The Armenian/Azerbijani War – Still Brewing

Yesterday, Armenia accused its historic national rival, Azerbaijan of fomenting ethnic hatred by displaying helmets of Armenian soldiers killed during the war between the neighboring countries last year.

A decades-long conflict over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region erupted into all-out war last September, killing more than 6,000 people.

Six weeks of fighting ended in November with Armenia’s defeat. Yerevan ceded swathes of territories to Baku under a Russian-backed ceasefire, which was seen in Armenia as a national humiliation.

On Monday, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev visited a “park of trophies” showcasing military equipment seized from Armenian troops during the war.

“Everyone who visits the park of military trophies will see the strength of our army, will see our willpower, and how hard it was to achieve victory,” Aliyev said in a video address published on his website.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev tours the Military Trophy Park showcasing military equipment seized from Armenian troops Photo: Azerbaijani Presidential Press Office / Handout

Hundreds of helmets of Armenian soldiers killed in the war were displayed in the park in central Baku as well as wax mannequins of Armenian troops.

The park, due to be opened to the public shortly, sparked uproar in Armenia, with the country’s foreign ministry accusing Azerbaijan of “publicly degrading the memory of the victims of the war, missing persons and prisoners of war, and violating the rights and dignity of their families.”

Mass anti-government protests have been regularly held in Yerevan against Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s decision to agree to the humiliating truce, leading him to call snap polls in June.

The park, due to be opened to the public shortly, sparked uproar in Armenia Photo: Azerbaijani Presidential Press Office / Handout

“The message of the park and the exhibits displayed here is unambiguous: Victory is the triumph of international law over illegal occupation and the policy of aggression,” the Azerbijan ministry said in a statement.

Ethnic Armenian separatists declared independence for Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region and seized control of the mountainous enclave in a brutal war in the 1990s that left tens of thousands dead and forced hundreds of thousands from their homes.

Azerbaijan and Armenia have traded accusations of war crimes after the conflict – which had been largely dormant for decades – re-ignited in September.

 

Trench Gun Nostalgia

Ok, it’s not quite nostalgia. More of an interest. in the photo (above), a French gunner polishes a 37mm infantry support gun at Tilloy. The War-to-End-all-Wars brought about a lot of evolutionary dead end weapons that found their place in trench warfare, and many of them have passed from general historical consciousness. There is a certain misery index for troops (Russian) at the Eastern Front and everyone at the Western Front, that is difficult to effectively quantify today.

 

This month in history, the Mongols smashed Polish and allied forces at Legnica/Liegnitz, 1241.

As part of his winter campaign against Hungary in 1240-41, the Mongol generalissimo Subatai “the Invincible” sends a force of two “Tumans” (10,000 man divisions) through Poland, to cover his northern flank. This force is led by the Imperial Mongol princes, Baidar, Orda and Kadan; grandsons of Genghis Khan.

After defeating smaller Polish forces at Tursk and Chmielnik and burning Kracow; the Mongols engage the main Polish army, under Duke Henry “the Pious” of Silesia, at Legnica, on April 9, 1241.

Henry’s forces are estimated as high as 25,000 and as low as 2,000. Along with his own Polish forces Henry’s army included small contingents of French Knights Templars (500?) and Hospitallers; as well as a force of Teutonic Knights, who held lands in northern Poland.

In the resulting battle, the Mongols created confusion and covered their movements with a smoke screen; produced by burning reeds. The horse archers poured arrows into the Polish ranks, goading the never-patient knights into charging them. Feigning flight, the nimble Mongol light horsemen drew the Polish cavalry far from its supporting infantry. The Mongols then surrounded the pursuing knights as their heavy horses tired; and killed their horses with showers of arrows. The dismounted knights were then slaughtered by a charge of Mongol heavy cavalry.

Duke Henry, severely wounded in the armpit by an arrow, was surrounded with just four retainers. These were cut down, and the Duke was pulled from his horse and decapitated.

The Polish infantry was then attacked, and broke after attempting to stand.

Duke Henry’s head was displayed on Mongol lance as the invaders advanced, ravaging the countryside.

Most analysts consider the Mongol attack on Poland as a mere screening operation, protecting the northern flank of the main Mongol forces invading Hungary. Within days of Duke Henry’s defeat at Legnica, Subatai and Batu Khan engaged and defeated the main Hungarian army at Mohi.

The Mongols out thought and out fought their adversaries with a combined arms force that employed smoke to conceal its battlefield movements. The Poles and their allies were outmatched.

A Larger View:

Témüdjin, (1162-1227), took twenty years to unify the Mongol nomadic tributes. Proclaimed sovereign in 1206, he took the name of Genghis Khan, he subdues the Jin, Tangout, Kara-Khitan Empires. His successors continued the conquests and constituted the largest empire in history.

The Drum Beat of Greater Idaho

Idaho lawmakers appeared intrigued but skeptical on Monday (April 13, 2021) when pitched a plan to lop off about three-fourths of Oregon and add it to Idaho to create what would become the nation’s third-largest state geographically.

Supporters envision also adding adjacent portions of southeastern Washington and northern California to Idaho.

 

18 COMMENTS

  1. I would certainly be a fan of the conservative eastern 2/3 of Washington joining Idaho and eastern Oregon or even becoming its own state. The “progressives” on the West side of the state don’t understand cause and effect worth a hoot.

  2. Something that not a lot of people know about the Mongols is, yes, they had ‘hordes’ of mounted archers serving as light and medium cavalry, but they also had heavy cavalry much in the pattern of Medieval Europeans. Heavy armor (often based on Tibetan and Russian armors) with straight swords and lances.

    The often used tactic was to prod the enemy with the medium archers, then withdraw at an angle, sucking the enemy cavalry into following them (thus leaving the infantry support and foot archers behind,) then hit them on the flanks with light horse archers, and then run the whole column smack dab into the heavy cavalry, at which time the medium would wheel around and come at the enemy from behind, meanwhile the light archers are peppering the mounted troops and hitting them from the flanks. Once the enemy’s cavalry is routed or destroyed, they’d use the same tactics against the foot soldiers.

    Ah, fun times. It’s basically the same tactic that the Normans used against the French and English, and the same Plan 1919 devised by the British to use in, well, the spring of 1919. Substitute Light, Medium and Heavy tanks for cavalry and, well, yeah. Same damn maneuver. Sucker the enemy into attacking, pull them into the heavies, run the mediums around the rear, send the lights to hit it from side and to punch into the rear.

    Chinghis Khan was a genius.

    • The Mongols evolved into a true combined arms force that also included Chinese heavy infantry and artillery, that were used tactically to achieve the best result.

  3. Reported to be from Témüdjin (Genghis Khan). Loosely
    “What is best in life ? To destroy your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women. “
    No it wasn’t Conan.

  4. There will always be an Armenian – Azeri war, until one or both sides run out of people.

    Yeah, the Mongols had their shit together.

    -Kle.

    • The Christian Armenians and the Mohammedan Azeris have hated each other for at least 1,100 years, and war followed. As you point out, this is simply the latest chapter.

  5. Who knew, comments don’t post until you click the “Post Comment” tab?

    That part of the world around the Black Sea has always been a place where wars, small and large, start. A diplomatic war at the moment (The Czechs have expelled Russian diplomats), with SloJo’s inept handlers calling the USA response, anything might happen. WWI again?

    • They were also surprisingly even-handed and open to new ideas, ruled honestly, and meted out fair and swift justice, well, for the first hundred years or so, and then the Mongol empire kind of went off the rails, once they became Chongols or Minese or whatever you call it.

      • Any dispatch rider, wearing the Khan’s gold seal, was safe along the silk road. A few were waylaid and they’d send a Tumen (about 10,000 horse archers) to the place, find out who did it, kill everyone he’d ever known and everyone the people who knew the people who him had ever known, destroy their habitations and sew salt on the ground so that nothing would grow.

        As a result, those roads and areas were peaceful, maintaining the Khan’s peace — I think it was almost 200 years. It’s a good lesson.

        Sort of Kipling’s Grave of the Hundred Head, but a different era.

        That peace was in effect when Marco Polo (the guy, not the modern pool game) traveled East.

  6. That 37mm infantry gun? We have those today, in the form of the 40mm automatic grenade launcher and the 40mm regular grenade launcher (just don’t fire the 40mm AGL rounds from the 40mm handheld GL, as bad things will happen.)

    Otherwise, well, same function, same purpose, modern stuff is better but…

    And that 37mm Frog Gun, wouldn’t be bad to have along with a full load of ammo. Great for city fighting, taking out light armored vehicles, very useful in hill and mountain fighting as it can be pointed down unlike a mortar.

    Would not turn my back on one at all. Maybe go build me a modern version of a Renault FT-17 tank. That would surprise the living daylights out of BoweLMovementsmatter or pAntifa. Especially if you have some flechette or cannister rounds.

    • All true, Beans, but the modern 50 BMG, with its many ammunition options is no slouch, and while a smaller diameter round, it can meet out the same sort of damage. Yes, the 40x46mm LV rifle grenades have a wide variety of options including flechettes, canister, thermoberic, etc. Who doesn’t like the blooper? It’s more compact when on an M-203, same round and all, but I personally prefer the old single shot M-79.

      40×51mm MV (medium velocity), also known as 40×51mm Extended Range Low Pressure (ERLP), is a NATO-standard high–low grenade launcher cartridge meant for hand-held grenade launchers. Its purpose is to be an intermediate cartridge between the 40×46mm low-velocity and 40×53mm high-velocity cartridges and is thus referred to as 40 mm medium velocity. They’re a newer entry to the game.

      As you suggest, you don’t want to fire the 40×53mm HV (high velocity), high–low grenade launcher cartridge meant for mounted or crew-served automatic grenade launchers, such as the Mk.19 AGL, Mk 47 Striker, HK GMG, STK 40 AGL, etc. from an M-79

      Metal Storm Limited in Australia designed several automatic caseless 40 mm grenade launcher systems based on their own caseless ammunition weapon design. The Metal Storm design lacked a feeding magazine and instead stacked the projectiles in front of each other in the barrel with the propellant in between the projectiles. The system lacked moving parts and the propellant was electronically primed, allowing for rates of fire up to one million rounds per minute.

      I would love to take a Metal Storm system to the range locally…

  7. The drones used against the Armanien military turned out to be a game changer. Tanks, radar and vehicles all destroyed by drones.

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