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December 04, 2010


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GM Roper

Should war start, and I agree that it looks likely, Obama is likely to freeze up, the north will NOT pulverize the industry/cities of the south because they really need those resources in order to survive. This is going to be something else.


Gettysburg was three days, not four.

In general though, I just don't see this going all-out. Both have too much to lose. I put the chances at 5%.

Coinneach Newton

"the americans, with decidedly inferior equipment, somehow managed to more than hold their own".
The exchange rate in Europe after D Day was 5:1 or higher in favour of the Germans. But the Germans were unable to replace their losses whilst the Shermans just kept rolling off the production lines.

The majority of Panthers and Tigers were not destroyed in action but by their crews who abandoned them after running out of fuel and spares.

The strength of the American military was and still is the economic and industrial machine behind it. As an aside this makes The current Amarican administration's policies on economics and business all the more worrying.

There is no doubt that N. Korea is not as you say toothless and casualties would indeed be high. But I doubt that N. Korea could sustain any prolonged conventional conflict given the economic and industrial weakness of the North compared with the South.

China would 'sit on its hands' offering limited and covert support to N. Korea. Any conflict for China given its economic and political involvment across the globe would be an embarrassment.

N. Korea would the be faced with two alternatives rather quickly. Either be reduced to guerilla tactics in the aftermath of its inevitable losses or go nuclear.

Kim Jung il may be crazy but I don't think he's stupid! All he really has are threats and provocation. The S. Koreans have a lot to lose. The question is are they willing to defend it? I think they are.

I wouldn't like to rate the chances of war in Korea but I would simply say this - If S. Korea stands up robustly against Kim Jung il and draws a line in the sand then there will be no war, very unlikely. If they don't, then they won't have to look for trouble it will inevitably come looking for them.

john jay


thanks for the very thoughtful and well considered reply. you don't know how flattering it is to receive a well thought out comment like this: it means close and attentive reading.

the poor old shermans.--

disparaged by their crews who called the dear things "ronsons," after the cigarette lighter, for their propensity to light up if hit by german fire, especially given that they were powered by gasoline and not diesel fuel: gas is more volatile, and will ignite easier, for sure.

american tank crews did suffer at the hands of german tanks. but, the shermans had one advantage, and that was speed and maneuver, and american tankers simply avoided "standing duels," (which they lost), in favor of maneuvering in close, and ganging up on german tanks with numbers when they could.

i don't know about the loss ratios. and, i don't know about german crews abandoning tanks, something i think that would have been rather frowned upon, even if they did run short of stores: you wouldn't leave your cadillac on the freeway if you ran out of gas, now would you.

but, you are correct for sure in the assertion that american production so far outstripped german production of tanks as to put the germans at a serious disadvantage.

tank against tank, the sherman was no match for the german tanks, except for the lighter tanks and infantry support tanks, that the germans started the war with.

but, the sherman was excellent in infantry support, and in numbers, the little buggers killed a lot more german tanks than they are given credit for. when your tank won't defeat the frontal armor, they you go to the sides, take out the tracks and drive wheels, and then shoot the bastards until they stop wiggling. to do that, you have to get in close by speed, and that's what the americans did.

as to the current american administration. i agree with you, they are a bunch of dickless wonders in the best case scenario, and a traitorous treasonous bunch of wreckers and saboteurs in the worst case. (i favor the latter as the most defensible position.) it is frightening to behold what they have done to u.s. geo-political and geo-strategic considerations in just two years.

as to the matter of stores, supplies and logistics that you bring up as between north and south korea.--

this is an interesting battlefield in korea. much of the country is hilly and mountainous, and therefore eliminates the great advantages that superior main battle tanks possess. in such a battlefield, ambush and artillery enfilade become very important, and the advantage of maneuver is reduced substantially. and, though the north korean tanks are out moded, they are not totally obsolete, and they do have big guns, 100+ mm on most of them.

the best battleground is north of seoul, and within 10 or 15 miles of the border. to the north of that we get into hilly ground again.

if the countries go to war, seoul will be within the range of north korean artillery, and they have about 4,000 pieces of tow-able guns.

seoul will come under fire.

to protect it, the south koreans will of necessity have to attack to the north. the initial attack will be over relatively flat ground, but, within miles, the north will have hills and low lying mountains to their backs: in short, they will have highly defensible positions and terrains from which to fight and defend.

i, in probable agreement with you, do not think that north korea has the logistic and fuel supplies to carry on offensive attack against seoul. but, i think that they can defend in an above situation, and defend very well. if they get backed into those mountains, and if the south koreans have to dig them out of prepared positions, there will be hell to pay.

in that situation, armor dug in, and artillery in place, and infantry positions fortified, it will be a tough go for anyone attacking them.

and, attack the south koreans must, if they are to protect seoul from extensive attack.

as a final matter, i do not think kim jung il stupid. crazy, however, is quite another matter.

a sane person would not attack another nation with an artillery barrage of some 170 rounds directed against his opponents fortified positions.

it is hard to say what the north koreans might do, and at some point the south koreans are simply not gonna put up with having their forces attacked, whether by torpedo boat, submarine or artillery fire.

john jay

john jay


sorry, but i couldn't resist an additional comment.--

the pressures of war demand technological and armaments advancement.

when american troops went ashore in north africa, they did so with tanks that were very obsolete.

when the war started, the united states simply did not have the industrial ability to cast a tank hull. we just didn't.

so, the first tanks to face the germans were manufactured with hulls fabricated from riveted plate steel, and did not feature rotating turrets for the main gun.

and, they were slow and clumsy and underpowered. but, the crews did have leather helmets!!! and, cotton "flak vests."

i am told that it was not a pleasant experienced being in one hit by a german 88.

likewise, the germans did not enter wwii with the same tanks that they entered the war with. if you will watch films of the battles for poland and france, and the campaign that forced the evacuation of dunkirk, you will see that the germans were equipped with very light tanks, some of which had 37mm canon, or tubes of a very small diameter compared to the 88mm gun of later tanks.

in short, the germans upgraded to contend with the russian advancement represented by the t-34.

and, we upgraded to the sherman. yes, it was not adequate in one on one set battle against the latter and larger german tanks.

it just wasn't.

and, at the start of wwii, navy and marine aviation equipment and tactics were not up to contending with the battle hardened japanese pilots sporting the very good mitsubishi zero fighter.

the americans took a spanking.

but, the american air crews quickly adopted tactics by which to contend with the superior maneuverability of the zero, which tactics included attacking only under favorable tactical advantage, and maintaining very tight discipline and formation against the japanese pilots who favored the gunslingers battle of individual combat.

pretty soon, there were no more skilled japanese pilots, attrition having taken care of that.

and, in much the same manner, the people who "flew" the shermans adopted tactics and strategies intent on avoiding the battlefield superiorities of the german tanks, which tactics favored speed, maneuver, and ganging up on german tanks, if possible.

when such tactics were unavailable or unavailing, the americans took their losses, and soldiered on.

but, the order of the day was speed, and attack. with such tactics patton's armor was especially effective.

and, the crews still called the sherman the "ronson," and it was not an affectionate name, or a term of endearment.

but, they soldiered. and, did the best, with what they had.

john jay

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