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About swerve

  • Birthday 02/18/1957

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    Reading, Berkshire
  • Interests
    Too many to list all, but include military, economic &technological history. And cycling.

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  1. As I understand it, the Italians always intended the school in Sardinia to be international, & have tried to attract foreign customers. The ranges there have long been used by allied air forces.
  2. Challenger has different ammo (one reason the UK's going to re-gun them) & there aren't many, the UK having scrapped retired ones. Ukraine can get Soviet-calibre tank ammo from assorted countries in NATO & some others - & can make some itself.
  3. First K2s were delivered direct from Korea over a month ago, on 6th December 2022. The Koreans will deliver 180 before they start flowing off the Polish production line. A few M1s (for training) arrived in July 2022, on loan. 250 were ordered for delivery up to 2025, & a second batch of 116 from US army stocks for quick delivery has been ordered since, plus 28 leased to start with. So this year (not 2025) Poland should get maybe 100 M1 & a significant number of K2. IIRC the 250 will be M1A2 sep 3, & the 116 will be upgraded later. It's not clear exactly how many T-72 Poland has left. At least 230 have been given to Ukraine. Others were reported to have been in storage, so may be being repaired before being handed over. It has 240+ Leopard 2, delivered as A4, I think, with some upgraded to PL. So, the Poles have thought about this & taken action. They don't have to wait until 2025 before they have any new tanks in service, & before then they'll have a steady flow of new, high-grade tanks being delivered.
  4. There are factories in NATO countries that make 125mm tank ammo, & have done so since they were in the Warsaw Pact. Poland & Slovakia certainly, & perhaps others. I'm not sure what the Czech, Romanian & Bulgarian ammunition factories are tooled up for. Between them they should be able to make a lot of Soviet-calibre shells. They still have guns that can fire them. The Ukrainians can also make some, & apparently have resumed production after a hiatus.
  5. And there was sneering from some Ukrainians about the hypocrisy of firing missiles on the western Christmas Eve (note that many Ukrainians follow churches which celebrate Christmas on December 25th), & later offering a ceasefire for the eastern Christmas. Not that they kept their supposed unilateral ceasefire.
  6. Yes, but there must be a lot of T-72s & others which they do have spares for.
  7. The Poles have started taking delivery of K-2 from Korea. Long-term, they plan to have about 900 IIRC, mostly Polish-built with various Polish kit fitted. I expect they'd be happy to give the Ukrainians every T-72 they still have straight away, PT-91s as & when Ukrainians are trained on any unfamiliar stuff in them, e.g. electronics, & Leopard 2 when Ukrainians are able to operate & maintain them. They seem to be aiming for just M1 & K2, which makes sense. Logistics, logistics & logistics, & IIRC all their Leo 2s are secondhand. The Hungarians are buying new Leo 2A7, & IIRC so will the Czechs, with some 2A4s as a stop-gap while they give T-72s to Ukraine.
  8. No serfs in the colonising countries by the time colonialism started. The second serfdom in central & eastern Europe was underway, but that didn't affect the colonisers, except for Courland, which was insignificant. Unlike the English, French & Dutch, the Iberians had significant numbers of slaves within their borders, including Moors, other Europeans (captured pirates, for example, might be enslaved) &, from when the Portuguese got far enough south, sub-Saharan Africans. Some of them did work on plantations. Those slaves seem to have been treated differently from those in the Americas, though. They seem to have had more rights, & might be ransomed. I'm not sure, but I think their slavery might have been for no more than one life, not hereditary.
  9. I rather like the image of a rampaging great beast escaping from his cage, being sweet-talked by a keeper to soothe him enough to let the keeper get out & lock him in, & then wandering into a storeroom - where he finds, opens (obviously he knows how to open a screw cap), & drinks, 5 litre bottles of concentrated sweetened blackcurrant drink. It's the incongruity of it.
  10. Just in case there have been Italian submariners in non-Italian navies . . .
  11. Yeah, the cross-border routes were crap, & the railways which stuff had to get to them along were very limited. There were very big rivers flowing the wrong way, forcing long diversions or transhipping onto ships (bridges? Dream on!)
  12. I remember thinking WTF? when we dropped out of Boxer development. Then again, when we held trials of Boxer, VBCI & Piranha V. I wasn't surprised that we selected Piranha V, though, because it ticked all the boxes: not French, not the one we'd dropped out of previously (i.e. Boxer) because selecting that would be an admission that had been a mistake, & a special British-specific model & thus guaranteed to be the most expensive, as tradition demands. But of course, that was all just another exercise in spending money on AFVs without buying any, as has become traditional, & the project was allowed to wither away. So now it could be back to where we were many years ago, having spent £300 mn not buying heavy wheeled AFVs, according to some estimates (& over £1 billion not buying AFVs of all types). When will I be allowed to decimate the entire UK military procurement bureaucratic & political structure? I think they need some encouragement to do what they're paid for. Start with the politicians, of course, & include Treasury ministers.
  13. No aircraft? We're currently scheduled to get 138 F-35B, & we have some on order now.
  14. The IAF asked to exercise some of those options years before the line closed, but it took so long to get through the bureaucracy that it was too late. The Indian MoD eventually sent a request to the USA to buy some C-17s shortly after the last of the white tails was sold. Doh! Indian military procurement is very, very screwed. It puts me in mind of some documents I recently checked the English translation of for the foreign aid agency of a leading developed country. They were obviously not meant for the eyes of the recipient country. The situation described in the receiving country (not India) was farcical. Plans & actions sat around for months or even years waiting for the attention of someone senior enough to say "Do it", lower-ranked people not having the authority to act on their own initiative. There were competent & conscientious locals, but they struggled to achieve anything in an environment where what was done depended on who backed it & their personal networks. Self-serving officials manoeuvred for power, & that meant undermining or sidelining projects linked to their rivals, regardless of their value to the country. The rise of one such person to power over a couple of years was laid out, because of its impact on the aid project. She'd sidelined the great hope of the aid agency, a well-qualified, energetic, & apparently well-meaning man - but lacking strong allies, having spent too much time doing his job & not enough schmoozing. She was busy dismantling what had been achieved, because it got in her way. She was creating competing offices which didn't speak to each other & whose heads were dependent on her, reversing the move towards co-operating departments with common aims & good communications. She'd ordered her subordinates not to talk to the aid agency, even in response to direct questions. Unqualified cronies were flooding in, forming a private office around her which arbitrarily interfered in the operations of the sections doing the work. Competent managers were having their teams transferred away from them. Plans had become theatre, announced in public with no internal preparation, uncoordinated with each other. Everything was going to hell. Good people were keeping their heads down. Guess what the project was? Administrative reform to increase efficiency & effectiveness, starting with the ministry for planning - "and administrative reform". The aid workers had devised & were trying to implement a strategy to bypass her & her organisation & deal directly with the organisations her lot were supposed to support, to achieve as many of their original aims as possible. The internal reports I saw were bitter & oozing frustration.
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