Category Archives: Defence

A century ago

Don’t you just love the consistency of the ABC.  They have never heard a rumour about Aussie diggers behaving badly that they didn’t broadcast.  Today marks the 100th anniversary of the Australian attack on PNG with the aim of silencing the German radio station there in what was then German New Guinea.

THE ABC claims that Australian troops in World War I took part in a “mass execution” of German troops following the battle of Bita Paka in New Guinea.

The broadcaster’s Radio National Breakfast program has obtained a single tape recording of a witness to the alleged slaughter, which the ABC says “appears to confirm the rumours” of prisoner executions.

Well good luck with that one ABC – all the article and recording prove is your anti-defence stand.

sydneyplateInvolved in that stoush and the early attacks on German radio stations in the SW Pacific was HMAS Sydney.  Sydney supported the landing and went on to sink the German cruiser Emden further north.

In the 80′s I owned an antique militaria business and one day a guy came in with a wooden plate. He said it was made by wounded Gallipoli veterans in therapy classes in Concord hospital, NSW.  It was a wooden plate with ‘soldering iron” art. Not good art, but art nonetheless. The wood came from the wooden decks of the Emden as she was salvaged by the Australian authroities

 

He eventually gave me the plate as he said I had better claim to it than he did. I told him that I had two great uncles in the first convoy from Albany in 1914 and they would have heard of the battle as HMAS Sydney was on convoy duties when it dealt with the Emden in November 1914.  My father served on the second HMAS Sydney during WW2 and I came home from my asian stoush on the 3rd HMAS Sydney.

My story got me bit of history and I have piece of the Emden in my study at home.

The plate and the inscription.

sydneyplatetag

Yesterday, a service was held on board the minehunter HMAS Yarra in the waters off Rabaul to honour the 35 men who disappeared along with Australia’s first submarine AE1.

Same expedition, same battle.  The submarine vanished without trace days after the Battle of Bita Paka and no sign has been found since.  Well, not quite.

According to News.com the RAN have found it.  According to an admiral quoted in the article it hasn’t.  Either way we must be almost able to close that part of our WW1 history.

AE1 had a sister ship, named, withoutout an iota of originality as…wait for it…AE2

My wife’s  cousin CDRE Terry Roach AM RAN Rtd was heavily involved in finding the AE2, the other submarine that had been sunk in the Gallipoli campaign.  I’ve had the pleasure of discussing the expedition that found the sub over a beer at a family BBQ.  It’s a great story.

From the AE2 website;

HMAS AE2 was the first Allied submarine to penetrate the Dardanelles in 1915 as part of the Gallipoli Campaign, on the very morning the ANZAC soldiers landed at Anzac Cove.  After five hectic days “running amok”, she finally fell to Turkish gunfire and was scuttled.  Her crew was captured and spent the rest of the war as Turkish POWs.  AE2 lay, unseen, until in 1998 she was discovered, intact, in 73m of water in the Sea of Marmara.  The SIA aims to ensure the protection, preservation and promotion of AE2, to contribute to an informed debate on her future and ensure that AE2’s contribution to the Gallipoli campaign is duly recognised by telling the story of her brave crew.

While good men and women commemorate the loss of men at war the ABC maintains its charter of denigrating the same men.

As a friend of mine says of the ABC; Sack ‘em, burn down the buildings and salt the ground.

Shorten hits Peak Stupid

shortenBill Shorten has no shame – during the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd debacle the government gutted the Defence budget in a vain attempt to balance Swan’s budget.  The budget didn’t balance and Defence aquisition programmes were put back years.

Now he has the temerity to attack Abbott over the fact that a Japanese sub is one of many being considered to replace the Collins class fleet. His populist statements at Adelaide yesterday reflect his fighting for the unions, including the criminal based CFMEU, that were involved in the Collins class subs and has nothing to do with the defence of the country.

One union idiot shouted “Last time we had Jap subs, they were in bloody Sydney Harbour” referring to the midget submarine attack in 1942. I hasten to add that neither Shorten, nor his audience were even born then.  It was another century and another Japan.  Today’s Japan is a major defence and trade partner who, with the US and Australia, constitute the main Pacific area defence pact.

Shorten goes onto say; “This is a government with a short memory,” he said. “In the Second World War, 366 merchant ships were sunk off Australia.”

Short memory!  From Wikipedia;

The 28 Japanese and German submarines that operated in Australian waters between 1942 and 1945 sank a total of 30 ships with a combined tonnage of 151,000 long tons (153,000 t); 654 people, including 200 Australian merchant seamen, were killed on board the ships attacked by submarines.

Even when he gives a speech he can’t get it right.  There were 18 more ships sunk but they were as a result of  surface raiders, both German and Japanese, but I presumed Shortens populist spray was directed at the Japanese only.

German….hmmn.  Their submarines are also in the mix for selection.  The cost of 12 German submarines would cost us  $20 billion,  The Japanese  Soryu Class submarine would come at a similar cost while should Australia go Shorten’s way it would cost us $50 billion.

$30 billion cheaper – you would have to consider it and think what you could do with that money.  Maybe it could go to paying off some of the debt Shorten’s mob have left us.

Due to the fact that the ALP killed Defence planning with their budget cuts we have a potential problem of having gap with no submarines at all.  For this reason, and considering costs, something the ALP never did, the Japanese solution looks like a winner.

Quicker and cheaper potentially eliminating the no-submarine gap.

The decision is due later this year and I’m sure that a lot of the work will be done in Australia if the project goes ahead but from my point of view, the less union involvement the better.

 

Just a couple of points Fabio

A letter to the The Australian’s editor

….There is no military threat to Australia, and as a fiscal conservative, I think it obscene to spend $12 billion on unnecessary fighter jets when the nation is broke.

Fabio Scalia, Windsor, Vic

Just a couple of points Fabio; the country isn’t broke, we just have to recover from the ALP spendathon, and
there is no military threat to Australia because we do things like spend billions on high level defence equipment.

Nu Ship Canberra

A great video tour through Nuship Canberra which will dramatically increase Australia’s defence capabilities, and impact the Army as much as the RAN:

That is great news for Australia and the ADF but elsewhere, after 6 years of the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd debacle, the news is all bad.

Alan Dupont, in The Weekend Australian underscores the problems Abbott faces repairing the damage the ALP did to our economy.

Perhaps the best way to understand the seriousness of defence’s budgetary problem is to benchmark against Force 2030, trumpeted by the Rudd government in the 2009 white paper as “capable of meeting every contingency the Australian Defence Force may be required to meet in the coming two decades”. Capable it may have been but funded it was not.

The subsequent savage cuts inflicted on Defence by Labor in pursuit of an illusory budget surplus effectively removed $18 billion from Force 2030 in the space of four short years, equivalent to nearly three-quarters of the annual defence budget.

I recall Rudd coming up with his 12 submarines as a blatant try at sounding like he and his party new what they were doing in matters military. Everyone who had any skin in the game just looked at each other, rolled their eyes and dug in waiting for the election to get rid of the idiot.

The logistics of our current submarine fleet have two on patrol, two on build-up or wind-down and two on maintenance and we can just manage the manpower and dollars to keep that moving and Rudd wanted to double the trouble.

Capable it may have been but funded it was not – like most of their ideas – NBN, NDIS and Gonski to name a few.

The public needs to be reminded every day that the reason Abbott and Hockey are about to drop hard times on the country through the 2014 budget is because of the huge, obscene debt ramped up by the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd debacle.

Snowdon still causing grief

Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa takes a barely veiled swipe at the Australian Prime Minister on Monday after US Traitor Snowdon raised new revelations that, in early 2013, the Australian Signals Directorate had spied on trade talks between the United States and Indonesia.

He should have taken a barely veiled swipe at Gillard as the event happened during her tenure but I gues that doesn’t matter.  He took the barely veiled swipe during a  joint press conference with US Secretary of State and ardent commo, John Kerry, who said;

”We take this issue very seriously, which is why President Obama laid out a series of concrete and substantial reforms,” Mr Kerry said.

”The United States doesn’t collect intelligence for the competitive advantage of US companies, or US commercial sectors.”

The only concrete and substantial reform Obama needs to get involved in is to put pressure on Putin to send Snowdon back or, send in a Seal snatch team and get the bastard under lock and key to shut him up.  He is doing severe damage to the West  aided and abetted by The Guardian, New York Times, Der Spiegel, ABC and SBS and other forces for the destabilization of the western system.

Its gone on long enough.

Your turn in the barrell

A FEMALE submariner has been sent home from Singapore and is under investigation after an alleged indecent assault on another female crew member while on shore leave in Darwin. The incident occurred early this month while both women were at a bar in Darwin and is alleged to have involved inappropriate behaviour including groping and sexual advances.

Wow!  Another “sailor trying to have sex after deployment” story.

Above the fold and on the front page of  The Australian means the editor thought Stewart Cameron’s story was important enough to beat all other incidences of assault, murder, corruption, slavery, forced prostitution and whatever else us imperfect people do on any given day.

According to the Centre Against Sexual Assault (CASA) in 2005 an  estimated 44,000 Australians were subject to sexual assault.  Thus we can expect at least 120 people were subject to assault today but only one gets headline treatment.

I’m glad Stewart wasn’t around when I was young and learning the difference between appropriate and inappropriate as with his nose for sexual impropriety within the ADF he’d be straight onto me.

Seems a bit weird to me.

Maori Farewell

A video of the passionate haka performed by the comrades of three fallen New Zealand soldiers has gone viral, with tens of thousands of people around the world watching the clip.

The 2nd and 1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment performed the moving tribute for Corporal Luke Tamatea, 31, Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, 26, and Private Richard Harris, 21, at their funeral service at the Burnham Military Camp in Christchurch on Saturday.

The trio were killed instantly when a roadside bomb destroyed their Humvee in Afghanistan’s northeast Bamiyan Province on August 18.

Remembrance Day

Terry Sweetman can’t keep ideology out of todays remembrance as he talks of  good  and bad wars in a piece entitled Remembrance day silence a time to contemplate the pointlessness of-war.

He starts;

We should think of lives lost, lives shattered, lives squandered, and lives given in service of what good men and women rightly or wrongly believed were good and just causes.

and I respond

Your article and the above quote makes me think the value of sacrifice of those who served in “bad”  wars is less than had they died in “good” wars.

You question why we served in earlier wars but the Maori Wars, the Boxer Rebellion, the Sudan War, the Boer War and WW1 were all fought during a period when most people in Australia thought of themselves as British Australians who were similar to British Canadians or British South Africans.  It was a case of Britian is at war, we are British, let’s go.

Who could argue about the good or bad of WW2.  Who would ever suggest we shouldn’t have contributed to the downfall of Hitler and Tojo. No one surely and the arguement that Japan was never really going to invade Australia was lost on my Father as he endured 64  Japanese bombing raids on Darwin.

Korea might be officially still under a truce but the communist regimes of China and North Korea didn’t take over the South and it has flourshed so that’s a win.

The Paris Peace Talks ended the Vietnam war in a truce as well.  All beligerants went home but while the West lost interest and political will the communists never did and North Vietnam, rearmed by the USSR, finally invaded.  It took them nearly 15 years to win the hollow invasion and it cost them dearly.  We held them up for all that time and sapped their economies so surely that’s a positive. Korea, Malaya and Vietnam were all battles of the Cold War and that was won in 1990 when the Berlin Wall came down.

The more recent “good ” and “bad” wars, Iraq and Afghanistan, are battles of the war against terrorism. Both have given the local populace an inkling of democracy, secular education, better health and education outcomes and some hope of a better future.  Al Qaeda and theTaliban are somewhat depleted, albeit not destroyed, and I think the point is, the whole affair is a generational campaign that will bear fruit in days to come.

The battles aren’t done and the war continues.

I’m tired of being told I fought in a “bad” war with 7RAR in Vietnam while the later 7RAR troops who fought in Iraq also copped the “bad” war service but the next rotation to Afghanistan of the battalion served in a “good” war.  We don’t see it that way.  The country called and we served under the rising sun, as did our fathers, in an apolitical manner.

I would rather the line quoted at the start be;

We should think of lives shattered and lives given in service of what good men and women believed were good and just causes.

Leave the “rightly or wrongly” and “squandered” to the politicians lest the words start appearing on gravestones and memorials.

In the meantime I await the news of my mate Percy who yesterday was given 24 hours to live.  Percy served in one of  the “bad” wars in an exemplorary manner and in doing so proved himself a better man than Sweetman ever will be.

poppy

It’s not a matter of guilt or innocence

If anyone is naive on the subject of international diplomacy it must be Harry Mansson of Clareville, NSW who in letters to the editor writes;

THE amateurish Australian handling of the Indonesian spying crisis is beyond belief (“Indonesia queries joint security”, 5/11).

Either we are guilty or we are not. It must be assumed that we know what it is, and the Indonesians have seen the Snowden documentation. If not guilty, then Julie Bishop should swear that this is so, and it may be believed.

If guilty, then simply say so, that it was a mistake, and it will not be repeated, apology will be accepted, and a more solid mutual ground will be created to continue on. The current response to “never admit or deny” admits guilt without the courage and honesty to say so. It undermines the declaration of trust and friendship with Indonesia, and whoever invented it should be out of a job.

Harry, I was spying on the Indonesians in the 60′s as a newly minted Indon linguist in the Army and I can tell you I felt no guilt at all.  I learned not to be afraid of their capabilities but that we did need to keep an eye on them and it will always be thus.  A country isn’t “guilty” of spying on another country, it is just what civilized nations do.  We spy on the Indons, they spy on us and when some traiterous usefull idiot like Snowden points it out then nations are obliged to make diplomatic representation.  The diplomats talk, the media beat it up, naive people like yourself pontificate and the matter is put aside.

It is not a mistake, it will be repeated (in fact it wont even be paused) and both parties know this.

If you don’t understand how the world works then stay out of the debate Harry.

I’ll believe it when I see it.

THE Rudd government will today announce a $34 million improvement to two military retirement benefits that have been the subject of a long campaign by veterans to bring their annual indexation arrangements into line with the pension.

Minister for Defence Materiel Mike Kelly will today announce the Defence Forces retirement benefit and the Defence Forces retirement and death benefits will be indexed in the same way as age pensions.

The ALP plane is for recipients over 65 which fits my profile but the Coalition have included those over 55;

 

The Coalition has promised DFRB and DFRDB superannuants aged 55 and over will have their superannuation pensions indexed in the same way as aged and service pensions. About 57,000 military superannuants are members of these schemes.

Why are both parties undertaking to bring our annual indexation into line with pension.  By way of explaination I posted this last year;

I received a letter from the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation(DFRDB) informing me I have a CPI increase of .01% for the six months Sep 11 to Mar 12. This gives me an increase of $1.12 per fortnight. I thought of taking my Bride out to dinner to celebrate but the Power bill that is forecast to increase by up to 7.6% % is due and the rates notice is around the corner with a 4.9% increase although the Mayor had promised to keep the increase below the 3.6% inflation rise.

What’s that – 3.6% inflation? How is that related to .01% CPI rise?

I seriously doubt that the ALP undertaking will ever be called upon and even in the unlikely event that the voters are snowed by the Rudd Tsunami and actually elect him again I would expect them to reneg when they finally admit they have run the country broke and can’t afford any of their election promises; let alone a promise to the very organization that they have ignored and denigrated over my life time.

We’ll see.

 

 

  • Facebook
  • Twitter