By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match’d with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy’d
Greatly, have suffer’d greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when
Thro’ scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honour’d of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’
Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades
For ever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!
As tho’ to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,—
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro’ soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil’d, and wrought, and thought with me—
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
‘T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
It’s clear some Russian troops don’t know how their armor works.
Photos that recently circulated online depict Russian Gaz-66 trucks wearing blocks of explosive reactive armor.
The armor won’t protect the trucks. Indeed, it almost certainly will contribute to the trucks’ destruction, if and when Ukrainian forces score hits on them.
That’s because explosive reactive armor—ERA—works by, well, exploding. When an incoming round strikes an ERA block, it triggers the layers of explosives inside the block. They explode outward, partially deflecting the incoming blast.
While reactive armor doesn’t work against all types of projectiles, it can roughly double a vehicle’s protection against certain projectiles. High-explosive shells, for example. Which is why the Russian and Ukrainian militaries both add reactive armor to many of their vehicles.
But note what kinds of vehicles the Russians and Ukrainians usually don’t add ERA to. Jeeps, trucks, mobile howitzers and air-defense vehicles, to name a few.
There’s a good reason for this. All of these vehicles have thin metal hulls. And that makes ERA impractical, or even counterproductive.
“A fair degree of base armor is needed to survive the explosions inherent in explosive reactive armor,” the U.S. Congressional Budget Office explained in a 2012 report. “Thus, reactive armor cannot be added to all vehicles—a limitation that includes, for example, trucks.”
Stick ERA on a truck, and that armor might actually destroy the truck when it goes off, as surely as an incoming enemy round would do.
It’s apparent the Russian crews of those Gaz trucks appreciate the basic risk. They added thin metal plates underneath the ERA, seemingly hoping the plates will protect the trucks from their own explosive protection.
But these plates might not be thick enough, or of the right metallurgical quality, to do the job. “These trucks lack inherent armor, making the installation of explosive reactive armor on them dangerous and ineffective,” the independent Conflict Intelligence Team noted. “Although small plates of thin armor can be seen under the ERA blocks in the photos, this does not change our conclusion.”
The Ukrainians barely need to hit these trucks in order to trigger their reactive armor. At which point they’re likely to do the Ukrainians a favor … and blow themselves up.