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About swerve

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  • 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. 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 th
  2. 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.
  3. Just in case there have been Italian submariners in non-Italian navies . . .
  4. 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!)
  5. 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 p
  6. No aircraft? We're currently scheduled to get 138 F-35B, & we have some on order now.
  7. 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 Indi
  8. You should really make that 50 years. Start with INS Eilat, sunk by two SSN-2 Styx missiles in 1967. The Indians attacked ships in port at Karachi with SSN-2s very successfully in 1971. The Israelis managed to deflect SSN-2s with ECM & chaff in 1973, while sinking several Egyptian & Syrian vessels with their own missiles. I think that's between 10 & 20 vessels sunk by anti-ship missiles between 40 & 50 years ago, & several saved by counter measures.
  9. The Burma road couldn't be opened until a new road (the Ledo road) was built to connect it to India, or all of Burma down to Rangoon was recaptured. Rangoon wasn't captured until May 1945, so that was no use. It had to be the Ledo road. Apart from X force (Chinese units which had retreated into Assam after fighting the invading Japanese in Burma in early 1942), the Chinese couldn't work on the Ledo road until the route from Assam through Myitkyina & Bhamo was captured - & X force was fighting the Japanese, clearing the route. They couldn't be withdrawn by Chiang on the quiet because
  10. The Russians will probably try to sail past the blockade. At which point it is either iceland cod war style ramming contest, and the Russians might bring tankers or other stuff a Burke might find unhealthy to get in the path of.Or the US will have to shoot first.The dynamic of the situation means that the blockade enforcer is the one who has to escalate. How? The Boshphorous is so narrow, any traffic transiting it is easly picked up, not least by a guy with a cell phone in Istanbul watching the ships go by. The narrowest point of the Dardanelles is 1.2 km, & of the Bosphorus 700 metres
  11. Are the Saudis blood-crazed maniacs, or just crap?
  12. Let's hope it doesn't happen. The source is an Italian newspaper report which will have been seen by millions.
  13. Yes, thanks Roman. No, certainly not incapable of movement, but tanks driving at a sustained 30 km/h through swamps & forests - oh no.
  14. The Italian navy very cleverly got one of its three LPDs financed that way, from funds earmarked for disaster relief. She & her sister ships have done a lot of it since commissioning, so it's probably fair. PS. I have the names of the submariners, & their two colleagues who were under the sea when the photo was taken. But no phone numbers.
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