Saturday, September 6, 2008

Mount Whitney Arrives in Georgia

Today, State Department spokesman Robert Wood denied Russian allegations that the Mount Whitney was delivering arms to Georgia. The Sixth Fleet flagship Mount Whitney arrived at the Poti roadstead on Friday, delivering 17 tons of alleged humanitarian aid to Georgia. The administration also denied reports in the local mass media that they would allow the Russians to inspect cargos departing the port. According to the American command, the port of Poti is sovereign Georgian territory. Russia asserts that the Atlantic Alliance is breaking international law and will bring the issue up at the UN.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Inside the Sevastopol' Anti-American Protests

Stupid Russian tricks:

The crew of the American warship "Dallas" couldn't walk around Sevastopol'. A group of activists from the internet forum conducted psychological warfare against the NATO sailors.

As a participant in the forum by the nickname LenaDonbass told "Novyy Region", residents of Sevastopol' didn't want to let the crew of the American ship ashore. But the police convinced the picketers to temporarily relent since allegedly the sailors would only go ashore no earlier than five in the evening.

"People left and only then the Americans appeared", Elena said. "When they departed, we formed a human chain to block them. But they charged through like bulls, 30 or 35 guys, in an organized group, but in civilian clothes."

The Americans pressed part of the picket line into a barbed wire fence. Many were scratched bloody.

"Naturally, after this we were very angry, running after them through the city, not allowing them to photograph anything and warning merchants in stores that they were the crew of the Dallas", Elena said...

"When we said that these are the Americans that delivered weapons to Georgia, people reacted very aggressively. Guys went up to them and asked us to leave so they could kick some American ass. But we tried to head off illegal action. There are already a lot of charges against activists by the police", Elena explained.

In her opinion, thanks to the escort by forum activists they succeeded in avoiding a massive confrontation with the civilian population.

"There were a few confrontations, but we tried to not allow serious incidents and tried to not let any repeat themselves. Return to your ship, you aren't welcome here", Elena said.

Some American military guys decided to buy some ice cream on Nakhimov Square. But forum activists asked the girl not to sell them any.

"We went up to her and asked her not to sell the Americans ice cream, that they are killers who brought weapons to Georgia. She thanked us for the warning. Sailors went up to her and we told them that she didn't speak English and wouldn't sell them ice cream. They answered that everyone speaks the language of money. The girl knitted her eyebrows and turned away from them, confusing the Americans."

According to Elena, the forum activists were able to drive two groups of sailors back to the ship.

"The police began to curse us, saying that we were creating a circus. We began to curse them back and that they were carrying out an illegal order and provoking a clash between the peaceful population and the military yet again, only this time, with the American military", Elena emphasized.

She added that the activists were planning to report the actions of the police to the authorities.

"Its not the first time that the police provoked a clash. The Ukrainian military police hasn't stopped criminal activity so it was up to regular people to do it. As far as the Americans go - they protected them, and when nationalists come into town, they protect them, too," - according to indignant forum dwellers.

Remember that the Coast Guard ship Dallas pulled into port on 01 September at the invitation of the Ukrainians while it was on its way from Georgia. The next morning she was gone.


Next time, I hope an amphib pulls in with a Battalion Landing Team embarked and there is a no curfew liberty call and no shore patrol.

Those folks at are a supremely classy bunch. Here is what one extremely active (12,000+ posts) member is encouraging other "activists" to send to the Mount Whitney on the occasion of her arrival in Poti:

Fucking niggers!

We hate all of you and we would start killing you in Sevastopol soon!

Kindest regards to your fucking black-ass monkey Kondoleeza!

Fuck you bloodу bastards!

Horrible racism? Check.

Incitement to violence? Check.

Likening us to animals? Check

You stay classy, Russia!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Comparison of Forces in the Black Sea

The Sverdlov class light cruiser Murmansk, Soroya Island, Norway, July 2008.(user "Andrew",

A long, boring article comparing the naval forces available to Russia and Ukraine and her allies (NATO), including Bulgaria, Rumania and Turkey. Mostly it is a rundown of the current availability of naval forces in the Black Sea, their capabilities and the note that Bulgaria, Turkey and Rumania aren't really constrained by the Montreux Convention limiting tonnage in the Black Sea.

The money paragraph comes at the very end:

It's abundantly clear that in general, the Russian Black Sea Fleet and Groups of Forces in this region is weak. In the big picture, we continue to lose our position in the Black Sea basin. And it would behoove the military-political leadership to immediately pay attention to this weakness.

This is an admission of insecurity and weakness. I think history has shown that a Russia that feels weak and insecure is a dangerous Russia.

Yuri Dolgoruki Prepares for Sea

04 Sep 2008

In the near future, the SSBN Yuri Dolgoruki will conduct sea trials in the test range in the White Sea. According to a 04 Sep story by Interfax, the preparations to go to sea are being done jointly with the crew and specialists from OAO Sevmash.

The testing will include checks of the power plant and combat systems. The exact date the boat will go to sea hasn't been announced.

The Yuri Dolgoruki is the lead in the Borey-class/Project 955 strategic missile cruiser. She was launched in April, 2007 and it is expected to be commissioned later this year. Sevmash is currently constructing two more of the class - the Alexandr Nevskiy and the Vladimir Monomakh.

The Yuri Dolgoruki displaces 24,000 tons. The maximum speed is 29 knots. She is armed with six 650mm torpedo tubes, four 533mm torpedo tubes and 16 ballistic missile launchers for the Bulava.

For more of the latest on the troubled Bulava program, see Pavel Povdig's Strategic Nuclear Forces blog.

My bet is she goes to sea unarmed. And if she does go to sea with something in the tubes, it will be with ballast cans or a half tested, unreliable Bulava system so that the Russians can claim the usual bullshit about how their systems are "the best in the world with no analogue".

USNS Pathfinder Arrives in Sevastopol'

According to Zvezda News, USNS Pathfinder unexpectedly arrived in Sevastopol' at the invitaton of the Ukrainian Acadamy of Science to conduct joint research on the sea floor. This visit was kept quiet as evidenced by the man on the street interviews in which everyone thinks the American ship being mentioned is the recently departed USCSG Dallas. The reporter notes that the Pathfinder is equiped with all the latest electronic reconaissance gear.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

USS Mount Whitney Transits Straits - USS Cowpens Allegedly Denied

From Zvezda TV News:

We have just received footage of the American destroyer (sic) Mount Whitney transiting the Dardanelles. According to the Turkish authorities, this is the third American vessel to transit the straits. The amphibious command destroyer can conduct strategic electronic reconnaissance and is one of the most modern ships in the American fleet. According to the Americans she is on her way to Georgia with humanitarian cargo.

The text of this TV reports adds that the Turkish government refused permission of the USS Cowpens to transit the straits.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

First Look - 02 Sep 2008 (Zvezda News edition)

USNS Pathfinder enters the Black Sea

The latest Ameican Navy Ship "Pathfinder" has already been declared for passage through the Bosphorus and to the shores of Georgia. In a few hours she will enter Black Sea waters. Tomorrow morning she will have moored in one of Georgia's ports. The official version is that it is the latest American humanitarian mission. According to the Navy she has a research role and is credited to the scientific arm of the Navy, but they haven't said what kind of research role "Pathfinder" will have off the coast of Georgia. All that is known is that it carries equipment that could carry out virtually any sort of reconnaissance.

The "Smetlivyy" and the "Dallas" trade places. A re-shuffle at the port.

(Tr Note: I know Рокировка means "to castle" as in the chess move, but re-shuffling is probably better understood to English readers).

The American ship "Dallas" secretly disappeared from Sevastopol' this morning. The American Navy escort ship "Dallas" arrived in Crimean waters on Monday after delivering humanitarian aid to Georgia in Batumi. Ukrainians say that it was going to be a working visit. American sailors gathered for an excursion into town. Meanwhile, they were met by hundreds of locals who didn't want American Coasties spending their money shouted "Yankee Go Home!", not even allowing them to go ashore. So at before dawn they unexpectedly weighed anchor and left port. After that the Russian escort ship "Smetlivyy" pulled into port.

According to RosBusnesKonsalting:

[The "Smetlivyy"] was stationed off the coast of Abkazia for almost a month and a half and participated in the resolution of Georgian-Ossetian and Georgian-Abkhaz conflicts. In part, she controlled the landing of Black Sea Fleet Marines. The "Smetlivyy" entered port with no interference from the Ukrainian Navy.

According to fleet HQ, the fleet flagship "Moskva" is expected back in the near future. Besides her, right now the large landing ships "Azov", "Tsezar' Kunikov", "Yamal" and several auxiliary and salvage ships which were sent to the conflict zone are in Novorossiysk.

The submersible "Mir" discovers gas hydrates ("the fuel of the future" according to this report) on the floor of Lake Baikal, the worlds deepest freshwater lake. Cool pics from a mile down.

Monday, September 1, 2008

USCGS Dallas* in Sevastopol' - The Russkies Bring teh Funny

*or, as some bloggers have taken to call her, "Pampersnosets", a play on the Russian word for "aircraft carrier" or "avianosets".

Because we Americans need to find out the secret to what makes the Russian Navy so crappy. I made a port call on a frigate years ago to Severomorsk. I caught one of the Warrant Officers taking a tour of the ship surreptitiously chipping non-skid off the deck. I mentioned it to the OOD and he said, "Why don't they just ask? We can give them BUCKETS of it."

Point being that I don't think there is much point in being all covert and James Bond because I don't think there is much to learn from a Navy that isn't smart enough to mix some paint and sand together and coat their bare metal decks with it...

Oops. I gave away the secret formula.

Now on to the photo story...

Nothing gave away the spy. Not the sunglasses or the parachute on his back...

On board Dallas, "John" received his final instructions, explosives and poison capsule...

Stiff legged, he walks down the brow and onto land...

walking up to the very lair of the enemy - the Russian Black Sea Fleet base.

He succeeded in covertly bypassing the entrance to the base.

But an alert granny thwarted his secret plan...

...and hit his backpack with a death-dealing flag pole attached to a Communist flag.

While the police calmed down the wicked old bag...

..."John" faded into the crowd to complete his mission.

Bonus addendum to the story: One of the commenters observed, "At least he wasn't a ((black guy))."

You stay classy, Russia!

Meanwhile, our crack team of scuba diving cats prepare to infiltrate the Russian Black Sea fleet base:

as their paratrooper cat-patriots prepare to infiltrate HQ and claw a couple of couches or something:

AP: Cruiser "Aurora" Docks in Abkhazia

What next from the AP? The Constitution making a port call in Batumi?

Poti's port reportedly suffered heavy damage from the Russian military. In addition, Russian troops have established checkpoints on the northern approach to the city, and a U.S. ship docking there could have been seen as a direct challenge.

Meanwhile, the Russian missile cruiser Aurora and two missile boats anchored at the port of Sukhumi, the capital of Abkhazia, some 300 kilometers north of Batumi. The Russian Navy says the ships will be involved in peacekeeping operations.

"Massive" Protests as Dallas Arrives in Sevastopol'

The Russians living in Sevastopol' are not happy. No translation of a little old woman giving us the finger should be necessary...

UPDATE 0840 01 Sep:

I'm guessing liberty has been secured.

More pics:

In a parody of the traditional bread and salt wecoming ceremony, a young lady welcomes Dallas with a cartoonish bomb.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

31 August: Pics from the Pier in Sukhumi

Vesti Gives More Details on The Battle of the Black Sea

Note: The official Russian line being pushed in the video is that it was the Tbilisi that was sunk by the Mirazh the night of the 10th. That is clearly untrue and/or a lie, for whatever reason the Russian government chooses to lie about this seemingly unimportant detail. They even go as far as to show the CNN footage of a burning Tbilisi, cropped to avoid showing that the Tbilisi is burning at the pier!


The translation may vary slightly from the video since I am working off a transcript and not the video.

Russian naval blogger U-96 comments:

Whats up with these "five fast moving Georgian boats" with "powerful anti-ship missiles" when there are only two missile boats in the Georgian order of battle?
Besides that, there weren't any SSMs and the radars weren't working.

In the article the sunken vessel was named as the "Tbilisi", but the internet is lousy with pics of that missile boat burning in Poti.

Same as it ever was...more questions than answers. A shame.

More and more details have come out over the past week concerning the Georgian intrusion into South Ossetia. The author of the program "Special Correspondent" Arkady Mamontov has discovered more detail about the battle that took place on the Black Sea between Russian and Georgian forces.

It happened the night of August 10th. The first sea battle between Russian and Georgian forces has already taken place. It was on the third day after the beginning of the bombardment of a sleeping Tskhinvali ordered by Saakashvili. Not everyone knows the details of this clash.

Early in the morning on that day, a group of Black Sea Fleet ships departed from Novorossiysk port and set course for Sukhumi, Abkhazia. On board two large landing ships (BDKs) were 500 peacekeepers with their equipment. They were being transported to Abkhazia to ensure the security of the local population and deter an attack by the Georgian Army. They were escorted by two ships, including the small missile boat (MRK) "Mirazh".

At the same time five high-speed Georgian boats departed Poti on an intercepting course. Their task - attack and sink our ships. The tactics for this attack were worked out by American specialists: fast-moving small boats, armed with powerful anti-ship missiles suddenly strike the BDKs and depart. Upon a successful attack the result would be shock and awe. Hundreds of dead marines, burning ships and a victorious communique for Saakashvili: "We cut off the intervention" and "The Russian Navy isn't good for anything." But it turned out the other way. "Vesti" has succeeded in getting more information from participants in the clash.

18:39 - Russian radar detected a couple of high-speed surface targets heading on an attack course toward our line of ships.

18:40 - An enemy boat approached at a critical distance. Then the flagship issued a command to the BDK "Tsezar' Kunikov" to open fire with a warning shot. One of the ships launched an anti-aircraft missile which landed between the Georgian ships. But they didn't stop, instead gaining speed and tried to reach the so-called "dead zone", where missiles are useless. And then the MRK "Mirazh" recieved the command to destroy the enemy. The distance to the target was 35km. Preparation to fire, calculations, all of that was done in literally a few minutes. Sea battles always go quickly.

18:41 - The commander of the "Mirazh" gave the command to fire. The Georgian sailors had the advantage of speed while ours had the advantage of reaction time. The first missile was launched at the target. A few seconds later and the second was on its way. The flight time to the Georgian ship "Tbilisi" - a minute and 20 seconds. Range to the enemy - 25km.

The first missile hit the machinery spaces on the "Tbilisi". A second later and the bridge was hit. There was a bright blotch on the radar screen of our ship for 30 seconds which meant complete destruction of the target, accompanied by a large burst of heat energy.

18:50 - The commander of the "Mirazh" gave the command to change position. The ship changed course and made for shore at high speed, completing a turn and again turning on an attack course. The radar showed only four targets. One of them was a Georgian boat, gaining speed and closing our ships. The "Mirazh" opened fire with a salvo from the "Osa" (SA-N-4).

At that time the range was down to 15km. The first missile hit the Georgian boat, which immediately began to smoke, slowed and attempted to exit the line of fire. The rest of the Georgian ships disengaged, sharply turning about. As our sailors noted, this maneuver was executed competently. The "Mirazh" did not pursue the beaten enemy as there was no order to finish them off.

At 19:28 after sweeping the area, the "Mirazh" got back into line and continued to Sukhumi. From the commodore's report: "One target was destroyed out of five, one was damaged and three fled. Missile expendature: two anti-surface missiles, one anti-air missile, no loss of personnel. No damage to friendly ships."

The "Mirazh" is one of the first to return from Causasian shores to her homeport of Sevastopol'. She was greeted with fireworks and cheers, but during her entrance into the bay a Ukrainian ship made a point of passing by. It must be said that it was the exact same type of boat sunk by the "Mirazh" on 10 August. From sources in the Ukrainian Navy HQ, it became known that an order came down from Kiev to put a ship and a tug in the roadstead in order to demonstrate to the Russian sailors their dissatisfaction and also to point out who controls Sevastopol' harbor.

It was noticed that there were people in civilian clothes on board the Ukrainian boat directing the operation. Everything was very unpleasant. And only the festive reception by the people of Sevastopol' kept this from blowing up into something scandalous. The sailors of the "Mirazh" watched how the people of Sevastopol' greeted them. The Russian ship smartly pulled into the bay, fully conscious of their force and power, maneuvered and avoided the Ukrainian boat and tug as if they didn't even notice them.

Protests to Meet Dallas in Sevastopol'

In a live report from Sevastopol', a TV Zvezda correspondent reports that the inhabitants of the "City of Russian Naval Glory" are not too happy with the rumored visit of the USCGS "Dallas" and that protesters will turn out, although it is unclear how many will turn out since tomorrow is "Den' Znaniya", or "Day of Knowledge", the day children return to school and a big holiday in the former Soviet Union.