Category Archives: Weapons Website of the Week

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Right by Ike

This is a classy memorial to Ike. Naturally, it wasn’t what no-class Gehry had in mind. (It’s in a traffic circle in Bayeux).

We’ve written before about the shambling zombie calamity of a memorial that the talentless po-mo society architect Frank Gehry designed for the Eisenhower Memorial.  Which is how we get to Right by Ike, our Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week. (A bit light on “weapons,” even if Ike wasn’t, commanding arguably the most powerful combined joint force ever to bestride the planet).

The premise of Right by Ike is that any memorial should do right by the 20th Century military and political leader — which the Gehry selection and his deliberately insulting, demeaning design does not.

The selection of Gehry was done by a sham “competition” set up by Gehry pal Rocco Siciliano with the eventual “winner” — Gehry — preselected. The design itself is an eyesore, with steel chain-link-fence-like “tapestries” stretching high into the sky, signifying nothing. Gehry’s design contract has already experienced a 65% overrun, with one of the few things actually constructed to date — mockups of the “tapestries” — came in at 2,300% of budget. Still, Gehry insists that the overall project budget — initially $50 million — is finally stable at $150 million.

Gehry does not have a track record of successfully estimating costs:


A Poor Track Record for the Architect

Project Name Estimated Completion Actual Completion Estimated Cost Actual Cost
Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles 1997 2003 $100 Million
(rev. from $50m)
$274 Million

Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park, Chicago 2000 2004 $10.8 Million $60 Million

Ray and Maria Stata Center, MIT, Boston January 2004 May 2004 $165 Million $315 Million

Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC 2005
orig. 2003
Cancelled for lack of funding $40 Million $200 Million
at cancellation

Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial 2017
orig. 2015
$55-75 Million Currently $150 million

More than that, the buildings he has built have often had leaks, corrosion, and other structural problems. He’s very, very fashionable… he’s just not very good. And here’s what Gehry thinks of the guy he’s supposed to be memorializing, President and General of the Army Dwight David Eisenhower:

Kind of like what the thinks of you. 

Then, there are the aesthetics of the memorial. The Eisenhower family was opposed until recently, but has been bought off by some added statues of Ike. Bruce Cole in The New Criterion described the architect’s jarring style as “gehrish,” in a review of a biography of the “starchitect” featuring this insight into Gehry’s love for chain-link:

Gehry… had a complicated psychological relation with chain-link fencing, which he discussed with the long-time Los Angeles celebrity therapist Milton Wexler.

…Wexler didn’t share Gehry’s admiration and deep feelings for chain-link fencing. He, Goldberger says, thought of the material “more in terms of prison yards . . . and he was troubled by Frank’s fondness for it.” Gehry was offended when Wexler told him he “was expressing anger with chain link” and that he needed to do “angry things with this corrugated metal and things to piss people off, to get attention.”

But wait. Why are we raving about a bad architectural design, from a poseur of an architect, in a Website of the Week? Because the Eisenhower Memorial is at a crossroads — rumor is that a few of the weasel Republican Congressmen who dream of circulating in Society are willing to suck up to Gehry to do it. For example, critic Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) has been bought off with a seat on the commission board — cha-chingg! Right By Ike, which wants to do right by Ike (naturally), is a website that consolidates everything you need to know about this fiasco.

Here’s one more graphic from the site: comparing the three most revered Presidential memorials with the Ikesore, what would it cost to build them in current dollars?

An Expensive Proposal

Thumbnail 1 Thumbnail 1
Washington Memorial
Cost: $45.3 million*
Lincoln Memorial
Cost: $48.6 million
Thumbnail 1 Thumbnail 1
Jefferson Memorial
Cost: $42.4 million
Eisenhower Memorial
Currently $150 million

Right by Ike’s Sam Roche points out (at Breitbart) that it’s not too late: there’s a guy in Washington who’s built a few buildings without 2,300% budget overruns before. What’s his name?

If there’s anything helpful to be done, it’ll be noted at Right by Ike.

Wednesday Weapons Website off the Week: CounterJihad

We have found good information and argumentation on the CounterJihad.com site and its related YouTube channel. It had gone radio-silent after the election, and may be an Israeli-sponsored propaganda effort aimed at the election; despite that, it was generally right about the problems the USA has been having identifying with and targeting an enemy that has no comparable difficulty targeting us. 

If it takes a gang of lobbyists whose paychecks ultimately get accounted in shekels to wake up America, about all we can say about that its, “Thanks, Israel.”

Of course, it could be part of the legendary Russian Scheme to Elect Trump. Russia, too, has problems with jihad and is amenable to making common cause with us, within limits. (The US, you will recall, sponsored an MB takeover of Egypt, and armed MB and Al-Q related terrorist groups in Libya and Syria, after exposing the secular/liberal opposition to Qaddafi and Assad to extermination by both sides).

So is it Jerusalem? The Kremlin? Huh. Maybe it’s just a bunch of patriotic Americans. Because on the issue of the global jihad, the policy that is best for Israel or Russia — to crush it utterly — is the policy that is best for the United States. Not to mention the UK, where The Religion Of Peace™ just perpetrated its only real sacrament, murder, again this week.

From our point of view, it’s very hard to quibble with their election-time Five Point Plan, only some parts of which are being executed already (despite resistance from extremists’ friends in the Deep State, the DC nonprofit/media nexus and among the post-American legal and judiciary element). Explained in a video, complete with portentous-toned narrator:

While the website hasn’t been touched since the election (cheapskate Israelis?), the YouTube channel showed a sign of life this month, posting a new video for the first time in six months. So keep an eye on Counter Jihad. Whoever is behind it, their message is one more Americans (and other Westerners) need to see.

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Camopedia

You probably didn’t know you needed a link to a wiki about camouflage uniforms patterns, etc., but if we were to give you one — this link to Camopedia.org — do you think you can find something good to do with it?

Sorry for the brevity of this W4 this week, but, well, in the game of life vs. blog, sometimes blog goes home with the “Participant — 2d Place” trophy. On the plus side, we’re pretty much through the Ides of March without being assassinated, so we’re one up on Julius Caesar!

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Radix Press

Steve Sherman’s Radix Press is a narrow publisher indeed: most of what it publishes is lists and databases, but they all relate to Special Forces in Vietnam (where Steve himself served). Along with many Who’s Who books (for instance, Who’s Who in MAC-V SOG, known to SF vets and wannabe busters as “the yellow book”), he also publishes data on CDs, a set of reprints of Special Forces Vietnam’s in-house magazine, The Green Beret, which was published and printed on Okinawa and flown to Vietnam from 1966-1970, and a website full of SF Vietnam information.

Discussions in the comments recently brought this site up to mind; we may even have used it as a W4 before, but if so, it’s about due again.

The name of the website is memorable enough: SpecialForcesBooks.com. Along with the listing-type stuff, which is admittedly most interesting to other SF vets and specialized historians, there are books of after-action reports. Many of these documents can’t be found online or in libraries.

Steve’s lists of who’s who in each camp are largely on the site in the Work in Progress pages. Even the Army doesn’t have these listings; when SOCOM historians want to talk to the guys at a particular A-Camp, they check with Steve. His data is not 100% accurate, but it is based on copies of orders that he has seen with his own eyes, so it’s as good as data gets.

The website has some downsides. It’s hard to navigate, and looks like something from the 1990s, because it is from the 1990s (and even includes some time-capsule early HTML faux pas, such as scrolling text).

But one thing you can do very easily: search for Vietnam SF soldiers by name. You can find some of their specific assignments (because these are based on official orders, and SF guys had better than average luck and skill at getting orders changed, or getting more congenial orders issued, there’s a few percent error rate). Here we search for the late Sergeant Major Reg Manning:

And we see his Vietnam rank, specialty, and assignments. Easy! (And if you follow the links, you may see his assignment dates).

 

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Mosul Eye

If you’re looking for an eye on what’s happening in Iraq, on the front lines of the confusing civil war between Iraqi Shias and their Iranian terror-sponsoring allies, ISIL Sunnis and their Saudi terror-sponsoring allies, Iraqi Kurds and their lack of any real allies, and so many shape-shifting, allegiance-hopping, back-stabbing small factions that you can’t tell the players even with a program, we give you Mosul Eye.

It is a weblog, a Facebook page, and a Twitter feed, purportedly direct from the embattled northern Iraq town of Mosul (naturally). The author claims to be a historian resident in the city. There are some debates about the author’s actual identity, and certainly ISIL sympathizers including nominally-American functionaries of Moslem Brotherhood fronts have claimed that the site is an American or other foreign intelligence operation. That seems unlikely from the author’s Iraqi-flavored English, and from his criticisms of allied and specifically US forces (mostly for bombing areas he says are populated only by civilians). There are also a few “tells” that the author is, at least nominally, Sunni.

There is nothing specific about weapons here, but you will occasionally get updates from allied forces relayed through here, to the locals, but also updates from the locals relayed, perhaps, to the allied forces.

Updates are sometimes sporadic. Last Blog update at this writing was 2/26, but the Facebook and Twitter feeds are still regularly posting.

The Iraqi Civil War kicked off by the US invasion (and kicked into high gear by the 2011 US bugout) has been going on more than three times as long as the Spanish Civil War. No end to the suffering is imminent. One prays for the survival and success of the individual behind Mosul Eye, and the defeat of ISIL and other extremists.

Wednesday Thursday Weapons Website of the Week: Burr Smith

This is not Burr Smith’s (full name, Robert Burr Smith) Facebook Page — he didn’t live to see Facebook, or personal computers for that matter — but it is a tribute page to Smith, an Army Airborne, Special Forces and unconventional warfare legend, set up by his son. Hey, how many guns can you ID from this grainy picture? (Four are easy, we’ll list ’em after the jump).

Smith was a member of the famous E Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, jumping into Normandy on the night of 5/6 June 1944, and that’s not even where he became legendary.

Sorry for the day late and brevity, but… well, sorry not sorry. Go to the page. Learn about this guy. There are a few books about the secret war in Laos that will help you understand a guy who began there with White Star and was there on and off for about as long as an American was welcome.

Continue reading

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: NavWeaps.com

As a clever reader might deduce from the name NavWeaps.com, the site provides information on Naval Weapons, mostly from the classical 20th Century age of battleship warfare, but with an objective to cover the period from 1880-present.

Extensive technical information resides here: not only on naval guns from AA popguns to ship-shredding 18-inchers, but also on torpedoes, mines, depth charges, rockets and hybrid weapons.

While a lot of sites discuss the main armament of American, British and Japanese capital ships, few go deep into the secondary and tertiary armament of these vessels, and fewer still review the armaments of smaller combatant vessels, or any vessel of secondary seafaring nations, such as Russia, Italy or Austria-Hungary. This site doesn’t get every single gun on every single vessel… yet. But it does seem like that’s their ambition.

Looking at the rise and fall of great guns through history, it’s interesting to see how gun caliber, range, throw weight, and power rose from the dawn of the Dreadnought Era to peak in the great battleships of World War II … and has declined ever since. US Navy ships now have nothing greater than 155mm (approx. 6″) on the Zumwalt class, and 5″ guns on most cruisers and destroyers. (And the ammunition for the 155 is not being procured; the Navy instead wants to convert the Zumwalts to fire the ground forces’ 155mm guided Excalibur rounds, but their first cut at the costs for doing that is $250 million for the engineering, before buying the first bullet — and, of course, before the Pentagon’s usual cost overruns.

The “big gun” on the all-but-defenseless LCS class is a 57mm (~2.3″), also selected for Coast Guard cutters. So if the Navy that Ray Mabus built gets in a war with the Coast Guard, they’ll be at technological parity, at least.

But that was a long and bitter digression, and this post is really about NavWeaps.com. Along with the already-mentioned weapons information, there are some excellent historical articles on some aspect of naval warfare: for example, this one on German radar development.

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Håkans Aviation Page

Håkan Gustavsson is a Swede with an unusual area of expertise: the peculiar subset of World War II fighter aces who flew and scored kills in biplanes. These two-winged holdovers from World War I often performed little better than their Great War forebears: they were slow, draggy, had open cockpits, were generally made from tube-and-fabric construction, and were armed with two measly rifle-caliber machine guns. They were sitting ducks for more heavily armed and much faster modern monoplanes.

Welcome to my site about biplane fighter aces, their aircraft and major aerial operations were biplane fighters took part.
The site also contains other aviation related subjects which I find interesting, including information about Swedish voluntary aviators from the Second World War.
If anyone could provide me with corrections/additions, feel free to email me!

 

via Håkans Aviation page – Biplane Fighter Aces from the Second World War.

We found one of the most interesting pages to be the one on Swedish volunteers in Finnish service. But in general there are more, and more interesting, biplanes and pilots involved in the war, on all sides, than we ever imagined.

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: IC on the Record

This Tumblr, Intelligence Community on the Record, is a real-world resource for anyone interested in the US intelligence community. IC on the Record was created by the United States’ intelligence community Powers That Be to react to the public relations shellacking the community and the Obama Administration had taken since the Snowden defection; it remains live in the Trump Administration (we think. Last post was on 1/20).

(President Trump is widely seen has having fences to mend with the community, with both sides having a share of the blame, Trump for blasting the intelligence professionals and the community, which tends to be top-heavy with idle Washington bureaucrats, for leaking documents which appeared to frame Trump. Accordingly, it makes sense that his first vist to any agency was to The Agency (YouTube video of officials’ speeches; Trump beings about a half-hour in). It also makes sense that IC on the Record will survive any admin-change website purge.) 

In case you’ve been under a rock, an NSA contractor named Edward Snowden defected to the Russians under a smokescreen of revelations in the media, information calculated to embarrass, shame or disrupt national intelligence operations.

This was made possible, of course, by the overreach of said operations, increasingly targeted on US persons and increasingly abused for reasons beyond foreign intelligence; but to the irritation of insiders, only some of Snowden’s and his media and foreign intelligence service enablers’ accusations have been correct.

(It may be more irritating when the accusations are correct; the FISA court is clearly, for example, a rubber stamp that gives no serious consideration to the constitution or the rights of men, a statement that stings the expensive do-nothing court all the more because it is true. For example, periodically the FISA court rubber-stamps NSA dragnet collection of all American telephony metadata for another period… the actual rubber stamp is, of course, classified).

The site has information in the following categories:

  • Official Statements
  • Declassified Documents
  • Testimony
  • Speeches & Interviews
  • Fact Sheets
  • Oversight & Compliance
  • Video

Of these, the only one of real value is the  Declassified Documents section. Occasionally there is a nugget in congressional testimony. The rest of it is pablum and obfuscation written by PR flacks.

Many of the declassified documents are written by lawyers and they’re worth reading for the many fine-print and exact-terminology ways of obfuscating what their clients, the spymasters building their surveillance state, are actually doing. Here’s an example of that:

http://icontherecord.tumblr.com/tagged/statement

But one thing the tumblr did do is flag us to the DNI’s release of lists of the books and excerpts of the documents that were recovered by the sensitive site exploitation of Osama Bin Laden’s Abbotabad, Pakistan hideout. The third, and they say final, tranche of declassified (and translated) material from Bin Laden’s Bookshelf was published on 19 January 2017.

It includes, inter alia, this gem in a letter to two of Bin Laden’s sons (.pdf), that indicates (1) how sophisticated the Iranian intelligence services have become, and (2) how paranoid Bin Laden had become. (Well, serious people really were out to get him. Was it really paranoia?)

Note:

You and the brethren should remember any questionable action or observation in any hospital in Iran. If they inject you with a shot, this shot might be loaded with a tiny chip. The syringe size may be normal but the needle is expected to be larger than normal size. The chip size may be as long as a seed of grain but very thin and smooth. Notice if they take any of you for an operation, for good or no good reason, and inject you. Make sure to remember any comments about the reasons for setting you free.

Take notes of dates and times of any of such actions.

The Reason for Going to Peshawar:

There are instructions to all brethren to get out of Waziristan. It became clear that the region is well known to the enemy. Upon receiving this message, move immediately into Peshawar. I told the brethren to move their children to inside Pakistan if they fail to go to Peshawar.

We can’t guarantee you’ll find something fascinating like that in every document you pick up from the archive, but you just might.

Makes you wonder what they got that isn’t declassified.

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Liberated Manuals

We’re going to be the soul of brevity on this one, because there’s no magic here at Liberated Manuals, it’s just one more source of public-domain military manuals.

They describe their raison d’être as follows:

This website is a comprehensive source of government manuals, in PDF format, free to copy, republish and distribute as you want. The goal of this website is to “liberate” government manuals from the dirty hands of CDROM selling mafia. All manuals are offered at no charge.

Sure, it’s an ugly and basic website, but on the gripping hand, it’s free stuff. What’s not to like?

There’s a list and a search function at the home page. Some of the manuals include (these are all .pdfs):

And one of our personal maintenance favorites:

There’s a lot more than just gun manuals, though. Go there and take a look around!