Tag Archives: military

For whom do the tomahawks fly

When in the early morning hours of April 7 the US destroyers USS Porter and USS Ross fired 59 Tomahawk missiles against Syrian air base Shayrat, the big question wasn’t if the US had violated international law (which they had). What was of real concern to most analysts was if a military operation by a nuclear superpower could bring the death of military personnel of another nuclear power, thus creating a classical casus belli, or case for war. It seemed, though, that the Russian command in Syria had been warned in advance before the attack, so the chances of direct confrontation and spiraling escalation in the Cuban crisis sort of way was prevented pretty neatly.

Now the more interesting question about this attack is different, and it could have serious consequences for Russia both in geopolitical and military sense. I’m talking of the widely heralded myth about the impenetrable air defense system, the last-generation C-400. Elements of that system are installed around the air bases in Tatrus and Lattakia, hosting the Russian warplanes in Syria. In theory, C-400 is an air defense system with mid- to long-range that could intercept targets within 600 km and destroy them at a 400 km distance. It should be able to destroy planes, drones, ballistic and other missiles. But during the Tomahawk assault in Shayrat, for some reason all C-400 stations remained silent. All 59 missiles, based on 40-year old technology, flew unimpeded across the entire defense line. So far no one has come up with an official explanation of what really happened.

These systems have a special place in the modern Russian doctrine for military dominance. By installing C-400 in a zone, the Russians are capable of isolating huge chunks of air space, where any movement of enemy aircraft could be blocked at any given time. And if they put such a system near the border with another country, they can control all air traffic up to 400 km inside that country’s territory. It was the Russian air defense system that has forced Daesh to review their plans for air support of allied units on the ground.

In NATO language, such zones of blocked access are called Anti Access / Anti Denial or A2/AD. Such “domes” of blocked airspace are currently present not just over Syria but also Kaliningrad (covering parts of Poland and the Baltics), and Crimea (reaching as far as the shores of Romania and Bulgaria). Because of these zones, the NATO strategists were forced to seriously re-think their defense plans in case of aggression on the eastern flank of the alliance. Practically, the presence of such air defense systems seriously undermines the allies’ ability to quickly deploy reinforcements by air in case of sudden crisis, or to support the logistical networks of their defense forces in case of a protracted conflict.

The fundamental problem with C-400 is that so far no one has seen its true capabilities in real battle conditions. So any future customers of the Russian military-industrial complex would surely be looking very closely into what happened during the US air strike against Syria. There are military giants like China and India among those customers, and soon Turkey could also join that list (itself a NATO member). That’s probably the reason for the strange and enigmatic statement by the Russian chiefs of command, which said only 23 out of the 59 Tomahawk missiles had reached their target, without specifying why exactly. If that’s a hint that the remaining 36 missiles had been downed by C-400, the Russians might still be having a problem: this way they’re admitting their system is too porous in case of a swarm-like attack of low-flying missiles.

Still, the likeliest explanation is that the Russian air defense system in Syria was merely kept inactive – partly to conceal its true capabilities, partly to deliberately allow an escalation of tensions with the US. An argument in support of this assumption is the “evolution” of statements coming from various Russian officials. For instance, the chairman of the defense committee at the Russian parliament Victor Ozerov said the C-300 and C-400 systems are in Syria “to guarantee the safety of our armed forces”. In other words, about a fortnight ago Assad’s army might have suddenly found itself outside the list of Russian-protected puppet regimes, at least as far as attacks from the sky are concerned. Whatever the Russian military officials say from here on, there’ll always be a question hanging around the qualities of the “impenetrable” C-400 system: could it really eliminate a 40-year old US Tomahawk missile flying at subsonic speed – or not?

Whoever Has Been In The Military, Will Know

I don’t know how it is at your place, but where I live, the military hasn’t been known for their particular intelligence. In fact, they’ve become a synonym of dumbness. There’s also a local saying that if you’re good for no other job, then your place is in the military. It’s largely viewed as a place where people waste their time doing nothing important, and where those in more influential positions are able to make petty, small-scale misappropriation of state resources without getting caught. And the dumbest of all military personnel are the top officers. The dumber you are, the higher up the ladder you’re likely to end up.

Naturally, dumb heads bear dumb thoughts, and hence, dumb statements. So here’s a collection of dumb statements coming from military officers, some of which have become part of the local lore (these are actual words, recorded and collected at various times from various places by various military personnel).

– Either everyone puts greatcoats on, or nobody does! This is an order!

– Wake-up time is 5 a.m., no matter what time of the day it is!

– Military training exists in other countries as well, including foreign countries.

– Everyone jump into the trenches! The rest, follow me!

– Look at that guy. He’s sitting around like a swine in the warm mud.

– What is this? Your formation resembles the letter… well, there’s no such letter, comrades!

– And remember, the battalion commander never walks by foot. He either takes a GAZ-66 truck, or he takes the deputy commander with him.

– While on the march, every soldier has a ration of 20 grams of butter daily: 15 grams for breakfast and 15 for supper.

– You guys are sleeping comfortably here, and in the meantime, the Fatherland is getting covered in snow out there!

– The alpha, beta and gama rays from a nuclear explosion cannot penetrate your uniform. They’d go through your furcoat at most, but they can only reach as far as your under-vest, and no further!

– What? You’ve been where? To the toilet? Come on lads, next is, you’re gonna start visiting the theater or something!

– Cleaning the AK47 can be done against cardboard targets of a square shape, made of black paper, with a size of 20 by 30 centimeters.

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– And now, if you may excuse me, I’m going to leak some water and drink some of the same.

– The sirens are yelling, there are alarm rings everywhere, and you’re doing what? You’re in the bathroom, pants down, weiner sticking out, and you’re peeing and peeing without end.

– Now I expect you guys to go to bed culturally and literately.

– My surname is Major Ivanov.

– Hey, you! What are you doing in the TV room? – We are watching a video, Sir! – And why is the TV on?

– A forest is considered impassable for tanks, if the thickness of the trees exceeds the tank’s weight more than three times.

– A Major never runs, because in peace time, a running Major would cause laughter, and in war time, panic.

– The AK47 works like this: one, two, three… and you’re gone!

– Hey, cadet! Stop giving yourself smart looks! You’re a future officer, remember?

– Say, there are N planes flying in a formation. Nah, not N. That’s too many. OK, let’s say there are K planes flying in a formation…

– Do not force me to deprive your future kids of fathers!

– Sergeant, Sir! My bed sheet has holes in it! – Well, maggot, just turn it upside down!

– Quick! Shovel that snow quickly, before it has melted away!

– Yesterday I checked under all your beds. Frankly, it’s beyond me how you guys can live down there…

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– Can someone remind me who that cadet was whom I remembered in the morning?

– You don’t have to wash all corridors daily. Once every morning would suffice.

– A trench is an open pit designed for sleeping in conditions that approximate those during battle.

– Sergeant, Sir! There’s a hole in my boot! There’s water getting in! – How many times do I have to teach you, maggot? Just punch another one on the other side, and the water will go out!

– So, guys, you shouldn’t worry about working near sources of radiation. It’s perfectly safe. For example, some navy officers stay in nuclear submarines for years, and in the meantime, their wives give birth to perfectly normal children.

– Never start the engine before you’ve boarded the vehicle!

– It appears someone has stolen one of my boots. If I see anyone with three boots tomorrow, they’re in trouble!

– Everyone shut all windows now!

– A bush is a collection of branches and leaves, all emerging from a single point in space.

– And let me reiterate. One million is written with six zeros. Half a million, with three zeros.

– Now switch off al culturally-information receivers of a luminous type and otherwise!

– Our first rule here: you may not be particularly bright, but your boots should always be shiny!

– The bullet keeps flying as long as the hot gases in the barrel keep propelling it. It falls down, as soon as the gases stop pushing it.

– Next time a bullet flies past you, make sure you’ve looked at its structure thoroughly.

– Bombs tend to fall not just on land, but also on islands.

– I forbid the use of alcohol during your leave. If someone decides to violate my order, they better drink their fill, because that’ll be their last time!

– You should bore a hole in the wall, the size of 2-3 cents.

– This paralytic gas causes a head-ache in the joints and bones.

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– Why have you grown such a huge beard, cadet? Didn’t they teach you to shave in your childhood?

– Riding on a transportation truck happens in only one possible manner: no smoking, no leaning over the carriage, no whistling after passing maids – you just sit there and ride the truck, understood?

– You have 5 minutes to perform the task. Hurry up now, soldier, there already are 4 mins 99 secs left!

– Look, we may have no order here, but it has to be followed!

– Imagine you’re situated in the middle of an empty field. Suddenly, a tank pops up from behind the corner. What are you gonna do?

– Each soldier should keep a canteen full of water in their personal drawer! One canteen of water suffices for washing one face and two feet. Whoever doesn’t have water in their canteen at day’s end, will have their canteen poured on their head by myself! Undersood?

– Cadet, why are you procrastinating? I’ve been watching you for the past half an hour how you’re dragging around the yard, hands in your pocket. A muffin in one hand, a cigarette in the other…

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– Here on this wall you should hang a picture of the famous Five RMS Heroes. They’re just ten lads, the space should suffice.

– Nobody boards the trucks before they’ve arrived, undersood?

– Never use the tongs as a hammer and viceversa!

– Now I’m going fishing. If I don’t catch anything today, you guys are in trouble!

– Whichever of you thinks they’re dumb enough to forget what I’m saying, better be writing these things down in a notebook! Look, I’ve got two notebooks!

– Hey, maggot! For the past 5 minutes I’ve been watching very carefully how you’ve been wasting half an hour!

– Sergeant, Sir! I’ve lost my needle! – How many times do I have to teach you to inscribe al your belongings!

– On three, off you trot from me to the other tree!

– Hey, who’s talking over there! I know who you are! I won’t say your name, I’m just gonna give you a very stern look!

– Whichever of you thinks they’re dumb enough to forget the lyrics of our military songs, better be writing these things down in a notebook – just like I do!

– Everybody knows that peeing is almost half as good as fucking. But peeing twice in a row is not nearly as good as fucking.

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– You’ve got one hour to whitewash the curb stone in black!

– Check if there’s anyone on guard! If there isn’t anyone, send them reinforcements!

– Turn the table-cloth the other way around to conceal the holes in it!

– Get back into formation so that the rain won’t soak you wet!

– Gather all papers, foliage, glass and stones, put them in a cardboard box, and burn them to dispose of them!

– Ye could’ve got MBA, ye could’ve got PhD, yer diploma could’be the size of a gate… but here the feckin Sergeant is God! Got it?

– There are piles of snow 3 meters deep outside, some are thigh-high!

– Have you no shame, soldier? You saw me coming, and yet you continued sleeping!

– Your mother didn’t tell you about the soldier’s food? T’was never supposed to be delicious! T’is supposed to be nutritive. The soldier’s food is not for eating – it’s for being absorbed by the soldier’s organism!

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– Lock the gate and bring me the padlock!

– Oooh, I know a thing or two about computers. Isn’t the laser computer the latest fad these days?

– Don’t look at me like that! You see me being nice right now, but I could turn things to the 360 degrees just as easily.

– You keep silent when you’re talking with me!

– So here’s a maths problem for ya. You’ve got 100 fighter jets flying, plus 200 bomber planes. 400 aircraft altogether… – But it doesn’t add up, Colonel! – I’m just using rough approximates, cadet!

– You’ve got 10 minutes to make all this rust shine as new!

– Granted, it’s a bit dark right now, so you may not be able to hear me.

– On three, everybody rush from me to the other tree and back! I’ll be following you closely.

– You’re young, you know nothing of the war. There was such a terrible meningitis at the time, you’d either die or go crazy from it. I’ve personally had it twice…