Early Observation Helicopter (WW2)

The Focke-Achgelis Fa 330 Bachstelze (English: Wagtail) was a type of rotary-wing kite, known as a rotor kite. They were towed behind German U-boats during World War II to allow a lookout to see over the horizon.

Of course, if you were the lookout, sitting in the Bachstelze, saw something and the U-Boat dived — you’d be in a world of hurt in the cold North Atlantic.

Because of their low profile in the water, submarines could not see more than a few miles over the ocean. To solve this, the German admiralty considered a number of different options, including a folding seaplane (Arado Ar 231). In the end, they chose the Fa 330, a simple, single-seat autogyro kite with a three-bladed rotor.

The Fa 330 could be deployed to the deck of the submarine by two people and was tethered to the U-boat by a 150 m (500 ft) cable. The airflow on the rotors as the boat motored along on the surface would spin them up. The kite would then be deployed behind the U-boat with its observer-pilot aboard, raising him approximately 120 meters above the surface and allowing him to see much farther — about 25 nautical miles (46 km), compared to the 5 nautical miles (9 km) visible from the conning tower of the U-boat. 

When not in use, the Fa 330 was stowed in two watertight compartments aft of the conning tower. In calm weather and sea, the assembly and disassembly steps could each be completed in around 4 minutes. In heavier weather, however, recovering (winching the Fa 330 back to the deck), dismantling, and stowing the Fa 330 took approximately 20 minutes and was a difficult operation.

Focke-Achgelis proposed a powered version of the Fa 330, the Fa 336, but the design never made it to the hardware phase



Four Crow who served as scouts for George Custer: First-hand account of Little Big Horn-

They stand around grave markers that memorialize the battle of the Little Bighorn. One of the markers is a wooden cross, the others are stone arches. Two of the scouts hold rifles.

“We scouts thought there were too many Indians for Custer to fight,” Whiteman Runs Him said in a 1919 interview. “There were camps and camps and camps. I would say there were between 4,000 and 5,000 warriors, maybe more. I do not know. If we had not seen the two Sioux scouts earlier in the morning, I would have advised Custer to hide at this point all day and then surprise the camp at night, but since these scouts had seen the soldiers, it was no use to wait longer.”

Believing he had no choice, Custer forged ahead with his exhausted command. While the troopers expected a quick victory and an end to the long campaign, the scouts sang their death songs.


A Nation in Decline (h/t Moonbattery)

Liberal Establishment Praises Simone Biles for Quitting


In a culture dominated by moonbats, all values are inverted. For example, fortitude is not courageous — quitting is. When Olympic gymnast Simone Biles quit on her team and her country because dealing with the stress of competition wasn’t “fun,” instead of shaking their heads in sadness, liberal opinion-shapers praised her for it:

Prominent politicians like Ayanna Pressley and Cori Bush have made public statements applauding her. The White House Press Secretary expressed “gratitude and support.” Deadspin gushed over “the most impressive move of her career.” Former Olympians joined in the group hug. Articles have been written extolling her bravery and declaring that her achievements this week have sent a “powerful message” to the world. CNN called her performance “impactful.” She has been hailed for her strength and for “setting an amazing example” and being a great athlete and role model. Women’s advocacy groups have thanked her.

Biles quitting because the extraordinary stress was too much for her is sad but understandable. Not everyone has what it takes. But to spin quitting as laudable is disgusting.

Gold medals mean something. They mean you will keep pushing yourself even when it is hard. A nation of entitled, thumb-sucking bedwetters will win ever fewer gold medals.

That’s all right with the liberal ruling class. For reasons too sick to bear examination, they want it that way.

Compare Biles with gymnast Kerri Strug, who performed with an injured ankle to win the gold medal for the USA in 1996. Our culture doesn’t produce as many brave winners like Kerri Strug as it used to. It produces self-absorbed victims like Simone Biles and tennis quitter Naomi Osaka.

America can live without gold medals. It cannot live without the character the medals symbolize — except as a second-rate nation slouching into decline.

When quitters are glorified over winners the end must be near.


On the Lighter Side


A Word on Uniforms

Wool uniforms of all sorts such as those depicted below of Continental Soldiers of the War of Rebellion in British North America looked much like that when they were new. It’s true that the painting is romanticized, but set that aside.

Dyes tended to run during hard wear in the elements and what once was blue turned out to be gray. The British red coats looked grayish pink in time, and walking through the mud in low shoes — well we all have done it and know how it works out.

It’s true that before an engagement, the soldiers engaged tried to look their very best. Most took a great deal of pride in their uniform and in their appearance. But don’t think that after a long campaigning season that they looked like this:


A Message from a Retired Friend

“Of the many things I learned in the CIA, few have had a real impact on my family and personal life.  I learned the Chinese language and culture.  I learned to prepare disguise materials and forge documents.  In retirement, however, so many of such skills have dulled or disappeared.

“Then, a few days ago, an old skill came to be quite useful.  It all started when an eerie silence descended on my home.  My wife developed a cold and lost her voice.  What was I to do?  Without her direction, what should I do?  Without knowing the details of what I was doing wrong (everything), I just might fall into a rut of bad habits.  Well, fortunately, having been trained as a lip reader, I was able to figure out what my wife wanted to tell me.  She kept saying “You should be downstairs watching football on TV and drinking a beer.”  So, I could only give her my usual response of “Yes, Boss”, and immediately proceed downstairs for the beer and game.  I was so grateful for the Agency having trained me, but my wife, strangely, remained perturbed.”


  1. You might ask your retired friend if it was he who provided the lip reading transcript as a favor to another retired guy of the security camera footage of the 2002 conflict between the Hells Angels and the Mongols at Harrah’s Casino in Laughlin, Nevada.
    The security footage was used in the 2006 trial that led to Harrah’s being held liable for bystander injuries in the altercation.
    This six degrees of separation stuff can get pretty weird.

    • I don’t need to ask. It wasn’t him. But it’s interesting that you brought this topic up. There are a lot of interesting things that old guys were trained to do and it might end up biting Jo/Ho and friends one day.

  2. quiters- yes and i saw interview of millennials re: the olympics. they nearly all said they wouldn’t root for our country but maybe for certain athletes, probably woke ones. these same millennials likely won’t fight either when the wolves come calling. what do they think will happen then? they do not understand that America is the only thing keeping them alive. damn, now i’m talking myself out of fighting too, to hell with those ungrateful bastards. let them meet the real commies.

    • I’m sort of bunkered up, RIVERRIDER, in a place almost nobody in the State where I live has heard of, so, yeah, to hell with spoiled little woke selves. I wish them well, but I don’t want any part of them.

  3. “my wife, strangely, remained perturbed.” I got perhaps a little too much of a bang out of that one.

    • He’s not supposed to drink, eat brats, and by implication, also watch the game. Doctor’s orders. His health, you see, but there is a quality to life that comes from doing things that you enjoy even if you might cut a few inches of wick from the candle.

  4. Like that aircraft, be good for checking fence…although, now with drone tech being so accessible there’s less chance of personal injury if it fails due to pilot error or power loss, plus you get HD video.

    Everything the Left touches it wrecks, in spades, the Olympics notwithstanding. Modern Liberal Pop-Psyche has ruined the minds of people, allowing them every excuse on the planet to quit, lie, cheat, or steal without consequence, or, as you point out, get nauseating fawning support for bad behavior. Biles quit on her teammates, plain and simple. She had no right. A 24 year-old “woman” (she is not a kid anymore) should know better…”twisties” aside (her excuse). But as you say, the commentary from others who have turned her into their personal ratings machine and wouldn’t know a vault from a high bar routine, spout their shameless conscience assuaging. Disgusting is right.

    Thinking your friend just might have mis-read his wife’s directive, we husbands sometimes do that…on occasion, sort of, maybe, once in a great while. Yeah.

  5. Maybe somewhat off-topic, maybe not.
    Those of us born here between ’28 and ’45 of European parents who made it to our shores saw (and understood) what was happening/had happened. We felt we owed an obligation, if necessary with our lives, and volunteered for the U.S. Armed Services when we came of age.
    Those born after ’45 felt little to no such obligation. I saw this occurring within the same family more than once; the older sons in the service, the younger sons moving to Canada (thank you, Jimmy Carter – sarc!).
    I’m not quite certain if this applies to the spoiled Olympic brats, but I feel it does to those who openly display their lack of respect when the National Anthem is played/sung or the Pledge is recited.

  6. Simone Biles. Did she quit as a protest? A world of misinformation plays around this. Supposedly, she is so much better than the other competitors, the IOC changed rules so she couldn’t perform moves she alone can do. Where lies the truth?

    • I think that she just quit.

      Now when the $20 million book deal is inked – if not already, I’m sure that she was racially triggered to quit.

    • This came of a Facebook post. True? Some “woke” propaganda?
      JnultSytg 28 maptognsga t5:o1ga0raSohll AogeadcM ·
      What if the NFL told Tom Brady his touchdown passes will only be 4 points because he was too good? Or the NBA gave MJ 1 point instead of 2 because he scores much better than the other players? There would be outrage on ESPN, boycotts , death threats against David Stern, etc.
      But when the Olympics imposed this on Simone Biles… *crickets…* DEAL WITH IT and compete. No petitions, withdrawals from the US Olympics Committee.
      So, after practicing your routine for years, you must mentally and physically alter your performance to be appropriately scored to keep everything “fair”. And when you realize you don’t align with their “standards” you make the hard decision to not hurt your teammates score (who, btw, showed out yesterday!!) or risk your health in a sport where 1 bad slip can mean paralysis.
      You’re labeled egotistical, overrated and most of all a “quitter” because you won’t conform.
      In all honesty, the IOC quit on Simone. Not the other way around.

      • You know, what can we believe anymore? (I freely admit I was harsh on her for “what I saw and read”, and Whitlock excoriated her as well, and he’s usually spot on).

        IF she quit, bad on her. However, if what you relate here is true, and it may be much worse than we could know (what I suspected all along), then Ms. Biles is only a symptom of a much larger cancerous problem (gee, seems that’s the running theme for the past, oh, I don’t know, 50 years, escalating to today), then she is not fully responsible for what transpired. If all that (above) is true then the Olympics will go the way of most pro-level sports, the trash bin. Politics have seeped into everything, and it rots whatever it invades.

  7. Yeah. Simone… She was as bad or worse in pre-qualification bouts this year, and at Olympic trials.

    Wife thinks that there’s some money-collusion between the Russians and Ms. Biles. Seems to be a logical reason for her to CHOKE minutes before the team competition.

    Me? I don’t want to hear about her again. She’s like that Navy hero who got elected to Congress and became or exposed himself as a corrupt piece of dogsqueeze.

    And, well, said it before, I’ll say it here. The greatest American gymnasts are the ones who competed during the Cold War and against open corruption in judging and in Olympic officialness still managed to get gold medals.

    And, well Nadia… Who got a perfect 10 while sick with an over 100 degree fever and ankle issues and torn ligaments and tendons and against her own country’s Olympic Committee’s wishes.

    Geez, there was some 40 something lady competing in gymnastics.

    So Simone is the ChOAT. Chokest Of All Times.

    And every time her name or picture is on the tv, my lovely wife and/or me start making choke noises. If you’re so damned sick you can’t compete, then go to the damned hospital.

  8. Wool Uniforms? In a lot of ways they are better than cotton or modern cloth uniforms. Wool will keep you warm when wet, will keep you cooler in heat (if summerweight) and overall tends to be stronger overall. Unless you are attacked by a swarm of killer moths.

    I’ve worn a wool tunica during the summer. Not as bad as you’d think. Still…

  9. The FA330 idea isn’t dead, it’s back… slightly different ‘form factor’ if you will, and different equipment. Re the uniforms, after a season and battles in South Carolina (Cowpens), there were issues even telling which side somebody was on!

  10. I’d heard one of the alleged atheletes had “resigned” due to the “pressure”, but hadn’t heard the whole story.

    To praise this person for quitting is insane. WTF has happened to our country?

    America can live without gold medals. It cannot live without the character the medals symbolize — except as a second-rate nation slouching into decline.

    Truer words are rarely spoken these days…..

    I wonder what Washington’s troops looked like after crossing the Delaware?

    Yes, us OG’s have learned a lot over the years. I think a good portion of us could be classified as “Retired – Extremely Dangerous Under Certain Circumstances”.

  11. I understand MS Biles quit due to “stress” I would think her brothers triple murder trial would be stressful.

  12. There is a story going around that the pressure put on Ms. Biles was by the Marxist BLM. The purported threat was that if she medaled and didn’t disrepect the Flag and National Anthem, she and others would suffer cancel culture and potential physical violence. And in one way, if true, BLM won.

  13. Simone was quoted before the Olympics as saying, “I’m the money girl, now.” Even without the Olympics, she’s set for life with multi-million dollar endorsement contracts, book deals, movie deals, etc. I’ve heard that she was going to attempt several maneuvers that are considered very dangerous and with the potential for career-ending injuries and when she couldn’t even do a moderately difficult routine on the vaulting horse, she choked. I give her a pass. Who am I to judge her? I get dizzy when I stand up too fast.

    • We shouldn’t exalt quitting as a virtue.

      I don’t judge her for her sake. But the media and the fawning press who wish to reward quitting should be ashamed of themselves.

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