Here’s WATM’s tribute to our troops celebrating Thanksgiving overseas.
The nuclear blasts over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan were extraordinarily powerful explosions. Their combined power yielded an equivalent of about 36,000 tons of TNT. But modern nukes are something else.
Only sixteen years later, the Soviets designed a bomb 3,000 times more powerful at 100,000,000 tons of TNT. Fearing devastation beyond control, they toned it down a bit and tested the bomb at 50,000,000 of TNT. Till this day, the “Tsar Bomba”is the largest man-made explosion, ever.
The bomb detonated at an altitude of 4,2000 meters. The unprecedented explosion was expected to measure 51.5 megatons. In reality, its power was estimated at between 57 and 58.6 megatons, according to the video below.
About 2,000 nuclear tests and 125,000 weapons were made since the first nuclear detonation on July 16, 1945. This video tracks the evolution of modern nukes.
Feature image: screen capture from YouTube
The AH-1 Apache attack helicopter is the big brother in the sky that grunts love to see, hear, and feel flying above them.
Its racks of Hellfire missiles are designed to destroy heavy tanks and light bunkers with ease, its rockets can eviscerate enemy formations, and its chain gun is perfect for mopping up any “squirters.”
But the vaunted Apache is getting a lethality upgrade that will allow it to more easily carry the anti-air Stinger missile, reports IHS Janes.
The Stinger missile was originally designed as a shoulder-fired surface-to-air missile. Operators aim the weapon, and it detects the heat signature of the target. When the missile is fired, it homes in on that signature for the kill.
When you think of artillery, you’re probably thinking of something like the M777-towed 155mm howitzer or the M109A6 Paladin self-propelled gun. But in the Civil War, artillery was very different.
Back then, a gun wasn’t described by how wide the round was, but how much the round weighed. According to a National Park Service release, one of the most common was the 12-pounder Napoleon, which got that name from firing a 12-pound solid shot. The typical range for the Napoleon was about 2,000 yards. Multiply that by about twenty to have a rough idea how far a M777 can shoot an Excalibur GPS-guided round.
Another round used was the shell, a hollowed-out solid shot that usually had about eight ounces of black powder inserted. This is pretty much what most artillery rounds are today. The typical Civil War shell had a range of about 1,500 yards — or just under a mile.
However, when enemy troops were approaching, the artillery had two options. The first was to use what was called “case” rounds. These were spherical rounds that held musket balls. In the case of the Napoleon, it held 78 balls. Think of it as a giant hand grenade that could reach out as far as a mile and “touch” enemy troops.
When the enemy troops got real close, there was one last round: the canister. In essence, this turned the cannon into a giant shotgun. It would have cast-iron shot packed with sawdust. When enemy troops got very close, they’d use two canister rounds, known as “double canister” (in the 1993 movie, “Gettysburg,” you can hear a Union officer order “double canister” during the depiction of Pickett’s Charge).
To see what a canister round did to enemy troops, watch this video:
Drones have become a security concern for the United States military. You might wonder why that is the case when the military operates a number of advanced drones like the MQ-9 Reaper and the RQ-4 Global Hawk. Well, American troops had close calls with ISIS drones, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Dealing with drones has become a way for a lot of people to come up with ideas, like jammers that can send the drone running home, lasers that can burn the drones in mid-air, or ammo that can hunt drones. But there is another way to handle a drone that is just as permanent, and which is currently available to the troops on the front lines.
All you need to handle the hostile is a Sikorsky H-60 airframe, and it really doesn’t matter if it’s a UH-60 Blackhawk, MH-60R/S Seahawk, or an Air Force HH-60 Pave Hawk. Even a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk will do in a pinch. The real key to taking out these drones is the M240, M2, or M3 machine gun that the door gunners use.
In a sense, these door gunners are acting like the old waist gunners on B-17 Flying Fortresses. Back then, those gunners needed training films that included the voice of Bugs Bunny. Seventy-five years later, though, the gunners can actually train against a target similar to what they are shooting. And with live ammo, too.
This low-tech solution might not work in all situations, but it is good to know that the United States military does have these options in case they need them. In the video below, you can see a door gunner at the United States Navy Rotary Wing Weapons School get some very realistic training on how to deal with a hostile drone. Note the M240 that is used on this MH-60 Seahawk.
Brandon Jewell former NAVY and Dillon Aero representative shows us some of the new features of their new gatling guns at SHOT Show 2015.
The 11 biggest things Army recruits moan and groan about during basic training.
Lewis Millett was a man who was in love with war. He fought in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.
Millett started out in the Massachusetts National Guard in 1938 with the 101st Field Artillery. In 1940 he joined the Army Air Corps and went to gunnery school.
But when Roosevelt came out and said that Americans would not be fighting on foreign soil, Millett was more than a little disappointed. So he deserted in 1941.
Millett hitchhiked to Canada and enlisted in the Canadian Army and was promptly sent to the UK, where he served as an anti-aircraft radar operator during the Blitz. Of course, after he got to London, America entered World War II — and Millett turned around and tried to transfer back into the US Army.
Thus began a long and storied career in the US military, including his fabled bayonet charges in the Korean War when he wanted to prove a point.
You can learn more about Lewis Millett on the We Are The Mighty podcast! Check it out here.
Kamikaze pilots struck fear in the hearts of allied troops as they conducted their nose-dives right into U.S. ships during World War II’s Pacific fight.
Reportedly, the first kamikaze operation of the war occurred during the Battle of the Leyte Gulf in the Philippines.
After a mission had been planned, the pilots of the “Special Attack Corps” received a slip of paper with three options: to volunteer out of a strong desire, to simply volunteer, or to decline.
On Apr. 6, 1944, Marines and sailors aboard Naval vessels located in the Pacific were going about their regular workday knowing the enemy was planning something soon — something big.
On the nearby island, the Japanese gathered every operational plane remaining in their arsenal. Many of the Kamikaze pilots were inexperienced but highly devoted to the Empire.
Once they were armed and loaded, the flying fleet took off in waves heading toward their American targets.
As the suicidal pilots reached their target, they began an attack that would supersede any air raid in history. Over the course of two days, over 350 enemy planes imposed absolute havoc on the allied vessels.
As American forces defended themselves with well-trained fighter pilots and ship gunners, the enemies’ ambitious nature proved costly.
The Japanese crashed over 1,900 planes in choreographed kamikaze dives around Okinawa — sinking a total 126 ships and damaging 64 others.
Although the destruction took a toll on allied forces, it also helped fortify their motivation to continue with the fight — eventually defeating their Japanese adversaries.
Check out the Smithsonian Channel’s video below to see the historic and rare footage for yourself.Smithsonian Channel, YouTube
This past weekend, Kaplan University invited WATM to join them at Radio Row for some of the Super Bowl 50 festivities. Kaplan was there in support of the Wounded Warrior Amputee Flag Football Team in their celebrity game with NFL alumni.
Adding their support to the event were such NFL greats as Rocky Bleier, Bob Golic, Tim Krumrie, Jackie Slater, Bill Romanowski, and Ed “Too Tall” Jones – just to name a few. Veterans from every branch came together in an inspiring display of solidarity, sportsmanship, and the drive to overcome all.
The A-10 Thunderbolt II, known as the Warthog, is popular — very popular.
It’s especially popular with ground troops, as the Warthog provides them with close air support when they’re pinned down or in a pickle.
A-10 pilots are often considered different than other combat pilots, with a perspective more like the ground forces they so often protect.
It’s why they’ve been referred to as “grunts in the sky.”
In honor of the grunts in the sky, we’ve compiled seven short videos of the A-10 doing what it does best, whether in training or real-world scenarios.
Check them out below:
Here’s the A-10 taking out an armored vehicle with a laser-guided bomb during a training exercise:
Here’s what it looks like in slow motion:
This one shows the Warthog using its 30mm Gatling gun:
This one shows what it’s like to be on the business end of the A-10’s Gatling gun:
— USSOCOM (@USSOCOM) January 20, 2018
This one from January 2018 shows an A-10 taking out a Taliban vehicle after it had attacked Afghan civilians:
Here’s another from January 2018 showing a Warthog taking out a Taliban narcotics facility:
But no one is perfect:
Iraqi armed forces have pushed out Daesh from Tal Afar city while some parts of the district bearing the same name remain under the terrorist group’s control, a senior army official said Aug. 27.
“Joint forces of the army and the Hashd al-Shaabi — a pro-government Shia militia — have liberated two neighborhoods of Al-Askari and the Al-Senaa Al-Shamaliya, as well as the Al-Maaredh area, Tal Afar Gate, and the Al-Rahma village in the eastern part of the city,” Lt. Gen. Abdul-Amir Yarallah, Mosul operation commander, said in a televised statement.
While all parts of the city have been recaptured, fighting for control of some parts of Tal Afar district continues.
Yarallah said only the Al-Ayadieh area and its surrounding villages in the district now remain in Daesh’s grip, adding the armed forces were advancing “towards the last targets in order to liberate them”.
On Aug. 27, the Iraqi government launched a major offensive to retake Tal Afar, involving army troops, federal police units, counter-terrorism forces and armed members of Hashd al-Shaabi — a largely Shia force that was incorporated into the Iraqi army last year.
Ministry of Displacement and Migration official Zuhair Talal al-Salem told Anadolu Agency 1,500 people fled the district’s surrounding villages and areas.
“The displaced people were transferred from security checkpoints to Nimrod camp, where they are receiving relief assistance,” Al-Salem said.
Nimrud camp in the southeast of Mosul is said to have a capacity to house 3,000 families.
The ministry transferred some 500 displaced families to the camp after checking their names August 26 in the district of Hamam al-Alil, south of Mosul.
America’s airborne forces did some truly amazing things during World War II — a conflict that marked the apex of airborne warfare.
American (and British) paratroopers in units like the 82nd Airborne Division wreaked havoc on the Nazis in World War II — particularly during the invasions of Sicily and Normandy.
After watching these badasses do their thing in the video below, it’s hard to imagine that Dwight D. Eisenhower wanted to disband the airborne units after Sicily.
We not only get a look at the paratroopers who helped kick in the door of “Fortress Europe,” but also their weapons: The M1 Garand, the M1A1 Thompson submachine gun, the M1 Carbine, the M3 Grease Gun.
While the show does not explicitly cite the Rule of the LGOPs, the phenomenon’s existence is very strongly implied.
Which of those weapons would you jump into action with? Let us know in the comments!