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And some Folks wonder why I don’t go to the Beach!

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It’s Time for Another Louisiana Maneuvers

Back in 1941, the Army did something extreme: it tested its doctrine. Not on tabletop wargames, not in a computer simulation, not with an invasion of a small Latin American country. No, the Army mobilized over 400,000 Regular and National Guard troops, spent a year training them up, and then let them fight each other across 30,000 square miles of Louisiana and Texas in an exercise that would make Jade Helm conspiracy theorists slaver with delight.
Why? Well, it was no secret that World War II would not remain a European affair much longer. The Germans had demonstrated that they had a pretty decent war machine, the likes of which the threadbare U.S. Army could only stare at longingly. The Army had been cut pretty badly after World War I. Pretty badly is an understatement. The Army had been gutted. From a wartime strength of several million men, it was reduced down below 80,000 by 1921. However, Army leaders had been smart; they knew that the next time war came, they would need adaptive and educated leaders. So the officers and non-commissioned officers that they could not retain were shifted over into the National Guard where they helped train up the nation’s reserve. The Army began service schools and professional development courses, open to both Regular and National Guard leaders. Although the Army would not be right-sized for the next conflict, or properly equipped with modern equipment at the outset, it would have a ready cadre of trained and adaptive leaders.
In 1940, the Army began preparing for possible entrance into World War II. Chief of Staff George C. Marshall – arguably one of the smartest men to ever wear pinks and greens – wanted to try something new: to take the latest doctrine and technology and actually try it out in force-on-force maneuvers between field armies of U.S. troops. He wanted to try it all, from armored tactics to air strikes to mechanized infantry. In essence, he wanted the largest NTC rotation the world had ever seen. And since this was back in the day when the Army still owned air power, it didn’t even need to be a joint operation.

General McNair dares you to call him Lesley (U.S.Army photo)

General Lesley – yes, Lesley – McNair was chosen to be the Chief of Staff for General Headquarters (GHQ), U.S. Army. McNair formulated the training plan that is basically still used to this day: individual soldier tasks are trained first, then small unit training, and lastly a combined arms exercise to validate a unit’s proficiency. Soldiers first learned their basic tasks: land navigation, first aid, physical conditioning, and rifle marksmanship. Officers attended branch service schools. Then the soldiers went to work honing their small unit tasks, before graduating to combined arms field exercises with infantry, field artillery, and engineers. Once this was complete, regiments and brigades took part in four weeks of division training. The grand culmination was the GHQ Maneuvers in Louisiana, with divisions forming corps, and corps, field armies. Which then slugged it out in the woods and swamps with freedom of maneuver.
So what was this new doctrine and technology? Well, there was the tank, for one thing. Sure, it had been around since World War I, but Army doctrine maintained that tanks were there to support the infantry. Tanks would advance behind a rolling artillery barrage and allow the infantry to break through linear enemy defensive positions; shades of Verdun here. The Nazis had demonstrated that tanks could pretty much out-fight any infantry or artillery unit out there, and that, combined with close air support and mechanized infantry, they pretty much dominated the battlefield. There was no independent tank corps in the U.S. Army in 1940. Well, there wasn’t until Colonel George Patton, General Adna Chaffee, and General Bruce Magruder met together in a basement – I kid you not – and decided that America really needed its own armor corps. So they sent their proposal to Marshall, who liked the idea, and ordered the infantry and cavalry to turn over all their tanks to the Armored Force on July 10, 1940. Just like that, the armor branch was born, and with it came a new doctrine that needed to be tested.
And what of the cavalry, those Stetson-wearing sons of a whatnot? Well, one would like to think that they embraced mechanization gracefully. They did not. The cavalry arm was still a primarily horse-fighting organization in 1940, with limited jeeps and motorcycles for reconnaissance. Marshall urged full mechanization, which was strongly resisted by die-hard cavalrymen.

GHQ Maneuvers cavalry.jpg
The cavalry’s compromise: armored cars integrated with horse patrols (U.S. Army Photo)

Another group that was proving irascible to doctrinal change was the Army Air Force. Rather than conforming to Marshall’s view that fighter-bombers should support combined arms operations, the Air Force had embraced strategic bombing with a myopia that was alarming, especially given that there was daily evidence from the Luftwaffe that air-to-ground close air support was a stunning success. The Army Air Force was also being recalcitrant to provide aircraft for the Army’s new 501st Parachute Battalion. Still, the airmen had modernized readily and were at least developing new doctrine, albeit focused on high-altitude bombing. It remained to be seen how this could mesh with ground operations.

Combined arms in action, Louisiana Maneuvers (U.S. Army Photo)

All of this new training, new doctrine, and new technology would be tested in 1941. GHQ devised whole booklets of complicated rules on how the maneuvers would be run and how casualties would be assessed. Thousands of umpires traveled with units to assess their performance. All units were armed with blanks. Bombs were simulated with bags of flour. There were obvious flaws in the system. For example, any infantry within the vicinity of an enemy tank were ruled to have been wiped out. Conversely, light tanks could be destroyed by a .50 caliber machine gun at a range of 1,000 yards. Still, the maneuvers offered more benefits than drawbacks. Army, corps, division, brigade, and regimental commanders would be moving their forces in real time, experiencing the stress of command and control. Units would get used to the daily routines of combat: supply, movement, patrolling, offense, and defense.
Perhaps the greatest coup that the Army pulled off was to get state and local governments to buy into their plan. The Army leased and obtained trespass rights to 30,000 square miles of land from Shreveport to Lake Charles, and from Jasper, Texas to the Mississippi River. Bolstered by a Congress that finally placed defense spending as a priority, the Army had the land and the money to pull off the largest maneuvers – still the largest to this day – ever conducted in North America. Eighteen Army divisions and ten Air groups – combined Army and Navy – would face off against each other.

Motor convoy on the way to Louisiana, 1941 (U.S. Army Photo)

In the late summer of 1941, the long motor columns of troops and equipment swarmed into Louisiana. It was no small feat to organize supply networks for 400,000 men, but Army engineers built roads, railheads, depots, and barracks to accommodate the armies. Massive amounts of military brass and Army civilian leadership arrived as well, all wanting a look at how the modern U.S. Army was going to fight and win. Interestingly, the Harvard Business School even sent observers to see how the Army did logistics.
So what happened? Well, answers to that question varied by who you might ask. To the average grunt, the Louisiana Maneuvers meant more weeks of slogging through swamps and thickets with little to no sleep. To officers, it meant a chance to show their worth. And to senior leadership, it meant confirming or denying doctrinal assumptions. To advocates of armor or anti-tank units, it meant a time to show the worth of their new combat arm. Marshall was succinct: “I want the mistake [made] down in Louisiana, not over in Europe, and the only way to do this thing is to try it out, and if it doesn’t work, find out what we need to make it work.”
Everything kicked off on September 15. The Red Army received orders to invade the Blue Army’s territory. The orders were concise and basic: invade, seize key territory, and destroy the enemy. It was left up to army and corps commanders to devise the plan, and to division and brigade commanders to execute the plan. The Red Army had a secret weapon: George Patton and his tanks. But the Blue Army had a secret weapon of their own: their chief of staff was Colonel Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Baby-faced Ike, third from left, 1941 (U.S. Army Photo)

Things kicked off with predictable uncertainty. Commanders struggled with fording rivers and gaining air superiority. Rates of march by supposedly “slow” infantry units were accelerated when they were loaded into the trucks from the artillery and quartermaster corps. Eisenhower’s planning abilities showed as he fought a fluid and developing battle, while his opposite number tried to stick with the original plan for the Red Army. Adding to the chaos was a live airdrop of Company A, 502nd Parachute Battalion, which went on a daylong rampage, even raiding the Red Army’s headquarters before they were all “killed.” Red tanks fell victim to Blue anti-tank units at every turn, as they failed to support their armor with infantry. The “battle” ended on September 18, with a Blue Army victory. Both sides learned valuable lessons: battle was fluid and plans had to change as the situation did; air superiority was more valuable than anyone could have ever expected; armor had to have infantry support; and mobile anti-tank units were a must in every division. With these lessons in hand, Phase 2 of the Louisiana Maneuvers began.
GHQ Phase I.png
The whole battle opened with one of the most ridiculous and fantastic episodes of combat engineering ever. With the Blue Army attacking, the Red Army’s engineers “blew up” every single bridge on their front. They even sent suicide squads to float down rivers inside the Blue Army’s lines and blow up bridges behind Blue forces. They placed over 900 obstacles in the Blue Army’s path, slowing their advance. When Blue engineers went out to repair bridges, special strike groups from the Red Army would hit them, force Blue troops to deploy for battle, and then retreat. Still, Blue Army, which greatly outnumbered the Reds, slowly advanced. Red Army pulled back again, creating a distance of forty-five miles – forty-five miles of blown bridges, cratered roads, and hundreds of more obstacles. The Red Army eventually halted to fight a defense. This was a mistake; when the maneuver had reset, Blue Army had gained Patton and his armor. Eisenhower planned a daring combined arms assault, sending Patton on an end run through Texas. Patton’s relatively small force drove twenty-four hours straight – Patton purchased fuel from local sources when he outran his supply lines – and appeared unexpectedly on the Red flank. For the duration of the battle, Patton’s force ran roughshod over Blue forces. However, the maneuvers ended before history would ever find out if Patton’s small force could have succeeded or if he would have been wiped out. One thing is sure: the partnership of Eisenhower and Patton made for a deadly combination.

Armor crossing a river in Louisiana,  over an engineer pontoon bridge (U.S. Army Photo)

The GHQ Maneuvers of 1941 would continue into the fall, now in the Carolinas. In the interim, the Army began removing or replacing commanders who were either too old or too ineffectual for wartime service. The maneuvers gave concrete evidence for the need for innovative, adaptive, and thinking leaders. Younger officers who showed promise were given more responsibility. The Army was setting the cast of characters who would run the show in World War II.
There were many takeaways. The Maneuvers warmed the Army Air Force to the idea of air-to-ground integration. And ground commanders became acutely aware of what could happen if they persisted in moving in thick columns along the roads in the daytime. The Army learned that infantry and armor units needed to work together, but also that “end runs” of fast moving armor could pay off in huge dividends. The horse arm of the cavalry was deemed to be inferior to mechanized troops, something that had been true since 1918, but that the cavalry refused to acknowledge. Division force structure was rearranged to create more combined arms units. Deficiencies in small-unit training and execution were discovered, and remedial programs for retraining developed. The Army implemented infantry and artillery platoon, company/battery, and battalion tests, to ensure proficiency. The focus became a “back to basic” approach, and at not a moment too soon: four days after McNair and Marshall delivered the Army’s assessment of the GHQ Maneuvers to Congress, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entered World War II. It is no exaggeration to say that the GHQ Maneuvers of 1941 built the Army’s doctrine and force structure for World War II.

KY Maneuvers phot5220a.jpg
Cities and towns in the south became battlegrounds in 1941. Surprisingly few residents issued claims for damaged property after the Maneuvers (U.S. Army Photo)

Fast forward to today. The Army is emerging from two low-intensity wars fought against unconventional forces and is refocusing to be able to counter a conventional threat. New technology, from unmanned vehicles to weapons to targeting systems, is rife across the Army. A new “battlefield” has emerged in the cyber realm. Doctrine has just been updated and new training doctrine is on the way. New relationships between Active, National Guard, and Reserve units are in the works, with a return to the “Roundout Brigade” concept. Combat units are now open to women. In short, the Army is undergoing dramatic changes as it shifts to meet conventional aggressors.
It is time for another GHQ Maneuvers.
As Marshall pointed out, it is better to see deficiencies in training than it is to see dead soldiers in combat. Have current corps and division commanders have ever led their forces as part of a conventional force-on-force engagement? Have brigade combat team commanders maneuvered their elements alongside like-sized brigades? Can the Army show that it is prepared to fight on land, air, and in cyberspace against a near-peer force? The answer to all of this is, “no.” Sure, combined arms exercises at NTC and JRTC serve to validate units’ readiness at lower levels, but moving beyond more than one or two brigades brings a complexity the type of which we have not seen in decades. Our leaders and soldiers are proficient at low-intensity warfare, from experience, but we lack the depth that comes from a massive exercise or actual conflict.
The time to do this is now.

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How to take a good trophy photo by John McAdams

How to take a good trophy photo Courtesy of Big Game Hunting Adventures
Congratulations! After investing a great deal of time, energy and money, you finally bagged the trophy of a lifetime. The best way for you to preserve the memories of this hunt forever, while at the same time paying proper respect to the animal, is to take a good trophy photo.
Most of us have limited space for taxidermy in the house, but photographs are cheap and take up almost no space. Unfortunately, taking a good trophy photo is a task that countless hunters mess up each year, wasting a precious opportunity to capture the moment.
On your next hunting trip, make sure you follow these tips on how to take a good trophy photo, and I guarantee that you will appreciate the results.

Carry the right equipment

Courtesy of Steve Myers

The best time to take a trophy photo is immediately after recovering the animal. The animal will look more “fresh” in the photographs and will be easier to move around before rigor mortis sets in. However, this means that you must either be carrying all of the proper equipment necessary to take the photograph or have it quickly accessible.
The most important piece of equipment you’ll need to take a good trophy photo is a good camera. Though carrying a high-quality camera is great, there is not necessarily anything wrong with using a cellphone to take pictures with, just make sure you use one with a good camera.
I cannot emphasize this enough: No matter what camera you decide to carry, make sure you know how to use it. Trying to take a good trophy photo of the buck of your dreams is not the time you should be learning how to use your camera. It does you no good to take the time and create the perfect setting for your trophy photo if the camera isn’t focused properly or the flash won’t go off.
Additionally, try to use a camera that has either a timer setting or a remote. This is especially important when hunting alone, and there is nobody around to photograph you with the animal. However, this can still be helpful when hunting in a group as it will allow you to photograph the entire hunting party at once.
As I’ll discuss later, some of the best trophy photos are those taken from an extremely low angle, which often necessitates laying on the ground. A poncho or other piece of waterproof gear can be helpful by keeping the photographer dry if the ground is wet or muddy.
Finally, if at all possible, carry a small tripod with you as well. This will help ensure that the camera is held steady and level during shooting and greatly assist when taking a group photo.

Prepare the animal and the scene

Courtesy of Matthew Acosta

Remember: the animal (not the hunter) should be the focus of any good trophy photo and that all trophy photos should be taken in a manner respectful to the animal. Whenever possible, take your trophy photos in a natural setting (preferably in the area the hunt occurred).
Whatever you do, ensure that there is nothing distracting or inappropriate in the background of the photograph. Also, please do not take a photograph of an animal in the back of a truck.
One of my favorite poses is to place the animal in a bedded-down position with the legs folded up underneath the body. Then, use a stick, rock or your hand to support the animal’s head during the photographs.
If possible, position the animal so that the horns or antlers are silhouetted against the sky. Remove vegetation or other objects from in front of or behind the animal that may cause a distraction in the photo.
Additionally, take your trophy photos from a low angle. This emphasizes the size of the animal. The two photos below are of the same buffalo, but notice how much more impressive it looks when the photograph was taken from a low angle.

Courtesy of Kevin McAdams

Before taking the photograph, do your best to ensure that you remove excess blood from the animal. Depending on the situation, I like to either use water or dirt to wash away or obscure the blood.
In addition to the actual bullet or arrow wound, don’t forget to clean up the mouth and nose of the animal. Finally, stick the tongue back in the animal’s mouth before taking the trophy photograph.
The photograph below is, in my opinion, almost perfect. The animal is clean and sitting in a dignified position near the area where the hunt occurred. For the most part, the horns are silhouetted against the sky, and the background enhances the beauty of the animal without being distracting. The only thing I can think of to improve this trophy photograph would be to remove the blades of grass that are in front of it.

Courtesy of Kok & Seyffert Big Game Hunting

Don’t forget about preparing yourself for the photograph as well. Avoid wearing sunglasses in trophy photographs. The same goes for hats, since they will often cast a shadow across your face.
Generally speaking, it is best to position yourself either next to, or behind the animal in a trophy photo. Make sure you are close enough to touch the animal, but are also positioned off to the side of the antlers/horns.

Take a variety of shots

Luckily, digital photos are free, and you can take literally hundreds of trophy photos with no problem. Take photos with different settings on the camera, both with and without a flash, or even in black and white or sepia tone.
Take photographs from different angles of different poses as well. Also, don’t be afraid to try out a nontraditional pose or some candid shots. There is a good chance that a pose or camera setting that you did not initially think to try actually ends up being a great trophy photograph.
Keep in mind that you’re trying to tell the story of the hunt with your trophy photograph. Especially if the hunt would not have been successful without the efforts of someone other than the hunter, like the dog in the photo below (who was essential in recovering the impala), make sure you include that member of the team in the trophy photo.

Courtesy of Kok & Seyffert Big Game Hunting

I know that it all sounds really complicated and difficult. Luckily, taking a good trophy photograph is just like anything else: the more you do it, the easier it gets.
Take a critical look at some of your recent trophy photos and choose one or two things to improve on next time you go hunting. I guarantee that down the road, you that you will appreciate taking a little bit of extra time to take some high-quality trophy photos.

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The First Aerial Bombing of the Continetial US

Bombing of Naco

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bombing of Naco
Bombing Of Naco Arizona 1929.jpeg

A Dodge touring car destroyed by Patrick Murphy in the bombing of Naco.
Date April 2, 1929–April 6, 1929
Location NacoCochise County, Arizona, United States
Also known as The Naco incident
Type Aerial bombardment
Participants Patrick Murphy

The Bombing of Naco[1][2] was an international incident which occurred in the border town of Naco, Arizona, during the 1929 Escobar Rebellion. While rebel forces were battling Mexican ‘Federales‘ for control of the neighboring town of Naco, Sonora, the Irish mercenary and pilot Patrick Murphy was hired to bombard the government forces with improvised explosives dropped from his biplane. During the ensuing fighting, Murphy mistakenly dropped bombs on the American side of the international border on three occasions, causing significant damage to both private and government-owned property, as well as slight injuries to several American spectators watching the battle from across the border. The bombing, although unintentional, is noted for being the first aerial bombardment of the continental United States by a foreign power in history.[3]


Late in 1928, as the Cristero War was raging in western Mexico, a new revolutionary faction led by General José Gonzalo Escobar drafted the “Plan of Hermosillo” and occupied the copper mining town of Cananea, Sonora, not far from the international border with the United States. Encouraged by their successes early on, they next decided to take control of Agua Prieta and Naco, both situated on the border with Arizona, knowing many of the locals were sympathetic to their cause and thinking the revenue generated by these two towns would be a good source of income for the revolution. From there, General Escobar intended to carry the war south and ultimately oust Emilio Portes Gil and take his place as president.[3]
The battle for Naco began early the next year, on the night of March 31, 1929. The rebels later claimed that they waited until 8:00 PM to attack, so as not to harm any American citizens shopping on the Mexican side of the border. To start the attack, the rebels loaded a train car full of explosives and sent it down the tracks toward the center of town. Unfortunately for the rebels, their plan failed when the train car derailed and exploded before reaching its intended target. After their failure with the train car, the rebels sought outside help from the United States and found it in an Irish cropduster named Patrick Murphy. Other pilots were hired as well, and the Federales found a pilot of their own named Jon Gorre. According to a witness, Murphy and Gorre were friends and although hired by opposing sides, would take turns making bombing runs on the opposing forces in Naco, Sonora, and would spend the night drinking together and enjoying themselves.[1][3][4]
An Arizona citizen named Charlie Elledge saw much of the fighting in Naco, Sonora, while working to repair the roof of the immigration building along the border. Elledge says that Murphy and Gorre bought their homemade “suitcase bombs” from the same man and that about 200 people gathered on the American side of the border each day to watch the fighting, like they had during the Mexican Revolution a decade before. Some brought their children and picnic baskets with lunch and others climbed on top of train cars sitting idle along the border for a better view of the action. The men gambled with each other on where the bombs would fall.[3]

Suitcase bomb[edit]

Diagram of the type of “suitcase bomb” dropped by Patrick Murphy and other pilots during the battle.

The so-called “suitcase bombs” used by Murphy and the other pilots in Naco were improvised aerial bombs made by packing dynamite, scrap iron, nails, nuts and bolts and other small pieces of material to use as fragmentation into a steel cylinder with fins and an improvised warhead made of dynamite caps and a nail for a firing pin. The bombs were then stuffed in suitcases that could be attached to the side of the plane and opened during flight to deliver the payload. Other improvised bombs were made the same way using five-gallon gasoline cans.[2][3]


Murphy dropped one suitcase bomb each on his first two bombing runs, both of which turned out to be duds, and it was his third pass before managed to hit anything: the Mexican custom house near where the crowd of American spectators had formed. The resulting explosion sent small bits of shrapnel and other fragments into the crowd of spectators and caused the American patrons of the bars and clubs on the Mexican side of the border to rush back to their side of the line. Among the casualties were a reporter and a photographer, along with many others, but nobody was killed and all of the injuries were considered minor. After realizing the danger of watching the battle from such a short distance away, the crowd dispersed and went home, some to Fry and Buena.[3]
Neither Murphy or any of the other pilots were very successful in hitting their targets, but the high winds which regularly blow in the region in late spring and early summer most likely contributed to their inaccuracy. The first bomb to actually hit Arizona soil landed at 7:45 AM on April 2[4] and it was followed by others over the next few days. Murphy’s bombing runs smashed windows and otherwise damaged several buildings on the American side of the border, including a garage, the Phelps-Dodge Mercantile and the Haas Pharmacy. One bomb also struck the post office building, making it a federal offense, and another landed next to one of the idle train cars used by the crowd of spectators. Other bombs left large craters in the dirt streets and other unpaved surfaces. Yet another bomb landed on and devastated a regal Dodge touring car owned by a Mexican Army officer, which had been left on the American side of the border for safekeeping during the expected hostilities.[2][3]
Murphy’s bombs were responsible for at least a few deaths on the Mexican side of the border, but nobody was killed on the American side. The Americans suffered more casualties over the following days as bombs landed on their side, but none of the injuries were life-threatening. The final bombardment took place on April 6, when the rebels launched their final attack to take control of the city. Murphy was shot down by Mexican soldiers the following day, but he managed to escape and get across the border, where he was quickly arrested by American authorities. He was released for unspecified reasons after only a couple nights in jail. After being repulsed in their final attack, the rebels retreated to Cananea by way of Agua Prieta, marking the beginning of the end of the revolution in the north.[1][3]


The United States Army was slow in responding to the situation, having closed all military posts in Arizona the same year, with the exception of Fort Huachuca. Fort Huachuca, which is relatively close to Naco, sent two companies of Buffalo Soldiers to occupy Naco, Arizona, and prevent the fighting from spreading into American territory. The commander of the detachment positioned his men along the border and had them prepare to attack at a moment’s notice while he crossed the border and demanded that the rebel commanders stop dropping bombs on the Arizona side. By this time, however, the rebels were already defeated, and so the Buffalo Soldiers never had to engage. A squadron of eighteen warplanes was also dispatched from somewhere in Texas to shoot down any plane violating American airspace, but it never went into action either, and was withdrawn sometime later without incident.[1][3][4]
Murphy never faced charges for his bombing of Naco, Arizona, which became the first aerial bombardment of the continental United States by a foreign power in American history. According to local rumor, the rebel commander, General Escobar, kept a plane loaded with gold near the border so he could escape if the revolution collapsed. When it did, Escobar abandoned his troops and flew into Arizona, where he asked for and received asylum from the local authorities. The rebellion officially came to an end not long after the incident in Naco.[1][3]

Popular culture[edit]

The Bombing of Naco

Dear Grumpy Advice on Teaching in Today's Classroom Useful Shit Well I thought it was neat!

The Secret Plan for the US to Invade Canada Before WW2 – War Plan Red