Van Arty Association and RUSI Van Members News Oct 27, 2015
Newsletter on line. This newsletter, and previous editions, are available on the RUSI Vancouver website at: http://www.rusivancouver.ca/newsletter.html
The 15 Field Officers Mess holds weekly lunches, serving a 5 course, ‘homemade’ meal for only $15- you won’t find a better meal - or a better deal, anywhere. If you are in the area on a Wednesday, drop in and join us for lunch.
NOABC Speaker Program - Wednesday October 28th
Mr John Swann will give a talk on the `San José` and the hunt for its Treasures. The Spanish galleon San José was trying to outrun a fleet of British warships off Colombia on June 8, 1708, when a mysterious explosion sent it to the bottom of the sea with gold, silver and emeralds owned by private Peruvian and European merchants, and it lies about 700 feet below the water’s surface, a few miles from the historic Caribbean port of Cartagena, on the edge of the Continental Shelf. The San José is known to have been part of Spain’s only royal convoy taking colonial gold to King Philip V during the War of Spanish Succession (1701–1714). The treasure is reportedly worth $4 billion to $17 billion. “Without a doubt, the San José is the Holy Grail of treasure shipwrecks,” Robert Cembrola, director of the Naval War College Museum in Newport, RI, said.
World War 2 - 1940
John Thompson Strategic analyst quotes from his book “Spirit Over Steel”
Oct 24th: The Belgian government in exile forms in London.
Oct 25th: Empress of Ireland (a 42,000 ton liner) is damaged by a bomb off Ireland. The first model of the P-51 fighter takes to the air.
Essential Reading: The P-51 was an excellent fighter, a war-winning weapon, and a work of art in its own respect – flying models still attract great attention at air shows. Bill Gunston is among the more expert (and prolific) authors of military aviation history, and “his 1980 book North American P-51 Mustang is probably the only one on this aircraft that any library on the war need acquire.
Oct 27th: Italy tells Germany that it intends to invade Greece, and delivers an ultimatum to Athens.
Oct 28th: U32 finishes off Empress of Ireland. The Greek dictator Ioannis Metaxas gives his succinct reply to Mussolini’s demands and this day has since been marked by the Greeks as “No” Day. The Italian invasion of Greece begins, 10 divisions move south from Albania – but the late autumn is a lousy time to attack through mountains with a poor road network and the eight tough Greek divisions are little threatened by the might of Italy. Hitler tells Mussolini that German troops will be made available if the British show up in Greece. Laval becomes the Foreign Minister of Vichy.
November 1940: The Balkans Get Primed
It was odd to look forward, on setting out, to the chance of a gale – anyone who really wants the North Atlantic to do its worst in winter should be qualifying for a lunatic asylum … but it was harder still for the submarines to trail us, and that weighed more than all the hardship and the intolerable strain that bad weather brings. -Nicholas Monsarrat, Three Corvettes - on the reduced U-Boat threat in foul Atlantic gales.
General: 26 Italian submarines join the U-boats in the Atlantic, but the usual rough weather of autumn puts a slump in submarine kills as submarines only claim 32 of 97 Allied losses amounting to 385,700 tons displacement. The German blitz grinds on over a number of British cities, while the RAF drops 1,300 tons of bombs on or around several German cities.
A Roadmap to a Stronger Military
Special to the National Post by: Paul H Chapin, JL Granatstein, BGen Don Macnamara & Hugh Segal.
Defence budgets have gone up and down over the decades, but they’ve never gone down when citizens were part of the discussion
Canada today is a secure and prosperous nation, but security conditions have been deteriorating. A militant and violent Islamist terror is rampant throughout the Middle East without an agreed strategy to contain it, claiming over 100,000 lives, displacing more than 10 million, and causing a migration crisis of global dimensions. Russia and China have coerced neighbours and taken unilateral action over disputed areas — with the laws and institutions the world has counted on to maintain the peace for 70 years standing by helplessly. There are concerns about Iran acquiring nuclear weapons, and the lunatic regime in North Korea now has them. Meanwhile, the United States has retreated from its international leadership role.
As a highly globalized society, Canada has vital interests at risk — a secure homeland (freedom from fear), economic well-being (freedom from want), a stable world order, and the human values and democratic principles we believe in. What sustains our way of life are security at home and stability abroad. In these uncertain times, we can hope for the best or try to guess what most threatens us. Or we can build the capabilities a G7 country ought to have no matter what. We think it’s time we put a priority on self-defence and on our ability to influence global events.
There is work to do. Who actually “stands on guard” for Canada today? The Canadian Armed Forces have the primary responsibility, but their overall military effectiveness is small compared to the job we expect them to do. Why is the world’s second-largest country being defended by the world’s 58th largest military force? Governments routinely declare defence to be a vital public policy, then treat it as a discretionary rather than mandatory activity, with a licence to raid the defence budget to finance other things. There is a callousness to this which is unbecoming of a people who cherish their country and want to see it secure. As Jack Granatstein has said, “Canadian governments, whatever their political stripe, cynically reckon that the men and women in uniform can get by with obsolete equipment and insufficient funding. After all, who worries about the need to protect Canada’s national interests?”
Canadian industry has not helped by insisting on being a preferred supplier of military equipment it has limited capacity to produce. This has been costly: equipment has been much more expensive for the Canadian Armed Forces than for the militaries of other countries, it takes much longer to enter into service, and the delay requires millions in retrofits to keep old equipment running. Allies have played a part too, criticizing Canada for not “pulling its weight” in NATO — by which they really mean not doing more for the defence of Europe. This has distracted us from doing more for our own defence. As an ally in good standing we have a role to play in deterring Russian aggression, but Europe today is an economic giant fully capable of underwriting its own defence. How to fix this? The starting point has to be Canada’s vital interests and what it will take to protect them. It’s what citizens understand, will support, and will pay for. Defence budgets have gone up and down over the decades, but they’ve never gone down when citizens were part of the discussion. What capabilities should citizens be entitled to expect? Effective response to domestic crises with the military on hand when first responders cannot cope. Protection from terrorist attacks. The exercise of sovereignty over all of Canada’s land, sea, and airspace, including the strategically important and ecologically vulnerable North. Full partnership with the United States in the common defence of North America. An influential voice on international security issues. The capacity to make a significant military contribution to shaping a favourable international security environment. Strong support for humanitarian operations. This is an entirely reasonable and feasible agenda, but citizens are not getting much of it.
So what’s blocking things? Mainly how we think about defence. First off, let’s agree Canada is worth it. That means Canadians should have armed forces able to defend their country and support their international goals. This is partly a matter of ensuring the forces have the means to do what we ask of them. It’s also a function of how we manage them, equip them, and finance them. Canadians need to understand better how important military human resources are to their security, not allow them to be deployed for capricious reasons when vital national interests are not at stake, and respect the “social covenant” between the military and citizens. When service members put their lives on the line for the nation, citizens owe them the best training, equipment and care available. Governments should spare no expense to look after wounded veterans and their families. Without limits? Are there limits to the liability service members accept?
Military procurement has been a disaster because it has been driven by just about every consideration other than getting the troops the equipment they need when they need it. Bordering on the Atlantic and Pacific, Canada needs a deployable blue-water navy to meet its strategic requirements, not to fulfil industrial and regional development aspirations. Occasionally, procurement works well. In 2006, the government decided it wouldn’t settle for leasing Ukrainian cargo planes to move supplies to Canadian troops in Afghanistan and gave notice it would purchase four large Boeing C-17 transport aircraft. It took delivery of the first one just a year later. The lesson: you can do it if you want to. We also have to stop being sad-sacks about whether we can “afford” something. Canada is fabulously wealthy and could spend much more on defence. Its closest friends all spend more proportionately — and they don’t have to close hospitals, fire teachers, or throw single mothers into the street to “afford” it. Those who predict this sort of thing need to be asked why they didn’t even notice, let alone complain, when Canada’s defence budget doubled to help finance the Afghanistan campaign. If the budget can go from $10 billion to $22 billion in 10 years without anyone noticing (besides maybe a few folks at DND and Finance), why not to $30 billion? That’s not an outrageous number. It would represent about 10 per cent of the federal budget, not an unreasonable portion to devote to protecting the other 90 per cent and the kind of country that that budget helps sustain. It’s more like five per cent today.
Finally, let’s end Canadians’ irrational love affair with “UN peacekeeping” which many believe can and should be Canada’s role in the world. They worship a myth, not grounded in reality. First, peacekeeping is a dangerous business; 3,386 members of UN peacekeeping missions have been killed since 1948, including 121 Canadians, and the trend is worsening. Second, peace operations are no less worthy just because they are not UN-led. Increasingly, the UN has had to mandate other organizations (NATO, EU, African Union) to undertake the really difficult peace operations (Balkans, Afghanistan, East Africa, Congo). And third, Canadian decisions to participate in peacekeeping have been motivated by realpolitik not altruism — to keep otherwise inconsequential regional disputes becoming major wars and leading to nuclear confrontation. Bottom line: the creation of conditions for peace today requires combat-capable forces, not observers in blue berets. What to do? The list of good things to do could fill a volume. We have selected eight practical measures which will make a difference.
Instill a sense of urgency - The defence of Canada and its interests deserves a greater sense of urgency than governments have been giving it. Good ideas have been developed and sensible plans made, only to have them languish and allocations left unspent. At the current pace, previous capabilities won’t be restored until 2025 at the earliest — a long time for a serious country to continue to live with aged fighters and warships and for its Prime Minister to be able to offer only token contributions to shaping a favourable international security environment.
Issue a national security strategy - Unlike our major allies, we have never articulated an overall national security strategy — a set of policies — to guide the activities of the many departments and agencies of government involved in internal and international security affairs. Such a strategy would put a security plan in place which could be monitored and adjusted as necessary, and it would help end the interminable arguments over priorities, jurisdictions, and budgets.
Invest in information and ideas - Governments should have the best information available to make the best possible decisions on national security issues. This is not something they now can count on. Canada should invest in an Office of National Assessment such as Australia has, tasked with gathering data from both classified and open sources and producing independent assessments directly for the Prime Minister. We should also invest in the intellectual capital on which our aspirations to exercise international leadership depend. There has been such a “dumbing down” of Canadian policy capacity that Canada no longer has much to offer in solving international problems. We need to build up policy capacity in government and reverse the reductions in Canada’s diplomatic and military staff in the places decisions are made.
Increase the size of the Armed Forces - Canada’s armed forces are too small and stretched too thin to adequately protect its interests in the complex and uncertain times in which we live. A total force of 150,000, including 50,000 in a Ready Reserve, would be a realistic five-year goal. Canada has one of the smallest Reserve forces in the world. The Reserves are mainly Army units trained for combat and available to reinforce the Regular Force as necessary. They are also the key resource when national calamities occur. So far, the Canadian Armed Forces have been able to respond when called upon, but one cannot be sanguine about their ability to handle a series of events, multiple events at the same time, or a major event like the earthquake some foresee for the west coast.
Ensure a capability for enforcement action in the North - Canada needs to be able to enforce national authority over national territory, seas, and airspace. This doesn’t require, as many believe, a permanent armed presence in the North. The constant would be effective satellite and aircraft patrols so that the proper authorities can know what’s going on and direct military assets to areas where and when sovereignty enforcement is necessary. The challenge is to ensure the Canadian Armed Forces have a persistent ability to take effective identification, interception, and enforcement action especially in strategically important locations whenever others are present.
Participate in ballistic missile defence - Canada was a full partner with the United States in defending the continent until 2005, when it unilaterally absented itself from a role in dealing with the gravest new threat the continent faces, ballistic missiles. The arguments for participation are stronger today than ever, while those against are as vapid as ever. Right now, Canada is the only NATO member not involved in ballistic missile defence.
Buy F-35s - Canada must also replace its CF-18s with F-35s. Despite the dust thrown up, the facts are clear. Canada needs a fifth-generation fighter to be interoperable with the U.S. in continental defence and with allies in coalition operations. Anything less means Canadian fighters can be seen and engaged by enemy aircraft before they even know they are in the vicinity. The only fifth generation fighter being manufactured in the west is the F-35. Its costs are not “out of control”; the manufacturer’s price has dropped by 50 per cent since 2007. What has been out of control are the estimates of the costs and of the F-35’s lifespan — from DND’s 20 years to PBO’s 30 years, to the AG’s 36 years, to KPMG’s 42 years. If the F-35 is “too expensive” for Canada, why have 12 other countries apart from the U.S. not found it too expensive to place orders for 674 aircraft?
Restore the Navy - According to DND, “The construction of the first Canadian Surface Combatant is expected to begin in the early part of the next decade.” Meanwhile, the Navy no longer has any support vessels to replenish its existing warships at sea and is looking at options to fill the role until two new auxiliary oiler replenishment (AOR) vessels become operational around 2021. This is not what the Chretien, Martin or Harper governments had planned. Since 1994, the idea had been to acquire not two AORs but four much more capable “joint support ships.” The larger number would provide the Navy the flexibility required to operate off two coasts, while a JSS can both resupply warships and sealift troops, equipment, supplies, and helicopters for international operations.
O Canada. Most of us know the words and can sing them at hockey games. But many fewer of us pause to think about what they mean. And very few of us are actually involved in “standing on guard.” Let’s change that.
Charting a New Course: Celestial Navigation Returns to USNA
By Lt.jg Devin Arneson, US Naval Academy Public Affairs 10/15/2015
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (NNS) -- Picture this: A naval vessel is navigating the high seas thousands of nautical miles from land. Suddenly all navigation systems become inoperable. What happens next? What does this mean? The Navy looks to its past to chart its future. With today's technology rapidly advancing, the Navy realized that many basic techniques are still relevant to safe operations at sea. Celestial Navigation (CELNAV) is one skill that has not been formally taught to Navy officers, depending on one's commissioning source, for more than 15 years. Officer Candidate School did not teach CELNAV, NROTC stopped teaching it in 2000 and the Naval Academy removed it in 2006. Based on direction from the Chief of Naval Operations, CELNAV has been reinstated into the navigation curriculum and is a requirement in the Officer Professional Core Competencies Manual. This administrative change ensures the instruction will be an enduring requirement.
The Naval Academy resumed classroom instruction during the summer session of 2015. The class of 2017 will be the first in many years to graduate with a basic knowledge of CELNAV.
During their junior year, all second-class Midshipmen currently take Navigation 310: Advanced Navigation. This course has been adjusted to contain three hours of celestial familiarization, providing students basic principles and theories of CELNAV. It includes PowerPoint presentations along with homework and tests based on material from the 15th Edition of Dutton's Nautical Navigation by Thomas J Cutler. "It is a core competency of a mariner," said Director of Professional Development Cmdr Adan Cruz. "If we can navigate using celestial navigation, then we can always safely get from point A to point B." Midshipmen also take two cyber classes during which they learn about the vulnerability of electronic navigation systems and how they can be affected by cyber threats. The classes include how information moves, jamming, the RF spectrum, and many other topics in cyber security. "Teaching CELNAV is just one thing necessary to learn in order to get ready for the battlefield that's already out there. Cyber affects all battlefields to include sea, land, air and space," said Director of Center of Cyber Security Studies Capt Paul J Tortora.
Cyber threats aren't the most likely reason electronic navigation systems might fail. System degradation, electrical failures, satellite malfunctions, there are any number of reasons GPS might be rendered unusable on board a ship. Outside the classroom, the academy's Varsity Offshore Sailing Team uses CELNAV for the "Marion to Bermuda" race. GPS is used until the sailboats are 50 miles offshore. Prior to the race, the team members used the planetarium in Luce Hall for exposure to what kinds of stars and constellations they would be able to shoot to celestially navigate. "Everyone is reliant on technology, but celestial navigation is very self-sufficient. There's not a more basic way than to use the sails and the stars," said Midshipman 1st Class Jared Valeske, skipper and tactician for the summer 2015 race. Midshipmen are also exposed to CELNAV during summer training cruises on USNA's Yard Patrol Craft and Offshore Sailing Training Squadron sailboats. By the end of the summer, the nearly 600 Midshipmen who participate in these two programs have a practical understanding of the benefits of CELNAV and what encompasses a day's work in navigation. The bottom line is that even with technological advances, the basics still apply.
The Lost Art of Pace-Sticking
The pace stick, which basically looks like a giant compass, dates back to Roman times where it was used to mark out the straight roman roads. 500 turns of the stick equated to 1 Roman mile at which point they'd put down a keystone. Many centuries later it was used by the Royal Artillery to mark out the distances between the guns and in 1928 it was brought into use on the drill square. Captain Graham White aka 'Chalky' OC of the Army School of Ceremonial in Catterick and three time World Pace Sticking Champion describes pace-sticking as a forgotten art which we need to revive and embrace! - as it signifies all the core values and standards of the British Army. "The pace stick is used to gauge the correct length of pace and measure distance between ranks for uniformity and cohesion," explains WO2 Steven Boyle, the Sgt Maj for IMJIN Company at The Royal Academy Sandhurst.
To view videos on the origin and uses of pace sticks go to: http://bcove.me/h2j7kmx0 and http://bcove.me/z9ssctqs
Who is it?
Last Week: Taken at the excellent museum at Fort Siloso, Singapore. The two biggies are 9.2" BL guns, although we don't know the mark, whilst the middle one is a fairly rare 8" BL Mk VII.
This Week: We now switch themes to that of flying machines: a topic dear to the hearts of our lads and lasses in blue. Let no one accuse this column of being narrow-minded or focussed only on muddy things. However, dust does feature prominently in this shot, one from a series of medium-sized prints found in the unaccessioned box of photo goodies left to the museum by the estate of our late curator, Vic Stevenson. Vic obviously didn’t take this shot, which is inscribed, on the back, in pencil, “84 Grp, 1945”. At that time he was still in short pants, and reading “All-Canadian Fightin’ Heroes”.
The other photos in the series show General Crerar and other dignitaries arriving at a base, then watching a flypast of large numbers of single-engine aircraft. One such comes to grief, and this is the second of a series, the first showing it ploughing into the field, and the last showing it resting on its back. It can only be hoped that the pilot was uninjured. So, your task, dear readers, is to identify this aeroplane type, and give us some background on the event, which is assumed to have been in Europe, probably the Netherlands or Belgium. Any assistance is warmly received by either the editor, or the author, John Redmond (email@example.com).
From the ‘Punitentary’
I have a few jokes about unemployed people. But it doesn't matter none of them work.
Murphy’s other Laws
Any system that depends upon human reliability is unreliable.
The leader has to be practical and a realist, yet must talk the language of the visionary and the idealist. -Eric Hoffer
Premiere Screening of Reunion of Giants
Premieres Remembrance Day 2015 in Select Cineplex Theatres Across Canada
The last two airworthy WWII Lancaster Bombers reunited over England to make history in 2014. A war relic from Canada crossed the Atlantic to meet her counterpart in the UK and for the first time in 50 years two Lancasters shared the sky for a reunion tour. The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum Lancaster, VeRA, flew from Hamilton, Ontario to meet her British counterpart, Thumper—the only other airworthy Lancaster in the world—operated by the Royal Air Force in England. It was a mission unlike any other this Lancaster and her flight crew had ever undertaken. Two legendary bombers, separated by time and distance, met in Bomber County to fly together, this time in peace. The reunion was also a farewell tour to veterans of Bomber Command, who are so entwined in their proud history. These marvels of mechanical engineering are part of a proud lineage credited with bringing an end to WWII.
First-hand accounts from those who were connected to the bomber during the war transport us back in time as they share what it was like during the Lancaster’s glory days. REUNION OF GIANTS documents this historic mission as it unfolds, through the eyes of the flight crews and veterans—all part of the bombers’ history, including this new chapter as VeRA crosses the Atlantic.
Participating theatres will be announced this September with free tickets becoming available beginning October 2, 2015. For information on tickets, theatre locations and future DVD availability, please visit warplane.com.
The lower mainland free screening will be held at the Cineplex at International Village in Vancouver @ 7 pm and tickets are available at the box office which opens 30 minutes prior to the screening.