Saturday, February 27, 2010

This is a little curious and slightly disturbing

While surfing through some photos of the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov at the pier, I ran across these photographs:

What is that in the upper right corner, behind the kingpost on that red ship moored nearby?

Why it appears to be the former Golf class diesel powered ballistic missile submarine K-118, later converted to a communications submarine and now in its final resting place, next to the Kuznetsov.

You'd figure that a country which has an ambition to build six aircraft carriers in the next forty years would find the time and money to dispose of their junked ships properly, instead of just leaving them derelict at the carrier pier.

Excellent photo essay on the Caspian Sea Monster

Livejournalist igor113 has an excellent series of photos of the weird and wonderful Caspian Sea Monster.

There are photos of the flight deck (bridge? flight deck? I have no idea what to call it!), the crew quarters (the ekranoplan could stay at sea for five days), the galley, the anchor room, the forward most radome in the nose, the flight engineer control panel, some sort of damage control panel, the "engine room" and the weapons control station under the first pair of SS-N-22 tubes. The beast is truly the weird offspring of a 747 and a missile corvette; parts of it are genuinely airplane like and parts of it are genuinely ship like.  Igor climbs the tower to the tail gunner's station up on the vertical stabilizer and I am stunned by the good material condition that the area is in. In fact, the entire interior looks pretty good, good enough that it looks like with a little rehab and paint, it could be restored to operational condition pretty quickly.


Photos from the outside. 
Photos from the inside.
Photos of the Orlan's specially built support dock.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Russia is very different from America

The head of Murmansk Oblast Dmitriy Dmitrienko gifted his apartment to the commander of BPK Severomorsk...

According to the official press release, the governor gave the apartment to the CO "during the fleet wide formation held in honor of Armed Forces Day. Captain First Rank Andrey Klimenko, captain of the Severomorsk, received the special gift. The governor gave him the deed to the apartment that he received during his service in the Northern Fleet".

Dimitrenko had the apartment since it was assigned to him. With the agreement of the Northern Fleet and the administration of the city of Severomorsk, he gave it to a new owner who needed a better place for his family...
 Via KGRR.

Somebody check Frank Gaffney's garage for a crescent wrench

Because anyone who owns a CRESCENT wrench, an obvious symbol of Islamic Jihad if I've ever seen one, clearly wants Sharia law in the United States:

The Obama administration’s determined effort to reduce America’s missile defense capabilities initially seemed to be just standard Leftist fare — of a piece with the Democratic base’s visceral hostility to the idea of protecting us against ballistic missile threats. A just-unveiled symbolic action suggests, however, that something even more nefarious is afoot.
What could be code-breaking evidence of the latter explanation is to be found in the newly-disclosed redesign of the Missile Defense Agency logo (above).  As Logan helpfully shows, the new MDA shield appears ominously to reflect a morphing of the Islamic crescent and star with the Obama campaign logo. (For a comparison, the previous logo is below.)
 You know what else is evidence of the Islamic conspiracy to remake the United States?

  Does the crescent moon and palm tree signify that South Carolina is under imminent threat of Islamo-fascist take over? I'll bet Frank Gaffney thinks YES!

Is this lovable American icon also a sinister harbringer of Islamo-fascist takeover?


Since Frank Gaffney has obviously moved on to write for the Onion, I'd say its fair to say that no one should give a shit what he thinks about anything.

Addendum: Bonus "Frank Gaffney is crazier than a shithouse rat with tertiary syphilis" blogging -

When do we get to hear the phrase “sap and impurify our Precious Bodily Fluids” used in all seriousness? And by whom? I’ll take Sarah Palin, by the end of the year.
Word, yo.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Su-33 almost buys it on Kuznetsov

Don't know when this was filmed, but it doesn't look good to my black shoe clad eye. Make sure you check out the tailhook.

Russia vs. the Pirates: Round Four for the Pacific Fleet

 Via Vladimir Pelevin's blog:

 A task force left Vladivostok for the Indian Ocean today consisting of the large anti-submarine warfare ship (BPK) Marshall Shaposhnikov, the ocean going tug and the tanker Pechenga. The sailors will ensure the security of vessels in the Horn of Africa area. This will be the fourth deployment by Pacific Fleet vessels to Somalia. During previous deployments our ships escorted more than a hundred vessels from 26 nations and thwarted more than 20 attacks.
 Other reports indicate that the ships will carry detachments of marines and the Shaposhnikov will embark two helos.

Previously, the  BPK Admiral Tributs, the tanker Boris Butoma and the ocean going salvage tug MB-99 returned to Vladivostok on 16 Nov 2009 after a 140 day deployment to the Indian Ocean on piracy patrol.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Photo of the Day

An undated photo of an SS-N-18 being loaded into/removed from an unidentified Delta III with the Marshal Krylov missile range ship in the background.

A retaliatory strike for sending us T.a.T.u.

American Porno Model Adopts a Child From Russia.

Model and Lesbian Tila Tequila Adopts Child From Russia.

What ever you do Russia, you don't EVEN want to know what we would retaliate with if you send up Ksenia Sobchak...Mutually Assured Cultural Destruction, Bitchez!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Apparently, I can now engage in armed bank robbery at will

All I have to do is consult a lawyer first. If that lawyer gives me bad legal advice which causes me to commit all manner of sordid and horrible crimes, I'm covered, since "lawyers can make really really crazy arguments and still avoid professional sanction" and they can have honest disagreements on difficult matters of legal judgment without violating ethical standards.

Margolis' last point is especially important, since the former Vice-President of the United States is now going around the country telling people that he supports waterboarding and actively sought to use it when he was in office. Put differently, there is at least one member of the previous Administration walking around that is an admitted war criminal, although, to be sure, confessing to the elements of a war crime on television apparently does not, at least in this country, lead to any serious danger that one will actually be prosecuted for such crimes.

Whether or not the DOJ refers Yoo and Bybee for professional discipline, no one should think that either man behaved according to the high standards we should expect of government attorneys. They, and the government officials who worked with them, shamed this nation. They dragged America's reputation in the dirt. They severely damaged our good name in the eyes of the world. They undermined the values this country stands for and that the legal profession should stand for. Nothing the DOJ does now--or fails to do--will change that.

Now, who wants a bag of money? But Clinton got a blowjob and that's all that matters.

Rum, Sodomy and the Lash.

Its pretty disgraceful and historically ignorant to say that homosexuals can't be warriors (ever hear of the ancient Greeks?). And Tony Perkins, who never served a day in the military, lecturing people about "conditions in the barracks" is amusing.

But comparing honorably serving homosexuals to drug dealers and thieves is pretty despicable and an apology to gay servicemen and women is in order. But then, why should we give a shit about what some dude who retired from the Navy 25 years (or 125 years, I can't really tell) ago thinks about DADT? Consorting with bitter, primitive, hate-gnomes like Elaine Donnelly and Tony Perkins who want to bring a vision of a religious dictatorship to America doesn't do much for your cred.

Abraham Simpson on acid. Heh.

For those who don't want to click through to the video, here is a rough transcript:

Like the time I took the ferry to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for my shoe so I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on them. Give me five bees for a quarter you'd say. Now where were we, oh ya. The important thing was that I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. They didn't have white onions because if the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones.

Email these bigots and tell them that you wont put up with insulting servicemembers like that. Tell them the Russian Navy Blog sent you.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Even the Russians know they suck: Epilogue

Chill Descends Over Russia as Olympic Medals Prove Elusive

After Australian aboriginal groups accused a Russian ice dancing pair of mocking aborigines, Valentin Piseev, president of the Russian Figure Skating Federation, suggested that they were the target of an international plot to force them to alter their performance.

“I think that this is a well-executed strategy directed against our athletes,” Mr. Piseev told Russian television from Vancouver.
Yes, Russia is victim of a conspiracy. Russia has often been the victim of international plots. Usually that plot is some sort of Jewish plot and not an Australian aboriginal plot, so for this routine they get a 10 for originality.

Rarely do Bulava launches achieve this...

When did moustaches go out of style in rock?

Fire! Fire! Fire!

 Photo: K-480 being rolled out of the building hall at SevMash, 16 April 1988. Source: and TV program Udarnaya Sila

Arkhangel'sk - The efforts to extinguish a fire on a submarine awaiting disposal at the Zvezdochka Shipyard in Severodvinsk has been continuing for seven hours according to a source.

The fire on Akula class K-480 Ak Bars (Project 971) began at approximately 1445 Moscow time. "Cable raceways caught fire. Initial efforts to extinguish the fire were ineffective. The compartment is relatively big, but it almost immediately filled with smoke and visibility was practically zero. An attempt was made to flood the compartment in an attempt to extinguish the flames without effect".
K-480 is pretty young for being being a candidate for disposal (not that that is a BAD thing from my perspective!). For a taste of what disposal involves, see A Unique Operation in Gremikha.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Johnny, you are too bad.

One of these days, when the evil boys they come, where you gonna run to?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Shameless rumor mongering about the Black Sea Fleet


I mean the future Azov-Black Sea Flotilla.

The "Moskva" wont return to the Black Sea Fleet after she finishes exercises with the Pacific Fleet. Anyone who isn't lazy already knows this. The 30th Division will be broken up and the 41st Brigade will be transferred to he Caucasus....The Black Sea Fleet will be reconstituted as the Azov-Black Sea Flotilla. Together with the Caspian Flotilla, they will be directly subordinated to an infantry General - the commander of the new Southern district. Numbers of servicemen will decline from 18,000 to 12,500 in the spring.

At this rate, all that will remain of the former Black Sea Fleet by 2017 will be a pair of roadstead tugs. Friends of mine on ocean going tugs say that crews are going to one watch and they are being converted to roadstead tugs.

What's the greasy silver pole that's a propulsion machine to all the ships? Shaft!

Damn right!

What was the part that put Moskva into maintenance dock? I'm talkin' 'bout shaft, and I can dig it!


In related shameless, baseless potential slander, the chief of the Black Sea Fleet may be fired soon for...what else is there (besides creepy sex murders that is):

A source in fleet headquarters told Goryachiy Novosti ("Hot News") that the Federal Security Service (FSB) has thwarted an attempt by the Black Sea Fleet commander, Vice Admiral Aleksandr Kletskov to sell a decommissioned auxiliary ship (information needs to be verified).
One thing is known for sure. An eighty man audit team is coming into Sevastopol on 20 February to inventory fleet assets and see if Kletskov is mixed up in any other dirt.

Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains

An' go to your, wait a minute, that can't be right...back to your socialist paradise in a zinc box marked груз 200 like a fighter in support of international socialist solidarity.

In commemoration of the Reds getting their asses kicked back across the Panj and returning to a country that would cease to exist in less than three years, lets take a look at the Do's and Don'ts in support of international socialism, unity and brotherhood:

Collection of counter-propaganda materials
January 1987

To the internationalist warrior:
Value the honor and integrity of Soviet citizenship highly. Without fail follow Soviet law, uphold the military oath and military regulations, carry out the orders of commanders and leaders and conscientiously fulfill your patriotic and international duty. 

Do not enter into unauthorized communications or acquaintances. 

Do not patronize Afghan stores, shops or markets whether government or private. Do not obtain from there or from private people any sort of item, food, liquor or drugs. 

Do not undress to sunbathe or swim in the sight of local population or near houses since such behavior is not in keeping with national and religious customs of the Afghans and are considered offensive. 

Do not enter the courtyards or houses of the local population, look through their windows and doors, at the faces of women or enter into conversation with them. 

Do not accept any gifts, awards or presents from local authorities or other civilians having any value as a good or service.  

Always display a high level of political alertness, always and everywhere maintain OPSEC, do no talk about official business or other topics of conversation concerning operational activities of units in the presence of outsiders.  

I don't think "Battlestar Galactica" means what you think it means.

"Space is a battlefield. 'Mass culture' has been preparing the American public for this long before Reagan's plan to militarize space. The cast of the film 'Battlestar Galactica'. The hateful gaze, the laser pistols..."

Yep. We're gonna smoke your ass from MARS BITCHES! In mini-skirts! With turd looking robot dogs! To a groovy disco beat!

Friday, February 12, 2010

What you gonna do when we come for you!


America! Fuck Yeah!

Republicans! (murmur) Books! (crickets). 

12 Feb 1988: USS Yorktown vs. Bezzavetnyy

The former Bezzavetnyy, shown in typical Ukrainian colors

Two different views (with my very rough translation of Russian report):

Twenty years ago, an attempt to enter Soviet territorial waters ended with the US Navy learning a lesson. Here is a unique view of the two powers in the Black Sea.

They came to test us. The 12th of Feb. 1988 is a date that the crews of the cruiser Yorktown and the destroyer Caron will always remember. That’s the day that a ship of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet shoved them out of Soviet territorial waters. Literally.

Everything was normal. The international situation was okay. The former head of the International Department of the Communist Party Central Committee Valentin Fapin remembers:
There was provocation in the Black Sea which consisted of a violation of our air space by an American aircraft. The Americans did this several times because they were implementing a new Maritime Doctrine emphasizing strikes on Soviet bases, on Soviet ports, with non-nuclear weapons.

Two Soviet escorts, the Bezzavetnyy and SKR-6 met the ships of the US 6th Fleet at the exit of the Bosphorus in order to accompany them. The US ships answered that they didn’t need any assistance. It is not acceptable for Russians to ignore guests, the Soviet side countered.

On the 12th of Feb, at about 1100, the task group commander reported to headquarters that “ the Yorktown and Caron are within two miles of our territorial waters”. There was a short colloquy between the Soviet and American ships:
Soviets: Your course takes you to denied territorial waters.
Good Guys: We are not violating anything. We are continuing on course and speed.

Vice Admiral Valentin Selivanov gave the command: sound collision. It wasn’t a ram (I.E. a deliberate attack), but rather a high speed approach to the rear quarter of the other ship, gently nudging the other ship off course. The Bezzavetnyy approached the Yorktown, while SKR-86 approached the Caron. The assignment wasn’t simple.

Vice Admiral Selivanov:
The cruiser Yorktown displaced at least two times the escort ship Bezzavetnyy and the frigate (sic) Caron displaced four times the escort ship SKR-6. But we issued our orders and the captains did their jobs correctly, suffering minimal damage.

First the Bezzavetnyy hit the Yorktown’s port side, damaging the Harpoon launcher and destroying the captain’s gig. The Americans, who had been smiling, were now sounding the alarm and bringing hoses to the missile launcher.

Vladimir Bogdashin, Captain of the Bezzavetnyy:

There was a group of sailors on the stern, mostly black sailors, with fire hoses. When they saw those missile warheads, they got out of there. They came back about 15 minutes later, to see what was going on. It was completely unexpected. The ship was in shock.

The Caron saw what was going on and changed course. The order was given again. This time, it was more like a ramming attack. The strike occurred in the area around the helo deck. A high, sharp blow and the bow ended up on deck, rolling the Bezzavetnyy to port 15 or 20 degrees…At that moment, the ships entered a thick cloud. A fire started on the Yorktown near the anti-submarine missiles. The Caron wheeled around and the American ships attempted to put the Bezzavetnyy into a pincer. Meanwhile, the Bezzavetnyy readied it’s RBU-6000, armed with depth charges.


Everyone knows that if you give the Americans a shove, they’ll withdraw when things aren’t going their way and concentrate their forces at another point. (Note: Bastard smirks here).

The Yorktown readied two helicopters, but two Soviet Mi-26s (sic) carrying full combat loads circled the American ships. The helos were rolled back into their hangers and within the hour, the Americans departed territorial waters. Within a day the battered ships of the US 6th Fleet headed to depart the inhospitable, Soviet controlled Black Sea. (end of video)

There is another Russian language account of the incident here. Maybe I'll translate it on a day that I'm not feeling so lazy and the HBO series "Rome" starring the super hot Polly Walker isn't beckoning...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Because I like missiles too...

An SS-18 Satan ICBM gets removed from its silo.

I need a cigarette...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


I find it hard to believe that this isn't some sort of "K-Billy Super Sounds of the 70s" throwback, a lost gem from the hippie dippie daze just recently rediscovered and repurposed to sell Korean cars.

Even the Russians know they suck, Part 5 (end)

Zh. “Other details noted by the French and Russian liaison officers”.

1. There is an identical uniform on surface ships and submarines in the French Navy: dark blue jumpsuit with corresponding stripes. There are service shoes, but in general everyone wears dark “civilian” shoes. They wear the same uniform in the mess at chow time. They go out and stand watch on the weather decks without covers since they don’t have the equivalent to our “pilotkas” (garrison cap?). On the Latouche-Treville, there was a ships laundry with a couple of modern automatic washers where they washed sheets. No ships laundry was ascertained on the Tourville. There was a meshbag full of underwear hanging in the wardroom, from which officers could take sheets (?!?). Probably there is system of single use sheets on the older Tourville.

2. (Note: Circled and exclamation pointed). Food on French ships was significantly better and varied. The basic part of the menu – frutti di mare, meat and vegetables. For the week the Russian officers were on board, the menu did not repeat itself. According to the French sailors, the menu begins to repeat itself after they have been at sea for a month. As opposed to the Russian BPK, where the ration worsens as you go from the Captains table, to the wardroom for the officers and warrants and further down to the crew, on the French destroyers and multipurpose submarines, there is one galley and the food is the same for everyone. The only difference: the crew’s mess is self service while the wardroom is served by well trained orderlies.

3. There are two wardrooms on the French destroyers: a senior mess and the wardroom for junior officers. Entry into the wardroom, except for those that mess there and the orderlies is prohibited. The prohibition on entry into the junior wardroom even extends to the senior officers. One shift an hour eats there since there is time to linger over cool drinks before eating and a cup of coffee and conversation afterwards. The senior wardroom has its own fund that they use to buy additional supplies and organize additional excursions during foreign port calls with everyone’s agreement. Similar funds on Russian ships are funded by the officers themselves, while in the French Navy they are a separate line in the ships budget.

4. All the combat posts and officer staterooms on French destroyers are equipped with laptops or computers connected to a local network. Each officer has a personal password and can connect with the appropriate access levels to a data base. Messages, including secret messages, are received on the laptops and sent by email to the radio room for transmission. All the incoming messages are sent to the commander’s laptop, who readdresses the messages to the appropriate combat post. There are very few messages printed out on paper on the ship. There a plans for the future of a paperless ship, where all documentation is electronic.

Power to these computers on the French ships is provided by ordinary power outlets both at combat posts and in living spaces without any additional adapters. There are a couple of computers on the BPK which were plugged directly into ship’s current without any sort of stabilizer. They malfunctioned because of surges in voltage and frequency.

5. All the passageways are named for streets on the destroyer.

6. The French officers noted that admirals in their Navy rarely go to sea and then only in specific circumstances. Usually, there are no senior officers on board.

7. All the household trash on French ships underway is collected and stored in bags in special compartments. When they make port call in a domestic or foreign port, the garbage (for pay or for free) is disposed of. Nothing is thrown overboard. We throw everything overboard, therefore one can often see a greasy stain and household trash in the water around our ships in foreign ports.

8. Smoking is prohibited inside the Tourville. There are two specially equipped areas to smoke in on the weather decks: the signal bridge and the fantail. There is only one spot in foul weather where one can safely smoke – the signal bridge. Smoking is prohibited on the signal bridge on the BPK, but they smoke there anyway (especially during storms), and butts are thrown overboard. The wind often blows them onto the decks below or onto the small boats.

9. French ships are painted a lighter shade. Against the background of the sea, they are less noticeable from the air than the darker Russian ships. Against the background of the land – it’s the opposite.

10. The French noticed that a Captain 1st Rank (the Chief of Staff) spent a lot of time on the pier with a radio handset, assembled those who were going on liberty in town (after they had already assembled on the ship), as well as those returning from liberty, for uniform inspection.

11. The French noticed that there weren’t a lot of Russians on liberty out in town as compared to the number of crew members. The Russian side requested more buses during the exercise planning and the French met our request, but just two or three busses were used. The rest ran empty. In five days, the 530 members of the crews of the BPK and submarine made 925 trips to shore. When the French ships tied up, only the duty section and those who had work to do stayed.

International military cooperation at sea continues to develop at a higher level: from port calls to joint exercises at sea. It bears paying attention to the unofficial opinions that the French side has of the Russian Navy. It would be better if we could incorporate some of their experience (such as use of non-skid on the decks and the use of satellite phones).


Acting Chief of the International Military Cooperation Detachment of the Northern Fleet, Captain 2nd Rank O. Prasov

28 October 2004

Monday, February 8, 2010

Even the Russians know they suck, Part 4

D. Joint Russian-French Training

1. “The Russian side tried to take control of the training”.


2. “Planning was complicated”

Questions pertaining to the joint exercise on the Tourville were handled by the operations officer equivalent in rank to Captain 3rd Rank (the responsibilities of the operations officer is similar to our BCh-7, only he is also responsible for combat readiness and doesn’t stand a watch)(Note: Handwritten exclamation mark here). He himself resolved all issues (consulting with the commander for specific complicated problems) and immediately after agreement with the Russian liaison officers, issued corresponding commands to the Combat Information Center watch and the submarine Emeraude. The operations officer also developed the personnel plans for the officers on the ship. There in a special box in front of the stateroom, each officer on the ship could pick up his personal plan for the day in the morning. In accordance with this plan, each officer ran his division.

The commander of the task group made all the final decisions on the BPK. Plans often changed at night. As the French interpreter (in voice over the radio) noted, the change of the commander of the BPK for the Chief of Staff on the bridge lead to a change of plans. Late at night the plan changed again (probably by the task group commander). This inconvenienced the French operations officer since he had to revise the plan a couple of times and issue supplemental orders to the submarine Emeraude. And do this all at night instead of resting.

In Brest, after two hours of work to plan the final step of the training, the French side (represented by a Captain 2nd Rank from the base ops department and the ops officer from the Tourville, a Captain 3rd Rank) asked the Chief of Staff (representing the Russian side), “We agree, but is this the Russian side’s final answer?” The answer was, “I can’t make a decision. We have to consult the admiral.” This caused a misunderstanding with the French and when the task group commander arrived, planning began again.

3. “Exercise planning in this season in this area”.

More than once French officers, including the captain of the destroyer asked, “Why did you plan an exercise in this season in this area?” Traditionally there are strong storms here in fall. (Note: handwritten exclamation mark in the margin). It would have been better, in their opinion, to do these exercises in the Mediterranean.

4. No reason for stationing French liaison officers on the BPK.

The commander of the Tourville, just like the commander of the Latouche-Treville in 2003, asked the same question, “Why are our officers on board the Russian ship if you never resolve any issues with them?” The French liaison officers asked the same question.

5. “Dangerous method of launching the rubber boat”.

As noted above, the Tourville launches and recovers their rubber boat without crew for safety reasons.

A SPETZNAZ detachment was launched in a rubber boat from the BPK for an inspection operation. The launch was conducted in full view of the French ship. Because there was no initial planning of the launch and the boat wasn’t hooked up in the center, the boat was launched in almost a vertical position with SPETZNAZ troops strapped in. The French noted that this was dangerous.

It can be noted about boarding operations that the order to form a boarding group was only given as the ship was leaving base. No member of the team had a clear idea of what to do or how to do it. For a month before deployment the commander of the SPETZNAZ detachment on board was told that his help wasn’t needed during boarding and inspection operations. As a result, the order was given to the SPETZNAZ representative to be included in the inspection group and they began a crash training course (without actually getting into a small boat).

E. Organization of communications.

1. “Ineffective comms in the tactical zone”.

Exercise experience has shown that existing means of communications (simplex radio communications on one frequency) normally allows only two ships to execute tasks. When submarine is added to the mix, confusion and missed messages results.

The French liaison officers brought to the BPK PC-NET device allowing comms between ships in automatic mode. But the device wasn’t installed and tried out by the Russian side. It’s practical application remained unknown. (The PC-NET device was developed by a civilian organization for automatic communications between French fishing ships. It worked well and was accepted into use in the French Navy. It consists of a PC and an attached small scale radio transmitter. The installation of the PC-NET on board the Russian ship was in the plan for the first French-Russian exercise, but wasn’t installed by the French for technical reasons). (Note: Big exclamation mark in the margin here).

2. “Lack of satellite phone on the BPK”.

The Tourville has two satellite phones onboard. One is on the bridge for official use. The second is located in the main passageway for the crew to use to call home. The crew pays for their own personal calls, but phone card can be obtained on base in advance.

The necessity for a satellite phone on board, even if it is only for official use, was demonstrated while resolving the situation surrounding obtaining medical help for Seaman Golub. Arrangements were made with the Russian embassy in Spain and an American airbase by the Russian liaison officers in a short amount of time because the French offered the use of the official satellite phone.

The French means of communication were used again to send a fax from the Admiral Chabanenko to the commander of the American airbase.

Besides satellite telephones, the French destroyer has access to the internet and permanent antennas for satellite television. Not everyone had access to the internet. There is an electronic address for the ship to which comes all the messages which allows delivery of personal messages to members of the crew. Members of the crew give their responses to the postal service. The satellite TV is streamed to the wardroom and sailors’ messes. (Note: big exclamation mark in the margin).

3. “Many personal messages on the radio”.

The French interpreters, who were always present during radio conversations and immediately conveyed the gist of those conversations to their commanders, had to interpret a series of incomprehensible conversations. For instance: The Chief of Staff ordered a Russian communications officer to read him the text of a message (already sent to headquarters using secure communications) over the HF radio concerning the readiness of Russian ships to carry out unofficial events during the visit, but the Russian officer evaded giving an answer, considering what a serious violation of communication’s security this represented.

In addition, the BPK openly reported names, ranks and positions of officers in the clear in HF. It is fair to say that the callsign of the 2nd DPLK (Division of Anti-submarine Ships) “Maslina” is now linked to a concrete billet by the French Navy.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Even the Russians know they suck, Part 3

C. The Crew

1. “How seniors in rank and position relate to juniors, particularly to the sailors”.

This was a topic that the French officers paid special attention to. There was much yelling and cursing on the BPK and subordinates were often belittled (even senior officers in the presence of sailors.

The Chief of Staff refused to talk with a Russian communications officer (who had told the COS that he was a Captain 3rd rank) over the HF radio (I.E for the whole world to hear) to resolve some sort of problem. The French interpreter interpreted this conversation for the French servicemembers present. And they were very surprised: “Why doesn’t he want to talk to a Captain 3rd Rank?”

It was noted by the French officers that similar relations between people in France would be intolerable.

2. “There are a lot of officers on the ship”.

There are twenty four officers in the three hundred person crew on the Tourville. On board the BPK Admiral Chabanenko, with just a little more crew, there were twice as many officers, and taking into account embarked staff – four times as many. French officers were surprised at the amount of senior officers on board, especially Captain 1st Ranks – seven, whose functions could not be understood (on the Tourville, there is only the captain).

3. “Lots of musters”.

Russian liaison officers didn’t observe one crew muster onboard the Tourville in a week.

On the BPK, musters came one after another.

4. “Another BPK commander is onboard the Chabanenko, but he outranks the commander of the Chabanenko”.

After the Chief of Staff (the commander of the BPK Admiral Kharlamov) briefed the French, he was asked, “How can the commander of one BPK give orders to the commander of a second BPK?” and “How the commander of the BPK Admiral Chabanenko Captain 1st Rank S. Grishin takes such orders?”

D. The Ship’s Watch

1. Organization of the bridge watch

While spending a lot of time on the underway bridge of the BPK, the French liaison officers (the first one – the navigator, who normally stands officer of the watch and the second one – the electronic warfare officer, who normally stands watch as the combat officer) noted the following:

- The constant presence of the captain or senior on the bridge, who runs the ship: he works the radio himself, he himself evaluates the situation, he himself gives the wheel and engine telegraph commands. The watch officer plays no role in the running of the ship. The function of the watch officer is not understood.

In the French Navy, ships and submarines are run by the watch officer. There is no command watch. In normal situations, the commander appears on the bridge only episodically (on submarines, surfacing is done without the commander): in complicated situations, he will be there but he does not take control, but is there to support the watch officer. The watch officer, in turn, trains his assistant (the warrant officer). In 2003, during a refueling evolution, the Latouche-Treville came along side the Admiral Chabanenko twice for refueling: the first time, the watch officer brought her along side (with advice from the commander), while the second time, the commander didn’t participate as the watch officer advised his assistant.

- Stationing an additional navigation watch.

On the French destroyers, the plot is kept by the watch officer or by one of his

two assistants (a warrant officer and a senior sailor who also is the signalman). The plot is kept on the bridge with the aid of GPS. Besides that, the plot is kept in the combat information center on an electronic map on a personal computer.

- Conflicting commands are issued.

Often, conflicting commands were issued when the commander of the ship, the chief of staff and task force commander were on the bridge. The French liaison officers were surprised when someone corrected the orders of the ship’s commander.

- Tense situation on the bridge.

This was noted especially in areas with a lot of shipping traffic. There was much screaming and cursing on the bridge. The BPK, even having the right of way in accordance with MPPSS-72, would initiate unpredictable maneuvers, confusing the transports proceeding in their own lanes. The French liaison officers asked, “Don’t you ever have intensive marine traffic transiting your area?” (Note: This whole paragraph is bracketed in the report).

- Current information for the watch standers are written on cardboard cards.

On French ships, all the current information (course, speed, callsign) is written in marker on glass on any convenient place, including the bridge windscreen.

2. “Many watchstanders have unclear roles”.

The French liaison officers, probably, have in mind the supplementary watch, stationed in the corridors and hatches along their routes.

3. “There are more watches on the BPK”.

There aren’t many differences between the French and Russian Navies concerning how watches are relieved or when. ON the Tourville, watch turnover is at 0400, 0800, 1200, 1500, 1800, 2000, and 2400 (on the BPK there is no turnover at 1500, but at 1600 instead). But they have four watch sections (and in certain situations, three) while we have two or three watch sections.

Even the Russians know they suck, Part II

B. The ship.

1. “Presence on board of unnecessary, but potentially dangerous objects and materials”.

French officers paid attention to the presence on board the BPK of a large number of:

- large mirrors (which can shatter during explosions and seriously cut people standing nearby; and the shards are potentially dangerous);

- plastic and wooden surfaces (which burn well and put out toxic smoke).

The sauna is potentially dangerous.

In the French Navy, the presence on board of dangerous objects and materials without good reason is categorically and strictly controlled. (Note: Big handwritten exclamation mark here).

2. “Slippery decks: both the weather decks and the interior spaces”.

The metal decks, especially when they are wet or covered in salt, are very slippery. There is a great probability of falling and receiving serious injury during pitching. The guests often slipped. The decks on French ships (as well as on American, British and Norwegian ships) are covered with a rough paint which limits slipping even when wet. The ladders also have a special coating, kind of like emory board, that limits slipping.

3. “Many commands given on the 1MC”

Only reveille and the command to begin damage control training and the man overboard drill were announced over the 1MC on the Tourville. All underway evolutions, including watch change, happened without a command. The crew acted on their own in accordance with the plan of the day. (Note: Handwritten exclamation mark here).

4. “Radar detection of air targets didn’t work all the time”.

The air search and surface search radars on the French ships were on in active mode constantly, monitoring the air and surface picture. (Note: Bit exclamation mark in the margin here). On the BPK, the air search radar was periodically switched off, resulting in the detection of a British Nimrod and a British civilian helicopter only after they made a low altitude flyby.

5. “There is no accessible and clear way to deliver ship wide information to the crew”.

Russian liaison officers were invited to briefings held once per day on board the Tourville and the Latouche-Treville for the officers. Briefing topics included: weather forcast, disposition of foreign forces in the sailing area, the plan of the day for the current day and a provisional plan of the day for the next day, training events for the joint training and a supply and armament report. Information was presented in the form of slides, projected on the screen with interesting photographs made that day. There is a television in the central corridor on which the whole crew could watch information about the briefing.

There were similar events on board the BPK twice a day. Information was provided to the underway staff officers only, using maps. The French liaison officers weren’t invited. No notes were given to the crew.

6. “Hygiene on board the ship”.

On board the more than thirty year old Tourville, there was hot and cold fresh water in all the compartments and showers all the time. (Note: in the margin, someone scribbled “No comment!!!”). The Tourville boils about a hundred tons of fresh water a day.

French officers were surprised that onboard the most modern Russian ship, provision of hot water to the staterooms wasn’t even planned for and that cold water was available once a day for ten minutes.

The entire crew (450 people) washed once every ten days, over the course of eight hours. Each man had three to four minutes in the shower. The French officers paid attention to the appearance of the Russian sailors. By the end of the deployment, lice was found on the sailors. (Note: Exclamation mark in the margin).

Even the Russians know they suck, Part I

I ran across an interesting document, an after action report detailing "living conditions on board ships of the Russian Navy, observations by officers in the French Navy during joint Russian-French exercises and a port visit to Brest, France by ships of the Northern Fleet" dated 28 October 2004. There are a lot of interesting observations here, which can be summarized thusly:

They have hot water! Shit, the French have water at all! The watch actually stands watch! Goddamn, we're dirty! Paint mixed with sand on the decks so people don't slip and break their necks? Mon dieu! Musters! Do we really need so many musters? And maybe our ships wouldn't be so dirty if we gave our guys stuff to clean with. Or if we let them shower more than once every two weeks!

Well, not quite, but pretty close.

Part I:

To the Commander of the Northern Fleet
Vice Admiral Abramov


On the issue: “Some details on living conditions on board ships of the Russian Navy, observations by officers in the French Navy during joint Russian-French exercises and a port visit to Brest, France, by ships of the Northern Fleet”

The second joint Russian-French training exercise in the north-east Atlantic took place from 14-27 September, 2004. The large anti-submarine ship (BPK) Admiral Chabanenko, attack submarine K-157, French destroyer Tourville and submarine Emeraude participated. According to plan, the first evolution was an officer exchange: two Russian officers went to the Tourville and two French officers went to the Admiral Chabanenko. The liaison officers spent seven days on board, until the port call in Brest (21-26 Sep 2004). During direct interaction with French officers (on separate occasions), ((something)) managed to indirectly obtain information about the issues that they paying attention to during the joint exercises and port visit….

Event------------------------- Tourville--------------Chabanenko
Breakfast----------------------0700-0900----------First shift 0730-0745
(Officers serve themselves)--------------------------Second shift 0815-0830

Page 2

Shipboard evolutions---0900-1100----------------------0830-1125
Lunch:-------------------First shift -1100-1200----------1130-1145
---------------------------Second shift-1200-1300--------1210-1230
Rest----------------------Until 1445------------------------Until 1400
Shipboard evolutions---1500-1900-----------------------1400-1725
Dinner-------------------1st Shift 1900-2000-------------1730-1745
----------------------------2nd Shift 2000-2100-----------1810-1830
Shipboard evolutions----N/A------------------------------1830-2045
Free time----------------From 2100-----------------------2035-2200
Evening tea--------------N/A-------------------------------First shift 2330-2345
(Coffee, tea, juice, beer, etc.--------------------------------Second shift 0010-0020
always available to crew for free)
Taps---------------------Anytime after 2000---------------0030

Darken ship on French vessels is at 2000: the lights in the staterooms and common areas are covered and night lights are turned on in corridors (daylight lighting is turned on at 0800). As opposed to the lighting on the BPK, only running lights are visible from the outside.
There are no shipwide evolutions on the Tourville after 2000 except:
1. Night training (for instance, night time TOLs by the helicopter);
2. When the need arises because of a casualty.

Thus, French sailors (not standing watch) have twelve hours in which to relax
while Russian sailors have but six.

Page 3

2. “Typical shipboard evolutions during the week…”

The commander of the Tourville established three types of days at sea when he assumed command, depending on the situation:

1. Combat training day
2. Maintenance day – when the crew concentrated on repairs and material condition.
3. Sunday (rest day) – one or two times a week. Shipboard evolutions are kept to a minimum or just not carried out. No reveille. (“Sunday” was announced as one of the days during the joint exrcises).

Special attention was given to damage control and man overboard drills. They were carried out on maintenance days and also in parallel with joint training.

Man overboard drills are organized in an interesting manner. In secret from the crew, the First Lieutenant would give the signal and he would go to a cabinet and take out a manikin, throw it overboard and give the command “Man Overboard!”. The command is given over the 1MC. The watch officer presses the special button on the GPS to mark position and turns the ship around to return to that same position. At the same time fast rubber boat is prepared for launch. Launch of the boat is made without a crew aboard for safety reasons. Two members of the crew and a diver were lowered into the boat with a line after the boat was lowered into the water and placed under tow. The rubber boat was launched toward the manikin from the approaching ship. Upon return of the boat, the boat was secured to the ship and a Jacob’s ladder was lowered, and only then they raised the boat. The rescue operation – from the moment the “Man overboard” command was given to the recovery of the manikin on board in sea state three or four – took twenty minutes. No one from the ships command team took part in the drill. Action on the bridge was directed by the watch officer – a warrant officer. (Note: There is a big, handwritten exclamation point here).

3. “Multiple and prolonged cleaning events”.

Planned cleaning on the French ship is done once a day. The cleaner, who has a wide variety of cleaning implements and household chemicals, decides himself if he has cleaned enough or if he should clean some more.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

LTC Paul Yingling, O.G. (Originalist Gangsta)

In order to prevent future debacles, LTC Paul Yingling calls for a return to running an army the way the Founders intended - by making Congress actually work and do shit. And shit:


The U.S. should therefore abandon the all-volunteer military and return to our historic reliance on citizen soldiers and conscription to wage protracted war. This approach proved successful in both world wars and offers several advantages over the all-volunteer military. First and most important, this approach demands popular participation in national security decisions and provides Congress with powerful incentives to reassert its war powers. Unlike the all-volunteer force, a conscripted force of citizen soldiers would ensure that the burdens of war are felt equally in every community in America. Second, this approach provides the means to expand the Army to a sufficient size to meet its commitments. Unlike the all-volunteer force, a conscripted force would not rely on stop-loss policies or an endless cycle of year-on, year-off deployments of overstressed and exhausted forces. Third, conscription enables the military to be more discriminating in selecting those with the skills and attributes most required to fight today’s wars. Unlike the all-volunteer force, a conscripted force would not rely on exorbitant bonuses and reduced enlistment standards to fill its ranks. Finally, this approach would be less expensive. Unlike the world wars of the 20th century, today’s dangers will not pass quickly, allowing for a return to a smaller and less expensive military establishment. Imposing fiscal discipline on the Pentagon would not only strengthen America’s depleted finances, but also constrain executive ambitions for adventures abroad and congressional appetites for pork-barrel projects at home.


Others may dispute these methods of raising and funding military power on the grounds of political expediency. Imposing conscription, mobilizing National Guard and reserve forces, raising taxes and cutting domestic spending to pay for military expenditures will be politically unpopular. However, the development of America’s military forces and their commitment to protracted wars were never intended to be politically expedient. The Founders placed these powers in the hands of Congress to ensure that such momentous decisions were undertaken carefully after sober public deliberation. The Founders did not expect that America would “go to war with the Army we have” but rather that Congress would raise the Army we need to prosecute carefully thought out war aims to a successful conclusion.


In many ways, the prosecution of the war in Iraq is a cautionary tale against bypassing the war powers of Congress. If members of Congress had to impose conscription and fully mobilize the National Guard, they might have been more skeptical of the case for war. Had members of Congress been required to cut popular domestic programs to pay for the war, they might have insisted on prosecuting the war more intelligently and vigorously. Instead, Iraq edged toward chaos over the course of four years, costing the lives of thousand of volunteers and hundreds of billions of dollars in borrowed money. Members of Congress held hearings and asked questions, but took no action to change the course of events in Iraq. The public did not have to endure conscription as it did during the Vietnam War; the nascent anti-war movement therefore never approached the size and intensity of its Vietnam-era counterpart. Congress played only a minor role in the 2007 change of strategy in Iraq, the so-called “surge” that has created a remarkable, if fragile, turnaround. Nonetheless, the underlying fact remains that our conduct of the war in Iraq calls into question both the intelligence and vigor of America’s capacity to wage war.

I can already hear the screams of the so-called "originalist conservatives" of "America hating traitor" and "why does the Russian Navy Blogger and LTC Yingling hate America so much that they are advocating disarmament?"

Because that is how those wanna be, gonna be prankstas in the non-serving Bill Kristol/Rush Limbaugh/Glenn Beck wing roll...

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Unique Operation in Gremikha, Pt II

More than a year ago, I made a snide remark about how Gremikha looked kind of like the Book of Eli meets S.T.A.L.K.E.R.. Apparently, they CAN carry out those types of "unique operations" there:

I'll never underestimate the technical ability of a country that looks like the set for a remake of "Planet of the Apes" again.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I have no love for the Russians, but...

...the morons who considered this need to be identified so they will never again allowed near the levers of power. What were these advocates of riding to Georgia's rescue thinking? That trading Tbilisi for Chicago or New York in a potential nuclear exchange would be a fair trade? That this was an "emotionally difficult" decision is absurd.

I want names!

President George W. Bush and his senior aides considered — and rejected — a military response to Russia’s 2008 invasion of Georgia, according to a new history of the conflict and interviews with former officials in the Bush administration.

“There were people on [Vice President Dick] Cheney’s staff and [National Security Adviser Stephen] Hadley’s staff who said, ‘We can’t let Georgia go down like this.'”