A Conversation with the Phoenix Think Tank

It’s all fun and games here, just as I was throwing time I don’t have into a complete site overhaul and refresh, contemplating the implications of the impending JCA decision and grappling with the finer points of DNS entries and MySQL imports, a request popped into the inbox that demanded attention.

And so began a two day email conversation with person or persons unknown at the Phoenix think Tank.

I first started my love in with the Phoenix Think Tank when I wrote an introductory post, sharing their existence with the Think Defence readership. They then popped up again in one of my rants about service politics and finally I responded to one of their papers about naval aviation.

Having seen their supporters behaviour on other web forums I was more than prepared and so it came to pass; a number of different commenter ID’s were used either to be critical of the post (which I relish), make comments about terms and conditions or how I was attacking the PTT without justification. Seemingly unbeknownst to whomever was making these comments under different names, the site software records IP addresses, host names, that kind of detailed techy stuff

You could have knocked be down with a feather (not) when it turned out they were all the same.

It’s typical trolling behaviour that anyone who runs a blog knows about, nothing to get too flustered about but rather pathetic and sad.

The reason I wrote the Naval Aviation, Blogs and Think Tanks post was because I was fed up with reading one sided opinion masquerading as fact that sought to airbrush the contribution and sacrifice of personnel in other services.

Maybe it was in my ‘angry phase’

In that particular post I used extracts and links back to the Phoenix Think Tank website to provide a backdrop against which I would counter some of their published materials.

I put a lot of effort into that post and I think pretty much everyone regarded it as a balanced, reasonable and above all else, factual representation of history without personal attack or innuendo.

It was also coincident with this post that I had a password reset initiated on both my Twitter account and the administration login account for Think Defence. I know I didn’t do it and it doesn’t happen by accident. The IP address range was again, broadly similar but I am no forensic information security analyst so I made no assumptions; merely that it was the first time it had happened, and incidentally, it has not happened since.

A coincidence, nothing to see hear, move along.

As with most of these things, time marched on, there were container stories going begging after all.

Fast forward to this week and the email from the sites contact form.

The subject line for this email was the rather grandiose

Breach

And from none other than

Phoenix Think Tank Legal

Of course, this is an attention getter, shit, what had I done now.

The essence of the email was that they had received complaints about me infringing their copyright in regards of ‘factually incorrect comments, use of logos, papers, articles and links’. There was a bit of legalese but basically because I had not sought or received permission I was requested to remove them.

Was I seeing a spot of trolling, low level harassment or something more official?

Mmmm, intrigued and confused I asked for more information, what exactly was the nature of the complaint?

The response was very polite, asking that I remove the three posts in question and any links or documents, again citing the fact that I had not asked permission. It also made clear that previous comments purporting to come from them or represent them were bogus but the IP address similarity issue was not addressed, perhaps it is irrelevant anyway, again, I make no accusation or even assumption and fully appreciate that a similar IP address and hostname actually means very little.

As this was going on I was having a few second thoughts about carrying on with Think Defence anway and reviewing old content as part of the site refresh.

I decided to question the reason for the request, point out that linking and reviewing content on other sites is part of the natural way of doing things online and that the PTT site carried a post from Sharkey Ward in which through the medium of innuendo kind of accuses me of being a ‘vested interest’

Cuts both ways, I thought.

Again, I offered them a guest spot on TD, rather than getting chippy, lets wade into the debate and have at it.

Despite the email address being the same I was now discussing things not with PTT Legal but E-Administrator, a subtle change.

The response was that I should seek permission and if anyone posts as them on TD I should contact them. They also said that the post on the PTT’s site was from a contributor and therefore not their responsibility. It was this last thing that I thought most laughable, trying to establish some sort of ‘nothing to do with me guv’ defence because it was a blog post and not a published paper did have a certain comedic quality to it, somewhat at odds with their assured legal stance in the opener.

We then had a conversation about the creative commons licence, copyright law as applied to ‘Fair Dealing’ reviews and a conciliatory note about over enthusiastic followers of the PTT and their commenting misdeeds.

It was all very pleasant and professional and we agreed to simply remove all the posts in question from both sites and draw a line.

To be honest, I thought this was all very reasonable.

On reflection, we shouldn’t be attacking each other and there is room for all flavours of opinion so as a gesture of good will on both sides we agreed to be nice to each other, remove the posts on both sites and they would forward a request to Sharkey Ward asking he remove the post from his blog, let’s wait and see on that one.

The posts on Think Defence are gone although I will probably republish the history one without reference to them.

The temptation was, and still is a little, to be less than reasonable; I understand the concept of fair dealing as applied to linking and extracting content for the purposes of review and criticism so getting emails from the grandiose ‘PTT Legal’ doesn’t actually intimidate me one jot but instead the sheer pompousness made me chuckle .

But I then I paused and asked myself this question.

If they object, what good does it do for Think Defence or the wider debate to ignore it?

My answer was, it does no good.

I want Think Defence to promote sensible discussions, not be critical of others contributing to the debate, however much I fundamentally disagree with them and find much of their materials objectionable.

When I look around the internet at other defence forums and the see the regard in which the Phoenix Think Tank is held, whatever I might say is irrelevant, they have enough problems to deal with and a reputation to rebuild.

They have their opinions, I have mine, I relish discussion (last count, 48,000 comments on this site) and they don’t, but good luck to them.

To cut a long story short, as a measure of good will, I have deleted the three posts they requested to be deleted, agreed to cease linking to their content and forgotten about past behavior.

I find the lack of engagement rather sad and the over inflated pompous attempts at censorship quite amusing but it is not something I want to expend energy on.

So, peace in our time and a new calmness has descended on Think Defence towers.

Off to the F35 decision, post haste.

 

UPDATE:

I re-published the original post without references to them

https://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2012/05/the-post-they-tried-to-kill/

 

 

UPDATE: 20 July 2012

So it would seem that the Phoenix Think Tank has packed its bags, I can’t say I will miss them because to be perfectly honest, I think they did more damage to their cause than furthered it.

However, if we have a look at their updated website they have published this comment;

N.B  An opportunity exists for some investigative journalism into the conduct of a group known as “Think Defence”. It maybe discovered that the website is not as unbiased as it claims to be and has significant support and direction from various study and support groups of a specific service.  It may become clear on closer inspection that the reader can identify a certain anti-naval obsession with the group and as a group which always made it clear what we supported we feel after some of the overly aggressive and questionable tactics used against the PTT and some of its contributors that we have alerted you, the reader, to our opinion of that website and its editor(s). 

I did ask them for an explanation, especially given the fact that we agreed what I thought was a mature and amicable response but nothing heard so far.

They haven’t even got the balls to say RAF instead of ‘specific service’ which is exactly what they actually meant and no doubt they will get their arses in their hands about the fact that I have extracted the comment from their website.

I have pondered what to do about this

Should I respond to their accusations of being funded and supported by others (I wish), acting aggressively (I do believe it was they that threatened legal action because I shredded their nonsense on a regular basis) or inciting others to do a spot of investigating (go on then)

Or,

Should I just shake my head, laugh at the rather sad and pathetic parting shot from a rather sad and pathetic organisation that had ZERO credibility with anyone but themselves and move on?

I think the latter.

HA HA

See ya lads

77 Comments
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Fat Bloke on Tour
Fat Bloke on Tour
May 10, 2012 9:17 am

TD

Not sure if I can spot the PTT coterie though I did notice a bit of formation criticism to one of your comments.
However having posted on other forums it doesn’t take long for an organised response to turn up if you have rattled a few cages.

One other thing I have noticed is some industry friendly posting when the BWoS criticism kettle boils over.
Consequently your blog must be required reading in some very well known locations.

Now off to try and spot the PTT coterie.

martin
Editor
May 10, 2012 10:16 am

@ TD I am glad you stood your ground with the Think tank that shall for now on remain nameless. I have to say I first looked at their website based on an early recommendation on TD. As a naval centric guy I was full of optimism for what they were trying to achieve. However as time goes on and they keep harping the same point over and over again with all sorts of magical numbers and conclusions drawn out of what I can only assume is thin air. I get more and more of an impression that rather than a think tank it is simply the ranting’s of one very well-known, courageous and disgruntled former naval commander who again shall not be named.
I think it is a testament to TD that it is read by so many people many of which I feel may be influential in UK decision making. If we could just get Dave the Rave and Spread sheet Phil on board we may actually be able to change thing’s.

x
x
May 10, 2012 10:30 am

Does this explain the haze grey tinge to everything? Is a sop to us pro-navy bods? Or is it attempt to hide in plain sight because I really struggle to read the page now?

Waddi
Waddi
May 10, 2012 11:08 am

TD rest assured your site is far better. PTT is one of those defence sites that demand that every spare penny of taxpayers money is used to support the UK’s role in an international Top Trumps game of naval equipment. Those of us who are enthusiasts but also realists want the UK to do better but with what we have got and what we can afford. Those that purport themselves as “pressure groups” lose their credibility if they constantly demand the best regardless of cost and practicality, a “whining kid” never gets what he wants!

Hugh
Hugh
May 10, 2012 3:43 pm

I bet their hit-rate to their website has increased this afternoon. ;-)

You also get a mention on ARRSE

Fedaykin
May 10, 2012 5:16 pm

Ah that certain ex navy pilots hatred for the RAF is well known, then again he is pretty much Persona non grata amongst the navy (harrier) pilot community. Stuff he has written about members of other squadrons, the flag, the admiralty as well as general bull$hitting about anything Harrier related has burnt many a bridge in the senior service. Apparently during the 80’s after the war he was regarded by the high ups as “somebody not to trust any national secret with”!

A certain British magazine that focusses on warships on a monthly basis…love him. Fits in with their monthly editorial about disbanding the RAF and rebuilding the navy to the glory days of the grand fleet!

Not surprised you have had a run in with him, what he had to write on his Thinktank/Rant-tank about RAF Tornado operations in GW1 was frankly slander and disgusting…as well as factually incorrect.

Jed
Jed
May 10, 2012 5:38 pm

Dear TD

You should have told them to F-off. Your a better man than I, well reasoned, diplomatic and thoughfull.

Your still anti-navy and full of shit on the F35 though… ;-)

Mike
Mike
May 10, 2012 7:51 pm

Amen to the comments TD.

Better and more freedom on here – Pheonix just falters at ever corner on every post…

Clearly you standing your ground is showing who’s the better man in this.

Your drive for balance and equal hearing is rather unique here on the web and in defence blogs.

Just ignore them… like a certain S.American country – remain neutral and ignore those rants but keep a weather eye on it, and carry on C:

John Hartley
John Hartley
May 10, 2012 8:29 pm

TD
Don’t let the phastards get you down!

Gordon Dundas
Gordon Dundas
May 11, 2012 6:34 am

I’ve already had my say re: the flaming bird on the NAVWEPS site ,I tend to view them the same way I view Mike Sparks &co .
However let’s not go there I’m trying to be a better person ;)

jim30
jim30
May 11, 2012 12:34 pm

Good old PTT – I’m still not entirely convinced they’re not some kind of false flag operation to help cause untold damage to the RN.
They simply aren’t taken seriously except in the quieter corners of urine soaked chairs in old mens clubs where people reminicse misty eyed about a past that never existed in anything other than their febrile imaginations.
Sharkey has now reached the stage where he is being considered a standing joke, and is simply not taken seriously anymore. The sad thing is that other more senior personnel he is linked with are increasingly being tarred by their association with him.

El Sid
El Sid
May 15, 2012 3:35 pm


I think it is a testament to TD that it is read by so many people many of which I feel may be influential in UK decision making. If we could just get Dave the Rave and Spread sheet Phil on board we may actually be able to change thing’s.

Galrahn has gone one better than that, he’s got Bob Work writing articles over on ID :
http://www.informationdissemination.net/2012/04/i-am-definitely-fallible-but-im-not.html

Not only that, but he’s pretty good at engaging with commenters as well, in the course of which he revealed :

bobwork
Although I seldom have time to post, I follow this blog every week. I find the posts both informative and interesting. Kudos to Galrahn.

One might hope that TD gets a few hits from Horse Guards Avenue. I suspect that writing for a blog might be a step too far for most in the MoD, but Bernard Grey might be enough of an outsider to be up for it, once things calm down a bit over the summer? Perhaps @admin could collate some questions from us lot for a Q&A format?

Stewart
Stewart
May 29, 2012 10:20 pm

As a ex sea going crabbe i would hope to stop the vile and spleen about the F35.We would serve our carrier programe better if presure was put on our M.P. ‘Who dont care about defence’ to operate a better A.E.W. as we have use STVOL than in fighting that is going on.

mmoomin
mmoomin
July 20, 2012 7:59 pm

I can’t say I’ll miss PTT too much the quality of analysis was normally terrible. Can’t say I’ve noticed an RAF bent on the site myself.

Simon
July 20, 2012 8:26 pm

I thought the PTT was only there to bang-on about the need for a CATOBAR (sorry, CTOL ;-)) carrier.

Must have been placed there by a government agency if, now that we’re going STOVL, it has been dissolved so quickly.

Opinion3
Opinion3
July 20, 2012 8:53 pm

@TD
I have not visited the PTT site but I am aware that contributors visit, post and refer from site to site. Your story on PTT doesn’t sound rational.

Your site is excellent, your posts from all of your contributors are great, and everyone is allowed, indeed expected to make honest, but polite contributions whatever their views. My chance to say thank you to you and everyone who contributes in making this a great site. The other site that I think is great, and who contributes, is Gabriele’s blog.

I also visit militaryphotos following the progress on the QEIIs. Now they set off on one, one of your posts dared to suggest that the carriers and planes weren’t a good idea. Was this one of yours @James? Not popular LOL :-). Can’t post on that site mind, if anyone knows how to get permission please put a good word in for me.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 20, 2012 9:09 pm

Hi Opinion3,

RE “My chance to say thank you to you and everyone who contributes in making this a great site. The other site that I think is great, and who contributes, is Gabriele’s blog.

I also visit militaryphotos”
– I agree, I mainly only go to the three mentioned blogs (TD, not PTT, being the third one)
– I will of course , if the wind takes me (links in today’s world) read up elsewhere, but now that you mentioned those other two,
— I find that despite the great research effort that benefits the reader on Gabriele’s blog, one can never be 100% sure about what is fact and what is opinion/ projection
— on military photos there is a fantastic amount of detail, but at the same time the topic soon gets lost (I still enjoy it, just finding the stuff means a lot of ploughing through the weeds)

Opinion3
Opinion3
July 20, 2012 9:25 pm


Thanks mate.

The research all of you guys put in is just incredible. Interestingly, the QEII topic is usually so focused, with people being pulled back into topic, it amazes me.

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
July 21, 2012 1:42 am

“Bye bye baby, baby gooood bye…”

Observer
Observer
July 21, 2012 2:12 am

I will not make puns like “Phoenix Think Tanked”.
I will not make puns like “Phoenix Think Tanked”.
I will not make puns like “Phoenix Think Tanked”.
I will not make puns like “Phoenix Think Tanked”.
I will not make puns like “Phoenix Think Tanked”.
……

:P

chris in virginia
chris in virginia
July 21, 2012 3:45 am

I liked their articles and opinions, but when they refused comments the site lost all credibility.

tsz52
tsz52
July 23, 2012 12:13 am

Now that we’re defo (probably) going STOVL, did a certain aerospace company stop paying their bills, and for their ‘opinions’? Boing! :P

x
x
July 23, 2012 10:24 am

They have hauled down their flag have they?

Gosh.

ENDEX….ENDEX…….ENDEX……..

x
x
July 23, 2012 10:47 am

I was very disappointed with PTT. The “debate” needs a decent navy site. But I was more disappointed in those connected with the site. They were individuals who I held in high regard and they acted so poorly. Further there was something always something just off about the site, something I just couldn’t put my figure on. Yes as we all know TD is run from an office suite in RAF High Wycombe and funded by BAE and Airfix, but at least we know that. :) But PTT smelled a funny colour and I don’t know why.

x
x
July 23, 2012 11:16 am

@ TD re balls

Yep.

Simon
July 23, 2012 2:12 pm

I think the debates on this site are better for the fact that there’s a bit of friction between the various shades of blue… made even more interesting by the occasional reality check from the chaps in green.

I imagine that threads on other sites are simply a statement followed by agreement and sagely nods… absolutely no other point of view.

x
x
July 23, 2012 3:10 pm

“reality check from the chaps in green”

Their reality, not ours. That is to say serving in one branch, especially that branch, doesn’t make you an expert in the other two. Something they forget often.

Simon
July 23, 2012 4:53 pm

Something we/you all forget by the looks of things ;-)

I suppose the only fortunate thing is that the RN has the RM as foot soldiers so actually knows what it’s talking about much of the time. The thing is that in any enduring campaign it’s the chaps in green that end up staying the distance with the RN and RAF simply (ha) providing support in the form of logistics or airpower.

It’s because of this (i.e. the Army being the customer to the services provided by the RAF and RN much of the time) that I think their view is extremely relevant… regardless of any accuracy and/or understanding ;-)

x
x
July 23, 2012 5:21 pm

It isn’t you who is supposed to bite, darn it! :)

x
x
July 23, 2012 5:25 pm

@ Simon

It is the state that is the ultimate customer not the Army.

SomewhatInvolved
July 23, 2012 5:58 pm

TD, change nothing. You have a pretty wide range of opinions here and all comers are valid, with a huge amount of learning ongoing. It’s a great opportunity for people like me to both educate and inform from the serving side, and in turn become wise to the public perception of the Services as well as thinking around new problems with innovative solutions. PTT seem to have cut off their nose to spite their face – and have lost out as a result. BZ.

Simon
July 23, 2012 6:03 pm

x,

Hee, hee! Second time I’ve done that :-)

x
x
July 23, 2012 6:38 pm

@ Simon

The Articles of War say “It is upon the Navy,
under the good Providence of God, that
the Wealth, Prosperity and Peace of
these Islands and of the Empire depend.”

not “it is the Navy’s job to deliver the Army”

Britain built an empire on trade, diplomacy, and the RN, not the Army. And in today’s globalised world we find ourselves in a similar situation. And to be honest since the invention of the A-bomb massed armies have become redundant. Fighting hand to hand doesn’t achieve much. Filling bellies, stopping others making money, making money yourself, etc. etc. is power. And the conduit through which that flows is the open seas. Even in the Middle Ages bun fights stopped for the harvest and our money came from the wool trade. Too much of the boots on the ground flavour of kool aid is drunk around here.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 23, 2012 6:48 pm

X,

I have been observing this thread, but not biting. I did not however think that in a post at the shockingly early time of 1838 that I’d have seen the results of too many tots of rum before hitting the keyboard… ;) quite flowery prose that for a matelot….

Next time we need to kick out a brutal dictator, I’m going to propose that we arm the Andrew with whatever level of personal weapon*** they don’t feel too scared to carry about and even worse to use, and then send the boys and girls in to do their worst. In exchange, you give the Army some crash courses in operating the grey ferries (especially the “go fast” lever and where to attach the water ski line) and we’ll bob about offshore making helpful comments.

*** A personal weapon being defined by having to look into OPFOR’s face as you kill him, not typing a set of coordinates into a console and pressing “fire”. anyone can do that.

I’d better post an extra set of ;) :) ;) in case you think I’m really biting..!

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
July 23, 2012 7:05 pm

RT unfortunately as I have discovered in 3 different countries when HMG decides to send people to teach the locals how to set up and operate or improve their Navy/CG it is far easier to teach a matelot to shoot than a pongo to drive a ship.

x
x
July 23, 2012 7:26 pm

@ RT

It is all Simon’s fault for biting. Your argument presupposes that all we ever need force is to depose dictators (Kaiser, Mr A Hitler, and who ever had his name above the shop door in the Kremlin) I am saying that force has other uses. Even then it was Jack and the Channel, and Jack with his boomers he did just as much to protect us as the Army. We didn’t dominate India with a huge army, but we did use sea power to protect and engender trade. We didn’t have a huge army in China, but we did use sea power to protect and engender trade. In fact the only time we depended on the Army to protect trade and resources, the American Revolutionary War, and you had your arses kicked. TD likes to bang on about innovation. In the 1100 years since Alfred the Great the Navy has gone from simple small ships not much more than coasters to nuclear powered world traversing behemoths constructed from super metals using satellites to communicate capable of carrying missiles that go into space and span half the globe before laying waste to whole cities. The Army has replaced arrows with machines guns, horses with diesel engines, and can still only move as far as its baggage train allows and influence as far as its biggest weapon (catapult or artillery piece or whatever.) Oh! And we mustn’t forget digging holes which really as much a staple of army activity as fighting with sharp knifes both would have been familiar to the Romans who actually built their empire as much on trade and sea power as anything else. :) ;)

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 23, 2012 7:32 pm

Aah, but APATS shooting straight is only about 2% of it (but appears to be the only requirement as far as the Andrew are concerned, and even then they struggle with the “straight” part of it)). There’s all of those complicated little things like fire and manoeuvre, generating shock action, exploitation, main effort, supporting and supported fires, CCIRs, back-calculating distances and rates of movement to identify decisive points and later times, and then “friction” which is a real factor in land battles but is not for the floaty mob now you’ve got decent radars. You don’t really think we line up in a straight (sorry, Andrew) line and just go balls out shouting “huzzah!” and sabring the Queen’s enemy as we go, do you?

Anyway, how difficult is this Navy lark? Can’t be too hard, or the Andrew would be having a permanent officer recruitment crisis. Sea seems relatively flat, certainly no complicated terrain to fox the unwary. Give some junior officer the job of watching the pointer on the WECDIS to alert of unintended proximity to solid objects like the shore or reefs, and then go banzai with the ripping about at high speed. Make sure you don’t leave the AD bubble and job’s a good ‘un I’d say.

;)

Phil
July 23, 2012 7:34 pm

“You don’t really think we line up in a straight (sorry, Andrew) line and just go balls out shouting “huzzah!” and sabring the Queen’s enemy as we go, do you?”

You would if you could. In velvet lined smocks.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
July 23, 2012 7:39 pm

RT, wouldn’t know I did a fair bit of my pre “training” training at JCTAT, more akin with defensive driving, advanced combat pistol shooting, anti ambush drills (urban) and other such good stuff. Luckily being a Northern Jock I had been killing things with an air rifle since I was 6 and a shotgun from double figures. Have to say though that the 3 weeks there was awesome fun.
P.S. even the Greeks understand CCIRs.

Simon
July 23, 2012 7:40 pm

x,

Hey, I didn’t bite that time – RT only gave me 10 minutes ;-)

Weren’t the “Articles of War” written to enforce some kind of discipline for the crew?

I’m not old enough to remember much before the Battle Down South but seem to remember that really the Navy inserted and protected the Army? I think it was much the same in Sierra Leone except the Army were the R.M.?? What role did the Navy play in Gulf War 1 or 2??? Al Faw R.M. landing????

Whilst completely failing to research any of the above properly ;-) I did stumble on this, which is pretty sobering…

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f5/RN_warships.png

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 23, 2012 7:42 pm

TD,

glad to give you a bit of a giggle. Clearly, facetiousness is to the fore. However, I was once entrusted with getting HMS Bristol from some navigation point about 20 miles off Kiel to the run in to Malmo – an overnight passage. It involved several turns, and also crossing a shipping lane at night. I made my plan, presented it to the Navigator, who approved it, and then monitored my performance. We survived. Hence, I am a complete expert :) (I say crossing my fingers). Actually, good fun, surprisingly sweaty work with the nerves. Even the Navigator was “relatively” complementary in the morning.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 23, 2012 7:45 pm

Phil,

get up to date. Barbour under the smock. Velvet is so 60s (even 1860s, even 1760s, even 1660s when we formed up. Appreciate the Andrew can count back that far, but the Kevins can’t. They are nylon and velcro).

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
July 23, 2012 7:46 pm

RT, BZ. Scandinavia is not the easiest place in the world to navigate.

Phil
July 23, 2012 7:48 pm

Nothing wrong with the 1860s look.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 23, 2012 7:55 pm

APATS,

I cheated a bit. I had pre-ordered bacon sarnies and egg banjos for the whole bridge crew from the master chef for 3 am, which surprisingly was not a normal thing to do it appeared (on Bristol at least). I had several willing helpers after that. Got to look after your boys.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
July 23, 2012 8:02 pm

RT, Hats off to your inte/pysops skills. A matelot will do almost anything for a bacon buttie at 0300.

SomewhatInvolved
July 23, 2012 8:14 pm

“There’s all of those complicated little things like fire and manoeuvre, generating shock action, exploitation, main effort, supporting and supported fires, CCIRs, back-calculating distances and rates of movement to identify decisive points and later times, and then “friction” which is a real factor in land battles.”

And to think we get grief for making up words and phrases!

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
July 23, 2012 8:16 pm

SI, It is simple, It means “kill them all”.

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
July 23, 2012 8:16 pm

Oh x, dear boy,

You might want to check up on who it was that fought the various, wide ranging wars in India against a multitude of opposition. On land. It wasn’t the Royal Navy.

Then you might want to check up your history about the American Revolutionary war, where the army won practically every battle it engaged in on land, only for the Navy to fail to resupply it at Yorktown, leading to defeat.

I wont even touch the technology debate.

I know you present as joking, baiting perhaps, but the sad thing is you probably believe much of what you wrote.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 23, 2012 8:20 pm

APATS,

I’d managed to work out that at 18 knots (whatever those are) Bristol had about a ten second lag between turning and no longer turning, so I always prefaced my change of direction command with an order to make 18 knots. That made turning easy without having to then counter-turn when you overshot. Most of the Britannia cadets on board did not seem to appreciate this. You can also do it with your faithful G1098 prismatic compass*** in the ’58 pattern holster on your belt and the Casio watch on your wrist, which results in some oohs and aahs from the bridge crew who don’t expect an Army officer to steer a whole ship without lots of shimmying about, and which requires the Navigator and some form of senior bosun to double check your work, and shake their heads as you are correct. But it is merely mathematics, and slew over time.

*** I recall, 52 mils subtraction to compensate for all of the ironmongery involved in the bridge.

x
x
July 23, 2012 8:27 pm

@ Chris B

It is all Simon’s fault, if one of the soldiers had done right the thing and bit I wouldn’t have had to have a second go.

And yes I know who did a lot of the fighting in India. Most of the time it was Indians. But without the trade routes there would have been no need to fight. And lets not forgot that before 1857 it wasn’t the British Army in India but the East India Company. HMG didn’t think it needed their input to busy looking after the real actor in imperial defence the Royal Navy. Perhaps it was good thing the Army wasn’t involved in India to widely considering the balls up they made of the Crimeria…..

SomewhatInvolved
July 23, 2012 8:28 pm

No RT, I think you’ll find that we were mostly just amazed that an Army officer actually made it to sea. After all, we matelots don’t ever go ashore and do Army stuff, do we? And the cadets were probably just trying to work out what you were (now is that two pips or just mud, is that a captain or a Captain, no silly that’s a subaltern, what? really? no look, it’s a crown silly, oh, must be a sergeant major then…)

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix
July 23, 2012 8:34 pm

thank you guys, a fine show. do carry on.

x
x
July 23, 2012 8:35 pm

@ Simon

I think RT was listening on the net for the order to move. You have to forgive him. Normally they have 6 months to build up to a response, after the airforce has bombed the crap out of the opposition, and the ships have delivered all the material and spares into theatre along lines of communication secured by the, who is it again?, oh yes, the navies of the free the world. :)

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
July 23, 2012 8:36 pm

RT, you are talking about advance and transfer I think, which is handily worked out for certain speeds during sea trials. So at a given speed and rudder order you can calculate exactly how far the ship will travel before it begins to turn and also how far outside of the straight line you have calculates. You work this back to provide the correct wheel over or order point.
Chris B, surely if an army had won a campaign it would not have been under siege and had to surrender after the RN failed to break through a numerically superior fleet already positioned in the bay? You guys are as bad as each other.

x
x
July 23, 2012 8:37 pm

@ TD

There is a subtle difference between laughing at and laughing with…. :)

You see I don’t understand how the PTT could give up on such a rich vein of humour and larks.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 23, 2012 8:41 pm

SI,

I was there under proper orders. 9 weeks for the Brittania cruise (some pre-and post work up sailing about included).

They were proper shocked when I took them ashore and gave them some running about to do with GPMGs (it was only about 20 miles in pairs with a full jerrycan of coloured water and no map – hardly taxing). They came with some Petty Officers and a proper Royal – CSgt Norton – and he and I saw completely eye to eye. I gave them a task to dig in in some OPs on some land I’d 443’d on a shore in Denmark and then to report on Bristol’s movements as she sailed up and down over the night (timings, directions, light patterns, etc), and some of them were nearly accurate in their reports. CSgt Norton was in his element – that wonderful Royal touch of being respectful but yet biting and not accepting anything less than perfection.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
July 23, 2012 8:47 pm

What is this reply malarky all about?

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 23, 2012 8:50 pm

This is going to really spoil the fun when no one really knows to whom you are replying.

I take it TD is having some form of mid-life upgrade that will become a crisis if the software does not work as advertised? ;)

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 23, 2012 8:52 pm
Reply to  Red Trousers

Blimey. It does. Proper nested comment.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
July 23, 2012 8:53 pm
Reply to  Red Trousers

test malarky response over.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 23, 2012 9:16 pm
Reply to  Red Trousers

Only 3 levels of nested comment? Pah! Proper TD arguments take 17 levels, and require several pages.

Should have gone for the “Gold” version of the software. If there’s a charge, you can always direct it to the Kevin-supporters. ;)

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
July 23, 2012 9:33 pm

I like it!

wf
wf
July 23, 2012 9:41 pm

@TD: ah yes, the civvie boots, Barbour and cap look. Very popular in cavalry regiments mid-80’s I recall. Lots of keen young 19 year olds just out of Sanders…

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 23, 2012 9:48 pm
Reply to  wf

“Sanders” WTF is that, WF?

Sandbags more like.

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
July 23, 2012 10:31 pm

@ APATS,

I’m trying to make a very different point from X.

The position he is assuming is that military operations revolve around the navy, that the navy is the only part of the armed forces that actually matters, the navy is the only part of the armed forces that actually does anything worthwhile, and that every war won was because of the navy while every war lost was because of the army.

My position is that his position is utter bollocks, and that the army and Navy of time were like the brake and acceleration pedals of a car; you can’t drive the car without both.

His contention is that the army lost the American Revolutionary war. It didn’t. In this particular case at Yorktown the navy lost it. His position also over looks the fact that the war was not considered over until the army had to give up its positions. If the Navy can win wars by itself without the army, then why did we not just come back in force and win that campaign with a fleet of ships of the line?

As for India, almost all of the officers and many of the men that made up great chunks of the East India Company forces were regular British officers and men, including regular British infantry battalions. The Duke of Wellington, as he was to become known, for example.

It also doesn’t alter the underlying fact that India was won and controlled by an army marching out to fight the enemy and drive them off lands that the British desired, while protecting lands that had already been claimed.

The two together, Army and Navy, formed a team. What we would call a Joint force in todays parlance I guess. Now to me, that seems perfectly natural and reasonable to assume, that both parts of that force had their roles to play; one on land, one on the sea, and that the two together achieved things that they could not individually.

What I always hate is listening to the same boring drivel about how Navies can win wars by themselves. If you really, really have that much of a hard on for the Navy, great. But don’t try and claim that the Navy could do all these things by itself and that land forces had no or little impact on events.

It shows a phenomenal level of ignorance of history and basically comes across as being almost as bad as the PTT in kissing the Navies arse. If this is how senior Navy chaps conduct their discussions with Ministers it’s little wonder that the Navy gets cut. The politicos are probably sick and tired of sitting through this continuous wave after wave of what is basically just propaganda, and mostly bollocks at that.

Just tiresome to listen to. How anyone can hold such a chronically biased position without feeling a little wretched inside is beyond me.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 23, 2012 10:47 pm

Chris B,

not to forget all of those waypoints (ports etc) the Andrew relied upon for reprovisioning when they sent ships out to India. I wonder if they grabbed the ports and hinterlands all by themselves? Not from a brief overview of our West, South and East African ports and possessions and how we came about them.

From a naval aspect, it does appear that the main role was to provide transport at any time after the Napoleonic wars. That has changed now. It is nowadays to provide escorts over completely uncontested SLOCs, and to pretend to Whitehall that it is very dangerous and taxing work, and the they need more budget and attention being paid to them, plus carriers, when the reality is that is obblocks.

x
x
July 23, 2012 10:47 pm

But I wasn’t making a point. As TD knows I was presenting facts as I chose and skating over stuff a la PTT. (That’s the Phoenix lot not the French post office who are splendid bunch of women……)

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 23, 2012 10:50 pm

TD,

your comment edit function appears to be on the blink. click the button, and all you get is an empty white box.

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
July 23, 2012 11:31 pm
Reply to  Think Defence

Ah – thought it was my phone.

Edit: yep, it works now.