Wednesday What We’re Reading (Dec. 12, 2018)

A day late again. Blame Strategic Command WWII: World at War, which has been consuming my evenings, and busy days at work, which have been consuming my days. (SCWWIIWAW review should be coming sometime soon.)

A note on Christmas schedule: officially, our break starts on the 19th and ends on January 8th. We won’t be altogether absent during that stretch, but we certainly won’t have two-articles-and-a-linkpost per week.


  • Coal, oil, and now cobalt – A strategic material for the modern age.
  • Oh, Canada – Canada is having trouble keeping enough fighters in the air. (But hey, at least Gripen is on the table!)
  • F-35 Block II feature list – Pardon what is perhaps an impolitic question, but isn’t Block I still in development? Then again, as a software developer by day, I understand having to promise new features before the existing ones are done.
  • A history of US ASW efforts in the First World War
  • Apparently, I forgot to stick the link to the story in our what-we’re-reading chat channel, but the USAF is planning on consolidating F-22 basing, leaving Tyndall AFB out of future plans. (Tyndall will continue to house F-35s.) That leaves active F-22 squadrons at Hickam, Langley, and Elmendorf, which the USAF wants to expand from 21 to 24 aircraft each. There were 17 F-22s left at Tyndall during the hurricane, so that’s presumably a not-easily-salvable rate of a bit under 50%.
  • Soapbox favorite naval affairs writer James Holmes on Pearl Harbor, and how it’s Mahan’s fault – Both that it happened to us, and that it was a bad idea for the Japanese. Read it all the way through. It’s a good one.
  • The British Army demos an urban ops Challenger 2 – Something for a certain regular commenter of ours.
  • USAF must overhaul pilot training to fix future shortages – For a few months, I was in a Bible study at church with an ex-USAF pilot. He remarked once that for everyone outside of fighters and bombers, an Air Force job is basically an airline job with worse hours and a lack of cushy union-negotiated pay. Still, if I were in my early 20s, unmarried, and possessed of better eyesight, I might consider a career switch.
  • Russia rises to #2 in global arms sales – We’re #1! We’re #1! (I’m surprised Russia wasn’t already #2, though.)
  • Assad is back in charge in Syria – I saw a professional defense/geopolitics commentator on Twitter say that the only way Assad was ever going to leave was with a suitcase full of Franklins on a plane to Moscow. Makes sense to me—in recent years, it’s not a good idea to yield to the West if you’re a Middle Eastern dictator.
  • An animation of Helge Ingstad‘s sinking, showing the proximate cause – That’s leaking shaft seals, which leaked because of bent bulkheads and so on after the collision.

Flashpoint: Ukraine

Tip of the hat to Kilo Sierra for sharing these on Discord. (Join us! The link is in the sidebar!)

Flashpoint: South China Sea

Grab Bag: Technology, Guns, Oil, etc.

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