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  1. #481
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    The thing is, that would only work in the IDF. Any other armed forces in the world, you'd have hell to pay.

    Same TC, different story: (Crucial fact to the story: The TC's nickname was "Ratcher" the Israeli term for a ratchet. Another story, but one that won't translate)

    We had been on another night exercise, and the driver made a wrong move, instead of driving in a muddy ditch, he drove half in and half out. The mud built up under the muddy track until it pushed the track off it's sprocket drive wheel and inwards towards the tank. If the track had fallen outwards, we could have fixed it in approximately 7 minutes (I've proven that time). Since it fell inwards, it had massive amounts of unmovable pressure sitting on it, and we couldn't budge the damn thing even a millimeter, no matter how hard we tried. That whole "give me a fulcrum" thing? Crap.

    To top it all off, the tank is sitting inside a ditch that is approximately 1m of pure mud. The best kind, too. The mud that is solid enough for you to stand on it for 13 seconds, then you fall straight through. After trying to do it by ourselves and the techies all morning, one of the spare tanks is dispatched from base to try and drag us out. We connect the tow cables, and the towing tank starts running in place. Literally. The tracks are turning, but there's no traction at all because it's on concrete. After turning the (fresh) concrete road into so much rubble, everyone stops to reconsider what we're going to do. The Battalion CO and Battalion XO are both there. The Company XO, the heads of both company's Tech squads, two whole tank crews, and a couple other assorted figures. We had the distinction of being perhaps only the second or third crew to have ever done this to a Merkava Mk IV, so we had a lot of spectators.

    (A couple side notes, relevant to the punchline: 1-The Battalion CO and XO were both trained on Magach/M60's. Their knowledge of the Merkava IV is not quite lacking, but limited in some areas. 2-The Battalion CO is a big dark guy of Yemenite descent. He barely speaks a word of English. 3-The TC's father heads a big publishing house in Israel, and at his son's behest, donated a very extensive library to our Company. Due to that, he and the Battalion CO exchanged a few phone calls)

    Back to the story, the Battalion XO suggests putting the towing tank into "T" mode, maybe that will help. Ratcher get's on the radio and starts saying that "T" is to help a tank that's being towed start it's engine, the equivalent of glide starting a car. As he starts talking, every single eye in the joint is suddenly focused on him, and he starts petering out, slowly fading away as the realization dawns on him that he's the reason everyone's here in the first place, and he's also just about the lowest person on the totem pole. The fact that he's right has absolutely no bearing on the matter. Then the Battalion CO, in a very surprising move says in English: "Ratcher, Say no more!" and then continues in Hebrew "Don't make me call your father and let him know what you did to my tank!"
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  2. #482
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    Very interesting & nice thread

  3. #483
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    Got any to share?

  4. #484
    Contributor mustavaris's Avatar
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    Once I have waded through these, I might share some;-

  5. #485
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    not my story, but an interesting story a vet shared on the SM Stirling mailing list. the topic was the effectiveness of barbed wire-- how good it was in the modern age and how good/bad it could be in a post-modern/pre-modern era.

    i've xxx'd out the e-mail address for privacy concerns.

    ----

    From: beauhooligan <beauhooligan@xxx>
    To: stirling@yahoogroups.com
    Sent: Thu, January 28, 2010 1:34:14 AM
    Subject: [stirling] Re: HIGH KING chapter 2

    Let's see...barbed wire. Well, I don't have a clue to how folks would draw steel wire at that point after the change, but it was originally produced in factories with coal fired furnaces to heat the steel using steam power to drive the drawing machines. Using water power driving very large flywheels would give you enough consistency of tension to draw. The tooling would be large and hard to fabricate, but the folks in Iowa could do that; I'd be willing to bet there is a barbed wire factory in Iowa. But, getting barbed wire from there to where it's needed would be a supreme bitch. One thing being ignored is the quantity of barbed wire sitting in storage. Where I live in central California there is at any time a heck of a lot of wire sitting around in warehouses. My areas population grew large as a bedroom community for the Bay Cites during the late '60s and on, but we were, and still are, a serious agriculture center. I spent the first 10 years of my life on a small farm, and got to know that use of barbed wire well. Right now, as I write this, there must be miles of barbed wire sitting in the farm equipment supply houses within 50 miles. Put that in with all of the usable barbed wire that can be harvested from farms and ranches, and getting enough to put a serious defense around a castle would be quite doable.

    As far as the defending of castles with barbed wire goes, I don't know how well it would work. I will buy into the concept that anything that slows assault troops on the approach to the walls will have a significant effect on the success of the defense. I was a sailor, not a soldier, so my education was lacking when it came to fixed fortifications. I did have a real world experience with barbed wire at a fire base in Vietnam.

    My boat (PBR) and our mate boat were working from a forward fire base, and the base had been being probed regularly. Special Forces had been checking the surrounding villes and had found new made ladders, lots of rice and rolled bandages. The word was the base was going to be seriously hit on the new moon. Our orders were to unship our stern M2 .50s and the M-60s to aid in the defense, and if it looked like the base would fall, retreat to the boats and carry out as many as we could carry, with priority going to the female nurses.

    The base had a serious kill zone with extensive mine fields, and what looked like enough wire to stop anything, and since the base had the rive at it's back Charlie only had about 150 degrees to attack from the jungle. We had interlocking chain guns, mortars, a good stock of ordinance, a fat company in fighting holes and pretty good access to air support. I was in a hole next to the commo bunker with our stern .50 set on a tripod someone had dug up, our able seaman as my A-Gunner, and a soldier to hump ammo. They came on at just after 0200, and all Hell broke loose.

    Mortars started dropping in from out in the trees, and Charlie came at the wire as thick as fleas in a badly kept barn. I had 3K rounds for the .50 to start, and despite controlling my rate of fire to keep from overheating or burning out the barrel, I had gone trough it by 0330, and the soldier was running as fast as he could to and from the ammo dump. Our mortars had been hitting them hard, but of the 5 4.2" tubes at the base, I would find out later that ARVN traitors had taken out 3 of these. I was wondering why we had seen no air support, but as I found out later that Mr. Charles was hitting several bases that night, and the gun ships were busy. Those little guys were tough and determined, and were constantly attacking the wire at multiple points; as fast as we killed them, others came and took their places, and used their bodies for protection. I focused my attention on these, as nothing was protection from the .50. We had OV-10 Black Ponies come in at 0400, and the quieted things down for a half hour, but as soon as they departed, the attack resumed. They also threw the ladders on the wire, making causeways. I also saved my fire for anyone in the light of the flares that had an RPG, and ducked from RPGs on a couple of occasions. They knew the locations of all our positions, and were drew heavy fire from AKs and RPDs.

    I had been told to be ready to "save ass" when two of the M18a1 Claymores in front of the last ring of fence went off. I didn't think anything would be moving out there when the Claymores started to trip, but those devils came on with no regard. I had run out of M2 .50, the soldier had made a run to the ammo dump and been shot, and my mate and I were firing M-16s at this point. I had just put in a fresh 30 round magazine when I spotted a figure past the wire like a fullback with the ball at his belly. The sapper was running strait at the slits of the commo bunker. I had been firing short bursts, but I just emptied the magazine into him, and he continued running for about 15 yards (don't get me started on why you don't take a varmint rifle to war). I am sure I was not the only one firing at him. A short burst from the M2 .50 or an M-60 would have cut him in half. More of the Claymores were going off along the wire, and my mate and I were ready to skedaddle for the boat when we heard a humongous roar from overhead that sounded like Thor had just ripped a giant piece of canvas in two. I had heard about them, but had never been near an AC-47 or AC-130 in action; this was the kind of thing that happens and makes one believe that God really exists. The attack on the base fell apart in a few minutes. Two Phantoms, which I think were escorts for the gunship, came in and dropped napalm on the tree line. The gunship dropped flares and circled for over 45 minutes then turned west. The sun was coming up and I climbed out of the hole, and my mate and I shared his last cigarette. We could hear helicopters inbound, and it seemed we would live a little longer.

    American dead was light at 37, including the Chief from our Mate boat, but most of the Army garrison was wounded or walking wounded. The ARVN were seriously tore up, but they had a really nice internecine fight when their guys took out the mortars. I never fully trusted Marvin, and that night proved I was pretty justified in that opinion. The enemy dead were over 800, not counting however many died in the napalm conflagration in the treeline and however many were dragged off by their comrades. It was two days of backhoe and bulldozers two bury them all.

    The whole point of that story is that I believe the barbed wire was the only thing that kept us from dying that night. If those guys had come up that slope with nothing but the mines and our gunfire to slow them, not a single one of us would have lived to see the dawn, except perhaps as prisoners (the last 2 rounds in my .45 would have been for my mate and me). We would not have lived long enough to see the Black Ponies let alone the gunship. And we did have a hell of a lot of gunfire. In our hole the .50 caliber brass and links had built up to where it became a menace to our footing, and the soldier spent a lot of time scooping up helmet loads of it and tossed it behind the hole. By the empty cans I figure I had fired somewhere around 5000 rounds. There is no way that a castle in the High King era could do as much damage as our guns had done. Without the wire it would have been a massacre; it may have become a massacre anyway if it had not been for the arrival of the gunship and Phantoms.

    If this old sailor had survived on into year 24 after the Change, the likely hood of which given my location at the time of the Change, my multiply broken chassis (left knee replacement, right hip replacement, two spinal fusions), and being 72 years old, being slim to none; I would tell the Baron of any keep to put his people out and gather as much barbed wire as possible, make as much as he could, and make a multiple ring of wire outside the dry moat, more between the moats, and concertina at the top of the wall.

    That's just my observations and opinions. I have been wrong previously. YMMV.

    Beauhooligan
    Last edited by astralis; 28 Jan 10, at 13:57.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  6. #486
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    Astralis:

    Go! You got any more from this guy?

    Prof

  7. #487
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    Back when there were still "Brown Shoes" roaming the halls of the military a mission came up that needed just the touch that a certain group of Marines and one cur had.

    Now I had never been to sea but we just happened to be flying around minding our own business when our pilot decided, by himself I might add, to land on this terribly small speck of floating metal. After landing and showing my disdain at what the pilot had just put me through, we were herded into a big room with comfortable chairs and given a briefing. There was this loud mouthed hairy faced little insect of a man who was visiting a certain very dry and dusty land on a mission of little concern. What was of concern was this insect. It seamed that someone wanted to have someone swat this little insect in a very Marine like manner in order to assure that he never buzzed again.

    After our briefing we were feed and sent to see the doc. The doc was an unconcerned but polite fellow who offered us some little bags with six or seven pills in each that were purported to to have great healing powers over things like scours which is like dysentery X 1000. Well the new LT just stood there and looked at the little jewels but the large, grumpy, ill-mannered Gunny Sergent barked "Marines don't take pills" and dragged his new LT out the door followed by his Marines. After they had gone the doc looked at me in amazement as I looked at the pills and then back at the doc. I just shrugged and reported that I was not a Marine but an Air Force Sargent and in the AF we take pills. I emptied a few pouches of unnecessary items like bandages and other medical items and stuffed all the pill packs into them. I wasn't planing on needing any medical supplies anyway.

    After I had stuffed all the pills into the pouches I lit out after my Marines and found them doing something that I found to be really stupid. They were picking up swim fins and getting into a helicopter!!! Not I don't know about most folks but my Mom told me to never play with kitchen utensils and I had already had a ride in one of those things and that was enough. They sound like they are constantly falling apart!!! The Gunny handed me a set of fins and shoved me toward the helo and for some fool reason I sat down next to a young grinning Marine. I probably have said something derogatory to him but I figured he wouldn't hear me any way so I just grinned back.

    Shortly after we took off and headed out over the water for an hour or so flight just a few feet over the water until we spotted land. Now I just want you to know that the pucker factor that that ride caused hasn't worn off to this very day. Just when I became comfortable with the flight the thing stopped and hovered. I was at a loss. There is the land right over there barely visible and we were stopped....hovering and all the damn Marines were jumping into the water??? The Gunny slipped over next to me and showed me how to put on the over sized fins and like an idiot I jumped in!!! Buy this time the other Marines had inflated a rubber boat and our gear was coming down in a wire mesh tray being lowered by cable. Now who I couldn't have been lowered in the same manner I don't know. With rubber boat inflated and everyone and their gear aboard we each took a little and began paddling to shore. It didn't look far from the helo buy we paddled for at least a year and finally reach land after dark. Now if these Marines were anything they were efficient. They dug a hole, deflated and folded the boat and put in the fins and paddles in just a few minutes. Then It was my turn... I pulled of a beacon, placed it in the hole........and they began to cover it up.

    While the Marines were making everything look as if no one had ever been there, kind of like the old cowboy and Indian movies, I set up mu gear, got a fix, called in our position, marked the time and scanned the horizon. All was well. Then we walked, and we walked and we walked for two and one half days we walked. Then...we turned.....and we walked for 2 more days. We set up, I set up all my gear and had two of the Marines set out a few sensors, the gunny and two others went for a walk for about 30 mins and we waited. While we waited we ate the MREs of the day and drank canned water and set out our little water manufacturing bubble heads. Bubble heads were these balloon like osmosis water making machines. they worked pretty go if you understand how to use them. This is something the AF taught but for some reason the Marines didn't. It was brought to my attention that mine made lots of water but none of theirs worked right. When I asked them if they primed them they all suddenly got a funny DUH kind of look on their faces so I explained that if you put a little bit of water in the bubble it would make more water. That took care of that.

    Now it was about the time that I showed them how to make water that the Marines began to show symptoms of the strange malady I mentioned at the beginning of this story. One of the young Marines, a large redheaded lad strolled over and sat gingerly down next to me in the sand. I could see he was in distress buy the tear streaks in the silt on his young face. When I inquired as to the cause of his distress he informed me that he left his F$$&*#g As&*^$le laying over the dune in the sand. Then he looked at me and ask if I had the same malady and I reported "No...no I don't" and I explained the wisdom of the little packs of pills. He was happy to find that I had not only brought enough for me...but I brought enough for everyone. I explained that he was to take two packets now and one every day until we returned to the safety of the floating iron pile.

    One by one over the next few hours each young marine and their new LT came and asked me for some of the magic pills and I delivered. Finally the gruff and grouchy old Gunny Sergent made his way over and sat gingerly down with a grunt and I inquired if everything was OK. Now the gruff and grouchy old Gunny Sergent, being the Marine he was, put a good old fashioned cussin on me and the said "Give me some of those G@& D%*$^ pills before he knocked the pure S^%#T out of me. Fine how do you do that was. I had just single handedly save the United States Marine Corp!!!! The mission went on. The wrong hairy faced little insect along with his caravan of protection got between trajectory and sand and were all sent to hell. THE END

    Oh yeah...I did get my first non aircraft related bingo on that trip. It made it a little easier to live with my Marines.)
    Si Uis Pacem Para Bellum
    Pax Per Potens

  8. #488
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    Sorry that took so long but I have a torn rotator cuff and typing is painful.
    Si Uis Pacem Para Bellum
    Pax Per Potens

  9. #489
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    What year was this? Did not know the Marines ever did this kind of work.

  10. #490
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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    What year was this? Did not know the Marines ever did this kind of work.
    Capsoda's a zoomie, Coronel. & Marines will do just about anything you ask'em to, as long as you ask nicely.

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  11. #491
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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    What year was this? Did not know the Marines ever did this kind of work.
    It was before 1980 but we were never did, ya know.
    Si Uis Pacem Para Bellum
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  12. #492
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capsoda View Post
    2 more days. We set up, I set up all my gear and had two of the Marines set out a few sensors, the gunny and two others went for a walk for about 30 mins and we waited. While we waited we ate the MREs of the day and drank canned water and set out our little water manufacturing bubble heads.
    +

    It was before 1980 but we were never did, ya know.
    thats 1

    The wrong hairy faced little insect along with his caravan of protection got between trajectory and sand and were all sent to hell. THE END
    +

    It was before 1980 but we were never did, ya know.
    thats 2

    Shortly after we took off and headed out over the water for an hour or so flight just a few feet over the water until we spotted land....and we were stopped....hovering and all the damn Marines were jumping into the water...The Gunny slipped over next to me and showed me how to put on the over sized fins and like an idiot I jumped in!!! ...Buy this time the other Marines had inflated a rubber boat and our gear was coming down in a wire mesh tray being lowered by cable....
    thats 3

    sounds like a hell of a trip, would love to hear more, did you get any awards for scragging what was either a Palestinian or Iranian?

  13. #493
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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    sounds like a hell of a trip, would love to hear more, did you get any awards for scragging what was either a Palestinian or Iranian?
    Well...actually I only ever met one Iranian and he is an American and to my knowledge I never met a Palestinian but that was pretty good, Zaver. Details on such things are not really important but the funny stories that came out of them can be told and are great.
    Si Uis Pacem Para Bellum
    Pax Per Potens

  14. #494
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    Your story, however, does raise a lot of detailed question. Pre-1980 meant Jimmy Carter and I have yet to hear one successful military mission under that man.

  15. #495
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capsoda View Post
    Details on such things are not really important but the funny stories that came out of them can be told and are great.
    Details are important, for example I claim to be a 19K and before that a 19E. Now If I didn't know what the Jesus pin, master blaster, or el uncouple were I would as Ricki said. "have some plexaining to do".

    Others here also claiming to be in my former line of work would raise eyebrows and ask other questions like why is chalk important in an MBT, have I ever suffered through heart break and agony, what were my units and when, when did I go to NTC etc. Stuff that can all be checked and vetted.

    So far your rich on fluff and poor on details. Now I am not calling you a liar, but my eyebrows are raised, and I am the nice guy. Here that cracking sound, that is the ice under your feet. We need those details. Not mission specific per se, but operational details that are dead give aways between warriors and chairborne rangers.

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