Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Killer Angel

Comparatively few people, if asked to list some of the most important defense contractors of World War 2 would mention the Crosley Corporation. The Crosley who? But this relatively obscure company produced the first batches of what became known as the proximity fuze without whose aid the US Navy would probably have been annihilated by the Kamikazes off Okinawa.

Vannevar Bush, head of the U.S. Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD) during this war, credited it with three significant effects. It was important in defense from Japanese Kamikaze attacks in the Pacific. It was an important part of the radar-controlled anti-aircraft batteries that finally neutralized the German V-1 bomb attacks on England. Third, it was released for use in land warfare for use in the Battle of the Bulge, where it decimated German divisions caught in the open. The Germans felt safe from timed fire because the weather prevented accurate observation. Bush cites an estimated seven times increase in the effect of artillery with this innovation.

What the fuze does is simple. It detects the proximity, or nearness of a target and then detonates the main charge -- in most cases a shell. Before the proximity shell gunners had to guesstimate settings for a time fuze, a piece of clockwork or chemical train, so that shells would go off near their target. Since the five inch shell of the period had a lethal range of 70 yards, a region which a high speed shell would traverse in hundredths of a second, the guesstimate had to be correct to within this value. Not surprisingly the guesstimes were mostly wrong; and the Germans, who were the most methodical and precise of people, estimated it took over 3,300 88 mm shells to sucessfully shoot down a bomber flying straight and level over a city in Germany.

The USN did rather better. Using analog computers, which can be compared to an adjustable mechanical model which simulates a physical system, they could, by adjusting the settings so that the target aircraft's observed position coincided with the position predicted by the mechanical simulation, fire at wildly maneuvering targets like Kamikazes with much better precision than the Germans. But the fact that it took "only" a third of the number of 88s (it took 1,000 5"/38s to down a single suicider) was cold comfort. There wasn't time to fire that many shells at plunging aircraft. But the introduction of the proximity fuze meant a shell didn't have to hit directly, just pass near enough to damage an enemy plane, and that increased the lethality of gunnery once again, this time by a factor of five. It took 200 proximity fuzed 5"/38s to down a single Kamikaze.

Fire control and superior ordnance meant that USN ships effectively carried fifteen times the lethality per gun of their counterparts in Germany. The fire control and smart sensor revolution continues to this day. GPS, laser guidance, UAVs -- all the soft systems -- contribute far more to the "bang" than the bang itself. And since intelligence is to operations as fire control is to flak, the philosophically inclined will readily appreciate the importance of information systems in locating and directing a response toward the modern Kamikaze -- the radical Islamic terrorist.

And while it is tempting to attribute the superiority of the US Navy's anti-aircraft defenses (which were an order of magnitude better than anyone else's) to superior science, in reality the Navy advantages were due entirely to the superior application of science. People who have lived in the digital electronic age would be astounded to learn how in the 1930s and 40s people built near real-time computing devices with gears, cams and levers. They could stabilize an input, add them, multiply them, perform nonlinear functions and even do integration with objects that were reproducible in principle by a 19th century precision machine shop. There were no new principles involved, just new ways of use. In today's terminology, the USN's fire control advantage would be entirely due to business process innovations. (And BTW, the reader who has been following the links on this page will have possibly come to realize the solution to one of the great what-might-have-beens of World War 2. If an Iowa class met a Yamato class battleship in normal conditions the Iowa would have sent the Yamato to Davy Jones's locker in short order. Not simply because the 16"/50 had almost as good a pentration as the Yamato's 18.1" guns but because it's fire control systems were immeasurably better. - W.)

But just when you think ordnance and fire control can be developed no further, someone goes and takes it a step further. David Hambling at Wired has been following the reactive fragment revolution. It's a technology that makes the fragments of a warhead themselves smart weapons. Ordinarily fragments are just cleverly shaped hunks of metal. Reactive fragments, however, are by their very composition warheads in themselves. They can explode with controllable effects and improve the lethality of today's already deadly ammunition by 500 percent. That is about the same order of improvement as the proximity fuze had over its mechanical counterpart. What is counterintuitive is more utility can sometimes be achieved by dialling the warhead down to a fraction of its normal lethality. As I remarked in earlier posts, much of the expense and sophistication of modern weaponry comes not from making the bang bigger but more controllable and precise.

This makes it possible for reactive fragment warheads to do science fiction things. One of the ways the US military plans to use them is to create variably lethal effects. One concept calls for the ability to "set warheads to stun". Change the same setting and the same warhead can be "set to disintegrate". Somewhere out there the ghost of Gene Rodenberry is smiling.

But unfortunately technology proliferates. And in due time reactive fragmentation warheads will be part of every terrorist arsenal; and they (without a childhood of Star Trek to brainwash them) won't be interested in "setting warheads to stun". It will always be set to disintegrate. For example, one of the things the new materials can do is make EFPs much more lethal, a subject which would interest Teheran to no end. Wired says that "even Explosively Formed Penetrators, or EFPs, the 'superbombs' used to such deadly effect in Iraq and Afghanistan are candidates for the reactive materials revolution" because you can make the explosive slug do much more than just punch holes. BTW, the American Special Forces version of the EFP is lethal enough as it is:

America has its own EFP weapons, including the SLAM, or Selectable Lightweight Attack Munition, issued to Special Forces. The two-pound mine is small enough to fit in a jacket pocket, so several can be carried, and when triggered the metal slug will go through 40mm of armor at 25 feet. The mine can be used in several modes, with a built-in IR motion sensor and magnetic sensor, attached to a trip-wire, or on time delay as a demolition device.

Now the makers, ATK, are looking at enhancing SLAM by supplementing the copper liner with reactive material, (warning, large Powerpoint file) with the aim of an "increased target set and effectiveness."

We know that Iranian EFPs are being used against American vehicles in Iraq, but one wonders where on the modern battlefield the American SLAM is being used. But maybe those are questions for future historians (if civilization still exists) to answer. Back in 1945 practically nobody had heard of the proximity fuze. And still fewer knew about the Crosley Corporation. And yet even when future academics have traced out the last amazing narrative detail of today's saga to improve our destructive potential, and they wonder, even as we marvel today at the mechanical multipliers and integrators of the 1930s, the question will be why? Why do people ceaselessly bend every inch of their ingenuity toward improving their ability to destroy each other? Hamlet had an opinion.

I will tell you why; so shall my anticipation
prevent your discovery, and your secrecy to the king
and queen moult no feather. I have of late--but
wherefore I know not--lost all my mirth, forgone all
custom of exercises; and indeed it goes so heavily
with my disposition that this goodly frame, the
earth, seems to me a sterile promontory, this most
excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave
o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted
with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to
me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours.
What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason!
how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how
express and admirable! in action how like an angel!
in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the
world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me,
what is this quintessence of dust? man delights not
me: no, nor woman neither, though by your smiling
you seem to say so.

We have not yet created a business process patent for improvements in the human heart.

The Belmont Club is supported largely by donations from its readers.


Blogger Teresita said...

Wretchard, with our own development of precision-guided ordinance, we are now expected by the rest of the world to always hit the bad guys and never harm any human shields. (Of course, Islamic Jihad can target a shopping center in Sderot, Israel and Israel is supposed to restrain themselves lest they merely Perpetrate the Cycle of Violence but that is another topic). At any rate, the existence of special fragments that allow artillery to be "set to stun" creates the new expectation by the world that the US must use non-lethal force in combat, because our technology permits it. The World Policeman shall hereafter be expected to use (essentially) tear gas and rubber bullets to ensure the free flow of oil to our impatient, critical allies.

5/14/2008 02:22:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Ronald Reagan:

Frontiers of Progress - 1961 Sales Meeting

Then came the 1930's---and another step forward into the frontiers of computer progress. General Electric announced the A-C Network Analyzer--resembling a telephone switchboard in appearance, the machine was built before the mathematics were available, and from this computer came the mathematics that ultimately explained to the systems engineer how his transmission system really worked.

These were the Gershwin years and General Electric was pioneering many other new ventures.

Prior to World War II--about 1938--GE engineers and scientists developed a differential analyzer for use in the study of Radar, rotating machinery, and airplane stresses. They were the only practical computers available to the United States at the start of World War II.

During the war, the computer-control systems developed by General Electric for the B-29 were so accurate that fire control far exceeded that of any previously developed plane in this country or abroad.
Following the war---while reviewing the past of those hard-sell years General Electric pioneered many computer frontiers.

They were using differential analyzers at White Sands, New Mexico to obtain trajectory data for firing V -2 rockets.

There was OARAC, a specialized development for the U. S. Air Force. Then came a "Robot Psychologist", known as a Psychological Matrix Rotator, developed for the Department of Defense. It is still used to literally "see" that the right man gets the right Army job. And, during the Korean War, many additional specialized computers were developed by the Company for controlling flight and gunfire of speeding jet planes during combat.

5/14/2008 03:00:00 PM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

Why do people ceaselessly bend every inch of their ingenuity toward improving their ability to destroy each other?

Because even pre-homo sapiens homonids understood that tools augment muscles and size. In this world there are penetrators and penetratees. Those who would resist penetration must have better tools.

God didn't make all men equal. Colonel Colt did.

Love these history threads.

5/14/2008 03:05:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

doug, wasn't that the K1 gunsight -- the successor to the deflector sight used in WWII ?

5/14/2008 03:08:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Something else Wretchard,

Force multiplication has reached the tail end of the military force structure - at least in the Marine Corps.

Now, we have a much smaller support structure polishing the teeth of the beast.

We have tens of thousands more Marines than on 9/11.

And, we have even more than that in the fleet.

Automation of many of the business practices is making the Corps far more deadly.

5/14/2008 03:18:00 PM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

Secret Fuze -- Tiny But Deadly from All Hands, November, 1945

JANUARY 15, 1944


5/14/2008 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

Before WWII the US always had a small professional military. Whenever war came civilians would fill the ranks. They often brought with them skills they acquired in civilian life that were readily adapted to solving military problems. When General Grant wanted to flank the Vicksburg defenses by building a road through a swamp, he found plenty of talent in the ranks to perform that feat.

As a result of this periodic mass infusion of civilian blood, our military didn't view itself as a caste set off from (and above) the rest of society. Which perhaps made them more open to innovations from outside the military profession.

My father described the development and use of the proximity fuse to me when I was a kid. I never forgot because it sounded like magic.

5/14/2008 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

The remarkable thing about the proximity fuse is that it used vacuum tubes. Normally thought of as fragile things, WWII tubes typically were made with steel envelopes instead of glass. I have WWII vintage metal tubes that still work fine. But the tubes the tubes used in the proximity fuse were able to withstand the shock of firing by being made very light; the lighter the components the less the effect of the G-loads. What is remarkable to me is that the same industry that was making military tubes designed to to be exceptionally robust could at the same time come up with the idea that the fuse application required them to be exceptionally light.

I think that the proximity fuse was so useful for stopping Kamikaze attacks because the range of the aircraft in the dive was constantly decreasing, thereby making timed fuses difficult to set, at best.

Crosley also built refrigerators, home desktop radios, automobiles (what today we would call a sub-compact), aviation engines, and even a few airplanes. The company is an example of the “tooth to tail” fallacy. Today the “tail” is the civilian economy that the “tooth” supposedly is defending.

In WWII the USN also used in combat the first ever “fire and forget” missiles (the acoustic homing torpedo and Bat missile), concepts that were at least 20 years ahead of their time. The threat of death concentrates the mind wonderfully!

5/14/2008 03:54:00 PM  
Blogger CAPT Caltrop said...

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5/14/2008 04:00:00 PM  
Blogger CAPT Caltrop said...

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5/14/2008 04:09:00 PM  
Blogger CAPT Caltrop said...

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5/14/2008 04:12:00 PM  
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5/14/2008 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger Brock said...

"We have not yet created a business process patent for improvements in the human heart."

How then can you explain the world-wide spread of peace? There are fewer wars now than at any point in history. The improvements to the human hear are already here, they're just not evenly distributed yet.

5/14/2008 04:15:00 PM  
Blogger CAPT Caltrop said...

>The World Policeman shall hereafter be expected to use (essentially) tear gas and rubber bullets to ensure the free flow of oil to our impatient, critical allies.

There's always the everpopular TV-generated why "can't we just shoot the guns out of their hands" Shooting the gun Oot of your enemy’s hand is a mythical option.

During a briefing prior to the failed Teheran rescue attempt in 1979, Colonel Charles Beckwith of Delta was asked what would happen if his men encountered members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. “We will take them out.” Deputy Secretary of State Warren Christopher asked if that phrase meant “shooting the guards in the shoulder.” Christopher was shocked to learn that meant shooting to kill. Colonel Beckwith was shocked that Christopher was shocked.

More recently Katie Couric interviewed a Federal Air Marshal. She asked if Air Marshals were taught to fire to disable, to “shoot the hijacker through the wrist perhaps.” She then learned to her horror that Air Marshals are trained to shot to kill. A hijacker shot in one hand still has two hands and determination. He continues to be dangerous to an aircraft full of passengers. A warrior has to look at the potential consequences, a federal air marshal must weigh the safety of several hundred passengers against the effectiveness of his shot. Wars for the most part must be shoot-to-kill events.

Wars are won by destroying your enemy’s will to fight. Historically that has meant destroying your enemy… not simply disabling him or his weaponry. Disabling is not enough to stop a determined enemy.

Today, too many in authority think we can prevail by simply shooting the gun out of our opponents’ hands, a mythical tactic. We proceed with a style that emphasizes form over substance. The approach is stylized and unrealistic and it leaves our warriors baffled by rules of engagement constructed upon mythology.

Look at the record of the recent Guantanamo releasees.

5/14/2008 04:28:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

"We have not yet created a business process patent for improvements in the human heart."

I don't think it's improvements in the human heart so much as the distribution of military capability that are behind the long peace. If we were to distribute military power equally, so that for example, the Palestinians had as much as the Israelis, we would soon see how much sweeter human nature has become.

One or two threads back a commenter argued that a "free sniper" with an Osama t-shirt was a much more clever and effective weapon than a Predator with a Hellfire. But that depends on how you cost things.

A society that spends a lot of money creating weapons that can be set to stun or that have a sub-meter accuracy is saving on human life. It places a value on reducing collateral damage. A society that will churn out maniacs by the million and arm them a simple Dragunov to pot at a rival tribesman in the street is going to pay another kind of cost. That same "free sniper" will eat off the arm in the neighborhood market and kidnap the local sheik's daughter in due time. Or set off a bomb in a pet market just for yuks -- or to create an atmosphere of terror. Because terror is power. And living under that power is an expensive proposition. That cost was exactly why the AQI lost favor in the Sunni triangle; and why the population eventually kicked them out. You see, Predators can be cheaper after all.

Our problem is we don't explain things this way. So that ironically it is the society with the precision weapons which winds up blamed for inhumanity. The statistical failures of precision weapons, for example, are taken as evidence of malign intent. Did the smart bomb miss on the hundredth sortie? It must have been intended to bomb the baby milk factory or the kitten breeding center, you brute. But if you go into a pizza parlor wearing a suicide vest full of nails, they'll light incense to your memory as the pilot of the "poor man's F-16". There are some people who actually claim that deaths from kassams fired from Gaza are Israel's fault because Israel could intercept the kassams "if it wanted to".

Some cultures happen to value life more than others. And in this juncture of history it so happens they have the military dominance. Hence the peace. If it were the other way round and the violent cultures had the preponderance of force we would be in an extended war instead of an extended peace.

All cultures are not equal. So when you get lucky and find your present culture works it is worth protecting. And to the extent that weapons preserve a society which values life weapons save lives. It is the this culture which is our most priceless legacy. And it is this legacy which is precisely denigrated by mindless relativism.

So when one hears the chant, "all we are saying is give peace a chance", the unasked question is 'are we giving peace a chance by placing the most violent cultures on the planet on pedestal'? And the scary thing is that no one has given the matter a thought. They'll just go on chanting.

Hamlet understood that it is the human heart which measures the world. Unless we value the fire within, then even the heavens "fretted
with golden fire" will cast no light upon a dark world.

5/14/2008 04:51:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Wonder how if the ''ban-the-bomb'' movement of the 60s-80s would've worked, and USA had banned the bomb?

5/14/2008 05:10:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

A parent of a son back from Iraq introduced him to an interested friend.
The friend asked how successful he thought they had been at changing hearts and minds.
He replied:
"That's the Army's job, Marines kill people and break things!"
Not sure, Buddy.
Crosley Links
1924 Pup Radio & Bonzo the dog

On, or about May 15, 1949, Crosley made history again. A new hydraulic brake replaced the previous mechanical brake system on all Crosley models. The new system happened to be disc brakes . . . and on all four wheels. This brake was a spot disc and was the granddaddy of all modern disc brakes.
So in 1949 you could buy an overhead cam engined, four wheel disc braked American sports car! And this sports car was cheaper than any other car on the market!
There had not been anything like it before and, sadly, there has not been anything like it since. America's only European style sports car was a Crosley.

In the 1930's Crosley expanded in the electrical field to refrigerators and other electrical appliances. In the process he produced the "Shelvadore" refrigerator which introduced to the world the idea of using the door of the refrigerator to hold food.

5/14/2008 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

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5/14/2008 05:21:00 PM  
Blogger Lucky Pierre said...

Buddy Larsen: Wonder how if the ''ban-the-bomb'' movement of the 60s-80s would've worked, and USA had banned the bomb?

I dunno. We banned skyjacking in the 60s too. Didn't seem to work.

5/14/2008 05:27:00 PM  
Blogger vnjagvet said...

In the early 50's, my uncle (then, a mechanical engineering asst prof at University of Florida) had a Crosley. It was the first car I ever drove -- he had a big lot, and let us 12 year olds drive there.


The overhead cam engine wound real tight, and the car really handled well.

Later, Crosley licensed its engine to an enthusiast named Fageol, who modified it into a boat engine.

My uncle bought one because he felt it was the best engine on the market. He still had it when he died twenty-five years later, and it ran like the proverbial top.

5/14/2008 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger vnjagvet said...

Here's a link for some information on the Fageol iteration of the Crosley engine.

5/14/2008 06:01:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

It is a curious thing to me. Societies like the Nazis and Imperial Japanese elevated worship of the State and respect for military might to a high degree. To them we were a bunch of sissies. Hitler called Christianity a religion for the weak. The Japanese Bushido Code was as fierce a creed as there ever was.

But the fact is, the Nazis and Japanese combined did not build enough heavy bombers to put on a decent airshow by American standards. The Nazis built one aircraft carrier and never deployed it. The Japanese built the greatest battleships the world has ever seen, and as Wretchard points out, one on one the Iowa class was far deadlier. If we had built the Montana class we had started in 1945, one of those probably could have taken on every battleship the IJN had and sunk them all in single afternoon. One of my teachers in High school, a WWII vet, pointed out that on the day that Japan surrendered the U.S. had 100 new ships enroute to the theater, ships so new that they had never seen combat.

In 1945 the USA introduced nuclear weapons to combat, and in 2003, in OIF, we introduced concrete filled smart bombs that could take out a tank without damaging the road it was on - rather extreme ends of the spectrum, and each very impressive in its own way.

So the ones that elevate military might to the highest pedestal are not nearly as good at it as are us sissies. Maybe we have developed a better human heart.

5/14/2008 06:47:00 PM  
Blogger Derek Kite said...

The real perversity of this whole thing is that most western nations, exist and have the money and stability and longevity due to the bomb and other deadly weapons.

Canada has lived under the nuclear umbrella of the US. The second or third largest land mass in the world, with a miniscule military. Only because of the overwhelming might of the nation to the south.

From time to time Canadians yearn for the dual pole world where they could sit in the middle secure as an untouchable middle ground.

Very strange. There is no nuclear umbrella now. Real decisions, real consequences are faced by all nations, including Canada. After 9/11 the canadian government chose to turn down any requests for cooperation from the US. They forgot that previous generations had cooperated, and got things like the Auto Pact, a trade deal that was given to Canada when Pearson played the good cop to the US bad cop in the Suez crisis. Now, one by one, the canadian auto plants are closing. In BC, our forestry industry is being decimated. The US figures that if the canadians don't care about them, why should they care about them.

Funny how things work out. It always comes down to weaponry and will.


5/14/2008 06:56:00 PM  
Blogger El Baboso said...


The left and other enemies of civilization will probably fight reactive fragments as hard as they fight cluster munitions (CMs). CMs, by the way represent a huge leap in weapons effectiveness also. A 155 mm shell will kill you if it lands within a few tens of meters of you. It may take out a squad. But the bulk of it's killing potential is wasted due to the inverse square law. The CM bomblets spread out the killing potential over a wider area. (By clustering a lot of small kill radii together, 1/r^2 is always a small value so you don't see as much degradation when integrated over the whole.) So now you kill the whole platoon, or maybe three or four jeeps. The left doesn't hate CMs because they are inhumane. They hate them because they work so damn well on their allies.

5/14/2008 07:19:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Rubber Nuclear Bombs

(Tippo the Hat to the writers of "Red Dwarf")

5/14/2008 07:42:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

el baboso: The left doesn't hate CMs because they are inhumane. They hate them because they work so damn well on their allies.

The Left wouldn't hate CMs so much if they had a 0% dud rate, leaving no little surprises around for some kid to find later and get his legs blown off.

5/14/2008 07:46:00 PM  
Blogger Allison said...

actually, ATK and others were working on smart mines and smart fuses that could be turned off and on, and only attack the enemy, that way children adn other non combatants wouldn't be maimed by them decades later.

the Left gets REALLY upset when you mention such smart mines to them. I worked on the technology; we were vastly disliked for creating it. They basically find it sinister that we would evaluate our targets and decide who was worth killing.

5/14/2008 09:05:00 PM  
Blogger Fat Man said...

"People who have lived in the digital electronic age would be astounded to learn how in the 1930s and 40s people built near real-time computing devices with gears, cams and levers."

Back in the early 90s we took some vacation trips to a beach resort near Wilmington, NC. One rainy day we took a road trip up to that town and toured the USS North Carolina which is docked there as a floating museum.

I recall that the fire control computers were still on the ship, and that the tour guide said the Navy still used them on their still active Capital Ships (Iowa and Wisconsin). He also claimed they were still faster than digital.

I doubt that the last claim is still true. The Navy has since retired all of its battleships.

5/14/2008 09:19:00 PM  
Blogger Starling said...

Yours truly has published two papers on business method patents- one in the Berkeley Technology Law Journal, (21:2, 729-94, 2006) and one in the Journal of Information Technology (6:1, 1-24, 2004). If anyone wants to learn more about the topic I have provided a few links below. If you wait read either of them on a night when you have trouble sleeping, you are sure to discover why each paper earned me a business method patent of my own...for an insomnia cure. ;-)

On the Feasibility of Improving Patent Quality One Technology at a Time: The Case of Business Methods

Have Business Method Patents Gotten a Bum Rap? Some Empirical Evidence

5/14/2008 09:39:00 PM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

There is a never ending battle between predator and prey, and between rocket and anti-rocket.

Over evolutionary time the predators evolve greater speed, bigger teeth, and bigger brains. The prey animals evolve faster speed, better senses to detect their predators, and greater reproductive abilities so the species can survive even if the predators kill and eat many of them. In an odd way the predators and prey are balanced. If the predators eat all the prey animals the predators will starve.

The proximity fuze will continue to develop to counter the rocket threats faced by the good guys with the bigger brains. It seems that the bad guys with the smaller brains and inferior technology, not to mention inferior morality, will continue to develop rockets that can be used against civilians.

There are reported to be anti-rocket defenses in the green zone in Baghdad based on the Phalanx system. These don't seem to use a proximity fuze but rather a radar to aquire the rocket/mortar and a gattling gun to hit the incoming projectile. The news doesn't really seem to report on whether these things work or not. I read about attacks on the green zone but not much on damage or whether the phalanx successfully shot down any incoming projectiles.

One might notice that the man behind the curtain who is shooting at the green zone, and at Israel (from Hamas and HB) lives in Iran. They have bet a lot on the rocket offense. Their rockets certainly worked against Israel in '06. When will the smart guys on our side develop the smart defensive weapon that will successfully win against the rocket war?

5/14/2008 09:59:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

THE TYGER (from Songs Of Experience)
By William Blake
Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art.
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?


5/14/2008 10:03:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Caller to the Dennis Miller Show on watching a Movie showing a lion eating offspring:

"I guess that's what they call swallowing your pride."

5/15/2008 04:49:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

the answer to both blake and doug is yes. only in the case of the male lion the cubs are not its own. it kills the young that were sired by another male in order to bring the female into estrus so as to sire its own cubs.

so did mary conceive because she was overcome by the holy spirit or because --say -- some roman made her? after all jesus was born near a roman garrison town.

Joseph is portrayed as a dreamer.

St Paul talked of killing the old man. What are cornerstones of an old man's mind.They are that a person comes from the union of a man and and a woman and that when you die you're dead.

5/15/2008 05:55:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Charles: St Paul talked of killing the old man. What are cornerstones of an old man's mind.They are that a person comes from the union of a man and and a woman and that when you die you're dead.

So do you believe people who see babies come from men and women, and who never see dead people return, and draw the natural conclusion, are committing a sin that needs to be put to death, as Paul indicates?

5/15/2008 06:16:00 AM  
Blogger Kenneth said...

Most Americans would have recognized the Crosley Corporation name for the radios & jukeboxes they made. The soldiers, sailors, Marines & airmen whose lives depended on Crosley proximity fuses probably spent their precious free time relaxing while listening to Tommy Dorsey on a Crosely radio.

Collectors covet old Crosley tube amplifier radios and today you can buy newly built Crosleys in the old style wooden cabinets.

5/15/2008 06:32:00 AM  
Blogger Kenneth said...

Utopia Parkway,

The Phalanx systems do work, not 100% of the time, but to a fairly high degree of success. There are similar systems used on US Navy ships. The Israelis are developing their own defense systems against rockets attacks. All these systems employ sophisticated radar, extremely fast computers for calculating trajectories & directing fire. The projectiles used are inert slugs, intended to present a "lead curtain" to the incoming missiles.

5/15/2008 06:39:00 AM  
Blogger Kenneth said...

Derek Kite said...

"After 9/11 the canadian government chose to turn down any requests for cooperation from the US."

That is not true at all. The Canadian authorities co-operated with US authorities immediately on that terrible day, allowing US planes to land at Canadian airports after US airspace was closed. In the days following Canada joined the US led coalition in ousting the Taliban & Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. The Canadian intelligence agency CSIS has worked closely with their US counterparts. The Canadian Navy has been working in the Persian Gulf & the Arabian Sea continuously since 9-11, and Canadian troops are still in Afghanistan today taking the fight to the Taliban-AQ thugs. The one mission Canada declined to participate in was the invasion of Iraq.

Please inform yourself of the facts before making such ignorant & sweeping statements.

5/15/2008 06:50:00 AM  
Blogger Lucky Pierre said...

The Phalanx system, the little white R2-D2 you see on destroyers and such, is also called the Close-In Weapons System, or CIWS, but sailors call it Christ It Won't Shoot.

5/15/2008 06:57:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Teresita said...
So do you believe people who see babies come from men and women, and who never see dead people return, and draw the natural conclusion, are committing a sin that needs to be put to death, as Paul indicates?
Hebrews 11 (NIV)

Hebrews 11
By Faith
1Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 2This is what the ancients were commended for.

3By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. 4By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.

5By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

7By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

8By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

11By faith Abraham, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was enabled to become a father because he[a]considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

13All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

17By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring[b] will be reckoned."[c] 19Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.

20By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.

21By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

22By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones.

23By faith Moses' parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king's edict.

24By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. 25He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. 26He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

29By faith the people passed through the Red Sea[d] as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.

30By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days.

31By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.[e]

32And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, 33who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. 36Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37They were stoned[f]; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.

39These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

5/15/2008 07:04:00 AM  
Blogger DWMF said...

"On, or about May 15, 1949, Crosley made history again. A new hydraulic brake replaced the previous mechanical brake system on all Crosley models. The new system happened to be disc brakes . . . and on all four wheels. This brake was a spot disc and was the granddaddy of all modern disc brakes."

Ahem. I thought the disc brake was invented by the Jaguar car company, for use in the C-type and D-type racing models for the 24 Heures Le Mans rally.

... rummage through Google ...

Have just found this:

"Jaguar brought disc brakes to racing in the early 1950s, on the Le Mans C- and D-Types, at a time when even the Mercedes juggernaut was still relying on huge, finned, inboard drums. (The patent for automotive disc brakes was held by British Dunlop, which wouldn't sell the brakes to the Germans.) The Jags were slower than the big Ferraris and Benzes, but they'd drive deep past the Italians and Germans at every corner before they had to brake, and be long gone by the time the competition had managed to slow and go again."

Well, this is a more pleasant sub-thread than the biblical one!

5/15/2008 07:27:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Well, this is a more pleasant sub-thread than the biblical one!
same topic. just the difference between organic and inorganic chemistry.

its best not to drive with the emergency brake on. also its best to brake before you hit the curve especially in the rain.

5/15/2008 07:59:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Out of the mouth of a lion

Victim in O.C. cougar attack refuses to be 'prisoner of the drama'

2 Timothy 4:17
"... the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength ... And I was delivered from the lion's mouth."

5/15/2008 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger Katchoo said...

Charles: By faith Abraham, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was enabled to become a father because he[a]considered him faithful who had made the promise.

James 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

5/15/2008 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger kilmer4 said...

Katchoo said...

Charles: By faith Abraham, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was enabled to become a father because he[a]considered him faithful who had made the promise.

James 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
true. catholics will say that the grounds of justification is faith+works.
non catholics will generally say that the grounds of justification is faith alone or sola fide. works is the fruit of faith and not the grounds for justification.

why? well james is the quote that catholics generally go to but weight of the evidence in the new testiment is sola fide.

why did sarah laugh?

5/15/2008 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger bobal said...

By faith, men worship allah, and do his deeds.

5/15/2008 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger El Jefe Maximo said...

An aside:

The might-have-been Yamato vs. Iowa duel has always been one of my favorite naval history hypotheticals, and in general I come down the way you do. Still, I imagine neither would sink the other -- you'd just have two smoking, floating hulks for the airplanes, destroyers or scuttling charges to finish off.

The one time Yamato got into action as she was designed, off Samar in the Leyte Gulf operations, her gunnery appears to have been pretty mediocre. Still those were damn big shells.

5/15/2008 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger Kirk Parker said...


"One of my teachers in High school, a WWII vet, pointed out that on the day that Japan surrendered the U.S. had 100 new ships enroute to the theater, ships so new that they had never seen combat."

Yes, and at the end of the war the US cancelled orders for more tonnage than the IJN lost during the entire war. It was noticing stuff like this that lead, eventually, to the formulation of the theories in The Strategy of Technology.

5/15/2008 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger Katchoo said...

Kilmer4: why? well james is the quote that catholics generally go to but weight of the evidence in the new testiment is sola fide.

I'm not Catholic, and I don't see the bible as a poll, where you balance six verses one one side against five on the other and declare a doctrine. The entire work must be reconciled with itself. And some of the pro-works passages are exceedingly clear.

In 1st John we read, "We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did."

5/15/2008 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger El Jefe Maximo said...

Re the ships on the way to the Pacific Theatre and the ships that were cancelled.

It's true we wound up with a surplus of warships, but given the lead time to design and produce the ships and all their ancillary equipment, it could not be said with total accuracy in 1940-41 (when these ships were conceived) that there would be enough vessels. Attrition could have been higher for any number of reasons: the Japanese might have more efficiently managed their ASW assets or built more; they might have had better training programs that produced more pilots; they might have used their submarines more aggressively, etc. None of this could have been known (although guesses could have been made) when the ships were ordered. Moreover, it was not necessarily easy to predict how effective the weapons would be -- that carriers would so completely eclipse battleships, and that the submarines would be so effective. Yes, intellectually the power of carriers could be grasped, but there were doctrines and lessons to be learned and unlearned, and that took time.

Finally, the shape of the postwar world had to be considered . . .it was sure an advantage for the US to have a Navy bigger than anybody elses when things ended.

In general, there were too many ships built. But I'm glad they were wrong that way than the other way.

Personally, I do kind of wish they'd finished the last two Iowas and maybe the Montanas. Boondoggles perhaps, but BAD ships.

5/15/2008 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger CAPT Caltrop said...

It was well into the '90's and there were still a good number of strategic planners who saw a need for BB's.

The Marine Corps was particularly fond of battleship gunfire support. The sight of a battleship on the horizon able to loft volkswagen sized rounds would set many a Middle Eastern country a tizzy.

Economics are a problem. You get the "for the price of a battleship you can have x number of destroyers or y number of submarines. The naval air lobby was a problem. The submarine lobby was a problem. And the "large platforms are obsolete and vulnerable" folks were a problem No one thinks for a moment and realizes that we really haven't had that many symmetrical foes in that past century. Only twice.

5/15/2008 01:38:00 PM  
Blogger MikeLM said...

I participated in a Midshipmen training cruise on USS Wisconsin, (Iowa class) battleship in the summer of 1951, and still remember the mechanical - analog - fire-control computer in the Combat Intelligence Center.

It was about the size of two office desks and had knobs and cranks and dials all over it. It was made by the Ford Instrument Company, and was, like the Wis, a product of WW II technology.

By 1951, the Wis had main-battery fire-control radar for target acquisition and ranging (although the telescopic optical rangefinders were still in the Main Battery Director and each turret)and the radar input its information to the Ford comupter.

After WW II the Wis was brought out of mothballs for Korea, for Vietnam, and for Iraqi Freedom.

She's now moored on the waterfront at Norfolk as a public museum - but preserved in such a way as to allow her to return to active duty if necessary. If you're near there, go see her, although the public only has access to the weather decks.

In her own, sinister way, she is an object of sculptural beauty, especially if you stand on the pier ahead of and to one side of her bow.

5/15/2008 02:30:00 PM  
Blogger MikeLM said...


Puzzled about your comment of [i]two more [/i] Iowa-class BB's. I'm aware of only five. They were [i]Iowa, Missouri, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Kentucky[/i].

The Wis barely made it to combat in the Pacific, and the [i]Kentuckey[/i] was behind her in construction. The Wis, which participated in a few actions, never received an enemy hit.

In fact, when the Wis was on either shakedown or training ops in the Atlantic, she ran into something - probably a destroyer - and damaged hew bow. She was taken to the Philly Naval Shipyard, where the [i]Kentuckey[/i] was still in the ways.

They cut the damaged bow off the Wis, cut the bow off the uncompleted [i]Kentuckey[/i], and soldered in onto the Wis, and sent her along to the Pacific. Construction on the [i]Kentuckey[/i] was abandoned.

The result of this transplant was that the Wis is one foot longer than the other Iowa-class BB's.

Hence the ship's unofficial motto:


The [i]Montana[/i] was - would have been - a member of an earlier class of BB's. You can see one of these, the [i]USS Alabama[/i] BB60, at Mobile, AL.

5/15/2008 02:57:00 PM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/15/2008 07:23:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Katchoo said...

Katchoo you've switched from a discussion of faith to a discussion of discipline. If your point is that we fly on two wings. One faith the other discipline--I agree. Anyhow, there's an old guy name Gary Bridges from Navigators out in Colorado Springs who has gone around the country preaching that sermon for the last 10-15 years. Made sense to me when I heard it.

5/15/2008 07:23:00 PM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

There were 6 Iowa-class:
New Jersey
Illinois was canceled 22% complete.
Kentucky never got more than 72% complete.

South Dakota was the lead ship of the South Dakota-class, followed by Massachusetts, Alabama and Indiana.

Alabama was not a Montana-class. The Montanas were never built. They were all canceled July 21, 1943. They would have had 12 16'/50 but only 28 knot speed

5/15/2008 07:39:00 PM  
Blogger El Jefe Maximo said...


You're right about the Montanas being 28 kt. ships. They would have matched the speed of the two other classes of "new" battleships that preceded the Iowas -- the North Carolinas and the South Dakotas -- with the six 33 kt. Iowas making up a "fast division."

The Montanas (BB's 67-71)were to be named Montana, Ohio, Maine, New Hampshire, Louisiana.

Just as the earlier generation of South Dakota class (BB's 49-54) battleships had been post WWI, the Montanas were the ships the Navy General Board had always really wanted: heavily armed and armored ships that could beat any battleships projected or actually built; the designs freed of treaty or cost restrictions, and occuring late enough into the building cycle to take advantage of lessons learned on preceeding ship classes.

Like the earlier South Dakotas, the Montanas were just too late.

5/19/2008 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger jrkess98 said...

As a #3 cannoneer on a 155mm SP howitzer in 1965 I fired a few proximity fuzed(VT) rounds.

The WW2 original had a fault in that it would explode prematurely if it detected anything like a low cloud or even objects close to the gun. We had the CVT fuze which featured an adjustable delay before the transmitter turned on.

The VT allowed the only kind of reliable air burst near the target. I can't imagine how they packed tiny 1940s glass tubes into this small package and then subjected it to hundreds of Gs acceleration. What an accomplishment!

5/20/2008 01:58:00 PM  

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