Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A French Soldier's View of US Soldiers in Afghanistan

I found this article and thought I would repost it onto my blog.
I posted a link to the English and French pages at the bottom of the page.

What follows is an account from a French ISAF soldier that was stationed with American Warfighters in Afghanistan sometime in the past 4 years. This was copied and translated from an editorial French newspaper.


"We have shared our daily life with two US units for quite a while - they are the first and fourth companies of a prestigious infantry battalion whose name I will withhold for the sake of military secrecy. To the common man it is a unit just like any other. But we live with them and got to know them, and we henceforth know that we have the honor to live with one of the most renowned units of the US Army - one that the movies brought to the public as series showing "ordinary soldiers thrust into extraordinary events". Who are they, those soldiers from abroad, how is their daily life, and what support do they bring to the men of our OMLT every day? Few of them belong to the Easy Company, the one the TV series focuses on. This one nowadays is named Echo Company, and it has become the support company.

They have a terribly strong American accent - from our point of view the language they speak is not even English. How many times did I have to write down what I wanted to say rather than waste precious minutes trying various pronunciations of a seemingly common word? Whatever State they are from, no two accents are alike and they even admit that in some crisis situations they have difficulties understanding each other. Heavily built, fed at the earliest age with Gatorade, proteins and creatine (Heh. More like Waffle House and McDonalds) - they are all heads and shoulders taller than us and their muscles remind us of Rambo. Our frames are amusingly skinny to them - we are wimps, even the strongest of us - and because of that they often mistake us for Afghans.

And they are impressive warriors! We have not come across bad ones, as strange at it may seem to you when you know how critical French people can be. Even if some of them are a bit on the heavy side, all of them provide us everyday with lessons in infantry know-how. Beyond the wearing of a combat kit that never seem to discomfort them (helmet strap, helmet, combat goggles, rifles etc.) the long hours of watch at the outpost never seem to annoy them in the slightest. On the one square meter wooden tower above the perimeter wall they stand the five consecutive hours in full battle rattle and night vision goggles on top, their sight unmoving in the directions of likely danger. No distractions, no pauses, they are like statues nights and days. At night, all movements are performed in the dark - only a handful of subdued red lights indicate the occasional presence of a soldier on the move. Same with the vehicles whose lights are covered - everything happens in pitch dark even filling the fuel tanks with the Japy pump.Here we discover America as it is often depicted: their values are taken to their paroxysm, often amplified by promiscuity and the loneliness of this outpost in the middle of that Afghan valley.

And combat? If you have seen Rambo you have seen it all - always coming to the rescue when one of our teams gets in trouble, and always in the shortest delay. That is one of their tricks: they switch from T-shirt and sandals to combat ready in three minutes. Arriving in contact with the enemy, the way they fight is simple and disconcerting: they just charge! They disembark and assault in stride, they bomb first and ask questions later - which cuts any pussyfooting short.Honor, motherland - everything here reminds of that: the American flag floating in the wind above the outpost, just like the one on the post parcels. Even if recruits often originate from the hearth of American cities and gang territory, no one here has any goal other than to hold high and proud the star spangled banner. Each man knows he can count on the support of a whole people who provides them through the mail all that an American could miss in such a remote front-line location: books, chewing gums, razorblades, Gatorade, toothpaste etc. in such way that every man is aware of how much the American people backs him in his difficult mission. And that is a first shock to our preconceptions: the American soldier is no individualist. The team, the group, the combat team are the focus of all his attention.

(This is the main area where I'd like to comment. Anyone with a passing knowledge of Kipling knows the lines from Chant Pagan: 'If your officer's dead and the sergeants look white/remember it's ruin to run from a fight./ So take open order, lie down, sit tight/ And wait for supports like a soldier./ This, in fact, is the basic philosophy of both British and Continental soldiers. 'In the absence of orders, take a defensive position.' Indeed, virtually every army in the world. The American soldier and Marine, however, are imbued from early in their training with the ethos: In the Absence of Orders: Attack! Where other forces, for good or ill, will wait for precise orders and plans to respond to an attack or any other 'incident', the American force will simply go, counting on firepower and SOP to carry the day.

This is one of the great strengths of the American force in combat and it is something that even our closest allies, such as the Brits and Aussies (that latter being closer by the way) find repeatedly surprising. No wonder is surprises the hell out of our enemies.)

We seldom hear any harsh word, and from 5 AM onwards the camp chores are performed in beautiful order and always with excellent spirit. A passing American helicopter stops near a stranded vehicle just to check that everything is alright; an American combat team will rush to support ours before even knowing how dangerous the mission is - from what we have been given to witness, the American soldier is a beautiful and worthy heir to those who liberated France and Europe.

To those who bestow us with the honor of sharing their combat outposts and who everyday give proof of their military excellence, to those who pay the daily tribute of America's army's deployment on Afghan soil, to those we owned this article, ourselves hoping that we will always remain worthy of them and to always continue hearing them say that we are all the same band of brothers".

Much of this the various veterans reading will go 'Well, duh. Of course we do our 'camp chores' and stand our posts in good order. There's a reason for them and if we didn't we'd get our heads handed to us eventually. And, yeah, we're in shape. Makes battle easier. The more you sweat, the less you bleed.'

What is hard for most people to comprehend is that that attitude represented only the most elite units of the past. Current everyday conventional boring 'leg infantry' units exceed the PT levels and training levels of most Special Forces during the Vietnam War. They exceed both of those as well as IQ and educational levels of: Waffen SS, WWII Rangers, WWII Airborne and British 'Commando' units during WWII. Their per-unit combat-functionality is essentially unmeasurable because it has to be compared to something and there's nothing comparable in industrial period combat history.

This group is so much better than 'The Greatest Generation' at war that WWII vets who really get a close look at how good these kids are stand in absolute awe.

Everyone complains about the quality of 'the new guys.' Don't. The screw-ups of this modern generation are head and shoulders above the 'high-medium' of any past group. Including mine.So much of 'The scum of the earth, enlisted for drink.'

This is 'The Greatest Generation' of soldiers.

They may never be equalled


And the Article in French.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Up Date and chewing over some random ideas.

Howdy all, First off, just to let every one know. I have all of my Lions Rampart miniatures assembled and primed. Even have paint on a few. But sadly Do to my brother leaving, to the Czech Republic,a new niece being born and seemingly never ending social engagements. It is taking me longer to complete this project then I had hoped.
But I am still trucking away and hopefully will have some photos posted up before I head to Maryland for Thanksgiving.

I have also been musing over different post apoc scenarios for my home, here in Southern Nevada. Like what advantages it has along with cons.
Very rich in ores and minerals. But the Southern half is a desert and can only maintain a small population. Where as the northern half is very sparsely populated and mountainous, but they are mostly farmers and ranchers. Even with out a bomb landing on Vegas, most of the population would die or kill it self off. The only saving grace is that the hover dam in Boulder city, if well maintained will still provide power for century's to come.
Also water from the reservoir. Hell Boulder would become the regionally hub with water and farms supplied by the Colorado and power from the dam. Vegas actually gets a lot more rain then most folks gives it credit. Its pretty funny watching the strip flood at least once a year.
With out people In a few 5-10 years the strip would be a stream. and most likely by at least 20-30 years there would most likely be a yearly migratory pattern where the Vegas valley will be populated in the winter by herders, who will drive their animals back up to Mt. Charleston in or Red Rock in the summer months.
leavening only a few die hard making a living in what's left of the hot crumbly swampy mess that is left. Well Swampy in the spring, and winter. Dry and parched in the fall and summer.
the freeways from LA and heading in all directions from the city will be unusable because of all the abandoned cars and trucks on the roads. Great for metal scavengers, but the roads will remain this way until the next great civilization pulls the wreaks off the roads.

Over time if no greater outside force arrives, Boulder and Laughlin will come to dominate the regions smaller valleys and famer settlements. Mostly because of their locations next to running rivers and tight control of the power from the dam. Because who ever controls that, controls the lower Colorado, they can cut off water at will and then unleash it all in one go flooding the whole region south, simultaneously bring life and death in equal measure.

The Major influences on the reaming societies, will very depending on which of the few reaming communities a person comes from.
Up in Northern eastern Clark county, along with a few of the more water active valley. Ranching and substance farming will be the order of the day. The most powerful individuals will be the Cattle barons, lords, Chefs or whatever you want to call them.
This description honestly describes lots of central and northern Nevada as well.

Then you have Mining, communities. One thing I was surprised to find while driving around was to see whole Mountains of undeveloped red stone and rock. Meaning Iron. Nevada is a very mineral rich state with silver, gold, and a whole list of other ores that will take to long to list.
But that means there will be small towns and prospector communities in locations where it does not make much sense to make a town. Goldfield comes to mind when talking about a prospector town gone bust. Look it up some time.

Nevadans seem to be pretty open and accepting(of course there is an asshole every place you go.) but at the same time we like to be left alone to do are own thing. I am sure this describes most people around the world, but when you leave the cities it really feels like you are back in the old west. Pretty cool for a history nut like me, but sucks if your a teenager stuck in one of those small towns.
But in a post Apoc setting every place will be like that.

The Colorado river and the Hover Dam will be very prominent. They provide the major power and water for the area, so who ever controls the dam, controls southern Nevada and lots of northern Arizona and into California. the Question is, will it be the locals from Bolder? Or a contingent of the old city of Las Vegas. Or will it be some completely new group?

Mormons will also form a very large component. Clark country use to be part of Deseret, and in down town Vegas is the old Mormon Fort. One of the first permanent settlements in the valley. With their community support system and habit of hording supplies. Along with a focuses on marring young and producing lots of children. I can see them becoming a major component of any severing population.
That is if they can organize a defense against the collapse of civil law.

Southern Nevada is also very heavily militarized. At least as far as the Air force is concerned. We even have a light mechanized element with Bradley's and Abrams for the national training center in Irwin.

So to end it.

Cattle Ranchers.
Mineing communities.
Mormon Wards.
The Colorado.
Hover Damn.
Las Vegas.
The Military.

I suppose lots of this has already been covered in Games like Wasteland 2 or Fallout New Vegas, but this is my own thoughts on it.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Family Arms

One idea I also like is using the old family crest as a base for my Retinue. Apparently my line hails from Suffolk and one of use even got recognized by Henry the 8th. According to the records I pulled up one Edmund Moody was a Yeoman to the king and an outing he fell into a stream and apparently was to drunk to get himself out.

Well being no slouch Edmund apparently fished him out of drink. And in Gratitude he was recognized as a Gentlemen, giving him a house, and a pension. Not bad for just doing your job.

Now I know I am not a direct descendent, one of those 3rd son of a 3rd son things. Causing my family to come to the Carolinas in the 1640s.

I am trying to decided what kind of color combination to go with for now. I am torn between a white and black or a white and blue combo.
And a Badge or patch also. Thinking the 3 leafed clover or arm with a sword.

Lion Rampart

It seems the bug has bite, and I ordered myself a copy of Lions Rampart.
Needless to say I can not wait to get my retinue started. And I have many ideas as to what I would like to and if I don't get my ideas down LR will go the way of many of my other uncompleted projects.

I have a very elaborate and fictionally background that I am working on, using Clark County and my home of Las Vegas as a city State. That I will be using for a big project in the near future. But I think I will start small.

Using ideas inspired from reading some posts from LADFs and other Bloggers.




I decided to go for a WOTR style English house hold Retinue. So I will make 1 group of Foot Men-at-Arms, 2 groups of Expert Archers and Export Sergeants...at least to start. I plane on adding mounted versions too. Using the Perry Bro's Mounted Sargent plastic set when it comes out.
And I will make some less well armed group of foot Yeomen and some Bidowers.

This is what I have, and I am waiting for the plastic Men-at-Arms.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Thoughts for Canada.

In the past week members of Canada's armed forces where attacked and two killed by some very disturbed young men. Having served with and having friends in their armed forces I have the utmost respect them.

So my thoughts go out to the friends and family members of the victims.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Every wanted to know how much of your town will go up in the big one?


Fallow the link. And you to can set the yelled and point of impact for you own community. Using google maps.

Friday, July 18, 2014

What's going on with the Lead Adventure forum?

What's going on with the Lead Adventure forum?
That is the question I am posting to the folks that graciously fallow my blog.. (Even though I am not that active)

Are they doing updates? Did they get flagged and removed? Did Germany fall to the Alien invaders?


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Nation’s Veterans Demand Farmland In Gaul

Nation’s Veterans Demand Farmland In Gaul

A Satire
Link http://www.duffelblog.com/2014/01/nations-veterans-demand-farmland-in-gaul/

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A delegation from the American Legion had a meeting today with several leading senators to demand suitable farmland for the nation’s landless veterans in the province of Transalpine Gaul.

“We swear here, upon Jupiter’s Stone, that if Consul Obama Africanus does not compensate us with suitable farmland in a quiet province, we shall not peaceably disband or leave the capital,” declared Mattis Magnus, former commander of the I Marine Legion and head of RUBICOM.

He spoke on the front steps of the Senate under a banner proclaiming “We came! We saw! We conquered!” and was dressed in full armor, brazenly armed with his gladius sword and brandishing the skull of a Parthian warrior he took at Fallujah.

Mattis called on Obama to come out from behind his Praetorian Guard and speak to them directly, or send co-consul Hillaria the Elder. He and other veterans then publicly spurned Obama’s offer, relayed to them by Coinmaster Petraeus, of free farmland in Afghanistan on the condition that they only grow cotton and not poppy.

“Afghan land is only good for growing poppies,” complained Decimus Verdus of Dayton, Ohio, “and [Obama's] refusal to declare Afghanistan as a slave province means we will not have the necessary Pathan labor to properly farm it. Plus the plows keep hitting IEDs.”

Many other veterans who fought in the eastern campaigns seemed to agree, claiming this was only the latest in a series of broken promises going back to Georgius the Younger’s invasion of Mesopotamia.

“There is no more farmland left in my home province of Wisconsin,” noted Gaius Rufus Snuffius, a resident of Wausau who served with the X Mountain Legion. “It is all owned by patricians and worked by slaves from Hispania. For this I decimated Ramadi?”

Studies have shown that unlike their predecessors, younger veterans are twice as likely to end up begging in the marketplace or the forum, and four times as likely to end up fighting in the arena. Many veterans have also complained that they are alienated from their fellow countrymen.

“I swear to Pluto, I will run-through the next yellow-tunic wearing citizen who thanks me for my service,” said First Spear Centurion Severus Murfus Felix. “And stop asking me if I’ve crucified anyone!”

The Legion says this only proves the need for fresh land for veterans to help them beat their swords into plow-sheers. They have also ridiculed what they call Obama’s false statement that Gaul is too small for them and can only be properly divided into three parts.

“Without land, what other course do our men have, save banditry?” asked a Legion spokesman on condition of anonymity. “This is a bipartisan issue: it shouldn’t matter whether you’re an optimate or a populare.”

“I spent my youth marching up the Via Tampa to Babylon with the CI Airborne Legion. Don’t I deserve land, and slaves, and German women?”

Update: This report has been amended to indicate the preference for land in Transalpine Gaul, not Cisalpine Gaul, which is overrun with hairy Gaestati.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

What if the Great War never happened?

What if world war one never happened? This question is asked in this NPR posting


Comes with a 9 minute long recording.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Finished up the Sci-fi dude from last week.

Finished up basing the buy from last week.

I really like how the dark green and orange contrast. Think I will keep it up for my sci-fi crew once/if warlord games every starts releasing there BGOA range of sci-fi mins.

also need to get a camera because the phone just isn't cutting it.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

GOA "Hansa Nairoba" And WM Mechanic

These are two figs I worked on last night. The Privateer press Kordor Mechanic just got some touch ups.

the other Model is from Warlord games "beyond the Gates of Antares" Hansa Nairoba model. One of the only figs to come out from the failed kickstarter. Apparently Rick Priestley is getting WLG's to give him another chance, and they are working on getting a new range of Sci-fi mins along with new rules out. We shell see what comes of that.

But I am getting side tracked. haven't been able to get much painting done as of late because of school and work but these are the fruit of long distance movie night with the GF.

the Hansa fig needs to be based and some touch ups but, I am happy with it so far. At first I was I was not a fan of Hansa. But while looking over my "mechanic" I noticed there similarity.
I have been using Him as my representative in some traveler games. What was supposed to be a one off character took on a personality that I would like to keep on using in the future.
That of a grimy, lecherous, Expert mechanic in are citizen X campaign.
He is crude, usually drunk, but some how always gets that little extra out of the ship and isn't to bad in a scrap ether.
But what I was lacking was a suitably military looking fig for the down and dirty operations when its all combat. So the Hansa fig works perfectly for that.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Op Red Wings. Photo Memories

Photo Memories

Some of you may or may not know, that I was on Op Red Wings as part of a regional QRF. I was in Charlie company 2-504 PIR(parachute infantry regiment) 82nd Airborne.

In light of the new movie "Lone survivor", I thought I would share a few photos from that operation. None of the pics will show any thing that is sensitive or graphic. Just patrols.
I didn't do any thing heroic or "Cool" up there, just did my job. And by the grace of god, luck or what ever you believe in, none of my buddies were lost up on that mountain.

The first pic is just before we Ex-filled. We had to walk off the hill and wait for Gunship and ground support before we could leave.
We were kind of screwing around at this point. And don't worry, we had lots of dudes pulling security at this time and we just got back from doing a resupply run in the valley. So we dropped kit.

Loading up to go in.

Back view of a "Shit-Hook" As you can see lots of Afghanistan can be pretty green.

Joint patrol in the valley with ANA, Just to let you know it was the height of summer so the temp was hitting an average of 110-120 degrees.

This is a photo a patrol on the mountains.

And this is a photo of me.
And this is a photo of me.

I didn't take any of the photos and the ones I have were giving to me by some of my Airborne buddies.