Paperback Price Bump
Amazon informs me that paper and ink prices are rising. I will be raising prices on my paperback books to match. Rick
President Patton Armor
Though the Russians are noted for building impressive tanks, an important aspect was numbers fielded. A Nazi King Tiger could dispatch six Soviet T-34’s for every loss. One Soviet response was to build 50,000 T-34/76mm’s just as the Americans fielded a comparable number of M-4 Sherman tanks.
Forty writes the 32-ton T-34/85mm carried a crew of five freeing up the tank commander to better guide movement and spot targets. The 85mm ZiS S53 main gun is very comparable to the famous Nazi 88mm and effective to 1000-meters. An aluminum 500-horsepower V12 diesel pushed the T-34 to 34 mph for 186-miles before needing to re-fuel. The T-34 stood nine-feet tall and had up to 90mm of armor compared to the M4 Sherman’s 50mm (143). In the historic Korean War, the T-34 proved well protected against the 2.36-inch M-1 bazooka and 57mm recoilless rifle.
Forty illustrates the Joseph Stalin III, the last Soviet heavy tank of World War Two, which didn’t see combat, but was displayed at the Potsdam conference ON September 7, 1945. The frontal armor of the JS III sloped to each side as well as down towards the front. The pointy glacis plate gave it the nickname ‘Pike’ after the large infantry spear that carried all before it (181).
Forty continues, the JS III boasted a 122mm D-25 cannon, which could penetrate 230mm (nine-inches) of opposing armor, and thick frontal armor. Despite that, the Joe Stalin III was only nine-feet, seven-inches tall and 46 tons. The low stature meant that the Soviets didn’t need to re-bore railroad tunnels and the JSIII was a smaller target on the battlefield than the ten foot tall Sherman. Russian tank crewmen were the shortest ten-percent of recruits. The JS III only carried 28-rounds for the main gun. The ammunition was carried in two parts which reduced the rate of fire to two per minute in the cramped turret (181).
A 520 horsepower V12 diesel propelled the JSIII at 23 miles per hour for 130-miles. Small internal fuel capacity was offset by large drums of fuel on the back deck of the tank. Stalin fielded 2,311 of his namesakes.
Forty tells us the Soviets invented the Main Battle Tank with the T-54 in 1948. The 35-ton T-54 combined the capable 100mm D10 main gun with a speed of 30 miles-per-hour and range of 250-miles (224). GDW relates the 100mm BR-412AP shell could penetrate 135mm (five-inches)of armor at 1000-meters (17). At seven-feet, 10.5-inches tall, the T-54 was even lower than the T-34. Crew size was reduced to four by using an automatic loaded. Tales of one-armed former Russian tankers are likely exaggerated. Maximum armor thickness of 203mm was over twice that of the sturdy T-34 and comparable to the American M-26/M-45.
Patton may have faced ‘only’ 8,000 T-54’s in late 1949. The T-54 lack gun stabilization until 1955 and developed a reputation for the magnesium engine catching fire on its own. This may be due to a lack of an early break-in oil change to remove metal shavings from new engines.
The Soviets transported infantry on the backs of their tanks during World War Two (The Great Patriotic War) and have not fielded battle taxis with overhead cover in 1949.
President Patton’s tanks were distinctly advanced in the matters of fuel, gun caliber and armor. Many tankers are concerned with the volatility of gasoline in combat. A bigger issue for Division commanders is diesel engines in tanks provide twice as much range. The ‘Red Ball Express’ was a herculean effort to transport fuel from Normandy beachheads to the front lines, which used quite a bit of fuel and manpower to operate. Lack of fuel led General Eisenhower to reduce fuel to General Patton in favor of British General Montgomery’s Market Garden campaign.
Historic tanks are rated by gun caliber, President Patton’s tanks are uniformly 105mm M4 howitzer. One Sherman tank in four was fitted with a 105mm at Normandy as a replacement for the M-7 Priest self-propelled gun. The M-7 was not adequately armored for the direct fire role against bunkers encountered in Italy. The WWII era 105mm M67 High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) round had a penetration of 140mm (5 ½ inches). This was comparable to most other guns used on the Sherman. The British 17 pounder (75mm) achieved 186 mm penetration (7-inches) by use of a tungsten sabot round.
HEAT (high explosive anti-tank) rounds are also called shaped charge or hollow charge rounds. The explosive in a HEAT round has a dense metal cone (usually copper) with the wide mouth facing the target. The back is packed with high explosive. The igniter is at the rear and as the blast wave pushes forward, the cone is compressed into a high density pellet of hot metal traveling at thousands of feet per second. The hole it makes in armor is quite similar to long rod penetrators but remains as effective at all distances.
The front of the HEAT round has an aerodynamic cap that also holds the electric detonator switch for better standoff distance from the target armor.
Patton knew the shaped charge warhead had great potential. The 90mm M-20 super bazooka of 1944 was effective against 280mm (eleven-inches) of armor. The twisting imposed by rifled cannon distorts the penetrating jet of HEAT rounds. Patton’s research with cone geometry, cone material, standoff probes or explosives have improved the 105mm howitzer HEAT penetration to 200mm by 1949.
One reason for the 105mm howitzer in the heavy tank is crew survivability. Many WWII Sherman tanks would survive several hits on the way from Normandy to Berlin. It was the crew that would be washed out with a fire hose. Besides reducing the enthusiasm of tanker recruits, infantrymen replacements have less training and practice before combat in a tank.
Some M26 Pershing tanks were outfitted with 105mm howitzers in 1945. Tanks-encyclopedia tells us the 105mm weighed only 1,140-pounds while the 90mm gun weighed 2,260-pounds. The gun mantlet was increased from 4.5 to eight-inches thick to balance the turret. The turret was thickened to five-inches in front and sides as well. A post war study indicated that 90% of disabling hits on tanks were on the top three feet of the tank. The thicker armor of the 105mm turret was just the ticket for improved tank and tanker survival.
The heavy tank also benefited from the 105mm M-4 gyro stabilizer which, with a trained crew, allowed accurate firing on the move. The shorter barrel also would allow easier traverse movement in urban terrain and forests.
Upgunning the M24 Chaffee light tank to the 105mm M4 howitzer would provide benefits of ammunition commonality in a mixed tank unit where the Chaffee’s were relegated to scouting. The bigger gun would give stronger impact in airborne operations where the Chaffee might meet larger enemy tanks without the support of their big brothers. Fewer rounds at hand are a tradeoff.
Patton was concerned about the heavier recoil of the 105mm howitzer on the 18-ton chassis. The Chaffee might mount a muzzle brake and/or take advantage of the howitzers semi-fixed ammunition to reduce the number of charges below the maximum of six. The more modern example is the 20-ton Cadillac-Gage Stingray light tank firing the high velocity 105mm L7 NATO round once used by the M1 Abrams heavy tank.
Most artillery dating from the French 75mm fire with the barrel stationary, in battery. The barrel recoils back as the shell rushes downrange and is slowed by hydraulic cylinders and returned to the start position.
A soft recoil system starts with the barrel in a rear position. When fired, the barrel is allowed to travel forward and the propellant is ignited while the barrel is moving forward. Recoil must first slow the barrel to a stop before pushing it back to the starting position where it is retained.
The President Patton M4 Dumbo tank is the most numerous in his tank park despite the rear-engine, front drive that raises the height if the turret. The PPM-4 is improved with diesel power train and improved armor suite based on historic battle damage.
Where the standard M4A1 has a maximum 75mm turret armor, the PPM4 inherits the heavy turret and applique glacis armor of the M4A3E3 ‘Jumbo’ assault tank. Chamberlain writes the Jumbo turret had 150mm (six-inches) of frontal armor (118). The heavier weight is carried on wider tracks. Eliminating the bow machine gunner adds stowage for the main gun above the standard 66 rounds of 105mm. The 50mm smoke grenade launchers are life savers when disengaging from the enemy.
The PPM-47 main battle tank gains great mobility by using a gas turbine electric drive. Electric transmissions are used in locomotives and heavy equipment because of the full torque electric drives provide at zero revolutions per minute. The U.S. Army tested diesel electric drives, in the 1940’s, but found the hydromatic transmission to be lighter weight and more reliable when paired with diesel or gasoline engines. The Abrams gas turbine, of the late 20th century, enjoys the smaller size and greater horsepower to weight ratio of the gas turbine but uses a transmission adapted from a helicopter.
Diesel electric transmissions suffer from the diesel’s slow 900 rpm. A gas turbine running at 3600 rpm pushes four times as much power from the same size alternator. The President Patton M-47 increases crew protection by mounting the engine up front. This was seen in a post-war Chrysler proposal. This allows an escape hatch to the rear, rather than dodging torsion bars under the tank’s hull.
Leg infantry and armored infantry units ride armored fighting vehicles adapted from WWII Sherman tanks. The turrets are removed and hulls are fitted with steel fragmentation resistant roofs. Fifty-caliber Browning machine guns provide anti-aircraft and anti-materiel performance. Super bazookas provide self-defense against tanks and can also be used against bunkers.
Air transported units get modified M-18 Hellcats capable of fifty-mile-per-hour speed. Some anti-tank capability is maintained with a recoilless rifle. The recoilless rifle can reach out a thousand yards with equal effectiveness due to shaped charge shells.
Next month will discuss President Patton's aircraft. Rick
President Patton Small Arms
While most armies soldiered on with bolt action relics of World War One, World War Two America enjoyed the advantages and disadvantages of the M-1 Garand. The chief problem was in production quantity. America enlisted sixteen million into its armed forces in World War Two and did not complete five million M-1 rifles until 1955. M-1’s in .30-06 were supplemented by two million 1903-A3 bolt actions, six million M-1 Carbines (much smaller cartridge) and two million M1A1 Thompson submachine guns in .45 ACP. The US Ordnance department wanted a new design to replace the pistol, M-1 Carbine, Thompson, M-1 rifle and Browning automatic rifle. Ambitious?
General George Patton promotes the German assault rifle StG (Sturm Gewehr/Assault Rifle) 45 (1945) to replace the M1 Carbine, M1 rifle, Thompson submachinegun and light machinegun/Browning Automatic Rifle in infantry squads. StG 45(M) - Wikipedia The .280/7mm British cartridge gives adequate trajectory and impact past the 300-yard engagement range of the average infantryman. Because the .280 British is longer than the Nazi 8X33mm Kurz, the design must be modified, delaying mass deployment. .280 British - Wikipedia The assault rifle is easily mas produced with a pressed steel receiver and weighs eight pounds. The detachable magazine fed assault rifle accommodates an infrared (IR) Sniperscope and has the range to utilize post WWII advancements.
The Soviet Union ‘independently’ came up with the cartridge M-43 7.62X39mm after experiencing attack from a new German carbine in 1942. Eight-pound Simonov 45 carbines appeared in time for the battle of Berlin. The Simonov is a gas operated semi-automatic carbine with a fixed ten-round magazine. It is reloaded through the top of the action by ten round stripper clips. The Simonov’s had machined receivers and wooden stocks well within Soviet wartime technology.
The AK-47 was designed shortly after WWII with a stamped and riveted sheet metal receiver much like the MP-44/StG-45. The stamped receivers came apart under use until better Russian steel made the AKM possible in the 1960’s. A machined steel variant AK-49 worked okay and accompanied Soviet troops to Hungary in 1956.
Patton’s paratroops are armed with 5.5-pound M1 carbines. The M1 carbine weighs half as much as the World War Two M1 Garand rifle. The cartridge is far weaker with a 110 grain bullet at 2000 feet per second versus 150 grain at 2700 fps for the M-1 Garand rifle. The M1 carbine is loaded from the bottom with a ten or 15 round detachable box magazine. This means an infrared (light) Sniperscope can be placed over the action without hindering loading or overburdening the soldier. Nazi Germany fielded small numbers of the infra-red Vampyr device and used them to defend Tiger Tanks from Soviet sappers.
American infrared sniperscopes were notably effective in defense against Japanese night attacks on Okinawa where the effective range of the Carbine and sniperscope was 75-yards. Sniperscope/Snooperscope: Use During WWII - The Carbine Collector's Club (uscarbinecal30.com)
The 1,200 round per minute MG-42 was built for the 8X57mm Mauser cartridge and was not adapted to the longer .30-06 cartridge successfully. It was no problem to chamber the stamped metal MG-42 machinegun to .280 British. The MG-42 Machine Gun | The National WWII Museum | New Orleans (nationalww2museum.org) I have had the pleasure of firing the MG-3 descendent of the MG-42 from the prone position.
Army Ordnance is looking for a lighter pistol cartridge and pistol. The .45ACP cartridge weighs as much as the .30-06 rifle cartridge and has just 100-yards effective range in the Thompson SMG versus 500-yards for the .30-06 rifle. Odds on favorite is the 9X19mm Luger (now NATO) used by England, Canada and China as well as Nazi Germany. The 9mm weighs half as much as the .45 ACP.
Patton grew up with .45 caliber pistols that worked well in the Philippines’, World War One and World War Two. Patton advocates a compromise .40 caliber that will fit existing 9mm pistols and give adequate stopping power with a flat point bullet. The Canadian built P-35 is modified for the slightly larger caliber. The U.S. Army soldiers on with the .45 ACP 1911A1. The P-35 in 9X19mm Luger is adopted for airborne troops.
Soldiers in trenches are difficult to hit with rifle fire over their heads. Hand grenades can be tossed into foxholes by any soldier able to advance past machineguns. The mortar can drop bombs into trenches and machine gun nests from hundreds of yards away. Having mortars light enough to advance with the troops saves time and radio bandwidth. Not to mention that annoying short falling friendly fire.
The US Army experimented with a light 60mm mortar before World War Two that relied on the skill of the user to estimate range and angle of fire. That didn’t work well and adding a tripod and baseplate brought the weight up to sixty-pounds. Not so portable.
Before World War Two, both the French and Japanese invented 50mm mortars weighing ten pounds and using a fixed firing angle. The French relied on a leveled baseplate with the firing angle controlled by a chain. Okay, if you have time to level the baseplate. The Japanese knee mortar uses a concave baseplate that instantly adapts to varied terrain. One was issued to each infantry squad and carried along the thigh of the user. Angle was held constant with a built-in bubble level while range was controlled by screw-adjusting the barrel length. Okay, if you can see the bubble level. Good place for radium paint. The British used two-inch mortars on armored vehicles in World War Two and later to dispense smoke. Type 89 grenade discharger - Wikipedia
The 3.5-inch, 90mm, super bazooka M-20, was designed to defeat Nazi Tiger tanks in the waning days of WWII. The shaped charge warhead can penetrate eleven-inches of armor at any distance. Most users can hit a tank at 100-yards. The aluminum tube version weighs only eleven-pounds and the tube can be hinged for paratroop deployment. While the anti-tank artillery of WWII weighed several tons, the M-20 can be fitted to a Jeep or VW kubelwagen. The historic US Army dropped this weapon until needed in Korea against the T-34/85.
Recoilless rifles use a massive jet of propellant gas to the rear to counter the recoil of launching a shaped charge (HEAT) forward at 1,000 feet-per-second. Good shots can hit a sitting tank at 1,000 yards. The same rifling spin that stabilizes the shell in flight destabilizes the shaped-charge liquid metal stream on contact. Armor penetration of the 57mm M18 RR is about three-inches while the 75mm M20 will penetrate 4 to 5-inches and was effective versus the T-34/85 in historic Korea.
General Patton promotes shaped-charge High Explosive Anti-tank research to improve the 105mm howitzer performance to equal the 90mm tank gun.
Factors to try are standoff distance between contact fuse and shaped charge, explosive (TNT vs RDX, HMX), Cone angle, Cone/liner material (steel, copper, depleted uranium). Depleted uranium is used for tank sabot rounds, today. Experiments have found depleted uranium rock-drilling charges give three-to-five times the penetration of copper charge liners. Penetration of an optimal depleted uranium liner of a shaped charge: A numerical simulation method - Rongzheng Xu, Li Chen, Jinhua Zhang, Hengbo Xiang, Qin Fang, 2021 (sagepub.com)
A historic idea (1959) was to impress the liner of the 57mm recoilless with counter-rifling, increasing penetration to between four and five-inches. US3726224A - Fluted liners for shaped charges - Google Patents
Able bodied citizens should own firearms for defense of themselves, their families and their country. Naturalized citizens, male and female, vow to take up arms to defend the United States and Constitution. Selective Service says males have an obligation to serve when called.
Two evacuations, a home burglary and advancing years have me examining my firearms in light of what I might reasonably evacuate with and leave to my heirs. Firearms can last for centuries. Some have fired cannon-lock wall guns from Tannenberg Castle THE TANNENBURG GONNE .75" BORE (handgonne.com). Firearms may be made of rust-resistant materials with chrome lined barrels and durable finishes. Firearms made in the millions may have the bugs worked out with replacement parts and knowledgeable gunsmiths widely available. Some designs are inherently less likely to cause problems for decades. As an extreme example, a science fiction author suggested the .75 caliber Brown Bess flintlock as a survival weapon for stranded space travelers. A modern flintlock rifle with .50 bullets would equal penetration with greater accuracy. A synthetic or aluminum ramrod won’t split or stab your hand. I haven’t owned a muzzle loading rifle, but include this thought for worst case scenarios.
Guns can be used for effective defense. Most events resolve without a shot being fired. I have only fired one shot with intent to save a life. It was a warning shot into the ground which stopped a big man slamming his girlfriend’s head against a concrete sidewalk. Otherwise, there have been a dozen times I was glad to have a firearm available (about half with animals in camp, at night).
Handguns leave a hand free to open a door, hold a flashlight, cellphone, or child; or fend off an attacker with bad breath. Pocket guns don’t gain attention by criminals or police. The neighbor who knocked for sugar at midnight wasn’t terrified by the gun hidden in my robe pocket. She was making a cake for her son’s birthday even though we both worked swing shift and stores weren’t open (yes I was around when 7-11 were the store hours).
A handgun may be secured in a locked drawer. A double-action revolver may be loaded/un-loaded and cleaned without cocking the hammer. Revolvers can rest loaded for decades without any springs under tension to weaken or fail. Metal parts can break from metal fatigue when under spring tension for decades. Revolvers are usable with cartridges having a great variety of bullet nose shapes and power levels (.38/.357 Magnum). Revolvers retain the cartridge case which makes reloading easier.
American ammunition factories made only military ammunition during World Wars One and Two. You may want to store a five-year supply to get you through. Ammunition made today should be good for 50-70 years with dry, room temperature storage. After losing my stockpile, the recent ammo shortfall left .22 Long Rifle, 12-gauge shotgun and NATO ammunition (9x19mm, 5.56X45mm, 7.62X51mm) on store shelves. Over a dozen nations make NATO ammo for their own use so those factories geared up for export to the USA.
The FBI rates the 9mm, with expanding bullets, equal to larger calibers against humans. I’ve also read it works against bears. I have fair confidence in availability for the next fifty-years. 9mm revolvers usually require a sheet metal ‘moon clip’ to facilitate ejection and loading. These clips may be lost or bent out of reliable shape. A springy moon clip can defeat a firing pin. The 22-ounce Charter Pitbull uses spring loaded extractors to eliminate the need for clips. Model # 79920 | Charter Arms (charterfirearms.com)
Other revolver calibers to consider are the .22 LR (Long Rifle), .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire, .38 Special/.357 Magnum and .45 Colt. The .22 LR is least expensive, lightweight, and available BUT is a less reliable stopper for humans or bears. Reloader’s may favor the .45 Colt designed to be a man and horse stopper with flat-point lead bullets and black powder. Charter Arms made a five-shot, 22-ounce, .45 Colt pocket revolver (not on the California roster). CHARTER ARMS 74530 BULLDOG XL .45 LC 2.5IN Stainless Steel FS | Guns Warehouse
Rifles generally give better accuracy than handguns because of a longer sight radius and four points of contact. .22 LR rifles are reputed to be reliable stoppers for people within 100-yards. Browning makes the nice SA22 takedown. The newer Savage A22 features detachable rotary magazines for quicker loading and unloading. The .223/5.56 NATO is used by police and military and has low penetration through apartment walls. The .308 Winchester/7.62mm NATO should be available for decades of heavy duty. Iron peep sights are fairly easy to use. You just look through the little hole and put the target on top of the front sight. A 9mm folding carbine can weigh just 4-5 pounds and fit in a backpack or dresser drawer. New: Smith & Wesson 9mm M&P FPC Folding Carbine :: Guns.com
It has always taken years to arm our troops for a major war. The Viet-Nam War saw us field a new .223 rifle with only .30 caliber cleaning rods in country. The designed-for ammunition wasn’t supposed to require cleaning in a dry temperate climate (or Siberia). The Army save some bucks by recycling poorly stored World War Two powder that filled the receiver with limestone fouling. You may want your own rifle. How And Why The M16 Failed In Vietnam (And Is It Reliable Today?) - Pew Pew Tactical
I don’t own forty-acres or a mule and couldn’t evacuate with them. My emergency food plan is to hunt large animals. Rifles work best for that.
I now prefer takedown long guns to avoid theft and avoid notice when going to a hotel room or traveling by bus, rail or foot. Also, take-down action guns allow cleaning from the breech without ruining accuracy by scraping the rifling crown with the cleaning rod. 7 Salty Takedown Rifles For Any Survival Situation - Gun Digest When my longarms don’t take down easily, I have used folding chair sleeves to disguise them while moving.
Shotguns shoot heavy shells (9/pound) at close range. 12-gauge is available and is a reliable intimidator as well as stopper. Remington pumps used to be reliable but since the 2020 bankruptcy the current batch has problems with reliable extraction and ejection. Los Angeles police found semi-automatic shotguns can be fired from the prone position when rioters are shooting back at you. The quiet Metrogun extension Metrogun can minimize those pesky flash mobs when poaching. Otherwise, you can hunt during storms. Hammer shotguns, like revolvers avoid metal fatigue with the hammer down. Single shot break-open shotguns are about $150. Hammer doubles are $500. They clean from the rear of the barrel and takedown to fit backpack or suitcase with 18-20-inch barrels.
What about the Young Turks?
For Justin. The Young Turks elevated themselves by violence and, fearing Turkish Armenians would join Russia, committed genocide. Taft’s War found the Allies victorious and our Young Turks filled their money belts with gold and gave themselves papers as ordinary soldiers. They would likely also have Swiss bank accounts. Justin asks, “What happens to them?”
We know many Nazis relocated to Argentina after the fall of Germany in World War Two. Argentina had sold beef to Germany and refused to declare war against Germany until March, 1945. Germany fell in May. Kurt Tank helped Peron develop a swept-wing jet fighter.
Many Nazi soldiers from places like Norway and the Netherlands joined the French Foreign Legion which provides all enlistees with a new identity, a Nom de Guerre. Many Legionnaires fought in Indochina.
I first imagined the Young Turks escaping by fishing boats to Spain, which was neutral in World War One and would have less national incentive to hunt down war criminals. Alas, 1915 Spain is still a Christian nation with an Inquisition to persecute Jews and Muslims. This might not be a good refuge for men wearing a fez.
I now imagine the Young Turks making their way to a Turkish speaking province of Tsarist Russia. They might think themselves less conspicuous there. In truth, as newcomers to rural communities with population stability, they would be well known as foreigners. These educated men might obtain employment teaching German, French or English to the children of wealthy locals. Their skills might find them noticed by the Tsarist secret police and perhaps employed.
Taft’s War sees an Armenian nation, which may not include Russian Armenian provinces. This may prove a future point of conflict as Kurdish unification affects our Middle East. Christian Armenians are reputed to have adopted newer agricultural technology faster than their Muslim countrymen, adding to the prosperity of a nation state. There is also the potential of loans from the Suez Corporation to build roads and hydroelectric dams. It’s possible Armenian agents would track down the Yung Turks just as the Israeli’s prosecuted Nazis and the Munich Olympic killers.
On a related note, Great Britain assisted the Saudis in the conquest of Arabia in the 1920’s and 1930’s, as well as establishing Arabic rulers in Jordan and Iraq. Taft’s War ends before Lawrence leads an Arab uprising. It’s possible Persia (Iran) would make efforts to absorb Shiite Iraq, oil-rich Kuwait and eventually Mecca to create a Caliphate. The Young Turks with Turkish rather than Farsi language and nominally Sunni religion would not be major actors on the side of the Persians. The temptation would be for a Caliphate to create an oil near-monopoly by retaking Baku, on the Caspian, and even Muslim Indonesia. Our Muslim world produces, other than oil, less industrial output than tiny Finland. Iran has historically been more interested in science, industry and commerce than has Arabia. Your thoughts?
Japan post Taft's War?
For Justin. Circa 1868, a coalition of militarists and merchants elevated Emperor Meiji to transition Japan away from 250-years of Shogunate isolationism. Amazon.com: Toru: Wayfarer Returns (Sakura Steam Series): 9780996932318: Sorensen, Stephanie R: Books Merchants wanted to gain prosperity from trade with the outside world. Militarists wanted to promote themselves and Japan through conquest.
The militarists had some success: helping put down the Boxer Rebellion in 1901 and defeating two Russian fleets by 1905. Conquests include Korea 1910, Manchuria 1932, Okinawa 1872, Formosa/Taiwan 1895, German Pacific possessions Conquest of the German Pacific | Historical Atlas of Asia Pacific (10 October 1914) | Omniatlas became Japanese following World War One.
Army officers in the 1920’s and ‘30’s assassinated politicians: Before Abe: A Brief History of Political Assassinations in Japan – The Diplomat The historic Japanese Army invaded China without government approval and lost a war with Russia in 1939. War in China led to war against the United States in 1941. Though Taft’s War saw Japanese ships blockading Ottoman ports in Arabia, as well as shepherding ANZAC troops and Dutch oil to the Suez Canal; I am not greatly hopeful for a better outcome. Taft’s Germany was defeated and reformed as a federal republic that is less liable to autocratic takeover. German prisoners of war were educated in democracy and capitalism before being returned to Germany. Japan was on the winning side and would see little need to change.
Japan was blocked from direct trade with European colonies. An alternate Japan might engage in asymmetric warfare against colonial France, Netherlands and the United States by backing resistance groups to create a Co-prosperity Sphere. The goal would be to obtain favorable access to oil and rubber without overt warfare. Merchants might reach out to Brazil for iron: Iron Ore in Brazil | OEC - The Observatory of Economic Complexity Japanese Brazilians - Wikipedia
Another alternative would be Japanese investment in foreign countries to raise mutual standards of living. One proposed megaproject (since the 17th Century) is the Kra Canal: Thai Canal - Wikipedia This would save oil tankers 1,200 kilometers sailing between the Gulf and Asia. The economics is against the project as the comparable Suez and Panama canals save, perhaps, 12,000 miles of sailing time and distance. A recent cost estimate is $28 Billion netting some $100 to $500 Million per year. You can see the payoff would take over 50-years without considering interest on the debt. The other end of the scale is micro-investment: Fund Economic Empowerment | Micro Loans & Microfinance | World Vision In between is investment in transport: roads, bridges and railways. This would not find favor with colonialists desiring a monopoly on cheap labor.
I am mildly hopeful that fewer war dead in Taft’s War versus World War One would create a richer planet. A federal Germany might resist Nazism. An alternate US President might lead the world with saner taxation, trade and de-colonization. One the other hand, Russia is on the United Nations Security Council. Your thoughts?
Fascism after Taft's War?
Justin asks if there might be troublesome Nazism and/or Communism despite the deaths of Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Lenin after Taft’s War. Probably.
The founder of Fascism, Benito Mussolini, survived Taft’s War and Italy was grabbing Libya from the Ottomans in 1911. As a victor, the government of Italy proceeds without reform. On reflection, mankind’s fascination with discipline, solidarity, courage, loyalty and ability probably date back to the days when we hunted mammoths with spears. Armies, including the United States Army, rely on these principles; perhaps to the exclusion of others favored in Democratic Republics. One key element is the treatment of dissent. In the US Army, questions may be asked but a refusal to follow orders (in violation of oath) will be addressed by court martial. Failure to follow a lawful order will result in dishonorable discharge in peacetime and the loss of several rights.
Mussolini’s Black Shirts would beat, even kill, opponents and vandalize or burn their property without due process of law. Spartans would hunt down dissenters and kill them in the dark of night.
The Jewish tradition is to share a communal meal every week. A rich family might provide an ox and the poor would recognize them as part of the community and not rob or kill them. American (voluntary) communes foundered when the children grew up and disagreed. Christian Priests, Monks and Nuns sidestep that pitfall with sexual abstinence as did the Shakers. The Oneida and Amana colonies transitioned into corporations selling silverware and microwave ovens. Teens of the Amish are free to leave the community but may be shunned, forfeit all property inheritance and medical care.
Russian forced Communism is stained with famine and genocide. Despite these examples, socialist ideas such as equity, progressive income tax, inheritance tax and price controls remain popular in the United States. I suspect Communism is easily understood by children being provided by their parents.
Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, wrote the rule of law was required to suppress crimes of violence and fraud. Only then could, and would, people work to produce goods and services for trade. Trade allows specialization and development of labor-saving-tools that benefit the economy of the whole country. That’s a lot more complicated than government taking from the rich and giving to the poor.
United States Republicans stalled world trade with high tariffs after World War One. Several nations turned to preying on neighboring countries or domestic pariahs (such as the Jews) as an alternative route to national wealth.
Human nature hasn’t changed much. We can establish better institutions such as rational taxation, government transition by election, patents, copyrights and universities. Our Constitution which may not be overwritten by mere legislation is a wonder of the world. If we can keep it.
Black Chamber book
Tank origins 11911
In designing Taft's tank, I drew on H. G. Wells, the Holt tractor and the 37mm cannon already used by US troops. It turns out historic Austrian Gunther Burstyn had similar thoughts circa 1911. The link contradicts itself on whether his idea was patented and available for theft by Taft's spies.
Gunther Burstyn - Wikipedia inventor of the tank in 1911
Best regards, Rick
Pedersen Device 1913
Rick Kester is a Viet Nam era veteran living in Northern California with his wife Nancy.