A Look Forward and Backward

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What about ISIS-Khorasan, or ISIS-K?

As with Syria, you can’t tell the players without a program…and that program changes frequently.

Washington branded the Haqqani network as a terrorist organization in 2010. Sirajuddin Haqqani, leads the network at present.  Sirajuddin is also the Taliban deputy leader for the eastern provinces – on the same command level as Mullah Baradar, the head of the political office in Doha, who was released from Guantanamo by Barack/Biden during the years of Obamanation in 2014.

Sirajuddin’s uncle, Khalil Haqqani was in charge of the network’s foreign financing and up to yesterday (and maybe today) is in charge of Kabul security and has been designated by the new revolutionary government in Afghanistan as a credentialed “diplomat”.

ISIS-K is led by Shahab al-Mujahir, formerly commander of the Haqqani network headquartered in North Waziristan in the Pakistani tribal areas, (Northwest Frontier Province). He cobbled together a force of non-Afghans: Iraqis, Saudis, Kuwaitis, Pakistanis, Uzbeks, Chechens, and Uighurs.

Everyone in Afghanistan wants to be Khan (king).


There’s A Problem

(by Victor Davis Hanson)

It is the beginning of a never-ending bad dream. Joe Biden and the Pentagon have managed to birth a new terrorist haven, destroy much of U.S. strategic deterrence, and alienate our allies and much of the country.

In the hours after the horrific deaths of 13 service members, we have been reassured by our military that our partnership with the Taliban to provide security for our flights was wise. We were told that the terrorist victors share similar goals to ours in a hasty American retreat from Kabul. We were reminded that Afghan refugees (unlike U.S. soldiers) will not be forced to be vaccinated on arrival. Such statements are either untrue or absurd.

On the very day of the attack that killed American troops, the sergeant major of the U.S. Army reminded us in a tweet that diversity is our strength, commemorating not the dead, but Women’s Equality Day. If so, then is the opposite of diversity — unity — our weakness? Will such wokeness ensure that we do not abandon the Bagram airbase in the middle of the night without opposition?

The chief of staff at the Office of Naval Intelligence warned the ONI’s active duty and retired service members that they must not criticize Biden, their commander in chief, over the Afghanistan fiasco. The office correctly cited prohibitions found in the Uniform Code of Military Justice barring any disrespect shown to senior government leadership. (I guess that means me —)

Indeed, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps was relieved of his command for posting a video accurately blaming military and civilian leadership for the Afghanistan nightmare.

Yet until Jan. 20, retired top brass had constantly smeared their elected commander in chief with impunity.

Recently retired Gen. Michael Hayden retweeted a horrific suggestion that unvaccinated Trump supporters should be put on planes back to Afghanistan, where they presumably would be left to die. Hayden earlier had compared Trump’s border facilities to Nazi death camps… (more here)


Identify the Tank – no, not a Hetzer

This one might be hard for you. Let me assure you that I’m having to work to try and stump you guys.


The French Debacle in Indochina

The American fiasco in Afghanistan can’t be compared to anything else. It just can’t. And now CNN is declaring Slow Joe Biden to be the greatest American president as the propaganda machine steps up to cover for the walking corpse and his band of misfits.

However, the situation caused me to pull “Street without Joy: The French Debacle in Indochina”, by Bernard B. Fall, a prominent French historian and war correspondent, off the shelf and crack it open.

When I reached Page 22, and ran onto his comments on the Franco-Thai War, I thought to myself, “self, maybe the bloggers would have some interest. Maybe they forgot about Thailand’s war against France?” I don’t always speak to myself that way…

Quoting Mr. Fall, “Open warfare between French Indochina and Thailand began on January 9, 1941. The French at first lost some ground but began to counterattack as reinforcements arrived along the Thai border. On the seas, one old French cruiser sank one-third of the whole Thai fleet in a naval engagement off the island of KohChang on January 17, and Japan, seeing that the war was turning against its pupil and ally, imposed its “mediation” between the two parties. A cease-fire began on January 28, followed on March 11, 1941, by an agreement in which the French were forced to surrender to Thailand three provinces in Cambodia and two provinces in Laos.”

First, let me point out that the Vichy French were fighting Thailand,  to clarify the situation.

Thai and Japanese military officers in Thailand, 1940s.

Following the Fall of France in 1940, the military government of Thai Major General Plaek Phibunsongkhram took the initiative to regain the “lost territories” that had been ceded to the French after the Franco-Siamese War in 1893.

The war between the Kingdom of Thailand and Vichy France finally broke out in October 1940, with a series of Thai aerial bombings against the French positions in Vientiane, Phnom Penh, Sisophon, and Battambang. The Armée de l’Air (French Air Force) in Indochina retaliated by bombing the Royal Thai Army along the border.

Several French FT-17 tanks took part in a military demonstration in Hanoi, 1930s.

There were 70,000 French and indigenous troops in Indochina when the war started. The local levies were armed with obsolete weapons.  They had one FT-17 tank company (See the picture above of the FT-17’s in-country)

In January 1941, the French attacked the Thai border town of Aranyaprathet. Ten days later, the French launched a large counterattack on the villages of Yang Dang Khum and Phum Preav, which were occupied by Royal Thai Army.

French troops in Indochina during the Franco-Thai War, 1940.

A combination of French bungling and well-prepared Thai defenses caused the attacks to stall and the French were forced to retire and regroup.

Map: The naval Battle of Koh Chang on 17 January 1941.

The French Navy won a decisive naval battle on 17 January 1941 against the naval fleet of the Royal Thai Navy.

A French squadron including the light cruiser Lamothe-Picquet, the modern avisos Dumont d’Urville and Amiral Charner together with the old avisos Tahure and Marne, under the command of Capitaine de Vaisseau Régis Bérenger successfully destroyed one-third of the Royal Thai Navy, as 3 torpedo boats sunk and 1 coastal defense ship grounded (HTMS Thonburi). Thai Commander Luang Phrom Viraphan, captain of the HTMS Thonburi, was also lost his life during the battle.

The French were unable to exploit the naval victory into an army victory as well.

Subsequently, the armistice was signed between the Vichy France and the Kingdom of Thailand aboard the Japanese cruiser Natori on 31 January 1941. Thailand was a Japanese Client State and Vichy France was a Japanese ally at the time.


IF Charles became King of the UK…

(Crown) Prince of Wales Charles wears his uniform as Colonel-in-Chief of the British Parachute Regiment.

Would King Charles be as bad of a military leader as Creepy Joe Biden is? I realize that it’s not a fair comparison,  but they are both dim bulbs.

One thing –  Charles does love to dress in uniform.

30 thoughts on “A Look Forward and Backward

  1. #Mystery tank: Maresal tank destroyer, fielded by the end of 1943, Romania.
    This one brought me to the limit, frantically leafing through my Jane’s and the Panzererkennungsblätter — tricky, tricky!
    Thank you very much for the mental exercise.

      1. Yeah, you said “stump you guys”, meaning Martin and a couple others who are savants on rolling and flying stock.

        1. I beg to differ.
          Show me any flying or floating item from the 1950s onwards and I am clueless.
          Jets, turboprops, rockets? No idea. Naval vessels? Again, no idea. After all, I hail from the infantry.

          1. Nice.

            First I thought it was built on the Covenanter, but then I decided it had to be on one of the Soviet light tanks. I decided to wait and see if someone else knew before trying to go any farther.


          2. I am amazed the level of knowledge so many of you have, whether it’s vehicles, aircraft, weaponry…I learn something new everyday. h/t

  2. I am not current on recommended reading lists for our military, but Street without Joy it should be if it is not.
    Street Without Joy should be REQUIRED reading for politicians of every stripe from city hall to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
    On second thought, let the politicians learn their lessons the hard way.
    Think globally. Act locally.

    1. The current reading list is all about how to be a tranny, and how to be upset about the color of your skin.

      I was on the phone with some people this afternoon. I’m sure that the Afghanistan debacle will cost the military dearly in terms of recruiting and retention. Eventually, the donkeys will have to draft people of color to fill the levy if they’re in power long enough.

      1. I wonder how Jo/Ho would spin it – sending out inner-city people to take the hits in a war while the paler people remained home – not worried about being left behind or being planted in gardens of stone??

        1. The POCs are for internal police actions against “paler people”.

          “Trad American” Deplorables will always be the grist for the foreign adventures of the military-industrial complex and for aggression against third-rate nation states in service of Empire. Of course, Empire is no longer Anglo, but Anglo-[Redacted], but it’s the same beast.

          POCs are too valuable for foreign adventures. (“valuable” is the polite way of saying they can’t be trusted to not screw up) Horrible as the idea of POC Nat Pols (or whatever they will call them) is, I do look forward to them not being able to tell the Redacted from Anglos. (Or rather, POCs viewing Redacted as super-whites — which is in fact true from the POC perspective at the bottom of the heap — and deliberately mistreating both the same.)

          1. Well of course, but in certain parts of the US, they’re going to need a lot of POC’s. And once a melon pops, the other POC’s might think twice.

            As for cannon fodder, why not? Spread the rumor, they’re forcing white people from the military so as to allow POC’s to take the hit.

      2. Larry. I doubt that “Street Without Joy” would ever be on any woke, politically correct, military required reading list. “Street Without Joy” and “Hell in a Very Small Place”, by Fall, “The Centurions” and “The Praetorians”, by Larteguy, “The Quiet American”, by Greene, “On Guerrilla Warfare”, by Mao, plus several others (which I have in my library back in Australia) but whose titles and authors currently escape me, were on our self-imposed reading list, prior to departing on our Southeast Asian adventures in the 1960s. They definitely were not on the military hierarchies list of readings. I recall being castigated by a REMF Colonel for reading Mao. According to him if I read it, and understood it, it would turn me into a Communist. As to WellSeasonedFool’s comments on Australian Rules Football. I completely agree. I too, have no interest in what we used to call, when I was younger, aerial ping pong, played by a bunch of poseurs. At least Rugby League was, in those days, played by men. Today, not so much. The poseurs have infiltrated there too.

        1. Have just remembered another of the then must reads. “Modern Guerrilla Warfare” edited by a fellow named Franklin Mark Osanka. Had never seen anything written or edited by him before, nor have I seen anything since. This is not to say that he has not written, or edited more, books though.

  3. My interest in the British Royal family is just slightly higher than my interest in Australian Rules Football.

    We have a lot in common with the French. Brave and competent soldiers betrayed by their senior and political leaders.

  4. Despite all my other reading on SE Asia, and there has been a metric crap-ton of it, I’ve never gotten around to reading Street Without Joy and so was blissfully ignorant of either of the Franco-Siamese wars. I guess now I’ll have to get around to it.

  5. Well, Chaahhlz (phonetic British attempt), only needs to be a royal prop, dressing right and doing the parade wave pretty much covers it.

    VDH is always brilliant. Have family in PA…the storm was a bit gnarly but not what was predicted, which to us cynical types “the weather” is being used to whistle past the Afghan debacle…c’mon man, move on, that’s old news. Anything to obfuscate reality. I’m still mulling the “white spaces”, per your instructive post this morning, trying to see past the weeds.

  6. The ONI’s warning is quite chilling. They didn’t do that when Trump was President but now they pull this rabbit out of their a$$. I think VDH is incorrect in that it applies to retirees (unless they are Flag Officers) as one commenter to his could only find references for active duty or active reserve military. The Left is now openly threatening all dissent as actionable. Will they soon make voting against the Junta or its syncophants a court-martial action? I would not be surprised.

  7. Say what you like about the Royals, there is something to be said about their tradition of entering the services. Even if you assume they are surrounded by bodyguards, it’s not like there weren’t incidents with “friendly” forces in Afganistan.

  8. ’41 Siam-France has always been a very cool wargaming setting. The OBs are a total hoot.


  9. Larry. On another note. The Victory Monument, sitting in the middle of a large traffic circle, at the junction of Phayathai, Phahonyothin, and Ratchawithi Roads, in Bangkok, celebrates the Thais victory over the Vichy French in 1940. Some Thais, today, see it as an embarrassment, regarding it as a part of the past which they would rather forget, whilst others do not. In any case, the monument still sits where it has always been, and is a well known landmark.

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