October 29, 2014

Not Really Effective, but Surprisingly Good

While looking for info on the Ukranian situation I blundered into this, 
 It's an interesting post on penetration tests that the Soviets did matching their 14.5mm anti-tank rifles against captured German tanks. 

First is a "heavy tank". I have no idea what it is, aside from that it's German. Here are the results with a 14.5 mm AT rifle:
  • Lower front plate (45 mm at 10 degrees): does not penetrate
  • Turret rear (28-30 mm at 10 degrees): penetrates at 200 meters, 100 meters at a 30 degree angle
  • Turret platform side (28-30 mm): penetrates at over 300 meters, 100 meters at a 30 degree angle
  • Lower hull side (28-30 mm): penetrates at over 400 meters, 100 meters at a 30 degree angle

This is a bit better than I would have thought. 

The performance against what are described as medium and light tanks is correspondingly better. I would not want to face these in a Panzer2 or even some modern APCs, and certainly not in a Humvee.

The"rifles" are beasts of course, with the lighter, single shot version weighing nearly 41 pounds and being 79 inches long. I suppose if one put a bayonet on one it would be a serviceable pike. These were obsolescent later in the war, but it is apparent that they were still quite effective weapons if used well.  I knew these guns were still in use around the world as antimaterial rifles, but the linked post gives a much greater appreciation of how fearsome they can be.

 "That just ain't right!".

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While all eyes are on the Ebola situation, one should keep in mind that as things stand now, Ebola is not at all likely to infect and kill you.

So cheer up. 

There are other things to worry about....

NATO countries have been responding to incursions by Russian military assets almost daily. Now the Russians are sending their bombers in groups of 8.   Note that a Tu-95-MS (Bear) bomber can carry 16 KH-55 (Kent) nuclear tipped cruise missiles. 
Math can be unpleasant. 

I'm unfamiliar with this site and unsure if it is reads as the Twenty Committee or is looking at foreign policy from a female perspective. However, it does have an interesting overview of Poland's current preparations for hostilities with Russia, which it increasingly views as possible. 

While no one was looking, Putin pretty much annexed another chunk of Georgia (as Putin will).   
 ...In other words, the agreement’s language lays out a blatant attempt to administratively annex Abkhazia into Russia proper. The Abkhazian separatist "parliament” was given two weeks to discuss the treaty. However, Moscow does not expect any negative reactions from Sukhumi about this agreement (vedomosti.ru, October 13). And indeed, it is difficult to imagine what Tbilisi can do to avert this looming annexation of Abkhazia—a region where thousands of Russian occupation troops are stationed.

Of course, Russia is not universally bellicose and is quite capable of strengthening relationships. 

Last month, visitors to Bandar Abbas on Iran’s southern coast gathered to witness a never-seen-before event: two Chinese warships pulling into port.

It could be just the start of a budding naval alliance stretching from the Pacific to the Persian Gulf.

Those are not the only vessels that has been in that part of the world recently.

...a Chinese attack sub—a so-called hunter-killer, designed to seek out and destroy enemy vessels—slipped through the strait above water and disappeared. It resurfaced near Sri Lanka and then in the Persian Gulf, say people familiar with its movements, before returning through the strait in February—the first known voyage of a Chinese sub to the Indian Ocean.

 Iran of course is quite happy to use Chinese purchases get around the arms embargo it's suffering under because of its nuclear weapons program.

That nuclear weapons program seems to have some relationship to what on the surface are two completely unrelated stories

The North Koreans reportedly have developed a miniaturized nuclear warhead light enough to fit on a missile.  (The original WSJ piece is here, but behind a paywall). This, of course, is of no use to them without a missile that could deliver it. In no doubt unrelated news, North Korea is building a test rig for a tube launched ballistic missile. This is odd as North Korea has no ballistic missile submarines...aside from the Golf class SSB they bought a few years ago...but using those 40 year old hulls is so far fetched as to be laughable.  The tube test could be for a land based missile or some other project, though the Global Security report does mention sightings of a submarine firred out with a launch tube. Meanwhile  Iran is also testing a similar type of launch tube, allegedly with help from North Korea.  This aparrent technical exchange brings us to the buried lede in the story about the North Koreans small warhead.
Such nuclear warheads would be small enough to fit on a ballistic missile and would be a major improvement to Pyongyang’s weapons technology. Gen. Scaparrotti said he believed North Korea also had developed a launcher that could carry an ICBM with a miniaturized warhead…

Gen. Scaparrotti said North Korea may have gained know-how on warhead-miniaturization technology through its relationships with Iran and Pakistan

Emphasis mine...

Pakistan makes sense, but if Iran does not have a nuke yet, how are they offering advanced technical assistance on nukes?

Which brings us to the Jeffry Goldberg piece in The Atlantic the other day which is notorious for quoting two senior administration officials as referring to Israel's Prime Minister as "Chick*****t". However, there is a much more troubling bit in the tirade by our administration against an ally.  
I ran this notion by another senior official who deals with the Israel file regularly. This official agreed that Netanyahu is a "chickenshit” on matters related to the comatose peace process, but added that he’s also a "coward” on the issue of Iran’s nuclear threat. The official said the Obama administration no longer believes that Netanyahu would launch a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities in order to keep the regime in Tehran from building an atomic arsenal. "It’s too late for him to do anything. Two, three years ago, this was a possibility. But ultimately he couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger. It was a combination of our pressure and his own unwillingness to do anything dramatic. Now it’s too late.” 

Emphasis mine...
So we have an administration official bragging about how they successfully pressured the Israelis not to take out Iran's nuclear program...then ridiculing him for being such a shmuck as to give into their pressure...and gleefully reporting that there is nothing the Israelis can do about Iran's nukes...because "it's too late".

That does not actually induce 'the warm fuzzies'.  

What if some of those later,  more successful North Korean nuclear tests were joint tests with Iran and Iran has therefore already tested their bomb? Of course there would need to be some evidence of Iranian scientists present at North Korea's nuclear tests for that silly theory to have any merit. 

It is good to put that worry to rest otherwise the fact that Iran is the state sponsor of Hezbollah might be cause for considerable alarm. You see there are further indications that Hezbollah is prepping for a huge attack on Israel in the very near future, one likely to overwhelm Israel's missile defenses. Additionally, the Israelis are assuming that there is a tunnel network in place along the lines of the one used by Gaza in the recent conflict there. 

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October 09, 2014

China's New Path

Via Eaglespeak comes this interesting piece on China's current political direction. It's only 8 minutes, I strongly suggest you watch the whole thing. 

The most worrying bit is the mention towards the beginning where the guest mentions the current emphasis on an unsavory strain of Howard Zinnesque nationalism that focuses on China's victimhood. That tends to lead to rather dark places. Note though, that there are promising signs as well pointing to less bellicose influences. 

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October 04, 2014

This was Unexpected

It is certainly interesting...

 The two Koreas shocked everyone on Saturday when a North Korean military delegation led by Hwang Pyong-so, Choe Ryong-hae, and Kim Yang-gon arrived in Incheon, South Korea on an unannounced trip.
Although the North Korean leadership structure is highly opaque, Hwang Pyong-so is widely believed to be the second highest ranking official after only Kim Jong-un.

This is particularly intriguing given rumors regarding Kim Jong Un's absence from public view over the last months., which have taken a rather different flavor over the last few days

It's unclear if this is a sign of a major change (for good or ill) or if it is meant to reassure the ROK government that the status quo is unchanged, but it certainly bears watching. 

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October 01, 2014

Just Kick Your Heels Together and Say "It's a Destroyer! It's a Destroyer!"

JS Izumo, Japan's newest...um...destroyer, begins her sea trials

Izumo-Tan by Eroquis and Okomoto Kazihiro

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