The 4 most amazing escapes in military history - We Are The Mighty
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The 4 most amazing escapes in military history

1. The Green Beret founder of SERE training used a math problem to trick the Viet Cong.

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history


In the grand scheme of things, the Vietnam War tends to get the short end of the stick when it comes to great stories of war — maybe it’s too recent or painful an event to be remembered with the nostalgia associated with WWII.

Regardless, the story of James Nicholas “Nick” Rowe is one that deserves a spot in the limelight, and might be one you haven’t heard before. Not only was Rowe a Green Beret during Vietnam, he would also create the Army SERE course, a grueling training course detailing methods of “survival, evasion, resistance, and escape” when captured by the enemy. One of the training’s more notorious tasks is learning how to drink snake blood to keep up your calorie intake, so it’s safe to say Rowe was a pretty hardcore guy.

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history

But even the best of the best can get caught by surprise. While on a mission supporting South Vietnamese irregulars against the Viet Cong, Rowe and his fellow Green Berets walked into an ambush. The men fought valiantly, but after exchanging fire they were overpowered and taken as prisoners. When they reached the POW camp they were separated and locked in cages, entering a living hell that they would endure for the next five years.

It only got worse for Rowe. The Viet Cong knew he was the leader of his unit, and suspected he had information. They were right. Rowe served as the captured unit’s intelligence officer, and possessed exactly the kind of information the Viet Cong desperately needed. As a result, Rowe had to endure near-constant torture, on top of the already deplorable conditions of the prison. At one point Rowe confessed his “true” position, claiming he was just an engineer, but the VC weren’t going to let him off easy.

They cut the torture to give Rowe engineering problems to solve. Amazingly, despite the fact that he was starving, living in a cage and was not an engineer, he completed it correctly. His torturers were satisfied, and Rowe thought he could rest easy thanks to West Point’s mandatory engineering courses.

He was wrong. Around the same time, a group of American peace activists were on a mission to visit American officers in Vietnamese prisoner of war camps. The goal of the excursion was a little fuzzy, but they essentially wanted to prove that the North Vietnamese’s prison methods were above board. Rowe’s name was on their list of officers to visit, along with the fact that he was a Special Forces intelligence officer.

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history

When the Viet Cong discovered the lie, they forced Rowe to stand naked in a swamp for days on end, leaving him ravaged by mosquitos and dizzy with lack of food or water. They were fed up with this phony engineer and his multiple escape attempts, and decided enough was enough. They gave Rowe an execution date, eager to rid themselves of his antics.

When the day finally came, Rowe was led far away from the camp, when suddenly a group of American helicopters thundered overhead, rustling the jungle trees and giving Rowe the split second of time he needed to break free, fend off his captors and sprint after the helicopters. Amazingly, one of the choppers noticed Rowe waving like a maniac in a clearing, and was able to rescue him from his scheduled death.

2. The British soldier who escaped The Gestapo’s “unescapable” castle

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history

Escaping a prisoner of war camp is no easy feat, and many who have made it to freedom recount plotting their escape plans for months, even years, to execute it right on the first try. This, apparently, was not Airey Neave’s style. Instead of biding his time, the British soldier escaped his WWII POW camps whenever he could, undeterred by failed attempts.

Finally, when he and his friend were caught in Poland after escaping German POW camp Stalag XX-A, he was collected by the Gestapo, who sent him to Oflag IV-C, AKA the castle of Colditz, AKA the last stop for all troublemaking POWs.

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history

It may look like a summer home fit for the Von Trapp family, but don’t be fooled, this place was no joke. If you’re doubtful you can read up on some accounts of the “escape proof” castle here.

The castle’s prisoners weren’t as confident in its “inescapable” qualities, and instead just came up with ridiculously complex plans of escape.

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history

Failed attempts included the construction of a small wooden glider, a network of underground tunnels, and prisoners sewing themselves into mattresses to be smuggled out with the laundry. Tempting as these flashy failures were, Neave decided to take a more theatrical approach to his escape.

After he secretly acquired pieces of a Polish army uniform, he painted the shirt and cap green to resemble a German officer’s ensemble. Then he put on his new duds and strolled out of the prison like a Nazi on his way to Sunday dinner with his girl. What he didn’t anticipate, however, was how reflective the paint would be; once outside, he lit up like a Christmas tree under the guard’s searchlight passed over him. It didn’t end well.

But Neave still thought the idea was pretty awesome, and pulled the stunt a second time a few months later, with an updated “uniform” of cardboard, cloth, and more Nazi-green. He also had a partner in crime this time, another prisoner named Anthony Luteyn, who was also sporting a mock German getup.

During an all-inmate stage production that the prison sponsored and put on, Neave and Lutyen quietly slipped off stage, crawled underneath the floorboards that held the dancing inmates and right above the guard’s headquarters.

From there the pair dropped into the room from the ceiling and acted natural, strolling about and exchanging pleasantries in German as if they were simply visiting officers. Once they had ensured no one was suspicious, they calmly made their exit. Once outside of the prison, they threw away the homemade German uniforms and pretended to be two Dutch workers on their way to Ulm from Leipzeg, with (fake) papers to prove it. Unfortunately, the phony documents ended up getting the two stopped by German police, but they bought the disguises and sent them to the foreign aid office, believing they were just confused immigrants.

Despite this and other close calls, Neave and Lutven continued their journey — all on foot — until they made it to Switzerland and were finally free. Neaves would later work to ensure there were quality escape lines for other POWS in Europe, and would also serve on the Nuremberg Trials.

3. The three-prong tunnel system that led 3 POWs to safety

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history

While the above escapists have steered clear of the old tunnel-digging prison cliche, it’s still an effective method. In fact, U.S. airmen Roger Bushell took the wartime tradition a step further by constructing a system of three tunnels in a German Air Force POW camp at the height of WWII. The tunnels, nicknamed “Tom”, “Dick”, and “Harry,” were each 30 feet deep. This way, Bushell hoped, they wouldn’t be detected by the camp’s perimeter microphones. Each tunnel was also only about two feet wide, though there were larger sections that contained an air pump and a space full of digging supplies. Pieces of wood were used to ensure the stability of the tunnel walls.

Electric lighting was also installed and attached to the prison’s electric grid, allowing the diggers to work and travel by lamplight 10 yards under the ground’s surface. The operation even advanced far enough to incorporate a rail car system into their tunnel network, which was used to carry tons and tons of building materials back and forth during the 5-month construction period.

Just as the “Harry” tunnel was completed in 1944, the American officers who had toiled over the escape route were moved to a new camp. The rest of the prisoners attempted an escape about a week later on March 24, but they had unfortunately miscalculated where their tunnels would end. Initially believing the secret tunnel would dump them inside a forest, they emerged to realize that they were short of the tree line and completely exposed. Still, over 70 men crawled through the dark, dank tunnels to the other side, rushing to the trees once they surfaced. Tragically, on March 25th, a German guard spotted the 77th man crawling out of the tunnel, leading to the capture of 73 of the men, and later the execution of 50 of them. Only three would survive and make it to freedom, but the escape had gone down as one of the most elaborate in history.

4. Bill Goldfinch and Jack Best’s plan to fly the Colditz coop

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history

You didn’t really think we were going to just breeze by that wooden glider story, did you? There have been plenty of wacky escape methods, but none as bold or sophisticated as literally building yourself a two-man wooden plane to peace out in.

At least, this was the plan. Jack Best and Bill Goldfinch were similar to Neave in their can-do, slightly certifiable approach to escape. The men were pilots, and decided that the best way to bust out of the German castle was to do what they do best: fly. Or, more accurately in this case, glide. The Colditz castle was built atop a large cliff, perfect for launching a secret and probably highly unstable aircraft off of.

Goldfinch and Best began building the glider’s skeleton in the attic above the prison chapel, figuring the height would give it enough time to glide across the Mulde river, which was situated about 200 feet below the building. To keep the Germans from walking in on the construction, the pair built a false wall out of old pieces of wood, the same stuff they constructed the glider out of. The plane was mostly made up out of bed slats and floor boards, but the men used whatever material they could get their hands on that they thought the Germans wouldn’t miss. Control wires were going to be created from electrical wiring that was found in quieter sections of the castle.

Though the operation was deemed moot before it could ever be carried out (the Allies released the prisoners before it could be flown), we felt this almost-escape deserved some recognition because by many accounts, it would have worked. In 2000, a replica of the Colditz glider was constructed for a documentary entitled “Escape from Colditz”, and was actually flown successfully at RAF Odiham. It gets even cooler, though. Best and Goldfinch were able to watch the whole thing go down, and witness their “escape” firsthand.

NOW: 4 military disguises that were just crazy enough to actually work

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How the Marines and the Navy work together on the high seas

The seven-month odyssey of a “blue-green” flotilla that saw combat in Yemen and Syria and conducted training exercises across a large swath of the globe demonstrates the enduring importance of the Navy-Marine Corps team overseas, commanders of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit said May 24.


Departing San Diego on Oct. 14, the 11th MEU and the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group reportedly supported a Jan. 29 raid in Yemen in which a Navy SEAL — Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens — was killed. They also brought artillery and infantry troops to Kuwait for later duty, providing firepower to Kurdish partners besieging Raqqa, the Syrian city that doubles as the capital for the terrorist Islamic State.

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
U.S. Marines with Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369 (HMLA-369), 3d Marine Aircraft Wing, exits a CH-53E Super Stallion upon return from a deployment with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., May 12, 2017. Friends and family members welcomed home Marines from the 11th MEU’s Command Element during a homecoming ceremony. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Clare J. Shaffer/Released)

The howitzers manned by the Marines conducted more than 400 fire-support missions in Syria, firing more than 4,500 shells at ISIS targets, according to the 11th MEU.

“It was the right Marine air-ground task force to provide supportability, mobility, and lethality,” 11th MEU spokesman Maj. Craig Thomas said during a news conference May 24 at Camp Pendleton. “The Marines supported local Syrians who are fighting to rid ISIS from their country.”

Also read: Marines arrive in Syria to support assault on ISIS capital

Citing the classified nature of the Yemen operations, Thomas said he couldn’t comment on that raid.

His report card for the MEU comes during a series of debates not only about America’s policies toward Yemen and Syria but also grumbling concerns about the future of Marine expeditionary units.

Experts continue to fret about how Marine battalions will conduct their amphibious missions in an age of super-fast and precise, long-range anti-ship-air missiles, plus Pentagon budget woes that appear to prioritize submarines and destroyers over amphibious assault ships like the Makin Island.

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
Sailors man the rails aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) in 2012. | (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Dominique Pineiro/Navy)

That flagship vessel returned to San Diego on May 15. It and the fellow amphibious assault ships Somerset and Comstock combined to carry more than 4,500 sailors and Marines, spending three months in the Pacific Ocean and four months in the waters off the Middle East and Africa.

Beyond the combat operations in Syria, the group held exercises in Hawaii, Guam, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Djibouti, Oman, and the Persian Gulf. Marines also stood ready to evacuate the embassy in the South Sudanese capital of Juba during hostilities there — the sort of mission that makes an amphibious ready group and Marine expeditionary unit “the 9-1-1 organization from the sea,” 11th MEU commander Col. Clay Tipton said.

Retired Marine Col. Mark Cancian — a senior adviser with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a nonpartisan think tank based in Washington, D.C. — echoed Tipton’s perspective that the MEU remains a lasting example of flexible armed response from the sea.

“What makes a Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force so valuable is the ability of the Marines to mix and match capabilities,” Cancian said. “That’s what they’re doing and that’s what they should be doing.”

And that’s particularly important for Syria because how the Marines were used dovetails with President Donald Trump’s foreign policy goals — defeat the Islamic State without putting too many boots on the ground, he added.

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
U.S. Marines with Fox Company, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines (BLT 2/1), 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), conduct a Table 3 combat marksmanship course of fire as a part of sustainment training on the flight deck of the USS San Diego (LPD 22). (U.S. Marine Corps photos by Gunnery Sgt. Rome M. Lazarus)

“The thing that the Marine Corps can provide that’s really needed is fire power for allies like the Kurds or Iraqis — artillery, mortars, aircraft,” Cancian said. “So far, Trump’s policy has been adamant about not using infantry, except in a limited role to protect artillery and other units that are on the ground to add firepower for allies.”

If the mission in Syria grows, Cancian could envision Marine and Navy logistical heft toting more supplies to Kurdish militias or the Free Syrian Army, perhaps even occupying an airfield and using it as a forward operating base. The Corps also could deploy more artillery observers and so called “Joint Terminal Attack Controllers” who call in airstrikes, but Cancian doubts the White House would land a large number of “boots on the ground.”

“The tough question on Syria is the same as the one in Iraq: What happens next, after ISIS is defeated? … That’s a huge fork in the road for the Trump administration, but it’s still months away,” he predicted.

Potential rivals at sea such as Russia, China, and Iran increasingly field anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles that can be fired from hundreds of miles away. Large amphibs, their hovercraft and lumbering armored troop carriers that take hours to wade ashore and unload, would be punished by precision missiles, experts contend.

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
Marines assigned to the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) board an MV-22 Osprey, assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 163 (Reinforced) on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Devin M. Langer)

The Makin Island is one of the world’s largest amphibs. But it’s also considered a transitional vessel, with similar but superior high-tech “Big Deck Amphibs” like the San Diego-based America poised to share space in the piers.

The America, and up to 10 of its planned sister warships, will feature bigger fuel tanks and storage capacity along with hardened decks to support the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter, the next-generation aircraft that takes off and lands vertically. In other navies, those ships would be considered aircraft carriers — a point that has sparked questions about whether the Navy favors that capability over its traditional mission of putting Marines ashore.

“The answer, to me, is that we had better prepare to fight for command of the sea,” said James Holmes, a professor of strategy at the U.S. Naval War College and a former Navy surface warfare officer who is widely considered one of the world’s top experts on maritime battle. “As the greats of sea power tell us, you have to be able to win command of the sea if you want to use the sea to do things like conduct amphibious landings.

“So we need to be ready to do these things, but chances are there will be delays while we fight our way into the theater, reduce shore-based missile batteries and on and on. Sea power is no longer just about navies,” he added.

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
Assault amphibious vehicles (AAVs) with the AAV platoon, Echo Company, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), leave the well deck of the dock landing ship USS Comstock (LSD 45). (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Melissa Wenger/Released)

Holmes believes the Marines might fret about the future of the amphibious fleet because ongoing studies have called for converting some assault ships into light aircraft carriers and replacing them with other vessels when they’re retired, but the Navy must strike the right balance.

“As far as priorities, certainly the types of ships we need to defeat our enemies and take command of the sea must take precedence,” he said, adding that it’s “a lot easier to improvise a fleet of amphibious transports than it would to improvise destroyers or nuclear-powered attack submarines.”

In a major war, like a potential Pacific-wide bout with China, the traditional mission of the amphibs likely wouldn’t end.

Holmes said Marines could be called to seize islands, much as they did in World War II. Cancian added that the Corps also might return to traditional missions like coastal artillery batteries, working alongside the Army and other services to to defend anti-ship missile batteries on the islands and shoals peppering the Pacific Ocean.

That concept is still a work in progress.

“The bottom line is that there’s no answer about the ultimate future of the ships and the marine expeditionary units, but we do know that in peacetime they’re very useful,” Cancian said. “You’re seeing in the Middle East just how useful they are.”

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The creators of ‘Taken’ send Navy SEALs on a treasure hunt in ‘Renegades’

When some renegade Navy SEALs discover the whereabouts of a treasure buried under 150 feet of water at the bottom of the Bosnian lake, they set out on a secret unauthorized mission to retrieve more than 300 million dollars of Nazi-stolen gold bars.


This action-adventure stars Sullivan Stapleton (300: Rise of an Empire), J.K. Simmons (Patriots Day), and plenty of hand-to-hand — and air-to-ground — combat. With the essence of 3 Kings, Renegades is a treasure hunt that takes you deep behind enemy lines.

Check out the trailer below with plenty of tank-on-tank contact — and watch out for headhunters.

Renegades dives into theaters Sept. 1, 2017.

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9 ways you can show appreciation on Armed Forces Day

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
Sailors assigned to amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) practice for the San Diego Padres’ opening day flag ceremony. | US Navy photo


On August 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day which serves as a day to honor all those who serve in the sister-service branches.

The men and women of the military have made exceptional sacrifices and so on Armed Forces Day and all other military appreciation days, we can do small acts to show our gratitude to them.

Below are some ideas of how to show your appreciation:

1. Volunteer at a VA hospital or donate your time to a veterans group. There are 152 veteran medical centers in the US as well as hundreds of clinics, outpatient and nursing facilities. Call your local VA medical center or community to learn more about donating your time.

2. Talk to veterans or an active service member. Ask questions about their service, why they joined the military and listen to their stories. A little interest can go a long way.

3. Visit a memorial. All across the US, military members are honored through monuments that memorialize their service and sacrifice. Washington DC is home to 8 but monuments dedicated to members of the military can be found throughout the nation. If you’re near D.C., we suggest reflecting in Arlington National Cemetery.

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
The Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon marches in front of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial on their way to perform for the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington April 12, 2014. | U.S. Marine Corps

4. Put together a care package. With so many USO centers sending a comforting package is easy. Check with your local center to ensure that they can send out the package. You can fill them up with snacks and non-perishable food, toiletries, stationery or purchase a pre-made package. Microsoft is matching gifts to servicemen and women during May in honor of Military Appreciation Month so send a gift to a soldier.

5. Donate to a worthy cause. Organizations such as the Wounded Warrior Project, Homes for Our Troops or Disabled American Veteransall work to assist military members, both active and vets, in rebuilding their lives. Organizations like Operation Homefront assist the families of servicemen and women with food, school supplies, finances and housing.

6. Attend a parade. Cities across the US celebrate Armed Forces Day with parades. Some of the most famous parades can be found in the cities of Torrence, California, Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Washington D.C.

7. Offer to help a military spouse. While expressing gratitude to service members is encouraged, so is helping out their families. With one person at home, daily tasks can get overwhelming and a break is welcome. Offer to cook a meal, drive them somewhere or watch their children for a few hours.

8. Fly a flag, the correct way. Sometimes the simplest expressions of gratitude are the most appreciated. Make sure that if you do fly America’s Stars and Stripes you follow the code.

9. A simple thank you. Sometimes this is the most honest expression of gratitude to those who serve our country.

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The 13 funniest military memes of the week

Memes, memes, memes! Here are the 13 funniest ones from around the military:


1. When the crew is tired of MREs, but first sergeant doesn’t understand:

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
Maybe drive through some mud on the way back.

2. The platoon isn’t scared of getting a little wet, are they?

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
What’s a 50-foot drop, then 50-foot climb among buddies?

SEE ALSO: These 8 TV characters would never survive in the real military

3. Elsa created an actual, functioning snowman (via Team Non-Rec).

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
You really thought she would never build an army?

4. Don’t be jealous, he had to turn the wrench a lot of times for those (via Sh-t my LPO says).

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
Sure, it was mostly because he turned it the wrong way the first dozen times, but still.

5. Remember to always keep your weapon pointed downrange and away from the cat (via Devil Dog Nation).

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
And don’t aim at your mom.

6. Next time a paratrooper calls someone a leg …

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
… remind them that the rest of the Army can’t get drug around by silk.

7. “Oh yeah? You ready to show me your life jackets now!?”

(via Coast Guard Memes)

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history

8. Marines do more with less, rah?

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
If you wanted armor, you should’ve joined the Army.

9. Reflective belts are always coming through in the clutch (via Air Force Nation).

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
They keep away bears, bullets, and now thieves, apparently.

10. The Air Force demands excellence of every recruit (via Air Force Memes Humor).

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
She can also do a better pull up than you, but maybe that’s why she joined the Marines.

11. Whenever the next Engineer Ball is held, I’d like tickets.

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
Not to the actual event, just the closing fireworks.

12. It’s chief’s least favorite dish (via Sh-t my LPO says).

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
Try it today with a side of sadness.

13. “You still have another foot before you hit the tree.”

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history

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5 leadership skills all service members should learn

From a troop’s first day in the military to their last, they’ll pick up various leadership traits that will (hopefully) propel them into a positive, productive future. Although most of us won’t ever know what it’s like to lead a whole platoon or battalion, we’re often thrown into temporary leadership roles as we take boots under our wings, showing them how sh*t gets done while fostering a level of respect.

Leadership can be taught during training, but it’s not truly understood until you’re in the field. The following skills are the cornerstones of leadership.


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Refrain from micro-managing

We’ve all experienced first-hand how infuriating it is when someone constantly feels the need to put in their two cents — just because they can. Many young leaders, eager to meaningfully contribute, will feel compelled to change something to their liking, even if it won’t help better complete the mission at hand.

It’s an important to know when you should back away.

Show one, do one, teach one

It’s up to the military’s leaders to impart their knowledge onto junior troops. As essential part of the military is training troops to win battles. When a troop doesn’t know how to pass a certain test, it’s up to their leader to teach them.

The winning strategy here is, “show one, do one, teach one.” The leader will first show a troop how to do something, that troop will then do it for themselves, and then, finally, that troop will go teach another how to complete the task.

They say that teaching is the best way to learn — this method benefits both a leader and his troops.

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Lead from the front

All too often, we see orders get passed down by people who wouldn’t dare complete the task themselves. These so-called leaders tell you, “good luck,” and then show up in the end to take all the credit.

Don’t do this. Instead, lead from the front. Help with the dangerous missions you helped plan.

Know your team’s strength and weakness

When you walk onto the battlefield, either literally or metaphorically, it’s important to know what each individual in the team is best at in the event something pops off. We’ve encountered leaders who don’t know elbows from as*holes when it comes to their squad.

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Individual success is a team accomplishment

We’d all like to be appreciated for our hard work, but victories are rarely due to a single act. Recognize that the military is a team environment. Each member plays an important role in achieving victory. Taking all the credit for a group’s hard work only makes you look dumb.

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US aircraft carrier visits Israel for the first time in nearly two decades

It leads the United States’ war against ISIS and with 75 aircraft on its deck has the ability to carry out numerous combat sorties a day. On July 3, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the USS George H. W. Bush docked opposite the Haifa Port and became the first sitting head of state to visit America’s largest and most lethal floating war machine.


The docking of the ship on July 1 marked the first time an aircraft carrier visited Israel in 17 years.

“The visit of the USS George H.W. Bush speaks to the enduring commitment to our shared interests and a commitment to fight against our common enemies,” Commanding Officer Capt. Will Pennington told reporters during a visit to the ship. According to a statement by the US European Command, the ship’s visit is meant “to enhance US-Israel relations as the two nations reaffirm their continued commitment to the collective security of the European and Middle East Regions.”

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
USS George H.W. Bush. Photo courtesy of the US Navy

According to Pennington, the crew is constantly engaged in cooperation with Israel, including sharing intelligence.

“There is a tremendous network of shared intelligence. As you are aware the airspace in the region is very, very, busy with lots of different actors so the need to deconflict that and make sure that everyone understands their missions is very important,” he said.

Visiting the ship with US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Netanyahu recalled his visit to another aircraft carrier 20 years ago.

“So much has changed since the first time I visited… our ties have gotten stronger and deeper,” he said. “It is a floating island of America. It is a symbol of freedom and strength and victory.”

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

The USS George H.W. Bush was in the region to participate in the fight against ISIS, carrying out its last operational mission on June 30. With 20-25 sorties per day, aircraft aboard the ship have carried out 1,600 sorties over both Syria and Iraq, striking targets in Mosul and in the vicinity of Raqqa on missions that can last seven to nine hours.

The targets which are directed by the coalition ground commander, are sometimes known prior to take-off and pilots have sometimes also received targets while in the air.

According to Carrier Air Wing 8 Captain James A. McCall, one of the real-time targets was the Syrian jet that was downed on June 18 in southern Raqqa province by one of the jets stationed on the aircraft carrier.

“The jet came within visual distance” McCall said, stating that US jets “warned the Syrian aircraft that they were approaching coalition friendlies. They (the Syrian regime jet) ignored the warning and even dropped bombs on the friendlies,” he said referring to the Syrian Democratic Force who are supported by the coalition.

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
An F/A-18F Super Hornet takes off from an aircraft carrier. Photo courtesy of US Navy

Towards the end of its seven-month deployment, the USS George H.W. Bush arrived in Haifa after a 40 day voyage from Dubai.

While the ship will not be taking part in any joint exercises with the Israeli Navy, Israel provided security as it pulled into the Haifa Bay allowing the ship’s strike group to continue to other missions and port calls.

“We are very tightly linked with our colleagues and partners and allies from the IDF and have been for very many years,” Pennington said.

Speaking at a ceremony aboard the carrier, Admiral Michelle J. Howard, commander of the US Naval Forces Europe-Africa, stated that the visit marks “a special moment” between Israel and the United States which “has had long standing military to military engagements with Israel.”

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on board the USS George H. W. Bush. Photo from DoD

“In this visit to Israel, the ship’s might is a metaphor for the strength of the bonds between our countries. I’d like to thank the Israeli people for hosting us and for taking care of our Sailors,” she added.

Intelligence Minister Israel Katz, who visited the ship on Sunday stated that it was “a timely show of American power projection and deterrence capability.”

“Its support for the countries fighting Islamic extremism and terror and Iran is very important, especially now when Iran is working to create facts on the ground in Syria, including a port on the Mediterranean, and Hezbollah continues to build its arsenal with more advanced and precise missiles.”

popular

11 things that are only funny to submariners

We asked the sailors of the Submarine Bubblehead Brotherhood, a Facebook group for U.S. Navy submariners, what some of their funniest experiences were while underway and got over 230 funny comments. Here are 11 of the best replies:


*Note: identities kept anonymous per group’s request.

1. The shoe polish prank.

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
HappyHaptics, YouTube

The best items for this prank are binoculars, periscopes and sound powered telephones. Yes, it’s a bit childish but hilarious when you’ve been cooped up for weeks on end.

2. When civilians or people not in the submarine community ask if the subs have windows.

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
Star Trek: The Next Generation, Paramount Television/Orvelin Valle/We Are The Mighty

Facebook group comment: When people ask if we had windows I’d tell them we had a big screen just like on Star Trek and that we could communicate face to face. You should have seen their faces.

3. Sending a NUB (Non Useful Body) to machinery to get a machinist’s punch.

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
Burn After Reading, Focus Features

4. Sending a NUB to feed the shaft seals.

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history

Shaft seals are mythological creatures new sailors are sent to go looking for on a fool’s errand by another sailor. The shaft seals are actually a series of interlocks and safety mechanisms that ensure the integrity surrounding the ship’s main propulsion shaft, and not nautical mammals.

5. Farting into the ventilation that takes air from one compartment into another.

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
Fresh Movie Trailers, YouTube

Facebook group comment: We had a mech who’d stand watch on the ERUL (engine room upper level) that used to fart into the ventilation return that took air from the ERUL to the maneuvering control room. Then we’d all look around to figure out who sh-t themselves. About a minute later, we’d see him staring through the window at us with a grin bigger than Tennessee.

6. Preparing a NUB to go hunting when the 1MC (the ship’s public address system) announced “the ship will be shooting water slugs.”

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
U.S. Navy Photo by Journalist 3rd Class Corwin Colbert.

Water slug refers to shooting a submarine’s torpedo tube without first loading a torpedo — like firing blanks with a gun.

7. Waking a sleeping shipmate and shouting “Come on man, we’re the last ones!!” while wearing a Steinke hood or SEIE.

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
Submarine Escape Immersion Equipment MK-10 suite. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jhi L. Scott

A Steinke hood is used to escape a sub stranded on the ocean floor.

8. Trimming a shipmate’s webbed belt when he is trying to lose weight.

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
Image: The Belt Whole Sale

Facebook group comment: I’d trim about a quarter inch every couple of days from his webbed belt while he was trying to lose weight. He will say, “I’ve lost 10 pounds,” to which I’d respond, “why is your belt still tight?”

9. Pranking the XO (Executive Officer) by stealing the door to his stateroom.

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Todd A. Schaffer/ Orvelin Valle/ We Are The Mighty

It is tradition to prank the XO by stealing the door to his stateroom before transferring to another unit. This is huge because the CO (Commanding Officer/captain) and the XO are the only ones aboard who don’t have to share their rooms. It’s all in good fun, as is the XO’s retaliation. For example, we’ve heard of an XO who replaced his missing door with a tall sailor. Yes, that’s right, a real person. He even held a handle and made creaking noises when the XO opened the door.

10. Getting drunk sailors back on the boat after a port visit.

Facebook group comment: We’d laugh as we came face to face with the stumbling fools reeking of booze and debauchery. Me and the other watch stander would tie a line around the drunks and lower them down the aft battery hatch. The first few times were rough, they’d bang around going down but we eventually became good at it. Hell, sometimes I was one of those stumbling fools but they took care of me as I took care of them.

11. Pranking the JOOD (junior officer of the deck) with a trim party.

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
National Geographic, YouTube

The prank is performed on a newly qualified Dive Officer, Chief of the Watch or JOOD where men and other weights are shifted fore and aft to affect the trim of the boat.

Trim definition (for non-sailors): Both on a submarine and surface vessels, a ship is designed to float as level as possible in the water. When the majority of the cargo weight is shifted to one end of the ship, the ship will begin to tilt.

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
National Geographic, YouTube

*BONUS!

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
15 Turns To Nowhere, Facebook

Lists

13 thoughts I had during Coast Guard boot camp graduation

The one thing that binds generations of Coast Guardsmen together is the boot camp experience at Cape May, New Jersey (and for a time, Alameda, California). Eight long weeks of physical, mental, and emotional training concludes with a pass and review – and finally – the graduation ceremony that turns recruits into seaman apprentices, fireman apprentices, seamen, and firemen.


The first promotion a recruit receives is on graduation day, making for an emotional and exhausting day. These are just a few of the thoughts I (and many other) Coasties have on their last day at Cape May.

1. “This is it. I’m a big Coastie now. I’m joining the fleet. I’m doing it.”

(As I was getting my uniform on in the morning.)

 

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
The Nation’s newest Coast Guardsmen from Recruit Company Lima 188 march in front of family and friends during Pass and Review during recruit graduation at Training Center Cape May, Aug. 2, 2013. Training Center Cape May is the service’s only enlisted basic training facility, which creates more than 80 percent of the Coast Guard’s workforce. (Coast Guard photo by Chief Warrant Officer Donnie Brzuska)

2. “This is never going to end. This is the longest hour of my life. I’m never gonna make it outside. I’m gonna die here.”

(As I was getting my uniform inspected.)

3. “I wonder if they packed the clothes I asked. I can’t wait to wear real clothes again. I miss shorts. I hope they brought snacks. I’m so hungry already.”

(As I was getting into formation to march to the parade field.)

4. “I wonder where they’re sitting. Did everyone find it okay? Did they even make it on base? I hope mom didn’t say something stupid and get denied entry.”

As I was marching to the parade field.)

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
Mom made it just fine. (photo courtesy of Mary-Elizabeth Pratt)

5. Oh my god, I see them. Oh, my god, I’m gonna cry.

(As I was marching to the stands.)

6. “Okay I get it, you’re really proud of us. I’m proud of me, too. Can we get this over already?”

(As I was listening to the CO’s opening remarks.)

7. “Yes, you were here in my shoes forty years ago and you’ve done big things since then. You should know I wanna get out of here. Can we get this over already?”

(As I was listening to the guest speaker’s remarks.)

8.”I don’t remember what I’m supposed to do. I hope I don’t screw this up.”

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
(photo courtesy of Mary-Elizabeth Pratt)

(As I was standing in line to receive your certificate.)

9. “This is the happiest I’ve been ever. I finally did it and they can’t kick me out of boot camp now!”

(As I was receiving my certificate.)

10. “Can we get this over with already?”

(As I was listening to the CO’s closing remarks.)

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
Petty Officer 1st Class Gus Casey, a company commander at Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, N.J., leads the unit’s Recruit Precision Drill Team through a performance during the graduation for Recruit Company Lima 188, Aug. 2, 2013. Training Center Cape May is home to the U.S. military’s only Recruit Precision Drill Team. (Coast Guard photo by Chief Warrant Officer Donnie Brzuska)

 

11.”I’m free! Where’s my family? Where’s my mom? I missed you guys!I have so much to tell you

(As I’m finally released.)

12. “I cannot wait to not have the same bag as everyone else. Damn, I hate these shirt-stays. I wanna get this thing off.”

(As I was getting my stuff.)

13.”That is the most fun I never want to have again.”

(As I was sitting in the car, finally leaving Cape May after 8 long weeks.)

Articles

DARPA’s new Android app can call in air strikes

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
Photo: DARPA


Calling in air support just got faster, easier, and more precise. DARPA’s new Kinetic Integrated Low-cost Software Integrated Tactical Combat Handheld system, otherwise known as KILSWITCH, enables troops to call in air strikes from an off-the-shelf Android tablet. The system could also be used with small UAVs to provide ground troops with greater situational awareness of friendly forces and enemy locations. KILSWITCH is part of the Persistent Close Air Support program, designed to bring fires on target within six minutes of an observer requesting them.

Here’s a video of the system in action.  Read the full article at FoxtrotAlpha.com

NOW: The Navy wants to shoot 30 drones out of a cannon

OR: DARPA wants your mess cranks to be robots

Lists

The 25 most powerful militaries in the world 2018

President Donald Trump has emphasized military might during his first year in office, but the US is not the only country seeking to expand its battlefield capacities. Between 2012 and 2016, more weapons were delivered than during any five-year period since 1990.


Arms sales indicate who is beefing up their armed forces, but head-to-head military comparisons are harder to come by. Global Firepower’s 2017 Military Strength Ranking tries to fill that void by drawing on more than 50 factors to assign a Power Index score to 133 countries.

The ranking assesses the diversity of weapons held by each country and pays particular attention to the manpower available. The geography, logistical capacity, available natural resources, and the status of local industry are also taken into account.

Also read: Search militaries The top 10 militaries of the world in 2017

While recognized nuclear powers receive a bonus, the nuclear stockpiles are not factored into the score.

Moreover, countries that are landlocked are not docked points for lacking a navy, though they are penalized for not having a merchant marine force.

Countries with navies are penalized if there is a lack of diversity in their naval assets.

NATO countries get a slight bonus because the alliance would theoretically share resources, but in general, a country’s current political and military leadership was not considered.

“Balance is the key — a large, strong fighting force across land, sea and air backed by a resilient economy and defensible territory along with an efficient infrastructure — such qualities are those used to round out a particular nation’s total fighting strength on paper,” the ranking states.

Below, you can see the 25 most powerful militaries in the world:

25. Algeria

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
Algerian Army. (Photo by Lamraoui.lamin)

Power Index rating: 0.4366

Total population: 40,263,711

Total military personnel: 792,350

Total aircraft strength: 502

Fighter aircraft: 89

Combat tanks: 2,405

Total naval assets: 85

Defense budget: $10.6 billion

24. Saudi Arabia

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
Saudi Arabia – Saudi Arabian Naval Special Forces prepare for an assault during a subject matter expert exchange with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command, in Saudi Arabia, May 15, 2017. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Kyle McNan)

Power Index rating: 0.4302

Total population: 28,160,273

Total military personnel: 256,000

Total aircraft strength: 790

Fighter aircraft: 177

Combat tanks: 1,142

Total naval assets: 55

Defense budget: $56.7 billion

23. North Korea

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
(KCNA)

Power Index rating: 0.4218

Total population: 25,115,311

Total military personnel: 6,445,000

Total aircraft strength: 944

Fighter aircraft: 458

Combat tanks: 5,025

Total naval assets: 967

Defense budget: $7.5 billion

22. Australia

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
Australian army soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment. (USAF photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Lock.)

Power Index rating: 0.4072

Total population: 22,992,654

Total military personnel: 81,000

Total aircraft strength: 465

Fighter aircraft: 78

Combat tanks: 59

Total naval assets: 47 (two aircraft carriers)

Defense budget: $24.1 billion

21. Iran

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
Iranian soldiers.

Power Index rating: 0.3933

Total population: 82,801,633

Total military personnel: 934,000

Total aircraft strength: 477

Fighter aircraft: 137

Combat tanks: 1,616

Total naval assets: 398

Defense budget: $6.3 billion

20. Thailand

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
Royal Thai Navy. (US Navy photo)

Power Index rating: 0.3892

Total population: 68,200,824

Total military personnel: 627,425

Total aircraft strength: 555

Fighter aircraft: 76

Combat tanks: 737

Total naval assets: 81 (one aircraft carrier)

Defense budget: $5.4 billion

Related: The 9 coolest things militaries have done with the M113

19. Poland

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
Polish soldiers pull security near a breach in the perimeter wall following a complex attack on Forward Operating Base Ghazni, Aug. 28, 2013. (Operational photo courtesy of Polish Land Forces)

Power Index rating: 0.3831

Total population: 38,523,261

Total military personnel: 184,650

Total aircraft strength: 465

Fighter aircraft: 99

Combat tanks: 1,065

Total naval assets: 83

Defense budget: $9.4 billion

18. Taiwan

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history

Power Index rating: 0.3765

Total population: 23,464,787

Total military personnel: 1,932,500

Total aircraft strength: 850

Fighter aircraft: 286

Combat tanks: 2,005

Total naval assets: 87

Defense budget: $10.7 billion

17. Brazil

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
The Brazilian aircraft carrier NAe Sao Paolo.

Power Index rating: 0.3654

Total population: 205,823,665

Total military personnel: 1,987,000

Total aircraft strength: 697

Fighter aircraft: 43

Combat tanks: 469

Total naval assets: 110

Defense budget: $24.5 billion

16. Vietnam

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
(U.S. Army photo)

Power Index rating: 0.3587

Total population: 95,261,021

Total military personnel: 5,488,500

Total aircraft strength: 278

Fighter aircraft: 76

Combat 1,545

Total naval assets: 65

Defense budget: $3.4 billion

15. Israel

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
(Photo from Israeli Defense Forces Flickr)

Power Index rating: 0.3476

Total population: 8,174,527

Total military personnel: 718,250

Total aircraft strength: 652

Fighter aircraft: 243

Combat tanks: 2,620

Total naval assets: 65

Defense budget: $15.5 billion

14. Indonesia

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
(Photo by Spc. Elizabeth Cole, 9th Mission Support Command)

Power Index rating: 0.3347

Total population: 258,316,051

Total military personnel: 975,750

Total aircraft strength: 441

Fighter aircraft: 39

Combat tanks: 418

Total naval assets: 221

Defense budget: $6.9 billion

13. Pakistan

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history

Power Index rating: 0.3287

Total population: 201,995,540

Total military personnel: 919,000

Total aircraft strength: 951

Fighter aircraft: 301

Combat tanks: 2,924

Total naval assets: 197

Defense budget: $7 billion

More: These countries still force people into their militaries

12. South Korea

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
South Korean Soldiers in the 631st Field Artillery Battalion, 26th Mechanized Infantry Division Artillery.  (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Dasol Choi, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 1st Cav. Div.)

Power Index rating: 0.2741

Total population: 50,924,172

Total military personnel: 5,829,750

Total aircraft strength: 1,477

Fighter aircraft: 406

Combat tanks: 2,654

Total naval assets: 166 (one aircraft carrier)

Defense budget: $43.8 billion

11. Italy

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
Two troops ride on an A129 attack helicopter. (Photo by Aldo Bidini)

Power Index rating: 0.2694

Total population: 62,007,540

Total military personnel: 267,500

Total aircraft strength: 822

Fighter aircraft: 79

Combat tanks: 200

Total naval assets: 143 (two aircraft carriers)

Defense budget: $34 billion

10. Egypt

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
Two Egyptian Mi-8 Hip helicopters. (US Air Force photo)

Power Index rating: 0.2676

Total population: 94,666,993

Total military personnel: 1,329,250

Total aircraft strength: 1,132

Fighter aircraft: 337

Combat tanks: 4,110

Total naval assets: 319 (two aircraft carriers)

Defense budget: $4.4 billion

9. Germany

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
A German soldier aims his gun during a Belgium and German military forces weapons qualification at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, April 29, 2009.

Power Index rating: 0.2609

Total population: 80,722,792

Total military personnel: 210,000

Total aircraft strength: 698

Fighter aircraft: 92

Combat tanks: 543

Total naval assets: 81

Defense budget: $39.2 billion

8. Turkey

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
Turkish Armed Forces shells a group of YPG terrorists in the west of Jarablus. (Turkish military photo via Twitter)

Power Index rating: 0.2491

Total population: 80,274,604

Total military personnel: 743,415

Total aircraft strength: 1,018

Fighter aircraft: 207

Combat tanks: 2,445

Total naval assets: 194

Defense budget: $8.2 billion

7. Japan

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
Soldiers from the Japanese 22nd Inf. Regt. prepare to attack Leschi Town, a MOUT site on Fort Lewis, during bilateral training with the U.S. 1-17 Inf. (Photo by Phil Sussman)

Power Index rating: 0.2137

Total population: 126,702,133

Total military personnel: 311,875

Total aircraft strength: 1,594

Fighter aircraft: 288

Combat tanks: 700

Total naval assets: 131 (four aircraft carriers)

Defense budget: $43.8 billion

6. United Kingdom

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
A British Parachute Regiment soldier prepares to load a helicopter during a simulated medical evacuation in an exercise at the Hohenfels Training Area, in Hohenfels, Germany, June 17, 2016. (Photo by Sgt. Seth Plagenza, US Army)

Power Index rating: 0.2131

Total population: 64,430,428

Total military personnel: 232,675

Total aircraft strength: 856

Fighter aircraft: 88

Combat tanks 249

Total naval assets: 76 (two aircraft carriers)

Defense budget: $45.7 billion

5. France

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
A French paratrooper aims his antitank weapon at an enemy. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Juan F. Jimenez)

Power Index rating: 0.1914

Total population: 66,836,154

Total military personnel: 387,635

Total aicraft strength: 1,305

Fighter aircraft 296

Combat tanks: 406

Total naval assets: 118 (four aircraft carriers)

Defense budget: $35 billion

4. India

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
Soldiers of the Madras Regiment, Indian Army.

Power Index rating: 0.1593

Total population: 1,266,883,598

Total military personnel: 4,207,250

Total aircraft strength: 2,102

Fighter aircraft: 676

Combat tanks: 4,426

Total naval assets: 295 (three aircraft carriers)

Defense budget: $51 billion

3. China

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
The crew of a Chinese navy patrol plane. (Photo from People’s Liberation Army)

Power Index rating: 0.0945

Total population: 1,373,541,278

Total military personnel: 3,712,500

Total aircraft strength: 2,955

Fighter aircraft: 1,271

Combat tanks: 6,457

Total naval assets: 714 (one aircraft carrier)

Defense budget: $161.7 billion

2. Russia

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
Russian Army Soldiers.

Power Index rating: 0.0929

Total population: 142,355,415

Total military personnel: 3,371,027

Total aircraft strength: 3,794

Fighter aircraft: 806

Combat tanks: 20,216

Total naval assets: 352 (one aircraft carrier)

Defense budget: $44.6 billion

1. United States

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history

Power Index rating: 0.0857

Total population: 323,995,528

Total military personnel: 2,363,675

Total aircraft: 13,762

Fighter aircraft: 2,296

Combat tanks: 5,884

Total naval assets: 415 (19 aircraft carriers)

Defense budget: $587.8 billion

Articles

This Spitfire flaw gave the Nazis an edge in aerial dogfights

The Supermarine Spitfire ranks up there with the Mitsubishi A6M Zero, the Messerschmitt Bf-109, and the P-51 Mustang as one of the most iconic planes of World War II. But all aircraft have their flaws — even when they’re at the top of their game.


The Zero’s flaw is well-known. It had no armor to speak of, making it very vulnerable to even the F4F Wildcat when tactics like the Thach Weave were implemented across the U.S. military.

The Spitfire’s problem was in its engine.

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
A Spitfire Mk. 1A flies in 1937. (Photo: Royal Air Force)

The Rolls Royce Merlin was a great motor, but the real problem was how the Spitfire got the fuel to the engine. The Spitfire used a carburetor, which is fine for straight and level flight, but when does a dogfight involve staying straight and level?

The Spitfire’s carburetor would, in the course of maneuvering, cause the engine to cut out for a lack of fuel. When it returned to straight and level flight, the Spitfire would have an over-rich fuel mixture, which ran the risk of flooding the engine. It would also create a huge cloud of black smoke, that the Nazis quickly realized as a tell-tale sign of a sitting duck.

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
This screenshot of a scene from the 1969 movie The Battle of Britain shows the black cloud of smoke that comes after a Spitfire’s fuel mixture is over-rich. (Youtube Screenshot)

So, what did work? The fuel-injection system used by the Nazis in the Me-109. This gave the Nazis a slight edge in the actual dogfights. This could have been a disaster for the Brits, but when their pilots bailed out, they were often doing so over home territory, and a new Spitfire was waiting for them. German pilots who lost dogfights over England were POWs.

The problem, though, proved to be very fixable. Beatrice Schilling, an engineer, managed to come up with a workaround for the over-rich problem that removed the black cloud of smoke and prevented the engine from flooding. That stop-gap helped the RAF stay competitive until a more permanent fix came in 1942.

Articles

One CA county goes nuclear with this post apocalyptic PSA

Earlier this week, an analysis from US intelligence officials revealed that North Korea has figured out how to fit nuclear warheads on missiles, and that the country may have up to 60 nuclear weapons. (Some independent experts estimate the figure is much smaller).


On August 7, North Korea issued a stark warning to the US: If you attack us, we will retaliate with nuclear weapons.

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
Photo from North Korean State Media.

Several American cities, including New York, San Francisco, and Honolulu, have response plans for terrorist attacks, including so-called “dirty bombs” containing radioactive material. But few have publicized plans to deal with a real nuclear explosion.

One exception is Ventura County, a suburb about 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles. In 2003, the local government launched a PSA campaign called “Ready” that aims to educate Americans how to survive a nuclear attack. The goal, according to the campaign site, is to “increase the level of basic preparedness across the nation.”

One of the more recent PSA videos is the one below, published in 2014. It opens with a short message from Ventura County public health officer Dr. Robert Levin, then cuts to a little girl with an ominous expression around the one-minute mark.

“Mom, I know you care about me,” she says. “When I was five, you taught me how to stop, drop, and roll … But what if something bigger happens?” The video then flashes to the girl walking down empty streets alone.

 

(Ventura Country Health Care Agency | YouTube) 

The Ventura County Health Care Agency has published several guides on what to do in the event of a nuclear bomb hitting the area. As the girl says in the video above, the agency’s focus is to “go in, stay in, tune in.”

The scenario assumes a terrorist-caused nuclear blast of about 10 kilotons’ worth of TNT or less. Few people would survive within the immediate damage zone, which may extend up to one or two miles wide, but those outside would have a chance.

Brooke Buddemeier, a health physicist and radiation expert at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, previously told Business Insider that he likes Ventura County’s PSAs because they’re simple and easy to remember. “There is a ton of guidance and information out there,” he said, but “it’s kind of too hard to digest quickly.”

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history

Buddemeier said you’d have about 15 minutes — maybe a little bit longer, depending on how far away you are from the blast site — to get to the center of a building to avoid devastating exposure to radioactive fallout. Going below-ground is even better.

“Stay in, 12 to 24 hours, and tune in — try to use whatever communication tools you have. We’re getting better about being able to broadcast messages to cell phones, certainly the hand-cranked radio is a good idea — your car radio, if you’re in a parking garage with your car,” he said.

Buddemeier adds, however, that you shouldn’t try to drive away or stay in your car for very long, because it can’t really protect you. Today’s vehicles are made of glass and very light metals, and offer almost no shielding from damaging radiation.

The 4 most amazing escapes in military history
The protection factor that various buildings, and locations within them, offer from the radioactive fallout of a nuclear blast. The higher the number, the greater the protection. Brooke Buddemeier/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

In large cities, hundreds of thousands of people would be at risk of potentially deadly exposure. But fallout casualties are preventable, Buddemeier said.

“All of those hundreds of thousands of people could prevent that exposure that would make them sick by sheltering. So, this has a huge impact: Knowing what to do after an event like this can literally save hundreds of thousands of people from radiation illness or fatalities,” he said.

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