Category Archives: Unconventional Warfare

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: The Selous Scouts Home Page

Selous Scouts cap badgeWhile this website does not appear to have been updated since 2007, in other words, in eight years, it still contains a great deal of useful information.

Its owner, Troy A. Lettieri, is an Army Special Forces soldier who not only shares the usual SF fascination with Rhodesian COIN, but also has made an avocation of man-tracking, bringing him closer, perhaps, to the long-disbanded unit than he would be otherwise.

Welcome to the SELOUS SCOUTS, once the most feared counter-insurgency force on the African continent.

During the course of the war the Selous Scouts were officially credited with either directly or indirectly being responsible for 68% of all terrorist killed, while losing less than 40 scouts in the process.

With this site I tried to obtain as much information on the Scouts to give the reader hopefully clear idea of who and what the Scouts were and what they were fighting for in and around the former country of Rhodesia.

In putting this site together there is a lot of general information on many facets of this counter-insurgency conflict, so it truly becomes a site of not just the Selous Scouts but also a Rhodesian interest site.

This site should be helpful for some, due to the fact in some African countries information on the Selous Scouts and the Rhodesian/Zimbabwe War of Independence (Chimurenga War, 1966-1980) was or is BANNED!

This site is still in the working and as I find and obtain more information on the scouts, I will continually update the site as needed.


It’s a pretty good source of general information on the Scouts as well as photographs and stories, most of it pulled from period media but some of it sent in by veterans of the Scouts or other units.

A Reporter with Special Forces in Africa

USSF officer Doug O'Connell with African officers, Flintlock 2015.

USSF officer Doug O’Connell from SOD-A with African officers, Flintlock 2015.

A very interesting story in Texas Monthly covers SF soldiers from the Texas Army National Guard who deployed to Africa in FTX Flintlock, the major UW exercise that once, decades ago, focused on Europe. The Texans are part of Special Operations Detachment – Africa (SOD-A), one of a series of SODs that provide SOF augmentation to theater combatant commands (or theater special operations commands).

[I]f Special Forces soldiers are good at building trust with local forces, they are wary of the media. Their work is complicated, not easily captured in sound bites, and as with any other government employee, a few misplaced words can jeopardize an entire career. When I ask Vince, a burly, affable major, a question that he considers inappropriate, his immediate response is “Are you trying to Rolling Stone me?”

Vince is referring to the Rolling Stone article published in 2010 that got General Stanley McChrystal forced out of the Army because of some offensive comments. Most civilians have probably forgotten this article ever existed. But you can bet that not a single soldier has.

I mostly stick to safe subjects. I take a seat with the group. They are polite but not exactly forthcoming; they are still sussing me out. We talk about guns and the month I spent at Blackwater. I tell some hunting stories, like the time I got stalked by a pair of mountain lions in East Texas. Still, most of these men have been in combat. There is basically nothing about guns or hunting they don’t know already. Conversation begins to lag. Finally someone says, “So, does being an author get you laid?”

At this, all conversation stops. People turn away from their laptops. They look at me expectantly; this is the only interesting thing I really have to offer.

I would like to pretend that I responded only with great reluctance. But they are all married, and I have been single for many years. So I tell them some stories. Then I tell them more stories. Most of the stories are lies, and none of them are fit for print.

“Jesus, reporter,” says Vince. “By the time this is over, I am going to Rolling Stone YOU.”

Read The Whole Thing™; rather typically for Texas Monthly, it’s good and has some decent photographs. Here’s one more taste:

There are reporters and well-dressed State Department officials wandering around. There are BBC reporters burned bright pink by the sun. Finally there is an announcement about the maneuvers, and everyone goes out to a hilltop to watch the closing exercise being put on for all the visiting brass and reporters. A joint African assault group, made up of Nigerians, Nigeriens, Tunisians, Algerians, Chadians, and Cameroonians, stages a raid on a compound. There is the crackle of AKs, the rattle of PKMs, and the occasional thud thud thud of a DShK.

A handful of photographers have flown in for this—machine guns and explosions make for good photographs—and indeed, this is what media coverage of Flintlock primarily focuses on. But this is not what Flintlock is really about. U.S. and European special operations forces give weapons training to partner nations all the time—there are SF operators training African forces all the time. Flintlock, and the other big exercises like it, are about bringing together these various host nations to learn to work together. Not in the sense of holding hands and singing “Kumbaya,” but in the sense of Does our radio system talk to your radio system? Do we understand each other’s tactics? And, most fundamentally, can we trust each other?

It’s unusual for a reporter to actually get the hang of SF, let alone have a few insights about it, penetraring insights, but Philipp Meyer did just that in this article.


How Big Should a Recon Team Be?

You’re going to know the answer before we say it: “It depends.” Well, it does, really, but there’s room for a discussion of the factors it depends on. This post got its start in a reply to a commenter, then it just grew.

Lessons from Recon History

There’s a fundamental balancing equation here: team size versus team survival. Especially as the world gets more urbanized, it’s harder to sneak and peek without getting spotted. Until you get spotted, it’s advantageous to recon with the fewest men possible (the military will never tolerate just one… it’s against the DNA. Although SF has run a singleton, for clandestine operations, in the past, and certain JSOC elements still select people with the possibility in mind. What they do once they select them is their business, not yours or mine). But once you get spotted it’s advantageous to have as many men as possible (more eyes in more directions, more guns, all in all more firepower and staying power until you can get reinforced or extracted).

MAC-V SOG RT Asp, 69, a large RT. Left standing Mel Westerfield; Opposite Lo Van An (Sole survivor of Asp's last mission) Courtesty Ken Conboy and James Morrison.

MAC-V SOG RT Asp, in garrison, 1969. Left standing Mel Westerfield; Opposite Lo Van An (Sole survivor of Asp’s last mission) Courtesy Ken Conboy and James Morrison.

It also depends on terrain and mobility. We found a short ODA (usually about 8 men) a good recon element whether on foot or in mobility equipment in the desert environment. In a wooded/urbanized environment a recon was best done by a third to a quarter of a full ODA (3-4 men). In Vietnam, LRRPs (Big Green’s Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols) ran with six guys and Marine recon with about double that. SOG, which ran deeper in the denied area and had its own dedicated reaction forces (Bright Light and Hatchet Forces) ran with from four to eight guys, of whom two to three were Americans, and the remainder indigenous troops.

RT Asp, ready to go, 6 men. Top center is CPT Garry Robb, later Recon Co. Commander.

RT Asp, ready to go, 6 men. Top center is CPT Garry Robb, later Recon Co. Commander. If the team ran in US uniform (as here), they could be photographed; photos of teams running in NVA uniforms and gear were verboten.

Project Delta (only related to the later SFOD-D by name) ran with four to six Americans. While Beckwith was in command, he sometimes did not attempt to extract compromised teams and just took their pin off the map and used the lift that might have extracted them to make new insertions instead, which is one reason few men from his Vietnam command volunteered for his later SOF command.

We believe that the Selous Scouts were able to run two and three man recons in part because their enemy was poorly trained, and the terrain provided decent cover and concealment, making the better-trained and fitter Scouts much more able to evade contact once made than a SOG team up against the well-oiled counter-reconnaissance machine of Group 559 along the Ho Chi Minh trail. Which is good, because the Rhodesians did not have the communications and air support the American unit had ten years earlier. “Floppy” marksmanship in particular was not up to the NVA standard, and often only the leader of a “stick” would have the arcane knowledge of how to work the RPD light machine gun.

Project Guns RPDs

RPDs (these are semiauto builds from Project Guns, but the original was the primary support weapon carried by the terrs of ZIPRA and ZANLA. It was most used in Vietnam after the US drawdown)

This also may be part of why Scout tactics didn’t map directly to SWA or southern Angola. Terrain’s a lot more open; SWAPO seems to have been better trained and more willing to stand and fight than ZANLA or ZIPRA. (The classic enemy break-contact tactic in Rhodesia was the “bombshell,” each man escape-and-evading to a pre-briefed rally point). But we digress.

Let’s Isolate the Sizing Factors, Then

As we see it there are certain factors. They include (in rough order of priority)

  1. The Terrain, in its largest, op-order-paragraph sense, to include the weather, the plants, the enemy forces, presence of noncombatants, neutrals and third parties, the whole non-friendly panoply. You can use the METT-T mnemonic to see if you’ve covered these, just dropping the letters that don’t apply.
  2. The enemy and his state of alertness, training, and general “Vitamin Clue”.
  3. Your own troops: fitness, state of training, ability to appear something other than as they are.
  4. Your communications and the imminence of support. What kinds of support? Only accurate fires, reaction forces, and extraction matter. Note that if your reaction force is road-bound, and the enemy has the capability of closing the roads, you actually might not have a reaction force at all.

These factors apply to your operations.

If the terrain favors concealed movement and ready contact-breaking, then the optimum team size is smaller. With each man you add, your detectability to human eyes and technical sensors increases exponentially. An eight man team is not eight times as detectable as one man, it is more detectable to the power of eight.

Adjusting Size in Ongoing Operations

In the past recon teams, whether SOG’s, the Rhodesian SAS, or Guderian’s motorcycle patrols, were sized initially by guess and by God, and then, by experience which quickly tips a commander (sometimes at the expense of his reconnaissance specialists) as to whether he has sized his teams rightly. This sizing should be kept in the recon community and not become an element of Army doctrine, as it needs to conform to changing circumstances and evolving conditions. The motorcycle recon that served the Germans so well in their run through Poland in 1939, the Low Countries in 1940 and the western USSR in 1941 would have been suicidal on the static front of Italy in 1944, or most anywhere the Red Army was present in force that year.

1 May 40: German Recon Elements reach the Seine.

1 May 40: German Recon Elements reach the Seine.

The fact is, armored reconnaissance, aerial reconnaissance, and the stealthiest ground sneak-and-peak reconnaissance, as different as they seem, are not different things. They are different methods of doing the same thing, simply adapted for the environment at hand.

When you can do it, the very best reconnaissance is always to put the eyes of a trusted man directly on the enemy and his operations. How you do that has to adapt to the terrain, the enemy and friendly forces, and the pace of operations.

So the size of you recon teams, like their composition?

It depends.

The Greatest Beer Run Ever: Vietnam, 1968

The Greatest Beer Run Ever? That’s what PBR calls John “Chickie” Donohue’s one-man invasion of Vietnam, using his merchant seaman’s papers, a ride as a crewman on an ancient Victory ship, and a bullshit story to visit his friends in-country: his best friend, Bobby Pappas at Long Binh; Tommy Collins, an MP in Qui Nhon; Ricky Duggan, a grunt with the 1st Cav at Quang Tri, who was out on the perimeter when Chickie showed up.

As he arrived back in Saigon after linking up with all three of his friends, he saw the sky light up, and heard with a sinking feeling that “That had to be the ammo dump at Long Binh” — right where Pappas was.

So he went back to Long Binh, where a very alive Pappas met him with a stream of invective — very welcome invective. Proof that his friend was alive.

Was it the Greatest Beer Run Ever? It has to be on the shortlist.

Exit thought: if you’re bummed out that the WWII and Korea vets in your family have passed on without telling their stories, remember that the Vietnam vets are all in their sixties and seventies now, and the actuarial tables describe the inevitability of their numbers dwindling at an increasing rate. It might be time to get Granddad or Uncle Jack on record while you still can.

Breaking: Friday Islamic Worship Terror Attack in Mali

The incredible exploding deal.

The incredible exploding prophet.

Islamists continued their tradition of celebrating their holy day with outbreaks of kidnapping and murder, this time in a Radisson Hotel in Bamako, Mali. The Radisson frequently lodges Americans and other foreigners with business in the national capital, including soldiers and diplomats.

A US Army Special Forces team was on site for Joint Combined Exercise Training with Malian and other forces. Initial reports claimed that they joined French and Malian commandos in clearing the building, and that DOD officials have criticized them for doing so, given that the President’s sympathies are, as usual, with the hostage-takers, not the hostages.

Gunmen stormed the American-owned Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali’s capital, Bamako, during breakfast time and took some 170 hostages. Both U.S. and French Special Forces were assisting in freeing the hostages little by little, combing through the hotel floor-by-floor. At least six U.S. citizens have been confirmed rescued thus far.

Initial reports said three people have been shot dead, including a French citizen. A gardener told BBC he was working out front when the terrorists arrived: “They were in car with a diplomatic license plate. They were masked. At the gate of the hotel, the guard stopped them and they start firing. We fled,” he said.

Dressed in ordinary street clothes, they reportedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” as they stormed the facility with automatic weapons, and let some hostages go if they could recite Quranic verses. They reportedly came in through the front lobby and began randomly shooting.

via Gunmen Attack Radisson Hotel in Mali, Take Hostages | PJ Media.

The DOD denies that Americans have been engaged:

A Defense Department official told ABC News that about 25 members of the U.S. military were in the capital at the time of the attack.

“We understand some of these personnel are assisting first responders with moving civilians to secured locations, while Malian forces clear the hotel of hostile gunmen,” the official said.

There are believed to have been only two attackers. A French CT element is on site. The AFRICOM Commander’s In-Extremis Force was alerted, but not deployed.

Word Association: “Nigerian…”

Rich Black Sambo: Sambo Dasuki.

Rich Black Sambo: Sambo Dasuki.

Was your word, “Scam,” or something else related to the primary foreign-exchange earner of the dominant team in the Inter-African Corruption League? If so, you have a keen understanding of the Republic of Nigeria’s few and negative contributions to world civilization. If not, it’s time for you to get acquainted with the Michael Jordan of the IACL, all time Hall of Famer Sambo Dasuki (left).

Stop tittering. We didn’t name this clown, we’re just reporting. And despite coming from one of the poorest countries on the planet (maybe “despite” is the wrong conjunction here), this black Sambo could buy and sell a lot of white 1%ers.

A former Nigerian national security adviser has been accused of embezzling more than $2 billion of government money allocated to purchasing weapons for the military to fight Islamic militant Boko Haram rebels, according to a government official. Nigerian President Muhammadu’s Buhari’s administration ordered the arrest of Sambo Dasuki for his alleged involvement in the procurement of arms and equipment in the armed forces and defense sector.

via Nigeria Corruption Allegations: Former Security Adviser Stole $2 Billion Through Military Deals.

Well, this also helps to explain why Nigeria’s oil wealth, and uncountable dollars of foreign aid, have flowed into the effort to stop Boko Haram, and nothing seems to have stopped the ragtag group, while Nigeria’s troops still have no shoes or training.

(Boko Haram, by the way, stands for “Education Forbidden!” – a distillation of the Sharia law that drives the group which advocates Islam and ignorance as alternatives).

How did Sambo’s scheme work:

Femi Adesina, an adviser to Buhari, released a statement Tuesday accusing Dasuki of awarding sham contracts to purchase 12 helicopters, four fighter jets and munitions that were never acquired. The statement says Dasuki also transfered $142.6 million from the Central Bank to a company with accounts in the United States, the Associated Press reported.

Adesina said the weaponry could have saved thousands of lives from the insurgency of Boko Haram militants.

”The findings made so far are extremely worrying considering that the interventions were granted within the same period that our troops fighting the insurgency in the North East were in desperate need of platforms, military equipment and ammunition,” Adesina said in the statement obtained by the Daily Post in Nigeria. “Had the funds siphoned to these non-performing companies been properly used for the purpose they were meant for, thousands of needless Nigerian deaths would have been avoided.”

Yeah, or some other Nigerian scammer would have gotten them.

Boko Haram has killed thousands of Nigerians in the past six years. At least 32 people were killed Tuesday in an explosion in Yola, Nigeria, that was believed to be the work of Boko Haram militants.

Sambo denies it, of course. What’s Fulani or Hausa for “dindu nuffin?” Here’s what a Nigerian paper’s rundown on the scam says. The spelling and uneven use of dollar/euro equivalents is exactly as they have it:

Panel unveils how Nigeria was duped — facts & figures

N643.8b •$2.1b – 

Extra budgetry interventions: $2.3b •N13.7b

Failed contracts (53 out of 513 awarded between 2007&2015): N3.8b

Cash paid to company without evidence of any contract: N2.2b•$1.6b •€9.9b

Fictitous contracts awarded: Four Alpha jets • 12 helicopters • Bombs & ammunition

Equipment purportedly paid for but not supplied:  (?)

Contracts awarded to two firms: N350b •$1.6b • €9.9b

CBN transfers to banks without purpose on Dasuki’s instruction $132m • €9.9m

Yeah, the numbers don’t add up. Hey, it’s Nigeria. Ask us about the Nigerian Airborne MTTs some time. Here are some facts from that statement of the investigating panel, from Nigerian newspaper The National, with one edit — the numbers rounded to the first decimal point, because the original displayed them as impenetrable walls of figures: billions of Nigerian naira, accounted out to the penny:

So far the total extra budgetary interventions articulated by the committee is six hundred and forty three [point 8] billion naira (N643.8B).

The foreign currency component is to the tune of two [point 2] billion US dollars ($2.2B).

These amounts exclude grants from the state governments and funds collected by the DSS and Police. It was observed that in spite of this huge financial intervention, very little was expended to support defense procurement.

Who took the money? We’re reminded that Nigerian history alone doesn’t give rise to this question


We now return you to the investigators’ statement in progress.

The committee also observed that of 513 contracts awarded at $8.4 Billion; N2.2 Trillion and  €54,000 (? yes, these numbers are not remotely close to one another -Ed.); fifty three (53) were failed contracts, amounting to $2.4 Billion and N13.7 Billion respectively.

Interestingly, it was noted that the amount of foreign currency spent on failed contracts was more than double the $1bn loan that the National Assembly approved for borrowing to fight the insurgency in the North East.

The guy not only stole all the money he had on hand, it looks like he stole money he didn’t even have to steal. Neat trick, that. Does not sell us on Nigeria’s verrsion of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, that’s for certain.

The committee also discovered that payments to the tune of three [point 9] billion naira (N3.9B) were made to a single company by the former NSA [National Security Advisor] without documented evidence of contractual agreements or fulfilment of tax obligations to the [Federal Government of Nigeria].

Further findings revealed that between March 2012 and March 2015, the erstwhile NSA, Lt.-Col MS Dasuki (rtd) awarded fictitious and phantom contracts to the tune of N2.2 B, $1.7B and €9.905 M. [We think we get it now. The numbers of naira, dollars and euros are not equivalents, they represent separate contracts denominated in these currencies. You need to sum them to get the full total of this guy’s (and presumably, his confederates’) stealing. -Ed.] The contracts which were said to be for the purchase of 4 Alpha Jets, 12 helicopters, bombs and ammunition were not executed and the equipment were never supplied to the Nigerian Air Force, neither are they in its inventory.

Wouldn’t be the first time stuff existed nowhere in Nigeria but on the property books of the Armed Forces. A lot of officers got rich during the embargo of South Africa by selling the spares that kept the SAAF’s Hercules fleet flying — sometimes by grounding and cannibalizing [oh, did we miss a trigger warning there? Sorry ’bout that] Nigerian Air Force aircraft.

Even more disturbing was the discovery that out of these figures, two companies were awarded contracts to the tune of N350,000,000.00, $1,661,670,469.71 and €9,905,477.00 alone. This was without prejudice to the consistent non-performance of the companies in the previous contracts awarded.

In other words, the government gave these shell companies money, the companies did nothing, and then the government gave them more money! Sounds like our government and Booz Allen.

Additionally, it was discovered that the former NSA directed the Central Bank of Nigeria to transfer the sum of $132 M and €9.9 M to the accounts of Societe D’equipmente Internationaux in West Africa, United Kingdom and United States of America for unascertained purposes, without any contract documents to explain the transactions.

Gee, who do you think might hold a position in the Societe D’equipmente Internationaux? We have a guess.

The findings made so far are extremely worrying, considering that the interventions were granted within the same period that our troops fighting the insurgency in the North East were in desperate need of platforms, military equipment and ammunition. Had the funds siphoned to these non performing companies been properly used for the purpose they were meant for, thousands of needless Nigerian deaths would have been avoided.

They’re just not surprising. And now they get to the real injury they have suffered — mockery, like this blog post. Well, they ought to tighten up their fiscal act or we shall taunt them a second time.

Furthermore, the ridicule Nigeria has faced in the international community would have been avoided.

Nah. If it wasn’t Sambo Dasuki, it would be some other Nigerian bringing your reputation into shadow and making your national defense a laughingstock. The last time you guys had good government, you insisted on independence, and that was the end o

It is worrisome and disappointing that those entrusted with the security of this great nation were busy using proxies to siphon the national treasury while innocent lives were wasted daily.

Dasuki is an interesting character, related to the Sultans of Sokoto, who are hereditary Muslim rulers of an area in northern Nigeria and the most senior of the former Muslim feudal leaders. Their Islam is a relatively tolerant and introspective (nowadays, anyway) Sufi strain.

Thank You for Serving Your Country… You Chump

Received by an SF Master Sergeant of our acquaintance (Name and PIN deleted).


By the way, when MSG Victim took this picture, his digital camera numbered the photo for him. IMG_6666. Isn’t that the Number of the Beast? Make of that what you will.

Shorter OPM: “We gave your personally identifiable data to the Chinese, and all you get is credit monitoring from some crony firm the same incompetent assclowns who lost your data in the first place picked after a suspicious no-bid process. Sorry ’bout that, GI.”

Even Shorter OPM: “Thanks for Serving Your Country. You chump. Now we screw you. Xin Loi!

You know, when this kind of stuff happens to the enemy he just takes the fatalistic attitude that, “It is the Will of Allah.” What are we supposed to believe? “This is the Will of Murphy?”

Opportunity Lost: Pseudo Ops

Selous Scouts cap badgeMaybe they actually did this, and it’s just so successfully compartmented that the usual folks read-on on classified stuff, like Snowden and his FSB bosses, the New York Times staff, and random schmoes on the Internet, have never heard of it. But we suspect one of the great errors in the early US response to the GWOT (Global War On Tourism) was a failure to implement pseudo ops against islamic terrorists.

To most American students of war and insurgency, “pseudo ops” mean the Selous Scouts of Rhodesia, especially as recounted in the unit’s founding commander’s, the late Ron Reid-Daly’s, memoirs. The Scouts were the Rhodesian Army’s one truly mixed-race unit, and they incorporated large numbers of turned insurgents. While they trained intensively in bushcraft, and maintained a cover as a tracking unit, their prime raison d’être was to impersonate ZANLA and ZIPRA terrorist groups for the purposes of both intelligence gathering and combat operations. The psychological effect was profound, although late in the war, the terrorists and their allies in the global Left succeeded in sticking labels on the Scouts in the western media, even as they had their greatest successes against enemy camps.

But the Scouts’ pseudo ops did not spring fully-formed from the brow of Zeus. Reid-Daly was taken with the idea of pseudo-ops because of the tactic’s success in previous British and Commonwealth insurgencies, especially against the Mau Mau tribal revolt in Kenya and the Malayan Insurgency, where pseudo terrorists controlled by Special Branch police were highly effective.

cline_report_coverThis Strategic Studies Institute paper by Lawrence E. Cline, a former intelligence officer, examines the history and practice of pseudo operations in depth. Along with the Rhodesian and other Commonwealth experience, he looks at the Huk rising and French and Portuguese experience in their restive colonies, all of which spawned greater or lesser efforts at pseudo gangs. Unfortunately he has little to say about US and RVN pseudo operations (such as Operation Roadrunner) in Vietnam. Still, it is a very worthwhile paper.

Cline identifies three factors as necessary:

  1. A system of incentives (Carrot and/or Stick) to encourage enemy Gs to defect;
  2. Weakness of enemy command and control infrastructure. Paradoxically, the Scouts’ success might not have been as great had their enemy had radio; they took down many networks via their couriers. A courier and dispatch system is necessarily slower and more unreliable than radio.
  3. A government-side structure that can respond to the intel developed by the pseudo groups, and that can deconflict the pseudo groups and conventional forces without blowing the pseudo’s cover. (Ideally, the conventional units don’t know why some areas are no-go or no-shoot zones.

His Lessons Learned include:

  1. Money counts (for inducing defections);
  2. The alternative to cooperation can be dire (both Kenya and Rhodesia hanged convicted terrorists, encouraging captives to change sides; the stick was as good as the carrot at producing turncoats whose coats stayed turned. It came down to leadership in the pseudo units);
  3. Coordination is critical (in Kenya and Rhodesia, areas were restricted to conventional forces whilst pseudo gangs were operating therein, and this worked most of the time);
  4. Breaking guerrilla communications is key. (Once you’re the Man In The Middle of their courier system, you have them by the short and curlies);
  5. Effective of pseudo ops depends on the effectiveness of the force their intel goes to;
  6. The role of turned guerrillas is crucial. (That conforms to Vietnam experience, also. You need both tactical intel from cooperating Gs, including recognition signs and paroles, but also you need them to train your fake Gs to look like Gs, and it’s best of all if you can add turned Gs to your anti-G operations).

It is surprising, but clear in the historical record, that once turned, Gs almost never turn back; they bond to their mixed units of fellow turncoats and government soldiers. (We think there are more exceptions to this in the Vietnam record, if Cline cares to look for them).

All in all, a fascinating look at a brilliant, sophisticated, and currently neglected tactic. It has an excellent bibliography and is well (and unintrusively) footnoted. Best read in conjunction with Selous Scout memoirs.

The paper is freely downloadable at the Strategic Studies Institute’s site. Click the “PDF” to download it.

Paris and the Media

Here’s the French headlines, courtesy of Philip Bromwell, via National Review Online. Thanks to English and French sharing a great deal of cognate vocabulary, you don’t need to be a Francophone to get the gist of it.

french headlines

We kind of prefer Le Parisien’s take, assuming it’s not ironic (we don’t know the publication): “This time, it’s war.” President Hollande’s bold speech on the incident has, it has already been noted, much in common with the bold speeches after the Charlie Hebdo incident. So it’s less, perhaps, Napoleon declaring war, and more like Daffy Duck with a French accent.

France nestles an asp at her bosom: the 7.5% of the population whose loyalty is not to the Tricolor, not to the principles of Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité, (more of those cognates!), but to whatever whimsical headman presents himself as the Caliph of the Week. France opened her gates to this Fifth Column, expecting them to be swayed, and perhaps converted, in a sense, by the myriad benefits and delights of life in the Republic, which may have the most human (if least productive) work-life balance of industrial democracies. Instead, this knot of inbreeding minority in her population has not only bred true to Islam, extremism and terrorism, but becomes more extreme with each generation.

When the United States tackled an internal security threat in 1941, we did it based mostly on acts of issei (immigrants from Japan who retained, in many cases, their loyalty to the Empire), and many actions of nisei (first-generation born Americans), who rallied to the flag despite the cruelty of American policy towards them and their parents, proved their loyalty — for example, in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team — and gave us an example of second generations more loyal than the first.

Bit we have seen the opposite time after time among the Moslems among us. Parents who fled the dystopias of Islamist misrule to the freedom of the West have seen their own kids and grandkids turn against their adopted homeland.

Some, of course, mumble the not-all-moslems and not-really-islamic excuses beloved of some of those would happily be cuckolded and enslaved, like this chump:

Best reply:

(Hat tip, Kathy Shaidle).

We may look at the tactics of the attack this coming week. In the meantime, we merely note that  two of the attackers have been identified as recent “Syrian” “refugees.” (They certainly weren’t refugees, and there is nothing but their own word to say they were Syrians).

Media Performance

The media were, as ever, dismal. We always try to remind ourselves (and everyone else) that first reports are almost always wrong (which is as true, by the way, of classified reports streaming in to ops rooms and fusion centers).

Apart from Piers Morgan’s retarded howler above, the high points of the reporting were probably Brian Williams upset about what the attack might mean for Al Gore’s Paris fundraiser (really, Brian? People are dead and you’re still all wrapped up in celebrity worship. Get over it), and the numerous reports of a surviving terrorist, spilling his guts to his captors.

In fact, the French counterterrorist forces, which seem to have been a pick-up team of soldiers ad police, seem to have run the table, making good Moslems out of all eight attackers.

We will leave you with New York’s message to Paris.

american tribute

Lafayette, we are here for you.

What to Make of Paris so far (not much), and of Status-6

Tomorrow's HeadlinesWe’re not going to bite at analyzing the Paris attack while it’s still not all wrapped up. Unlike the guys whose output is already set for tomorrow’s newsstand (image right), we are not under a deadline on this. We’ll just offer several points and move on to news from Russia.

  1. Initial media reports are almost always wrong. This has been ameliorated somewhat by the press’s discovery that they can pluck stuff off twitter, instead of from the twits on their staff. Some press don’t get that — NBC, for instance, had Bryant Gumbel all concerned about the fate of Al Gore’s Who Wants Me To Be A Bigger Billionaire telethon. (Gore fans, relax; ManBearPig lives).
  2. Initial body counts are almost always high. This attack seems rather poorly synchronized and disorganized compared to the record holder among these small arms attacks, the one in Bombay. Ergo, this attack is probably not going to break Bombay’s record body count (160).
  3. The attack is visibly and obviously another amish attack mohammedan sacrament. As a GEICO ad might say, if you’re an imam you incite murder, that’s what you do. That means tomorrow you can expect stern warnings about the coming backlash against peaceable Muslims. These backlashes are always descending, but they never seem to take tangible form — they’re vaporware. Kind of like peaceable Muslims.
  4. We’ve already seen the usual politicians unleash their Platitude Generators,  Crises For Use in, Mark VII, talking about “our shared values.” Know who doesn’t share those values? If you guessed the schmos with AKs and the splodydopes in guncotton waistcoats, give yourself a cookie.

And that’s all we’re going to say about it, right now.

Meanwhile, in Sochi, Russian Federation….

Because something really interesting happened in Russia this week. A “leak” showed a classified briefing slide about a previously unannounced underwater-launched weapon. The “leak” has been extensively promoted on government-controlled news site Russia Today (

Status-6 leak

That’s a leak? On a state-controlled broadcast?

The slide describes a stealthy, 1.6-meter diameter, long-ranged torpedo which carries a ~5-20 megaton nuclear and radiological warhead, designed to persistently irradiate entire regions of a coastal target nation. In fact, Status-6 has a claimed autonomous range of over 10,000 kilometers, which really puts it more into the class of an autonomous undersea vehicle — if it’s real.

According to the slide it can be carried by two new Russian sub types, which just saw themselves elevated on free world target lists. The warhead is supposedly capable of both nuclear destruction and of persistently irradiating an entire enemy coastline, suggesting a dirty bomb or cobalt bomb. The US and USSR agreed in principle during the initial 1970s talks for the first Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty not to deploy such doomsday weapons, but they never wrote that into the agreement, and the treaty has lapsed.

It turns out, Bill Gertz wrote this program up based on a Pentagon leak to him two months ago, noting that the DOD had code-named the Russian port-buster Kanyon.

Russia is building a drone submarine to deliver large-scale nuclear weapons against U.S. harbors and coastal cities, according to Pentagon officials.

The developmental unmanned underwater vehicle, or UUV, when deployed, will be equipped with megaton-class warheads capable of blowing up key ports used by U.S. nuclear missile submarines, such as Kings Bay, Ga., and Puget Sound in Washington state.

The US has dismantled all of its multi-megaton warheads as part of the Obama Administration’s program of unilateral nuclear disarmament. It retains a small stockpile of 1.2 megaton B83 bombs, but those too are scheduled to be decommissioned.

In the Soviet era, a torpedo called T-15 could deliver a megaton warhead to a harbor. All such torpedoes are believed to have been decommissioned, but Status/Kanyon is a more capable, modern update of this old Soviet concept — if it is real. Gertz notes that, despite indicators of coastal mapping by Russian AGI vessels, deployment of a strike UUV is probably years away.

Using such a warhead against a civilian target is arguably a violation of international law, but that doesn’t seem to faze the Russian leadership. If the warhead even exists. If the torpedo or AUV really exists. Because a propaganda leak is equally effective if the “secret weapon” is real, or if it is notional.

Of course, if it was a leak, and this is something real, the guy responsible is probably going to be a test pilot on one of these torpedoes. Hals und beinbruch, Ivan.

Why the “Leak”?

This “leak” appears from here clearly as a brush-back pitch thrown at the United States and its allies. Yet it seems likely to be counterproductive, if that is really its intent. It would raise the stakes of antisubmarine warfare, a much neglected field in the shrinking US Navy, and inspire countermeasures that Russia really, really wouldn’t like.

But we’re probably looking at it the wrong way. That’s not leaked for our benefit. Its target audience is, in our estimation, inside Russia. The message is: we are strong, we are invincible, nobody had better mess with us. It is a bluff, yes, but he’s bluffing his own people, not the Americans.

For Some Good Information

In addition to Bill Gertz’s column mentioned above, read Jeffrey Lewis’s posts at Arms Control Wonk:

Don’t neglect the comments. He has some astute and technically proficient commenters.

He also wrote a column in Foreign Policy that transcended the usual soporific house style:

At the risk of understating things, this project is bat-shit crazy. It harkens back to the most absurd moments of the Cold War, when nuclear strategists followed the logic of deterrence over the cliff and into the abyss. For his part, Putin seems positively nostalgic.

What sort of sick bastards dream up this kind of weapon? Whether or not the Russians ever build it is almost beside the point. Simply announcing to the world that you find this to be a reasonable approach to deterrence should be enough to mark you out as a dangerous creep.

Of course, then Lewis makes his own bat-guano-crazy argument, that rather than develop a military response to this thing, or (giving him the benefit of the doubt), in parallel to the military response, we need to “think about making better use of international norms against nuclear weapons.” Yes, because Vladimir Vladimirovich is as impressed with “international norms” as his role model Josef Vissarionovich was with the Pope.