Thursday, June 30, 2016

Farsi Island Investigation Released

The Navy released the redacted and declassified report on the Farsi Island incident.

You can find it all over at the FOIA website, but you'll have to poke around to find it (click "Read" on the circa-1998 style page).

I've included the Executive Summary below for your review.

I do have a pullquote for you to consider as well, from the bottom of page 75 and top of page 76;
As the boats approached, some crewmembers observed a flag and eventually identified the vessels as Iranian Revolutionary Gurad Corps (IRGCN). [redacted] ordered the RCB 802 gunners to back away from their weapons so as not to appear intimidating. At the same time, [redacted] ordered the RCB 805 gunners not to chamber rounds in their weapons because he believed the approaching boats had the advantage and he did not want to escalate the situation. RCB 805's Coxswain attempted to maneuver between the boats and RCB 802, but could not block both IRGCN patrol craft at the same time. Many crewmembers believed, contrary to their pre-deployment training and the CJCS Standing Rules of Engagement that they could not engage in serlf-defense unless the Iranians fired first.
As RCB 802 attempted to accelerate, the two Iranian boats maneuvered into its path and pointed their weapons at the crew; [redacted] directed RCB 805 to "go, go, go" via bridge-to-bridge radio. [redacted], seeing the Iranians charge their weapons and point them at RCB 802 crewmembers, refused to move RCB 802. [redacted] reinforced the need to move, but [redacted] refused, believing that he would have gotten a fellow crewmember shot. He later characterized the exchange as "this dumb conversation with [redacted] about how I am not going to drive."
I highly encourage everyone to read this. There is a lot to rage about from a leadership, seamanship, training, maintenance, and crew planning perspectives, but I'm not going to do that. I don't need to - and here is when things get positive.

I don't need to because the report does so for me. This is a good report. Open and clear eyed, and at my first reading in line with how things should be done. It is the only way we learn from these things, and it says a lot about the best parts of our service culture that we have this out in the open for all.

Read it. Learn from it. Be glad you serve in a navy that would publish this.

Now, let's revisit the decision a few years ago to classify INSURV so I wouldn't blog about them ....

Diversity Thursday

When you put the racist hate, grievance mongering, and opportunity to walk around groups of people with a hand-bell yelling, "Shame!", we all know what the diversity cadre are all about, right? It's about the Benjamins for these maleducated and otherwise unemployable people.

James Piereson and Naomi Schaefer Riley over at TheWeeklyStandard lay it all out for you;
In May, Tennessee lawmakers banned all funding for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The $436,000 that had been budgeted for the office will instead be put toward scholarships for minority students in engineering. The UTK diversity office was sponsoring “Sex Week," a program of lectures and demonstrations on, well, "innovative" sex practices. Sex Week started at Yale more than a dozen years ago and has since been presented on campuses from Harvard to the University of Kentucky.

It should come as no surprise that the Office of Diversity brought embarrassment to the university. Diversity enclaves like this are supposed to promote tolerance and understanding among students, but in reality they are a main source of turmoil at schools across the country, including protests at the University of Missouri and Yale this last school year. The administrators and faculty who run these diversity programs have a vested interest in disruption—making the protests go away usually entails boosting the budgets of the diversity offices that were behind the protests in the first place. As long as schools sponsor such centers and offices, there will be no peace on the American college campus.
That is why there are demands for these offices and mandatory diversity focused classes. As we have discussed for years here, this has nothing to do with bringing people together or solving problems - this is about fanning tensions and creating conflict in order to maintain the crisis and the money flow. There is only one answer, and TN has it figured out; you have to starve the beast.
Diversity centers don't hide that they are engaged in political activism. The University of Texas Multicultural Engagement Center claims its "efforts to raise awareness continue to strongly emphasize social justice and leadership development." It sponsors leadership institutes and teach-ins in order to "assist in the development of leadership skills that our students must possess in order to be effective agents of social change in the community." Such centers train students in the kinds of protests and confrontations that have raged on campuses in recent years and do so on the colleges' dime. Claremont McKenna College recently announced that it would actually pay students to work as leaders in the multicultural organizations that have been protesting the school's policies.

It is plainly absurd to claim that colleges and universities, among all institutions in American life, are bastions of racial bigotry and violence against women. What are supposed to be institutions based on reasoned discourse are increasingly consumed by irrational fears, fears stirred up by small, but now powerful and well-funded, campus groups. Instead of sending them more money, academic presidents and deans should follow the lead of the Tennessee legislature and defund them altogether.
One day, everyone will go Salamander on these people, but until then, we shall slog along each Thursday.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

If China Had Just One More Wish...

...I think they'd like a tasty fish.

Over at USNIBlog, I'm discussing something totally unrelated to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but has everything to do with China's growing Navy.

Stop by and pay a visit.

Front Porch Seamanship Roundtable

Not often I go to RT as a source, but they have the sexy video of the nice little dance between the USS GRAVELY (DDG 107) and the Russian Neustrashimy-class frigate, YAROSLAV MUDRY.

“The US sailors, in particular, neglected Rule 13, which stipulates that an overtaking vessel must keep out of the way of the vessel being overtaken,” the Defense Ministry said. It added that the USS Gravely had also violated Rule 15, which says that a vessel that has another vessel on the starboard side must yield and avoid crossing ahead of her.

The ministry also said the Pentagon should take note of such incidents rather than accuse the Russian Air Force and Navy of unprofessional conduct. “US sailors allow themselves to neglect key foundations of navigation safety without thinking of the consequences that dangerous maneuvering in a heavily trafficked maritime area might involve.”
Have fun with this one!

Here's the video from the Russian POV.

Hat tip ZeroHedge.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Your Daily Mahan

In a discussion of nuclear proliferation in the Indian Ocean as it relates to India, China, and a lessor extent Pakistan, over at the Sri Lanka Guardian, Maimuna Ashraf digs up a quote that has mad me pondering all day;
“Whoever controls the Indian Ocean will dominate Asia… This ocean is the key to the seven seas in the twenty-first century, the destiny of the world will be decided in these waters. ”
- Rear Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan, USN (Ret)

Hat tip Mike.

UPDATE: Well, crap. Bogus quote:
James Holmes and Toshi Yoshihara of the United States Naval War College have followed the uses and abuses of Mahan. He is often selectively quoted, suppressing his equal emphasis on peaceful commerce. There is also this dictum: “Whoever controls the Indian Ocean dominates Asia. This ocean is the key to the seven seas in the 21st century. The destiny of the world will be decided in these waters.” Both Chinese and Indian papers quote it. But it is a fabrication; Mahan never wrote it.
Thanks for the heads-up MJ.

Monday, June 27, 2016

An Army’s Three Cyber Arrogances

Have we learned nothing? Do we remember anything? When it comes to supporting the defense industry to sell multi-billion dollar systems that will be at best no use in war, and more likely a significant risk, I guess not.

How Kris Osborn at TheNationalInterest wrote this without screaming is beyond me.
The Army is upgrading and more widely deploying a cutting-edge battlefield force-tracking technology for dismounted Soldiers, enabling them to know the locations of their fellow Soldiers and more quickly find, identify, target and destroy enemy fighters.

Called Nett Warrior, the technology is a cell-phone-like device showing graphics on a small, digital moving map identifying fast-moving combat information.
Think about all those electrons bleeding out in to the environment? Think about how advanced the offensive EW and EW surveillance capabilities are of our peer and near-peer competitors.

“It provides unprecedented situational awareness at the dismounted level through the map display. The icons show where all the other users are on the battlefield and the device allows for battlefield messaging. Everyone sees the same picture,” Marsh explained. “The battle changes in real time and information can transmit across the force in real time.”

The technology uses a moving digital map display to mark friendly forces, surrounding terrain, enemy forces, targets and other high risk items such as IED locations, Marsh explained.

“As they sweep up into a house, they don’t have to worry about fratricide, because they can see where the other maneuvering forces are. You can track the location of friendly units as you are moving up on a target,” said Jason Regnier, deputy product manager for Nett Warrior.
Do we not know our own history? Units get captured. Items get lost and dropped. This is an order of magnitude worse than broken codes and maps wrapped around cigars. Gobsmacking.
Nett Warrior can even connect with nearby vehicle units who might need to know the location of mobile, ground or infantry units or wish to pass along combat-relevant information, Marsh said.

“Every Nett Warrior display is visible to every other Nett Warrior system. That is the key part. That is the game-changing revolution,” he explained.

While the Nett Warrior device looks like a cell phone or smartphone, it uses what’s called software programmable radio – a technology which sends IP packets of information, such as voice, video and data, across the force using high bandwidth radio frequencies.

The high bandwidth frequencies, such as Soldier Radio Waveform, use computer technology and function quite similar to wireless internet. The cell phone function of the system is turned off. The radio, called the Rifleman Radio or PRC-154, uses NSA encryption to safeguard combat information transmitting across the force.

The technology also uses a technique called a “chem light,” wherein a Soldier can highlight or “light up” a location to pass along key information such as the location of a cleared building or other data relevant to an ongoing fight.

And what about those friendly and allied units that have systems that don’t work, or simply don’t exist? This is even a worse situation than, “Those can’t be friendly units, they aren’t on Blue Force Tracker.”
The platform is now being built with what the Army calls “open architecture,” meaning its software and hardware are engineered to quickly embrace and integrate new technologies or applications as they emerge, Marsh said.
At least our peer and near-peer adversaries don’t have dedicated forces that do nothing but learn to break in to open architecture devices. Good googly moogly.

Meanwhile, important requirements learned in a decade and a half of warfighting remain unfunded and languishing. The only thing this would be of use in, besides micromanaging exercises, is to be used as a textbook example of the Army’s Three Arrogances; access, accuracy, assumption.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Trans-national Terrorism and the Long War with Bill Roggio - on Midrats

When the BREXIT dust settles one thing will remain – the Long War against Islamic terrorists. In a wide arch along its bloody edge, Islamic extremism continues to look for new opportunities for expansion, and within the borders of Dar al-Islam seeks to impose a retrograde view of Islam by destroying religious minorities, secular governments, and Islamic modernizers. 

Join us this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern with returning guest Bill Robbio for the full hour to discuss this and more. 

Bill is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, President of Public Multimedia Inc, a non-profit news organization; and the founder and Editor of The Long War Journal, a news site devoted to covering the war on terror. He has embedded with the US and the Iraqi military six times from 2005-08, and with the Canadian Army in Afghanistan in 2006. Bill served in the US Army and New Jersey National Guard from 1991-97.

Join us live if you can with the usual suspects in the chat room and offer up your questions for our guest, but if you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at blogtalkradio or Stitcher

If you use iTunes, you can add Midrats to your podcast list simply by clicking the iTunes button at the main showpage - or you can just click here.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Fullbore Friday

Just another old man walking around in his garage, eh?
These days he’s long retired, living with his wife, Shirley, in a trim split-level below a wall of rimrocks near the college where he used to teach. Every day he tramps out to the studio behind his house to paint and draw.
You ever wonder what they have seen? Maybe, just maybe --- you don't want to know.
He is 91 years old now, among the handful of last men surviving from America’s worst military defeat, the fall of the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines during that desperate winter and early spring of 1942.
American Heritage magazine has a must read article that personalizes what is often forgotten --- and rarely read in detail like this.
He tried to stay aloof. So many were dropping to the road, he thought, it was better not to get close to anyone. But north of Layac Junction, about 50 miles into the march, he lost his resolve and befriended a march mate. They had talked a bit while walking: about where they’d been, where they might be headed, what might happen when they got there. Talking made the walking easier, the heat a little less intense. Next afternoon on the road, he noticed his new friend beginning to wobble, and a mile or two later the man gave out and went down, grabbing for Steele’s leg.

“Come on, Ben—help me!”

He and another man hauled the dropout to his feet. They hadn’t gone far before a guard rushed up and shouted at them to let go. His helper obeyed, but for reasons beyond all understanding, Steele hung on, and the next thing he knew, his buttocks were on fire. He thought the guard’s blade had penetrated to his pelvis. Blood was beginning to course down his leg, and flies were starting to swarm the wound. He looked at the man he was holding, hoped he’d understand, then let him sink slowly to the road at the guard’s feet.

“No!” the man said. “No. Please.”
Ben Steele; well done on a long, good life. Read it all.

First published in AUG09.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Helmsman Did What?

OK, is it just me or is there something completely four standard deviations out of order?
"Second, the chain of command was not well defined on the two boats. While a young lieutenant was the highest-ranking individual on either of the two 50-foot boats, when the order was given to evade the Iranian forces, the helmsman refused the order."
Here's the link.

Is there any other sources to this. As the kids say - I can't even.

Hat tip Phil.

Diversity Thursday

There is an underlying purpose to DivThu beyond the rage, humor, and general mocking of the bitter, rent-seeking, and otherwise unemployable members of the Diversity Industry that infest our Navy and its nation; to remind people that the Commissariat support a worldview that is red in tooth and claw evil.

Sure, there are some well-meaning but tragically wrong do-gooders and useful idiots, but the balance are doing this for reasons well set in the lower brain stem or indoctrinated through various socio-political pathologies that continue to hold back progress, peace, and harmony.

No nation that promoted multiculturalism has prospered. No nation that encouraged its citizens to look at themselves as different from each other on the basis of race, creed, color or national origin has survived. Indeed, they usually self-destruct in an orgy of blood and gore.

Over at SmallWarsJournal, Phil W. Reynolds’s well researched and footnoted, The Durability of Ethnicity: Intra-state and Non-state Violence is required reading to understand the deeper purpose for these posts I do most Thursdays.
The ability of language, religion and ancestry to bind people together in turn is a powerful motivator of violence. As marginalized groups tender feelings that the distribution of resources, be they economic or political, is unfair, then violence becomes a way to bypass political stalemate.[5] Hostility and frustration produces insecurity, a feeling that the group’s special identity is under attack. In ethnic wars, the killing is personal, rooted deeply in social contexts in which victims know the killers. Following the impersonal Cold War, this was the shock of the Yugoslav ethnic wars and Rwanda massacres, with “people in rage against each other and people fleeing from the rage."[6] Based on analysis of the values of ethnicity that provide the elastic interconnectivity that powers groups through conflicts, this paper will argue that far from fading, ethnicity and its commitment to social identities have an extraordinary durability and much conflict in the 21st century will evolve it.
When our nation and our Navy actively supports sectarianism, which every diversity event does, this is what it is pushing us towards.
The very existence of an identifiable group means social identification has achieved ‘communal hegemonism.’ [30] The introduction of outsiders into group safe spaces creates conflict. Feelings of cognitive dissonance erupt as individuals attempt to re-order their interactions and create internal consistency vis a vis the other. Political mobilization, and ultimately, physical violence, becomes an easily accessible, simple and cheap method to remove the cause of the inconsistency. Ethnic politics arises to minimize disruptions through collective action on issues like conflict in order to maximize group reward.[31] If the challenge is recurrent, conflict can become a coping mechanism for evolutionary roadblocks.[32] Threats and opportunities generate responses, putting pressure on the group to adapt or disintegrate.
Every effort in our nation and Navy should be towards unity of purpose, culture, and society. This requires work and right now we are actively working against it.
Perceived threats, like the uneven distribution of resources, would cause individuals to identify more strongly with their ethnic group. Individually, conflict makes a person more aware of their mortality and drives them to value established belief systems and identities. This mortality salience produces greater hostility towards critics of a person’s identity and belief system, particularly the sub-structural role of religion, which produces a unique self-validity.[38] Groups then harness religion and idealized identity “to institutionalize violence and the bend the will of individuals and clans to its own.”

Military specialists, particularly in the United States, need to resist the siren song of simple state on state conflicts, which are inarguably on the wane. The bulk of history, and the future, will be small, brutal conflicts driven by ethnicity. States unprepared for wars against materially weak coalitions have paid the price. Arguably, the Soviet Union failed to defeat the largely Pashtun mujahedeen fighters in Afghanistan and the United States have been unable to dominate the same people thirty years later. U.S. led western action has unleashed pent-up sectarianism throughout the Middle East through the removal of stable dictatorships. Even Beijing is sitting on uneasy populations in Xinjiang and Tibet while its attentions are pulled towards intimidating its (non-Han) neighbors in the South China Sea. Disintegration of national states can be observed today in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Syria and Mexico. The Congo is a region in which little state control has taken root in its remotest areas, spawning a conflict that has spread across the continent. The vast majority of literature on future conflict revolves around technological innovations meant to overcome the age-old military tyranny of time and distance: Stealth fighters, autonomous, armed drones, nano-robots that reside in the body and harnessing quantum mechanics to process information.[45] These are methods, and however technologically advanced, are simply tools wielded by the drivers that construct conflict. Deeper analysis reveals deeply embedded biological processes, i.e., conflict is an inevitable condition of human possibility.
If we are destined to expend blood and treasure around the globe to keep the violence of ethnic tension and conflict from spreading, then why would we promote the same in our own nation?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Post-Summer Solstice of Doom ...

Sometimes you are in a good mood, then you read something and - well - things change.

Thanks to Jack, that happened to me - but it is an important read I'm discussing over at USNIBlog. 

Come by and give it a read.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The "E" in D.I.M.E.

You can find an article over at TheNationalInterest by Amb. Robert D. Blackwill, an adaption of remarks he gave at the Naval War College’s Current Strategy Forum, that give a solid tap-on-the-shoulder-and-point reminder to the national security minded that we are neglecting and important part of nation power. Indeed, one that we should have a comparative advantage in, at least for now;

Despite having the most powerful economy on earth, the United States too often in the past several decades has increasingly forgotten a tradition that stretches back to the founding of the nation—the systematic use of economic instruments to accomplish geopolitical objectives. America has hardly outgrown its need for military force, which will remain a central component of U.S. foreign policy. But this large-scale failure of collective strategic memory regarding geoeconomics denies Washington potent tools to accomplish its foreign policy objectives.
... geoeconomics (is) ... the use of economic instruments to produce beneficial geopolitical results. With this in mind, here is the Blackwill/Harris definition of geoeconomics:

“The use of economic instruments to promote and defend national interests, and to produce beneficial geopolitical results; and the effects of other nations’ economic actions on a country’s geopolitical goals.”
I don't fully agree with some of his specific policy recommendations, and he doesn't, for instance, give credit to what our European allies are doing with Ukraine in a economic and political development point of view, but his broad emphasis on what the USA is or is not doing is solid.

The decline of geoeconomics in American foreign-policy making in recent decades proves to be a complicated story, with lots of variables, subplots and nuances. But the short version is a combination of neglect and resistance. American economists tend to resist putting economic policies to work for geopolitical purposes, in part because the notion of subjugating economics in this way challenges some of their deepest disciplinary assumptions. As Michael Mandelbaum put it, “The heart of politics is power; the aim of economics is wealth. Power is inherently limited. The quest for power is therefore competitive. It is a ‘zero-sum game’ . . . Wealth, by contrast, is limitless, which makes economics a ‘positive-sum game.’” Because many U.S. economists and economic policymakers tend to see the world through this positive-sum logic and have little appreciation for the realities of power competition among nations, they tend to be skeptical of using economic policies to strengthen America’s power projection vis-à-vis its state competitors.

The notion has also encountered ambivalence from foreign policy strategists. Although they are steeped in traditional geopolitics and are not averse to viewing economic instruments of statecraft within a zero-sum logic, most strategists fail to recognize the power and potential of economics and finance as instruments of national purpose.

Thus, embraced by neither most economists nor most foreign policy strategists, the use of economic and financial instruments as tools of statecraft has become an orphaned subject. For a time, it seemed of no great consequence. In the years following the Cold War, the United States faced no serious geopolitical rival, no real struggle for international influence or in the contest of ideas. Liberal economic consensus pervaded. And as it did, what began as a set of liberal economic prescriptions aimed at limiting the rightful role of government in the market morphed over time into a doctrinal unwillingness to accept economics as subject to geopolitical choices and influence. Thus, certain liberal economic policy prescriptions, such as trade liberalization, that found favor initially at least in part because they were seen as advantageous to U.S. foreign policy objectives came over time to be justified predominantly on the internal logic of laissez-faire liberalism, not on the basis of (perhaps even in spite of) U.S. geopolitical grounds.
While there is nothing groundbreaking in his remarks, it may be for some who have yet to really look at the "Economic" part of national power along with its sisters "Diplomatic," "Informational," and "Military."

Read it all.

H/t Bob.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Warships as Points of Personal Political Vanity

It seems that we have reached the point that SECNAV is getting drunk on his ability to name ships after pretty much anyone he wants.

There are few things that with clarity show the institutional narcissism of the ruling class than the naming of ships. Sure, there is a long history of naming ships for political gain - but with rare to any exception, it was for reasons of city, state or regional pride by naming a ship after the actual location, or a hero of local importance. Now it is just plain personal political vanity by proxy.
A House Republican introduced a measure Tuesday that would prevent the U.S. Navy from naming ships after lawmakers who have not served in the military or as president.

The measure would have prevented civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis and former Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin from receiving the honor but a House committee decided to pass up the opportunity to give the measure a vote in the full House.

The naming of ships or other government facilities after lawmakers sometimes has been controversial in recent years. Lewis’s status as a civil rights icon, which the Navy cited in its announcement, could have added more tension to the issue.

“Naming this ship after John Lewis is a fitting tribute to a man who has, from his youth, been at the forefront of progressive social and human rights movements in the U.S., directly shaping both the past and future of our nation,” Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said in a statement in January.
The measure was introduced as an amendment to the annual defense spending bill scheduled to be debated in the House this week. The proposal would have prevent the Pentagon from using any federal funds to name ships for “any member of Congress, living or deceased, unless such member served as the President of the United States or as a member of the Armed Forces.”

Members of the House Rules Committee decided Tuesday evening not to include the Palazzo proposal in a package of amendments that will get a vote in the full House to vote later this week.
Of course, it died. Of course.

Hard to define where it started in the modern habit, but I had the first sour taste in my mouth with the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) and USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74). Yes, important men to the Navy, but still - politicians that have zero inspiration this century outside Beltway bellybutton pickers.

Giffords, Chavez, Levin, Lewis - all a sort of political self-(use what term you wish here) not worth of our nation or our Navy. Or, perhaps we have degenerated to the point that it actually is, and I am too much of an optimist to see it. Yes, Sal the optimist. Mark your calendar, or weep.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Fullbore Friday

A good life, well lived. Erik Hazelhoff RoelfzemaOutlaw Mike probably knows him - but for the rest of you think; in your early 20s, would you have met the standard?
Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema, who won the Netherlands' highest military honor in World War II after leading 15 small-boat spying missions to the shores of his Nazi-occupied homeland in 1942, then flew 72 sorties in small plywood planes over Germany to point British bombers toward their targets, died Sept. 26 at his home in Ahualoa, Hawaii. He was 90.

The cause was heart failure, said his wife, Karin.

Acclaimed in the Netherlands as one of the nation's greatest World War II heroes, Mr. Hazelhoff Roelfzema gained international recognition after he wrote an autobiography, "Soldier of Orange" (Forum Boekerij, 1971; Hodder & Stoughton, 1972). The book offers gripping accounts of coastal landings on moonless nights near Nazi headquarters in the Netherlands, and then of dodging splays of tracers and anti-aircraft fire over Berlin. "Soldier of Orange," titled in deference to the Dutch royal dynasty, the House of Orange, has sold more than a million copies. In 1977, it was made into a movie by the director Paul Verhoeven, with Rutger Hauer portraying Mr. Hazelhoff Roelfzema as a 23-year-old.

"Tracers crisscrossed over our heads like monstrous party streamers," Mr. Hazelhoff Roelfzema wrote of the last of his 15 spy missions, on May 11, 1942, aboard a motorized dinghy that had been slipped over the side of a British gunboat, No. 320, near Noordwijk. "Machine guns and cannon chattered and barked."

The dinghy came under withering fire after delivering radio transmitters to Dutch resistance fighters who would use the devices to relay information about German installations and troop movements. Mr. Hazelhoff Roelfzema wrote of the gunboat: "Crewmen crouched on the foredeck and along the sides. Finally, they pulled us aboard without stopping, abandoning the dinghy. Then, rearing up under full power, the 320 roared out to sea."

Born April 3, 1917, in Indonesia, when it was under colonial rule as the Dutch East Indies, Mr. Hazelhoff Roelfzema was the son of a coffee plantation manager. The family later returned to the Netherlands.
Days after the Nazis invaded, Mr. Hazelhoff Roelfzema boarded a Swiss freighter bound for New York. When a British cruiser stopped the freighter, he persuaded the captain to take him to Britain. Once in London, Mr. Hazelhoff Roelfzema volunteered for the Dutch section of MI6, the British intelligence service, and was soon assigned to the dinghy missions to his homeland.

"He used to joke, 'Wait a minute, I just left,' " his wife said. Besides carrying transmitters to the resistance, Mr. Hazelhoff Roelfzema and his crew ferried spies to and from the Netherlands.

Despite the success of those missions, Mr. Hazelhoff Roelfzema ran afoul of Col. Mattheus de Bruyne, the newly appointed leader of the Dutch intelligence section, after he refused to provide information to another branch of the Dutch government in exile for fear it had been infiltrated by Nazi sympathizers. Court-martial proceedings were dismissed after the exiled Queen Wilhelmina recommended him for the Militaire Willemsorde.

The Militaire Willemsorde (the Military Order of William) was bestowed on Mr. Hazelhoff Roelfzema in the summer of 1942 by Queen Wilhelmina, who had fled to London and established the government in exile after the Germans occupied the Netherlands in May 1940.

Mr. Hazelhoff Roelfzema joined Britain's Royal Air Force. He learned to fly a De Havilland Mosquito, the twin-engine, spruce and balsa plane of the elite Pathfinder Force. The light, agile Mosquito was used for, among other things, firing flares at potential bombing targets. Mr. Hazelhoff Roelfzema's 72 flights into German airspace included 25 over Berlin.

Describing a night flight over Berlin, Mr. Hazelhoff Roelfzema wrote, "Hundreds of searchlights pierce the cloudless sky, rigid, motionless, like quills of the giant porcupine - Berlin." The RAF awarded him its Distinguished Flying Cross.

In April 1945, Mr. Hazelhoff Roelfzema was appointed aide-de-camp to Queen Wilhelmina and accompanied her as she returned from exile to the liberated Netherlands.

He moved to the United States in the early 1950s and became a citizen. He was a writer at NBC and for Radio Free Europe. Then, in 1971, he retired to Hawaii, where he was named to the board of Barnwell Industries, an oil and gas exploration company.

Besides his wife, Mr. Hazelhoff Roelfzema is survived by a son, Erik Jr., of Amsterdam; a daughter, Karna Hazelhoff-Castellon of San Francisco; a granddaughter; and a great-granddaughter.

Last July, in an interview with De Telegraaf, the Netherlands' largest daily newspaper, Mr. Hazelhoff Roelfzema said he had received too much recognition for his wartime exploits. "I became a war hero because I stuck out, because I wrote about my experiences," he said. "But behind every soldier decorated with military honors there are a hundred anonymous heroes, some of them greater."

This was first posted nine years ago. At the time, the movie had not made it to youtube yet. Most of it is there. Not a bad life if you can get Rutger Hauer to play you. Click here for most of the movie.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Diversity Thursday

This DivThu will require a few things from you;
1) Careful reading skills.
2) Suspension of disbelief.

Besides that, it speaks for itself. 

Think about all the times you were told, "The Reserves don't have enough money to support X."

Let that soak in for a bit and then ....

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Commander, Navy Reserve Forces Command
Date: Tue, Jun 14, 2016 at 3:26 PM 
Subject: ADT Opportunity for O2-O3 for OPNAV N1 – N13 Update Uniform Regulations-LGBT in Arlington, VA

1. Supported Command POC Information: CAPT Janet [redacted], 703-604-[redacted], janet.[redacted]
2. Advertised Position Title: OPNAV N1 – N13 Update Uniform Regulations-LGBT
3. Rank/Rate or Rank/Designator Required: O2-O3
4. Number of Positions Required: 1
5. Type of Orders: ADT
6. Advertisement Portal ID#: M00199216
7. CNRFC Advertisement Portal is located at: [redacted]
What special uniform requirements? I have no idea.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

PEO-LCS, you can leave your card with the bartender over there

In a just world, I would never have to buy a drink again in DC, but we don't live in that world.

Why? I'm outlining the reasons over at USNIBlog. Come by and see.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Natural, organic & not free-ranging American foreign policy

Regulars here and at Midrats will quickly see why the latest from Jerry Hendrix is not just a "must read," but is a print out, retweet, post, scan as PDF and email kind of article.

Here's a taste to get you to read the whole thing from, America Needs a Truly Conservative Foreign Policy;
A conservative foreign policy for the United States begins with an acknowledgement that the United States occupies a leading position in the present international order and has as its first goal the sustainment of that position and the current international order that extends from it. ... a central core tenet of conservative thought: that human nature is unchanging and that we are who we have always been—warring, competitive and wanting. ... No, conservatives are not isolationists. ... Conservatives do not go in search of dragons. ... Conservatives can have a larger military for less money. ... Conservatives must be mindful that strength can invite adventurism.
That is just a few of the bold faced items, but there is a deeper thread to this article and much that Jerry shares with us.

In his writing there is more than just thinking by a think-tanker, but you can feel a deep respect for our republic, and a deep and abiding love for our culture and all the sacrifice and hard work invested by previous generations. That is why, even if you don't agree with Jerry - you need to read his work at least twice ... and ponder.
Actions must be taken to return to an equilibrium that attempts to maintain the United States’ leading position in the world while not undermining its essential role of supporting individual liberty and national self-determination. Conservatives have a leading role to play, but they must first seek to reestablish a connection with their intellectual base and differentiate themselves from the foreign and defense policies that have wrecked such havoc on the nation and the international system over the past generation. As the great conservative voice, Russell Kirk, reminds us, the United States must recognize that both permanence and change can be reconciled in vigorous society. We must gift to the future the greatness of its past.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Time Again to Turn the LCS Compost Pile

Alternative Headline - LCS: You Get What You Pay For

It has been awhile since we’ve batted LCS/FF about the ears, and this month’s latest from the GAO gives us an opportunity to do just that.

I would offer to you Syndey Freedberg’s latest over at BreakingDefense, as well as Robert Beckhusen over at WOTR and their thoughts on the GAO’s latest. Read them and take some time to review the GAO report for yourself too, but until then, here are some of my thoughts.

There continues to be a lot of competing arguments swirling around LCS. Some would like everyone to be quiet and let the Navy get on with the Plan of the Day, but I think that is the worst thing we can do. The problems with LCS need to be addressed on a regular basis for two reasons; 1) as a testimony so future programs won’t repeat the mistakes and hubris of LCS; 2) so those who are going to sea on them or giving orders to the ships have a clear idea what they are capable of.

In any event, from one end to the other, in 2016 there is no one who is screaming, with any credibility, “LCS is awesomesauce!” Some of the fringes on both sides can edge close to self-delusion, but there is a center-mass grouping of opinions that – correctly – are closer to, “This is the best we can hope for, so let’s get on with it.”

Since I resigned myself to our LCS future ~2010, I have put my hope that good people in hard jobs will try to make the best of our snake-bit inheritance. With the LCS to FF moment, we had one more chance to execute a modified PLAN SALAMANDER that was first proposed a decade ago (license build a EuroFrigate design until we could get a domestic design ready), but it was clear early that the morphing of LCS in to a FF was baked in to the cake.

Results, as expected;

And, here we are;
In late 2014, the Navy recommended (and the Secretary of Defense approved) procuring both variants of a minor modified LCS, designating it a “frigate.” The Navy prioritized this option because of its relatively lower cost and quicker ability to field, as well as the ability to upgrade remaining LCS, over making more significant capability improvements. GAO’s analysis found the planned frigate will not provide much greater capability in some areas than LCS and that some cost assumptions may have overstated this option’s affordability.
As we predicted here.
With consideration for the range of desired enhanced performance and capabilities for the SSC as identified by the fleet representatives, the task force subsequently identified additional minor modified LCS options, though these options would also require accepting reduced weight and other design margins to accommodate the changes. These alternate LCS options offered reduced capabilities as compared to some capability concepts the task force had initially identified, as capabilities had to be downgraded to accommodate the design constraints of the minor modified LCS.

In making its recommendation, the Navy prioritized cost and schedule considerations over the fact that a minor modified LCS was the least capable option considered. However, certain cost assumptions made by the task force may have overstated the minor modified LCS’ relative affordability as compared to other options. The Navy’s decision was also based on a desire to start production of the first frigate in 2019, and without a break in production at the LCS shipyards. The Navy noted in its recommendation that the minor modified LCS will provide improvements in combat capability over the current LCS fleet—specifically due to its multi-mission capability. However, the frigate will have similar capability in most areas as the current LCS; many of the performance requirements for the frigate are the same as LCS requirements. As noted, some of the improvements led to lowering some capabilities for the frigate, such as range. Moreover, a minor modified LCS will not fully address all lethality and survivability concerns raised by the former Secretary of Defense. DOT&E identified some of these concerns in its reporting on the planned frigate program. Namely, the planned frigate will not have significant improvements to AAW capability or to reducing the vulnerability of the ship to sustaining damage as compared to the current LCS.
There are people I respect that, for mostly peace-time priorities and economic reasons, are willing to hedge towards a low-low mid (which is what LCS/FF is) to get numbers, but I remain with the belief that one must keep an eye towards wartime requirements. If you are a Maritime Component Commander at war, do you want 5 sub-optimal ships with a glass jaw and a weak fist for your medium sized warship, or 3 ships that can hit and take a hit? I’d bet on the brawler, but my argument lost out.

In some ways, we continue to plow the same field, but the weeds keep cropping up and make it a necessity. This is unchanged; our nation will have LCS/FF as a significant part of our battle fleet for decades, and we need to be clear-eyed about its capabilities and limitations. Knowing such, as always, pray for peace.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

21st Century Knox - on Midrats

As part of our ongoing series of interviews with the editors of each addition to the 21st Century Foundations series, we will have David Kohnen the editor of the latest in the series, 21st Century Knox, on for the full hour this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern.

Kohnen described the focus of the book, Commodore Dudley Wright Knox, USN, as someone who, "... challended fellow naval professionals to recognize the inherent relevance of history in examining contemporary problems. In his writings, Knox cited historical examples when strategists foolishly anticipated the unknown future without first pursuing a detailed understanding of the past."

David Kohen earned a PhD with the Laughton Chair of Naval History at the University of London, King's College. He is the author of Commanders Winn and Knowles: Winning the U-boat War with Intelligence as well as other works.

Join us live if you can with the usual suspects in the chat room and offer up your questions for our guest, but if you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at blogtalkradio or Stitcher

If you use iTunes, you can add Midrats to your podcast list simply by clicking the iTunes button at the main showpage - or you can just click here.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Fullbore Friday

I first posted this in 2008, but thought of the day I saw her coming home and wanted to share what was one of the best paint jobs I have seen on a warship in my lifetime.

Nothing in detail this FbF, because there is nothing open source about what happened when two submarines HMS Opossum and HMS Otus earned the best paintjob of any submarine with the right to fly the Jolly Roger on the way home -- and a good story that will be told someday about how they put the SBS ashore in the first Gulf War.

I saw the Opossum when she was headed home in '91. Looked even cooler underway. Just wanted to share that image.

UPDATE Since 2008, I've run in to a great series of pictures from that year. I didn't see it from my angle, or in other pictures ... but it is even better.

A shark's mouth. Excellent ... and Fullbore.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Diversity Thursday

I have to keep doing DivThu by popular demand for one of many reasons, one being that the rent seeking Diversity Industry does not stop. As the American people work more and more to just be "American," the Diversity Industry for both monetary and psychological reasons cannot allow the people to be unified, much less equal in thought and action.

No, they must continue to keep people divided. When the people will not remain divided, then the Commissariate will force them to tear themselves asunder from one another.

It a delicious bit of irony, the racialist and outright racists in the Diversity Industry have adopted the very same mindset that the KKK, Nazi, and other rabidly racist organizations have; the one drop rule.

They openly refuse to accept that there can be mixed race. When people are of mixed race, they don't recognize that or even default to DNA %, no, they shift to the most lower brain-stem form of racism and sectarianism, "What do they look like?"

A perfect example showed up on my door step the other day.

Federal employees log in to MyBiz. It's essentially a dashboard with all your personnel actions, and history. They are required to fill out ethnicity. There's a box for Privacy Act. When you click it, the narrative below comes up. Look at the highlighted sentences. You can't opt out of reporting but if you do, the supervisor can look at you and tell the system what race you are.


So the official insanity continues. Who will push back, where can you push back, how can you push back? I do not know, but until something very high in the chain of command makes a move - be careful, be subtle - but think globally, act locally.

They cannot defend this kind of racism - so force them to.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Tired of a Passive Fleet Posture?

Words matter - and I really like Bryan McGrath's latest thoughts on the topic of where we need to take our fleet.

I'm discussing over at USNIBlog. 

Stop by for a bit.

The Long War – Eternal

Take the time this evening to watch this segment from ViceNews: The Road to Fallujah.

What struck me the most was this quote, as this is roughly in line with what we put in our Operational Plans the half decade I worked on them.

“The Islamic State is one face of the al-Nusra Front. Al-Nusra is one face of al-Qaeda. All these hold oppressive, corrupt, and backward ideologies. I can’t see how they can be conquered by military means alone. We have to defeat them ideologically. We have to defeat the extremist ideology, we have to spread education, and we have to spread tolerant Islam.”
- Major Salam, Iraqi Army Golden Division, Special Forces.

Absolutely nothing has changed. Read every bit of this and understand why this is the Long War. This is a religious war. This is a war that takes changing and then defending systemic changes in culture that must be done from the inside, while outside, efforts must be made to contain the bloody edges of a radicalized death cult.

Watch it all.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016


So, what was used to get everything ashore on D-Day +1? A great graphic from BBC.

Take some time to visit their website. Good stuff.

Monday, June 06, 2016

China at Jutland

Of course, China had nothing to do with the Battle of Jutland. As we have all spent a lot of time thinking and reading more than usual about the world in the centenary of WWI, one of the top national security related subjects of today, China, has been left out of the conversation.

That is unfortunate in that to understand China today; how she acts, what her priorities are and the specific way she sees the world, it is important to have an understanding of the nation that a hundred years ago was in the middle of the Warlord Era.

Just to get you thinking, I'll put it out there on a chart. Good charts tell the story of thousands of words.


Sunday, June 05, 2016

War of 1812 in the Chesapeake: A Schoolhouse at Sea - on Midrats

Last month started what we hope will be a regular occurrence in the education of our future leaders; the US Naval Academy took 10 Midshipmen along with a group of instructors on board the topsail schooners Pride of Baltimore and Lynx as part of an elective history course titled “War of 1812 in the Chesapeake: A Schoolhouse at Sea.”

We will have two of the instructors for the cruise with us for the full hour this Sunday, returning guest LCDR Claude Berube, USNR, instructor at the USNA Department of History, Director of the US Naval Academy Museum and organizer of the program, along with USNA leadership instructor, LT Jack McCain, USN who focused instruction during the cruise on naval hero Stephen Decatur.

We will discuss the genesis of the program, the areas of instruction, the experience, along with the general topic of the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake.

Join us live if you can with the usual suspects in the chat room and offer up your questions for our guest, but if you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at blogtalkradio or Stitcher

If you use iTunes, you can add Midrats to your podcast list simply by clicking the iTunes button at the main showpage - or you can just click here.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Fullbore Friday

For the SMS Seydlitz, it is tempting just to say that her story is the story of the Battle of Jutland - but that is too easy. There is a lot more to her story than that - but because it was her finest hour - when I do talk tactical, we'll stick to Jutland.

First though, I want you to think about warship design in the USA since the late '90s, then read the following with a close eye to the timeline.

SMS Seydlitz was a 25,000-metric ton battlecruiser of the Kaiserliche Marine, built in Hamburg, Germany. She was ordered in 1910 and commissioned in May 1913, the fourth battlecruiser built for the High Seas Fleet. She was named after Friedrich Wilhelm von Seydlitz, a Prussian general during the reign of King Frederick the Great and the Seven Years' War.

Seydlitz represented the culmination of the first generation of German battlecruisers, which had started with the Von der Tann in 1906, and continued with the pair of Moltke class battlecruisers ordered in 1907 and 1908. Seydlitz featured several incremental improvements over the preceding designs, including a redesigned propulsion system and an improved armor layout. The ship was also significantly larger than her predecessors—she was approximately 3,000 metric tons heavier than the Moltke class ships.
Here are the details of the timeline above.
Despite the success of the previous German battlecruisers designs—those of Von der Tann and the Moltke class—there was still significant debate as to how new ships of the type were to be designed. In 1909, the Reichsmarineamt (Navy Department) requested Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, the State Secretary, provide them with the improvements that would be necessary for the next battlecruiser design. Tirpitz continued to push for the use of battlecruisers solely as fleet scouts and to destroy enemy cruisers, along the lines of the battlecruisers employed by the British Royal Navy. The Kaiser, Wilhelm II, and the majority of the Navy Department argued that due to Germany's numerical inferiority compared to the Royal Navy, the ships would also have to fight in the line of battle. Ultimately, the Kaiser and the Navy Department won the debate, and the battlecruiser for the 1909–1910 building year would continue in the pattern of the previous Von der Tann and Moltke class designs.
Debate based on recent experience with a proven platform ... and resulting action. All in less than half a decade. Yes, to us the technology is simpler - but 100 years ago it was no less "new" than the electric drive and other "new" systems we talk about now.

Remember - the average Navy Commander in 1910 was a Midshipman in the 1880s, if not earlier with the slow promotions of the pre-war period. No, the "you can move faster then" excuse does not hold water for me. These men also did not have computers and the raft of information technology that we have .... perhaps that was an advantage too? No, I don't buy that excuse either.
Shipbuilding pressure from the legislature? New? Snort.
Financial constraints meant that there would have to be a trade-off between speed, battle capabilities, and displacement. The initial design specifications mandated that speed was to have been at least as high as with the Moltke class, and that the ship was to have been armed with either eight 305 mm (12.0 in) guns or ten 280 mm (11.0 in) guns. The design staff considered triple turrets, but these were discarded when it was decided that the standard 280 mm twin turret was sufficient.

In August 1909, the Reichstag stated that it would tolerate no increases in cost over the Moltke-class battlecruisers, and so for a time, the Navy Department considered shelving the new design and to instead build a third Moltke class ship. Admiral Tirpitz was able to negotiate a discount on armor plate from both Krupp and Dillingen; Tirpitz also pressured the ship's builder, Blohm and Voss, for a discount. These cost reductions freed up sufficient funds to make some material improvements to the design. On 27 January 1910, the Kaiser approved the design for the new ship, ordered under the provisional name "Cruiser J".
Enough lessons for now - lets get to the role that defined her; in the thick of it at Jutland.
On the night of 30 May 1916, Seydlitz and the other four battlecruisers of the I Scouting Group lay in anchor in the Jade roadstead. The following morning, at 02:00 CET, the ships slowly steamed out towards the Skagerrak at a speed of 16 knots (30 km/h). By this time, Hipper had transferred his flag from Seydlitz to the newer battlecruiser Lützow. Seydlitz took her place in the center of the line, to the rear of Derfflinger and ahead of Moltke The II Scouting Group, consisting of the light cruisers Frankfurt, Rear Admiral Bödicker's flagship, Wiesbaden, Pillau, and Elbing, and 30 torpedo boats of the II, VI, and IX Flotillas, accompanied Hipper's battlecruisers.

An hour and a half later, the High Seas Fleet under the command of Admiral Scheer left the Jade; the force was composed of 16 dreadnoughts. The High Seas Fleet was accompanied by the IV Scouting Group, composed of the light cruisers Stettin, München, Hamburg, Frauenlob, and Stuttgart, and 31 torpedo boats of the I, III, V, and VII Flotillas, led by the light cruiser Rostock. The six pre-dreadnoughts of the II Battle Squadron had departed from the Elbe roads at 02:45, and rendezvoused with the battle fleet at 5:00.

Shortly before 16:00, Hipper's force encountered Vice Admiral Beatty's battlecruiser squadron. The German ships were the first to open fire, at a range of approximately 15,000 yards (14,000 m). The British rangefinders had misread the range to their German targets, and so the first salvos fired by the British ships fell a mile past the German battlecruisers. As the two lines of battlecruisers deployed to engage each other, Seydlitz began to duel with her opposite in the British line, Queen Mary. By 16:54, the range between the ships decreased to 12,900 yards (11,800 m), which enabled Seydlitz's secondary battery to enter the fray. She was close enough to the ships of the British 9th and 10th Destroyer Flotillas that her secondary guns could effectively engage them. The other four German battlecruisers employed their secondary battery against the British battlecruisers.

Between 16:55 and 16:57, Seydlitz was struck by two heavy caliber shells from Queen Mary. The first shell penetrated the side of the ship five feet above the main battery deck, and caused a number of small fires. The second shell penetrated the barbette of the aft superfiring turret. Four propellant charges were ignited in the working chamber; the resulting fire flashed up into the turret and down to the magazine. The anti-flash precautions that had been put in place after the explosion at Dogger Bank prevented any further propellant explosions. Regardless, the turret was destroyed and most of the gun crew had been killed in the blaze.
By 17:25, the British battlecruisers were taking a severe battering from their German opponents. Indefatigable had been destroyed by a salvo from Von der Tann approximately 20 minutes before, and Beatty sought to turn his ships away by 2 degrees in order to regroup, while the Queen Elizabeth-class battleships of the 5th Battle Squadron arrived on the scene and provided covering fire. As the British battlecruisers began to turn away, Seydlitz and Derfflinger were able to concentrate their fire on Queen Mary. Witnesses reported at least 5 shells from two salvos hit the ship, which caused an intense explosion that ripped the Queen Mary in half. Shortly after the destruction of Queen Mary, both British and German destroyers attempted to make torpedo attacks on the opposing lines. One British torpedo struck Seydlitz at 17:57. The torpedo hit the ship directly below the fore turret, slightly aft of where she had been mined the month before. The explosion tore a hole 40 feet long by 13 feet wide (12 m × 4.0 m), and caused a slight list. Despite the damage, the ship was still able to maintain her top speed, and kept position in the line.

The leading ships of the German battle fleet had by 18:00 come within effective range of the British ships, and had begun trading shots with the British battlecruisers and Queen Elizabeth-class battleships. Between 18:09 and 18:19, Seydlitz was hit by a 380 mm (15 in) shell from either Barham or Valiant. This shell struck the face of the port wing turret and disabled the guns. A second 380 mm shell penetrated the already disabled aft superfiring turret and detonated the cordite charges that had not already burned. The ship also had two of her 150 mm guns disabled from British gunfire, and the rear turret lost its right-hand gun.

As the evening wore on, visibility steadily decreased for the German ships. Seydlitz's commander, Kapitän zur See von Egidy, later remarked:

"Visibility had generally become unfavorable. There was a dense mist, so that as a rule only the flashes of the enemy's guns, but not the ships themselves, could be seen. Our distance had been reduced from 18,000 to 13,000 yards. From north-west to north-east we had before us a hostile line firing its guns, though in the mist we could only glimpse the flashes from time to time. It was a mighty and terrible spectacle."
At around 19:00, Beatty's forces were nearing the main body of the Grand Fleet, and to delay the discovery of the Grand Fleet's location by the German fleet, he turned his ships towards the German line, in order to force them to turn as well. This reduced the distance between the British and German battlecruisers from 14,000 to 12,000 yards (13,000 to 11,000 m). Visibility continued to favor the British, and the German battlecruisers paid the price. Over the next several minutes, Seydlitz was hit six times, primarily on the forward section of the ship. A fire started under the ship's forecastle. The smothering fire from Beatty's ships forced Hipper to temporarily withdraw his battlecruisers to the southwest. As the ships withdrew, Seydlitz began taking on more water, and the list to starboard worsened. The ship was thoroughly flooded above the middle deck in the fore compartments, and had nearly lost all buoyancy.
The German fleet was instead sailing west, but Scheer ordered a second 16-point turn, which reversed course and pointed his ships at the center of the British fleet. The German fleet came under intense fire from the British line, and Scheer sent Seydlitz, Von der Tann, Moltke, and Derfflinger at high speed towards the British fleet, in an attempt to disrupt their formation and gain time for his main force to retreat. By 20:17, the German battlecruisers had closed to within 7,700 yards (7,000 m) of Colossus, at which point Scheer directed the ships to engage the lead ship of the British line. Seydlitz managed to hit Colossus once, but caused only minor damage to the ship's superstructure. Three minutes later, the German battlecruisers turned in retreat, covered by a torpedo boat attack.
A pause in the battle at dusk allowed Seydlitz and the other German battlecruisers to cut away wreckage that interfered with the main guns, extinguish fires, repair the fire control and signal equipment, and ready the searchlights for nighttime action. During this period, the German fleet reorganized into a well-ordered formation in reverse order, when the German light forces encountered the British screen shortly after 21:00. The renewed gunfire gained Beatty's attention, so he turned his battlecruisers westward. At 21:09, he sighted the German battlecruisers, and drew to within 8,500 yards (7,800 m) before opening fire at 20:20. In the ensuing melee, Seydlitz was hit several times; one shell struck the rear gun turret and other hit the ship's bridge. The entire bridge crew was killed and several men in the conning tower were wounded.[
At 00:45, Seydlitz was attempting to thread her way through the British fleet, but was sighted by the dreadnought Agincourt and noted as a "ship or Destroyer". Agincourt's captain did not want to risk giving away his ship's position, and so allowed her to pass. By 01:12, Seydlitz had managed to slip through the British fleet, and she was able to head for the safety of Horns Reef. At approximately 03:40, she scraped over Horns Reef. Both of the ship's gyro-compasses had failed, so the light cruiser Pillau was sent to guide the ship home. By 15:30 on 1 June, Seydlitz was in critical condition; the bow was nearly completely submerged, and the only buoyancy that remained in the forward section of the ship was the broadside torpedo room. Preparations were being made to evacuate the wounded crew when a pair of pump steamers arrived on the scene. The ships were able to stabilize Seydlitz's flooding, and the ship managed to limp back to port. She reached the outer Jade river on the morning of 2 June, and on 3 June the ship entered Entrance III of the Wilhelmshaven Lock. At most, Seydlitz had been flooded by 5,308 tonnes (5,224 long tons) of water.

Some of the best things learned for us are from the Seydlitz's CO, Kommandant Kapitän zur See von Egidy's report. As important in 2010 as they were a century ago.

Training and the importance of questioning established procedures.

The first hit we received was a 12-inch shell that struck Number Six 6-inch casemate on the starboard side, killing everybody except the Padre who, on his way to his battle-station down below, had wanted to take a look at the men and at the British, too. By an odd coincidence we had, at our first battle practice in 1913, assumed the same kind of hit and by the same adversary, the Queen Mary. Splinters perforated air leads in the bunker below and gas consequently entered the starboard main turbine compartment.

Somewhat later the gunnery central station deep down reported: "No answer from 'C' turret. Smoke and gas pouring out of the voice pipes from 'C' turret." That sounded like the time of Dogger Bank. Then it had been "C" and "D" turrets. A shell had burst outside, making only a small hole, but a red-hot piece of steel had ignited a cartridge, the flash setting fire to 13,000 pounds of cordite. 190 men had been killed, and the two turrets had been put out of action. Afterwards, a through examination showed that everything had been done in accordance with regulations. I told the gunnery officer: "If we lose 190 men and almost the whole ship in accordance with regulations then they are somehow wrong." Therefore we made technical improvements and changed our methods of training as well as the regulations. This time only one cartridge caught fire, the flash did not reach the magazines, and so we lost only 20 dead or severely burned, and only one turret was put out of action.
The importance of inspections - and the love of the hardest ones once you are in harm's way.
In the conning tower we were kept busy, too. "Steering failure" reported the helmsman and automatically shouted down from the armoured shaft to the control room: "Steer from control room." The order: "Steer from tiller flat" was the last resort. We felt considerable relief when the red helm indicator followed orders. The ship handling officer drew a deep breath: "Exactly as at the admiral's inspection."
... and as is my experience as well - the Liberty Risk Sailor is often the Indispensable Warrior.
The helmsman was a splendid seaman but every six months or so he could not help hitting the bottle. Then he felt the urge to stand on his head in the market square of Wihlemshaven. Each time this meant the loss of his Able Seaman's stripe. At Jutland he stood at the helm for 24 hours on end. He got the stripe back and was the only AB in the fleet to receive the Iron Cross 1st Class.
The need to stress individual action in response to unforeseen challenges - act without orders if needed - and leaders should let their Sailors know you trust their judgement to act.
The first casualty in the conning tower was a signal yeoman, who collapsed silently after a splinter had pierced his neck. A signalman took over his headphone in addition to his own. In our battle training we had overlooked this possibility.
Our aerials were soon in pieces, rendering our ship deaf and dumb until a sub-lieutenant and some radio operators rigged new ones. The anti-torpedo net was torn and threatened to foul the propellers, but the boatswain and his party went over the side to lash it. They did it so well that later, in dock, it proved difficult to untie it again.
To h3ll with regulation written by those who don't fight.
According to regulations our paymasters were expected in a battle to take down and certify last wills, but we preferred them to prepare cold food forward and aft, and send their stewards round to battle-stations with masses of sandwiches.
Combat leadership. Are your LTJG's ready to do this?
"In 'B' turret, there was a tremendous crash, smoke, dust, and general confusion. At the order "Clear the Turret" the turret crew rushed out, using even the traps for the empty cartridges. Then they fell in behind the turret. Then compressed air from Number 3 boiler room cleared away the smoke and gas, and the turret commander went in again, followed by his men. A shell had hit the front plate and a splinter of armour had killed the right gunlayer. The turret missed no more than two or three salvoes."
Finally - damage control.
During the course of the battle, Seydlitz was hit 21 times by heavy-caliber shells, twice by secondary battery shells, and once by a torpedo. The ship suffered a total of 98 of her crew killed and 55 wounded. Seydlitz herself fired 376 main battery shells, but only scored approximately 10 hits.

This FbF first published in 2010.