Gap Week, April 29, 2022

Hey everyone! This week is going to be a gap week, as I am attending the annual meeting of the Society for Military History which happened to come at the same time as finals and the end stages of some other projects. Unfortunately since I’m not presenting (I am chairing a session), I don’t have an abstract or paper to share with you guys and in my poor forward planning, I don’t have a ’round up’ of links either. That said, we’ll be back next week talking about the development of the tank and how that shapes what is and is not (mostly is not) a tank.

I do want to note just one link that I think is worth reading, the Angry Staff Officer writing on “What’s in a Name: The Problem with ‘Warfighter.'” This goes back to arguments I have made in the past about how it is important to be careful in framing what we imagine the tasks and job of soldiers to be, because how soldiers understand their role influences how they carry that role out. If soldiers imagine they are all ‘warfighters’ then they are more likely to respond to their mission by war-fighting it, which can be a real problem in the many missions soldiers may have which are not war-fightable.

Also for Patrons: the monthly patreon update will also probably be a couple days late (but only a couple); I had hoped to finish it at the airport, but the airport Wifi would not tolerate my ambition.

In the meantime, here is Percy with a TIE-fighter:

We got a few of these Star Wars themed plush toys. Ollie prefers the Millennium Falcon, whereas Percy likes the TIE-Fighter.

17 thoughts on “Gap Week, April 29, 2022

  1. I just finished reading “On Operations” at your suggestion, and I can’t help but see the Angry Staff Officer article as a good companion piece to the book. Although ASO goes against Friedman’s thesis when he refers to an operational level, the categories of wars he discussed immediately brought to mind Friedman’s campaign taxonomy.

  2. Random question: there’s a high school in my town called Washington Latin, and their team name is the Lions. I’d have thought the obvious choice would be the Wolves, or failing that, perhaps the Senators, Gladiators, or Eagles. Anyone care to defend the Latin Lions?

    1. Surely a sagacious someone such as yourself sees the shining, scintillating use of a lovely alliteration appelation?

  3. There were fantasy versions pf tanks in ‘The Council of Blades’ by Paul Kidd. (It was a second edition AD&D Forgotten Realms novel.) They were – ah – ‘interesting’ although the characters responsible for them did at least grasp the importance of combining them with mutually supporting infantry to make attacks.

    1. Worth noting is that the concept has been around for awhile–Leonardo da Vinci sketched some designs, and the wagenburgs of the Bohemian Hussites could be argued as a sort of proto-tank, though more in the “mobile fort” way rather than how we think of them.

      1. The Hussite ones were probably inspired by the Russian use of ‘walking towns’ against the Tatars.

    1. If I remember rightly, that was the idea that the name was intended to convey: “tank” was originally a codename for the secret project officially called “landships” or the like, intended to persuade German intelligence that the new British secret weapon was in fact just an innovative means of transporting water.

      By the time the vehicles actually entered service, the name had become so universal that it stuck and became the standard English-language word for the things.

    2. Modern battle tank design does devote quite a lot of thought to how to store and protect enough fuel to get the weapon where it needs to go and do its job, so that’s not too far off.

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