Friday 7 October 2022

Sounds That Give Men Nightmares

In the recent Armenian and Azerbaijani war the Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drone was proclaimed a ‘game changer’ platform.  Turkey did nothing to correct this idea and went on to sell lots and lots of them.

These drones are similar in purpose to the American Reaper as it can loiter over a given area monitoring the landscape below and drop munitions on targets of opportunity.  They were devastating to the Armenian forces in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region and did turn that war for Azerbaijan.

The reason they worked so well is the clever Azerbaijani air force used ancient Antonov An-2 as decoys.  These single engine biplanes were configured for remote piloting and control.  At the start of hostilities they flew these big slow targets at the Armenian and merrily noted the SAM radars and batteries as they discovered and shot down the decoys.

Those same air defences were then eliminated by the Bayraktar drones with their lower radar cross sections.  Without air cover it was a turkey shoot.  Brave Armenians forces on the ground had nowhere to hide and moral plummeted as they were eliminated.  

Death from above has amazing effects on men and moral.  So much so that in WWII the German Luftwaffe deliberately put sirens on their Junker Ju87 Stuka dive bombers.  The unmistakable sound of a Stuka making a diving run would make even the bravest warrior’s sphincter muscle pucker.

The sound was so memorable that the TIE Fighter’s in Lucas’s Star Wars sound effect was based on it.  Similarly the change in sound as a V1’s engine sputtered out and went silent meant death was coming.  Death from above.

Cue to modern day Ukraine.  In recent weeks various gossip has proven correct.  The Russian have purchased Iranian Shahed-136 drones and rebadged them as the now Russian Geran-2 (Geranium – honestly??).  These are loitering/kamikaze munitions and have made a big impact – pun intended.

Watching footage from Odessa recently and other places with the panicked reaction of the local Orcs trying to shoot them down brought me back to the Ju 87 Stuka.  There are lots of such videos on Telegram.

These are not like the American Switchblade anti-personnel loitering drones as they have a serious warhead.  The specs of the drone are still uncertain.  Length is guessed to be 2.5 – 3.5 m, weight 200Kg, warhead 50Kg and range is unknown.  A recent strike was 300 Km from Russian lines of control and Iran likes their drones to be long range. See this video for speculation.  The Shahed/Geran is the delta winged model.

Also these drones targeted a military barracks in Kyiv yesterday with devastating effect in an area where air defences would still be active.  They are said to be made of fibre glass construction and would hence be very tricky for radar to detect.  

These drones have an electric motor.  While I have no speciality knowledge I would believe they should be a lot quieter for that reason – a propeller effect? That noise and the images of their terminal dive really drives the dive bomber image home. Is that deliberate?

While Russian missile tech is the global leader I have a real appreciation for the Iranian’s ability to share ‘the pain’ with their drones and missiles.  Those strikes in Iraq in retaliation for the murder of General Suleimani were impressive in their size and accuracy with no intercept from the US forces.

The Rooskies are now hunting down artillery pieces and other juicy targets of opportunity such as ammo warehouses, command posts etc.  These drones seems to have freedom of the sky in the ‘Kraine.  This is Scott Ritter's brief opinion.

It’s interesting in that warfare really has changed but the core backbone stays the same.  Industrial scale destruction of enemy forces are the blunt fist and stand-off platforms such as drones evolve rapidly.

I have seen Western concept proposals of mini drones with AI control causing chaos and havoc almost more as platforms for terrorism.  The big take way from the ‘Kraine is that America and the West’s tactic of war ‘on the cheap’ is over.  If NATO decide to ‘man up’ conventionally to Russia they would be lucky to last a fortnight.  After that they would be out of ammo.

Interesting times

Saturday 1 October 2022

Strange Day Reloaded

It’s been quite a month for family/clan stuff.

Before it start re-telling it I would like to offer my sorrow, thoughts and prayers to the family of ChuckInBama who passed away not long after posting on the previous blog post here.

I read the news over at Glen’s place and from there it seems Phil @ Bustedknuckles knew him and his wife.  He wasn’t old (only a few years older than I) and it came out of the blue 

While I only had the pleasure of corresponding with him recently I liked his viewpoint.  He was well respected on the other blogs and all remember him fondly.  I would have loved to share a few glasses with him in person.  I will raise one tonight in his honour and add his name the roll call in my prayers.

Sadly not long after hearing of CIB’s passing my wife received news that her biological mother had passed away.

That’s a strange relationship name but my wife was adopted and she reached out about 10 years ago to find her biological mother.  We found her as well as 2 sisters and brothers.  Her name was Frances.

Frances was never going to be mum as another had already filled that role but it was very rewarding for my wife to make the connection. I think we helped Frances with having made that previous decision by finding her again.  Sadly Frances was diagnosed with liver cancer in February. 

We made a trip back over to Scotland for one last visit in March.  From personal past experience my wife and I knew what was coming for the siblings.  The focus should be on the core family and not the recent add in’s.

The service is on Monday coming.  We can’t be there without being a burden on the family so it’s getting streamed on-line.  This is new since the chinky pox.  We hope they can now put the recent horror and pain behind them.  May it let the proper grieving and healing begin 

My Aunt’s one month’s minding Mass was last weekend.  It’s a Catholic thing here – not sure if it’s universal.  By complete coincidence, at the same time a dozen cousins from Scotland were over in Belfast visiting for the first time as a clan get together/reunion.  Don’t ask me to describe all the family tree stuff.

We had been out for a meal at the Belfast Felons Social Club (look it up for a laugh) the night before to make introductions and break the ice. Great meal by the way.  We Micks like our food and are fussy about quality and quantity.  Seriously, we eat like horses when we get the chance.

After the Mass everyone headed back to my Aunt’s daughter’s house which was about 300 yards away from the church. This is the Falls Road after all.  Gallons of tea and coffee and thanks to my cousin and her husband – food.

We finally had a good chance for the usual family and the new ‘cousins’ to get a good blather and catch up.  That when my wife and I discovered a bomb shell of a discovery from the Glasgow connection.

To set this up, my wife has some of her adoption papers.  In it, her birth father was identified only by a few clues.  Frances gave up few details but at a wedding back in Scotland previously of one of Frances’s granddaughters we picked up the titbit that he had been killed in a gangland killing in Glasgow with some other stuff.

Charming stuff but we still had little to go on.  While my wife is curious about her father (definitely not her dad) she has no desires to make contact.  However, knowing how Glasgow is run by certain families she asked a question and the bomb dropped.

It still blows my mind but in the space of a 10 minutes chat we had narrowed it down to 2 possible matches.  One dead and the other alive but untraceable!!!!!

We did learn that Glasgow – once the murder capital of Europe – was a far more dangerous place than Belfast to go up in.

In Belfast you might get shot dead or blown up but it’s nothing personal – it’s just bad luck/timing and politics.  In Glasgow saying the wrong thing to a stranger could be fatal.  3 of the men in the group had brothers murdered.  Fuck me!!

Nothing more has come of this so far and probably won’t.  I have always heard of jokes where someone would say – oh you’re from Belfast do you know XXX?  Only in Glasgow would it be true.

I’m not sure how the US or other visitors will view this.  As you hear online local, local, local.  While family comes with its own issues it has its own strengths.

Family/clan is the key to survival.  Blood is thicker than water.  My son does not carry my DNA but he is mine and it was accepted by the clan at his wedding.  All my dad’s brothers have acknowledged it as does my son.

To my brothers from other mothers – ie you foreigners LOL.  You’ll know when you are made to feel at home.  I really wished for longer with CIB and I know when I get up there we’ll catch up properly.