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The National Interest online seeks to provide a space for vigorous debate and exchange not only among Americans but between U.S. and overseas interlocutors. This is the new home for informed analysis and frank but reasoned exchanges on foreign policy and international affairs.
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21 апреля, 21:00

Take That, Hitler: How France Scored Its Very First Military Victory on Nazi Germany

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Daniel L. Davis Security, Europe The victory at Toulon was the first major victory by French troops in what would eventually be the complete liberation of their homeland. It is not a stretch to say June 1940 was the darkest month in the history of the French Republic.  As late as early May, France had been considered the undisputed military power of the European continent (even by the German military).  But barely six weeks later, her armies had been gutted by the Nazis, her British allies driven off the continent at Dunkirk, and Paris handed over to Hitler.  Four long and bitter years later, however, French troops returned to their homeland in an Allied operation that would ultimately lead to the fall of Berlin: Operation Dragoon. The speed with which the French military was defeated in May–June 1940 was as deep a blow to French pride as the loss of Paris.  After setting up a puppet regime in Vichy, France, the Nazis added insult to injury in 1942 as they violated the terms of the armistice and sent occupation troops flooding into the country, moving to seize the port city of Toulon along with the bulk of the French Navy. Not wanting the hated Germans to use their warships against the West, Admiral Gabriel Auphan ordered his sailors to do the unthinkable: scuttle their own ships in the Toulon harbor. Seventy-seven in all, including battleships, cruisers, and submarines were sent to the bottom of the harbor. It seemed French morale couldn’t fall any lower. Failure, however, can often be the best catalyst for future success. At the Teheran Conference in late 1943, the three top leaders of the Allied powers—President Roosevelt from the United States, Winston Churchill from the United Kingdom, and Joseph Stalin from the USSR—met to make decisions on how to fight the war in 1944.  Stalin had long lobbied for the West to open a second front against the Nazis in Western Europe, while Churchill wanted the Allies to move up Italy and turn eastward.  Roosevelt, meanwhile, wanted the Russians to help the U.S. in the Pacific by declaring war on Japan. Read full article

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21 апреля, 20:00

800 Years of Carnage: How One Weapon of War Keeps Killing All Over the World

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Warfare History Network Security, And it won't go away anytime soon. The mortar is perhaps the oldest surviving ordnance piece developed during the Middle Ages. The earliest known forerunner to the mortar, introduced by Spanish Muslims about ad 1250, was essentially an iron-reinforced bucket that hurled stones with gunpowder. These weapons were distinctly short-barreled and featured high-trajectory firing to hurl a load of small stones over enemy walls. Early wrought-iron cannons from the late 13th century were relatively short-barreled and unreliable. The iron was banded and welded by parts and thus was potentially weak. With spherically chiseled stone for shot, the cannons were prone to bursting under explosive pressure. The alloy bronze was more expensive but it could be cast as a single item, like a bell, and thus it became the material of choice for ordnance pieces. The Arcing Artillery Trajectory Longer barrels continued to develop, but short barrels persisted. The bombard was a short-barreled cannon of the mid-14th century. The convenience of lighter ordnance was a factor in its continued use, as was its versatility. The duchy of Burgundy, long a competitor with France, was an early pioneer in such ordnance, creating short-barreled bombards mounted and rotated on a special elevation chassis. These bombards looked very much like modern mortars, and the special carriage provided for elevation to higher angles for lobbed trajectory. Shooting in an arcing trajectory was more effective than shooting horizontally at great distances, a fact that soldiers had learned gradually through archery and so-called wooden artillery, or siege engines. The cannon’s great asset over the high-arcing shots of siege engines was that a horizontal or flat-trajectory shot could pinpoint a target. It could blow in a castle gate or puncture a wall. Optimum angles of fire for cannons progressed with gunners’ field experience, depending on the distance of the target and the aim of the particular artillerists involved. Read full article

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21 апреля, 19:00

Asia's Submarine Powerhouse You Might Not Know About

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Sebastien Roblin Security, Asia Indonesia is also well on its way to becoming a major submarine power in the Pacific—for the second time in its history. On April 17, Indonesia reelected president Joko Widodo, who has presided over a rapidly growing economy, even as his originally liberal politics have taken an increasingly conservative bent. The unique Muslim democracy consist of seventeen thousand islands spanning from South East Asia to the waters off Australia. With over 269 million inhabitants, it is also the fourth most populous country on the planet, ranked just behind the United States. Indonesia is also well on its way to becoming a major submarine power in the Pacific—for the second time in its history. The latest milestone was the launch of the KRI Alugoro on April 11, 2019 from Semarang Dock in Surabaya, Indonesia—the first ever submarine built by the island nation, though with some assistance from the type’s Korean manufacturer DSME. Two Korean-built sisterships, the Nagapasa and Ardadedali were commissioned by Indonesia in 2017 and 2018. All together the three submarines, and the technology transfer for Indonesian manufacture, cost $1.2 billion. The new boats join two nearly forty-year-old Type 209/1300 submarines named Cakra and Nanggala, which are being upgraded with new sensors and combat systems. The Type 209 was first prolifically built by Germany than approved for license production in South Korea as the Chang Bogo-class. The Nagapasa-class submarines are Improved Type 209-1400 submarines with new German sonars, radars and navigation systems. Read full article

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21 апреля, 18:00

Why the Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard .380 Is Tough to Beat

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Kyle Mizokami Security, A small weapon with a lot of power. Newfound consumer interest in the subcompact handgun has led many gun manufacturers to introduce smaller––but still potent––pistols that can be carried discretely as a backup gun or concealed carry piece. But which ones are worth your time and money? One such example is the Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 380. One of the best of the new generation of subcompact handguns, it also has the most favorable dimensions and weight for those requiring packable firepower. The Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 380 is a second generation subcompact pistol that takes over from––and is functionally identical to––the first generation Bodyguard. The pistol is a small frame, double action semi-automatic designed for concealed carry. Unlike the larger M&P handguns it is not a striker fired weapon, instead using a more traditional hammer and firing pin operating system. The gun lacks an external hammer, making it incapable of single action fire and the lighter trigger pull that entails. The double action hammer pull is rated by reviewers at 9.5 pounds and is described as “smooth” and “easy to use.” The Bodyguard’s profile is of a stubby, subcompact pistol with the style and lines of Smith & Wesson’s M&P semi-automatic pistol series. The pistol lacks sharp edges and corners that could snag on clothing during a quick draw, and has low profile sights. The pistol utilizes a polymer frame, greatly reducing weight, while still using steel for the barrel, frame, and other strength-intensive parts. The result is a handgun that weighs just 12 ounces, likely the lightest subcompact semi-automatic on the market. Not only is it the lightest, the current generation Bodyguard is possibly the smallest subcompact on the market. Overall length is 5.3 inches with a barrel length of 2.75 inches. Overall width is where the pistol shines: the Bodyguard is an amazing .75 inches wide. By comparison, the Glock 26, also in .380 ACP caliber, is .98 inches wide and the Ruger LCP has a width of .82 inches. The pistol is approximately 4.3 inches high. Read full article

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21 апреля, 16:00

Stealth Strike: The Army Is Testing New Heckler & Koch Sniper Rifles

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Task and Purpose Security, What can we expect? "Despite single-digit frigid temperatures, gusting winds, and wet snow, the snipers really impressed me with their levels of motivation and competitive drive to outshoot each other,' Sgt. 1st Class Isidro Pardo said in the Army statement. Translation: Let's play. The Army may only have scored full approval from Congress to buy thousands of new M110A1 Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper Systems (CSASS) last year, but a cadre of Army snipers are already flexing on some upgrades. (This first appeared in March.) Eight snipers assigned to the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division are currently field testing the upgraded CSASS at Fort Carson, part of the limited user testing laid out by the Army last summer. While the Army has already fielded the rifle, based on Heckler & Koch's 7.62x51mm G28E-110, in a squad designated marksman role to select units Fort Bliss and Fort Bragg, the Ivy Division snipers are testing new features that include 'increased accuracy, plus other ergonomic features like reduced weight and operations with or without a suppressor,' according to an Army release. Read full article

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21 апреля, 15:00

Put Your Coffee Down: How Many Millions of People Would Die in a Nuclear War?

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Kyle Mizokami Security, Global 335 million in one scenario. "Overall, an all-out U.S. attack on the Soviet Union, China and satellite countries in 1962 would have killed 335 million people within the first seventy-two hours." It is no exaggeration to say that for those who grew up during the Cold War, all-out nuclear war was “the ultimate nightmare.” The prospect of an ordinary day interrupted by air-raid sirens, klaxons and the searing heat of a thermonuclear explosion was a very real, albeit remote, possibility. Television shows such as The Day After and Threads realistically portrayed both a nuclear attack and the gradual disintegration of society in the aftermath. In an all-out nuclear attack, most of the industrialized world would have been bombed back to the Stone Age, with hundreds of millions killed outright and perhaps as many as a billion or more dying of radiation, disease and famine in the postwar period. (This first appeared several years ago.) During much of the Cold War, the United States’ nuclear warfighting plan was known as the SIOP, or the Single Integrated Operating Plan. The first SIOP, introduced in 1962, was known as SIOP-62, and its effects on the Soviet Union, Warsaw Pact and China were documented in a briefing paper created for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and brought to light in 2011 by the National Security Archive. The paper presupposed a new Berlin crisis, similar to the one that took place in 1961, but escalating to full-scale war in western Europe. Although the war scenario was fictional, the post-attack estimates were very real. According to the paper, the outlook for Communist bloc countries subjected to the full weight of American atomic firepower was grim. The paper divided attack scenarios into two categories: one in which the U.S. nuclear Alert Force, a percentage of overall nuclear forces kept on constant alert, struck the Soviet Union and its allies; and a second scenario where the full weight of the nuclear force, known as the Full Force, was used. Read full article

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21 апреля, 14:00

War Stories: How China Almost Tipped the Balance During the Korean War (And Changed History)

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Warfare History Network Security, East Asia Here is what happened. The 1st Marine Division was on the move toward the Yalu River. With any luck, if the weather cooperated, the United Nations police action in Korea would be over in weeks. The 5th Marine Regiment (5th Marines), most of the 7th Marines, and three artillery battalions of the 11th Marines spent the daylight hours of November 27, 1950, staging into the North Korean mountain-valley town of Yudam-ni, on the frozen shore of the Chosin Reservoir. While company-size units of the 7th Marines patrolled and fought through the day to secure the far-flung ridge lines that dominated the valley, a battalion of the 5th Marines mounted a limited assault aimed at striking off into the unsecured hinterland of North Korea. Strangely, for the Marines had faced no serious opposition in more than a month, all their patrols, sweeps, and advances on November 27 were strongly contested. Unbeknownst to the Marines, tens of thousands of Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers were set to spring an enormous trap on the main body of the 1st Marine Division. Isolated and Unaware The temperature was minus 30 degrees F, so by 9 pm all but the regular watchkeepers were snuggled in their soft down sleeping bags, shoeless and exhausted by the day’s prodigious physical exertions and the sub-zero cold. Yudam-ni was seen by all higher headquarters as a temporary staging area. No strong hostile action was anticipated, and there was no central authority determining where this battalion or that company was to be placed. Too large to be defended by a continuous line, the valley of Yudam-ni was merely screened by several isolated pockets of Marines: How Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines (How/3/7) to the northwest; Charlie/1/7 to the southeast; Dog/2/7 and Easy/2/7 to the east. Units of the 5th Marines on the “perimeter” just happened to be there when the day’s activities had drawn to a close. There was nothing wrong with the deployment; indeed, it was an adequate response to the latest intelligence data from higher headquarters, reflecting the solid combat experience of the planners. Read full article

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21 апреля, 13:00

FAIL: Nazi Saboteurs Tried to Attack America and It Was a Spectacular Failure

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War Is Boring Security, Europe One secret agent bought a sports car with his spy money. German spies during World War II hoped the operation would be the perfect mission—an intelligence and sabotage coup that would terrify Americans while destroying essential wartime industry. Instead, Operation Pastorius turned into a fiasco with betrayals, astounding incompetence and blown covers from the very beginning. But the incident created an American legal legacy that endures to this day. Two presidential administrations have justified the trial of enemy combatants during the war on terrorism based on a Supreme Court decision upholding military trials of the Nazi spies, instead of prosecuting them in civilian courts. The details of Operation Pastorius—named after Francis Pastorius, founder of the first German settlement in North America—are straightforward. How the operation unfolded is a more convoluted story. In 1942, Adm. Wilhelm Canaris, the head of the German Abwehr military intelligence agency, wanted clandestine operations that would insert Nazi agents into the United States. “The Abwehr might have been many things, but they weren’t stupid,” Vince Houghton, historian and curator of the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., told War Is Boring. “They understood that the only way the Allies win the war is behind the might of American industrial production,” Houghton added. “The German navy was already hard at work doing their part to disrupt shipments of war materials being sent to the front through the U-boat campaigns. “German intelligence could supplement this with direct attacks on the sources of industrial production.” There was precedent for the admiral’s decision. During World War I, Germany placed saboteurs in the New York-New Jersey industrial region, where they carried out successful attacks on arms factories. One incident, the Black Tom Island attack in 1916, destroyed a pier and railroad freight cars piled with munitions bound for Great Britain. The explosion was so violent it killed seven people, broke windows 25 miles away and caused $20 million in damage. Read full article

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21 апреля, 12:00

3 Challenges in Europe America Must Pay Attention to Now

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Luke Coffey Security, Europe Forget Brexit for a moment. When it comes to European geopolitics, most U.S. policymakers focus on the big issues: Brexit, the future of NATO, a looming trade war between the United States and the European Union, Russia’s war with Ukraine. Decisionmakers must pay attention to these important matters. But they cannot afford to let fly under the radar other issues that have the potential to create serious problems for the United States and its allies. Here are some of the challenges in Europe that are not getting the attention they deserve in Washington. The High North Russian adventurism in Ukraine and Syria grabs a lot of attention. Less noticed is Moscow’s militarization of the Arctic. Russia has formed two Arctic brigades. It devotes two-thirds of its navy to the Arctic-based Northern Fleet. An Arctic command, established in 2015, now coordinates all Russian military activities in the region. And Russia plans to form Arctic Coastal Defense divisions, to be stationed on the Kola Peninsula and the eastern Arctic, under the command of the Northern Fleet. A decade of investment has given Russia fourteen operational airfields and sixteen deepwater ports. And Moscow continues to develop equipment optimized for Arctic operations, such as three new nuclear icebreakers that will join its fleet of forty icebreakers (six of them nuclear) already in service. Russia is an Arctic power. A strong military presence in the region is to be expected. However, its continuing build-up there should be viewed with some caution, due to Moscow’s pattern of aggression. Also worrisome is the fact that NATO is divided on how best to best respond to Russia in the region. The allies cannot even agree to a common Arctic strategy. The Heart of Europe The Czech Republic causes few problems inside NATO or in the EU. Yet it warrants watching. On the surface, everything seems fine. Below the surface, a political crisis is roiling. Read full article

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21 апреля, 11:00

Why Nothing Could Stop a 6th Generation F-22 Stealth Fighter

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Michael Peck Security, Wanna fight Russia or China? This is what you need. The scenario goes like this: In 2030, Russia invades the Baltic States. As the U.S. sends forces to Europe, China seizes the opportunity to seize disputed islands in the South China Sea. American airpower flies to the rescue, only to discover that sophisticated Russian and Chinese fighters and anti-aircraft defenses have rendered the skies too deadly for older American planes to conduct missions. If this scenario were to come to pass, current U.S. air power would be unable to cope. Too many aircraft are old, have too small a range and payload, and can’t operate in tough air defense environments. One solution? Develop a sixth-generation stealth aircraft that essentially combines the air combat capability of an F-22 fighter with the electronic attack capability of an EA-18G Growler jamming aircraft. This was the conclusion from a series of wargames conducted by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment. Less a prediction of the future and more a planning construct to determine what the U.S. Air Force will need twenty years from now, the Congressionally-mandated report and its underlying wargames looked at what kind of capabilities are needed for a two-front war in Europe and the Pacific. To make U.S. airpower effective, the wargame players wanted what CSBA called a Penetrating Counter-Air/Penetrating Electronic Attack (PCA/PC-E) aircraft. “The Air Force should develop and procure a PCA/P-EA to conduct counterair, electronic attack, and other missions to defeat Russian and Chinese airborne and surface access denial systems,” the report said. “A PCA/P-EA aircraft should also have enough range, possibly 1,500 nautical miles or more, to allow integration of its operations with other long-range penetrators.” The PCA would be both bodyguard and sheepdog, protecting older aircraft from enemy fighters and anti-aircraft defenses as they penetrate heavily defended airspace. However, Gunzinger emphasized that the PCA was not a panacea, but rather one component of a solution. “This includes weapons, unmanned systems, expendable decoys, it’s a family of capabilities,” he said. Read full article

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21 апреля, 10:00

Gun Battle Royal: The Glock 22 vs. Glock 23 (Which Is Better?)

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Gun News Daily Security, Americas We have some ideas. The Glock 22 and Glock 23 are two of the most popular “plastic” handguns on the market. Both are very reliable handguns as both are manufactured by Glock, a company known for their products’ legendary reliability. Both are also chambered for the .40 S&W, a handgun caliber developed specifically for law enforcement and self defense. THE .40 S&W As a handgun caliber, the .40 S&W is a superb option that offers the best of both the 9mm and the .45 acp, and here’s why: The 9mm is known for its penetration and small footprint which allows for even the smallest pistols’ magazines to carry more than 10 rounds, but the bullet measuring only 35/100 of an inch means it makes small holes, and there’s that debate among “gun experts” about its tendency to over-penetrate (a huge topic in itself that will not be discussed here). The .45 acp on the other hand is a caliber known for its reliability and proven track record of being a powerful man stopper since 1911, but the handgun platform it was primarily chambered in, the aptly-labeled 1911, can only accept 8 rounds. The .40 S&W cartridge has a SAAMI pressure limit of 35,000 psi (240 MPa) which is the same SAAMI pressure limit for the 9mm, but its relatively larger diameter allows for heavier bullet designs of up to 200 grains, just 30 grains short of typical .45 acp bullets that weigh 230 grains, which results in wider permanent wound cavity even with just full-metal jacket (FMJ) a.k.a. ball ammo. The .40 S&W has proven itself that just 27 years after it was designed, there are now a myriad of companies that manufacture wide-body compact handguns that allow for double stack magazines which can fit 15 rounds or more — as in these guns are literally EVERYWHERE. As a result, .40 S&W ammo is in high demand and availability is unlikely ever going to be a problem. BUT THESE ARE BOTH GLOCKS… Read full article

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21 апреля, 09:00

Meet the F-35s, M1 Abrams Tanks and S-400 'Weapons' of Game of Thrones

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Sebastien Roblin Security, Time to do some comparisons from our favorite killers in Westeros to some real-life weapons of war. In addition to well-realized characters and shocking plot twists, one of the compelling aspects of The Game of Thrones series is that it situates itself in a rules-based fantasy world. Success or defeat are not determined by a character’s likeability or virtuousness, but arise from their ability to assess the treacherous material and social landscape around them. This consistency extends to its treatment of different forms of military power, and their strengths and limitations in assisting various factions in their bloody struggle for the Iron Throne. In fact, the series often provides an interesting lens to understand the strengths and limitations of real-world forms military power Of course, twenty-first century military systems still differ from the mix of medieval and magical mayhem in Game of Thrones in many ways. Dothraki Cavalry—Battalion of Abrams Main Battle Tanks In the first Game of Thrones novel/season, exiled knight Jorah Mormont describes the military capabilities of the Dothraki, a culture of bow-using light cavalry-riding raiders inspired by Genghis Khan’s Mongol hordes. In Mormont’s assessment, the Dohthraki are entirely capable of out-shooting and panicking the conventional medieval-style armies of Westeros on an open battlefield. However, he doubts the nomadic horsemen have the siege-craft to capture a fortified city. Arguably, a battalion of fifty-to-seventy ton main battle tanks share a surprising amount in common with light cavalry—they can advance rapidly into enemy territory and dominate nearly any other adversary over open ground. However, they often struggle to seize capture heavily defended cities and strongpoints in rugged terrain. Furthermore, getting armored division to the battlefront poses a major challenges. Daenerys spends six seasons of Game of Thrones looking for a way to transport her Dothraki horde across the Narrow Sea. Armored divisions likewise often require trains and ships to bring them to the frontlines. Water obstacles—or even bridges with inadequate maximum weight tolerances—will stop tank divisions literally in their tracks. Read full article