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BlackMoria

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  1. Like
    BlackMoria got a reaction from melm in Scenario "Brutal" is exactly that - Brutal...   
    This scenario I have played three times as the Ukrainians, doing three different defense plans.  Two of scenarios ended in brutal street fighting and close quarter battles. 
     
    One plan was the fall back to the victory zones in the city, repeatedly ambushing the Russian forces in street to street fighting. That one turned out fairly well in the end with solid victory but the casualties were high (but acceptable in regards to victory conditions) for the Ukrainians.
     
    Next, I tried a 'Hold the Line' type of defence.  It went well until the second wave showed up and then I got slammed as the mass firepower of the second way decimate the defenders and the Russians pulled off a win.
     
    The third try turned out super sweet.  Basic premise of that defense was mobile anti armor teams pushed out from the city and in essence, continually ambushed the Russian armor in the hedgerows and trees..  That resulted in a Total Victory and surprisingly minimal casualties for me.  It worked very well, keeping the Russians out of the town (though Russian infantry did make it up to the edge of town)
     
    This is an outstanding scenario for learning and perfecting defensive tactics and force placement.  The map is generous enough in size to allow pretty much any defensive plan to be attempted.  
     
    The terrain will be a curse to you for long fields of fire, making this for the most part, a close to medium range fight,  Try as I might with different layouts, it is nearly impossible for long range ATGMs shots due to the wooded windbreak lines of trees and the rolling nature of the ground.  The older ATGMs of the Ukrainians are adequate when vehicles are in the open but very nearly miss every time when shot through even a thin row of trees, making most ATGM shot 500 metres of less the norm for this scenario.
     
    That said, with small anti-armor teams (RPG-7s) using the terrain to max advantage, one can make the terrain a nightmare for the Russians to push through.
     
    I will avoid spoilers but will offer up one very significant piece of advice - Target arcs are your very best friend for this scenario to control your fire and set the engagement ranges when it benefits you.  The Russians are not a overwhelming force but the sheer firepower they have will result in them tearing your forces to pieces at range if your forces engage haphazardly.
     
    Finally, a big shout out to Pete Wenman (the designer) for this wonderful scenario.   It is everything a great defensive scenario has to rivet someone like me to play again and again.  It is such a nail biter that 55 minutes seems like an eternity when the Russians bring their firepower to bear on you.  But it is possible to win and win big if your defensive chops are up to the job.
  2. Upvote
    BlackMoria got a reaction from BletchleyGeek in Scenario "Brutal" is exactly that - Brutal...   
    This scenario I have played three times as the Ukrainians, doing three different defense plans.  Two of scenarios ended in brutal street fighting and close quarter battles. 
     
    One plan was the fall back to the victory zones in the city, repeatedly ambushing the Russian forces in street to street fighting. That one turned out fairly well in the end with solid victory but the casualties were high (but acceptable in regards to victory conditions) for the Ukrainians.
     
    Next, I tried a 'Hold the Line' type of defence.  It went well until the second wave showed up and then I got slammed as the mass firepower of the second way decimate the defenders and the Russians pulled off a win.
     
    The third try turned out super sweet.  Basic premise of that defense was mobile anti armor teams pushed out from the city and in essence, continually ambushed the Russian armor in the hedgerows and trees..  That resulted in a Total Victory and surprisingly minimal casualties for me.  It worked very well, keeping the Russians out of the town (though Russian infantry did make it up to the edge of town)
     
    This is an outstanding scenario for learning and perfecting defensive tactics and force placement.  The map is generous enough in size to allow pretty much any defensive plan to be attempted.  
     
    The terrain will be a curse to you for long fields of fire, making this for the most part, a close to medium range fight,  Try as I might with different layouts, it is nearly impossible for long range ATGMs shots due to the wooded windbreak lines of trees and the rolling nature of the ground.  The older ATGMs of the Ukrainians are adequate when vehicles are in the open but very nearly miss every time when shot through even a thin row of trees, making most ATGM shot 500 metres of less the norm for this scenario.
     
    That said, with small anti-armor teams (RPG-7s) using the terrain to max advantage, one can make the terrain a nightmare for the Russians to push through.
     
    I will avoid spoilers but will offer up one very significant piece of advice - Target arcs are your very best friend for this scenario to control your fire and set the engagement ranges when it benefits you.  The Russians are not a overwhelming force but the sheer firepower they have will result in them tearing your forces to pieces at range if your forces engage haphazardly.
     
    Finally, a big shout out to Pete Wenman (the designer) for this wonderful scenario.   It is everything a great defensive scenario has to rivet someone like me to play again and again.  It is such a nail biter that 55 minutes seems like an eternity when the Russians bring their firepower to bear on you.  But it is possible to win and win big if your defensive chops are up to the job.
  3. Like
    BlackMoria got a reaction from ctcharger in Hold The Line!   
    I may get around to play this at some point, but I started it and looked the the narrow strip of land the enemy has and thought - Oh no, another one of the scenarios where the world end a few hundred beyond my deployment area.
     
    Then I looked that the forces I had to defend this large piece of real estate and deemed them inadequate.
     
    I looked at the ammo level and thought - Oh my god, I have to resupply in the middle of a battle.
     
    So I complained to my higher headquarters.  I requested to defend forward of the bridges.  Denied.
     
    I requested an immediate resupply prior to the enemy's arrival.  Denied.
     
    I requested more troops to defend this area.  Even a single M1.  Denied
     
    I requested another FAC.  Denied
     
    Then I sat for moment and considered if this would be even fun to play.  Given my whimsy at the moment, my brain said 'No'.  
     
    The I did what I considered the only winning move.  I hit 'Exit' and then put Pink Floyd's 'When the Tigers Broke Free' on the stereo.
     
    Seriously, I might give this one a go at some point but when I looked at the map and rechecked the briefing, I thought this is one scenario I am not in the mood to play today.
  4. Like
    BlackMoria got a reaction from NeoOhm in Artillery advices needed   
    As a ex-artillery officer, here are the principal differences between the types of platforms.
    Mortars are high angle only and are incapable of direct fire.  Given an equal caliber, a mortar will have a higher rate of fire than a howitzer or a field gun.  Mortars (except for the very largest) can be broken down and man packed or carried by improvised transport (like the bed of a pickup truck).  For getting directly behind tall intervening terrain with fire, they are a preferred weapon.  Most effective against infantry, limited effectiveness against vehicles, emplacements and buildings.   Lethality inceases with caliber but portabillity/mobility decreases.
    Howitzers are capable of direct fire, indirect fire and high angle fire.  They are either towed or self propelled.  Can get really big calibers.  Very effective against infantry, limited against vehicles and emplacements.  Preferred weapon of choice of you don't have airpower and want to level a position, a building or structure.  Biggest variety of ammuntion type - illumination, Smoke - Base Ejecting, Smoke - WP, Cannister (anti-infantry direct fire),HE, ICM, DPICM,  and smart munitions and variable time and time fused ammunition.
    Field Guns are direct fire weapons and in a pinch, can do low angle indirect fire, limiting their range and usefulness.  A anti-tank gun is a example of a specialized field gun, for example.  Can get to big calibers like howitzers and are either towed or self propelled.  Not a lot of field guns are made anymore due to their limitations as tanks have largely taken over the roles the field guns used to provide.
    In general, the larger the caliber, the bigger the lethal zone.  The larger the round, the smaller the CEP (Circular Error Probable) footprint - a fancy way of saying that if you want to hit a point target, you get the biggest caliber you can get as the round is more stable in the air and less affect by meterological and has a smaller CEP footprint.
    The larger the caliber, the more destructive it is to vehicles and structures and emplacements.  Bigger is better.
    Call or response times are not weapon dependent.  They are determined by the communications capability and doctrines of the C3 systems used by the army in question.  Lighter weapons like small mortars can be set up quickly and torn down quickly but once emplaced, once a call for fire goes out, it is the C3 systems, crew training and observer training that determine how fast you see a round on the ground.
    Combat Mission games try to simulate artillery systems and capability.  Why does it take longer to get a 155mm round on the ground verses a 80mm mortar round base on what I stated above?   The delay is to simulate the fact that mortars are closer to the enemy than howitzer systems and to reflect time of flight realities.  For example,  most of the time, a mortar 1 km from the enemy will tend to have a round on the ground sooner than a 155mm howtizer shooting from 7 km away. And the chain of command / communication issues are simulated as well.  A US 155mm is not inherently faster than a Soviet built 152mm yet in game, the US player will get fire for effect well before the Syrian player will.  This is doctrine and C3I being simulated in game.  So the bigger delay in response time is coded into the game to 'simulate' that.
    Hope that answers your questions.
  5. Upvote
    BlackMoria got a reaction from kinophile in Artillery advices needed   
    As a ex-artillery officer, here are the principal differences between the types of platforms.
    Mortars are high angle only and are incapable of direct fire.  Given an equal caliber, a mortar will have a higher rate of fire than a howitzer or a field gun.  Mortars (except for the very largest) can be broken down and man packed or carried by improvised transport (like the bed of a pickup truck).  For getting directly behind tall intervening terrain with fire, they are a preferred weapon.  Most effective against infantry, limited effectiveness against vehicles, emplacements and buildings.   Lethality inceases with caliber but portabillity/mobility decreases.
    Howitzers are capable of direct fire, indirect fire and high angle fire.  They are either towed or self propelled.  Can get really big calibers.  Very effective against infantry, limited against vehicles and emplacements.  Preferred weapon of choice of you don't have airpower and want to level a position, a building or structure.  Biggest variety of ammuntion type - illumination, Smoke - Base Ejecting, Smoke - WP, Cannister (anti-infantry direct fire),HE, ICM, DPICM,  and smart munitions and variable time and time fused ammunition.
    Field Guns are direct fire weapons and in a pinch, can do low angle indirect fire, limiting their range and usefulness.  A anti-tank gun is a example of a specialized field gun, for example.  Can get to big calibers like howitzers and are either towed or self propelled.  Not a lot of field guns are made anymore due to their limitations as tanks have largely taken over the roles the field guns used to provide.
    In general, the larger the caliber, the bigger the lethal zone.  The larger the round, the smaller the CEP (Circular Error Probable) footprint - a fancy way of saying that if you want to hit a point target, you get the biggest caliber you can get as the round is more stable in the air and less affect by meterological and has a smaller CEP footprint.
    The larger the caliber, the more destructive it is to vehicles and structures and emplacements.  Bigger is better.
    Call or response times are not weapon dependent.  They are determined by the communications capability and doctrines of the C3 systems used by the army in question.  Lighter weapons like small mortars can be set up quickly and torn down quickly but once emplaced, once a call for fire goes out, it is the C3 systems, crew training and observer training that determine how fast you see a round on the ground.
    Combat Mission games try to simulate artillery systems and capability.  Why does it take longer to get a 155mm round on the ground verses a 80mm mortar round base on what I stated above?   The delay is to simulate the fact that mortars are closer to the enemy than howitzer systems and to reflect time of flight realities.  For example,  most of the time, a mortar 1 km from the enemy will tend to have a round on the ground sooner than a 155mm howtizer shooting from 7 km away. And the chain of command / communication issues are simulated as well.  A US 155mm is not inherently faster than a Soviet built 152mm yet in game, the US player will get fire for effect well before the Syrian player will.  This is doctrine and C3I being simulated in game.  So the bigger delay in response time is coded into the game to 'simulate' that.
    Hope that answers your questions.
  6. Like
    BlackMoria got a reaction from Josey Wales in Artillery advices needed   
    As a ex-artillery officer, here are the principal differences between the types of platforms.
    Mortars are high angle only and are incapable of direct fire.  Given an equal caliber, a mortar will have a higher rate of fire than a howitzer or a field gun.  Mortars (except for the very largest) can be broken down and man packed or carried by improvised transport (like the bed of a pickup truck).  For getting directly behind tall intervening terrain with fire, they are a preferred weapon.  Most effective against infantry, limited effectiveness against vehicles, emplacements and buildings.   Lethality inceases with caliber but portabillity/mobility decreases.
    Howitzers are capable of direct fire, indirect fire and high angle fire.  They are either towed or self propelled.  Can get really big calibers.  Very effective against infantry, limited against vehicles and emplacements.  Preferred weapon of choice of you don't have airpower and want to level a position, a building or structure.  Biggest variety of ammuntion type - illumination, Smoke - Base Ejecting, Smoke - WP, Cannister (anti-infantry direct fire),HE, ICM, DPICM,  and smart munitions and variable time and time fused ammunition.
    Field Guns are direct fire weapons and in a pinch, can do low angle indirect fire, limiting their range and usefulness.  A anti-tank gun is a example of a specialized field gun, for example.  Can get to big calibers like howitzers and are either towed or self propelled.  Not a lot of field guns are made anymore due to their limitations as tanks have largely taken over the roles the field guns used to provide.
    In general, the larger the caliber, the bigger the lethal zone.  The larger the round, the smaller the CEP (Circular Error Probable) footprint - a fancy way of saying that if you want to hit a point target, you get the biggest caliber you can get as the round is more stable in the air and less affect by meterological and has a smaller CEP footprint.
    The larger the caliber, the more destructive it is to vehicles and structures and emplacements.  Bigger is better.
    Call or response times are not weapon dependent.  They are determined by the communications capability and doctrines of the C3 systems used by the army in question.  Lighter weapons like small mortars can be set up quickly and torn down quickly but once emplaced, once a call for fire goes out, it is the C3 systems, crew training and observer training that determine how fast you see a round on the ground.
    Combat Mission games try to simulate artillery systems and capability.  Why does it take longer to get a 155mm round on the ground verses a 80mm mortar round base on what I stated above?   The delay is to simulate the fact that mortars are closer to the enemy than howitzer systems and to reflect time of flight realities.  For example,  most of the time, a mortar 1 km from the enemy will tend to have a round on the ground sooner than a 155mm howtizer shooting from 7 km away. And the chain of command / communication issues are simulated as well.  A US 155mm is not inherently faster than a Soviet built 152mm yet in game, the US player will get fire for effect well before the Syrian player will.  This is doctrine and C3I being simulated in game.  So the bigger delay in response time is coded into the game to 'simulate' that.
    Hope that answers your questions.
  7. Upvote
    BlackMoria got a reaction from ncc1701e in Artillery advices needed   
    As a ex-artillery officer, here are the principal differences between the types of platforms.
    Mortars are high angle only and are incapable of direct fire.  Given an equal caliber, a mortar will have a higher rate of fire than a howitzer or a field gun.  Mortars (except for the very largest) can be broken down and man packed or carried by improvised transport (like the bed of a pickup truck).  For getting directly behind tall intervening terrain with fire, they are a preferred weapon.  Most effective against infantry, limited effectiveness against vehicles, emplacements and buildings.   Lethality inceases with caliber but portabillity/mobility decreases.
    Howitzers are capable of direct fire, indirect fire and high angle fire.  They are either towed or self propelled.  Can get really big calibers.  Very effective against infantry, limited against vehicles and emplacements.  Preferred weapon of choice of you don't have airpower and want to level a position, a building or structure.  Biggest variety of ammuntion type - illumination, Smoke - Base Ejecting, Smoke - WP, Cannister (anti-infantry direct fire),HE, ICM, DPICM,  and smart munitions and variable time and time fused ammunition.
    Field Guns are direct fire weapons and in a pinch, can do low angle indirect fire, limiting their range and usefulness.  A anti-tank gun is a example of a specialized field gun, for example.  Can get to big calibers like howitzers and are either towed or self propelled.  Not a lot of field guns are made anymore due to their limitations as tanks have largely taken over the roles the field guns used to provide.
    In general, the larger the caliber, the bigger the lethal zone.  The larger the round, the smaller the CEP (Circular Error Probable) footprint - a fancy way of saying that if you want to hit a point target, you get the biggest caliber you can get as the round is more stable in the air and less affect by meterological and has a smaller CEP footprint.
    The larger the caliber, the more destructive it is to vehicles and structures and emplacements.  Bigger is better.
    Call or response times are not weapon dependent.  They are determined by the communications capability and doctrines of the C3 systems used by the army in question.  Lighter weapons like small mortars can be set up quickly and torn down quickly but once emplaced, once a call for fire goes out, it is the C3 systems, crew training and observer training that determine how fast you see a round on the ground.
    Combat Mission games try to simulate artillery systems and capability.  Why does it take longer to get a 155mm round on the ground verses a 80mm mortar round base on what I stated above?   The delay is to simulate the fact that mortars are closer to the enemy than howitzer systems and to reflect time of flight realities.  For example,  most of the time, a mortar 1 km from the enemy will tend to have a round on the ground sooner than a 155mm howtizer shooting from 7 km away. And the chain of command / communication issues are simulated as well.  A US 155mm is not inherently faster than a Soviet built 152mm yet in game, the US player will get fire for effect well before the Syrian player will.  This is doctrine and C3I being simulated in game.  So the bigger delay in response time is coded into the game to 'simulate' that.
    Hope that answers your questions.
  8. Like
    BlackMoria got a reaction from se_poika in Artillery advices needed   
    As a ex-artillery officer, here are the principal differences between the types of platforms.
    Mortars are high angle only and are incapable of direct fire.  Given an equal caliber, a mortar will have a higher rate of fire than a howitzer or a field gun.  Mortars (except for the very largest) can be broken down and man packed or carried by improvised transport (like the bed of a pickup truck).  For getting directly behind tall intervening terrain with fire, they are a preferred weapon.  Most effective against infantry, limited effectiveness against vehicles, emplacements and buildings.   Lethality inceases with caliber but portabillity/mobility decreases.
    Howitzers are capable of direct fire, indirect fire and high angle fire.  They are either towed or self propelled.  Can get really big calibers.  Very effective against infantry, limited against vehicles and emplacements.  Preferred weapon of choice of you don't have airpower and want to level a position, a building or structure.  Biggest variety of ammuntion type - illumination, Smoke - Base Ejecting, Smoke - WP, Cannister (anti-infantry direct fire),HE, ICM, DPICM,  and smart munitions and variable time and time fused ammunition.
    Field Guns are direct fire weapons and in a pinch, can do low angle indirect fire, limiting their range and usefulness.  A anti-tank gun is a example of a specialized field gun, for example.  Can get to big calibers like howitzers and are either towed or self propelled.  Not a lot of field guns are made anymore due to their limitations as tanks have largely taken over the roles the field guns used to provide.
    In general, the larger the caliber, the bigger the lethal zone.  The larger the round, the smaller the CEP (Circular Error Probable) footprint - a fancy way of saying that if you want to hit a point target, you get the biggest caliber you can get as the round is more stable in the air and less affect by meterological and has a smaller CEP footprint.
    The larger the caliber, the more destructive it is to vehicles and structures and emplacements.  Bigger is better.
    Call or response times are not weapon dependent.  They are determined by the communications capability and doctrines of the C3 systems used by the army in question.  Lighter weapons like small mortars can be set up quickly and torn down quickly but once emplaced, once a call for fire goes out, it is the C3 systems, crew training and observer training that determine how fast you see a round on the ground.
    Combat Mission games try to simulate artillery systems and capability.  Why does it take longer to get a 155mm round on the ground verses a 80mm mortar round base on what I stated above?   The delay is to simulate the fact that mortars are closer to the enemy than howitzer systems and to reflect time of flight realities.  For example,  most of the time, a mortar 1 km from the enemy will tend to have a round on the ground sooner than a 155mm howtizer shooting from 7 km away. And the chain of command / communication issues are simulated as well.  A US 155mm is not inherently faster than a Soviet built 152mm yet in game, the US player will get fire for effect well before the Syrian player will.  This is doctrine and C3I being simulated in game.  So the bigger delay in response time is coded into the game to 'simulate' that.
    Hope that answers your questions.
  9. Upvote
    BlackMoria got a reaction from ZackTactical34 in Artillery advices needed   
    As a ex-artillery officer, here are the principal differences between the types of platforms.
    Mortars are high angle only and are incapable of direct fire.  Given an equal caliber, a mortar will have a higher rate of fire than a howitzer or a field gun.  Mortars (except for the very largest) can be broken down and man packed or carried by improvised transport (like the bed of a pickup truck).  For getting directly behind tall intervening terrain with fire, they are a preferred weapon.  Most effective against infantry, limited effectiveness against vehicles, emplacements and buildings.   Lethality inceases with caliber but portabillity/mobility decreases.
    Howitzers are capable of direct fire, indirect fire and high angle fire.  They are either towed or self propelled.  Can get really big calibers.  Very effective against infantry, limited against vehicles and emplacements.  Preferred weapon of choice of you don't have airpower and want to level a position, a building or structure.  Biggest variety of ammuntion type - illumination, Smoke - Base Ejecting, Smoke - WP, Cannister (anti-infantry direct fire),HE, ICM, DPICM,  and smart munitions and variable time and time fused ammunition.
    Field Guns are direct fire weapons and in a pinch, can do low angle indirect fire, limiting their range and usefulness.  A anti-tank gun is a example of a specialized field gun, for example.  Can get to big calibers like howitzers and are either towed or self propelled.  Not a lot of field guns are made anymore due to their limitations as tanks have largely taken over the roles the field guns used to provide.
    In general, the larger the caliber, the bigger the lethal zone.  The larger the round, the smaller the CEP (Circular Error Probable) footprint - a fancy way of saying that if you want to hit a point target, you get the biggest caliber you can get as the round is more stable in the air and less affect by meterological and has a smaller CEP footprint.
    The larger the caliber, the more destructive it is to vehicles and structures and emplacements.  Bigger is better.
    Call or response times are not weapon dependent.  They are determined by the communications capability and doctrines of the C3 systems used by the army in question.  Lighter weapons like small mortars can be set up quickly and torn down quickly but once emplaced, once a call for fire goes out, it is the C3 systems, crew training and observer training that determine how fast you see a round on the ground.
    Combat Mission games try to simulate artillery systems and capability.  Why does it take longer to get a 155mm round on the ground verses a 80mm mortar round base on what I stated above?   The delay is to simulate the fact that mortars are closer to the enemy than howitzer systems and to reflect time of flight realities.  For example,  most of the time, a mortar 1 km from the enemy will tend to have a round on the ground sooner than a 155mm howtizer shooting from 7 km away. And the chain of command / communication issues are simulated as well.  A US 155mm is not inherently faster than a Soviet built 152mm yet in game, the US player will get fire for effect well before the Syrian player will.  This is doctrine and C3I being simulated in game.  So the bigger delay in response time is coded into the game to 'simulate' that.
    Hope that answers your questions.
  10. Upvote
    BlackMoria got a reaction from IanL in Artillery advices needed   
    As a ex-artillery officer, here are the principal differences between the types of platforms.
    Mortars are high angle only and are incapable of direct fire.  Given an equal caliber, a mortar will have a higher rate of fire than a howitzer or a field gun.  Mortars (except for the very largest) can be broken down and man packed or carried by improvised transport (like the bed of a pickup truck).  For getting directly behind tall intervening terrain with fire, they are a preferred weapon.  Most effective against infantry, limited effectiveness against vehicles, emplacements and buildings.   Lethality inceases with caliber but portabillity/mobility decreases.
    Howitzers are capable of direct fire, indirect fire and high angle fire.  They are either towed or self propelled.  Can get really big calibers.  Very effective against infantry, limited against vehicles and emplacements.  Preferred weapon of choice of you don't have airpower and want to level a position, a building or structure.  Biggest variety of ammuntion type - illumination, Smoke - Base Ejecting, Smoke - WP, Cannister (anti-infantry direct fire),HE, ICM, DPICM,  and smart munitions and variable time and time fused ammunition.
    Field Guns are direct fire weapons and in a pinch, can do low angle indirect fire, limiting their range and usefulness.  A anti-tank gun is a example of a specialized field gun, for example.  Can get to big calibers like howitzers and are either towed or self propelled.  Not a lot of field guns are made anymore due to their limitations as tanks have largely taken over the roles the field guns used to provide.
    In general, the larger the caliber, the bigger the lethal zone.  The larger the round, the smaller the CEP (Circular Error Probable) footprint - a fancy way of saying that if you want to hit a point target, you get the biggest caliber you can get as the round is more stable in the air and less affect by meterological and has a smaller CEP footprint.
    The larger the caliber, the more destructive it is to vehicles and structures and emplacements.  Bigger is better.
    Call or response times are not weapon dependent.  They are determined by the communications capability and doctrines of the C3 systems used by the army in question.  Lighter weapons like small mortars can be set up quickly and torn down quickly but once emplaced, once a call for fire goes out, it is the C3 systems, crew training and observer training that determine how fast you see a round on the ground.
    Combat Mission games try to simulate artillery systems and capability.  Why does it take longer to get a 155mm round on the ground verses a 80mm mortar round base on what I stated above?   The delay is to simulate the fact that mortars are closer to the enemy than howitzer systems and to reflect time of flight realities.  For example,  most of the time, a mortar 1 km from the enemy will tend to have a round on the ground sooner than a 155mm howtizer shooting from 7 km away. And the chain of command / communication issues are simulated as well.  A US 155mm is not inherently faster than a Soviet built 152mm yet in game, the US player will get fire for effect well before the Syrian player will.  This is doctrine and C3I being simulated in game.  So the bigger delay in response time is coded into the game to 'simulate' that.
    Hope that answers your questions.
  11. Like
    BlackMoria got a reaction from Kaunitz in Artillery advices needed   
    As a ex-artillery officer, here are the principal differences between the types of platforms.
    Mortars are high angle only and are incapable of direct fire.  Given an equal caliber, a mortar will have a higher rate of fire than a howitzer or a field gun.  Mortars (except for the very largest) can be broken down and man packed or carried by improvised transport (like the bed of a pickup truck).  For getting directly behind tall intervening terrain with fire, they are a preferred weapon.  Most effective against infantry, limited effectiveness against vehicles, emplacements and buildings.   Lethality inceases with caliber but portabillity/mobility decreases.
    Howitzers are capable of direct fire, indirect fire and high angle fire.  They are either towed or self propelled.  Can get really big calibers.  Very effective against infantry, limited against vehicles and emplacements.  Preferred weapon of choice of you don't have airpower and want to level a position, a building or structure.  Biggest variety of ammuntion type - illumination, Smoke - Base Ejecting, Smoke - WP, Cannister (anti-infantry direct fire),HE, ICM, DPICM,  and smart munitions and variable time and time fused ammunition.
    Field Guns are direct fire weapons and in a pinch, can do low angle indirect fire, limiting their range and usefulness.  A anti-tank gun is a example of a specialized field gun, for example.  Can get to big calibers like howitzers and are either towed or self propelled.  Not a lot of field guns are made anymore due to their limitations as tanks have largely taken over the roles the field guns used to provide.
    In general, the larger the caliber, the bigger the lethal zone.  The larger the round, the smaller the CEP (Circular Error Probable) footprint - a fancy way of saying that if you want to hit a point target, you get the biggest caliber you can get as the round is more stable in the air and less affect by meterological and has a smaller CEP footprint.
    The larger the caliber, the more destructive it is to vehicles and structures and emplacements.  Bigger is better.
    Call or response times are not weapon dependent.  They are determined by the communications capability and doctrines of the C3 systems used by the army in question.  Lighter weapons like small mortars can be set up quickly and torn down quickly but once emplaced, once a call for fire goes out, it is the C3 systems, crew training and observer training that determine how fast you see a round on the ground.
    Combat Mission games try to simulate artillery systems and capability.  Why does it take longer to get a 155mm round on the ground verses a 80mm mortar round base on what I stated above?   The delay is to simulate the fact that mortars are closer to the enemy than howitzer systems and to reflect time of flight realities.  For example,  most of the time, a mortar 1 km from the enemy will tend to have a round on the ground sooner than a 155mm howtizer shooting from 7 km away. And the chain of command / communication issues are simulated as well.  A US 155mm is not inherently faster than a Soviet built 152mm yet in game, the US player will get fire for effect well before the Syrian player will.  This is doctrine and C3I being simulated in game.  So the bigger delay in response time is coded into the game to 'simulate' that.
    Hope that answers your questions.
  12. Like
    BlackMoria got a reaction from Firehead in Artillery advices needed   
    As a ex-artillery officer, here are the principal differences between the types of platforms.
    Mortars are high angle only and are incapable of direct fire.  Given an equal caliber, a mortar will have a higher rate of fire than a howitzer or a field gun.  Mortars (except for the very largest) can be broken down and man packed or carried by improvised transport (like the bed of a pickup truck).  For getting directly behind tall intervening terrain with fire, they are a preferred weapon.  Most effective against infantry, limited effectiveness against vehicles, emplacements and buildings.   Lethality inceases with caliber but portabillity/mobility decreases.
    Howitzers are capable of direct fire, indirect fire and high angle fire.  They are either towed or self propelled.  Can get really big calibers.  Very effective against infantry, limited against vehicles and emplacements.  Preferred weapon of choice of you don't have airpower and want to level a position, a building or structure.  Biggest variety of ammuntion type - illumination, Smoke - Base Ejecting, Smoke - WP, Cannister (anti-infantry direct fire),HE, ICM, DPICM,  and smart munitions and variable time and time fused ammunition.
    Field Guns are direct fire weapons and in a pinch, can do low angle indirect fire, limiting their range and usefulness.  A anti-tank gun is a example of a specialized field gun, for example.  Can get to big calibers like howitzers and are either towed or self propelled.  Not a lot of field guns are made anymore due to their limitations as tanks have largely taken over the roles the field guns used to provide.
    In general, the larger the caliber, the bigger the lethal zone.  The larger the round, the smaller the CEP (Circular Error Probable) footprint - a fancy way of saying that if you want to hit a point target, you get the biggest caliber you can get as the round is more stable in the air and less affect by meterological and has a smaller CEP footprint.
    The larger the caliber, the more destructive it is to vehicles and structures and emplacements.  Bigger is better.
    Call or response times are not weapon dependent.  They are determined by the communications capability and doctrines of the C3 systems used by the army in question.  Lighter weapons like small mortars can be set up quickly and torn down quickly but once emplaced, once a call for fire goes out, it is the C3 systems, crew training and observer training that determine how fast you see a round on the ground.
    Combat Mission games try to simulate artillery systems and capability.  Why does it take longer to get a 155mm round on the ground verses a 80mm mortar round base on what I stated above?   The delay is to simulate the fact that mortars are closer to the enemy than howitzer systems and to reflect time of flight realities.  For example,  most of the time, a mortar 1 km from the enemy will tend to have a round on the ground sooner than a 155mm howtizer shooting from 7 km away. And the chain of command / communication issues are simulated as well.  A US 155mm is not inherently faster than a Soviet built 152mm yet in game, the US player will get fire for effect well before the Syrian player will.  This is doctrine and C3I being simulated in game.  So the bigger delay in response time is coded into the game to 'simulate' that.
    Hope that answers your questions.
  13. Like
    BlackMoria got a reaction from domfluff in Artillery advices needed   
    As a ex-artillery officer, here are the principal differences between the types of platforms.
    Mortars are high angle only and are incapable of direct fire.  Given an equal caliber, a mortar will have a higher rate of fire than a howitzer or a field gun.  Mortars (except for the very largest) can be broken down and man packed or carried by improvised transport (like the bed of a pickup truck).  For getting directly behind tall intervening terrain with fire, they are a preferred weapon.  Most effective against infantry, limited effectiveness against vehicles, emplacements and buildings.   Lethality inceases with caliber but portabillity/mobility decreases.
    Howitzers are capable of direct fire, indirect fire and high angle fire.  They are either towed or self propelled.  Can get really big calibers.  Very effective against infantry, limited against vehicles and emplacements.  Preferred weapon of choice of you don't have airpower and want to level a position, a building or structure.  Biggest variety of ammuntion type - illumination, Smoke - Base Ejecting, Smoke - WP, Cannister (anti-infantry direct fire),HE, ICM, DPICM,  and smart munitions and variable time and time fused ammunition.
    Field Guns are direct fire weapons and in a pinch, can do low angle indirect fire, limiting their range and usefulness.  A anti-tank gun is a example of a specialized field gun, for example.  Can get to big calibers like howitzers and are either towed or self propelled.  Not a lot of field guns are made anymore due to their limitations as tanks have largely taken over the roles the field guns used to provide.
    In general, the larger the caliber, the bigger the lethal zone.  The larger the round, the smaller the CEP (Circular Error Probable) footprint - a fancy way of saying that if you want to hit a point target, you get the biggest caliber you can get as the round is more stable in the air and less affect by meterological and has a smaller CEP footprint.
    The larger the caliber, the more destructive it is to vehicles and structures and emplacements.  Bigger is better.
    Call or response times are not weapon dependent.  They are determined by the communications capability and doctrines of the C3 systems used by the army in question.  Lighter weapons like small mortars can be set up quickly and torn down quickly but once emplaced, once a call for fire goes out, it is the C3 systems, crew training and observer training that determine how fast you see a round on the ground.
    Combat Mission games try to simulate artillery systems and capability.  Why does it take longer to get a 155mm round on the ground verses a 80mm mortar round base on what I stated above?   The delay is to simulate the fact that mortars are closer to the enemy than howitzer systems and to reflect time of flight realities.  For example,  most of the time, a mortar 1 km from the enemy will tend to have a round on the ground sooner than a 155mm howtizer shooting from 7 km away. And the chain of command / communication issues are simulated as well.  A US 155mm is not inherently faster than a Soviet built 152mm yet in game, the US player will get fire for effect well before the Syrian player will.  This is doctrine and C3I being simulated in game.  So the bigger delay in response time is coded into the game to 'simulate' that.
    Hope that answers your questions.
  14. Upvote
    BlackMoria got a reaction from George MC in Rolling Thunder (demo scenario)   
    Finished this one yesterday and I really enjoyed it.
     
    The map is really great looking with tons of tactical possibilities for either side.  The terrain for this scenario will both be boon and bane for either side.  The high ground gives great observation and allows long range fires but usually it is quite open and dangerous moving up to or out of the high ground.  The balance of forces is good as is the scenario time.
     
    My play through was on Elite Real Time with version 1.01.  I played the American forces.  My scenario outcome most likely would different with version 1.03 as I would have taken casualties from Russian attack helos, since 1.03 has changed the attack vector of air to ground missiles so that APS  is mitigated or bypassed.
     
    Initially, I was frustrated.  Damn frustrated!   Right from the on set, whenever I tried to get into positions of observation with a vehicle, the damn vehicle would be lased and back away or pop smoke.  Next, I tried to move my scout dismounts into positions and was shot at by some large caliber gun with air burst rounds, resulting in light wounds on two of my scout teams.   The only casualty I took the entire game was in the first two minutes as I tried to get close to a crest position with a humvee and the 50 cal gunner was incapacitated by a nearby sniper team on my side of the map.
     
    So, let's summarize the first two minutes of the game.   I have a enemy sniper team nearly on top of my deployment area which sniped my Humvee gunner, every vehicle I tried to get eyes on the enemy with is lased and retreats and two of my scout teams were shot at and lightly wounded trying to achieve positions of observation.   Remember me saying at the start of this post that I enjoyed this scenario.  I did, despite the temptation to slam my fist through the monitor in the first two minutes.  I was faced with a real challenge and I like being challenged.
     
    Creative use of artillery smoke and vehicle smoke allowed me to get troops into positions of observation.  Let the game of cat and mouse begin.  I spotted some T-90s advancing up to my left flank but lost them nearly immediately in dead ground.  I also got a spot on several unknown vehicles in the middle and far ground.  One mission of 155mm guns on the middle target and mortars on the far target.
     
    I estimated where the T-90s might be heading and moved a scout team with Javelins to counter their possible move onto my left hand hill and moved several other forces from my right flank to the weaker left flank. That move did mean a short dash across open ground and as predicted, the laser warning detectors went wild on the three vehicles making the dash but all three made the safety of the dead ground on the left.  Smoke columns from my arty missions meant the middle and far ground unknown vehicles were toast.  This proved to be incredible stroke of luck as I found out by the end of the game as those two initial vehicle casualties was the only Russian Tungkuska and one of the deadly anti-tank dual missile vehicles.
     
    I risked sending up the two Ravens (I had no idea I had smoked the Tuskguska by the time these missions began active observation).   Three T-90s were confirmed and were dealt with.  One was killed by Excalibur rounds, one was killed by a Javelin and the other was very short range TOW 2 shot.  Initially, that Bradley opened up with the 25mm, nearly making me scream 'NO, YOU IDIOTS!' but after two short 25mm bursts while the T-90 swung its turret, the gunner fired the TOW and scored a kill just as the T-90's gun lined up for the kill shot.
     
    I finally got the two Raven missions changed over to the far ridge to try to find the the ATGMs I knew would be up there.   Then the Russian attack helos showed up.   The initial missile was thwarted by the APS of one of my tanks.  I scrambled my vehicles into nearby trees to make the Angels of Death's job tougher.  The attacks went on for several minutes, either attacking a APS equipped vehicle and having the missile intercepted or detonating in the trees.  Finally one of the Stinger teams dropped one helo and the other helo fired a hail of lead at one of my Bradleys, damaging it but not enough to make it combat ineffective.  The sole remaining helo left it seemed, and I was hoping it was out of ammo since it was down to gun strafes.
     
    Using APS vehicles to goad the AT-14 into shooting at them, I finally identified the AT-14 positions and eliminated them with artillery and mortars.  I set the Ravens for the objective clusters of houses, found several vehicles and some infantry and destroyed them with direct fire or artillery.
     
    It took me at least an hour to get into positions of observation and sanitize the area of possible threats, such was the nature of the terrain and the layout of the enemy.
     
    Finally, I did a two prong armored assault, one sweeping left, the other right, to sweep through the two clusters of building and the touch objectives there with the intend for my forces to meet at the objective bridge.  Enemy was encountered and expeditiously dealt with by the combined might of 4 tanks and a company of Bradleys.  I even managed to work some of my forces up to the far ridge and take the back objectives, resulting in a clean sweep of all objectives.  Another Russian attack helo showed up but was killed by one of my Stinger teams.
     
    End game was Total US Victory with only 1 WIA (the 50 cal gunner shot in the first two minutes) as my casualties.   Was I lucky?   Hell, yes!   The Russian attack helos could have done a real number on me but their attacks were thwarted by APS or by trees.  If it was version 1.03, I may have lost 5 vehicles, though I doubt it would have changed the game outcome any except for me having a higher casualty count.  My killing of the Tungkuska very early in the game allowed me to fly the Ravens, which were key in locating the AT-14s.
     
    A shout out to George MC to another sterling scenario.  Great looking map, great possibilities for fire and maneuver.  This scenario is NOT a cake walk.  Expect frustration trying to get 'eyes out' on the enemy and frustration due to the seemly ever present Russian attack helos overhead during the middle to late game.  If you are terribly unlucky, the attack helos will extract a costly butcher's bill on your forces.  If you act hastily and move without considerable regard to safe routes and how to cross open ground, the enemy anti-armour capabilities will make you pay a heavy price for the ground you take.
     
    I give this scenario 5 stars out of 5.  I look forward to trying this one out again with version 1.03.  Is that the distant 'whup-whup' of choppers I hear?
  15. Upvote
    BlackMoria got a reaction from Nerdwing in Moscow Victory Day (70 Years) Parade   
    There were 'bad guys' but they were mostly at the leadership levels.  The rank and file soldiers simply tried to get though the war alive and acted to protect their friends, their family and their town or village.  A number crossed the line and went from 'defender' to murderer.  That happened a lot.  The worst duty I had was 'documenting atrocities and war crimes' for the UN.  About as ghastly as it can get for me and a real low point in my life.
     
    But take this as someone who was boots on the ground for that particular situation.  I don't broad brush the Serbian people as a nation of bloody thirsty murderers.  The leadership either condoned, ordered or ignored the killing done by troops of their country and in my opinion, they should go to the wall for that.  But the majority of Serbs or Croats or Bosnians didn't know what their leaders were allowing to happen at the time and why the long period of denial that took place.  Until the videos and other evidence started coming forward and the Serbs simply couldn't deny what happened.
     
    Serbia is a nation of victims in my book.  As were the Croatians and the Bosnians. Victimized by the war and further victimized by the complicity of their leaders who carried out war crimes and lied to the very people they were to protect and serve.  There is a thin line between being a soldier and being a mass murderer.   That line was crossed too many damn times in that conflict but I blame the leadership and the soldiers who decided to cross that line - not the people of that nation nor the soldiers who conducted themselves honorably and 'chose' that was a line they would not cross.
  16. Upvote
    BlackMoria got a reaction from Sgt Joch in Moscow Victory Day (70 Years) Parade   
    There were 'bad guys' but they were mostly at the leadership levels.  The rank and file soldiers simply tried to get though the war alive and acted to protect their friends, their family and their town or village.  A number crossed the line and went from 'defender' to murderer.  That happened a lot.  The worst duty I had was 'documenting atrocities and war crimes' for the UN.  About as ghastly as it can get for me and a real low point in my life.
     
    But take this as someone who was boots on the ground for that particular situation.  I don't broad brush the Serbian people as a nation of bloody thirsty murderers.  The leadership either condoned, ordered or ignored the killing done by troops of their country and in my opinion, they should go to the wall for that.  But the majority of Serbs or Croats or Bosnians didn't know what their leaders were allowing to happen at the time and why the long period of denial that took place.  Until the videos and other evidence started coming forward and the Serbs simply couldn't deny what happened.
     
    Serbia is a nation of victims in my book.  As were the Croatians and the Bosnians. Victimized by the war and further victimized by the complicity of their leaders who carried out war crimes and lied to the very people they were to protect and serve.  There is a thin line between being a soldier and being a mass murderer.   That line was crossed too many damn times in that conflict but I blame the leadership and the soldiers who decided to cross that line - not the people of that nation nor the soldiers who conducted themselves honorably and 'chose' that was a line they would not cross.
  17. Upvote
    BlackMoria got a reaction from Sgt Joch in Moscow Victory Day (70 Years) Parade   
    Looks like this thread is rapidly swirling down the drain.  Perhaps best to shove a plug in.
     
    Looks, gents, war is hell.  There is nothing glamorous about it.  There is nothing moral about it.  And it is nothing to celebrate. 
     
    It is really easy to point fingers at the other side and decry them as murderous bastards, fascists, commie pinkos, the great satan... pick you favorite slur.   It changes nothing in the long run.  It doesn't bring back the dead. It doesn't comfort or heal the wounded, whether those wounds are physical or psychological.
     
    It just leads to another cycle of violence.  Like the saying in Star Wars - anger leads to the dark side.
     
    When I was in Bosnia in '93 as a Canadian peacekeeper, two Bosnia Serb soldiers came up to me at a checkpoint.  They were two brothers from Toronto, Canada.   I asked them why they were here in Serbian military uniforms.  I then heard a story about as they were growing up, they heard from their grandparents and their parents over and over about what the Croats did to the family in WW2 and stuff post war.  They were here to defend the motherland and to settle accounts with the Croatians for something that happened to the family nearly 50 years ago.  I don't get that - they were born in Canada (their family came to Canada post war) yet they felt that this was THEIR war to fight.
     
    Anger and hatred lead them here.  Instilled by the anger and hatred of their parents, perpetrated by anger and hatred from their parents.  Fighting in a war not of their making, for a cause not their own, for a homeland they have never seen.  A cycle of violence nearly 50 years in the making.
     
    I have seen some of that anger expressed here and I am reminded of that time talking with the two brothers.  And I am seeing the seeds of that tragedy here.
     
    I was in a very dark place for a long time after my peacekeeping tour in '93.  Some would call it PTSD.  You can only see so much of genocide up close and in your face and a part of me inside died.  There was no moral high ground for either side,  All sides did stuff terrible things that are war crimes - the Bosnians, the Croatians and the Serbs.  Yes, the bulk of the ethnic cleansing was done by the Serbs but is no excuse for the Bosnians and the Croatians to do what they did.  I saw a beautiful country in ruins, shattered lifes, mounds of civilian dead, and a land with seeming madmen running around with guns seeming to want to re-fight WW2 or address the wrongs they suffered in that conflict..
     
    Chains of the past.  So many people in the world are bound by those chains.  I see the ghosts of the past conflicts playing out in the conflicts of today.  There is the real tragedy.  We seemingly can't escape our past and we poison the well for our children so they are doomed to repeat our mistakes.
     
    Anger leads to the dark side.  That is true.  I lived it grappling with my PTSD and the nightmares of seeing a country gone mad in Bosnia.  I wanted to kill every ethnic cleansing son of bitch with a gun.   It took a long time but I came to accept certain things.
     
    I saved lots of civilians, Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian but not enough for me.  I wanted to save all of them.  I couldn't and felt guilty for decades as a result.   War lesson 1:  In war people die, soldier and civilian alike,  War lesson 2:  You can't do anything to change lesson 1.  It took a long time for me to embrace that and that saved my sanity ultimately.
     
    There is real evil in the world and real monsters.  The monsters look like us and talk to us but make no mistake, there are real monsters out there.  You only see them for what they are by what they do.  I want to Kill All The Monsters but the reality is, strike one down and another rises to take his place.  Nothing changes and we learn nothing from our history.  Hitler was struck down and Rwanda and Bosnia happened.  Deal with those and then it is Sudan. Or Cambodia.  Or Syria.  Or ISIS.  Or who ever the next Hilter wannabe is.   People who don't learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.  
     
    Chains of our past.  Everyone has this issue.   Do you allow the past to bind you and deny you a better future or do you let it go.
     
    The chains of the experiences in Bosnia bound me and put me on a self destructive path to most likely a grim future.  Only by embracing what happened and learning to rise above it, to not allow the past to control my present so I can forge a new future did I finally find peace for my soul.  It was hard because the chains are thick and strong - memories, recollections and seeing stuff like the genocide in Bosnia playing out elsewhere in the world brings it all back.  But I broke free finally and the memories are not emotionally charged as they were in the past as a result.  No, the memories never go away.  But you can make peace with them and find a way to a sort of 'wholeness' again.
     
    I have rambled on.  Partly to acknowledge my past and the role I played in it.   A affirmation that something in life tried to beat me down and I rose above it.
     
    Partly to my brothers in arms from any side of the conflicts who are dealing the the imprint of what total war does to their soul and well being, that there is a way ahead.  Memories can become less emotionally charged and less painful. Memories do fade somewhat through time, working hard toward wholeness, and throwing off the shackles of the past and living for the future.  It is not a easy road or a fast road and not everyone can break their chains of the past but it can be done.
     
    And finally, to the Croatian, Bosnian and Serb posters.  I see anger and pain in your words.  War is terrible and it will write things on your soul that will deny you a bright, happy future.  I know.  I was there.  I have lived it.   Acknowledge the past, regardless of how ugly or hurtful it is.  Realize the past is the past and is not your future unless you allow it.  Do not do what a Serb family that moved to Toronto did and poison their two sons with what happened long ago in a land now far away that resulted in them involving themselves in killing other people, perhaps being killed themselves and exposing themselves to the horrors of war, for a cause not that shouldn't been theirs to fight and a war they shouldn't have been involved in, all over something that happened nearly 50 years ago.   Don't deny the future of your children or grandchildren by binding them in YOUR chains of the past and dooming them to fight in some future war because the last war had a negative impact on your family.
     
    War is death, destruction, shattered lives and futures denied.  Don't glorify it and not rationalize it.  Your a damn fool otherwise.
  18. Upvote
    BlackMoria got a reaction from Plinko in Moscow Victory Day (70 Years) Parade   
    Looks like this thread is rapidly swirling down the drain.  Perhaps best to shove a plug in.
     
    Looks, gents, war is hell.  There is nothing glamorous about it.  There is nothing moral about it.  And it is nothing to celebrate. 
     
    It is really easy to point fingers at the other side and decry them as murderous bastards, fascists, commie pinkos, the great satan... pick you favorite slur.   It changes nothing in the long run.  It doesn't bring back the dead. It doesn't comfort or heal the wounded, whether those wounds are physical or psychological.
     
    It just leads to another cycle of violence.  Like the saying in Star Wars - anger leads to the dark side.
     
    When I was in Bosnia in '93 as a Canadian peacekeeper, two Bosnia Serb soldiers came up to me at a checkpoint.  They were two brothers from Toronto, Canada.   I asked them why they were here in Serbian military uniforms.  I then heard a story about as they were growing up, they heard from their grandparents and their parents over and over about what the Croats did to the family in WW2 and stuff post war.  They were here to defend the motherland and to settle accounts with the Croatians for something that happened to the family nearly 50 years ago.  I don't get that - they were born in Canada (their family came to Canada post war) yet they felt that this was THEIR war to fight.
     
    Anger and hatred lead them here.  Instilled by the anger and hatred of their parents, perpetrated by anger and hatred from their parents.  Fighting in a war not of their making, for a cause not their own, for a homeland they have never seen.  A cycle of violence nearly 50 years in the making.
     
    I have seen some of that anger expressed here and I am reminded of that time talking with the two brothers.  And I am seeing the seeds of that tragedy here.
     
    I was in a very dark place for a long time after my peacekeeping tour in '93.  Some would call it PTSD.  You can only see so much of genocide up close and in your face and a part of me inside died.  There was no moral high ground for either side,  All sides did stuff terrible things that are war crimes - the Bosnians, the Croatians and the Serbs.  Yes, the bulk of the ethnic cleansing was done by the Serbs but is no excuse for the Bosnians and the Croatians to do what they did.  I saw a beautiful country in ruins, shattered lifes, mounds of civilian dead, and a land with seeming madmen running around with guns seeming to want to re-fight WW2 or address the wrongs they suffered in that conflict..
     
    Chains of the past.  So many people in the world are bound by those chains.  I see the ghosts of the past conflicts playing out in the conflicts of today.  There is the real tragedy.  We seemingly can't escape our past and we poison the well for our children so they are doomed to repeat our mistakes.
     
    Anger leads to the dark side.  That is true.  I lived it grappling with my PTSD and the nightmares of seeing a country gone mad in Bosnia.  I wanted to kill every ethnic cleansing son of bitch with a gun.   It took a long time but I came to accept certain things.
     
    I saved lots of civilians, Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian but not enough for me.  I wanted to save all of them.  I couldn't and felt guilty for decades as a result.   War lesson 1:  In war people die, soldier and civilian alike,  War lesson 2:  You can't do anything to change lesson 1.  It took a long time for me to embrace that and that saved my sanity ultimately.
     
    There is real evil in the world and real monsters.  The monsters look like us and talk to us but make no mistake, there are real monsters out there.  You only see them for what they are by what they do.  I want to Kill All The Monsters but the reality is, strike one down and another rises to take his place.  Nothing changes and we learn nothing from our history.  Hitler was struck down and Rwanda and Bosnia happened.  Deal with those and then it is Sudan. Or Cambodia.  Or Syria.  Or ISIS.  Or who ever the next Hilter wannabe is.   People who don't learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.  
     
    Chains of our past.  Everyone has this issue.   Do you allow the past to bind you and deny you a better future or do you let it go.
     
    The chains of the experiences in Bosnia bound me and put me on a self destructive path to most likely a grim future.  Only by embracing what happened and learning to rise above it, to not allow the past to control my present so I can forge a new future did I finally find peace for my soul.  It was hard because the chains are thick and strong - memories, recollections and seeing stuff like the genocide in Bosnia playing out elsewhere in the world brings it all back.  But I broke free finally and the memories are not emotionally charged as they were in the past as a result.  No, the memories never go away.  But you can make peace with them and find a way to a sort of 'wholeness' again.
     
    I have rambled on.  Partly to acknowledge my past and the role I played in it.   A affirmation that something in life tried to beat me down and I rose above it.
     
    Partly to my brothers in arms from any side of the conflicts who are dealing the the imprint of what total war does to their soul and well being, that there is a way ahead.  Memories can become less emotionally charged and less painful. Memories do fade somewhat through time, working hard toward wholeness, and throwing off the shackles of the past and living for the future.  It is not a easy road or a fast road and not everyone can break their chains of the past but it can be done.
     
    And finally, to the Croatian, Bosnian and Serb posters.  I see anger and pain in your words.  War is terrible and it will write things on your soul that will deny you a bright, happy future.  I know.  I was there.  I have lived it.   Acknowledge the past, regardless of how ugly or hurtful it is.  Realize the past is the past and is not your future unless you allow it.  Do not do what a Serb family that moved to Toronto did and poison their two sons with what happened long ago in a land now far away that resulted in them involving themselves in killing other people, perhaps being killed themselves and exposing themselves to the horrors of war, for a cause not that shouldn't been theirs to fight and a war they shouldn't have been involved in, all over something that happened nearly 50 years ago.   Don't deny the future of your children or grandchildren by binding them in YOUR chains of the past and dooming them to fight in some future war because the last war had a negative impact on your family.
     
    War is death, destruction, shattered lives and futures denied.  Don't glorify it and not rationalize it.  Your a damn fool otherwise.
  19. Upvote
    BlackMoria got a reaction from IanL in Moscow Victory Day (70 Years) Parade   
    There were 'bad guys' but they were mostly at the leadership levels.  The rank and file soldiers simply tried to get though the war alive and acted to protect their friends, their family and their town or village.  A number crossed the line and went from 'defender' to murderer.  That happened a lot.  The worst duty I had was 'documenting atrocities and war crimes' for the UN.  About as ghastly as it can get for me and a real low point in my life.
     
    But take this as someone who was boots on the ground for that particular situation.  I don't broad brush the Serbian people as a nation of bloody thirsty murderers.  The leadership either condoned, ordered or ignored the killing done by troops of their country and in my opinion, they should go to the wall for that.  But the majority of Serbs or Croats or Bosnians didn't know what their leaders were allowing to happen at the time and why the long period of denial that took place.  Until the videos and other evidence started coming forward and the Serbs simply couldn't deny what happened.
     
    Serbia is a nation of victims in my book.  As were the Croatians and the Bosnians. Victimized by the war and further victimized by the complicity of their leaders who carried out war crimes and lied to the very people they were to protect and serve.  There is a thin line between being a soldier and being a mass murderer.   That line was crossed too many damn times in that conflict but I blame the leadership and the soldiers who decided to cross that line - not the people of that nation nor the soldiers who conducted themselves honorably and 'chose' that was a line they would not cross.
  20. Upvote
    BlackMoria got a reaction from agusto in Moscow Victory Day (70 Years) Parade   
    Looks like this thread is rapidly swirling down the drain.  Perhaps best to shove a plug in.
     
    Looks, gents, war is hell.  There is nothing glamorous about it.  There is nothing moral about it.  And it is nothing to celebrate. 
     
    It is really easy to point fingers at the other side and decry them as murderous bastards, fascists, commie pinkos, the great satan... pick you favorite slur.   It changes nothing in the long run.  It doesn't bring back the dead. It doesn't comfort or heal the wounded, whether those wounds are physical or psychological.
     
    It just leads to another cycle of violence.  Like the saying in Star Wars - anger leads to the dark side.
     
    When I was in Bosnia in '93 as a Canadian peacekeeper, two Bosnia Serb soldiers came up to me at a checkpoint.  They were two brothers from Toronto, Canada.   I asked them why they were here in Serbian military uniforms.  I then heard a story about as they were growing up, they heard from their grandparents and their parents over and over about what the Croats did to the family in WW2 and stuff post war.  They were here to defend the motherland and to settle accounts with the Croatians for something that happened to the family nearly 50 years ago.  I don't get that - they were born in Canada (their family came to Canada post war) yet they felt that this was THEIR war to fight.
     
    Anger and hatred lead them here.  Instilled by the anger and hatred of their parents, perpetrated by anger and hatred from their parents.  Fighting in a war not of their making, for a cause not their own, for a homeland they have never seen.  A cycle of violence nearly 50 years in the making.
     
    I have seen some of that anger expressed here and I am reminded of that time talking with the two brothers.  And I am seeing the seeds of that tragedy here.
     
    I was in a very dark place for a long time after my peacekeeping tour in '93.  Some would call it PTSD.  You can only see so much of genocide up close and in your face and a part of me inside died.  There was no moral high ground for either side,  All sides did stuff terrible things that are war crimes - the Bosnians, the Croatians and the Serbs.  Yes, the bulk of the ethnic cleansing was done by the Serbs but is no excuse for the Bosnians and the Croatians to do what they did.  I saw a beautiful country in ruins, shattered lifes, mounds of civilian dead, and a land with seeming madmen running around with guns seeming to want to re-fight WW2 or address the wrongs they suffered in that conflict..
     
    Chains of the past.  So many people in the world are bound by those chains.  I see the ghosts of the past conflicts playing out in the conflicts of today.  There is the real tragedy.  We seemingly can't escape our past and we poison the well for our children so they are doomed to repeat our mistakes.
     
    Anger leads to the dark side.  That is true.  I lived it grappling with my PTSD and the nightmares of seeing a country gone mad in Bosnia.  I wanted to kill every ethnic cleansing son of bitch with a gun.   It took a long time but I came to accept certain things.
     
    I saved lots of civilians, Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian but not enough for me.  I wanted to save all of them.  I couldn't and felt guilty for decades as a result.   War lesson 1:  In war people die, soldier and civilian alike,  War lesson 2:  You can't do anything to change lesson 1.  It took a long time for me to embrace that and that saved my sanity ultimately.
     
    There is real evil in the world and real monsters.  The monsters look like us and talk to us but make no mistake, there are real monsters out there.  You only see them for what they are by what they do.  I want to Kill All The Monsters but the reality is, strike one down and another rises to take his place.  Nothing changes and we learn nothing from our history.  Hitler was struck down and Rwanda and Bosnia happened.  Deal with those and then it is Sudan. Or Cambodia.  Or Syria.  Or ISIS.  Or who ever the next Hilter wannabe is.   People who don't learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.  
     
    Chains of our past.  Everyone has this issue.   Do you allow the past to bind you and deny you a better future or do you let it go.
     
    The chains of the experiences in Bosnia bound me and put me on a self destructive path to most likely a grim future.  Only by embracing what happened and learning to rise above it, to not allow the past to control my present so I can forge a new future did I finally find peace for my soul.  It was hard because the chains are thick and strong - memories, recollections and seeing stuff like the genocide in Bosnia playing out elsewhere in the world brings it all back.  But I broke free finally and the memories are not emotionally charged as they were in the past as a result.  No, the memories never go away.  But you can make peace with them and find a way to a sort of 'wholeness' again.
     
    I have rambled on.  Partly to acknowledge my past and the role I played in it.   A affirmation that something in life tried to beat me down and I rose above it.
     
    Partly to my brothers in arms from any side of the conflicts who are dealing the the imprint of what total war does to their soul and well being, that there is a way ahead.  Memories can become less emotionally charged and less painful. Memories do fade somewhat through time, working hard toward wholeness, and throwing off the shackles of the past and living for the future.  It is not a easy road or a fast road and not everyone can break their chains of the past but it can be done.
     
    And finally, to the Croatian, Bosnian and Serb posters.  I see anger and pain in your words.  War is terrible and it will write things on your soul that will deny you a bright, happy future.  I know.  I was there.  I have lived it.   Acknowledge the past, regardless of how ugly or hurtful it is.  Realize the past is the past and is not your future unless you allow it.  Do not do what a Serb family that moved to Toronto did and poison their two sons with what happened long ago in a land now far away that resulted in them involving themselves in killing other people, perhaps being killed themselves and exposing themselves to the horrors of war, for a cause not that shouldn't been theirs to fight and a war they shouldn't have been involved in, all over something that happened nearly 50 years ago.   Don't deny the future of your children or grandchildren by binding them in YOUR chains of the past and dooming them to fight in some future war because the last war had a negative impact on your family.
     
    War is death, destruction, shattered lives and futures denied.  Don't glorify it and not rationalize it.  Your a damn fool otherwise.
  21. Upvote
    BlackMoria got a reaction from agusto in Moscow Victory Day (70 Years) Parade   
    There were 'bad guys' but they were mostly at the leadership levels.  The rank and file soldiers simply tried to get though the war alive and acted to protect their friends, their family and their town or village.  A number crossed the line and went from 'defender' to murderer.  That happened a lot.  The worst duty I had was 'documenting atrocities and war crimes' for the UN.  About as ghastly as it can get for me and a real low point in my life.
     
    But take this as someone who was boots on the ground for that particular situation.  I don't broad brush the Serbian people as a nation of bloody thirsty murderers.  The leadership either condoned, ordered or ignored the killing done by troops of their country and in my opinion, they should go to the wall for that.  But the majority of Serbs or Croats or Bosnians didn't know what their leaders were allowing to happen at the time and why the long period of denial that took place.  Until the videos and other evidence started coming forward and the Serbs simply couldn't deny what happened.
     
    Serbia is a nation of victims in my book.  As were the Croatians and the Bosnians. Victimized by the war and further victimized by the complicity of their leaders who carried out war crimes and lied to the very people they were to protect and serve.  There is a thin line between being a soldier and being a mass murderer.   That line was crossed too many damn times in that conflict but I blame the leadership and the soldiers who decided to cross that line - not the people of that nation nor the soldiers who conducted themselves honorably and 'chose' that was a line they would not cross.
  22. Upvote
    BlackMoria got a reaction from Aurelius in Moscow Victory Day (70 Years) Parade   
    There were 'bad guys' but they were mostly at the leadership levels.  The rank and file soldiers simply tried to get though the war alive and acted to protect their friends, their family and their town or village.  A number crossed the line and went from 'defender' to murderer.  That happened a lot.  The worst duty I had was 'documenting atrocities and war crimes' for the UN.  About as ghastly as it can get for me and a real low point in my life.
     
    But take this as someone who was boots on the ground for that particular situation.  I don't broad brush the Serbian people as a nation of bloody thirsty murderers.  The leadership either condoned, ordered or ignored the killing done by troops of their country and in my opinion, they should go to the wall for that.  But the majority of Serbs or Croats or Bosnians didn't know what their leaders were allowing to happen at the time and why the long period of denial that took place.  Until the videos and other evidence started coming forward and the Serbs simply couldn't deny what happened.
     
    Serbia is a nation of victims in my book.  As were the Croatians and the Bosnians. Victimized by the war and further victimized by the complicity of their leaders who carried out war crimes and lied to the very people they were to protect and serve.  There is a thin line between being a soldier and being a mass murderer.   That line was crossed too many damn times in that conflict but I blame the leadership and the soldiers who decided to cross that line - not the people of that nation nor the soldiers who conducted themselves honorably and 'chose' that was a line they would not cross.
  23. Upvote
    BlackMoria got a reaction from Douglas Ruddd in Moscow Victory Day (70 Years) Parade   
    Looks like this thread is rapidly swirling down the drain.  Perhaps best to shove a plug in.
     
    Looks, gents, war is hell.  There is nothing glamorous about it.  There is nothing moral about it.  And it is nothing to celebrate. 
     
    It is really easy to point fingers at the other side and decry them as murderous bastards, fascists, commie pinkos, the great satan... pick you favorite slur.   It changes nothing in the long run.  It doesn't bring back the dead. It doesn't comfort or heal the wounded, whether those wounds are physical or psychological.
     
    It just leads to another cycle of violence.  Like the saying in Star Wars - anger leads to the dark side.
     
    When I was in Bosnia in '93 as a Canadian peacekeeper, two Bosnia Serb soldiers came up to me at a checkpoint.  They were two brothers from Toronto, Canada.   I asked them why they were here in Serbian military uniforms.  I then heard a story about as they were growing up, they heard from their grandparents and their parents over and over about what the Croats did to the family in WW2 and stuff post war.  They were here to defend the motherland and to settle accounts with the Croatians for something that happened to the family nearly 50 years ago.  I don't get that - they were born in Canada (their family came to Canada post war) yet they felt that this was THEIR war to fight.
     
    Anger and hatred lead them here.  Instilled by the anger and hatred of their parents, perpetrated by anger and hatred from their parents.  Fighting in a war not of their making, for a cause not their own, for a homeland they have never seen.  A cycle of violence nearly 50 years in the making.
     
    I have seen some of that anger expressed here and I am reminded of that time talking with the two brothers.  And I am seeing the seeds of that tragedy here.
     
    I was in a very dark place for a long time after my peacekeeping tour in '93.  Some would call it PTSD.  You can only see so much of genocide up close and in your face and a part of me inside died.  There was no moral high ground for either side,  All sides did stuff terrible things that are war crimes - the Bosnians, the Croatians and the Serbs.  Yes, the bulk of the ethnic cleansing was done by the Serbs but is no excuse for the Bosnians and the Croatians to do what they did.  I saw a beautiful country in ruins, shattered lifes, mounds of civilian dead, and a land with seeming madmen running around with guns seeming to want to re-fight WW2 or address the wrongs they suffered in that conflict..
     
    Chains of the past.  So many people in the world are bound by those chains.  I see the ghosts of the past conflicts playing out in the conflicts of today.  There is the real tragedy.  We seemingly can't escape our past and we poison the well for our children so they are doomed to repeat our mistakes.
     
    Anger leads to the dark side.  That is true.  I lived it grappling with my PTSD and the nightmares of seeing a country gone mad in Bosnia.  I wanted to kill every ethnic cleansing son of bitch with a gun.   It took a long time but I came to accept certain things.
     
    I saved lots of civilians, Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian but not enough for me.  I wanted to save all of them.  I couldn't and felt guilty for decades as a result.   War lesson 1:  In war people die, soldier and civilian alike,  War lesson 2:  You can't do anything to change lesson 1.  It took a long time for me to embrace that and that saved my sanity ultimately.
     
    There is real evil in the world and real monsters.  The monsters look like us and talk to us but make no mistake, there are real monsters out there.  You only see them for what they are by what they do.  I want to Kill All The Monsters but the reality is, strike one down and another rises to take his place.  Nothing changes and we learn nothing from our history.  Hitler was struck down and Rwanda and Bosnia happened.  Deal with those and then it is Sudan. Or Cambodia.  Or Syria.  Or ISIS.  Or who ever the next Hilter wannabe is.   People who don't learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.  
     
    Chains of our past.  Everyone has this issue.   Do you allow the past to bind you and deny you a better future or do you let it go.
     
    The chains of the experiences in Bosnia bound me and put me on a self destructive path to most likely a grim future.  Only by embracing what happened and learning to rise above it, to not allow the past to control my present so I can forge a new future did I finally find peace for my soul.  It was hard because the chains are thick and strong - memories, recollections and seeing stuff like the genocide in Bosnia playing out elsewhere in the world brings it all back.  But I broke free finally and the memories are not emotionally charged as they were in the past as a result.  No, the memories never go away.  But you can make peace with them and find a way to a sort of 'wholeness' again.
     
    I have rambled on.  Partly to acknowledge my past and the role I played in it.   A affirmation that something in life tried to beat me down and I rose above it.
     
    Partly to my brothers in arms from any side of the conflicts who are dealing the the imprint of what total war does to their soul and well being, that there is a way ahead.  Memories can become less emotionally charged and less painful. Memories do fade somewhat through time, working hard toward wholeness, and throwing off the shackles of the past and living for the future.  It is not a easy road or a fast road and not everyone can break their chains of the past but it can be done.
     
    And finally, to the Croatian, Bosnian and Serb posters.  I see anger and pain in your words.  War is terrible and it will write things on your soul that will deny you a bright, happy future.  I know.  I was there.  I have lived it.   Acknowledge the past, regardless of how ugly or hurtful it is.  Realize the past is the past and is not your future unless you allow it.  Do not do what a Serb family that moved to Toronto did and poison their two sons with what happened long ago in a land now far away that resulted in them involving themselves in killing other people, perhaps being killed themselves and exposing themselves to the horrors of war, for a cause not that shouldn't been theirs to fight and a war they shouldn't have been involved in, all over something that happened nearly 50 years ago.   Don't deny the future of your children or grandchildren by binding them in YOUR chains of the past and dooming them to fight in some future war because the last war had a negative impact on your family.
     
    War is death, destruction, shattered lives and futures denied.  Don't glorify it and not rationalize it.  Your a damn fool otherwise.
  24. Upvote
    BlackMoria got a reaction from cool breeze in Moscow Victory Day (70 Years) Parade   
    Looks like this thread is rapidly swirling down the drain.  Perhaps best to shove a plug in.
     
    Looks, gents, war is hell.  There is nothing glamorous about it.  There is nothing moral about it.  And it is nothing to celebrate. 
     
    It is really easy to point fingers at the other side and decry them as murderous bastards, fascists, commie pinkos, the great satan... pick you favorite slur.   It changes nothing in the long run.  It doesn't bring back the dead. It doesn't comfort or heal the wounded, whether those wounds are physical or psychological.
     
    It just leads to another cycle of violence.  Like the saying in Star Wars - anger leads to the dark side.
     
    When I was in Bosnia in '93 as a Canadian peacekeeper, two Bosnia Serb soldiers came up to me at a checkpoint.  They were two brothers from Toronto, Canada.   I asked them why they were here in Serbian military uniforms.  I then heard a story about as they were growing up, they heard from their grandparents and their parents over and over about what the Croats did to the family in WW2 and stuff post war.  They were here to defend the motherland and to settle accounts with the Croatians for something that happened to the family nearly 50 years ago.  I don't get that - they were born in Canada (their family came to Canada post war) yet they felt that this was THEIR war to fight.
     
    Anger and hatred lead them here.  Instilled by the anger and hatred of their parents, perpetrated by anger and hatred from their parents.  Fighting in a war not of their making, for a cause not their own, for a homeland they have never seen.  A cycle of violence nearly 50 years in the making.
     
    I have seen some of that anger expressed here and I am reminded of that time talking with the two brothers.  And I am seeing the seeds of that tragedy here.
     
    I was in a very dark place for a long time after my peacekeeping tour in '93.  Some would call it PTSD.  You can only see so much of genocide up close and in your face and a part of me inside died.  There was no moral high ground for either side,  All sides did stuff terrible things that are war crimes - the Bosnians, the Croatians and the Serbs.  Yes, the bulk of the ethnic cleansing was done by the Serbs but is no excuse for the Bosnians and the Croatians to do what they did.  I saw a beautiful country in ruins, shattered lifes, mounds of civilian dead, and a land with seeming madmen running around with guns seeming to want to re-fight WW2 or address the wrongs they suffered in that conflict..
     
    Chains of the past.  So many people in the world are bound by those chains.  I see the ghosts of the past conflicts playing out in the conflicts of today.  There is the real tragedy.  We seemingly can't escape our past and we poison the well for our children so they are doomed to repeat our mistakes.
     
    Anger leads to the dark side.  That is true.  I lived it grappling with my PTSD and the nightmares of seeing a country gone mad in Bosnia.  I wanted to kill every ethnic cleansing son of bitch with a gun.   It took a long time but I came to accept certain things.
     
    I saved lots of civilians, Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian but not enough for me.  I wanted to save all of them.  I couldn't and felt guilty for decades as a result.   War lesson 1:  In war people die, soldier and civilian alike,  War lesson 2:  You can't do anything to change lesson 1.  It took a long time for me to embrace that and that saved my sanity ultimately.
     
    There is real evil in the world and real monsters.  The monsters look like us and talk to us but make no mistake, there are real monsters out there.  You only see them for what they are by what they do.  I want to Kill All The Monsters but the reality is, strike one down and another rises to take his place.  Nothing changes and we learn nothing from our history.  Hitler was struck down and Rwanda and Bosnia happened.  Deal with those and then it is Sudan. Or Cambodia.  Or Syria.  Or ISIS.  Or who ever the next Hilter wannabe is.   People who don't learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.  
     
    Chains of our past.  Everyone has this issue.   Do you allow the past to bind you and deny you a better future or do you let it go.
     
    The chains of the experiences in Bosnia bound me and put me on a self destructive path to most likely a grim future.  Only by embracing what happened and learning to rise above it, to not allow the past to control my present so I can forge a new future did I finally find peace for my soul.  It was hard because the chains are thick and strong - memories, recollections and seeing stuff like the genocide in Bosnia playing out elsewhere in the world brings it all back.  But I broke free finally and the memories are not emotionally charged as they were in the past as a result.  No, the memories never go away.  But you can make peace with them and find a way to a sort of 'wholeness' again.
     
    I have rambled on.  Partly to acknowledge my past and the role I played in it.   A affirmation that something in life tried to beat me down and I rose above it.
     
    Partly to my brothers in arms from any side of the conflicts who are dealing the the imprint of what total war does to their soul and well being, that there is a way ahead.  Memories can become less emotionally charged and less painful. Memories do fade somewhat through time, working hard toward wholeness, and throwing off the shackles of the past and living for the future.  It is not a easy road or a fast road and not everyone can break their chains of the past but it can be done.
     
    And finally, to the Croatian, Bosnian and Serb posters.  I see anger and pain in your words.  War is terrible and it will write things on your soul that will deny you a bright, happy future.  I know.  I was there.  I have lived it.   Acknowledge the past, regardless of how ugly or hurtful it is.  Realize the past is the past and is not your future unless you allow it.  Do not do what a Serb family that moved to Toronto did and poison their two sons with what happened long ago in a land now far away that resulted in them involving themselves in killing other people, perhaps being killed themselves and exposing themselves to the horrors of war, for a cause not that shouldn't been theirs to fight and a war they shouldn't have been involved in, all over something that happened nearly 50 years ago.   Don't deny the future of your children or grandchildren by binding them in YOUR chains of the past and dooming them to fight in some future war because the last war had a negative impact on your family.
     
    War is death, destruction, shattered lives and futures denied.  Don't glorify it and not rationalize it.  Your a damn fool otherwise.
  25. Upvote
    BlackMoria got a reaction from AttorneyAtWar in Moscow Victory Day (70 Years) Parade   
    Looks like this thread is rapidly swirling down the drain.  Perhaps best to shove a plug in.
     
    Looks, gents, war is hell.  There is nothing glamorous about it.  There is nothing moral about it.  And it is nothing to celebrate. 
     
    It is really easy to point fingers at the other side and decry them as murderous bastards, fascists, commie pinkos, the great satan... pick you favorite slur.   It changes nothing in the long run.  It doesn't bring back the dead. It doesn't comfort or heal the wounded, whether those wounds are physical or psychological.
     
    It just leads to another cycle of violence.  Like the saying in Star Wars - anger leads to the dark side.
     
    When I was in Bosnia in '93 as a Canadian peacekeeper, two Bosnia Serb soldiers came up to me at a checkpoint.  They were two brothers from Toronto, Canada.   I asked them why they were here in Serbian military uniforms.  I then heard a story about as they were growing up, they heard from their grandparents and their parents over and over about what the Croats did to the family in WW2 and stuff post war.  They were here to defend the motherland and to settle accounts with the Croatians for something that happened to the family nearly 50 years ago.  I don't get that - they were born in Canada (their family came to Canada post war) yet they felt that this was THEIR war to fight.
     
    Anger and hatred lead them here.  Instilled by the anger and hatred of their parents, perpetrated by anger and hatred from their parents.  Fighting in a war not of their making, for a cause not their own, for a homeland they have never seen.  A cycle of violence nearly 50 years in the making.
     
    I have seen some of that anger expressed here and I am reminded of that time talking with the two brothers.  And I am seeing the seeds of that tragedy here.
     
    I was in a very dark place for a long time after my peacekeeping tour in '93.  Some would call it PTSD.  You can only see so much of genocide up close and in your face and a part of me inside died.  There was no moral high ground for either side,  All sides did stuff terrible things that are war crimes - the Bosnians, the Croatians and the Serbs.  Yes, the bulk of the ethnic cleansing was done by the Serbs but is no excuse for the Bosnians and the Croatians to do what they did.  I saw a beautiful country in ruins, shattered lifes, mounds of civilian dead, and a land with seeming madmen running around with guns seeming to want to re-fight WW2 or address the wrongs they suffered in that conflict..
     
    Chains of the past.  So many people in the world are bound by those chains.  I see the ghosts of the past conflicts playing out in the conflicts of today.  There is the real tragedy.  We seemingly can't escape our past and we poison the well for our children so they are doomed to repeat our mistakes.
     
    Anger leads to the dark side.  That is true.  I lived it grappling with my PTSD and the nightmares of seeing a country gone mad in Bosnia.  I wanted to kill every ethnic cleansing son of bitch with a gun.   It took a long time but I came to accept certain things.
     
    I saved lots of civilians, Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian but not enough for me.  I wanted to save all of them.  I couldn't and felt guilty for decades as a result.   War lesson 1:  In war people die, soldier and civilian alike,  War lesson 2:  You can't do anything to change lesson 1.  It took a long time for me to embrace that and that saved my sanity ultimately.
     
    There is real evil in the world and real monsters.  The monsters look like us and talk to us but make no mistake, there are real monsters out there.  You only see them for what they are by what they do.  I want to Kill All The Monsters but the reality is, strike one down and another rises to take his place.  Nothing changes and we learn nothing from our history.  Hitler was struck down and Rwanda and Bosnia happened.  Deal with those and then it is Sudan. Or Cambodia.  Or Syria.  Or ISIS.  Or who ever the next Hilter wannabe is.   People who don't learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.  
     
    Chains of our past.  Everyone has this issue.   Do you allow the past to bind you and deny you a better future or do you let it go.
     
    The chains of the experiences in Bosnia bound me and put me on a self destructive path to most likely a grim future.  Only by embracing what happened and learning to rise above it, to not allow the past to control my present so I can forge a new future did I finally find peace for my soul.  It was hard because the chains are thick and strong - memories, recollections and seeing stuff like the genocide in Bosnia playing out elsewhere in the world brings it all back.  But I broke free finally and the memories are not emotionally charged as they were in the past as a result.  No, the memories never go away.  But you can make peace with them and find a way to a sort of 'wholeness' again.
     
    I have rambled on.  Partly to acknowledge my past and the role I played in it.   A affirmation that something in life tried to beat me down and I rose above it.
     
    Partly to my brothers in arms from any side of the conflicts who are dealing the the imprint of what total war does to their soul and well being, that there is a way ahead.  Memories can become less emotionally charged and less painful. Memories do fade somewhat through time, working hard toward wholeness, and throwing off the shackles of the past and living for the future.  It is not a easy road or a fast road and not everyone can break their chains of the past but it can be done.
     
    And finally, to the Croatian, Bosnian and Serb posters.  I see anger and pain in your words.  War is terrible and it will write things on your soul that will deny you a bright, happy future.  I know.  I was there.  I have lived it.   Acknowledge the past, regardless of how ugly or hurtful it is.  Realize the past is the past and is not your future unless you allow it.  Do not do what a Serb family that moved to Toronto did and poison their two sons with what happened long ago in a land now far away that resulted in them involving themselves in killing other people, perhaps being killed themselves and exposing themselves to the horrors of war, for a cause not that shouldn't been theirs to fight and a war they shouldn't have been involved in, all over something that happened nearly 50 years ago.   Don't deny the future of your children or grandchildren by binding them in YOUR chains of the past and dooming them to fight in some future war because the last war had a negative impact on your family.
     
    War is death, destruction, shattered lives and futures denied.  Don't glorify it and not rationalize it.  Your a damn fool otherwise.
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