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Table of Contents - Winter 2008 - MHQ

Originally published by MHQ magazine. Published Online: November 02, 2007 
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FEATURES

Buried at Sea
By Ed Offley
Did U.S. and Soviet navy officials deep six the real reason the American nuclear attack submarine Scorpion sank with 99 sailors aboard?

The Year Air Power Came of Age
By James S. Corum
In 1917, over Flanders fields, a fundamental shift in the airplane's role signaled its ascendancy as a deadly offensive weapon.

New Light on Ancient Battles
By Victor Davis Hanson
A careful reading between—or even underneath—the lines can change our interpretation of pivotal military engagements.

The Champagne Campaign
By Jeffrey J. Clarke
The meticulously planned invasion of Southern France and the unassuming commander who led it were largely overlooked in the wake of the Normandy landings.

European Power Projection
By Dennis Showalter
Far from an inexorable march of conquest, Western Europe's early military forays around the world rode an ebb and flow of tide of mercantilism.

The Ultimate Weapon
By Paul G. Gillespie
Precision-guided munitions have changed the modern battlefield, and in the process created a new American way of war.

The First American Victory: Ethan Allen Takes Fort Ticonderoga
By Willard Sterne Randall
Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnnold led militiamen on a daring mission to capture Fort Ticonderoga, and in so doing gave George Washington the means to expel the British from New England.

Building the Army of the Potomac
By Stephen W. Sears
Politically appointed generals, short-term volunteer troops, and a stream of defeats nearly unhinged Lincoln's war plans.

DEPARTMENTS  

Letters to the Editor

Ask MHQ:
What would have happened if the Germans had gone with their initial plan in 1940, rather than thrusting through the Ardennes?
By Brig. Gen. Robert A. Doughty

Experience of War: Blood and Butchery in the Crimea
By Jonathan North
Long months spent in the trenches during the Siege of Sevastopol convinced a French lieutenant of war's futility.

Letter From MHQ

Fighting Words: Terms from Military History
By Christine Ammer
Our lexicographer considers terms arising during the Cold War era.

Artists on War: Showing Too Much of the Horrors of War
By Pamela D. Toler
Frank Brangwyn's realistic portrayals of combat shocked Great Britain's War Department, but recruiting officers begged him for more.

In Review
Reviews of MacArthur, by Richard B. Franks; Fight for the Fatherland, by David Stone; The Utility of Force, by General Rupert Smith; and Fighting Techniques of the Early Modern World, AD 1500-1763, by Christen Jorgenson, et al.

ONLINE EXTRAS

Paul Revere's True Account of the Midnight Ride

General George S. Patton and the Battle of the Bulge

Military Technology: Using a Cloud of Dust in Ancient Warfare


6 Responses to “Table of Contents - Winter 2008 - MHQ”


  1. 1
    George Kamburoff says:

    Your article on the loss of the USS Scorpion was a great healing for me.

    In the heat of the war in 1968, I was already turning against the war were fighting, and happened to heterodyne some radio equipment and tune in our Korat, Thailand base radio station, just in time to hear, as it played out in real time over many agonizing hours, the loss of the Scorpion and those 99 men. It had a great effect on me, and left me screaming at the speakers.

    For decades, I tried to tell folk about it, but was ridiculed or told to mind my own business. But it was my business, as a witness to something about which our own government was lying.

    I wrote it all up, and sent it to the Naval Historical Center after calling them. They asked for it, and received it, but I got no reply.

    I will append it anywhere appropriate if you want the testimony of a witness.

    • 1.1
      Lee Mathers says:

      Lets evaluate this claim.

      The Scorpion was then on the other side of the world from Thailand, submerged several hundred feet below the surface of the ocean and thus not transmitting radio broadcasts either in HF or UHF.

      If any broadcasts were initiated from this factitious encounter, they would have been in the Russian language and using Soviet naval shorthand verbal military reports of their activities in UHF or VHF between tactical units. Since supposedly this Soviet naval action was conducted clandestinely against a US submarine, any such radio traffic would have been very sparse and purposely cryptic, or encrypted.

      If Scorpion were to surface to report such an encounter, it would have been by encrypted HF teletype or burst transmission to headquarters.

      What exactly then, existed for George Kamburoff to hear in "real time."

      No doubt either his memory is playing tricks on him, or he is searching for his 15 minutes of fame.

      What nonsense!!!

      • 1.1.1
        George Kamburoff says:

        Lee, I don't know who or what you are, but you heap such scorn on an unknown person that you betray your own character.

        Sorry, but you can not tell me what I heard. I have been called all sorts of things by folk like you who didn't believe me, so I wrote it up for the Naval Historical Center at their request.

        I have no axe to grind, but the one of emotional distress as I listened in real time to what was happening in the Communications Room at Norflok as we lost the Scorpion, . . in real time, whether you believe it or not. Who cares?

        I only had the unfortunate circumstance to heterodyne a signal generator and an antenna signal to pick up the base radio station on a VHF-101 transmitter-receiver, and listen to us lose the Scorpion as it happened.

        I understand the Sonobuoy, having handled them disassembled in our Air Force shop. We used them in Igloo White, the Electronic Battlefield of Robert NcNamara. I was only 10 feet from the Sonobuoy inventor when this happened, but he was uninterested in my fervor.

        Long afterward, one of the questions I had was whose Sonobuoy were we listening to, and who received it and relayed the recording to us? And WHY WERE WE LYING about it?

        Sonobuoys are FM VHF line-of-sight transmitters to the ARR-52 receivers in the orbiting P-3's or whatever. Were they even using the same Lockheed Model 417 Instrumentation Recorders we in the AF used to feed our own sonic analyzers as we orbited over Vietnam?

        I will send my note for the Naval Historical Center to anyone who requests it. Meanwhile, Look up Red Star Rogue, or something like that, a story that ties the Scorpion loss to the big barge and the Glomar Explorer I used to see in SF Bay. (btw – The barge is back)

        My email is george@kamburoff.com

        And learn some manners.

  2. 2
    Lee Mathers says:

    Manners aside, Mr. Kamburoff is asking the world to accept his memories from 1968 as fact, and yet these memories defy documented facts, physics, and common sense.

    Mr. Kamburoff states that he doesn't know who I am. To explain myself, a quick brief: I was a Navy Ensign assigned as communications officer to USS Hunterdon County (LST 838) in the rivers of the Mekong Delta from November 1967 to November 1968 — coincidentally the same months of deployment that Mr. Kamburoff spent in Thailand. There were well over 200 men onboard the ship, its two helicopters, and 10 PBRs operating from the ship. Subsequently I was in the Pentagon in 1973-74 in Navy Intelligence at CNO's Intelligence Plot. There I had Top Secret clearances in eight special intelligence compartments, including submarine-derived intelligence. But even with this level of access and clearance, and the co-location of the Underseas Intelligence Plot immediately next door, I was NEVER allowed access to information on real-time location, movements and intentions of active fleet submarines.

    In 1974-75 in the Mediterranean as Operations Officer for DesRon 24, I was involved with the monitoring of the Soviet ASW carrier Moskva, then conducting ASW exercises south of Crete. Coordinating two destroyers and their helos, plus P-3s and P-2s overhead almost constantly, we plotted Soviet actions involving a Victor-class SSN and the Moskva helo detatchment. I personally recovered Soviet sonobuoys still active ("Hello Joe" operations), and shifted through garbage bags thrown overboard from the Moskva. This experience showed me how difficult and time consuming it is to reconstruct tactical history involving submarine operations.

    From these experiences, and more during my years in the Navy, I can state without hesitation or fear of error, that Mr. Kamburoff may have memories of the events that he has described, but that these memories have no correspondence to reality.

    First, even if there was a tactical engagement between Soviet naval units (an ASW helo or an Echo-Class SSGN depending upon the book you might read from Offley or Sewell), there was then and is now, no mechanism whereby such underwater events could have been monitored and made sensible in real time. Weeks or months of analysis by teams of acoustic analysts would be required, augmented by whatever communications intelligence was intercepted from Russian transmissions. There also was no real-time link available from P-3s flying in 1968, that could make available to shore-stations, the monitoring of active or passive sonobuoys during tactical engagements. Such information could be sent ONLY upon the aircraft returning to base.

    Second, as a COMM Officer during the time specified in Mr. Kamburoff's story, I would have been contacted to verify any radio reports on AFRS or any English language broadcast in Viet Nam during that period. With over 200 men onboard operating 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, there was ALWAYS someone listening to AFRS Saigon. If Mr. Kamburoff's memory is correct, someone would have referred the report to the Commanding Officer and he would have come to me for verification or investigation. I can testify in court or any venue, that nothing like that happened.

    Third, to use a recent movie as a absurd measure of the defects in Mr. Kamburoff's memories, I watched "Good Morning, Viet Nam" with Robin Williams last week. During that movie, they showed the tight censorship utilized by AFRS to prevent classified information from being transmitted over their broadcasts. Even if such information was attempted and a first transmission of highly classified reporting made it onto the air; AFRS would have cut short any followup transmission even at the expense of going dead on the air until the leak could be plugged. The idea that such reporting continued for hours is simply not possible during the period of the Vietnam War.

    Third, as I alluded to earlier, information on the real-time actions, intentions, and exploits of US submarines is one of the three most highly secured class of information protected by the US military. The other two are the location and movement of nuclear weapons, and the the movement and intentions of tactical combat units during war. The information that Mr. Kamburoff relates from memory was not determined until months following the Scorpion loss (i.e. the location of the sinking and the movements of Scorpion from her last radio report to the moment of loss). Mr. Kamburoff's memories of a Soviet tactical operation to sink the Scorpion mirrors speculation first proposed after 1975, when the loss of K-129 in the Pacific became known to the public.

    Mr. Kamburoff reveals his pre-formed judgement of highly speculative and ultimately badly written fiction masquerading as fact, when he states "…Meanwhile, Look up Red Star Rogue, or something like that, a story that ties the Scorpion loss to the big barge and the Glomar Explorer "

    Sewell and Offley have poisoned the well of a public pre-disposed to accepting highly emotional conspiracy theories, UFOs, and second-gunmen on the knoll. There is alway someone proposing such a theory then challenging the nay-sayers to "prove" them wrong.

    Such is the case with Mr. Kamburoff. While he has not claimed to be kidnapped by aliens, lost his photo taken of the Loch Ness monster, nor watched the formation of crop-circles without human intervention, Mr. Kamburoff's memories re: the Scorpion are equally flawed and ungrounded in this reality.

    While I sympathize with Mr. Kamburoff's obvious distress in handling these memories, I am not obliged to humor him in his delusions. Unfounded and impossible claims of US sailors being slaughtered by heartless and unfeeling Russian communists, compounded by a successful 40-year cover-up by a US military-CIA complex should not be allowed to fester unchallenged within the public's sub-conscience.

    Both this nation's social contract between the people and its Government, and the relationship between the US and the Russian governments are ill-served by allowing such conspiracy-theory nonsense to go unchallenged.

    Mr. Kamburoff's delusions do not demand respect; nor does exposing the faults inherent in those delusions exhibit bad manners.

    Mr. Kamburoff — I applaud your service during the Vietnam War; and I sympathize with your emotional distress in subsequent years. I hope that distress has not materially effected your life and your family over the last 40 years. Perhaps the first step in addressing the distress that you relate, is to recognize that memories do not necessarily reflect reality and that your memories concerning Scorpion are the result of linking both fact and fiction which you have been exposed to over the past 40 years — jumbled into a completely impossible story.

    Best of luck in your future years.

    Lee Mathers

    • 2.1
      George Kamburoff says:

      Your assertion "Mr. Kamburoff's delusions do not demand respect; " says it all, and is the reason I will now not let this debate die. The other "experts" who berated me also fell for the Gulf of Tonkin lies, and got really angry when I asked them if they got suckered by "WMD".

      The truth will eventually come out, and when it does, you won't like it.

  3. 3
    George Kamburoff says:

    This was not expected until I got the first two dressings-down by the "experts". I have no position, no theory to push, Lee. That was for you to put in my narrative to discredit it. What I recounted was a genuine event, no matter the "experts" think. Did they also fall for the Gulf of Tonkin? "WMD"?

    I spent the last weekend defending myself and providing bona fides to the other "experts", who couldn't even answer MY questions regarding the technology, but were free to question my veracity and sanity.

    I have nothing to gain from this but the opportunity to let the survivors of those 99 know that they didn't die because somebody left the water on in the head, they perished in action against a perceived threat, and if Lee and the others don't want to challenge their preconceived notions, I can't blame them. Their embarrassment will come from their recent abuse of those who dare question their omniscience.

    Lee, when you find out better, I will ask for an apology.



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