Bullet Points:

* (Zerohedge) The question of who in the USA has the authority to order a nuclear strike looms large since we know that it’s not Pedo Joe or Camela. It would appear from the article that somebody in the Pentagon does. The change in US strategic policy where a nuclear strike may be made against a non-nuclear threat is interesting, isn’t it?

* (Gateway Pundit) Norma Thornton, 78, was arrested by the city Police Department in March for feeding homeless people in public, violating a Bullhead City, Arizona ordinance.

“Still, I thought it was a kind of joke, someone playing a prank– until I was put in the back of the police car,” Thornton told Fox 5 Vegas. “I have always believed that when you have plenty, you should share.”

“This case is about kindness. Bullhead City has criminalized kindness,” said Thornton’s attorney, according to the report. “The city council passed an ordinance that makes it a crime punishable by four months imprisonment to share food in public parks for charitable purposes.”

* The twisting saga of Elon Musk’s bid to buy Twitter ended late yesterday, with the Tesla and SpaceX CEO closing on the $44 billion deal to buy the social media platform. Musk marked the occasion, as he has so many other milestones on the tumultuous journey, with a tweet.

“[T]he bird is freed,” he wrote.


Russian Battleship, Novorossiysk

The Battleship that Stalin had demanded from Italy came to fruition in 1949. Following WWII, the Allies had drawn ‘lots’ – groups of Italian ships – in 1948 to determine who got what. Either by design or extremely poor luck, the Soviets drew the lot that contained the aged, but rebuilt, dreadnought Giulio Cesare instead of a Littorio-class. Regardless, the Soviets stood poised to welcome a powerful addition to their Black Sea Fleet post-war.

Obstacles remained. The Soviets wanted Italy to fund a complete refit of the battleship, which had been sitting in Taranto since June 1944. The Soviets also wanted a grandiose handover in Soviet waters. Italy refused to sail the ship to the Black Sea, and in December 1948 Turkey forbade it anyways by invoking a 1936 ban on non-Black Sea power warships greater than 15,000 tons in the Turkish Straits. Instead, Italy moved Cesare to Valona, Albania, in February 1949 after a hasty partial refit in Augusta. On February 6, 1949, the Italians handed her over in a tense exchange.

The Soviets steamed out of Albania on the 20th. The voyage to the Black Sea showed her flaws: none of the gauges had been translated, and many systems barely worked. Worse, the damage control post contained limited documentation, insufficient to actually keep the ship from sinking in case of disaster. (and would play out in the USSR six years later) The ship reached Sevastopol on the 26th, and in a ceremony on March 5 received the name Novorossiysk.

Novorossiysk’s tribulations had just begun. It took the majority of the year to get the ship ready for service, and supply chains had to be built using reverse engineering. The ship had a recurring issue with mold, and no built-in mess space for meals, so habitability was abysmal, but by Russian standards, somehow acceptable. By the end of 1950, she was determined to be of more use as a training platform than as a primary combatant, and between exercises was constantly undergoing some sort of work; over six years, she visited the shipyard eight times, including a substantial and expensive modernization in 1953. The work done in 1953 was notable, as it installed radar, replaced the diesel generators, swapped the boilers out for domestic models, and replaced all Italian anti-aircraft guns with Soviet 37mm and 25mm types. That same year, Stalin died, and additional plans for the ship died with him – including a proposed domestic replacement of her main battery.

Two years later, on October 28, 1955, the battleship returned from gunnery exercises and moored at buoy no. 3 in Sevastopol. She had moored there ten times prior, beginning in 1954; the battleship Sevastopol had similarly dropped anchor and shackled to that same mooring buoy no fewer than 130 times in the past decade. But this time would be different.”

At 0130 hrs., an explosion estimated to be the equivalent of 1,200 kilograms of TNT under the bow of the ship pierced all decks from the bottom plating to the forecastle deck. In the forecastle deck, there was one hole that measured 14×4 meters in size. The damage extended aft from the bow 22 meters.

The ship sank slowly from the bow, capsizing at 0415 hrs., 2 hours and 45 minutes after the explosion, and 18 hours later became fully submerged. The capsizing resulted in the death of 608 sailors, most of whom were staying in the ship’s compartments. It became the worst disaster in Soviet naval history. Because of the politics of the Cold War, the fate of the Novorossiysk remained clouded in mystery until the late 1980s.

The cause of the explosion is still unclear. The official cause of the sinking, regarded as most probable, is a magnetic RMH naval mine, laid by the Germans during World War II. During the next two years after the disaster, divers found 19 German mines at the bottom of Sevastopol Bay. Eleven of the mines were as powerful as the estimated blast under Novorossiysk. There is, however, some doubt that the blast was caused by a mine. The area where Novorossiysk sank was considered swept of mines, and other ships had used the area without triggering the mine. Some experts place the maximum battery life of the magnetic mines at 9 years and thus contend that such a mine would be unlikely to trigger by the time of the explosion. Another problem some experts claim is that the size of the crater (1 – 2.1 m deep) was too small for such a big mine. On the other hand, according to some research, damage to the ship corresponded to an explosion equivalent to 5,000 kilograms of TNT.

A more theatrical conspiracy explanation was that Italian frogmen were avenging the transfer of the formerly-Italian battleship to the USSR. Covert action by the Italian special operations unit Decima Flottiglia MAS has often been surmised, and there were rumors that not long thereafter a group of Italian Navy frogmen received high military awards. However, no actual real-life evidence for this hypothesis exists or ever surfaced.

Another theory states that explosives were hidden in the ship before she was given to the Russians. No evidence of sabotage has been found, though Soviet inquiries did not rule out the possibility because of the poor safeguarding of the fleet base on the night of the explosion. The goal of covertly destroying the battleship would be a small prize compared to the risk of provoking war if discovered, so the motive of such an Italian operation is questionable and does not support these theories. There is also a conspiracy theory that Novorossiysk was sunk by Soviet secret service divers in order to blame Turkey for the sabotage as justification to take control of the Bosporus and Dardanelles, and that the plan was eventually abandoned. There is no strong evidence to support this hypothesis.

The enormous loss of life was directly blamed on the incompetent actions of her captain, Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Victor Parkhomenko. Among other underestimates of the danger to his ship, he did not know the conditions of the sea bottom, believing that the ratio between the sea depth (17 meters) and the ship’s beam (28 meters) would prevent capsizing. However, the bottom was soft ooze, 15 meters deep, which offered no resistance. It was also reported that the commander displayed conceit and groundless calmness during this critical situation, and had even expressed the wish to “go have some tea”.

Because of the loss of Novorossiysk, the First Deputy Minister of Defence and Commander-in-Chief of the Navy Nikolai Gerasimovich Kuznetsov was fired from his post in November 1955, and in February 1956 was demoted to the rank of vice admiral and sent to retirement without the right to return to active service in the Navy. Kuznetsov was later reinstated.

During the mid-1970s, Novorossiysk was repaired and reconstructed with a much larger hull, over 250 meters, and mounted with 460 mm guns, making Novorossiysk the most powerful battleship ever in the Soviet Northern Fleet. It is now part of a modernization program to make room for new missiles and turrets.


The Weekend Approaches

We’re coming up on the Halloween party weekend and I hope that you have as much fun as you want to have. I usually take a pass these days, but I’ve gotten into some mischief in the past.


  1. Regarding the Novorossiysk, everything I have read indicates she was raised and scrapped starting in 1957.

    With Stalin’s death, it seems doubtful there was any further interest by the Soviet navy in battleships, either new construction or lengthening by 200 feet and rearming with 18 in. guns a by that time over 40 year old severely damaged hulk.

    • I thought that what I read was strange. They had to raise her because of where she sank, but to rebuild her. You are likely correct.

      • Sometimes I’m looking for content for the blog and just don’t have enough time to do it right, as with the referenced article. I’m rushing to get out of the door, things look ok. And then they’re not. Thanks for calling me on this one. I used two sources, but the first didn’t have the “effort to refit the hulk”. I went with it and yeah, it doesn’t sound right.

  2. Nuclear weapons first use. Wow, that is a 180 from what it was previous i.e. no first use and use only as a response to NBC attack. That worked successfully for a long long time. Don’t know who has the reins on this but in light of the incompetence of the current administration maybe no one?

    Sadly, the first thing that popped into my head when I read the article and thought about results from first use and what could go wrong is the meme with two SS officers and one of them saying something along the lines of “are we the baddies here?”.

  3. Another, albeit slim chance is that the act of anchoring ‘popped’ a mine loose from the muck and it floated up and contacted the bow. It wouldn’t be the first time that has happened…

  4. Did Musk just give someone the bird?
    Holes in a wall during combat – reminded me of a joke where the first panel had a guy telling the others around him that the odds of a second round going through a newly created hole were astronomical so he was going to look through it. The second panel showed his head getting blown off. The third panel showed a guy on the other side telling the others around him that once your weapon created a hole in a wall, be sure to keep your weapon centered on that hole because someone was bound to peek through it.

  5. Some years ago I had a neighbor who loved to feed pigeons. (This was in a nice suburb, not some downtown city setting.) After a few months of continually putting out food for them, we had about 100-200 pigeons around each day, that spent their days sitting on his roof mostly, but making the occasional foray next door to crap on our property. Needless to say, there was bird shit everywhere; not just on the cars, but all over our porch, and I don’t mean on the roof, I mean inside where we would sit. Neighbor refused to stop attracting pigeons. He was some old (to me at the time, prolly my current age, come to think of it) dessicated and faintly cadaverous legacy New Englander. Without clicking on the link to Norma Thornton, I have a mental picture of his female counterpart.

    The pigeon saga has a happy ending. One glorious day a big Red-Tail Hawk came by. It killed several pigeons, dropping clumps of feathers and occasional gobbets of flesh on our yard and the neighbor’s yard as it feasted on cornfed pigeon. Neighbor was horrified, but the hawk cheerfully ignored his running about and shouting. The hawk moved in and sat in our big oak every day. After about two weeks of daily massacrees (sic) the pigeons abandoned the neighborhood. A couple of days after that the hawk moved on as well.

    As to Elon Musk, he may not be (almost certainly isn’t) Our Guy, but he discomfits those who have declared me (people politically and philosophically like me) to be their enemy. So good on Elon for that. Speaking as a minority person myself, I do not think it is healthy or good for a nation for its news and communications platforms to be held under tight control of a group of minorities. Not good for the nation, and especially not good for the minority group. That’s why the “elite” are so worked up over Hate Thought/Hate Crime. Because our noticing their power scares them.

  6. In Scouts (Webelos) for our Halloween event I went as the Not So Great Pumpkin. That was a a lot of orange crepe thanks to Mom and Dad.

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