Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Would you like some of the bullets back?
Performance will be monitored and there will be a system of rewards and penalties. BAE Systems will invest in the Royal Ordnance factories it bought in the late 1980s, some of the equipment dating back from the Second World War. BAE's Radway Green facility will be expanded to double capacity. Happily it is also "green", 18,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year will be reduced. Well the Army has always been green.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Russia has also been accused of assisting with ethnic cleansing of Georgians from South Ossetia. Georgia has compiled a list of Russian attacks on it's territory.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Meanwhile Abkhazia is taking advantage of the situation to strengthen it's position and are posting troops on their border with Georgia. Russian tanks have begun withdrawal from Gori finally and there has been a prisoner exchange between Russia and Georgia though Russia are accusing Georgia of not withdrawing from South Ossetia.
Desert Hawk is used to over look patrols and reconnaissance for bases with live video footage to the operator's laptop which can also be viewed later by commanders.
Monday, August 18, 2008
The Philippine Coast Guard are meanwhile providing boats to evacuate civilians from areas being attacked by MILF forces.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Meanwhile the Georgian government are claiming that Russian troops working with Abkhazian separatists are seizing more territory for the breakaway region from Georgia and also continuing to carry out acts of sabotage against Georgian infrastructure such as the destruction of a bridge in the Kaspi district. South Ossetian militia are also claimed to be attacking civilians around Gori. Meanwhile 37,000 South Ossetian civilians (which is over half the population of the region isn't it?) have fled into Russia where they are living in emergency shelters.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Meanwhile Russia have been accused of using cluster bombs against the Georgians after claims by US human rights groups. The Russian military however denied the weapons, banned by many countries, had been used. Some relief operations have been hampered by gunmen who stole vehicles from UN workers in Gori.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Meanwhile the US and UK have pulled out of a planned joint naval exercise with Russia and France.
As for the cyber attacks themselves Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks were used by Russian hackers to knock out the Georgian websites by overwhelming the servers with masses of requests. Russia Today's website was also knocked out by a DDoS attack, the initial attack coming from Georgia.
An alternative way of hacking electronics
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
The Georgian ship Tbilisi is then reported to have been hit by a Russian SS-N-9 missile and destroyed, it sinking within minutes. Though photos which appear to show Tbilisi on fire at port would perhaps indicate it was either able to get away or another ship was sunk.
Anyway another Georgian ship was damaged but was able to escape according to the report. Russian ships also launched missile attacks on Kodori according to the Georgian government and "saboteurs" destroyed various Georgian coast guard vessels.
Meanwhile the Russians have said 74 Russian military personnel died during the fighting with Georgia. They also said 1,600 civilians were killed in South Ossetia during the conflict. The Mayor of Tskhinvali said 70% of the buildings in the city were damaged or destroyed.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
An aspect of the war has been the often one-sided coverage of events, to be honest i've felt a lot of western outlets have been ridiculously overtly anti-Russian and gave the impression that the original Georgian attack on South Ossetia never happened. However there has also been a lack of coverage of Russia's bombing of Georgia in the Russian media.
It is clear that the Russians have moved outside of the 2 breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia such as taking the western town of Zugdidi but no evidence yet they intend to advance on the Georgian capital Tbilisi. Meanwhile Galrahn's always excellent blog has a report on the interesting problems bloggers are giving for Russian operations security. Blogs both from military and non-military sources, an example of the former.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Georgian forces appear to be withdrawing back to the capital Tbilisi though Russia has accused Georgia of making an air attack on South Ossetia using helicopters.
15 villages in Cotabato were occupied by MILF fighters but now 2 have been cleared the army said.
There are signs the conflict could be coming to an end though as Russian President Medvedev has said objectives in South Ossetia are nearly completed with his forces now in control of the Ossetian capital, though the Georgians say Russia want to invade all of their country.
Meanwhile Israel will limit future sales of UAVs to Georgia to avoid angering the Russians. Three Elbit Hermes 450 UAVs have been destroyed by the Russians in recent months including one which memorably filmed it's own destruction at the hands (or rather AAM) of a MiG-29.
Undersea volcanoes 6km below the Caribbean will be searched for and explored by Britain's new robot submarine the Autosub6000. The Cayman Trough between Jamaica and the Cayman Islands is the world's deepest volcanic ridge and unexplored. Autosub6000 can dive to more than 6000 metres and operate without control from the surface. First of all it will try and find the volcanic vents, once found the sediments, gas and life living there will be catalogued.
Autosub6000 is an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) that can be equipped with a variety of sensors such as cameras, sonars and samplers. It is guided using "an Ixsea PHINS Fiber Optic Gyro (FOG) based Inertial Navigation System".
Russian forces proported to be in Abkhazia
Meanwhile there are reports of dead mercenaries among Georgian losses in Tskhinvali or dead soldiers with dark skins anyway who are said to be either mercenaries or military advisers. An American soldier is a prisoner of the Russians though photos of him seem to be bogus.
Georgian soldiers usually look like this
Meanwhile there are signs the Russians have unleashed cyber warfare (how cool) against Georgia. Also have a look here for some interesting commentary on possible bigger consequences behind the events of the last few days.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Russian artillery operating in South Ossetia
Georgian troops prepare for battle in Gori
Meanwhile there are signs of escalation of the conflict, the Russian Navy is blockading Georgian ports (though they deny it of course) on the Black Sea and Russian sources are claiming a Georgian missile boat was sunk when it tried to attack Russian ships. Georgia has said the Russians have landed thousands of troops in the other breakaway region of Abkhazia, a sign that they want to open up a second front and more secure logistics line perhaps. The way into South Ossetia from Russia is via one road and tunnel and thus rather vulnerable. Incidentally the port the Russians are landing the forces at, Ochamchire, was linked to Russia by a new railway line completed just a couple of months ago. By the way Ukraine says Russian ships that attack Georgia will not be allowed back into it's waters to use the naval base the Russians lease there.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Georgia is now trying to withdraw the troops it has in Iraq to help bolster it's forces back home. The Georgian president Saakashvili appealed to the US for help, they are allies after all though surely even Saakashvili can't imagine the US will start World War 3 over Georgia? Georgian aims in all of this mess are interesting, i suspect they want to bring their long-running problems with Russia into the open and get the international community involved. Its a high risk game thats for sure.
But why not grant South Ossetia independance one might ask, if it's good enough for Kosovo it's good enough for them surely?
Friday, August 8, 2008
SU-25, Georgian examples have been in action
A dificult situation for Georgia and the rest of the region, you can't really see how this could end well especially if Russia get involved. However at the moment the Bear is inactive, perhaps because Putin is in Beijing? If so the Georgian attack was perfectly timed. Georgian forces are said to be all over South Ossetia and victory should be assured... for now anyway.
Update : Georgian forces are observing a 3 hour ceasefire to allow civilians to leave the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali. Meanwhile there are reports of possible troop movements on the Russian side of the border, Russia pledging to protect it's nationals stuck in South Ossetia.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Monday, August 4, 2008
Friday, August 1, 2008
Zeppelins fascinate me especially their use in WW1 where, lets face it, they didn't do very well. The Baby Killers documents the use of the zeppelin (which i am using for the Schütte-Lanz airships too) as a bomber in WW1 along with aeroplane bombers which followed on afterwards.
We can only suppose what it must have been like on one of these raids, flying slowly over the seas and then over land in often terrible weather and cold (raids took place at night). Navigation was rudimentary and the zeppelin could not outrun trouble. Although it could out climb aeroplanes and flak at least for a while the crews were always aware they were traveling on a huge slow moving bag of highly inflammable gas. Indeed such was the fear of the gas that in some cases crewmen chose to jump overboard out of the zeppelin (without a parachute and thus to near certain death) if the zeppelin was on fire rather than be burnt alive. Thomas Fegan documents all this as well as including some intriguing photographs from the raids.
The reaction of the British people is also documented, and Fegan reveals that the "stiff upper lip" was not always in evidence. This was the first time war had been raged against civilians on such a scale on the British mainland for centuries and the first time civilians had been bombed from the air and it was a terrible shock. Waging war on civilians was considered cowardly and criminal, the German zeppelin crews were called baby killers (hence the book's title). Fegan quotes from letters and diaries of normal people to convey the shock, fear and sometimes excitement of the people during the raids.
The second part of the book is a gazetteer documenting where each raid took place. Of course i had to look at Birmingham, actually we fared quite well here and got off pretty lightly. However amusingly on one zeppelin raid the zeppelin was sent to bomb Liverpool but went slightly off course and ended up mistaking Tipton for Birkenhead and bombed that instead.
Overall a very readable and enjoyable book which does a good job of portraying the events and also the people behind them.
Late-Victorian to WW1 era military technology is something I am very interested in these days, especially in terms of battleships, zeppelins and gas warfare (OK now i am starting to sound a bit weird). The Dreadnought Project is an excellent website dedicated to modeling the ships of the Dreadnought era and there are some nifty computer models on there.
The part i like the best though are some of the photo galleries which show photographs from a number of collections, what i like about the photos is they are largely "ordinary". They arn't posed or familiar action photographs but images of ordinary every day life in extraordinary times. Gold dust to anyone interested in history like me.
Another interesting site covering the olden days of naval warfare is My Victorian Navy.