People may like the idea of you, but chances are they’re not ready to handle the reality of you.


Aircraft Evolution

The Focke Wulf 190 morphed into the Focke Wulf Ta-152 as designers worked to address operational problems.

FW – Ta-152

While the FW-190 may not have been the best high altitude interceptor, is successor, the Ta-152 was excellent, but arrived too late in the Second World War to make a difference. The design was also licensed to the Japanese in the hopes that they’d shoot down B-29’s but by then Japan was on the ropes. The evolution of aircraft during wartime has always fascinated me.

US Navy F/A XX Program

On 4 April 2019, RADM Scott D. Conn, director of Air Warfare in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, stated that the Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) for the F/A-XX was to be completed in the spring of 2019, with a final report due in the summer of 2019.

The Analysis of Alternatives for the F/A-XX program was completed in June 2019, and soon after the Navy began the concept development phase of the development process. However, concerns were raised about funding, with Bryan Clark of the Hudson Institute predicting that the program would evolve into a modification of the F-35 or F/A-18 Super Hornet.

The Super Hornets will be reaching the end of their operational lives by 2030, and the Navy is pushing for a (manned) sixth-generation fighter/attack aircraft that can carry the new hypersonic stand off weapons.


Operation Cyclone

Operation Cyclone

A huge proponent for the US to be involved in the Soviet-Afghan war was Texas Congressman Charles “Charlie” Nesbitt Wilson, who was instrumental in getting congress to supporting Operation Cyclone.  Carried out by the CIA, this operation armed and financed the Afghan mujahideen against the Soviets.

Rep. Charles “Charlie” Nesbitt Wilson (D-TX) and friends

The introduction of the FIM-92 Stinger, a man-portable air-defense system (MANPADS) that operates as an infrared homing surface-to-air missile (SAM), was a game changer for the Afghans who were fighting the Soviet Union. Congressman Wilson was a Democrat. Could you imagine a Democrat doing that today?

Today, the only thing that Democrats seem to be able to do is cheer arson, to spew hatred for the United States and to support defunding the police.

**Caveat** Before you jump on me for handing out cudos to Wilson, yes he was a drunk and a whore chaser, but it took courage to do what he did. And lest you link Cyclone to bin Laden (OBL), you really need to think again and consider the situation and OBL and what he was doing at the time.

The politics of Afghanistan between the era of Zahir Shah and The Taliban are complicated and the blindness of USGOV (only able to focus on one or two things at a time) added to that complication – and a 20 year war that cost a lot of blood and treasure for an unsatisfactory conclusion.


American History

Washington at Yorktown

No longer politically correct


IL-2 Sturmovik

Took a little ground fire


This is a Gratuitous Photo for “Beans”



  1. The Ta-152 production numbers was stunted by most being built in “cottage industries” due to main factories being bombed out. The Germans were forced to disperse their production of nearly everything.

    There is a saving, “Amateurs study tactics, professionals study logistics”. Manufacturing war machines might be a close relative of logistics. The combination of political rivals, sabotage by slave laborers, and Resistance from occupied territories (Czechoslovakia, France for example) made German war production inefficient compared to the Allies. As to Japan, I’m not sure.

    • Yes, the Germans relied on slave labor in great part, and it stunted their capacity to make war as defective products reached the tip of the spear. However, the Germans did remarkably well when you consider that they were bombed relentlessly and they had very little oil & lubricants, ball bearings became scarce, and on and on.

      Japan was ready for a spear thrust and did remarkably well when you consider the success that led to ‘victory disease’. They had to win with what was on hand for the most part. They didn’t make many ships, they didn’t make many airplanes, and they could never replace the pilots and expert mechanics that they lost when ships went down, pilots were shot down. Suicide was the remedy for failure rather than passing on lessons learned.

      Japan’s navy was excellent, but lacked radar. Their aircraft carriers were swift, but much of what was inside of them was made of wood. The Zero was a superb fighter but did so at the expense of armor and self-sealing fuel tanks. Their submarines weren’t bad, but were nowhere near as effective as they should have been.

      Germany attacked Russia. You could argue that in 4 or 5 years, Russia MIGHT have been ready to attack Germany, but they bled the Russians white and the Russians bled them white.

      And the Sleepy US turned out ships and pots and pans, and bullets and tanks and food and airplanes in unimaginable numbers.

      • The Soviet Union built a lot of tanks, artillery, rockets, guns and made lots and lots ammo, but to get it all to the battlefield they relied on Studebaker and Dodge Trucks.

      • According to documents found in Moscow, Russia had planned to attack the Germans a week later than the final German kick-off date. Due to Stalin’s fear of the military, their weapons were stored just short of the border in the Polish occupied territory that they shared with Germany. This was the main cause of the initial German advances so deep and quick into Russian lands. The Russian Army was essentially unarmed to start with. The Germans were puzzled by the huge stockpiles, but very appreciative of the materiel. Both sides crossed their shared border in a quest to feed their people, as that occupied land was termed the breadbasket of Europe, and neither side had enough food production to feed everyone in peacetime, let alone a military at war. The Soviets had no clue what was involved in producing food, as they stupidly killed off a huge section of their farmers in the 20’s-30’s, and drove some of the surviving ones into the cities. The Germans had so many in uniform that they lacked enough labor to grow their own. Where they got stupid was in the very poor treatment of the farmers already there in the area. Originally, they were overjoyed to have the Soviets chased out, but the Germans ended up treating them nearly as badly. Very stupid.

  2. “The evolution of aircraft during wartime has always fascinated me.” Same here.

    Form follows function. Interesting similarities between the P-47, the Tempest II, and the Nakajima Ki-84.

    And, different approaches to the same goal. The engines for the Me-262 were a constant battle of materials and durability. IIRC, there is a restored Gloster Meteor flying on the original engines.

  3. Every year, skynet looms closer…

    During the Falklands war, the Sea Harriers needed a weapons rack for a type of ordnance they did not normally carry. It was designed developed and produced in two weeks. Normal peacetime schedule was around two years. Or so I read.
    As a layman, I found Geoffrey Perrets books on the US in WW2 very interesting- especially pertaining to organization and logistics- How instrumental Marshall and a few other core staff weres in turning a woebegone depression era Army into a world beating force. He also has written on the unsung implements of war, the Higgins boat, the Jeep, the Liberty ship, etc.
    And of course the Garand rifle, a huge step up in firepower from any bolt action. An Iconic weapon, two photo’s of it stand out in memory- one , a Korean Marine seeking cover behind a Vietnamese gravestone, and the other an Ethiopian herder high on a river bluff with an M1, in the 1980’s.- Seems like a hard place to find M2 ball ammo.

    • Don’t forget the two and a half ton truck. Without it, supply would have been much more difficult.

      Paul L. Quandt

  4. Same with the refueling probes for the Nimrods. Design, to install, to operational use was 2 weeks. They took off with 2 crews, one to fly to Argentina, one to do the mission and fly home. Those were some LONG days for those folks.

  5. Nice Little Bird at the end. First time I saw anything like that was living in Satellite Beach and watching the Parajumpers do that face-forward down the rope thingy from Jolly Greens. They may or may not have been provoked by kids launching rockets at them. I had no part in it. I know nothing, I saw nothing…

    Let us hope Big Navy doesn’t screw the aviation pooch like they did over the A-12.

    And hopefully they’ll make an F/A with some decent range.

  6. I had an acquaintance several years ago who was involved in something like paper clip. Two mujahideen spent three days carrying him out of the mountains after a frightful wounding. Details are cloudy as he didn’t discuss it much. Took several bottles of beer, I didn’t ask a lot of questions , as things sometimes went off the rails. He was really pissed at “ official assholes” about how Afghanistan turned out. He eventually moved away, I heard later he ate bullet. Very sad.

  7. I have a copy of “The Arsenal of Democracy” by Charles K. Hyde all about the conversion of American Industry to wartime production. It’s a pretty good book, and filled in some gaps I had about how Detroit geared up for the war effort.

    One of the Detroit executives was turning over a 45ACP round in his hands during some meeting, and when asked why, he explained he was trying to imagine how much space a BILLION of them would take up, as that was a production number being tossed around.

    One thing that I’ve come to learn in the last decade or so, was that all this was being planned well before December 7th. It seems like “a miracle” that they seemingly converted from Cadillacs to tanks overnight, but the tooling was being designed and purchased well before then.

    Aircraft design was another matter, and a lot of early designs either didn’t pan out very well, or were cancelled when similar designs didn’t pan out, either. I built scores of Avengers, Dauntlesses, Wildcats, Hellcats, Corsairs, and even a Son-of-a-Bitch, Second Class or two as a kid, and was amazed at all the different airplanes that just the Navy had.

    And as an Amateur Radio operator in the 1960’s, there was still “War Surplus” electronic stuff availble, new-in-the-box, with all the WWII varnishing, fungus-proofing, and foil packing included, usually in a sturdy wooden crate. I shudder to think how many “rare”, and highly collectible (today) items I stripped down for the parts.

    Between ships, aircraft, vehicles, tanks, radios, rifles, pistols, ammo, and all the trimmings that comprise “Beans, Bullets, and Band-Aids”, the amount of stuff we produced was almost incomprehensible.

  8. Charlie Wilson is alleged to have said this about his very attractive office staff: You can teach them to type, but you can’t teach them to grow tits.

    • I knew a surgeon whose habit was to hire strippers to work as his receptionists. One morning he came in to hospital shaken. It seems that the previous afternoon an angry patient had called his outpatient clinic, threatening to “come over and blow that bastard’s head off with my 12-gauge.”

      The receptionist said to the patient, “Oh, you don’t want to come here to the main clinic then. Dr. [Redacted] is at his satellite clinic in Brighton today!”

      Redacted announced to us that he was re-thinking his habit of hiring strippers, on the basis they were too stupid to not put him at risk. My theory was that she knew perfectly well what she was doing, and it was because she was just sick of Redacted’s crap.

      And if anyone is wondering, no one ever showed up to blow Redacted’s head off.

  9. I met this old guy in Japan who told me that America won the war for two reasons.

    1. Americans could build an airport in one day. (Marston Mats.)

    2. Every American carried a machine gun. (M-1 Garands and M-3 grease guns.)

  10. Little Birds? I’ve got not a clue how many and how quickly they can be loaded/unloaded onto a C-5 Galaxy blacked out. Or how a Galaxy can FARP without running the motor on the cart, just use it as a valve station using internal fuel pumps on the plane. Or throwing fully functional boats from said Galaxy in flight along with boat crew.
    Not a clue, mind you…

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