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The Strategic Wisdom Behind D-Day’s Success

The National Interest - Thu, 06/06/2024 - 22:28

Whether, when, and how to open a new combat theater or line of operations ranks among the most freighted decisions military commanders and their political overseers can ever make. Today, of course, marks the eightieth anniversary of D-Day, the Allied landings in German-occupied Normandy. There is no shortage of tales of valor and sorrow out there to commemorate the day, and I would not presume to add to them. Instead let’s revisit the June 6 assault on Fortress Europe through the prism of strategic theory. 

Strategic grandmaster Carl von Clausewitz beseeches military and political leaders to ask themselves three hard questions before vaulting forces into a new theater like World War II France. Clausewitz deliberately sets the bar high for such a decision. He regarded strategy as a process of setting and enforcing priorities, his logic being that no combatant society boasts enough diplomatic, economic and industrial, and military resources to accomplish all worthy goals it espies. A combatant that tries to achieve everything, everywhere, ends up achieving little, anywhere. It dilutes its strength among multiple commitments, leaving itself weaker than antagonists at every point of impact on the map or nautical chart. 

Trying to do it all courts extreme peril. 

For the sage of Prussia, then, it’s best to decide what matters most and husband manpower and firepower to obtain it. As a corollary the leadership should abjure secondary endeavors except on a not-to-interfere basis with attaining the primary goal. It makes no sense to forfeit what matters most for the sake of something that matters less. That’s why he fashioned what I’ve taken to calling his “Three Rs” to guide decisionmaking vis-à-vis new theaters or efforts. 

Namely reward, resources, and risk. 

Again, Clausewitz counsels military magnates to concentrate on one big thing rather than trying to do it all. Striking repeatedly and relentlessly at whatever lends cohesion to the foe’s army, government, or society blazes the surest route to triumph at arms. Still, he does grudgingly allow that extraordinary circumstances could warrant extraordinary measures. Siphoning resources from the main theater could be worthwhile, he concedes, “when secondary operations look exceptionally rewarding. But we must repeat that only decisive superiority can justify diverting strength without risking too much in the principal theater” (his emphasis). 

So there’s your trusty Clausewitzian guide to thinking through weighty decisions such as whether to mount an amphibious invasion of France. The more abundant the resources, the lower the risk—and the easier it is to give the order setting in motion a promising new enterprise. 

In that strategic sense Allied leaders’ decision to proceed with Operation Overlord was easy in mid-1944. After all, American industry had fully geared up by then and was turning out mountains of war matériel—easing the military poverty Clausewitz saw in his own lifetime. Material plenty allowed the Allies to open the new theater at the same time fighting raged in Italy, and at the same time U.S. Army, Navy, and Marine forces were lumbering across the Pacific toward imperial Japan. Indeed, U.S. forces staged amphibious landings on the island of Saipan—an operation of magnitude comparable to D-Day—within days after the landings in Normandy. 

In short, not just decisive but crushing superiority of resources opens up new operational and strategic vistas. It lets political and military leaders ordain new ventures without running undue risk in likewise important theaters. Despite his qualms about frittering away resources, Clausewitz would have to approve of the decision to invade Normandy eighty years ago today. 

And he would arch an eyebrow in wonderment at how the mighty U.S. defense industry has fallen since. 

About the Author: Dr. James Holmes, U.S. Naval War College 

Dr. James Holmes is J. C. Wylie Chair of Maritime Strategy at the Naval War College and a Nonresident Fellow at the University of Georgia School of Public and International Affairs. The views voiced here are his alone. 

All images are Creative Commons. 

Hunter Biden Might Be In Trouble

The National Interest - Thu, 06/06/2024 - 22:19

Summary and Key Points: Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, could face decades in prison if convicted on felony gun charges. This trial, occurring shortly after former President Donald Trump’s conviction in New York, has garnered significant attention.

-Hunter Biden’s charges include lying about his drug use on a federal form when purchasing a handgun and possessing a firearm while addicted to drugs.

-The case is seen by some as politically motivated. If convicted, Biden faces serious legal consequences, and President Biden has stated he will not pardon his son.

-The trial’s outcome may hinge heavily on the evidence presented.

Hunter Biden’s Historic Gun Charges Trial Begins Amid Political Tensions

The deeply troubled son of President Joe Biden could face decades in prison if convicted on felony gun charges in the now historic trial.

This week, Hunter Biden became the first child of a sitting president to go to trial – and it comes just days after former President Donald Trump was convicted of a felony in New York for falsifying business records related to a hush-money payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

The case involving the younger Biden is being as closely watched by observers as Trump's trial, especially as many Republicans have suggested there is a two-tier justice system that wrongly convicted the former president. However, the cases aren't the least bit similar – with the exception that neither man has any prior convictions. For that reason, in both cases, it could result in a lesser sentence. Trump faces up to four years for his low-level felony conviction and is scheduled to be sentenced in July.

Hunter Biden's situation is more serious. The first two charges in the three-count federal indictment are tied to the purchase of a handgun that the president's son made, including lying on a form that is submitted to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); and affirming that he was legally allowed to buy the weapon.

The president's son responded to the questions about whether he was an "unlawful user of, or addicted to" any illegal drugs by checking "no." At the time, Biden was addicted to crack cocaine, which according to his own admission, he was used quite often.

The third count relates to the possession of the handgun, as it is against federal law to possess a firearm while abusing drugs.

Biden only had the weapon for 11 days, before his paramour – who was his late older brother's widow – threw the gun in a dumpster over concerns for his mental health. That trash receptacle was reported to be near a school, and it was later found by someone who was collecting cans, and then turned over to the police.

"Guns present a danger if they get in the wrong hands, and that’s the impetus behind these laws," Nabeel Kibria, a Washington, DC-based defense attorney who has handled hundreds of gun cases, told CNN. "The evidence seems pretty stacked against Hunter … but who determines who is an addict? What are the bright-line rules that must be followed?"

Hunter Biden Trial: Is It a Witch Hunt or Politically Motivated?

Many Democratic lawmakers have remained quiet on the issue, but supporters of the president on social media have largely called the case to be politically motivated, and an attempt to hurt President Biden's reelection chances this November.

The gun charges were originally to be dismissed as part of a plea deal made last year, but after that fell apart, prosecutors moved forward to prosecute Hunter Biden for his illegal purchase and possession of the firearm. Legal experts have been divided on whether the charges are warranted, while Hunter Biden's legal team has tried to suggest he made an error while filling out the form.

It will first be up to the jury to decide whether the president's son is guilty of any three or all of the charges. If he is found guilty, District Judge Maryellen Noreika, who is presiding over the case, will ultimately determine his fate and whether he is sent to prison.

As the case is being held in Delaware, the home state of the Biden family, the president's son may have a more friendly juror perhaps than former President Trump had in his Manhattan courtroom. However, Noreika was appointed by Trump.

In other words, this may truly be a case where the evidence will be more crucial than ever.

Finally, the White House has been quite vocal that it would not pardon Hunter Biden if convicted – as President Biden does have the power to issue such a pardon or to commute the sentence. Experts have suggested with such a close election, the president may be forced to see Hunter head to prison – at least until after Election Day.

Author Experience and Expertise: Peter Suciu

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu. You can email the author: Editor@nationalinterest.org.

All images are from Shutterstock. 

A New Cold War Needs Its Own Rules

Foreign Policy - Thu, 06/06/2024 - 22:16
Conflict with China is inevitable—but controllable.

Tensions Flare Between North and South Korea

Foreign Policy - Thu, 06/06/2024 - 22:12
It started with dung-filled balloons and spiraled from there.

Guillaume Tabard: «Solenniser, dramatiser, pour mobiliser»

Le Figaro / Politique - Thu, 06/06/2024 - 22:11
CONTRE-POINT - Entre son rôle de maître de cérémonie pour les 80 ans du Débarquement et son entretien télévisé, Macron s'est approprié le monopole de l'attention des électeurs au moment même où leur choix définitif se fixe.
Categories: France

Joe Biden Should Worry: Russia Vows to Arm Enemies of America

The National Interest - Thu, 06/06/2024 - 22:06

Summary and Key Points: During the Cold War, the U.S. and its allies supported anti-communist nations, while the Soviet Union backed pro-communist regimes. This dynamic continues today, with the West aiding Ukraine, prompting Russia to threaten reciprocal military support to anti-Western nations.

-At the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev hinted at supplying weapons to regions hostile to Western interests.

-Despite these threats, Russia's capacity to provide such aid is hampered by sanctions and its own military needs, making these statements likely more saber-rattling than serious threats.

Russia Threatens to Arm Anti-Western Nations in Response to Ukraine Aid

During the Cold War, the United States and its Western allies provided weapons and support to anti-communist nations, while the Soviet Union and her satellite states provided similar support to foster the spread of communism. Beginning with 1947's Truman Doctrine, Washington vowed to "provide political, military and economic assistance to all democratic nations under threat from external or internal authoritarian forces."

Today the West continues similar support to nations such as Ukraine, a fact that has received condemnation from Moscow, which now has vowed to provide its own military aid to nations and regimes that aren't so friendly to NATO, the U.S. and its allies.

According to a report from Russian state media outlet Tass, this week at a meeting with the heads of international news agencies at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged that the Kremlin was considering how to respond to the Western aid provided to Ukraine. That could include supplying "similar weapons" to regions where "painful strikes" could be carried out on Western targets.

Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev – who previously served as president of Russia – echoed Putin's comments.

"This marks quite a significant change in our foreign policy," explained Medvedev. "This is what the Yankees and their drooling European dogs think: we have the right to send any weapons to Ukraine but no country can help Russia.

"Now let the US and its allies feel the direct impact of the use of Russian weapons by third parties," Medvedev added. "This could be anyone who considers Yankeeland as their enemy, regardless of their political beliefs or international recognition."

Specific nations weren't named, but the Russian Security Council deputy chairman went on to suggest that if a nation is an "enemy" of the United States, "then they are our friends," and would possibly be provided weapons and other military aid.

"And let the use of Russian weapons in the so far unidentified 'regions' be as devastating as possible for their and our adversaries. Let 'the sensitive facilities of countries providing weapons to Ukraine' burn in hellfire, along with those who operate them," Medvedev said. "As for us, we will rejoice in the successful strikes involving our weapons against our common enemies."

Empty Promise Or Serious Threat?

Even as Moscow has seen its position among the international community deteriorate since it launched its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Russia continues to maintain support with nations around the world including China, Belarus, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Syria, Myanmar, Eritrea, Pakistan and Kazakhstan.

What aid Russia can actually send remains an issue, as international sanctions have resulted in it struggling to produce military hardware for its own needs. In addition, some former clients – notably India – have been slowly turning away from Moscow.

Moreover, while the Kremlin is directly involved in a conflict in Ukraine, the West is largely not engaged in any full-blown fighting. Though Medvedev could be seen to suggest that various nations could strike at U.S. interests, it would be foolish to believe Tehran, Havana, or Pyongyang would follow through even with prodding. Such a regime would be unlikely to survive for long.

Thus, Putin's and Medvedev's words should be seen as mere saber rattling, while their blades are simply old and rusty.

Author Experience and Expertise: Peter Suciu

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu. You can email the author: Editor@nationalinterest.org.

Image Credit: Shutterstock. 

Turkey is Set to be a Tank Powerhouse with Altay Main Battle Tank

The National Interest - Thu, 06/06/2024 - 21:43

Summary and Main Points: Turkey, which maintains one of Europe’s largest tank fleets, is set to modernize its armored force with the Altay main battle tank (MBT).

-The Turkish Defence Industry Agency (SSB) announced that serial production of the Altay will begin earlier than expected, with the first tanks entering service in 2024.

-The Altay, based on South Korea’s K2 Black Panther, features a domestically designed powerpack system and advanced protection systems.

-Equipped with a Rheinmetall 120mm L/55 smoothbore gun, the Altay is designed to meet Turkey’s self-sufficiency goals in arms production.

-Turkey is also exploring export opportunities for the Altay MBT.

Turkey’s Altay Tank: Modernizing Europe’s Largest Tank Fleet

NATO member nation Turkey maintains one of Europe’s largest fleets of tanks. According to figures from Global Firepower, the Turk Kara Kuvvelleri (Turkish Land Forces) maintains an arsenal of 2,622 tanks—but many are older models, dating back to the Cold War. Efforts to modernize its armored force have picked up.

The Turkish Defence Industry Agency (SSB) announced on May 29 that serial production will begin on its Altay main battle tank (MBT), a year earlier than originally expected.

“We are moving to serial production of the Altay tank,” SSB president Haluk Görgün told public broadcaster TRT Haber, per Janes. “There are countries that want to work with us on this internationally, and we are continuing our negotiations with them.”

The Turkish military received its first two prototype Altay MBTs from BMC Defense for testing in April 2023 and is now on track to enter service with the Turk Kara Kuvvelleri sometime next year.

Honoring a Hero of Turkey

The indigenously developed and produced Turkish MBT was named to honor General Fahrettin Altay—whose surname meaning red horse or colt was given to him by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic. Altay served in the Gallipoli and Palestine campaigns during World War I and was a cavalry commander during the Turkish War of Independence.

The Altay MBT is based on South Korea’s K2 Black Panther but was further designed and developed to meet the needs of the Turk Kara Kuvvelleri. It is equipped with a domestically designed powerpack system. Ankara sought to create the powerpack—which encompasses both the engine and transmission system—and other subsystems to reduce the reliance on foreign technology, but to further strengthen Turkey’s self-sufficiency in arms production, Defense and Security Monitor reported.

Its main armament is a Rheinmetall 120mm L/55 smoothbore gun, while second weapons included a 12.7mm (.50 caliber) commander’s machine gun and a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun. It is reported to be able to carry forty 120mm rounds of various types for the main gun.

The Altay is also outfitted with a number of advanced protection systems that help the survivability of the crew, including advanced armor with CRBRN (chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear) protection, and a C3I (command, control, communications, and intelligence) system, as well as a fire-extinguishing and explosion suppression system. In addition to a laser warning system and battlefield target identification system, the Altay is further equipped with the Aselsan’s Örümcek 360-degree situational awareness platform that was BMC Defense first unveiled in March 2023.

The Turkish MBT will be operated by a crew of four that includes a commander, driver, gunner, and loader. The tank is on the heavier side, weighing about 71 tons. However, it is capable of reaching a maximum speed of 70 km/h (43 mph), with an operational range of 500 km (310 miles).

While designed to meet the needs of Turk Kara Kuvvelleri, Ankara will explore export options for the Altay.

“We are very strong as a country in the ground vehicle industry,” added Görgün. “We have several companies that export abroad. All their products have advantages that can compete with their global counterparts.”

About the Author: Peter Suciu 

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu. You can email the author: Editor@nationalinterest.org.

Main image is of Altay tank. Others are of K2 Black Panther that helped inspire the Altay tank. Image Credit: Shutterstock. 

Supercavitating Torpedoes: Russia and Iran Have Them (The Navy Doesn’t)

The National Interest - Thu, 06/06/2024 - 21:36

Summary: Supercavitating torpedoes, which use a cavitation bubble to reduce drag and achieve high speeds, are operated by Russia, Iran, Germany, and not the U.S.

These torpedoes have a distinctive nose to create the bubble and often use rocket propulsion to maintain high speeds. Russia's VA-111 Shkval, in service since 1977, is a prime example, reaching speeds up to 290 mph. Iran's Hoot, believed to be reverse-engineered from the VA-111, can reach 220 mph but has a limited range of six miles.

Despite their speed, supercavitating torpedoes have a shorter operational range compared to conventional torpedoes like the U.S. Mark-48.

Two of America’s primary foes, Russia and Iran, possess a supercavitating torpedo.

As the name suggests, a supercavitating torpedo uses supercavitation to move through the water at higher velocities than conventional torpedoes. Supercavitation is the use of a cavitation bubble to reduce drag. 

Supercavitating Torpedoes, Explained

The bubble forms at the nose of the object – in this case, a torpedo – and extends past the aft end of the object. It prevents contact between the sides of the object and the liquid medium through which it passes. The separation that the bubble creates between the object (torpedo) and the liquid (ocean water) significantly reduces skin friction drag, allowing the object to achieve higher speeds. 

Supercavitating objects typically feature a distinctive nose, with a sharp-edged perimeter designed to produce the bubble. The nose is often articulated and shaped like a flat disk or cone. The body of the supercavitating object is typically slender – all the better to be enveloped in a cavitation bubble.

If the bubble created is not long enough to encompass the entire object, high-pressure gas can be injected near the object’s nose to extend the bubble. 

Rocket propulsion is often used to sustain the high speeds needed to achieve supercavitation. Various methods can be used to maneuver a supercavitating object, including: differential thrust from multiple nozzles; vectoring rocket thrust through a gimbaling single nozzle; a tilted object nose; gas injected asymmetrically near the object’s nose to distort the bubble’s geometry; and drag fins that can project through the bubble into the surrounding liquid. 

Reverse-Engineered Supercavitation

The Soviets started experimenting with supercavitating torpedoes in the 1960s. Russia's current flagship model is the VA-111 Shkval, which has been in service since 1977. The VA-111 is launched from a 533mm torpedo tube and relies on a solid-fuel rocket to achieve cavitation speeds.

A combined-cycle gas turbine in the nose creates the gas bubble. Once the VA-111 has achieved the requisite speed, an underwater ramjet, fueled by hydroreactive metals that use seawater, helps keep the torpedo humming at speeds of 230 miles per hour. Some reports suggest the VA-111 is even capable of reaching 290mph, and that the Russians may be working to develop a model capable of exceeding 350mph. The VA-111 uses four fins to change direction.

Russia jealously guards its supercavitating technology. In 2000, a U.S. citizen named Edmond Pope was convicted of espionage related to information he gathered about the VA-111. Pope, a former U.S. naval officer turned businessman, was said to be spying on behalf of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency. He was sentenced to 20 years, but after being held for 253 days, Pope was pardoned on humanitarian grounds by newly elected Russian President Vladimir Putin: The U.S. government claimed that Pope had a rare form of bone cancer. Pope has always maintained his innocence.

Iran operates a supercavitating torpedo, too, the Hoot (which is Persian for Whale). Most industry experts agree that Iran reverse-engineered the VA-111 to create the Hoot, which has been in service since 2006. Apparently, the torpedo can reach speeds of 220mph, but it only has a six-mile operational range. Iran claims to have successfully test-fired their supercavitating torpedo from a surface ship in the Strait of Hormuz.

Despite their advanced speeds, supercavitating torpedoes are limited in range to under 10 miles. Conventional torpedoes, like the American Mark-48, can travel 24 miles. 

About the Author

Harrison Kass is a prolific defense writer with over 1,000 published articles. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. He lives in Oregon and listens to Dokken.

Image Credit: U.S. Navy or Creative Commons. 

Socialists-Greens head to head with Wilders’ far-right in the Netherlands: EU election exit poll

Euractiv.com - Thu, 06/06/2024 - 21:30
The green-social democrat shared list has scored the highest number of seats in the Netherlands, with the far-right PVV just behind, according to the exit poll.
Categories: European Union

Beast Mode: The F-35 Has a Secret Weapon Russia Can't Match

The National Interest - Thu, 06/06/2024 - 21:28

Summary and Key Points: The F-35, a fifth-generation stealth fighter, is typically lauded for its advanced features and precision capabilities.

-However, the F-35 also boasts impressive versatility through its "Beast Mode" configuration, where it shifts from stealth operations to carrying a substantial payload of 22,000 pounds of ordnance on internal and external hardpoints.

-This mode allows the F-35 to deliver significant firepower after establishing air superiority, enhancing its multi-role functionality.

-This adaptability justifies the hefty $1.7 trillion program cost by enabling the F-35 to serve effectively in various phases of conflict, including prolonged engagements.

The F-35 is typically perceived as a graceful and refined fighter, created with advanced features emphasizing concealment and surgical precision. The common perception is grounded in truth; indeed, the F-35 is a fifth-generation stealth fighter, built to house software that enhances network connectivity and data sharing. But the common perception discredits the F-35 for its versatility – and for its ability to “roll up its sleeves.”

Remember, the F-35 is a multi-role fighter, and when prompted, can be reconfigured as a straightforward, knuckle-dragging, bomb-carrier. The reconfiguration is known as “Beast Mode.”

All Out Flight 

Designed with stealth technology, the F-35 is adept at entering contested airspace, avoiding detection, and engaging enemy targets – all before air superiority is established. Really, the F-35 is designed expressly to initially establish air superiority. And because the F-35 is designed to be stealthy, concessions were made with respect to weapons payloads. To enhance its stealth characteristics, the F-35 uses an internal weapons bay, rather than external hard points that drastically increase an aircraft’s radar cross-section. While the internal weapons bay makes for a stealthier airframe, the storage space, inside the fuselage, is limited. 

F-35 Stealth or Carry: Enter Beast Mode 

In stealth mode, when the F-35 carries weapons internally, the jet can handle just 5,700 pounds of ordinance. That breaks down to either four AIM 120 AMRAAM missiles (for air-to-air missions), or alternatively – for hybrid missions – two AMRAAMs paired with two GBU-31 JDAM bombs. That’s not very much firepower – but the concession is worthwhile to gain stealth benefits. 

However, once air superiority is established, once an enemy loses its anti-air systems such as air defense missiles and guns, sensors, interceptor aircraft, stealth mode becomes less relevant. And when stealth loses its relevance, the F-35 can enter “Beast Mode,” and use its external hard points to maximize its firepower.

In Beast Mode, the F-35 can handle four times more ordinance than when operating in stealth mode. Using the external hardpoints plus the internal weapons bay, the F-35 can carry 22,000 pounds of ordinance. That breaks down to 14 AMRAAMs and two AIM-3x Sidewinder missiles for air-to-air missiles.

Or, for hybrid missions, the jet can be outfitted with two AMRAAMs, two Sidewinders, and six JDAM 2,000-pound bombs. Indeed, the boost in firepower is significant – although, in Beast Mode, the F-35’s operational range is cut in half – to just 1,400 kilometers. 

Something may feel counterintuitive about using the F-35, a fifth-generation jet/supercomputer, as a simple bomb truck – a role that clunkier, Cold War-era aircraft, like the F-16 or B-52, are entirely equipped to handle. Yet, when you consider that the F-35 program cost taxpayers 1.7 trillion dollars, the notion of using the jet just to secure air superiority in the opening salvo of a conflict becomes offensive. 

If you’re going to spend that type of money on an airframe, you’d better milk it for all it’s worth – a sentiment that the Beast Mode configuration embodies. And for the U.S., which has a tendency to invade countries with rudimentary air defense systems – and then stick around for multi-decade occupations – the F-35 needs to be able to do more than just sneak around and wipe out air defense systems in the first few days of conflict. 

About the Author

Harrison Kass is a prolific defense writer with over 1,000 articles published. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison has degrees from Lake Forest College, the University of Oregon, and New York University. He lives in Oregon and listens to Dokken. Follow him on Twitter @harrison_kass.

All images are Creative Commons. 

The Navy's Iowa-Class Battleships are the Best Battleships Ever

The National Interest - Thu, 06/06/2024 - 21:23

Summary and Key Points: The Iowa-class battleships, launched during WWII, are iconic symbols of U.S. naval power. Four ships—USS Iowa, USS New Jersey, USS Missouri, and USS Wisconsin—served in major conflicts from WWII to the Gulf War.

-Armed with nine 16-inch guns and renowned for their speed and firepower, these battleships were critical in various naval operations.

-The USS Missouri famously hosted Japan's surrender in 1945.

-All four ships are now museum exhibits, with USS Iowa located in Los Angeles Harbor, offering a glimpse into their storied past.

Exploring the Storied History of the Iowa-Class Battleships

Here's a fact you will appreciate:  I've actually toured the USS Iowa (BB-61) on multiple occasions.

The Battleship USS Iowa Museum in Los Angeles Harbor/San Pedro has been open to the public since 2012, and it is a tour I highly recommend.

My personal friend Andrew Silber, now-retired former proprietor of the delightful Whale & Ale British Pub and Restaurant in San Pedro—a superb choice of venue for vittles and refreshments after you finish your ship tour—was one of the key local community leaders responsible for helping to bring the Iowa Museum to the Harbor.

Having said all that, let’s look at the history of this iconic battleship class:

The Berth, er, Birth, of the Battleships

The Iowa-class battleships trace their origins back to 1939 and 1940, i.e. before the bombing of Pearl Harbor crippled the U.S. Navy’s older pre-existing battleship fleet. Designed to meet the “escalator clause” of the Second London Naval Treaty via their 16-inch main guns and 45,000-long-ton standard displacement – though they actually ended up slightly overweight at 47,825 long tons – they were intended to intercept fast capital ships such as the Imperial Japanese Navy’s (IJN) Kongō class whilst also being capable of serving in a traditional battle line alongside slower battleships and act as its "fast wing.”  A total of four such vessels were built:  Iowa, New Jersey, Missouri (“The Mighty Mo”), and Wisconsin.

These big beasts carried nine of those aforementioned 16-inch guns – divvied amongst two turrets, fore and one aft – which could lob a 2,700-pound (1,225 kg) shell over a distance of 23.4 nautical miles (43.3 km). They are 860 feet (262.13 m) long at the waterline and 887 feet 3 inches (270.43 m) long overall with a beam of 108 feet 2 inches (32.97 m), and a Class A armor belt 12.1 inches (307 mm) thick.

Iowa-Class - As a Quick Aside

Interestingly enough, the Iowas never got to test their mettle against Japanese battleships or battlecruisers. The reason: only two WWII battleship-to-battleship engagements pitting the USN against the IJN involved other battleship classes: (1) the USS Washington BB-56), a North Carolina-class battleship which sank the Kirishima during the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal on 15 November 1942; and (2) the Surigao Stait phase of the Battle of Leyte Gulf, when Rear Admiral Jesse Oldendorf “crossed the T” of Vice Admiral Shōji Nishimura’s fleet, resulting in the sinking of the latter admiral’s battleships Fusō and Yamashiro – though the Fusō was sunk by destroyer torpedoes before the American BBs could get in their licks.

It was also an act of sweet revenge for Pearl Harbor, as out of the six U.S. battleships that participated—West Virginia, Maryland, Mississippi, Tennessee, California, and Pennsylvania—all except Mississippi had been sunk or damaged at Pearl and subsequently repaired or rebuilt, which goes to prove the old saying the payback is a … battleship (yeah, that’s it). 

To this day, many seapower buffs love to hypothesize who would win in a “what-if” battle between the Iowas and the IJN’s biggest gun (as in 18-inchers) Yamato and Musashi

A Piece of the Action…and Hosting a Sweet Surrender

Nonetheless, the Iowa-class behemoths still saw more than their fair share of combat action, from the Pacific Theater of WWII to Korea to Vietnam to Lebanon to Iraq. The overwhelming majority of these involved provided naval gunfire support (NGFS) against enemy shore batteries and installations (including on the main Japanese home island of Honshū), although the USS Iowa herself did have the satisfaction of engaging in at least one surface ship-to-ship battle, sinking the light cruiser Katoriwith a loss of all hands, 315 officers and enlisted sailors – off of the island of Truk on 17 February 1944.  

Arguably the biggest claim to fame for any Iowa-class warship was the Missouri’s hosting of the signing of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender on 02 September 1945, thus enabling the Iowa class to get the proverbial last laugh against Hideki Tojo. 

The Iowas’ last hurrah—indeed the last combat action for any battleship class—occurred during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, when the Wisconsin and Missouri combined to fire 1,078 16-inch shells at Iraqi targets. A somewhat amusing additional accomplishment during this same conflict occurred when some of Saddam Hussein’s troops surrendered to the Mighty Mo’s Pioneer UAV during the initial shelling on 24 February 1991, as it spotted targets for the mighty battlewagons—history’s first recorded surrender to a drone on a battlefield.

Iowa-Class - Where Are They Now?

Iowa, New Jersey, Missouri, and Wisconsin were decommissioned for the final time in 1990, 1991 1992, and 1991 respectively. All have since been converted to museum ship status; besides the Iowa museum already mentioned at the beginning of this article, New Jersey is berthed in Camden, NJ (appropriately enough), Missouri at Pearl Harbor, and Wisconsin in Norfolk, VA. The latter three are definitely bucket list items of mine.

About the Author

Christian D. Orr is a former Air Force officer, Federal law enforcement officer, and private military contractor (with assignments worked in Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Kosovo, Japan, Germany, and the Pentagon). He has also been published in The Daily Torch and The Journal of Intelligence and Cyber Security.

Image Credit: Creative Commons. 

Germany Is Going All-in With the Eurofighter Typhoon

The National Interest - Thu, 06/06/2024 - 21:15

Summary and Key Points: Germany is set to bolster its air force by purchasing 20 additional Eurofighter Typhoons from Airbus, as announced by Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

-This acquisition, valued at approximately 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion), enhances Germany's defense capabilities and ensures Airbus's production lines remain active through 2032.

-The Luftwaffe currently operates 138 Eurofighters, which serve as a key component of its combat fleet. In addition, Germany will receive 35 Lockheed Martin F-35A fighters starting in 2027.

-Germany is also collaborating with France and Spain on the Future Combat Air System (FCAS), a sixth-generation fighter project expected to be operational by the early 2040s.

Germany Expands Air Force with 20 More Eurofighter Typhoons

The Eurofighter Typhoon has taken Europe by storm, and on Wednesday, German chancellor Olaf Scholz announced that the Luftwaffe will purchase an additional twenty Eurofighters from maker Airbus. Berlin has greatly increased its defense spending as a result of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Scholz has been committed to maintaining and expanding Germany’s arms production capacity, a point he made in a speech at the opening of the ILA air show outside of Berlin.

“That is why we will order 20 more Eurofighters before the end of this legislative session—in addition to the 38 aircraft currently in the pipeline,” the German leader remarked, according to a report from Reuters.

The price tag for the additional Eurofighter Typhoons has been put at around 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion), and in addition to helping enhance Germany’s military capabilities, the acquisition will ensure that Airbus will be able to keep its production lines running through 2032, extending it by at least two years—and that is without additional outside orders.

The German Luftwaffe operates 138 Eurofighters. The single-seat, all-weather multirole combat aircraft serves as the backbone of its combat aircraft fleet and can be used in both air defense and ground attack roles.

“They are a core element in ensuring the future contribution of the Air Force to the required armed forces capability profile and to the associated Alliance commitments,” explains the German Bundeswehr website. “Thanks to its ability to conduct network-enabled operations, the Eurofighter can be used in close cooperation both with German air, land and naval forces and those of military Alliance partners.”

F-35s Also Coming

In addition to the Eurofighter order, the German Luftwaffe is also on track to receive a total of thirty-five Lockheed Martin F-35As—the conventional takeoff and landing variant of the Joint Strike Fighter—with the first of those aircraft now scheduled to arrive in 2027.

It was reported last month that production of the German F-35s will occur at Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth, Texas, factory instead of the Final Assembly Check Out facility in Cameri, Italy.

Looking Beyond the Eurofighter and F-35

Even as Berlin is going all-in with the Eurofighter Typhoon and F-35 Lightning II, Germany is already working with France and Spain on the Future Combat Air System (FCAS)—believed to be a manned or at least optionally-manned sixth-generation fighter and supporting unmanned aerial systems.

Details about the FCAS remain sparse, but the current timeline doesn’t call for the new fighter to enter service until at least the early 2040s. The program has faced a number of setbacks, including infighting among the countries involved. That fact helps explain why Germany is now adopting additional Eurofighters with advanced features, while France remains committed to the updated Dassault Rafale.

About the Author: Peter Suciu 

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu. You can email the author: Editor@nationalinterest.org.

All images are Creative Commons and Shutterstock. 

Macron au JT, l’art de faire campagne l’air de rien

L`Humanité - Thu, 06/06/2024 - 20:59
Sous prétexte de commémorer le Débarquement, le chef de l’État en a profité, comme redoutaient ses adversaires, pour évoquer les européennes et faire la promotion de sa liste.
Categories: France

Européennes 2024 : l’agence Frontex compte-t-elle «10.000 hommes», comme l’affirme Valérie Hayer ?

Le Figaro / Politique - Thu, 06/06/2024 - 20:39
LA VÉRIFICATION - Si les moyens alloués à l'agence ne font qu'augmenter depuis sa création en 2004, les effectifs des garde-frontières permanents sont loin d'atteindre ceux annoncés par la tête de liste Renaissance.
Categories: France

Mirage 2000-5 à l'Ukraine, Gaza, Européennes... l'essentiel de l'interview d'Emmanuel Macron

France24 / France - Thu, 06/06/2024 - 20:29
À trois jours du scrutin, Emmanuel Macron a accordé jeudi un entretien télévisé à l'occasion du 80e anniversaire du Débarquement, alors que les candidats jettent leurs dernières forces dans la campagne des européennes. Le président a annoncé à cette occasion la "cession" de Mirage 2000-5 à Kiev et la formation de 4 500 pilotes ukrainiens en France. Il a réitéré son choix de ne pas reconnaître un État palestinien et a attaqué la stratégie de l'extrême droite en Europe.
Categories: France

"Soyons dignes du courage de ceux qui débarquèrent ici" : en Normandie, l'hommage aux héros du D-Day

France24 / France - Thu, 06/06/2024 - 20:24
Vingt-cinq chefs d'État et de gouvernement, dont le président ukrainien Volodymyr Zelensky, ont communié jeudi en Normandie avec les derniers vétérans à l'occasion du 80e anniversaire du Débarquement du 6 juin 1944, le conflit en Ukraine en toile de fond. 
Categories: France

80e anniversaire du débarquement : à Omaha Beach, Emmanuel Macron chef d’une Europe en guerre

L`Humanité - Thu, 06/06/2024 - 20:20
Le président de la République, et avant lui celui des États-Unis, a dressé à plusieurs reprises des parallèles entre le retour de la guerre sur le continent européen et le débarquement du 6 juin 1944. Une mise en scène à trois jours de l’élection européenne.
Categories: France

Européennes 2024 : face à l’extrême droite et aux libéraux, le vote comme antidote

L`Humanité - Thu, 06/06/2024 - 20:15
L’extrême droite et les libéraux savent se rendre aux urnes. Ce dimanche 9 juin, ils iront déposer leur bulletin.
Categories: France

80e anniversaire du Débarquement : l'Amérique, meilleur allié de l'Europe ?

France24 / France - Thu, 06/06/2024 - 20:09
Les commémorations des 80 ans du Débarquement en France ont commencé : alors que Joe Biden, Emmanuel Macron, le roi Charles III, et Volodymyr Zelensky étaient tous présents en Normandie, la Russie de Vladimir Poutine, elle, n’a pas été invitée. L’invasion russe de l’Ukraine est cette année au centre des évènements. Dans son discours, le président américain, Joe Biden a fait un lien entre le Débarquement des Américains en 1944 et les efforts des démocraties dans leur soutien à l’Ukraine contre la Russie.
Categories: France

Européennes 2024 : cinq questions auxquelles la gauche veut apporter des réponses

L`Humanité - Thu, 06/06/2024 - 19:38
Pour contrer les difficultés rencontrées par les Français dans leur vie quotidienne, l’Europe peut être une solution. Illustration autour de cinq questions clés, auxquelles tentent de répondre les listes de gauche, avant le vote 9 juin.
Categories: France

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