Friday, August 15, 2008

Fullbore Friday

I had to sit there nice and polite the other day as a colleague pontificated about the "new" threats of asymmetric warfare at sea ... etc ... etc.

It wasn't the place or time to go all Salamander on him, so I let it slide but a few things came right to mind.

Most think of asymmetric as being like the strike on the USS COLE (DDG-67), but that isn't what should keep you up at night. What should keep your mind sharp is the use of conventional weapons in an asymmetrical manner - what I define as providing the "Oh, yea?" to the "That won't happen ... they can't do that ... that can't be done ... we will have warning of such an attack ..." mindless statements towards threats. Perfect examples can be found just a couple of years ago with Israel vs. Hezbollah, but you know me ----- I like to dig a little further .....
You have a little 761-ton boat. You are only a LCDR.
Prien cursed at his mistake. But still the panic was not over, as the distance between the keel and the sandy surface of the sea bed began to drastically decrease. 2 metres... 1 metre... 0.50 metres... until there was the sound of the keel scraping against the bottom. Prien was undaunted, for there was no turning back now. He gave the order for both engines to be powered to full speed ahead. For a brief moment Prien feared the engines packing up, but Wessels had indeed done a fine job. The diesel motors roared loudly as the little boat pulled itself forward. After what seemed like an eternity, Maschinen-Hauptgefreiter Erwin Hölzer in the control room could finally report that there was clear water under the keel. Prien scanned the area once more and there were the three expected blockships. They were at the mouth of the Kirk Sound.
Did you just get relieved of command for running aground? No - you are heading into the enemy's most protected harbor, alone - to sink one of their 29,150-ton Battleships - because your enemy thinks it can't be done.

You are Lieutenant Commander Günther Prien, Commanding Officer of U-47 - and you are heading into Scapa Flow.

So Shipmate, where is our Scapa Flow? Conventional or unconventional to asymmetric. Oh, you know where it is. Its real easy to find - real easy.

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