5 things we'd love to do with the Army's surplus battleship ammo - We Are The Mighty
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5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo

Popular Mechanics dug this gem out of the list of contract requests from a government website this week: The U.S. Army is soliciting a contract for someone to destroy 15,595 naval artillery rounds originally designed for the 16-inch guns of massive ships like the USS Iowa.


The Army has maintained the shells since the Navy retired the massive battleships that fired them, but these things can’t be safely stored forever and the military needs them gone.

Hiring a responsible contractor with a proven track record is the best way to do this, but WATM came up with these 5 more entertaining ideas:

1. Host history’s best Independence Day party

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
It would look like this, but near a beach while you and your mildly intoxicated buddies got to watch from the shore. (Photo: U.S. Navy PH1 Terry Cosgrove)

So, the Army is looking for solutions in October, which is exactly the right month to start planning the perfect party for July 4th. Especially if the plans involve a few thousand 16-inch artillery shells. Pretty sure those require permits or something. Be sure to tell the permit office that the fireworks will explode over the water or an open, uninhabited area. And that they’re pretty lethal loud.

2. Blowing up a mountain, like in Iron Man

Remember that scene where Tony Stark is showing off the Jericho missile and he blows up an entire mountain range? Pretty sure everyone reading this would pay at least $15 to see a mountain disappear. Call me Army. We could turn a profit on this.

3. Play a real life game of battleship

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
I would tune into this show for literally every episode. (Meme: courtesy Decelerate Your Life)

The Navy is already getting rid of some old ships, and the Army has found itself with way too many naval artillery shells, meaning this is the perfect time to hold a full-sized game of battleship. Pretty sure the TV ratings could pay for the cost of towing the ships into position.

4. Give drill sergeants really accurate artillery simulators

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
That smoke in the back is coming from an artillery simulator. That’s not realistic enough training for our fighting men and women. (Photo: U.S. Army Reserve Staff Sgt. David J. Overson)

Right now, drill sergeants and other military trainers use little artillery simulators that make a loud whining noise and then a sharp pop to teach recruits to quickly react to incoming indirect fire. They’re great, but it really ignores that sphincter-tightening boom that comes with real incoming fire.

Now imagine that drill sergeants threw the artillery simulator and then were able to remotely detonate an actual, buried battleship shell 100 yards away. Right? No one gets hurt, but it would teach those kids to get their heads down pretty quick.

5. Create claymore mines that shoot grenades

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
This is what it looks like with 1.5 pounds of C4. Someone has to try this with battleship shells and their little grenade submunitions. (Photo: U.S. Army Capt. Adan Cazarez)

Stick with me here. Claymore mines are brutally effective. A C-4 charge sends 700 steel balls flying in an arc at enemies. But the Army currently needs to get rid of 835 warheads that contain grenade submunitions and a whole bunch of other warheads filled with Explosive D.

So, how about we cut the grenades out of the submunition warheads, and duct tape them in rows around the Explosive D warheads? Sure, it would probably break a few treaties to use them in war, but it’s perfectly legal for a government to create an awesome piece of performance art on a military range. Probably.

(h/t Doctrine Man and Popular Mechanics)

Articles

5 ways new infantry officers can quickly earn respect

The infantry is its own ecosystem where different ranks, Military Occupational Specialties and personalities work together to form a bubble separate from the rest of the Marine Corps. Entering the fleet Marine Force for the first time is a culture shock, especially if you’re suddenly in charge. Young officers have to learn to balance mission accomplishment and maintain good morale. The first challenge of the burden of leadership is earning the respect of the troops. You can demand it, sure, but in garrison. In country, in combat, away from the civilization, only those who earned respect can command Marines.

No fun runs, actually PT

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
U.S. Marines with India Company, Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, perform tire flips during a physical-training competition. Elements of the 15th MEU are ashore in Djibouti for sustainment training to maintain and enhance the skills they developed during their pre-deployment training period. The 15th MEU is currently deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Jamean Berry/Released)

Without exaggeration, every single infantry officer can run. We get it, you ran track in high school, college and have a near-perfect Physical Fitness Test score. Going on runs is unimaginative and is not a team building exercise. The troops would rather do an O course, grappling, swimming or the gym. They really love the gym. You can do rotating stations with different exercises to keep things interesting. Anything with mud — they’re infantry, that’s literally what they signed up for.

Taking the troops out for a run is boring. Smoking the troops on a run every single day will make everyone hate you. Train your troops. If you can be replaced by a treadmill you’re doing a massive disservice to your platoon.

Let your platoon sergeant take charge

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Johnathen Cordle, an administrative specialist with the commanding general’s JUMP Platoon, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division (2d MARDIV), receives a promotion to the rank of sergeant at Camp Wilson, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Patrick King)

The platoon sergeant has been there, done that. They’re your advisor. They want you to succeed because when you look good everyone does too. Here’s a secret: it’s fine if you don’t know everything. Everyone knows ‘you’re the boss,’ everyone knows you’re new. Let him rally the troops and enforce your commands. If the company commander wants a certain type of training done that week and you’re not 100% sure how to do it, ask your enlisted advisor. In private, obviously, but be humble.

No one is going to think less of you because you actually listen to your platoon sergeant. In fact, they’ll respect you more because it communicates that you value your team. You’re showing that you will not risk lives in country because of ego and will consider advice even if you do not accept it.

Do not hold formation for every piece of news

Everyone has a cell phone. If you need to give a series of orders, do your thing, call formation. However, for the love of God, if it’s 1600 on a Friday just send a text that everyone is off work. If the battalion commander didn’t hold formation, then it is asinine for you to hold formation. Now you’re making all the troops with kids get stuck in rush hour traffic and they have less time to spend with their children. Good job.

In the field, use common sense

My platoon loved our first lieutenant, but not in the beginning. Whenever he was mentioned off work someone would say, ‘F that guy’ from across the hall. Our first field operation was Offense and Defense — a basic training exercise where you practice digging defensive positions and patrols. We were at Camp Lejeune, which was built in a swamp. Our planned area was ankle deep in water in the winter yet 200 meters to the right there was a dry spot where we could fit the patrol base.

No, we slept in freezing water for days just because. We patrolled through the thickest, densest part of the swamp 50 meters away from a road. We did not accomplish all of our missions during the op due to running out of time. When the battalion debriefed at the end, other officers used the roads and every platoon adapted to the environment and moved their preplanned bases. 

His excuse was ‘the roads were out of play.’ Rules can be broken when mission accomplishment and troop welfare are the priorities. He learned the hard way and it took a while to regain the respect he lost.

Do not help with working parties

The only time an officer should help with manual labor is when there is a time crunch. Other than that, go do officer sh*t and let the enlisted do their jobs. If you help when it is not needed, it makes things awkward. If it is a race against the clock and all hands on deck is not fast enough, boom, everyone will think that you’re a badass when you join the fray.

Featured image: (FORT BENNING, Ga.) Students from the Infantry Basic Officer Leader Course (IBOLC), Class 07-16, celebrate with their families and fellow classmates after graduation, October 26, 2016, here, at McGinnis-Wickam Hall. (Photos by: Patrick A. Albright/MCoE PAO Photographer)

Articles

SecNav loves Mattis but thinks Congress is right to debate the ‘7 year rule’

The Navy’s top civilian leader told reporters Jan. 11 that while he respects the career and leadership abilities of President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of defense, he thinks Congress should take a hard line on its mandate to keep civilians in charge of the nation’s defense.


5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
(Photo: U.S. Navy Chief Mass Communications Specialist Shawn P. Eklund)

Outgoing Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said Congress had a good reason to require former military leaders be out of uniform for at least seven years before they may take the top leadership positions at the Pentagon — including the roles of secretary of defense and deputy secretary of defense — adding that the time out of uniform had recently been reduced from 10 years.

Trump’s pick to lead the Pentagon, former Marine Gen. James Mattis, retired from the Corps in 2013 after 44 years in the military. His appointment would require a waiver from Congress to skirt the seven-year mandate.

“I have worked very closely with Jim Mattis almost the whole time [in office] and I have an enormous amount of respect for him,” Mabus told defense reporters at a breakfast meeting in Washington, D.C. “I think that civilian control of the military is one of the bedrocks of our democracy and there was a reason that was put in place.”

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo

Top lawmakers in the Senate held a meeting with experts on military affairs Jan. 10 to debate the restriction, with many arguing the rule should be kept in place but that Mattis’ experience and intellect warrant a one-time waiver.

“I would hesitate to ever say … that there is any indication that dangerous times require a general,” said Kathleen Hicks, a former Pentagon official in the Obama administration, according to the Washington Post. “I don’t think that’s the issue. I think dangerous times require experience and commitment … which I think Gen. Mattis can bring.”

So far one member of the Senate Armed Services Committee has spoken against granting a waiver. New York Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand has said she’d oppose a waiver and hasn’t “seen the case for why it is so urgently necessary.”

Former Army Gen. George Marshall is the only Pentagon leader to be granted a waiver under the 10-year rule, and he served only one year during the hight of the Korean war.

“It was done for George Marshall but it shouldn’t be done very often,” outgoing SecNav Mabus said. “So I think [Congress] is right to raise that issue.”

“This is nothing to say about Jim Mattis, I think he was a great Marine and a great general officer and a great CoCom,” he added.

Mattis is set for a confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee Jan. 12. Both chambers are expected to vote on a service waiver before Trump’s inauguration Jan. 20.

Lists

The 12 best quotes from ‘Apocalypse Now’

We’ve picked out the best military movie quotes of all time, singled out the greatest lines from “Full Metal Jacket” specifically, and now it’s time to turn our attention to “Apocalypse Now.”


The Vietnam-war classic from Francis Ford Coppola yields a number of classic lines that fans can quote at will, from Kilgore’s comments about napalm to an intelligence officer’s use of the phrase “with extreme prejudice.”

 

These are WATM’s picks for the top 12 quotes from the 1979 film.

1. Col. Kilgore: “I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn’t find one of ’em, not one stinkin’ dink body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like … victory.”

 

2. Capt. Willard: “Saigon… sh-t. I’m still only in Saigon.”

3. Col. Kilgore: “Someday this war’s gonna end.”

4. Capt. Willard: “Terminate the Colonel?”

Civilian intelligence official: ” … Terminate with extreme prejudice.”

5. Capt. Willard: “Oh man… the bullsh-t piled up so fast in Vietnam, you needed wings to stay above it.”

6. Capt. Willard: “Charging a man with murder in this place was like handing out speeding tickets in the Indy 500.”

7. Capt. Willard: “‘Never get out of the boat.’ Absolutely goddamn right! Unless you were goin’ all the way… Kurtz got off the boat. He split from the whole f–kin’ program.”

8. Col. Kilgore: “If I say its safe to surf this beach, Captain, then its safe to surf this beach!”

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo

9. Chef: “I just wanted to learn to f–kin’ cook, man!”

10. Capt. Willard: “Who’s the commanding officer here?”

Soldier: “Ain’t you?”

11. Col. Kilgore: “Charlie don’t surf!”

12. Col. Kurtz: “The horror … the horror.”

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo

NOW: This video shows how ‘Full Metal Jacket’ was made

Humor

11 things you should send the FNG find

Telling the f*cking new guy (FNG) to go out and find things isn’t malicious. It may look like hazing to the untrained eye — but you’re teaching that kid a little bit more about the unit.


It’s a team-building activity. Everyone should be involved. Not in looking, of course, but in on the joke.

The FNG goes to get that thing from one place. Say “sorry, kid, check with Sergeant Smith over there.” Now they have a name to face on Sergeant Smith and hopefully what they do. They keep getting bounced around until the salty supply dude gets fed up and scolds the poor kid.

They learned a lesson and enjoyed some face time with the team, and you get a good laugh. That, and they’re far more entertaining than those checklists you get at reception.

#1: Headlight Fluid

Motorpool Monday again. Since most boots can’t figure out how to turn on the headlights on a Humvee, let them know that it’s probably because they’re out of fluid.

#2: Exhaust Samples

While you’re still at the Motorpool, tell them that in order for dispatch to truly know how well the vehicle is running, they need an exhaust sample.

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo

#3: Chem-light batteries

Chances are the rookie has little understanding of chemiluminescence and probably won’t pull “but it’s a chemical reaction caused by the mixing of two solutions being exposed together.”

If they do, they should probably get a pass until lunch.

#4: Box of Grid Squares

You’re about to go to the Land Navigation field and you are in “some serious need” for some grid squares.

I mean, technically, they could just give you a paper map and they wouldn’t be wrong.

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo

#5: Prop/Rotor Wash

Didn’t think Aviation would get a pass on the 242nd Annual F*ck-F*ck Games, did you?

For the uninformed, Prop/Rotor Wash is back draft of air that the aircraft generates to create lift. It’s also the worst part about Air Assault FRIES jumps.

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo

#6: Flight Line

New kid not leaving you alone while you maintain a multi-million dollar piece of equipment? Tell them you have to connect some flight line to the whatever. And while they’re at it, tell them to grab the left-handed monkey wrench.

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo

#7: Pad Eye Remover

For obvious reasons, it’s best to remove the chains from the aircraft and not the ship. But the FNG doesn’t get obvious.

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo

 

#8: The switch to lower the mast

Oh no! The ship is about to go underneath a bridge that other ships have gone under thousands of times over! Looks like it’s time to lower the mast!

Related: This is why the military shouldn’t completely outlaw hazing

 

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
(Screenshot from WATM’s No Sh*t There I Was)

#9: Bulkhead Remover

It’ll be all fun and games when you tell the baby squid to clean all the bulkhead off. The moment they grab a blowtorch…run.

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo

#10: Prickey-5

Always a fun one to pull on your guy to rib another NCO. If the private responds with, “Why do we need a Prickey-5 when we already have a Prickey 6?”

Drop their ass.

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
The look of every Staff Sergeant ever. (Image via Staff Sergeant Old School)

 

#11: ID 10-T Form

All the years this one has been around, it still sticks. It’s far too obvious of a joke.

And yet….

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo

Articles

5 weapons designed for just one target each

The best weapons work against a variety of targets and in many different scenarios. Sometimes, a specific target is so tough or so-well defended a custom weapon is needed to destroy it. Here are 5 weapons created to destroy a single target or set of targets.


1. The Dutch “floating volcano”

Slaget_vid_Öland_Claus_Møinichen_1686 The explosion that destroyed the Swedish warship Kronan in battle in 1676 was a fraction of the size of the “Hellraiser” ship at the Siege of Antwerp in 1585.

In 1585, Dutch defenders at Antwerp needed to break the Spanish siege they were stuck behind. Targeting a pontoon bridge across the River Schelde, the Dutch defenders created “hellraisers.”

These were two ships completely filled with explosives and shrapnel. When the second ship detonated, it was described as a “floating volcano” that shattered nearby ships and buildings, destroyed the bridge, and threw people into the air for miles.

2. The Nazi Gustav gun

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
Photo: Youtube

One of the largest cannons in history, the Gustav gun fired an 800-mm, high-explosive shell nearly 30 miles. A bunker-busting round from the gun could pierce 264 feet of concrete.

The cannon performed well at Sevastapol, Russia, but was designed to destroy the Maginot line in France. When the Nazis made it around the French defenses before Gustav was ready, the weapon was repurposed for its Russian adventure.

Read More: Hitler created the largest gun ever, and it was a total disaster

3. The Ottoman’s 27-ft cannon

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
The Basilica cannon is visible in this modern painting of the Siege of Constantinople. It’s being pulled by the team of oxen on the right. Painting: Wikipedia/Fausto Zonaro

Constantinople had survived 1,000 years of sieges by the time Sultan Mehmed II began eyeing it. To crack the walls of the fortress, Mehmed accepted an offer from a Hungarian cannon expert to build the “Basilica cannon,” a 27-ft-long cannon that fired a 30-inch round.

On April 12, 1453 the cannon was fired for the first time against Constantinople. Its shells obliterated any portion of wall they hit. When Mehmed moved his ground forces in, the city had few defenses left and fell within hours.

4. Germany’s bouncing bombs

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
Photos: Imperial War Museum and German Army Archives

Developed by Dr. Barnes Wallace, bouncing bombs carried 6,600 pounds of high-explosive as they skipped across the water surface to get past German torpedo nets at well-defended German dams. The bombs reached the dams and sunk along the wall before detonating.

On May 17, 1943, Barnes’ dambusters were dropped from Lancaster bombers, damaging three German dams and flooding nearby towns and railways. Hundreds of laborers were killed and 20,000 workers were pulled from other projects to repair the damage.

5. Germany’s V-3 cannon

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
Photo: Wikipedia

The V-3 Cannon was built into the hillside in Nazi-occupied France. It was to have 50 barrels that would fire 600 rounds per hour into London, a target 100 miles from the cannon. It was test-fired in Jan. 1944, but problems with its 9-ft long shells delayed its use.

The prospects for the cannon were dealt a double blow by the Allied invasion on D-day and a Royal Air Force bombing of the cannon a month later on July 6, 1944. The weapon was moved to Germany and fired just 44 rounds during the Battle of the Bulge.

Articles

This military theme park lets you drive tanks, crush cars, and shoot machine guns

Whether in the military or not, most people don’t drive tanks. But for nearly a decade, Drive A Tank has opened its doors to civilians wanting to live out their tank fantasies.



Related: 5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo

“We’re trying to get normal people — civilians who wouldn’t normally have access to military equipment — a little bit of hands-on knowledge,” said Drive A Tank’s owner Tony Borglum in the video below.

It’s one of the only places in the world where you can drive a tank and shoot a machine gun under one roof that’s not owned or operated by the government, according to MarKessa Baedke-Peterson.

With packages ranging from $449 to $3,699, this military theme park will have you behind the wheel of a 15-ton armored vehicle through a course of woods and mud. The course ends at the car crushing area where visitors get to destroy perfectly intact Priuses (and other vehicles) by running them over.

But that’s not all. After the tank course, attendees get to shoot anti-material rifles like the Barrett 50 Cal. and belt fed machine guns like the M1919 Browning.

“Now that’s one badass motherf–ker,” Baedke said.

This video shows what a day is like for people who visit Drive A Tank:

The Daily, YouTube

Articles

It’s the end of the line for the F-4 . . . really this time

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
Look Ma! No pilot! (Or RIO, for that matter.) (Photo: U.S. Navy)


Phantom Phanatics have loved the F-4, even though the legendary fighter has been out of United States service for two decades. But that may not be an accurate way to think of it. Because theF-4 actually has still been serving – and still has about two months of life left with the United States Air Force.

According to an Air Force release, these Phantoms that have been serving just haven’t been manned – for the most part. QF-4 Phantoms (the Q standing for “drone”) have been providing “live” targets for the testing of air-to-air missiles (like the AIM-9 Sidewinder and AIM-120 AMRAAM), usually by simulating an enemy aircraft during those tests. Any number of pilots who have used air-to-air missiles in combat can thank those target drones for helping make sure those missiles worked.

How did the Phantom provide two decades’ worth of target drones? Well, it’s not hard when you realize that almost 5,200 were built by McDonnell-Douglas. Now, that includes those that were exported, but even with combat losses in Vietnam (73 for the Navy, 75 for the Marine Corps, and 528 for the Air Force). The Air Force arranged for 324 airframes to become QF-4s. The Navy also used the QF-4 after retiring its last F-4 from USMC service in 1992 – getting another 12 years of service from the “Double Ugly” until the last airframe retired in 2004.

The QF-4s were not the first planes to serve as target drones. The QF-86 Sabre, QF-80 Shooting Star, QF-100 Super Sabre, and the QF-106 Delta Dart have been among former fighters that provided additional service beyond their “official” retirement date by serving as target drones. Even the legendary B-17 had a version that served as a target drone. In fact, just as the F-4 Phantom was replaced in active service by the F-16 Fighting Falcon, the QF-4 Phantom will be replaced by QF-16 Fighting Falcons.

The surviving QF-4 Phantoms at White Sands Missile Range will get one more round of maintenance, mostly to remove hazardous materials, and then they will serve as ground targets.

Here’s a video of QF-4s taking a few for the team:

Articles

22 brutal dictators you’ve never heard of

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo


Representative government has been a luxury that relatively few people have enjoyed throughout human history.

And while the vast majority of dictators fall short of Hitler- or Stalin-like levels of cruelty, history is rife with oppressors, war criminals, sadists, sociopaths, and morally complacent individuals who ended up as unelected heads of government — to the tragic detriment of the people and societies they ruled.

Here’s a look at 22 brutal dictators who you may not have heard of:

1. Francisco Solano Lopez (Paraguay, 1862-1870)

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
Wikipedia

After that war concluded, Brazil, Argentina, and the winning faction in Uruguay secretly agreed to a plan in which they would annex half of Paraguay’s territory.

Lopez rejected the peace terms offered by the “triple alliance,” incurring a full-on invasion.

What followed was a devastating conflict in which an overmatched Lopez conscripted child soldiers, executed hundreds of his deputies (including his own brother), incurred steep territorial losses, and triggered an eight-year Argentine military occupation.

By the time of Lopez’s death in battle in 1870 and the war’s subsequent end, Paraguay’s population had plunged from an estimated 525,000 to 221,000, and only 29,000 males over the age of 15 were left alive.

 

2. Jozef Tiso (Slovakia, 1939-1945)

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
Wikipedia

A Catholic priest who led Slovakia’s fascist moment, Tiso was in charge of one of Nazi Germany’s numerous satellite regimes for almost the entirety of World War II.

Although arguably a less energetic fascist than the leaders of comparable Nazi puppet regimes, Tiso led a brutal crackdown after a 1944 anti-fascist rebellion.

He also either facilitated or had first-hand knowledge of the deportation of the vast majority of the country’s Jews to Nazi concentration camps.

At the time, Slovakia had a Jewish population of over 88,000. However, by the conflict’s conclusion, nearly 5,000 were left in the country.

 

3. Döme Sztójay (Hungary, 1944)

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
Wikipedia

Hungarian leader Miklós Horthy had been an ally of Nazi Germany, collaborating with Adolf Hitler’s regime in exchange for assistance in restoring Hungarian control over lands the country had lost as a result of World War I.

Horthy began attempting to chart an independent path from the Nazis as the German war effort flagged in 1944 and largely refused to deport the country’s Jews — triggering a Nazi invasion and Döme Sztójay’s installation as the country’s puppet leader even while Horthy officially remained in power.

During Sztójay’s six months as Hungary’s prime minister, more than 440,000 Jews were deported from Hungary to concentration camps in one of the last major forced population transfers of the Holocaust.

Sztójay, who had been Hungary’s ambassador to Nazi Germany for the decade leading up to World War II, was captured by American troops after the war and executed in Hungary in 1946.

 

4. Ante Pavelić (Yugoslavia 1941-1945)

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
Wikipedia

Ante Pavelić started out as a politician who was opposed to the centralization of what later became officially known as the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

After Yugoslavia’s king declared himself dictator in 1929, Pavelić fled the country in order to organize an ultra-nationalist movement called Ustaše.

The Ustaše was dedicated to creating an independent Croatia, and sometimes resorted to terrorism. Ultimately, the group assassinated King Alexander in 1934.

After Axis forces took over Yugoslavia in the 1941, Pavelić took control as the head of the Independent State of Croatia (or NDH).

The country was nominally ruled by the Ustaše, but was essentially a puppet state of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. Under Pavelić’s leadership, the regime persecuted Orthodox Serbs, Jews, and Romani living in the NDH.

After Germany was defeated in 1945, Pavelić went into hiding, and eventually escaped to Argentina. He died in Spain in 1959.

 

5. Mátyás Rákosi (Hungary 1945-1956)

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
Hungarian Government

Mátyás Rákosi became the communist leader of Hungary after consolidating political power in 1945.

He was called “Stalin’s best Hungarian disciple,” orchestrating purges and installing a repressive Soviet-allied regime.

After Stalin died in 1953, the USSR decided his regime was too brutal and told Rákosi that he could stay on as the Hungarian communist party’s secretary-general — on the condition that he give up his prime ministership to the “reform-minded” Imre Nagy.

Rákosi managed to stick around for a bit, until the USSR officially decided he was a liability.

Moscow removed him from power in 1956 in order to appease the Yugoslav leader, Mashal Tito.

 

6. Khorloogiin Choibalsan (Mongolia, 1930s-1952)

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
Wikipedia

After several meetings with Stalin, Choibalsan adopted the Soviet leader’s policies and methods and applied them to Mongolia.

He created a dictatorial system, suppressing the opposition and killing tens of thousands of people.

Later in the 1930s, he “began to arrest and kill leading workers in the party, government, and various social organizations in addition to army officers, intellectuals, and other faithful workers,” according to a report published in 1968 cited in the Historical Dictionary of Mongolia.

In late 1951, Choibalsan went to Moscow in order to receive treatment for kidney cancer. He died the following year.

7. Enver Hoxha (Albania, 1944-1985)

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
Wikipedia

Albania’s communist dictator feuded with both the Soviet Union and China before promoting a ruinous policy of national self-reliance that turned his country into a Balkan version of modern-day North Korea.

During his four-decade rule, Hoxha banned religion, ordered the construction of thousands of concrete pillboxes throughout Albania, undertook eccentric public building projects, purged his inner circle multiple times, and severed nearly all of Albania’s meaningful international relations.

Hoxha enforced a Stalin-like cult of personality and created a completely isolated society with virtually no tolerance of political dissent.

An estimated 200,000 people were imprisoned for alleged political crimes during Hoxha’s rule, in a country with a current population of around 3 million.

 

8. Lê Duẩn (Vietnam, 1960-1986)

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
Wikipedia

Although he was never Vietnam’s official head of state, Lê Duẩn was the dominant decision-maker within the country’s communist regime for more than 20 years.

After the Vietnam War and the North’s successful invasion of South Vietnam, Duẩn oversaw purges of South Vietnamese anticommunists, imprisoning of as many as 2 million people and forcing more than 800,000 Vietnamese to flee the country by boat.

Under Duẩn, Vietnam also embarked on a failed economic-centralization effort that later generations of Vietnamese leaders would reverse.

 

9. Ian Smith (Rhodesia, 1964-1979)

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
Wikipedia

One of the most controversial figures in post-colonial African history, Ian Smith, a decorated fighter pilot during World War II, led the secession of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) from the British empire in 1965.

His aim was to preserve white rule in an overwhelmingly black colony.

As prime minister of an independent Rhodesia, Smith oversaw an apartheid system similar to the one in neighboring South Africa, seeking to ensure white rule through a system of racial separation and control.

Although whites were less than 4% of Rhodesia’s population, Smith’s government survived nearly 15 years of international isolation and civil war.

He agreed to a power-sharing accord that elevated Robert Mugabe to prime minister in 1980.

Although sometimes lauded for his willingness to surrender power — something that meant Rhodesia was liberated from minority rule some 15 years before neighboring South Africa — he still led a racially discriminatory regime for well over a decade.

 

10. Ramfis Trujillo (Dominican Republic, May 1961-October 1961)

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
YouTube

Ramfis’s father, the more infamous Rafael Trujillo, ruled the Dominican Republic for over 30 years.

His oldest son, who was made a colonel at the age of 4, only spent a few months as the Caribbean nation’s dictator — but he used them to mount a brutal reprisal campaign against those he suspected of assassinating his father on May 30, 1960.

An “accomplished torturer” and inveterate playboy, when Ramfis left the Dominican Republic by yacht to go into exile in Spain in late 1961, he reportedly took his father’s coffin with him.

What’s more, the coffin was filled with nearly $4 million in money and jewels.

 

11. Michel Micombero (Burundi, 1966-1976)

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
Wikipedia

Michel Micombero, an army captain and then minister of defense, was just 26 years old when he led the 1966 counter-coup that landed him the prime minister’s chair.

That was a dangerous job in Burundi, considering that two of his predecessors had been assassinated since the country won its independence from Belgium in 1962.

Micombero, an ethnic Tutsi, swiftly abolished the country’s monarchy and exiled its 19-year-old king.

Micombero cultivated a Tutsi elite within the army and government, raising tensions with the country’s Hutu community.

In 1972, Micombero’s government crushed a Hutu insurrection by organizing mass killings in which an estimated 150,000 to 300,000 people were killed.

Although Micombero was overthrown in a 1976 coup, the Hutu-Tutsi divide persisted in Burundi, and helped spark a civil war in the country that lasted between 1993 and 2005.

 

12. Yahya Khan (Pakistan, 1969-1971)

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
Wikipedia

The Pakistani general and World War II British Army veteran dissolved the government and imposed martial law in 1969.

By the time he lost power two years later, Eastern Pakistan had broken off to become the independent nation of Bangladesh and Pakistan lost another war to its rival, India.

Meanwhile, Khan oversaw the mass slaughter of as many as half a million Bengalis and other minorities in India.

In March 1971, Khan ordered his army to crack down on a burgeoning separatist movement in Eastern Pakistan.

“Operation Searchlight” targeted Bengali nationalists and intellectuals and produced a wave of 10 million refugees that convinced India to intervene in Pakistan’s civil war, setting the stage for Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan the following year.

During a high-level meeting in February 1971, Khan was recorded saying to “kill three million of them,” in reference to the separatists and their supporters.

By the end of the year, hundreds of thousands of people were dead — and Khan had been deposed as president and sent into internal exile. He died in Pakistan in 1980.

 

13. Carlos Manuel Arana Osorio (Guatemala, 1970-1974)

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
Guatemalan Government

Carlos Arana Osorio was one of the several military rulers who were president in Guatemala during the volatile years following a 1954 coup.

During his presidency, he amped up government efforts to subdue armed rebels and persecuted “student radicals,” workers groups, and political opponents.

An estimated 20,000 people “died or ‘disappeared’” under the Arana Osorio administration.

Guatemala went had military presidents through 1986, but the country’s civil war continued until December 1996.

 

14. Jorge Rafael Videla (Argentina, 1976-1981)

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
Wikipedia

Military officer Jorge Rafaél Videla took over Argentina during a coup d’état in 1976.

At the time, the country was straddled with a corrupt government and a battered economy, and was “besieged by attacks from guerrillas and death squads,” with many Argentines “welcoming Videla’s move, hoping the three-man military junta would put an end to the violence,”according to Biography.com.

Videla tried to bring back economic growth via free-market reforms, and was “moderately successful.” However, he closed the courts and gave legislative powers to a nine-man military commission.

His government conducted a notorious “‘dirty war,’ during which thousands of people considered to be subversive threats were abducted, detained and murdered,” among them intellectuals, journalists, and educators.

The official estimate of people killed during his presidency is 9,000, but some sources believe the number is between 15,000 and 30,000.

He was sentenced to life in prison in 1985, but pardoned in 1990. He was once again put on trial in 2010, and received another life sentence. He died in prison in 2013.

 

15. Francisco Macías Nguema (Equatorial Guinea, 1968-1979)

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
Wikipedia

The first president of Equatorial Guinea was a paranoid kleptocrat who declared himself leader for life, kept much of the national treasury in suitcases under his bed, and killed or exiled an estimated one-third of the former Spanish colony’s population of 300,000.

Nguema’s hatred of his country’s educated classes led to comparisons with Cambodia’s Pol Pot.

Extensive forced-labor programs brought to mind other historical cruelties as well: One visitor to the country during Nguema’s rule described it as “the concentration camp of Africa — a cottage-industry Dachau.”

Nguema was executed after his nephew, Teodoro Obiang, overthrew him in a 1979 coup.

 

16. Teodoro Obiang (Equatorial Guinea, 1979-present)

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
Wikipedia

Teodoro Obiang overthrew his uncle Francisco Macías Nguema, the first president of Equatorial Guinea, in 1979.

In 1995, oil was discovered in Equatorial Guinea, which provided Obiang with an almost limitless means of self-enrichment.

While the country of 700,000 languishes in the bottom quartile of the Human Development Index, its resource wealth has funded one of the world’s most oppressive regimes.

Obiang’s government is accused of torturing dissidents and banning most forms of political expression.

At the same time, Obiang has attempted to turn the capital of Malabo into a tourism and conference destination, and has tried to portray Equatorial Guinea as one of Africa’s rising political and economic powers.

 

17. Siad Barre (Somalia, 1969-1991)

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
Wikipedia

Somalia’s socialist military dictator committed a disastrous strategic error when he invaded Ethiopia’s Somali-majority Ogaden region in 1977.

The invasion convinced the Soviet Union to withdraw its support from Barre’s government.

And instead the Soviet Union backed Ethiopia’s emerging communist regime.

After the failed war against Ethiopia, Barre continued to rule Somalia for 13 years.

He maintained control through a combination of blunt force and canny manipulation of Somalia’s clan system.

His most disastrous legacy is Somalia’s descent into civil war in 1991, which marked the beginning of over two decades of anarchy in the country.

 

18. Radovan Karadžić (Republika Srpska, 1992-1996)

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
Wikipedia

Radovan Karadzic was president of Republika Srpska, the self-proclaimed ethnic Serb “republik” that seceded from Bosnia after Bosnia’s secession from Yugoslavia in 1992.

As president, Karadžić oversaw an ethnic-cleansing campaign against Bosnian Muslims that included some of the most severe human-rights abuses committed on European soil since World War II.

Karadžić is believed to have ordered the July 1995 Srebrenica massacre, in which Serbian militants killed over 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in the span of three days.

Karadžić went into hiding, and after Bosnia’s civil war, he became a homeopathic health expert under an assumed name and began writing articles about healing.

In 2008, he was arrested in Serbia and sent to the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague to face charges of crimes against humanity.

 

19. Theodore Sindikubwabo (Rwanda, April 1994-July 1994)

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
YouTube

Theodore Sindikubwabo bears little personal responsibility for the organization of the Rwandan genocide, which was largely the project of hardline army officers and government officials like Theoneste Bagasora.

But when Rwandan president Juvenal Habyrimana’s plane was shot down on April 6, 1994, Sindikubwabo was the man that the genocide’s architects selected as Rwanda’s head of state.

The former pediatrician was the official head of a government that perpetrated the slaughter of an estimated 800,000 people.

Far from attempting to stop the bloodbath, Sindikubwabo appeared in Cayahinda, Rwanda, on April 20, 1994, to “to thank and encourage” militants carrying out the genocide, and to “promise he would send soldiers to help local people finish killing the Tutsi who were barricaded” in a local church, according to Human Rights Watch.

Sindikubwabo fled into neighboring Zaire after the forces of current Rwandan president Paul Kagame invaded the country during the closing days of the genocide.

He died in exile in 1998.

 

20. Than Shwe (Myanmar, 1992-2011)

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
Wikipedia

Than Shwe was the leader of the ruling military junta in Myanmar (Burma) and had been criticized and sanctioned by Western countries for human-rights abuses.

Up to 1 million people were reportedly sent to “satellite zones” and “labor camps” under his rule.

There was virtually no free speech in the country, and “owning a computer modern or fax [was] illegal, and anyone talking to a foreign journalist [was] at risk of torture or jail,” the Guardian reported in 2007.

Although Shwe stepped down in 2011, The Wall Street Journal reports that he “still exerts considerable leverage behind the scenes.”

Most recently, he pledged support to his former foe, Aung San Suu Kyi, as the Myanmar’s “future leader” — even though during his rule, the country’s Nobel Prize-winning opposition leader was kept under house arrest.

 

21. Isaias Afwerki (Eritrea, 1991-present)

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo

Eritrea won its independence from Ethiopia in 1991 partly because of President Isaias Afwerki’s leadership in the armed struggle against Ethiopia’s brutal communist regime, which he helped overthrow.

Over the next 25 years, Afwerki built one of the world’s most terrorizing dictatorships.

Afwerki’s government maintains a network of brutal secret prison camps, and forcibly conscripts the country’s citizens into indefinite military service.

Eritrea’s internal oppression has led to over 380,000 people fleeing out of a population of less than 7 million — despite the lack of active armed conflict in the country.

Afwerki’s foreign policy has been equally problematic.

A 1998 dispute with Ethiopia over the demarcation of the countries’ border quickly escalatedinto the last full-scale interstate war of the 20th century, with Afwerki bearing at least partial blame for failing to defuse a conflict in which an estimated 100,000 people were killed.

Eritrea is also under UN sanctions for its alleged support of Al Shabaab militants fighting the Ethiopian military in Somalia.

22. Yahya Jammeh (Gambia, 1996-present)

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
Wikipedia

Gambia’s president since 1996 has built one of the most oppressive states on earth.

Jammeh has used arbitrary arrests and torture as his preferred means of control, and hasthreatened to personally slit the throats of the country’s gay men.

Gambians are fleeing the country in droves.

Despite its population of only 1.8 million, Gambia is among the 10 most common origin pointsfor migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean into Europe.

Articles

Rarely seen footage from the Battle of the Bulge

In the brutal cold of the winter of 1944, the German army launched a major offensive against allied troops in the Ardennes Mountains of Belgium, France and Luxemburg in an attempt to split up their opposing forces — what later became the “Battle of the Bulge.”


The Germans’ goal was to wedge themselves in between the American and British armies to recapture the port of Antwerp in the Netherlands in order to control the port facilities.

Just as the battle commenced, massive snowstorms hit the region causing incredibly frigid conditions for allied forces and blocking multiple supply lines.

“During the Bulge, the command broke down, supply broke down, morale broke down, communication broke down, everything broke down,” soldier Rocky Blount recalls. “It was every man for himself.”

Related: How these few Marines held the line at the Chosin Reservoir

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
Allied troops getting some much-needed food.

The troops manning the front lines lacked proper winter clothing, and the idea of seeing resupply anytime soon seemed far-fetched.

“We didn’t have overcoats, we didn’t have gloves, we didn’t have scarves,” Rocky Blount lists. “My boots were so bad, I would strip newspapers from bombed out houses and wrap my feet in it.”

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
A soldier in WWII takes a brief moment to care for his worn out feet. (Source: History/Screenshot)

The freezing temperatures caused the brave men’s physical and mental condition to deteriorate, resulting in thousands of casualties.

Though struggling, the men stayed in the fight and eventually outlasted the German army’s offensive.

Also Read: How this Marine inched his way to knock out a Japanese machine gunner

Check out the History channel’s video below to this incredible raw footage for yourself.

YouTube, History
Articles

Missile defense test reportedly fails after sailor presses wrong button

A missile defense test went awry last month after a Navy sailor accidentally pressed the wrong button, an investigation into the matter revealed.


The Missile Defense Agency conducted a test of the SM-3 Block IIA missile interceptor in late June. A medium-range ballistic missile was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii, the MDA explained in a statement at the time. The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones detected and tracked the missile using the on-board radars and launched an SM-3 Block IIA interceptor, which ultimately failed to intercept the target.

An MDA investigation into the failure revealed that a sailor pressed the wrong button, causing the missile to self-destruct. The MDA reported that there were no problems with either the SM-3 Block IIA interceptor or the Navy’s Aegis combat system, according to Defense News.

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
A Standard Missile-3. Photo courtesy of US Navy.

A tactical datalink controller mistakenly identified the incoming ballistic missile as friendly, causing the missile to unexpectedly self-destruct mid-flight, according to sources familiar with the recent missile intercept test.

The test in late June was the fourth flight test of the SM-3 Block IIA interceptor, which is being developed by Raytheon and is a joint missile defense project between the US and Japan. The new interceptor was developed to counter the rising ballistic missile threat from North Korea.

North Korea has tested a batch of new short-, medium-, intermediate-, and long-range missiles this year, increasing the threat to its neighbors and extending the danger to targets in the US.

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
US Pacific Command has deployed the first elements of the THAAD to South Korea. Photo courtesy of DoD.

The failed test was preceded by a successful test in May of the ground-based, mid-course defense system, which defends the US against intercontinental ballistic missiles. An interceptor launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California eliminated a mock long-range missile fired from the Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific. Earlier this month, the US successfully tested the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system against an intermediate-range ballistic missile, with a THAAD unit in Alaska eliminating a target missile launched from an Air Force Cargo plane to the north of Hawaii.

The failure of the SM-3 Block IIA, which was tested successfully in February, initially represented a setback. That the cause of the failure was likely human error may come as a relief for those involved in the weapon’s development.

Articles

The AC-130 ‘Ultimate Battle Plane’ Is Getting Even More Firepower

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons


Air Force Special Operations Command is taking the mantra of “you can never have too much firepower” to heart.

The AC-130 — a modified cargo plane-turned-close air support platform outfitted with a deadly array of weaponry — is about to get a big weapons upgrade, to include another 105mm cannon added to the rear of the plane.

Also Read: V-22 Osprey Rockin’ Rockets Now 

“I want to have two guns,” AFSOC Commander Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold said at a recent Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla, while also calling it “the ultimate battle plane,” according to the Air Force Times.

The Air Force Times has more:

AFSOC plans to add a 105mm cannon to the rear of the plane. That is in addition to the weapons the aircraft is already slated to carry — dual electro-optical infrared sensors, a 30mm cannon, AGM-176A Griffin missiles, all-weather synthetic aperture radar and GBU-30 small diameter bombs. The package was developed to let the gunship identify friendlies and targets at night and in adverse weather.

The upgraded AC-130J “Ghostrider” is currently in the test phase and is slated to replace the AC-130H “Spectre,” AC-130U “Spooky,” and the AC-130W “Stinger II.”

With sophisticated sensors and electronics, the plane is a favorite among ground troops in need of close air support. The AC-130 was used extensively over the skies of Fallujah in 2004, where a reporter embedded with the Marines there remarked: “It’s the air power that really [tipped] the balance towards the Marines.”

NOW: This Powerful Film Tells How Marines Fought ‘One Day Of Hell’ In Fallujah 

OR: This Remarkable Video Shows What It’s Like For Medevac Crews To Rescue Troops Under Fire

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Navy nixes cyber attack theory on USS Fitzgerald and McCain collision

The promised investigation into the circumstances of the recent, devastating Navy collisions has turned up zero evidence that cyber attacks disabled either the USS Fitzgerald or USS John S. McCain.


Navy Adm. John Richardson said in an all-hands call streamed live on Facebook Aug. 30 that, despite the Navy giving an “amazing amount of attention” to the postulate that cyber attacks were behind the collisions of the USS Fitzgerald and the USS John S. McCain, the investigation has found no evidence of such claimed attacks.

“We’ve given that an amazing amount of attention,” Richardson said. “It is sort of a reality of our current situation that part of any kind of investigation or inspection is going to have to take a look at the computer, the cyber, the information warfare aspects of our business. We’re doing that with these inspections as well, but to date, the inspections that we have done show that there is no evidence of any kind of cyber intrusion.”

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson (right) and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Steven Giordano stream a digital all hands call, Aug. 30, 2017.

“We’ll continue to look deeper and deeper but I just want to assure you that, to date, there’s been nothing that we’ve found to point to that,” Richardson said.

Richardson said in a tweet Aug. 21 that there may have been indications of cyber intrusion, but said the Navy would continue looking into that possibility. With his recent all-hands call, Richardson has all but foreclosed completely the potential for a discovery of a cyber intrusion involved in the collisions of the Navy vessels.

 

The statement effectively puts to rest the enormous amount of speculation in security circles about whether cyber attacks were in any way involved in disrupting the navigational systems of these two Navy vessels, but even in the beginning other experts suspected that negligence was a far more likely explanation.

“The balance of the evidence still leads me to believe that it was crew negligence as the most likely explanation — and I hate to say that because I hate to think that the Navy fleet was negligent,” University of Texas at Austin aerospace professor Todd Humphreys told USA Today.

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