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Friday, December 02, 2016

This guy is GOOD

It's not hard to understand why the God-Emperor Ascendant was so impressed by Gen. Mattis. Speaking as a game designer, which involves thinking through things in a way few people ever have to do, I can say this is an indication of man who takes the time to be certain he really, really knows his stuff. The mind behind this level of detailed preparation and coaching can only be described in the vernacular as Belichickian:
First Marine Division was holding their first ROC Drill, the rehearsal of concept of what we were about to do. I had never seen a walk-through like this before. Marines had spent days building an enormous reproduction of southern Iraq in a bowl formed by a huge, semicircular sand dune. Each road, each river, each canal, each oil field was built to scale and even in proper color (water was blue dye poured into a sand ditch, and so on.)

Each Marine unit wore football jerseys in different colors, and with proper numbers. First Battalion, Fifth Marines, known as one-fifth, wore blue jerseys with “15” on the back, and other units were similarly identified. Principal staff from those units stood on the “border” drawn in the sand. About 300 officers stood and sat on the dune above. It was the perfect way to visualize what was about to happen.

General Mattis stood up and took a handheld microphone. Without referencing a single piece of paper, he discussed what each unit would do and in what sequence, and outlined his end state for each phase of the early war. He spoke for nearly 30 minutes, and his complete mastery of every nuance of the battle forthcoming was truly impressive.

A narrator then took over and picked up the narrative, the rest of the first week of the early war in sequence. As he described each movement, the officers from that unit walked to the proper place on their terrain model, and by the end of an hour the colored jerseys were spread over nearly a football field’s worth of sand. What a show.

At the end of the drill, questions were answered and then Mattis dismissed everyone. No messing around with this guy. Mike Murdoch, one of the British company commanders, leaned over to me, his eyes wide. “Mate, are all your generals that good?”

I looked at him.

“No. He is the best we have.”
As I've repeatedly observed about the God-Emperor Ascendant, when he says he is going to get the best people, he isn't blowing smoke or pontificating. He's simply expressing his intentions. And if those he hires subsequently demonstrate they can't get it done, he doesn't hesitate to eject them and replace them with someone who can.

Labels:

126 Comments:

Anonymous #8601 December 02, 2016 2:43 PM  

When Trump made the Mad Dog announcement at the rally last night, the audience went wild.

Best. President Elect. Ever.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan December 02, 2016 2:44 PM  

Think how bad it is to be a somewhat self-aware cuck these days, the pain.

Blogger #7139 December 02, 2016 2:45 PM  

Vox, I'm getting a page not found when I click on the link.

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother December 02, 2016 2:47 PM  

"First Battalion, Fifth Marines, known as One Fifth"

Who wrote this?

Anonymous Robert Coble December 02, 2016 2:52 PM  

Thank God we still have LEADERS available! Everything I have seen so far tells me that Donald J. Trump (and many of his selectees for Cabinet positions like Gen. Mattis) is the embodiment of the traditional motto: "LEAD, FOLLOW OR GET OUT OF THE WAY!" At the speed he is currently moving, it may take considerably less than four years to accomplish his major goal: MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! Woe betide anyone, friend or foe, who attempts to block him from achieving his goals. They will be resolutely steamrolled, without regret or remorse.

Anonymous A Deplorable Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents December 02, 2016 2:52 PM  

Warrior monk. Perfumed Pentagon princes must be wetting their panties.

OpenID kbswift December 02, 2016 2:57 PM  

Vox,
Not sure if this is the case for others, but the link doesn't work for me on Chrome without the https:// at the front.

Anonymous Dave December 02, 2016 2:59 PM  

The link on the Federalist home page has the same issue so it's on their end.

Blogger Mike Wallens December 02, 2016 3:02 PM  

He is good but I didn't vote for Trump so he could make Murika great again on the battlefield. ZFG for foreign affairs unless they directly attack the USA. As SecDef hopefully he can pull a halt to the worthless wars in the first place, ranging from Iraq to Syria. All incredible waste of time and resources. What he really needs to do is reverse the feminization of the military. Keep women out of the 03 MOS and 08 MOS in the USMC and pull them out of the Army combat arms MOS.

Anonymous Dave December 02, 2016 3:03 PM  

Ok yes kbswift that works.

Anonymous Damn Crackers December 02, 2016 3:05 PM  

I just noticed my co-worker at lunch had a safety pin attached to his shirt. I laughed and asked him, "What the fuck is that shit?" I let him explain the symbolism, how his wife was traumatized after the election, and how the pin stands up against prejudice. I laughed again and replied, "That's the gayest shit I've ever seen."

Thank God for Trump and Gen. Mattis.

Blogger Fifty Seven December 02, 2016 3:05 PM  

@4

Yeah, that should be One Five.

//Veteran of Two Seven here.

Anonymous Anonymous December 02, 2016 3:06 PM  

General James N. Mattis (I love this quote!)

“When you men get home and face an anti-war protester, look him in the eyes and shake his hand. Then, wink at his girlfriend, because she knows she's dating a pussy”

Anonymous Just another commenter December 02, 2016 3:07 PM  

The proper reply at the question at the end should have been "Nah. The observers are checking to see if he's finally got his shit up to snuff, or if they should cut him. He might pass this time."

Seriously, though, excellent choice IMHO. Should start Operation ShitStorm (the retaking of DC) by the end of January, and spread a lot of accelerants all around the retirement talkers while holding a match.

Blogger Jason Israel December 02, 2016 3:08 PM  

General James N. Mattis - Quotable Quote

“When you men get home and face an anti-war protester, look him in the eyes and shake his hand. Then, wink at his girlfriend, because she knows she's dating a pussy”

Anonymous John December 02, 2016 3:13 PM  

I'm surprised at you, Vox. This kind of top-down micromanaging is exactly the way war should NOT be done, and you should know this as its clearly explained in Van Creveld's book on why the Wermacht was so much more effective than the Americans.

It seems the American military hasn't learned a thing - the best armies give a very general plan and train officers to use their ingenuity and improv skills to carry out the plan as they see fit.

The American obsession with science-like control and prevision while giving comfort is illusory - it actually reduces effectiveness. It's upsetting to see American generals still thinking in this mold.

A god-like video-game designer mentality is precisely what the best armies avoid in their generals.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 02, 2016 3:15 PM  

Mmm...less to this than meets the eye. I've mentioned before that there is such a thing as a military mindset, trained and conditioned not merely to think of people as things (and the difference between a good one and a bad one is does the mind think of itself as anything but a thing; good ones don't) but also to think both in the non-linear logic demanded by war and in phases. Building intricate sandtables for rehearsal and being able to do this sort of thing two levels down is a fairly routine capability. No, not everyone has it; indeed, few non-combat arms types have a bit of it. But for combat arms, yes, neither abnormal nor remarkable.

Now let me tell what IS good about this; to all appearances Mattis hasn't let his press agents and their reports go to his head. Not that many generals of whom that can be said; this is a lot rarer and a lot more important than being able to keep a scheme of maneuver (against an incompetent to the point of irrelevant enemy, too, be it noted) and fire support plan in your head.

Blogger justaguy December 02, 2016 3:17 PM  

Expect warfare within the DoD. The SES civilians think they run the place and can wait out the politicals. The horrible in-fighting over funding is about to get worse, and the civilians have learned and honed how to ignore and get around the Sec Def. Who will win? I suspect it will be an epic battle and unless Civil Service Rules are changed, the inertia of the system plus willful dragging of feet will weigh down the Marine. Stand-by for daily soap opera on the news about the battles and don't expect our forces, those that are still effective, to be able to stay that way.

Blogger l' Américain December 02, 2016 3:18 PM  

Well, well, well...

https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=American+Dream&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2CAmerican%20Dream%3B%2Cc0

The usage of "American Dream" correlates quite well with the term "Judeao-Christian."

The usage of both explode after world-war two.

The "American Dream" is just another (((Hollywood)) spell.

Anonymous Dave December 02, 2016 3:18 PM  

I just noticed my co-worker at lunch had a safety pin attached to his shirt.

At first I assumed you were talking about some sort of workplace safety button like "Be Alert, Accidents Hurt"

Seriously a safety pin? At work? Does the guy work with his wife? I could understand if he wears it around his wife but not at work.

Blogger tz December 02, 2016 3:19 PM  

Coulter wrote "In Trump We Trust".

A recent criticism was that the cabinet looks like one Jeb Bush would have picked. But what is entirely missed is Jeb would be controlled by the cabinet, but Trump will control it.

I hope Mad Dog is an expert on 4GW, and avoids the temptation for the expensive toys like that new but useless F-35(?) or carriers or other Maginot line stuff.

A Jew from Goldman Sachs at Treasury? Well, what is he going to do? Right now we have to defuse a 20 Trillion dollar debt bomb while keeping everything going.

Even Ryan and McConnell.

I have to keep reminding people that Christie and his minions were fired. Pence is the most active VP I know of.

Only 5% at most are leaders that can control the direction. 95% just want the appearance of power and prestige and will toady behind whomever will give them that. The elites are no longer in control, and the toadies and cucks have a good sense of how to keep their seats, and in this case it will be to toady to Trump, not the CFR or Wall Street.

I can trust Trump's vanity, but I also tend to trust the vapidity and the "there is no there there" of most of the courtiers. Especially if a few decide to get out of line and are summarily executed. I can imagine the backlash if Trump gets on the new media and tells his people to politely inform the Senate to do something.

Blogger JWM in SD December 02, 2016 3:21 PM  

How did appointment of Mattis instantly equate to micro-managing?

Blogger Tom Kratman December 02, 2016 3:22 PM  

John:

Depends. If you have an officer corps capable of diverting from the plan and a leadership group that allows and expects it, then this is fine and, indeed, good that everyone knows what's supposed to happen, sees graphic representation of who will be on his left and right, in support and in the lead. If, on the other hand, "No, this is the plan and it will be followed to the letter," or if the enemy is one less ridiculous than the Iraqi Army, then problems can come in.

Another way to look at it: I've worked with the Corps more than most Army types have. Among the officers there's not much average difference between the two, propaganda notwithstanding. So what I say about Army officers tends to apply in full measure to the Marines. Most officers are not capable of much intelligent initiative, sad to say. They come with it, yes, but the systems beat it out of them and in no wise tend to encourage it. Mattis didn't create the division from whole cloth. He had to work with what he was given. For our kind of officers, most of them, this kind of befehlstaktik is all they can deal with. Making them different would be a matter of years and years of work, not a few hours ginning up an operations order.

Anonymous Dave December 02, 2016 3:23 PM  

Just heard so far the first day of the Wisconsin recount has resulted in one additional vote for Hill.

Blogger Ingot9455 December 02, 2016 3:23 PM  

@17 From the same article, another General Mattis Quotable Quote:

“There is one way to have a short but exciting conversation with me,” he continued, “and that is to move too slow. Gentlemen, this is not a marathon, this is a sprint."

Blogger Tom Kratman December 02, 2016 3:24 PM  

JWM:

John's not talking about the appointment but about the troop leading procedures/rehearsals in the run up to Iraq.

Anonymous Just another commenter December 02, 2016 3:27 PM  

@15 - I'm pretty sure you are misunderstanding the whole thing. A large-scale walk-through as described is the very opposite of micro-managing. He's giving a high-level overview of the big picture, so the lower-level commanders can intelligently make decisions on the fly in battle that support the overall plan, and they won't have to get approval from higher up when shit happens. They are learning how their units fit together in the general scheme, so they can work out the details on their own. He's not micromanaging platoon-level deployments, he's giving out battalion-sized chunks, or something like 800-1000 man chunks. You could think of them as a Roman cohort.

Micromanaging would be telling each individual unit leader where to go, what to do, and how to do it, without providing enough overview for them to make intelligent decisions on their own.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 02, 2016 3:27 PM  

I think the safety pin is to change the babies' diapers.

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey December 02, 2016 3:27 PM  

Wargaming. Couldn't they have just used toy soldiers?

Blogger Stilicho December 02, 2016 3:27 PM  

Leaving aside military acumen for the moment, Mattis is a leader, not a manager and that is vitally important and desperately needed.

Anonymous Red December 02, 2016 3:35 PM  

Will the Maddog ask to revert his Department to the historically correct name of Department of War?

Blogger Theproductofafineeduction December 02, 2016 3:39 PM  

@22

Do you think that Mattis might try to do just that for the military as a whole?

Anonymous Mark Auld December 02, 2016 3:39 PM  

The big fight ahead for Trump and co.will be inside the beltway,and that includes the Sec Def.p.s.,please inform a newbe...what is 4gw?

Blogger #7139 December 02, 2016 3:41 PM  

@32 4gw is 4th generation warfare.

Blogger Josh (the gayest thing here) December 02, 2016 3:42 PM  

Wargaming. Couldn't they have just used toy soldiers?

If you have to ask...

Blogger Josh (the gayest thing here) December 02, 2016 3:43 PM  

I'm surprised at you, Vox. This kind of top-down micromanaging is exactly the way war should NOT be done, and you should know this as its clearly explained in Van Creveld's book on why the Wermacht was so much more effective than the Americans.

What was described in the article isn't micromanagement.

Blogger GFR December 02, 2016 3:49 PM  

@11
.
"That's the gayest shit I've ever seen."
.
Then what happened?

Blogger Fifty Seven December 02, 2016 3:55 PM  

@22

Speaking as a (Christ that term is done to death) two service vet-- USMC 99-03, Army 03-06, my worm's eye view of both services pretty much lines up with what you say about officers. Also:

--Prior enlisted officers are, on average, significantly better than ROTC/ College boys.
--West Point (or Hudson High, as I've heard it called) grads are [redacted] [redacted].

Blogger Scott6584 December 02, 2016 3:57 PM  

I'm not disputing that Mattis is good. My son is a Lieutenant (soon to be a Captain) in the Army, and he really likes Mattis.

The question that comes to my mind is relative to skill set. Great Leaders are not always great technicians, and vice-versa. In football, we've all seen the brilliant offensive or defensive coordinator that completely fails as a Head coach, or a mediocre player who turns into a HOF Head coach. I wonder how Trump takes that into consideration when picking his cabinet.

This doesn't just apply to Mattis, but to all the different positions. Greatness at one level doesn't always equate to greatness at a different level. And mediocrity at a lower level doesn't always disqualify someone from being better at an ostensibly higher level.

Does being a great General automatically mean he'll be a good SecDef? What are the additional political skills required of a SecDef that are not required of a General? Are their tendencies which lead to being a great General that actually detract from being a great SecDef?

I don't know the answers to those questions about Mattis, or any other Cabinet position. I do know that as a manager, my BIGGEST mistakes have been in selection of personnel - erroneously assuming competence at a lower level accurately foretells competence at a higher level. Presumably, Trump has more insight than I do, and I'm going to defer to his judgment. But I don't automatically assume the skills at one level are transferable to a higher level. I've learned by harsh experience that's just not true.

Blogger Noah B The MacroAggressor December 02, 2016 3:57 PM  

@15 It seems the American military hasn't learned a thing - the best armies give a very general plan and train officers to use their ingenuity and improv skills to carry out the plan as they see fit.

Giving overly broad orders failed both Gamelin and Hitler. Do you have even one example of when it worked?

Anonymous CC December 02, 2016 4:03 PM  

This is a really good interview with Mattis that I downloaded a few years ago. I'd completely forgotten about it but came across it again by accident yesterday. I saved it because I thought he was very impressive. When I heard about his appointment I thought: "I've definitely heard of this guy before, where was that?"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKIJKQRb53o

Trump really is a good judge of people, isn't he?

Blogger Fifty Seven December 02, 2016 4:06 PM  

@39

Hitler also micromanaged, especially Panzers.

If he'd declared war on Poland and then bounced to the Eagle's Nest to eat vegetarian pasta and screw Eva Braun, Germany might have won it.

Anonymous Athor Pel December 02, 2016 4:06 PM  

" Laguna Beach Fogey December 02, 2016 3:27 PM
Wargaming. Couldn't they have just used toy soldiers?
"



Not really. It's a problem of scale and resolution. Wanting to see certain level of detail in a map or model require the map/model to be a certain size. Toy soldiers are too small.

It isn't just the US building tographic models for military use. The Chinese have a scale model of a disputed Himalaya border region they have with India. I found it in Google Earth. The model is in the northwest desert regions of China. It's big enough that you can drive across it. Actually, it's so big you kinda need to drive and not walk. There's a tower at the edge of the model allowing a viewer to see the whole thing.

Blogger Scott6584 December 02, 2016 4:10 PM  

I'm looking at the Cabinet selections much like I look at the NFL draft. Sometimes, great choices based on expectations don't work out so well, and other times they do. Also, sometimes players selected with low expectations far exceed them.

I'm expecting some of Trump's picks to be great picks, and others to be disappointing. I also expect some after thought selections to exceed expectations. The important thing is the vision and direction provided. Just as you can tell how a team values Defense vs. Offense, or Skilled players vs. lineman, you can see the direction that Trump wants to take by the people he's selecting. Based on that alone, the selections are very encouraging, because they reveal the vision and intentions of Trump. Even when some of them turn out to be disappointing, the reality is that Trump can always fire someone and pick another person - just as there will be another draft in the NFL next year to help compensate for mistakes or misses in last year's draft.

It's the vision and direction that counts. And the willingness to quickly recognize mistakes, and pick replacements when needed to continue that vision and direction.

Blogger Cail Corishev December 02, 2016 4:16 PM  

A recent criticism was that the cabinet looks like one Jeb Bush would have picked.

Whoever said that is lying or stupid. Jeff Sessions would have gotten nowhere near a Jeb administration, let alone been the first person named.

Blogger pyrrhus December 02, 2016 4:23 PM  

More of the severe incompetence that Mattis faces--1.4 billion "stealth" ship Zumwalt breaks down on maiden voyage, has to ask for a tow. https://www.lewrockwell.com/2016/12/jack-perry/ahoy-can-call-us-tow-boat/

Anonymous Anonymous December 02, 2016 4:23 PM  

This anecdote is nothing to get excited about. Rock drills (which is what is being described here) are utterly routine at most levels of command. Mattis may have done a very good job at this, but the existence of a rock drill is nothing noteworthy.

And a rock drill at that level with a British 'company commander' (a low level officer and stage of command. In the American army, this would be a captain with perhaps six years in. I don't know about the British)? Something about that doesn't smell right. Perhaps battalion commander, or battalion XO, or something similar.

anonymous

Blogger VD December 02, 2016 4:26 PM  

I'm surprised at you, Vox. This kind of top-down micromanaging is exactly the way war should NOT be done, and you should know this as its clearly explained in Van Creveld's book on why the Wermacht was so much more effective than the Americans.

Giving instructions is not micromanagement. As the writer pointed out, it was chiefly a logistical exercise, not a combat one.

A god-like video-game designer mentality is precisely what the best armies avoid in their generals.

You don't understand the game designer mentality. It is the need to correctly anticipate all possible consequences, in order to have contingency responses in place in case they are needed. If you're lucky, they never come into play. It's not micromanagement, but macromanagement.

So when your major calls in and says he needs X, you have X on hand.

Anonymous Deplorable S E Delenda December 02, 2016 4:27 PM  

This pick would make up for Romney and DeVos.

The General is Dirty Harry in real life. Focused and fearless.

I can't wait for his confirmation hearings.

Blogger Cail Corishev December 02, 2016 4:28 PM  

Trump really is a good judge of people, isn't he?

It's one of his best skills. He picks people who are smart, sensible, and loyal, with a conservative temperament that balances his own. And despite everything we've heard about his massive ego, he doesn't mind hiring people who know more about something than he does -- unlike Obama who felt threatened by that. He knows the value of delegating, and the importance of doing it well.

Anonymous Anonymous December 02, 2016 4:29 PM  

This anecdote is not particularly important or inspiring. Rock Drills (which is what is being described here) are utterly routine at virtually all levels of command (I've participated in many with National Guard units, for instance).

Mattis may have done an unusually good job with his, as described. But the event itself, with the details (officers walking on a large mock up, the whole attempt to choreograph different moving parts, etc) is commonplace.

joeyjoejoe

Blogger Noah B The MacroAggressor December 02, 2016 4:30 PM  

@41 Bad leaders tend to do that -- fail to lead when their leadership is critical, then step in to micromanage to overcompensate for their lack of strategic vision and organizational ability.

OpenID basementhomebrewer December 02, 2016 4:39 PM  

Cail Corishev

...he doesn't mind hiring people who know more about something than he does -- unlike Obama who felt threatened by that. He knows the value of delegating, and the importance of doing it well.


ding ding ding! I hate it when I run into middle managers in the work place that do this. They have a team full of incompetents and then complain about how they have to do all the work.

Anonymous Tipsy December 02, 2016 4:47 PM  

This guys sounds like the American version of Alexander Suvorov, Russia's greatest general.

Blogger Nate December 02, 2016 4:52 PM  

"The American obsession with science-like control and prevision while giving comfort is illusory - it actually reduces effectiveness. It's upsetting to see American generals still thinking in this mold."

what should be upsetting is your inability to read and understand.

Anonymous CC December 02, 2016 4:53 PM  

Cail Corishev wrote:Trump really is a good judge of people, isn't he?

It's one of his best skills. He picks people who are smart, sensible, and loyal, with a conservative temperament that balances his own. And despite everything we've heard about his massive ego, he doesn't mind hiring people who know more about something than he does -- unlike Obama who felt threatened by that. He knows the value of delegating, and the importance of doing it well.


I remember a soccer manager saying buying the right players was 90% of the job.

Following Trump's campaign was very instructive, I'm sure his presidency will be the same. I'm reading The Art of the Deal atm, it's interesting to see how his basic approach has remained the same: Learn as much as you can about what you're doing; hire the best people; listen to everybody but ultimately trust your instincts. Be cautious, but decisive and act quickly when the time demands it. The next few years will certainly be fun (notwithstanding the storm clouds on the horizon).

Blogger Nick S December 02, 2016 5:04 PM  

The panic on the left is palpable now that the grownups are in charge.

Blogger Johnny December 02, 2016 5:05 PM  


@39 Noah B The MacroAggressor December 02, 2016 3:57 PM

Giving overly broad orders failed both Gamelin and Hitler. Do you have even one example of when it worked?

Military commanders have the problem of deciding how much to delegate. In early times details the details of a battle where often delegated by default. Communications were simply not good enough to run everything from a single command center. Often it was not so much the plan as what the subordinate officers did that determined success.

Hitler was not a detail guy and delegated a lot. And when he delegated things went well because the German high command was almost as good as its reputation. But Hitler also had a thing where he could not stand losses or setbacks. When things went badly Hitler would engage in detail managment and frequently screwed things up royally.

Whatever it was that Mattis thought he was doing, I take it as not so much engaging the troops in tactics but a motivational strategy. You get them engaged in what they are doing so it doesn't feel pointless when they are out in the field.



Blogger Teri December 02, 2016 5:18 PM  

I think Trump is looking for certain skill sets. He wants leaders. He wants people that aren't politically correct. I think he wants people that can give honest advice and feedback. He wants high energy people with initiative.

This is why I wanted to show what happens when we elect a President that isn't a professional politician. This cabinet will be different from what we've seen before. We have someone chosen to replace Obamacare, working with someone that knows the Medicare system inside and out. Together, they have the expertise to make sure that the transition will go smoothly. Trump has the big picture in mind.

Blogger Noah B The MacroAggressor December 02, 2016 5:32 PM  

@55 You can't even produce one example of a successful military commander who utilized this leadership method that you advocate?

Blogger owlish December 02, 2016 5:36 PM  

VD wrote:
So when your major calls in and says he needs X, you have X on hand.


This. I've had people working under me, at the beginning of their careers. The best I hoped for was that they would be able to follow my instructions in a timely manner. The one or two who really impressed me were able to know what I would need before I asked for it, and had already done it.

And the better managers are able to state what they need in a consistent manner, so that the people under them know what they need to do. As opposed to getting sidetracked into pointless exercises.

Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr December 02, 2016 5:37 PM  

Mattis will have for less trouble with the DOD Civil Service than people think. The Federal workforce is NOT monolithic...and the DOD portion has been grinding its collective teeth for the last eight years.

I think Mattis will need a deputy who is very conversant with the procurement system...and loathes it with every fiber of his being. We need reform, and I don't think Mattis knows where the choke points are. The customary "reform" of taking the bad, broken system and changing the labels won't cut it.

WRT 4th generation warfare, Mattis is known to be a critic. From his very-big-picture perspective, it's an update to insurgency/counterinsurgency methods, but nothing revolutionary. Study warfare enough, and you realize that technology changes tactics, not strategy.

Blogger pyrrhus December 02, 2016 5:38 PM  

@57 Rommel!?

Blogger The Scribe December 02, 2016 5:52 PM  

Pressed for time and can't immediately read response, so forgive if already covered, but how would William S. Lind or Van Crevald consider him re: 4GW?

Somewhat unrelated, listening to Peter Schiff last night, very critical of appointed Treasury Sec.

Anonymous BGKB December 02, 2016 5:54 PM  


Warrior monk. Perfumed Pentagon princes must be wetting their panties.

They just allowed themselves to wear tranny uniforms on duty this year.

This kind of top-down micromanaging is exactly the way war should NOT be done, and you should know this as its

It's not micromanaging its just covering the game plan in a way everyone can relate to. This is simply a scaled up sandbox that every HQ building has.

OT: Well I bet it had more Haitian cheese on it than TRUMP ever had.

"Clinton’s funky coat, @lookwhoitiz tweeted, “This fleece has more experience than Donald Trump.” While the tweet is clearly in jest, it has exploded across the platform, racking up more than

Anonymous Deplorable S E Delenda December 02, 2016 6:32 PM  

"he doesn't mind hiring people who know more about something than he does -- unlike Obama who felt threatened by that."

This is the essential flaw of the left, not just that there is the cult of "scientistic" expertism, but that they are the creators, custodians and propagators of it. The academy, even when it was not overtly leftist or at least allowed diverse thoughts, still imbues the attitude that pedagogical education makes one superior. Obama is a product of the academy, where he could stop being a boy dealing with rejection (I think his grandfather pawning him off on Frank Marshall Davis was the final betrayal-and the event that makes him obsessed with being black and ignoring his white half) and imagine that he is smarter than everybody else about EVERTHING. To admit that somebody might know more than you about something, even if it's a minor thing or narrow field of inquiry is inherently troubling to somebody damaged like Obama, because such admissions require them to relinquish the delusion of grandeur from which they draw all self-worth.

They place no value on the guy that knows how to install a toilet, machine a part, read an electrical schematic-the very sorts of techne that really maintains and improves our lives.

Blogger ace December 02, 2016 6:32 PM  

Mattis is a traditional man, really loves to fight, and is incredibly patriotic. These are virtuous qualities as long as he has a right hand man fending off the neocons slavering to manipulate him with his own sincerely held beliefs.

Anonymous BGKB December 02, 2016 6:32 PM  

Just heard so far the first day of the Wisconsin recount has resulted in one additional vote for Hill.

I saw a video of the guy in charge of the recount in corrupt Philly but not the rest of the state. His name was Jewy Jewstine, not encouraging, he might just find 70,000 extra ballots.

--West Point (or Hudson High, as I've heard it called) grads are [redacted] [redacted].

Vox lets you say cocksucking faggots here.

They have a team full of incompetents and then complain about how they have to do all the work.

Are you sure its not just affirmative action?

OT: About that fleece, after looking up arkanicide info, I believe the fleece may have seen more poon slain than both Bill Clinton and TRUMP.

Blogger Johnny December 02, 2016 6:34 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Johnny December 02, 2016 6:50 PM  

Noah B The MacroAggressor wrote:@55 You can't even produce one example of a successful military commander who utilized this leadership method that you advocate?

As for example, Israel in the Sinai in the 1967 War, as a matter of plan, gave enormous discretion to individual commanders. There were screw ups, but taken as a whole it was a great success. (Look up the name of the overall commander and that is my "one example." And I am merely observing, not advocating.)

The Prussians were probably the first people on the planet to engage in war gaming. They explicitly tested whether subordinate commanders should take initiative or obey orders in a rigid way. The philosophy they developed out of the war gaming was sometimes expressed as, "march to the sound of canon." Or in other words, if there is a battle in your vicinity, you engage. That is, subordinate commanders as a matter of ordinary method were expected to take initiative and engage the enemy based on immediate circumstance.

During WWI, all the major armies required that the battlefield commanders take orders from officers in the rear. To get orders up to the front they depended on runners or telephone lines that had to be laid out. It is one of the reasons why nobody could win a decisive battle. If they made great progress they had to wait for orders from the rear while the enemy regrouped. Hitler was one of the runners in this era, saw the problem, and in big breakout through the Maginot Line the general in charge was in a tank with the other Panzer units that did the breakout. I forget the general's name, but he was reasonably well known because he wrote a book on the need to give forward commanders more discretion.

In the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon gave detailed orders and micromanaged. Wellington laid out the defensive positions and in the battle that involved three major offensive attacks from Napoleon in three different locations, Wellington was for the most part not available to give commands. He spent most of the day riding around the battlefield on a horse in an effort to motivate the troops, and thus he was frequently unavailable to give orders because those who might want orders would not know where he was.

And, by the way, VP is practicing the subordination of command by insisting he is not in charge of Alt-Right.

Blogger Lazarus December 02, 2016 7:02 PM  

The Scribe wrote:Pressed for time and can't immediately read response, so forgive if already covered, but how would William S. Lind or Van Crevald consider him re: 4GW?

Monitor Lind's blog, maybe he will discuss it. As it is, he is already talking about other previous picks:

The Transition: The Way Ahead

Blogger Noah B The MacroAggressor December 02, 2016 7:06 PM  

@67 Saying "look it up yourself" is about as lame a defense of your argument as there is.

And, by the way, VP is practicing the subordination of command by insisting he is not in charge of Alt-Right.

You have no idea at all what you're talking about, once again. Vox is saying he isn't in charge of the alt-right because that's the truth.

Blogger Lazarus December 02, 2016 7:13 PM  

Addendum to @68

Some of Trump’s policies, as laid out during the campaign, should change. The deal with Iran is the best we could get. Tearing it up would put us on the course for a war with Iran, which would undermine the essence of Trump’s appeal on foreign policy, i.e., no more stupid wars. On the other hand, Trump has done as he promised and reached out to Russia and China. We need both as allies against Fourth Generation forces everywhere.

William S. Lind believes that the response to 4GW forces is connect with centers of order and distance from centers of disorder:

What does Colonel Boyd’s definition of grand strategy mean in such a world? It means America’s grand strategy should seek to connect our country with as many centers and sources of order as possible while isolating us from as many centers and sources of disorder as possible. This is the only reasonable chance of preserving something called the “United States” in a 21st century dominated by Fourth Generation war. And, as we will see, it leads toward a defensive, not offensive, military strategy.

Strategic Defense Initiative: Distance from disorder is the key to winning the terror war.

Blogger g wood December 02, 2016 7:19 PM  

It bothers me that he was a board member of Theranos.

Blogger Lazarus December 02, 2016 7:20 PM  

AND:

Mattis is referenced in this Lind column from 2004

Blogger Johnny December 02, 2016 7:34 PM  

Noah B The MacroAggressor wrote:@67 Saying "look it up yourself" is about as lame a defense of your argument as there is.

And, by the way, VP is practicing the subordination of command by insisting he is not in charge of Alt-Right.

You have no idea at all what you're talking about, once again. Vox is saying he isn't in charge of the alt-right because that's the truth.


Hey, whatever.

Blogger Nate December 02, 2016 7:51 PM  


"Mattis is referenced in this Lind column from 2004"

I love lind... but he honestly takes this 4gw thing way to far. Its not that it isn't a real thing and it isn't that it isn't a real threat. But how to beat it is not unknown. Its right there in the books. The fact that its been a long time since a state army beat a non-state force is really exactly what you'd expect. Its new.

But back when it wasn't new... state armies got really good at beating non-state forces.

The whole "not all problems have a solution" line is simply silly.

Blogger VD December 02, 2016 7:55 PM  

And, by the way, VP is practicing the subordination of command by insisting he is not in charge of Alt-Right.

No, Vox is merely acknowledging reality. I didn't start the Alt-Right. I don't define it. I certainly don't lead it. At most, you might describe me as one of its philosophers.

Blogger Nate December 02, 2016 7:57 PM  

I am the leader of the alt-right. And so can you.

Blogger Sagramore December 02, 2016 8:17 PM  

I'm 4F but guys like this make me want to enlist.

Blogger Johnny December 02, 2016 8:23 PM  

VD wrote:And, by the way, VP is practicing the subordination of command by insisting he is not in charge of Alt-Right.

No, Vox is merely acknowledging reality. I didn't start the Alt-Right. I don't define it. I certainly don't lead it. At most, you might describe me as one of its philosophers.


You described Alt-Right as not having any leader. I don't know enough about it to know who would be the apparent choice if somebody wanted to represent the movement.

The military has a wonderful term for this. The new commander gains control by "assuming command." Now of course in our army the new commander would have institutional support, but the other side of it is that he also has to assume that he is in command. Among the Romans it was described as, those you see, you command. (Not that I think you are.)

Blogger Tom Kratman December 02, 2016 8:27 PM  

"If he'd declared war on Poland and then bounced to the Eagle's Nest to eat vegetarian pasta and screw Eva Braun, Germany might have won it."

A popular meme but largely bullshit. Hitler's military judgment, at least through 43 or even mid 44, was actually generally quite sound and occasionally inspired. His military problems stemmed, instead, from matters of character. In short, he was a ditherer who was prone to panic.

Blogger Johnny December 02, 2016 8:56 PM  

>>His military problems stemmed, instead, from matters of character...

The big problem, usually, was that he could not handle defeat or withdrawal. That usually was where the delays came from.

The troops at Stalingrad were predictably going to be surrounded and he wouldn't pull them out. And it wasn't dithering because he never changed his mind. It was a profoundly unwise thing to do. The Germans still had control of the open spaces with tanks, but in Stalingrad the German troops were pulled down to parity with the Russians.

I forget the proper nouns, but he left a bunch of troops stranded on a peninsula and wouldn't consider an evacuation for the duration of the war. Apparently he could not accept the dishonor of withdrawal, even if it functionally took the troops out of the war.

At the end Hitler got so exotic that the general staff started humoring him with a certain amount of false information. When he finally admitted to himself that he had lost, he wanted all Germans to commit suicide as they had proved unworthy of his command.

Anonymous BGKB December 02, 2016 9:00 PM  

If you think Mattis is making faggots cry you haven't heard about Sheriff Uncle Tom
http://www.towleroad.com/2016/11/david-clarke/

Blogger Daniel December 02, 2016 9:08 PM  

Dude. You made him wear another pin

Blogger SemiSpook37 December 02, 2016 9:30 PM  

@59

Inclined to agree with that assessment. Part of the issue as someone else mentioned earlier is the non-appointed SES contingent that acts as if they own the fucking place. Just because you have a flag and some feigned sense of importance doesn't mean you know everything. That and the fact you were dumb enough to take a position that wasn't a non-supervisory GS/GG-15. That's where the smart (both in terms of subject matter AND OPM regulation) usually reside. Pretty much everywhere else, civil servants are useless.

I should know. I used to be one. Can't wait for Mad Dog to get in there and rip shit up. It's going to be awesome.

Blogger Lazarus December 02, 2016 9:40 PM  

Nate wrote:But back when it wasn't new... state armies got really good at beating non-state forces.

Non-state forces should be easy to suppress, BUT they are not actually non-state forces. They are irregulars subsidized by states to be used against other states as proxies.

The US pretends to fight ISIS while subsidizing them. So does Turkey. The Taliban were proxies for Pakistan. The vietkong were irregulars fighting for North Vietnam.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 02, 2016 9:44 PM  

@80

No, not really. He became convinced that the bulk of his generals were weak and always altogether too ready and eager to withdraw. If someone was willing to stand up to him and make the case for withdrawal - Sepp Dietrich, for example, did this - he'd go along with it. Part of this stemmed from late 1941, when the generals and the general staff insisted on pulling back at a time when pulling back (which is, by the way, extraordinarily difficult and dangerous, much more so than amateurs are inclined to think) would have destroyed the German Army. H ordered a stand fast which is what saved the German Army.

You are possibly giving a little too much credence to popular myth about Hitler's incompetence and the godlike omniscience of the general staff. Check into whose original idea the "Manstein Plan" was. Enquire into Eben Emael. Figure out whose idea Kursk was and Hitler's feelings on it. Ask around for where the original stop order request came from before Dunkirk.

Anonymous BCD December 02, 2016 9:49 PM  

@55 Whatever it was that Mattis thought he was doing, I take it as not so much engaging the troops in tactics but a motivational strategy. You get them engaged in what they are doing so it doesn't feel pointless when they are out in the field.

This is someone who has obviously never sat through a ROC walk before, and is an object lesson in why you don't listen to people who speak of what they don't know. There is a HUGE amount of detail that goes into even a company-level order, and everybody needs to be up to speed on the scheme of maneuver. You can leave your subordinate commanders all the initiative you want in executing your orders, but that's pretty worthless if they don't know what those orders are in the first place. Or what comms channels to use. Or what the phase lines are. Or how your troops are going to eat. Or a million other things you wouldn't think to even think of unless it was your men's lives on the line.

Pro-tip: when someone is much, MUCH more accomplished than you are, in a field you don't know at all, and is highly praised by all other highly-accomplished members of said field, don't pretend to know what they were REALLY doing.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 02, 2016 10:08 PM  

Was just discussing Mattis with my SF son in law. Google "ODA 574." Some things are judgment calls and, with incomplete information, one cannot expect perfect judgment. Hence, he may be totally innocent of any fuck ups there. However, something has been bugging me since his name first came up, some time ago. This is the possibility that he's not exactly "an American fighting man" but just a Marine, only a Marine, nothing but a Marine, and incapable of thinking of anything outside of the Marines. That would, in fact, be perfectly acceptable for someone whose responsibilities are only as a Marine, to Marines. It's not such a good thing when his duties will cover all services. For a lesser illustration, think of the lasting damage done to Army-Marine cooperation by Holland Smith's relief of Ralph Smith. Even is it were justified, a matter of dispute even today, the price ultimately paid wasn't worth it. I could see Mattis doing something like that; I could see it easily enough for it to be worrisome.

I am, in any case, looking forward to his defense of his conduct with regard to ODA 574 at his confirmation hearing.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 02, 2016 10:16 PM  

Fifty Seven

"--Prior enlisted officers are, on average, significantly better than ROTC/ College boys."

Depends. It takes about 6 months as an officer for every year you were enlisted to change mindsets. For example, I was, for a platoon leader, a pretty good buck sergeant for the first year or so. I didn't become a good officer until I had about 18-20 months commissioned. I knew one guy who'd been an E-7 and gone to OCS from being a platoon sergeant with about 12 years in. He never did learn to be an officer; instead, he went SF where he could be a commissioned squad leader.

"--West Point (or Hudson High, as I've heard it called) grads are [redacted] [redacted]."

That's sometimes true and sometimes not. I will say that the ring knockers who impressed me were usually rebels for whom West Point was typically not a happy memory and who had little or no emotional attachment to the place.

Blogger Cataline Sergius December 02, 2016 10:18 PM  

...against an incompetent to the point of irrelevant enemy...

@Tom Kratman

In the week before the kick off.

Whenever our guys would BZ the crew served weapons, within moments we would be surrounded by Iraqi troops with their hands raised.

We would have to explain to them that they couldn't surrender yet and that they would have to go back to their side.

It was tempting to promise the poor bastards that we would let them know when it was time to surrender.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 02, 2016 10:28 PM  

CS:

They were also victims of their own propaganda.

A friend of mine was the Chemical Officer for one of the brigades of the 82d. (Interesting sort, chem officer with a tab was unusual, of course, but I think he was the only chem officer with a tab in the US Army whose father had been Waffen SS.) Anyway, he expected to be very busy as a chem officer but, of course, that wasn't needful, so his brigade tasked him to set up and run POW holding facilities. (To call them "camps" wouldn't be quite right.) So he's in charge of several thousand Iraqi POWs who are all very happy to be alive and well fed. And then one of the English speaking ones inquires, "If I may ask, Sayiddi, which unit of the glorious, all conquering US Army are we privleged to be in the custody of?" Upon being told it was the 82d, the enquirer fell to his knees and began to cry and beg and plead for mercy. As the word spread, so did the several thousand others. Some even looked like they were ready to make a break for it into the desert which, of course, would have turned the nice peaceful POW holding area into Malmedy in a dusty idiom.

So what was the problem? The Iraqi propaganda fucks had put out that to get into the 82d, a American had to kill one of his parents and commit sundry other atrocities, and that they were given to cannibalism.

Yeah, yeah, he got them calmed down before anything untoward happened.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 02, 2016 10:31 PM  

Addendum:

You should have accepted their surrender. Really.

Blogger Harsh December 02, 2016 10:56 PM  

I'm going to get a little fanboy-ish and gush here but I love hearing Colonel Kratman talk about the military. It's like being in church.

Anonymous Siobhan December 02, 2016 11:00 PM  

Me too.

Theranos was a scam. Was he taken in? Complicit? Negligent?

It's disturbing.

Blogger Noah B The MacroAggressor December 02, 2016 11:06 PM  

@92 Second that. And not just from Kratman, from anyone with any experience/stories to share.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 02, 2016 11:19 PM  

Funny you should say that...

Blogger HMS Defiant December 02, 2016 11:19 PM  

The Warrior Monk is kind of special. He is 'one' of the best we have. There are others. He did not form in a vacuum.
Every time I would walk thru Fort Myer I would look at the houses of the 4 stars and the 3 stars. They are the same houses my father lived in as a little boy back in the 30s when his father was a captain.

You see the houses today with their big screened porches and the wonderful furniture and lights and end tables and I wonder.....

How does a warrior monk fit into this milieu? He has no wife, no daughter to stock the house all around with the signs of gracious living.

A few years ago I drove up to Pendleton to play golf but there were 11 SUVs with 4 star stickers on them and the course was closed while they played. I don't think General Mattis was among them.

He will do well as our SECDEF. One couldn't get a better or more honorable man.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 02, 2016 11:26 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger modsquad December 02, 2016 11:36 PM  

Tom Kratman wrote:CS:

They were also victims of their own propaganda.

A friend of mine was the Chemical Officer for one of the brigades of the 82d. (Interesting sort, chem officer with a tab was unusual, of course, but I think he was the only chem officer with a tab in the US Army whose father had been Waffen SS.) Anyway, he expected to be very busy as a chem officer but, of course, that wasn't needful, so his brigade tasked him to set up and run POW holding facilities. (To call them "camps" wouldn't be quite right.) So he's in charge of several thousand Iraqi POWs who are all very happy to be alive and well fed. And then one of the English speaking ones inquires, "If I may ask, Sayiddi, which unit of the glorious, all conquering US Army are we privleged to be in the custody of?" Upon being told it was the 82d, the enquirer fell to his knees and began to cry and beg and plead for mercy. As the word spread, so did the several thousand others. Some even looked like they were ready to make a break for it into the desert which, of course, would have turned the nice peaceful POW holding area into Malmedy in a dusty idiom.

So what was the problem? The Iraqi propaganda fucks had put out that to get into the 82d, a American had to kill one of his parents and commit sundry other atrocities, and that they were given to cannibalism.

Yeah, yeah, he got them calmed down before anything untoward happened.


If I were the commander of the 82nd, that's the kind of propaganda I would have been trying to push on the Iraqis. I understand Hussein probably went this far to stop his guys from surrendering, but creating fear is a circle and if you push it too far, you end up on my side of it.

Blogger Billy Ray December 02, 2016 11:45 PM  

Iraq and Afghanistan were lost before the wars started thanks to guys like Mattis.
There were two schools of thought: Rumsfeld and the Marines under Mattis and the other school led by the army
School one said 150K troop, swift drive on Baghdad and Kabul, by pass any resistance, cut the head of the snake and it’s all good, done in a day.
Army said, no. 700K troops, move slow, while lead elements bypass strong points, follow on forces reduce the strong point, consolidate gains, establish military presence, bring in MPs, engineers, public affairs types etc. to keep the lights on, maintain order. War may take a year.
We opted for option one. War ended quickly and 12 hours later the looting began, 24 hours later the sectarian violence began, the bypassed strong points became hell holes filled with virulent militia groups. We didn’t do anything, why? we didn’t have enough troops on the ground, we weren;t an occupying army, we weren’t the Iraqi police, we didn’t have public affairs types on the ground or engineers to help fix water and sewer etc.
So, we surged to secure, hold and build, you know - the thing the army wanted to do all along. But, by then it was too late. We looked for people we could deal with and all we found were folks looking to get power so they could get back at the others who were just kicked out of power. Fallujah and all those other crap holes would never have gotten as bad, they would have been assaulted earlier at less cost and we would NOT have had to go back into some of these places two and three times before spending millions of dollars to buy off the warlords only to see them turn on us later.
We wanted the fighting over in 60 minutes in time for the 5 o’clock news type war, not the protracted war and guess what? We got it any way, but if done right in the first place we would have had 5 year WWII and not 12-year Vietnam again. case think back to the early years o the wr the military couldn;t keep the highway open fro the green zone to the Baghdad airport, reminiscent of Hwy 1 in Vietnam.
So NO, I am NOT impressed by Mattis and his schtick

Blogger Nate December 03, 2016 12:20 AM  

Krat..when discussing German military issues in ww2 logistics should always be mentioned. Hitler issues of character didn't make the idiot germans disregard the concept of universal parts. In some ways the Germans were handicapped by their own german...ness

Blogger Noah B The MacroAggressor December 03, 2016 12:33 AM  

Nate, I'm aware of lots of logistical problems the Wehrmacht faced, but I'm not sure what you're talking about there - discarding the concept of universal parts. Would you elaborate?

Anonymous Clay December 03, 2016 1:23 AM  

I would not deign to speak for Nate, but I THINK he might be referring to the German propensity for trying to build too many weapons, with limited resources. Too many chefs in the kitchen.

Eg. Me-109. Good plane. FW-190...better. ME-262, better.

Tanks: Tiger:great, but too big & expensive to maintain. Panther: too late.

Sturmgewehr, : Too little; too late.

Blogger Aeoli Pera December 03, 2016 3:01 AM  

AFAIK, universal parts means interchangeable, means the lack thereof entails too many designers doing too much design, leading to an inability to repair anything because too many different parts for manufacturers to handle the load.

Anonymous eah December 03, 2016 5:25 AM  

"when he says he is going to get the best people, he isn't blowing smoke or pontificating"

How about Nikki Haley? -- what's up with that bitch?

Blogger Tom Kratman December 03, 2016 7:32 AM  

They didn't disregard issues of parts commonality, Nate; their supporting industry was simply incapable of providing them. This, of course, only got worse from a log POV as they overran other countries and incorporated their industries into the Reich's.

On the other hand, it's worth asking which is better, 100 trucks without interchangeable tires or 1 truck, period.

Blogger Cataline Sergius December 03, 2016 7:32 AM  

@Tom Kratman

If it had been up to me we would have accepted their surrender but we had very specific orders from higher telling us not to do that.

Two factors were in play so far as I can tell.

1. Preserving the civilian leadership's all consuming fantasy that we were actually fighting Nazi Germany. (*I know that one was real. I'll tell you about Operation Skittles sometime*)

2. The legally gray status of POWs without the W. How do you accept prisoners of war without the war? Although if Saddam had been really sharp he would've sent them over the border as refugees.

The Iraqi mass surrenders were an interesting variant on the Human Wave strategy. The US is the only country in history that that would work on. And it did clog our logistics system. One already fucked up do to the Turks. My unit was down to one MRE a day and three rounds a man by the time we hit Bhagdad.

Blogger Eric Mueller December 03, 2016 7:36 AM  

I work with Marines. From what I hear, even though some stories about Mattis seem larger than life, there is no embellishment with this guy. They are exactly what he said and how it happened. He has earned his reputation.

Anonymous RedJack December 03, 2016 8:47 AM  

By naming him as the Secretary of Defense, Trump has thrown down a challenge. Both sides of the aisle are not comfortable with Gen. Mattis. He is a fighting general, a rarity in and of itself. Most generals are politicians first.

Mattis may be blocked by the GOP. He is less likely to play the games that the chicken-hawks want to play.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 03, 2016 8:56 AM  

It would probably work even better on the EU, CS.

They'd be accepted as defectors and put to work as porters, if nothing else.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 03, 2016 9:05 AM  

@103

No, in this case it just meant inadequate industry in an anarchic system, on the provider side. The Huns were never as well organized and directed as we, the Brits, and the Russkis were.

However, it gets worse. There were something like 2 million different kinds of parts required (I think for trucks alone) in the German Army that launched into Russia in June, 1941. Now imagine trying to manage that with pen and paper, not even a goddamned electric calculator to help you out. Yes, there are things one can do, and the Germans did them, like filling one division with, say, only French trucks of a particular make, or Czech tanks, if there were enough on hand. Even this, though, has problems, if you can't predict what parts will be needed, don't have enough trucks to carry all of them, anyway, can't really rely on the factory around Lille or Prague to provide them, and thus are risking a complete collapse in that (and, indeed, every) major formation.

Add to that that with the Huns almost all the really capable guys went into some kind of Ops or the Luftwaffe or Kriegsmarine, and there aren't really enough of the second stringers to handle it (nor enough even if they hadn't been second stringers).

Blogger Tom Kratman December 03, 2016 9:12 AM  

Log and Tires...my team sergeant, Sig, and I were brewing up some coffee (well, espresso, actually; long story) at a small abandoned Iraqi maintenance facility 20 or 30 klicks outside of Kuwait City. There were 3 of those adorable little 60mm Mortar mounting AML armored cars there, each on a jack. Sig asks, "Hey sir, ya wanna take one home with us." "Huh?" "Count tires." Sure as shit, all three were perfectly functional except that each needed a replacement tire. But take two tires off of one to make two others functional? Oh, no, way, WAY too hard for them. Way too far out of their intellectual capabilities.

Seriously, unless you've gone up against an Arab army it's almost impossible to conceive of how truly wretched and worthless they are. Even when they're brave and willing, and they sometimes are, they still suck moose cock.

Blogger Cataline Sergius December 03, 2016 9:34 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Cataline Sergius December 03, 2016 9:35 AM  

@111 Tom Kratman

I don't think it's so much a case of the dumbs as it is a total and complete aversion to initiative.

And that aversion is quite possibly genetic at this point.

Certainly there has been centuries of Selective Pressure against initiative. Anybody who got ideas was viewed as someone who Got Ideas and was dealt with immediately. The initiative trait may simply be extinct at this point.

The flip side is that they are absolutely great at rote memorization. They can do that no problem.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 03, 2016 9:50 AM  

Possible, of course, but that only adds to how fucking militarily shitty they are.

Anonymous Luke December 03, 2016 10:29 AM  

Serious question: how would this guy measure up to NB Forrest or Matt Ridgeway?

Anonymous Pastry Chef December 03, 2016 10:33 AM  

Lol'd @ Speaking as a game designer...

Speaking as a pastry chef - which involves fine handiwork that few people have to do - I have to say you're the best damn surgeon in the business, doctor!

Anonymous Pastry Chef December 03, 2016 11:14 AM  

@Cataline Sergius

Operation Skittles?

Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr December 03, 2016 12:52 PM  

It's my understanding that the Germans frequently didn't make enough spare parts. Hitler wanted tanks, not parts to fix tanks.

Logistics will kill you.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 03, 2016 12:57 PM  

That wasn't parts, Nap; that was major assemblies like complete gun systems and engine packs. They'd make enough, say, treads and roadwheels.

And, again, it's really hard to tell what's true and what is postwar blame shifting, which every aspect of German society and their military engaged in.

Anonymous JustAnotherPairOfEyes December 03, 2016 1:48 PM  

The logistics problem the Germans faced in WW2 was simple to explain. Not nearly enough of it. And that was due to a lack of economic strength, not to mention oil.

When they attacked the USSR they cut themselves off from US wheat and food imports (shipped through Siberia). Conquering France didn't help because their farms required yet more oil imports. On the other hand, if they'd left the deal with the USSR alone, Britain would still have eventually bombed them into submission because (a) Germany could produce only a fraction of the aircraft that Britain could, let alone what the US would produce and (b) Britain was a partner in the development of nuclear weapons.

Germany never had a chance, they were totally doomed from the start. They got lucky and put France out of the war but their real problem was always Britain and they never had a chance of hell of stopping the Brits. The imbalance of power is why WW2 was so much shorter than previous European wars like the Napoleonic Wars or the 30-years War.

The victors write the histories and they always write them to magnify the strength of the vanquished. It makes for a better narrative. I bet that most of the fantasies of military history are due to this inclination. The historians get their "facts" from the Generals. Truth? A general would never let truth get in the way of a good story. Nor is this a recent development. It's standard human operating behavior and has been going on for at least 2500 years.

Blogger Noah B The MacroAggressor December 03, 2016 3:32 PM  

Though I'm only a rank amateur on the subject compared to the guys with military experience, the most striking logistical failures I've heard of on the part of the Germans were a failure to deliver cold weather supplies - lubricants, boots, clothing, winter overwhites, and of course adequate food and ammo - to the Eastern front. Assuming that really happened, it does seem like a glaring oversight.

Blogger Noah B The MacroAggressor December 03, 2016 3:34 PM  

@111 But if you're just counting the minutes until you can surrender... why bother to fix trucks? Hell the Iraqis may have wrecked the tires intentionally.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 03, 2016 4:46 PM  

@120:

They gambled and they lost. Could have been anyone willing to take a risk for a grand prize.

and addendum to 119: there was another peculiarity going on with the packs and such; German doctrine - which made perfect sense until they got deep into Russia or had a large corps hanging in the breeze in Africa; IOW it made sense when Germany was close - was to bring tanks back to Germany for depot-level maintenance, rather to do serious maintenance in the field. I don't think this changed until sometime in 1942.

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