 72 smoke grenades into the bunker\’s slit." Two Japanese rushed out of the bunker, partially blinded by the smoke and with their clothes aflame with phosphorous; Bhanubhakta promptly killed them both with his kukri.

One Japanese soldier remained inside, holding up 4 Platoon\’s advance with the machine gun. Bhanubhakta crawled in and, prevented by the cramped space from using his bayonet or kukri, beat the gunner\’s brains out with a rock.

Most of the objectives had now been cleared by the men behind, but the enemy which had been driven off were collecting for a counter-attack beneath the north end of the objective.

Bhanubhakta ordered the nearest Bren gunner and two riflemen to take up positions in the captured bunker with him, from where they repelled the enemy counter-attack.

Could be Better

Seumas Milne on Hamas, Gaza and Israel:

More than 120 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza by Israeli forces in the past week, of whom one in five were children and more than half were civilians, according to the Israeli human rights group B\’Tselem. During the same period, three Israelis were killed, two of whom were soldiers taking part in the attacks.

I agree this is more than a little bloodthirsty but redo those numbers. In urban fighting, scragging 50% enemy soldiers, with 50% civilian casualties (the so called "collateral damage"), taking out 60 armed enemy while losing 2 of your own. In most armies that would be considered a very respectable result.

The ins and outs of why the fighting is going on, sorry, but this has been going on since I learned to read and I\’m sure it will still be doing so when I am decomposing in the grave and beyond reading about it. I\’m afraid that it all simply washes over me: but I suspect that those actual figures quoted by Milne simply aren\’t evidence of the atrocities that he wants us to believe they are.

 

Right On!

The one redeeming feature of the place was the kids. They were anarchic, testosterone fuelled, BMX heroes who could find a way through two insurance padlocks and an engine immobiliser on a piece of site plant in 10 minutes flat. They were fit, lean, lithe, careless of any danger, disrespectful of any authority, infinitely crafty and resourceful and bored out of their skulls. The kids were at war with the whiny minging estate cunts. You can tell I liked them.

I had a visit from the local plod sergeant – a weasel faced little dickhead puffed with the stupidity of his own importance but who hadn\’t outgrown his acne scars. He wanted my help to \’trap\’ some of the kids. "We can\’t let PCSOs patrol here because the kids throw stones at them" he said. "Well, they don\’t fucking throw stones at me, mate" I said "Perhaps it\’s because I treat them like adults and have a banter and a laugh with them". He didn\’t like that.

What the place needed more than anything else was a paternal seen-it-all NCO with 20 years under his belt and a pile of attestation forms – these kids were God\’s own natural soldiers. Three months at Catterick and swapping their BMXs for GPMGs and I swear to God they would have out-soldiered, out-fought, out-thought and trounced any other foreign military force on the planet.

We have traditionally produced the finest infantry in the world from precisely those kids: mix in those NCO\’s and add a few chinless wonders to wave batons and drawl, "Come on men, I know you won\’t let The Regiment down" and you can conquer a quarter of the globe, as we did.

We might not want to do the conquering bit again but the (voluntary, of course) training might not be a bad idea, eh?

Potassium Nitrate?

Seriously?

Yesterday the Israeli announced that the IDF and Shin Bet had found “6.5 tons of potassium nitrate hidden in sacks that were disguised as aid from the European Union”.

Potassium nitrate? Saltpetre? People are making explosives out of black gunpowder?

Sheesh, you\’d think they would have caught up with the IRA by now and be using ammonium nitrate and derv by now, wouldn\’t you?