Thursday, February 12, 2015

Who won the Battle of Britain?

The bit of history I want to challenge below may seem to be of no interest to people today but, as we shall see, its central lesson is in fact highly relevant to America's current war on Daesh in Syria.

Finding the truth amid a fog of lies is always hard but if we are to deal with reality constructively, we need to find the truth. One of the great obstacles is propaganda -- and wartime propaganda is surprisingly persistent.  The propaganda of the victor in a war tends to become the history of that war. I don't think anyone now believes the WWI Allied propaganda that it was "The great war for civilization" but that is probably only because so much has happened since then.

One bit of propaganda that always amuses me is the Hollywood portrayal of German troops in WWII as stupid and hopeless bunglers while Allied troops were savvy and clever.  That is of course the exact opposite of the truth.  One only has to reflect on the mere 6 weeks that it took Hitler's troops to overrun France to suspect that portrayal.  It took Germany just 6 weeks to conquer French forces that were more numerous and in some ways better equipped than they were. The Wehrmacht was in fact by far the most militarily efficient force deployed in WWII.

And I am afraid that the British victory in the Battle of Britain is a myth too.  The story is that poorly trained Allied airmen got into their Spitfires and turned back the Luftwaffe.  They didn't.  The Heinkel and Dornier bombers mostly got through and unloaded onto their target areas.  The extensive damage they did to places like Coventry is testimony to that.

So what have we not been told?  The fact is that the trained pilots of the Luftwaffe in their excellent Messerschmitt 109s made mincemeat out of the British fighters.  The German bombers got through because their escorting Messerschmitts shot the Hawker Hurricanes and Supermarine Spitfires down before they could get to the bombers.  The British counted as an air "Ace" a pilot who shot down a dozen or more German planes while Germany had lots of pilots with 100 or more "kills".  Adolf Galland is the best known example of that but other Luftwaffe pilots had even more "kills". There is a list of WWII air aces somewhere and about the first 100 pilots on that list were German.

So how come the Royal Airforce did so poorly?  The British aircraft were pretty good but the Battle of Britain was fought mainly by the older Hawker Hurricanes.  Spitfire production had not ramped up at that stage.  But all British fighters at that time mounted machine guns only, whereas the Messerschmitt had cannon as well. So a hit from a Messerschmitt could be much more deadly.

But some RAF pilots did relatively well so it was not mainly their machines that were wanting. It was their training.  Like the French, the British had simply not trained nearly enough pilots -- whereas Germany had been training pilots since the Spanish civil war.  Britain's large motor vehicle industry was readily converted from making motor cars to making aircraft and it did pour out lots of them.  But where were the pilots to fly them?  Men were sent up to face the Luftwaffe with as little as ten hours of air training.  They were lucky to get their machine pointed in the right direction at that stage and were hence sitting ducks.  Very few allied pilots lasted long.  It was common for them to fly only a few sorties at most before being shot down.

So why did the Luftwaffe eventually go away?  Because the German High Command  learnt at that stage a lesson the Allies also learnt later on when it was their turn to bomb Germany:  Aircraft are expensive and bombing is not very effective at achieving war aims. You need boots on the ground.  America is facing that fact right now in its attempts to suppress Daesh in Syria.  Fortunately, Daesh do not have an air arm

What Germany found was that bombing affected production of war materiel only marginally and that it did not corrode enemy morale to any significant extent.  So the Luftwaffe went away and concentrated on easy targets in Russia instead.

So nobody won the battle of Britain.  The Royal Airforce did not  stop the bombing and the Luftwaffe failed to achieve their basic objectives of stopping British war production and intimidating the British population.


The Left-dominated Israeli Press are keeping silent on a huge story

Kalman Liebeskind, writing from Israel, points to the U.S. financed V15 group as pouring money into Leftist Israeli political parties.  It appears that Obama is attempting to hijack Israel's elections and get rid of conservative PM Netanyahu

If one of the ways to judge if a state is democratic is by whether its press is worthy of the name, the last few weeks have shown that we have nothing in common with a democratic state. That is because what has been done here by a long roster of journalists and media sources, who cannot abide the thought that Binyamin Netanyahu might win the elections again, is a travesty against democracy. Hysteria, frenzy, there is no other way to define what is happening on screen, on the radio waves, on the Facebook and Twitter pages of just about every leading mainstream Israeli journalist.

In their eyes, Netanyahu has become a demon and the ultimate symbol of evil, so that those who intend to grant him those 20 or so Knesset seats are viewed as the ignorant masses. Likud spokesmen are rudely attacked on mainstream media, while senior journalists ignore any facts that don't fit the master plan. There are no rules, no laws, everything we ever learned in the School of Journalism will just have to wait for the day after the elections. Shush, there is a war going on.

But we are in the midst of an election campaign, and the election campaign story is very simple. Here it is in one short sentence: An organization whose goal is switching our Prime Minster has as its organizational, legal and bureaucratic base another organization to which the American Embassy belongs and to which John Kerry channels funds. Read that sentence slowly and aloud and tell me if that doesn't sound insane. Tell me if that story did not have to be the most explosive one of this entire election campaign.

Do you realize what is happening here? The Israeli media is lacing mercilessly into Netanyahu because of the "finger he is poking into America's eye", because the planned speech he intends to give in the US Congress may insult Obama – and absolutely refuses to notice that at the same exact time, an organization funded by Obama is cooperating with the group that has as its goal pushing Netanyahu out of office.

This is the story that should have been splashed all over the news by the Israeli media. The State Department's spokesman should have been forced to explain what is going on. The American ambassador should have been seen perspiring in TV studios. None of this happened, of course, because this story doesn't interest our media in the slightest. We have no press during this period. The Israeli press and its democratic flak jacket are on vacation, on its office door hangs a sign saying "out due to elections" and we are completely vulnerable.

Let's forget that the fact that we journalists didn't discover what V15 was doing is a colossal failure on our part. The problem is that once the Likud did expose the entire scandal, the only thing the media did, instead of taking up a cudgel and forging on by itself, was to try to bury the story. On Army Radio – whose budget should be cut by the amount that really belongs on Herzog and Livni's campaign fund disbursements– I heard, too many times to count, both before the Likud press conference and after it, that the whole V15 story was concocted to deflect the public's attention from the story of Sara Netanyahu's deposit bottles. That the story is only a diversion. The station's political correspondent repeated that statement so many times that he practically lost his voice.

While the media took on the story of the returnable bottles and demanded explanations, responses and a criminal investigation, no less, we were witness to a totally different press when it came to the V15 story.  Here we had a press that has no desire to investigate, a press uninterested in anything, a press that delivers only an unembellished report. The "Likud says", the "Likud claims", the "Likud will hold a press conference" as all they said. The Likud members' most difficult mission this past week was to convince the press that there was a story at all. One after another the party's spokemen were attacked by interviewers, who not only didn't do their jobs, but demanded that the Likud bring them a full dossier of proofs – or they would decide forthwith that there is nothing to the story.

Did the Likud claimed that one of Obama's past campaign managers is helping V15? Army Radio rushed to announce a "scoop" – they, too, have an advisor for New Media who once worked with the Republicans. Did the Likud claim that OneVoice  is interfering in a sovereign nations' elections? Army Radio responded by attacking Likud MK Yuval Steinitz for once appearing before OneVoice, as if one speech neutralizes the fact that the organization is now working to defeat Netanyahu.

The media kept grinding away at the idiotic story of Sara Netanyahu's returnable bottles and exactly when she gave the blasted 4000 IS she received for them to the state's coffers – but the connection between the US State Department and an organization working to defeat Netanyahu didn't interest a soul among them.

Let's take a look at Yoel Hasson, a member of the (self-titled) "Zionist Camp" of Herzog and Livni. After Ar'el Segal revealed that the honorable Hasson himself is on the board of governors of OneVoice, Hasson rushed to deny it and claim that "I was never a member of the board there". A short time later – when the Hebrew language Rotternet site revealed that not only his name, but also his photograph and bio appears on the list of board members on OneVoice's site - an unusual coincidence occurred and they were removed. Hasson explained that he had no idea who had put his name there. Of course, we know about that – which of us hasn't had some organization choose to post his name and photo as a member of their board by mistake?

Seriously, doesn't this merit some discussion? Doesn't this seem a bit suspicious? Wouldn't a fair press force the "Zionist Camp" to deal with the issue and furnish explanations for it?

If we go back 15 years, we will soon see that this is a repeat of the same corrupt press of 1999. That was when the Likud found out about Herzog and Barak's illegal NPO's. Then, like now, only the then fledgling and small "Makor Chadash" Hebrew newspaper featured the issue.  No one else showed any interest in their story. Then, as well, the Likud party's leaders (Livni was one of them then) were forced to call a press conference to publicize what they had discovered. Then, as now, by the next morning the entire story had been buried, because there were almost no journalists who found it worth taking up.

Almost, but not quite. There was one rare, intrepid journalist, Shelly Yehimovich, whose political leanings were with the left, but whose integrity forced her to bring up the story on the radio again and again, even if it didn't serve her side. This week, too, there was one – Keren Neubach – who, I am willing to bet will not vote Likud, just as Shelly Yehimovich didn't – but whose pointed questions and demand for answers facing the V15 representative preserved a small part of the honor of her chosen profession.

The time has come to put a stop to pretensions of objectivity. A month and a half before Election Day, everything is political, everything is tainted, everything has been bought.



Obama To Scrap Warplane The Islamic State Fears

The venerable A-10 Warthog, designed to stop Soviet tanks, and the perfect weapon to "degrade and destroy" the Islamic State, as President Obama promised, faces a budgetary chopping block.

We have noted the irony of how Obama was going to war against the Islamic State with weapons systems he had scrapped, ending the production runs of the F-22 Raptor and Tomahawk cruise missiles. They were dismissed by the administration as relics of the Cold War even as Russia was rearming and trying to reassemble the old Soviet Union.

We've also mentioned the phasing out of the A-10 Thunderbolt, a close-support aircraft that entered service in 1972 and was designed to combat Soviet tank formations on a European battlefield.

Dubbed the "Warthog" because of its decidedly un-sleek profile, the A-10 has been found to be useful in another capacity in Iraq — attacking IS forces that don't want to be on the business end of the Warthog's 30 mm cannon as it flies low and slow over the battlefield.

As Iraqi News reported last week after an A-10 sortie against IS forces near Mosul: "The aircraft sparked panic in the ranks of ISIS and bombing its elements in spaces close to the ground." Such strikes also prove the value of such a low-maintenance aircraft built to take the punishment expected in close air support.

"Elements of the terrorist organization targeted the aircraft with 4 Strella missiles, but that did not cause it any damage, prompting the remaining elements of the organization to leave the bodies of the dead and carry the wounded to escape," according to the Iraqi report.

This is not surprising, since the A-10 can almost hover over a battlefield as it picks out targets for its 20-foot-long, 2.5 ton, seven-barrel Gatling gun that can fire 1,100 of those 30 mm shells. The titanium shell that wraps around the bottom of its cockpit makes it difficult to shoot down.

The U.S. sent the aircraft to the region in late November with the 163rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, a unit with the Indiana Air National Guard. The unit also provided close air support for air operations against the Taliban in Afghanistan.

On Jan. 15, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James pointed out that the A-10 had conducted 11% of all sorties against IS since August, despite the fact it was not deployed to the battlefield until November.

But it may be shot down soon by the budget-cutters. The Pentagon figures it can save $4.2 billion in operation and maintenance costs over five years by retiring all 283 of the Air Force's A-10s. It also believes the F-35, despite its unit cost and troubled development, can fill the need for close air-support need. Whether it can take the punishment the A-10 can is open to question.



Poetic Social Justice: Minimum Wage Laws Hits San Francisco  business

In this iteration, the Daily Caller notes that a beloved San Francisco bookstore will have to close because minimum wage laws.

Back in November, residents of the city voted to increase the minimum wage gradually to $15 an hour over the course of three years. Though the wage hike was designed to help address income inequality, several businesses have already had to close. …

When it came time to break the news to his six employees, [Borderlands Books owner Alan] Beatts decided it was best to talk with each of them individually. He knew it would be tough because his employees love books, love the written word and to them, it was more than just a job.

“I spoke to each of my employees individually,” Beatts notes. “The typical reaction was shock and sadness.”

Michael Saltsman, the research director at the Employment Policies Institute, fears that more is to come as a result of the wage increase.

“We’re probably just seeing the beginning of this,” Saltsman told TheDCNF. “In a relatively short period of time it’s concerning we have a couple stories like these popup.”

“What we do know is San Francisco is an expensive place to do business,” Saltsman also noted. “It’s pretty clear that if this minimum wage didn’t go up, this business would still be open.”

Advocates of minimum wage laws argue that it is more humanitarian to force wage increases, but how humanitarian is it to cost someone their business or their job?  We should note that Borderlands closure is but one of several in San Francisco since the wage increase law passed.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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