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The Ancient Art of Pilfering

Seems like the ancient art of pilfering is alive and well in the Middle East

Seems like the ancient art of pilfering is alive and well in the Middle East

Stolen 4

Stolen 1

Stolen 2

H/T Long War Journal

Of course, there is nothing new in this world

P51 Mustang Luftwaffe
P51 Mustang Luftwaffe

Read more about Luftwaffe Mustang’s here

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43 Responses

  1. I like the P51 Mustangs in Luftwaffe livery, they did the same for all aircraft types , recovering what was salvageable and assembling working airframes. They reassembled crash USAAC Bombers and took them on raids on returning bomber streams. The German aircraft would join a returning bomber group as a straggler and buddy up with aircraft, often damaged, towards the rear . When the opportunity arose they would open up further damaging or destroying the stragglers before escaping. The USAAC introduced the Navaho ‘wind talkers’ onto its aircraft to interrogate these random stragglers bearing out of date / unrecognizable markings. The wind talkers were in modified bombers that carried no payload but extra armour and guns to challenge and destroy these German operated aircraft

  2. In other probably Middle Eastern AFV news it turns out that somebody’s 8×8 (Omani Piranha…?*) was on the Hoegh Osaka when it was grounded in the Solent:

    *It looks like a Piranha, is in Desert colours, about two battalions of Piranha 2 were assembled by GKN then Alvis in the UK for Oman (and may still be being sustained by BAE which would explain why it was in the UK) and the Hoegh Osaka apparently had Oman as one of its calling points.

  3. My grandfather told me a story of how his Wellington bomber got separated from the rest of his squadron and in bad weather and low fuel, they were desperate to land. Through a gap in the clouds they saw an airfield and made a bee line for it. Upon final approach with landing gear down, they were a tad surprised to see that it was a German airfield in occupied Holland. AAA opened up on them so they quickly aborted the landing. They made a second flypast and opened up on zee Germans with their machine guns before heading off in the direction of England.

    I wonder how many others did exactly this giving the Germans perfect working examples.

  4. @pab

    It went both ways, the RAF’s first good look at the FW-190 was when one got lost and landed at an airfield outside Liverpool, thinking it was Northern France, helped Supermarine quite a bit :)

  5. Think there was a flight of Japanese fighters that did the same thing in Coral Sea(?), they saw a carrier, tried to land on it and got shot down by the Americans.

  6. I was intrigued by the bomber bomber-escort idea and looked it up. These aircraft were Boeing YB-40s, a heavily up-gunned version of the B-17F which featured twin mounts in place of singles and a second dorsal turret, although some experimental models had guns sticking out all over, like a pre-dreadnought battleship.

    The concept was considered a failure at the end of the war. The YB-40s took twice as long to climb to altitude and, after a raid was over, couldn’t keep up with the standard bombers who were suddenly much lighter! Meanwhile, the escorts were still carrying all their weight of guns and ammo, and the extra aerodynamic drag was a killer. Despite modifications that problem was never solved.

    I’ve scanned down a few lists of operational sorties and their results, but the only credited kills are against fighter aircraft. There’s no mention that I’ve found of a YB-40 (presumably with ‘Wind Talker’ onboard) taking on or chasing off a German interloper. Maybe my Google Fu is failing me, today.

  7. @Simon number 257
    Thats what one gets when an instructor tells you whilst using fat fingers to point to it on a map :D
    Somewhere over there, good thing I dont fly ;)

  8. Those tanks and humvee were not pilfered per say, it is the result of the fall of Mosul to ISIL/ISIS/Di’ish!

    The Iraqi 2nd division based in Mosul fled abandoning all their heavy equipment! It does beg the question what the Iraqi government was thinking having such a well equipped division so far forward with such lousy officers and moral. The officers left first then the troops dropped everything before ISIS rolled in! The 2nd division had only taken delivery of M198 howitzers a few months earlier to go with all their small arms, rockets, missiles, trucks, humvee, APC and M1 Abrams tanks! If the 2nd division had actually stood up against ISIS they would of given them a very bloody nose.

    What is heartbreaking is how well the Kurds have done considering how poorly they are equipped, if the the equipment of the 2nd division had been issued to the Kurdish Pershmerga forces the current story might well have been very different.

    As it stands the Peshmerga are still woefully equipped but now they are facing the equipment of the Iraqi 2nd division wielded by a bunch of medieval crazies!

  9. Fedaykin, maybe. That looks like a Kata’ib Hezbollah flag on the tanks. No, not the Lebanese group, it’s Iran backed. Which means that those vehicles are going to the front *against* the ISIL.

  10. Fedaykin,

    Nice speech but quite probably complete nonsense. The reason these photos have gained traction is as Observer points out the transporters are flying what appear to be Kata’ib Hezbollah flags (an Iranian backed Shia militia) which suggests very strongly that the Iraqi’s are handing their best weapons over to the more effective units in the Shia fold- the Iranian backed militias; or that said militias are helping themselves to those weapons, which in turn raises questions over just how in control the Iraqi government is. ISIS have certainly captured a lot of US origin kit but there is no evidence I have seen of them using Abrams.

    As for the Peshmerga, actually they are increasingly well equipped (including with such goodies as ATGMs which have become a key weapon in Syria and which ISIS is rather short of) but it turns out they weren’t quite the uber-troops they had been portrayed as.

  11. Perhaps we should fine Czar Putin the price of two Mistrals for the Litvinenko business? :-)


  12. The jerry can seems a fine example of pilfering.
    & Weren’t a couple of Argentine helicopters brought back from the Falklands and reused?

  13. @Hohum

    OK my mistake in this case but it certainly isn’t nonsense that ISIS captured all the heavy equipment of the Iraqi 2nd division including tanks.

    But no worries when you make a mistake I will happily rudely correct you as well.

  14. GNB,

    I think the Frogs might get upset, but I am remarkably sanguine about that. Perhaps someone could teach Cameron how to do a Gallic shrug of not giving a damn.

    Far better to demolish them in situ with a covert mission. Scratch two Russian ships, jam up French naval yards for 3 years with wrecks, the Frogs don’t get paid, leave incriminating evidence pointing to someone else…

    In the meantime, quietly put a contract out on the two Russian (alleged) murderers. I have never worried about state sponsored hits, can’t think why we don’t routinely do them. I suspect our learned friend Ixion would disagree, but to me, all is fair in love and war***, and you are better off starting early.

    *** such as in that brilliant scene from Butch and the Sundance Kid in which a knife fight is proposed.

  15. @RT – I’ve always rather assumed we did do them, but with sufficient finesse to avoid being observed… :-)


  16. I’d find it quite interesting to do an inventory of the equipment that the Iraqi 2nd Division had, and then what we know wasn’t captured, then assume everything else was taken by ISIS.

    Presumably everything they captured would need ammunition, maintenance and couldn’t be hugely easy for an organisation with few trained staff to maintain and use.

  17. “Why did you blow up the Mistral’s monsieur?”

    Gallic shrug, accompanied by “Rainbow Warrior” *cough*….

  18. I actually have little moral proplem with hitting the othersides hit men.

    Although I consider it fraught with practical issues.

  19. As foR Isis equipment, let us not forget who set them up trained and financed them.

    Anyone counted all that Saudi owned US supplied kit to make sure it is where it is supposed to be?

  20. We all seem to be agreed on the French…I do hope our own @Frenchie has had a substantial bourgeois dinner, a bottle of ordinaire, a couple of glasses of calvados and an early night…he seems to be a rather likeable sort of Frog, and I wouldn’t want to hurt his feelings… :-(

    “Rosbif” Gloomy

  21. wf, you made me laugh for a bit. Though if the French retaliated by removing a screw or two from the QE’s propellor, you’re going to be in no position to complain! :) (Mers-el-Kebir) *cough*

    “Well if the UK got the chance to nick some kit off rogue nations, what would we want?”

    Could I interest you in some 8x8s? :P You could call the program FRRPS (Future Really Rapid Procurement System)

  22. Wasn’t the Sten Gun brought into service to use the enormous quantities of 9 mm captured off the Italians after the East African campaign?

  23. @GNB: no French hatred from me. After all, my French godmother and my French friends here in London might complain :-)

    However, I am very aware that France makes a fetish of ploughing it’s own furrow. Relying on them as allies or as suppliers of CASD or carrier air cover is insane. Help each other when it suits us, but keep score and forget collaborative programs: they always have to be in charge in a way others don’t.

  24. My biggest concern about the M1’s is if Iran manages to get a few over the border and starts selling them to the Russians, Chinese and North Koreans….

  25. It’s hardly an OS issue and the CdG props didn’t “fall off”. What actually happened was that the blades sheared off from the hub under load, which was subsequently found to be due to the propeller contractor allegedly using a different alloy to that required in the design. By the time this was discovered, the contractor was in receivership (or the French equivalent) and its offices mysteriously burned down……
    Although there’s no doubt CdG has had its issues, it’s worth remembering, only five nations (and we ain’t one) have ever built a nuclear powered surface ship, let alone a carrier. Two of those nations are the US and USSR. The others are Germany and Japan, which both built one-off merchant ships in the 60s/70s. The only really serious issue with CdG was the reactor shielding – failure to appreciate that submarine reactors require one shielding arrangement, whereas surface ships require another.
    The oft-reported flightdeck issue was actually relevant only to a particular recovery serial for the E2 – and the ability to manoeuvre the aircraft on the flightdeck in that specific instance. Didn’t prevent E2 ops, just incurred a low-level risk that was eventually mitigated by adding the (very) small addition to the port side of the flightdeck.
    Other than those teething issues, (noting they occurred nearly 15 years ago), the French seem to have got good use out of the ship overall.
    And before anyone starts – while a nuclear QEC would have had some advantages, the battle to get it built would have dwarfed the traumas we’ve gone through to date. On balance, the right decision was taken, way back in the early 90s

  26. @TOC,

    Yep, but what did they actually have? Like the huge number licence produced in Egypt have conventional armour, to begin with.

  27. NaB, ACC wasn’t serious.

    ACC, it’s no big secret, everyone knows that Bermuda is British territory! :)

    As for the Abrams, I severely doubt any part of tank manufacture is a big secret nowadays. Most tanks are fairly standard.

  28. So nothing like this, then… When the thousand tanks deployed did not get the job done, the very latest armour piercing rounds were rush-rushed to the theatre, only to be captured and shipped to the T72 proving grounds

    “Chaos of “Sultan Yacoub”: 11 June

    By 01:30hrs in the morning of 11 June the trapped Israeli battalion was in a state of chaos, blocked in a narrow valley on the end of which was another village, drawing heavy direct- and artillery-fire /…/. Eventually, the IDF was unable to mount a large-scale operation in time to recover the embattled battalion; the 90 and the nearby 880 Ugdas – deployed to Lebanon only a day earlier – were busy attempting to prevent the 3rd Syrian Armoured Division’s attempt to advance towards the south, and preven the 1st Armoured Division from deploying along the Beirut-Damascus road towards west.

    Eventually, what was left of the 362 Battalion had to dash for Israeli lines in the course of the morning, with massive artillery support, but leaving some eight destroyed or abandoned M-48s behind”.

    I think 5 Magach left behind, with their stored rounds.

    The ” bettered” T72s were never exported, so as not to negate the information advantage gained.

  29. Think the Kinetic Energy rounds were only requestedby Iraq in December, with HEAT being supplied in the first round.

    US foreign sale requests are reported on so although you won’t necessarily get the final orders you gain a good idea of the level and volumes.

  30. I though the export spec M1 did not have ceramic amour or something along the line that it could be removed depending on the customer.

  31. Hard to sell a tank without armour, and frankly rather useless. There are a lot of outfits that are willing to upgrade your tank to the latest in armour protection, as long as you got the money. The Israelis and Germans come to mind.

  32. The discussion on upgunning OPVs has now reached 12 inches… Which reminded me that I should have posted this story of multiple pilfering ( a very long service life came out of it):


    Imperator Alexandr was the last completed Russian dreadnought battleship of Imperaritsa Mariya class built for Russian Black Sea Fleet. It was not completed until year 1917 and after Bolshevik revolution it was renamed as Volya (Freedom). The ship surrendered to the Germans in 1918 and once Germany surrendered later that year was handed over to the British, who then gave it to White Russians, who renamed the ship as General Alekseyev. Russian Civil War did not go well for the White Russians, who year 1920 evacuated their troops from Crimean Peninsula via Bosphorus until their warships ultimately ended up being interned to port of Bizerta in Tunisia, which at that time was a French colony. General Alekseyev was one of these warships, which slowly rusted in Bizerta until the French finally scrapped her in year 1936. While the ship was scrapped, the French were smart enough to strip the guns from the ship and put them in storage for possible further use.

    Once the interest of Finnish military concerning 305-mm coastal guns had sparked in early 1930’s, the limited number of modern super-heavy coastal guns in its use became apparent. Hence in 1930’s Finland intended to acquire more super-heavy coastal guns, but the delivery times from for example Krupp and Bofors proved to be much too long. France had dozen 305/52 O guns stripped from battleship Imperator Alexandr III, which would have suited well to Finnish needs, but the pre World War 2 attempt of buying them failed to reach a deal. French business name A. Klaugine had offered the 305-mm and 130-mm guns from Imperator Alexandr III already just before Winter War, but French government had interfered and stopped the deal. Finnish – Soviet Winter War that brought public opinion world-wide for supporting Finland changed things and ultimately 12th of January 1940 France decided to donate Finland all 305-mm and 130-mm guns originating from Imperator Alexandr III. February of 1940 these guns often referred as “Bizerta guns” were loaded into three Finnish ships for transport:

    – Juliette: 4 x 305/52 O gun

    – Karl Erik: 4 x 305/52 O gun

    – Nina: 4 x 305/52 O gun + 18 x 130/50 V gun

    The first two ships succeeded reaching Finland with their cargo, but Nina was captured by German military in port of Bergen when Germany invaded Norway in April of 1940. Guns that had been onboard Nina ended up to use of German coastal artillery with 305/52 O guns being used to equip Batterie Mirus on Guersey in English Channel and 130/50 V guns being used to equip German coastal artillery batteries in Norway.

    The eight 305/52 O guns that successfully reached Finland were soon put to use – they were used to repair three captured Soviet 305/52O-Raut railway guns and allowed Finnish military to start planning strengthening of its coastal artillery in most important areas. Those plans resulted in building new 305-mm artillery battery on Isosaari Island to improve defensive capability of Helsinki and plan of building second dual gun turret to Mäkiluoto. The artillery battery built on Isosaari had two single steel turrets designed by Engineer-Captain Salonius with the other structures being designed by Engineer-Lieutenant Gummerus. Finnish company Oy Karhula built the actual steel turrets, which were simply referred as länsitorni (west-turret) and itätorni (east-turret). The artillery battery was a well-dispersed one, with turrets being located almost on opposite ends of the island. Isosaari gun turrets were the last evolutionary step in Finnish development gun turrets for 305/52 O coastal guns. They were much more lightly armoured than earlier Mäkiluoto & Kuivasaari turrets, but at the same time made possible higher maximum elevation of about 52 degrees, allowing guns to achieve maximum range of over 50 kilometers. The whole construction plan for these turrets relied more on solid granite (rock) as protection of the underground parts instead of ferroconcrete and due to improved design each turret needed two less underground floors than previous gun turrets.”
    An excerpt from Jaeger Platoon Website. Traces the history of many other artillery pieces (for those who take a special interest)

  33. I believe all the “Allied” Air Force’s Aircraft’s were donated to Nazi-Germany, from Neutral Switzerland for opening Banking Accounts in Swiss Banks. You know, open a Bank Account and get a Free Toaster…

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