If you hear about Australia’s military defeats you probably think of their participation in disasters like the Battle of Gallipoli, Vietnam War or the Iraq War. But Australia faced an even bigger military disaster in 1932. Australian troops well armed with machine guns fought an unarmed enemy and lost.
You probably never heard of such an action and think I’m making this stuff up. But no, it is the truth!
Australia’s largest bird the Emu (No not crying teenagers. These are called Emos) was the enemy. The Emu population in Murchison district of Western Australia had grown in the 1930s and Emus looking for food and water had caused destruction to local farms. Farmers started to fear for their crops and called in the Australian army.
A group of Australian soldiers equipped with machine guns went into action against about 20,000 soft-feathered, flightless birds. Probably everybody suspected this to be a quick action (a "turkey shooting"). But shooting blindly into a group of birds which can run up to 50 km/h (30 mph) did not brought the expected results. The birds simply ran away even after being hit by a machine gun round.
Major Meredith – the Australian commander in the "Emu war" – was astonished and noted "if we had a military division with the bullet-carrying capacity of these birds, it would face any army in the world. They could face machine guns with the invulnerability of tanks. They are like Zulus…".
After a few days the Defence Minister ordered a withdrawal. And thus the "Emu War" ended in a military defeat for Australia.
August 20, 2008
Actually the title is pretty stupid since there is of course fighting going on despite a ceasefire signed in 2003. The MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) – fighting the government of the Philippines for an independent Muslim Moro nation – of course claims the fighting was done by a renegade commander.
But now the MILF warns the government not to start an all-out-offensive or they’ll be ready again to fight.
Afghanistan: 10 French Soldiers Killed ; 21 Wounded ; Six Suicide Bombers Attack US Base ; Rockets Hit ISAF HQ
August 19, 2008
A convoy of French soldiers was ambushed 50 km east of Kabul. The battle lasted for 24 hours and left 10 French soldiers dead and 21 wounded. The ISAF HQ in Kabul was attacked by rockets but they missed. An attack on a NATO base – called Camp Salerno – in Khost by six suicide bombers was repelled. On Monday nine Afghans died when a suicide bomber attacked t he gate of the same base.
These are all signs of the increase in Taliban activities in Afghanistan. The number of dangerous areas increases and even Kabul is now surrounded by unfriendly territories. The main highway connecting Kandahar and Kabul was a major project of the US after the Taliban were pushed back in 2001. But now heavy attacks on the road increase and it is impossible to drive along without protection. The Afghan Army has to occupy former Soviet positions along the road to protect the road.
The NATO troops are getting more and more tense. Firing as soon as they fear an attack. Which is another big success for the Taliban. The NATO troops are more and more alienating themselves. Every new dangerous area on the map is another success for the Taliban. Because it means that they conquered the "hearts and minds" of the local people or the local governor/warlord. The NATO troops seem to be weak they drive by by day but by night the Talibs rule the streets. While the NATO comes by day and gives presents and tries sweet talk the Talibs come by night and chop of the hands of every suspected traitor. These are your options as a peasant.
Here is a BBC video about the situation on the Kabul-Kandahar-Highway. (It can’t be embedded).
Btw. the last major Soviet operation in Afghanistan was an operation to free the highway to Khost.
August 18, 2008
Here is a precise timeline of the war in Georgia. It contains pretty interesting information, e.g. a list of ambassadors meeting with Georgian representatives in the days before outbreak of the war.
Update: Cryptome has a list of military equipment purchased and used by Georgia.
Update 2: I made a more detailed list of links and facts about the War in Georgia/South Ossetia.
August 17, 2008
The Special Air Service (or SAS) is one of the worlds most famous and probably best special forces in the World. It was founded during the Second World War to conduct dangerous missions behind enemy lines.
Here is a video demonstrating entry methods used by the SAS and other special forces around the world.
August 14, 2008
Both sides claim that the other side conducted "Ethnical Cleaning" of occupied territory. And probably both sides tell the truth.
The South Ossetians claim that the Georgians destroyed a water canal to flood the cellars in Tskhinvalli so that the citizens couldn’t take cover in them from the immense shelling in the first days of the conflict. The Georgians claim that behind the Russian troops Kossacks, Ossetians etc. followed and started looting and burning Georgian villages not only in South Ossetia but even in "undisputed" territory.
And that’s probably true. One reporter said "the Caucasus is an ethnical mosaic". And that brings it to the point. During the last 200 years (and before) the towns mixed and nobody really cared because they all were "Russians". So there were towns of Georgians in South Ossetia and vice-versa. The pictures of people shearing to Georgian troops moving into South Ossetia were not faked. Because Tskhinvalli has a mixed population and is surrounded by mostly Georgian villages. South Ossetia is supposed to have a 30% Georgian population and probably even more since it is hard to conduct an objective census. Each side wants to downplay the number of the other.
And as long as the people in the Caucasus are poor and have no work the people want to fight and die for their little towns and valleys. If you have nothing nationalism or rather townism or valleyism are the last thing you can hang onto. If you look at the problem: There is always fighting going on in this regions in August and may be September. That has simple reasons. First of all the snow and mud from the winter and spring is away. So you can move around without freezing off your ass or get stuck in mud. And it is the time when there isn’t much to do in farming. There are a lot of people without anything to do and due to the lack of all the modern equipment that entertains us in the western world and for the sheer fun of it all those young guys grab their AKs and head out to fight a little bit.
Each shootout ends in somebody wanting revenge. It’s an endless circle that feeds those conflicts. Not only in the Caucasus but everywhere in the world.
And than there are the Westerners thinking that you could solve those conflicts by drawing new borders and let everybody vote on were they want to be. This of course does not work in those regions because there are no ethnical borders! For example if South Ossetia is going to be independent or even a part of Russia than there will be the exact same conflict just with the opposite direction. The Georgian villages won’t stand to be separated from Georgia and keep on fighting. And if South Ossetia gets their independence than may be the North Ossetians want to be independent from Russia. Just because the Ossetians are kissing the ass of the Russians at the moment does not mean that in the next moments they’ll try to kick them. And alliance in such a mess doesn’t count. Its just the benefit they want.
There actually were some votes in South Ossetia about independence. But they were of course conducted in the way votes are conducted in these areas (even in our "democratic" pal Georgia it happens this way!): You just deny your opponents the ability to vote. In 2006 the South Ossetians votes with more than 90% for an independence. But this of course simply means shit.
And that’s were "Ethnical Cleaning" comes into play. If you want to pacify such an area you simply need to straiten out the ethnical borders (or even create them). You simply can’t have peace if the people living next to each other only wait for a good time to kill each other.
August 14, 2008
After declaring a cease-fire in the war in Georgia two days ago the Russian troops seem to finally pull back. Yesterday they still advanced towards Tiblisi but stopped for the night. A Georgian counter move was also pulled back.
The Russians destroyed weapons and military installations in Georgia including sinking several Ships in the military harbour in Poti. The Georgians claim, that these ships were non military Coast Guard Ships.
Now after the fighting is over the US is taking its first steps. They send Condi Rize and a C-17 Globemaster carrying supplies to Georgia and Bush ordered the US Navy to provide aid. A joint exercise by NATO and Russia in the Sea of Japan was also cancelled.
Russia claims that 74 Russian troops and about 2,000 civilians in South Ossetia died during the fighting.
Some pictures of the war from the Russian/South Ossetian side. The web site is in Russian so I can’t understand it.
But now after the cease-fire we will probably get some more information about the war. E.g. about the "black soldiers" claimed to be found by the Russians, the rumours about an Israeli tank killer weapon and even why the Georgians provoked the Russians into a war.
Update: Oh I forgot to set a title. Important is the "(temporary)". Even if the Russians and irregulars move out of Georgia and the EU installs a peacekeeping force it will only be temporary. As one reporter puts it “the Caucasus is an ethnical mosaic” and until they are all rich enough to don’t care they’ll always fight and die for their valley or town not belonging in the same country as the neighbouring town.
August 12, 2008
Russia has plans to build "up to 6 aircraft carriers". The Russian leadership and naval command agreed on such plans. After a bad time in the 1990s the Russians are gaining back their superpower fantasies. Mostly due to increasing prices for oil, gas and uranium. And after the war against Georgia their spirit is probably up.
The Russians undertook several attempts to build aircraft carriers. But for political and financial reasons they never had a complete aircraft carrier.