Tanks

I went to the Tank Museum yesterday and took some pictures.

Challanger

It was interesting to visit the the week following the fall of Kabul; it makes at least one of the exhibits look a bit vainglorious. It also reminds me that I didn’t finish my story of the future of the Royal Armoured Corps from Boris’ defence review. It all makes me wonder about whether NATO can survive, and yet again, whether in areas of defence policy we see another dimension of the stupidity of Brexit.

There’s more to learn; on one slide they observe how the Army is always preparing for the last war. Reinforcing that I note that Tanks were invented during WWI in a Navy project, that like so many stories, the adoption in this case of the Tank was adopted by odd balls and that their was significant opposition bypowerul conservative (not Tory) factions in the Army, to the extent that during WW2 the Army fired Major General Hobart, and had to bring him back. Hobart, was not born into a military family and was assigned to the Royal Engineers; he became the Deputy Director of Staff Duties (Armoured Fighting Vehicles), he later became Director of Military Training and was the founder of the 7th Armoured Division, the Desert Rats. There are many more examples of the slow adoption by the Army of the necessary tactics and technology, perhaps I’ll look them up and write something, if its not been done (I am sure it has).

As one walks in, the first exhibit talks about the design trilemma, of armour, firepower and mobility, a theme they revisit in commenting on a number of exhibits but if one recognises that the best tanks of the WWII were the US designed Sherman and Soviet T34, it becomes clear that cost, and manufacturing simplicity were also key. While tank on tank the allied tanks were inferior to their opponents, the allied forces had more than enough because they were simpler to make by design and the allied manufacturing capability was so much greater.  …

Johnson’s defence splurge

Johnson’s defence splurge

Boris Johnson as accelerated the financial conclusions of his government’s defence review, which may have been originally over influenced by Dominic Cumming’s cyberpunk fantasies about the future of war. Everything Johnson says in this announcement is of little value, what Starmer says is important and his questions need to be answered, particularly “Where’s the strategy?” It’s a shame he makes it sound like a failure in management theory. Without answering that question, we are in danger of creeping back east of Suez, or am I already too late to worry about this, and being dragged into wars against Iran or China. Interestingly, Johnson by alleging that the decline in expense and capability has been going on for decades unskilfully avoids the immense damage that Cameron/Osborne’s 2010 review did to the capability of the armed forces. The rest of this article looks at the need for a threat analysis, the wisdom of strategic alliances, defence spending as an incubator, the military's fixations on shiny things, and concludes with an appeal to oppose new war's East of Suez.

Class Wargames, a review

Class Wargames, a review

I read Richard Barbrook’s “Class Wargames” having played his referendum game. I was unprepared for two chapters on the history of the Situationist International. The book has been inspired by Guy Debord’s Game of War; I had assumed that Richard was fascinated by games for the same reason that managements are, that one learns quicker by doing than by listening but his enthusim and praxis comes from the tactics of the Situationist Intentional. He categorises the tactics as provocation, détournement, urbanism & participatory creativity and while it’s a bit difficult to see how war games is a tactic of urbanism, it’s clear to me how the others fit in by challenging the states monopoly of military knowledge and strategy, the revisiting of military history and the liberation effects of personal participation. Anyway everyone, or nearly everyone enjoys a good board or table top game.

The “Game of War” is simple, some might argue overly so and would seem a bit too like chess although Debord argued that it was good enough, or better than that.  …