Wednesday, February 24, 2010

How Much is a 1938 Action Comic Book with Superman worth?

How Much is a 1938 Action Comic Book with Superman worth?

Friday, February 12, 2010

1917: Tank Warfare Arrives at Gaza

By mid-1917, the British situation in the Middle East was critical. Costly failures at Gallipoli in 1915 and Kut, Mesopotamia, in 1916 had stymied early British victory. Turkish forces with German commanders were proving a successful combination. Preparations for a massive assault toward Jerusalem via Gaza and Beersheba, with the aim of driving the Turks back northward, out of Palestine and Syria altogether. Gaza's history, the defeat of the Philistines by the Chaldean Babylonians in 604 BC; Crusader victories and setbacks between 1099 and 1270; the campaigns of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1799, seem to be premonition of what was to come. The first Battle of Gaza had already proven true and ended in a British fiasco and missed opportunity of momumental kind.

Two thousand gas shells and 6-8 Mk I tanks were available. While the tanks were the first in the Middle East, they were not the newest as requested, the Mark IV. Instead, the British sent the first version of the tank and were already obsolete in many ways since they debuted in 1916. Mechanically, they were even more unreliable now.

It was estimated that the Turkish forces occupying the Gaza-Beersheba defenses numbered between 20,000 and 25,000. In reality, it was almost 50,000, 86 MG, 68 guns, 18000 rifles. The defenses had been strengthened significantly since the first battle with the help of German leadership. The west flank of the line was defended by the fortress of Gaza. To the east the line was held by a series of redoubts located on ridges, with each redoubt providing support for its neighbors.

The British leaders were not impressed with the projected plan, all knew it would be a slugfest head on and bloody. The tanks, it was hoped, would cause the Turks to panic resulting in holes in the defenses to which British troops would advance. The tank detachment arrived with 22 officers and 226 men. Originally, 12 Mk I tanks were to have been sent, only eight arrived. The tanks were assigned piecemeal, that is, the 52nd Division had four, the 53rd and 54th, two each. To insure success, the British had a dazzling amount of artillery brought up some 27 artillery batteries and naval ships would also bombard. Air support would be provided by the 14th RAF (17 BE 2). In reserve, yet another division, the 74th, sat. Ironically, it was never used until the 3rd Gaza battle!

The Turks were greatly helped by the Germans in building incredible defensive systems and by the FA300 squadron with 16 Halberstadt fighters. Quickly, the RAF was shot to pieces. The Turkish 3rd Division with three regiments had 12 battalions, not the usual nine. This defended the Gaza town and surrounding area. This was further reinforced by the 163 Reg\53xx at Muntar. The ridge called Tank Redoubt, was defended by the 165 Reg\53xx and the 14th Artillery Regiment. The remaining parts of the 53rd were spread out as reserves. Their 16th division and 3rd Cav, Division were along the 14 mile frontage opposite the British Imperial and ANZAC units.

The first phase began April 17, a day when the British were allowed to advance closer to the Turks. Once complete, the British paused and resumed in earnest at 0530 on April 19. That is when all hell broke loose and despite the gas, artillery and tanks, the Brits were simply battering their head against the wall. None of the objectives were achieved and the tanks found tough going attracting the wrath of artillery guns whose barrels were lowered and fired direct as an antitank weapon. Even without any AP shells, any hit on the tank would disable it. The Turks, in most case, did not throw down the weapons and run. When it did happen, Turk artillery honed in on the tanks. British success could only be measured in yards and by 1500, artillery fire was limited due to lack of shells. By 1830, the folly was over and over 6000 British bodies showed for it. Turkish losses came to 2300.

Inconsistent Aghanistan War Policy = Failure

Fighting a war with inconsistent policies and rules of engagement for its military is a recipe for disaster anywhere. Look no further than the US in Vietnam. That is not ancient history by any means, and yet, our memory is short, and history repeats.

Obama allowed the election there to end in a fraudulent manner. There was no democracy or fair election. America failed to insist another election and failed to support Abdullah, the only viable threat to Karzai, who America knows is corrupt in many ways. Are we stupid or what? It is like America supporting the Thieu regime in Vietnam which eventually just collapsed due to its own corruption. America forced Abullah to withdraw from the race, which is utterly shocking. He was a real contender that would have tested the democracy and yet withdrew because the US would not support him.

What is most laughable about Obama is that he said, "we will reward good governance, reduce corruption and support the rights of all Afghans". I see, by allowing a known corrupted government to remain in power and not promote a free election.

Another mistake is the timetable for the Afghan army to take over, which US commanders clearly have stated it will be at least three years and even longer for the police force. Why does Obama continue to claim the Afghan army will assume its role in July 2011? Wishful thinking? Can't Obama add?

Pakistan has told the US that it will not make further offensives against the Taliban in the tribal areas this year. What does the US do? Provide them even more aid and drones. Their offensives have been effective and their army is doing a good job, yet now they are stopping and like idiots, the US continues to support them with billions. Worse, General McChrystal in Afghanistan wants Pakistan to be the entity to handle talks between the Taliban and Afghanistan. Problem is that, most Afghans feel it is Pakistan trying to destabilize their country!

The US General feels that the former prime minister of the country, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, will be the negotiator. Problem is, the Afghans know him as a psychopath and his throwing of acid into women's faces at Kabul University in the 1970s. Worse, this guy is on the international terrorist list and remains hunted. And yet, the US ignores this, does not arrest him but want him to negotiate??? WTF. This is more than lame US policy.

Last year, the US Embassy requested 2.5 billion to invest in Afghanistan's infrastructure to help the people, yet, Obama rejected it. Yet, Obama approved of the surge that will cost ten times that yearly. Why send 30,000 troops if the plan is to negotiate with the enemy?

The only word for this policy is stupid. self-defeating.

Disaster in Afghanistan Caused By Bad US Policy

Disaster in Afghanistan Caused By Bad US Policy