Great Special Operations: A Platoon Seizes a Fortress, 1940

We have mentioned the German airborne forces’ capture of the Belgian fortress of Eben Emael before a few times, but we’ve never explored it in depth. In this incredible special operation, an overstrength engineer platoon, 78 men, led by a first lieutenant who wasn’t even there for the bulk of the battle, captured a fortress […]

Expect your Enemy to be Daring

When one suffers from strategic (9/11, Pearl Harbor) or operational (Enigma/Ultra, Tsushima Strait, Eben Emael, HMS Royal Oak) surprise, a psychological autopsy and operational analysis of the failure often finds a dull, bovine complacency at work. Specifically, one gets surprised because one underestimated the enemy. Many senior officers are so socialized to a by-the-book, rules-first, procedurally-driven army or […]

In Case of Blizzard, Keep Calm and Shovel On

The local TV stations are predicting that we’re going to get hammered with snow and wind, maybe 7 or 10 or 31 inches of the white stuff in 40 or 50 or 70 knot winds. The reporters are reporting this with the sort of glee that sportscasters everywhere but New England have lavished on Tom […]

Holy Fallschirm! Original FG42 falls short… of $300k. Barely.

The standount seller at the Rock Island Auction last week was the German FG42 Type II, lot number 1465. It blew through the estimate of $160-240k and was finally knocked down at $299,000. Here’s a picture (and it does embiggen). That’s plus a buyer’s premium of 15 to 17.5% (low end is cash or wire […]

SOF Truths, blue-suit edition

Last year the Air Force revised its Special Operations doctrine and we just went through the relevant document, Air Force Doctrine Document (AFDD) 2–7, Special Operations. Most of the changes are yawnsome (really, most doctrine publications are dry as the bleached bones in the Dasht-i Margo. That’s just the way it is). But one of the […]

Ignorance is His Excuse

The PJ Media Tatler reports that Vice President Joe Biden told an audience that the SEAL takedown of Osama was the most audacious raid — in centuries. The exact quote: “You can go back 500 years. You cannot find a more audacious plan.” We  don’t know how to break it to Mr Biden, but that […]