Sink the Hessen! Russia Doesn’t Have To Strike Beyond the Ukrainian Battlefield – The German, French, British and US Governments Are Sinking Themselves

Yves here. John Helmer uses the device of a children’s book series about a determined and cagey warrior to help frame his piece on the state of play with NATO and US hair-tearing over Ukraine, German scheming, and probable Russian reactions and next steps. Note that one of Helmer’s Russia sources warns that his compatriots seem too bullish about Russia’s prospects in the next phase.

By John Helmer, the longest continuously serving foreign correspondent in Russia, and the only western journalist to direct his own bureau independent of single national or commercial ties. Helmer has also been a professor of political science, and an advisor to government heads in Greece, the United States, and Asia. He is the first and only member of a US presidential administration (Jimmy Carter) to establish himself in Russia. Originally published at Dances with Bears

It’s near-certain that no Russian general, nor member of the Stavka,  nor President Vladimir Putin has read Biggles.* If one of them had, he would accept that now, after a long time of forgetfulness, the Germans are again the enemy who can and must be defeated by Biggles or his successors — if civilization is to be saved in Europe.

They are the original Germans, with their headquarters in Berlin. Not the new Germans – they are the Americans who occupy Germany, and direct it from their headquarters in Ramstein, Mons, Brussels, and Washington.

“Look out, there is a Hun” – this is the first line of a warning Biggles sang to alert his partner to a guard on patrol at a castle operated as headquarters and prison by the German Secret Service.  Biggles was singing to the tune of the British national anthem, God Save the King. “Look out, there is a Hun/Quite near you with a gun.”

The war that is now accelerating to its climax on the Ukrainian battlefield requires the same alert and wit; the words are the same, the tune is now the Russian national anthem. And the Huns are not the only ones approaching with a gun. So are the Frogs, Limeys, and Doughboys.  When Biggles was fighting his war, it was his clear understanding that the Germans were the principal enemy in Europe and worldwide. He regarded the French and the Americans as necessary but weak, unsteady, and incompetent allies.

What is an intrepid mind like Biggles to think and to do now?

At the moment the approval ratings and voter preference polls show that the alliance against Russia is ruled by the weakest governments in their post-war histories: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government is down to 17% preference, Scholz to 20% approval; French President  Emmanuel Macron is down to 30% approval, and his successor would lose to the Rassemblement National (“National Rally”); Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s approval is 9%, and his Conservative Party is trailing the Labour Party by 23%; President Joseph Biden is at 39.5% approval, losing to candidate Donald Trump by 2% nationally, more in the key states.

These politicians are threatening to escalate their war against Russia with long-range, nuclear-capable missiles and more forces on the ground in the Ukraine; as Macron has suggested, the plan is to reinforce Ukrainian defences either west of Kiev, along the Belarus, Polish, and Romanian borders, or in a line for the defence of Odessa and Kiev.    If the calculation of these politicians is that their talk will trigger a rally-round-the incumbent effect in the electorate, they already know from their polls this will fail.

The military calculation has been rejected by reserve or retired French and German generals who point out that additions to the command, technical,  and special forces they have already deployed in the Ukraine would survive for less than a week because they have no effective air cover;  no ground-to-air defence;  no survivable ground weapon of any kind;  and no fortification or bunker that cannot be penetrated and destroyed by the Russian Kinzhal and Iskander missiles and the heavy FAB-1500 bunker-busting bomb.

“The enemy [of France] is not Vladimir Putin but Emmanuel Macron,” retired General André Coustou  said on March 7. “He is the liquidator, the destroyer of France. He’s the one who should go!” Coustou, who has been at war with Macron since 2018,    added that “our weakness, our vulnerability” makes for “a concrete impossibility for the time today.”

This is not the German generals’ view. That was revealed by Ingo Gerhartz, chief of the Luftwaffe, when he thought he was speaking in secret with his deputies, one of them a general on the airforce plans and operations staff.  “I will be grateful to you if you tell me not only what problems we have, but how we can solve them,” Gerhartz said.   “We are now fighting a war that uses much more modern technology than our good old Luftwaffe. This all suggests that when we are planning deadlines, we should not overestimate them…There are certain concerns if we have direct communication with the Ukrainian armed forces. Therefore, the question arises: can we use such a trick and second our people to MBDA [German arms maker]? Thus, direct communication with Ukraine will only be through MBDA, this is much better than if such a connection exists with our Air Force…I think that our people will find an option. We just need to be allowed to try first, so that we can give better political advice. We need to be better prepared so we don’t fail because the KSA [Kommando Strategische Aufklärung, “Strategic Reconnaissance Command”, a German intelligence organization] may have no idea where the [Russian] air defence systems actually are.”

Trick and try first — this is what the German generals are doing.  They and the Berlin ministers supporting Gerhartz have been contradicted in public by Scholz who claims: “I am the chancellor and that is why it is like this.” A scheme to implement the Gerhartz plan and preserve Scholz in his camouflage is in discussion with the Sunak government.

Moscow sources are divided. There are those who believe the political and military calculation of these allies is cynical: they realize their war is lost to Russia – the Ukrainian battlefield as a territory and also the weapons, intelligence, command and control they have supplied – and they are preparing to avoid taking the blame at the next election and defence budget votes.

Other Moscow sources caution the war in the east has been won, and lost by NATO, but not the war in the west and north. One close to the Defense Ministry warns that “too much is being read into battles won and troops defeated.” This source believes “the best trained Ukrainian reserves and battle groups are west of the Dnieper and in the north. The reserves on the eastern front are fodder, disposable. It’s been clear to the US and the others for some time that the eastern part will be lost. The real battle will be when the main offensive begins for Odessa and Kiev – if it does.” According to this source, the real meaning of the Macron remarks and of the public reaction to the Gerhartz plan is the coming Battle of WoD. “The West of Dnieper [WoD] is where the war will be fought. That’s where the Russian offensive will be met with the best-trained troops and equipment; they are still uncommitted, much still outside the Ukraine. They will be moved in large numbers, but only to defend WoD.”

In the Biggles stories, von Stalhein is far cleverer than any German in command or in power for a generation.  “Do you think you are in a position to dictate terms to me?” Von Stalhein says to Biggles inside the castle. “Whether I am or not, I’m doing it”, Biggles returned. “It’s time you knew me well enough to know that I’ll do what I say. I’m not given to threatening; but go your own way and you sign your death-warrant. I’ll see to that; I’ll hunt you down and kill you like a mangy wolf, if I have to spend the rest of my life doing it.”

The Russian president and the Stavka don’t need to read Biggles to say this. They have already  said it. What remains to be revealed — not said in advance — are their intrepid methods for defeating the Hun.

The Biggles stories are classified for children from nine years of age. This is another mistake.

Biggles’ creator, Captain William Earle Johns (1893-1968),  had fought as an infantryman in World War I, first against the Turks at the Battle of Gallipoli, which the Turks won; and then against the Germans and Bulgarians on the stalemated Salonika front. During the last year of the war he flew bombers over Germany before he was shot down, wounded, and imprisoned by the Germans.

He explained at the front of his very first Biggles book in 1932 that Hun “was used in this book as the common generic term for anything belonging to the enemy. It was used in the familiar sense, rather than derogatory.”  The disclaimer was intended to rebuff later allegations of racism, as it should.

Left: Captain W.E.Johns. Right, the 1936 publication from which the National Anthem  quote has come. The disclaimer appears in The Camels Are Coming in 1932.

Biggles was the nickname of the Royal Air Force fighter pilot, Major James Bigglesworth. He was invented by Johns from his combat experience; he went on to publish ninety-seven book-length Biggles stories between 1932 and 1997; Johns himself died in 1968.

The one thing Biggles is, because Johns was, clear-eyed about is knowing who his enemy is and what solution for this there must be — killing him, preferably in a fair aerial dogfight, but since the outcome of the crash could never be certain,  with whatever method was at hand. The name of the enemy was Erich von Stalhein, a Luftwaffe flyer in World War I and then a secret service agent, who – Stalhein himself explains to Biggles after capturing him at gunpoint – “do not die so easily. It has been said that, like the cat, we have nine lives…when I was shot down and crashed following the ingenious coup planned by our mutual friend Bigglesworth was my eighth life. I had one left. I still have it.”

Von Stalhein was cleverer than Chancellor Scholz and Luftwaffe chief Gerhartz. The Russian race  hatred of the skin-headed Gerhartz was displayed in a 38-minute telephone conference he held on February 19 on the subject of how quickest to prepare the Taurus missile for killing Russians – in their kindergartens if need be, as a deputy warned him to no effect. Out of his mouth in the crudest fashion, Gerhartz has declared war on Russia, and in consequence he is a reciprocal target. To be sure, Gerhartz thought he was speaking in secret on a highly secured line.  Von Stalhein was never so careless.

“The defeat by the Iskander missile of the Ukrainian S-300 air defence system in the area of Krasnoarmeysk. Pulling the SAM closer to the front line in order to somehow try to cover the troops from the flow of FABS from the UMPC led to the fact that in recent weeks a significant number of Patriot, NASAMS, C-300, Buk-M1 SAMs have been lost.” – March 9. Notwithstanding, the US continues to press Greece to transfer its S-300 batteries to the Ukraine in exchange for Patriots.  

This is not over-confidence or bluster. “With or without European troops and new supplies,” a Moscow military source believes, “the Ukrainians are preparing defensive lines more sturdy than Bakhmut and Avdeyevka, better armed, better manned. Where and what lines or pockets they have built, I don’t know. No one is saying.”

The daily Defense Ministry battlefield briefings and bulletins are signaling that those who do know are striking at the fallback Ukrainian positions in their dozens — without giving the geographic locations. The March 11 bulletin reported:  “two temporary locations of foreign mercenaries were hit, as well as concentrations of enemy manpower and military equipment in 142 districts.”    On March 12: “In addition, accumulations of enemy manpower and military equipment in 132 districts were hit.”

A NATO military veteran comments that the Russian methods for these strikes are “drone, missile, glide bomb, artillery and, we can bet, sabotage/partisan operations.” He adds: “You can’t tell where Germany, France and the US start and where they end, or the inverse. It’s tiresome to hear about NATO, French, Pole, whatever deployments in the Ukraine as they’ve been an accomplished fact for years. The real news is that the Russians are getting better by the day at identifying and killing these personnel.”

“The Ukrainians are so concerned about a Russian offensive in the north that they launched their version of a spoiling attack this week. They’re reacting, but the timing is off. The Russian General Staff has been, in effect, goading them, striking rear areas and conducting commando raids along the northern border for months now.”

The source is dismissive of the deterrent effect of NATO planning for a reinforced battle to defend Odessa and Kiev. “For a start, the Russians won’t move an army against Kiev. As for an operation to save Odessa, backed up by German Taurus on board F-16s based in Romania, “those countries couldn’t organize a one-car funeral, let alone an operation like that.  And they certainly don’t have the stomachs for it. Not now.”

Now looks like this:

The last poll was recorded in mid-December 2023. Source:
Macron’s approval level was at its all-time low (24%) between December 2018 and July 2019, when the Gilets Jaunes protests were at their peak. Since then Macron and his successors have slipped further in the polling of French voter preferences for the second presidential vote round.

The election preference polls in January show a massive lead by Labour over the Conservatives whose vote share is now the lowest the party has recorded since Sunak became prime minister in October 2022.

Biden’s lowest approval rating was 37.4% on July 26, 2022. At current approval of 39.8%, nine months before Election Day, Biden is running lower than his three predecessors in the job at the same point on the political calendar.

The picture for Germany and Chancellor Scholz is worse, as Deutsche Welle, the state propaganda organ, reported last December. “For Scholz, the only way is down. The representative poll, carried out by the research group Infratest-dimap  surveyed 1,364 eligible voters between December 4-6 by phone and email. Of them, just 17 percent said they are satisfied with the SPD-led government. For Scholz himself, that figure is one-fifth. It’s the lowest approval rating of a German chancellor in the history of the poll, which has been tracking monthly sentiment since 1997.”  Scholz’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) has not sunk to its 15% current election vote before; at 13% the Greens in Berlin have dropped to the level of 2009.

As the SPD-Green coalition is sinking, they and the defeat in the Ukraine are taking public confidence down with them. According to this current poll from Infratest-dimap, German trust in the Americans and the Ukrainians is slipping most; trust in Russia is gaining.

Key: blue= who can be trusted. Grey=who cannot be trusted. Source:

Captain Johns doesn’t let Biggles say much about politics until the wars against Germany are over, Berlin capitulates, and von Stalhein turns into an ally against Soviet Russia. That’s when the series turns into fiction for children.*

Johns was clear at the beginning: “Biggles is not entirely a fictitious character. True he did not exist under that name, but the exploits with which he has been credited have nearly all been built on a foundation of truth, although, needless to say, they were not all the efforts of a single individual…Finally, I hope – and I say this in all sincerity – that something may be learned from the combat tactics employed by Biggles and his friends, who may one day find themselves in the cockpit…”

That’s the Biggles message for adults. This time in the cockpit, it’s the Germans, French, British,  and Americans who are the children playing at war fiction.

[*] The first Biggles translation into Russian, Бигглз во Франции (“Biggles in France”) appeared in 2016, sixteen years into President Putin’s administration. A Russian review of that book at the time explained that “one of the classics of English adventure literature, William Earle Johns, has never been
published in Russia. He was just unlucky. He began publishing his novels, short stories and novels about Biggles, the pilot of the Royal Air Force, in the 1930s, when the USSR had its own hero pilots. Therefore, Biggles was simply overlooked, although Johns’ name stands among such giants as [Robert Louis] Stevenson and [Rider] Haggard. But it's time to correct this mistake of history. Captain Johns is the real Indiana Jones of English and world literature.”  

NOTE: The lead image shows the German Navy frigate Hessen, which is currently operating in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden to escort Israel-owned cargo vessels or vessels heading for Israeli ports such as Eilat, in defiance of the Houthi campaign to blockade Israel until it ends the genocide in Gaza. On February 27, the Hessen demonstrated the incompetence of its equipment and crew by firing its missiles at an approaching drone and missing on two attempts; the drone was a friendly US Air Force MQ-9 Reaper. The Houthis have been more accurate, shooting down two Reapers. They have also sunk one cargo vessel, the bulker Rubymar, on March 2. No Houthi air, sea drone or missile has yet struck and sunk a vessel belonging to the navies supporting Israel in the area.

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  1. Louis Fyne

    >>>> The real news is that the Russians are getting better by the day at identifying and killing these personnel.

    There was an Iskandar ballistic missile strike in Odesa recently, near the location of Zelensky and the Greek PM.

    there is a hypothesis on Twitter that the strike hit naval drone-operating personnel who gathered at a hangar for a medals ceremony that would have been attended by Zelensky—-the high-value target being the drone operators, not Zelensky.

    1. Skip Intro

      And this visit and strike occurred just after naval drones, presumably launched from that base, hit a Russian ship. Was Zelensky trying to be in harm’s way?

  2. Feral Finster

    Since when did western politicians care about public opinion, except when it happens to agree with them?

    Anyway, according to the Marianne leak from yesterday, French troops already are in Ukraine. No, it’s not popular with the French public. Neither Macron nor anyone else of influence and authority cares.

    Soon, Poland will be openly intervening. And if you think that it will stop with that, then you are high. WWIII is coming.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you.

      I meant to send Yves and Lambert the Marianne link and ask former UK official Aurelien / David to comment.

      It was interesting to hear what the French officers had to say about training.

      I know a young Guards subaltern, a theology graduate, training Ukrainians at Catterick, Yorkshire. His two immediate predecessors were also Guards, one is at Goldman Sachs and the other an equerry to the King.

      In between basic training for cadets, many of whom are from the former colonies, Ukrainians of various ages, sizes and shapes are squeezed in for a few weeks’ training. Sometimes, instructors come from the Netherlands and Denmark to assist, but, as there’s no standard training in NATO, it’s confusing, so cohorts are kept separate.

      None of the subalterns has heard a shot fired in anger, but as they are toffs, they may have shot grouse in anger on their estates. Volunteering for Catterick is for career progression, but in civvy street, as none planned a long career in the army, short service commissions.

      The only instructors at Catterick with combat experience are the officers commissioned from the ranks and senior non-commissioned officers.

      No instructor has ever led a unit of company size, about 100 – 120 soldiers. They have at most led platoons of about 30 – 40 soldiers.

      The instructors and their professional superiors in London can only teach what they know, so no peer adversary, in a combined arms environment and at brigade or above size level. No superior has commanded a unit bigger than a battalion in combat.

      1. Feral Finster

        As long as those Ukrainians can soak up Russian munitions before NATO openly intervenes, then they have done their jobs.

        Cynical? Yes. We are ruled by cynics, even unto naked sociopathy.

      2. vao

        The gist of the article, from a French high-ranking officer:

        “Let us not kid ourselves; against the Russians, we are an army of majorettes.”

        1. Feral Finster

          So? Macron will give the order regardless. And if you think that will be the end of it…..

          1. vao

            Remember that, in living memory, the French army did not hesitate to make coups against the government.

              1. hk

                They weren’t near breaking point in 1789, 1917, or 1958 (or 1961) either. I don’t think armies near breaking point mutiny: they mutiny because they might be forced to the breaking point via politics if they don’t.

                1. Feral Finster

                  Semantics aside, I don’t think the French military is anywhere near the point it was on any of those occasions.

                  Expecting one’s enemy to do one’s work for you and mutiny has already struck me as the height of wishful thinking.

  3. Tom67

    I don´t know which translation of the notorious talk of the German generals John Helmer used. I listened to all of it as I am German and don´t need a translation. All the supposed anti-Russian animus he reads into it is bullshit. It is rather the talk of technicians who would like to use their best toy but don´t for a minute think about the wider picture. They admit themselves that Taurus won´t change anything on the battlefield. It is just that they are to make a presentation for the minister of defense how, under which circumstances and with which German involvement this toy can be deployed. It is up to the minister to decide and they have to give him the parameters. That is it. By type they are nothing as much as mercenaries. They don´t even talk real german but a curious mixture of German and English. John Helmer is way behind the times if he thinks that the upper echelons of Germany have anything like German interests at heart. They are proud globalists who only regard their fellow countrymen as much as they need them to get reelected.

    1. JonnyJames

      Globalists? That’s the wrong word – there is nothing “global” about them. You mean they are proud sycophants and vassals of the US empire. That is a much more accurate description.

    2. Feral Finster

      I forget which german politician it was Baerbock, perhaps, who said flatly that she does not care whether germans starve or freeze to death, the War on Russia will take priority.

      When a politician in a nominally democratic country openly tells voters that she does not care whether they live or die, I suggest that you take them at their word.

      Anyway, when you get a political class european to admit that the United States blew up NordStream, rather than get mad because the United States committed an Act of War on germany, the response is something like how bad slaves deserve their beatings.

      1. JonnyJames

        Nominally-democratic, exactly. When the politicians openly defy the public, like in Germany, the UK, the US etc. the line of democratic accountability is broken. This renders elections as distractions and PR stunts. Germany is clearly not a sovereign country, US bases and US-dominated NATO military occupies it after all these years. The crooked German politicians are reportedly well-rewarded for betraying the national interest and licking Uncle Sam’s boots.

        The historical irony of Germany sending panzers and heavy weapons to the Russian Front is almost unbelievable. “The Germans lost WWII, but the Nazis won” he wasn’t joking. (George Carlin)

        1. hk

          Especially when those panzers have almost the same names–Leopards and panthers are same species of big cat, just different names, no?

      2. Lefty Godot

        Baerbock is not elected, right? The whole EU is designed to put the decision makers out of reach of the voters, because even in failed democracies like the US and EU countries, elected politicians have to pretend to care about the voters, even when they stab them in the back post-election. Appointees can be less respectful. Like Victoria “fuck the EU” Nuland and other appointees, Baerbock can say “let them starve” without consequence.

        But can they back up all this bluster? Because that’s the adrenaline option (fight, flight, bluster, freeze) that they appear to have chosen. Sending inadequate numbers of troops trained for the wrong wars with some long range missile launchers that can be bombed into oblivion might be good for giving Russia a bloody nose or two, but even then, how long would it take for them to deploy this force? If it’s not until after this summer, about the only thing they will be able to credibly protect is Lwow. And that would be concentrating forces in a way that would create a very target rich environment for the other side.

        1. Bugs

          Ms Baerbock was elected. She’s a minister in the German government, not in the European Commission. She would sit in the Bundestag even if she were not a minister. You’re probably thinking of Ursula Van der Leyen. Also a scoundrel, but unelected and of the Christian right variety.

      3. Simon

        Baerbock was on stage at some globalist event and said that she would use German weapons and funds to support Ukraine even if Germans were against it.

    3. Es s Ce Tera

      Genuine question to you, Tom67, does the average German speaking a curious mixture of German and English say things like: “I will be grateful to you if you tell me not only what problems we have, but how we can solve them”? It reads a bit like a formal business letter. I don’t say “I will be grateful to you”, I say “can you please provide” or “it would be useful if”. Is there some sort of cultural thing going on here with the excessive politeness?

  4. Bill Malcolm

    I read as many Biggles books as I could get my hands on from the library in North End Portsmouth UK from 1956 to ’58. Which wasn’t many, since they were very popular, thus hard to get. The only one that sticks in my mind is the Finland one, where that country wobbled from the German side to the Allied side in ’39. Biggles and his pals Algy and Ginger were flying a Bristol Blenheim with at least twice the performance of a real one and rescued someone off a frozen lake or something like that. Etcetera. Comic book stuff, really. Captain W E Johns had a very stilted writing style, not dissimilar from Helmer, so it wasn’t really exciting stuff, more British patriotic BS for kids.

    So I soon concurrently graduated to Sgt Matt Braddock VC — much better piloting stuff and a working class hero besides, instead of stuffed shirt tally-ho wizard prang Biggles and Algy. Plus the author could actually write! Braddock’s antics were featured regularly in the boy’s printed-prose-stories-only comic The Rover, 2d on Thursdays. I’ve got current web bookmarks to scans of some of those stories — the books the series spawned were a separate deal and lost to me when the family moved to Canada in ’59.

    The author of Braddock is George Bourne, his supposed navigator in the Mosquitos and Beaufighters he flew. Who the real life author was, who knows? D C Thompson, the Canadian who published dozens of British comics out of Dundee, Scotland 65 to 70 years ago, including The Rover, knows. Of course, Thomson now also owns Reuters, so is still writing fiction for the “good guys”, if one wishes to be unkind about the current news effort.

    Now that nobody here has the faintest clue what I’m on about or what Helmer was saying about Biggles, I should add I haven’t been much enlightened by this latest article either. The style and writing are pretty atrocious, the information conveyed unclear.

    The upshot seems to be that Ukraine has magically produced amazing defence fortifications west of the Dnieper River, and that it has its very best Army reserves poised there, and huge stores of equipment left, weapons currently stored in NATO countries on its borders, and that Russia shouldn’t get too cocky thinking that it almost has the SMO won. Yes, Ukraine will battle the Russkies to a halt.

    Right. And Manny Macron and the Fightin’ French Army of 15,000 super wowee elite troops will soon appear in Ukraine and sweep the Russkies back to Moscow as German Taurus missiles rain down under French control and batter the RF into submission. Sounds like the basis for a Boys Own serial fantasy, written by MI6 spooks on teabreaks, specially for Murdoch’s The Sun Newspaper, and placed under the Page 3 girl.

    1. JonnyJames

      I appreciate your sense of humor – had a nice chuckle.
      The Sun still has the Page 3 girls? I haven’t been to the UK in awhile.

      1. Terry Flynn

        No. Page 3 topless women were discontinued around early 2015.

        Internet searches will, however, show that large majorities of Sun readers themselves describe it as “a comic”. Most of its readers know it’s complete rubbish. It’s readers of the Daily Mail we should be worried about. They actually believe the stuff in that “newspaper”.

        Best ever dissection of British newspapers – a few minutes of UK comedy at its finest.

        1. The Rev Kev

          The women that complained that the No. Page 3 topless women were simply exploiting women demanded that they be removed. Having said that, they are the same sort of people that see no problem with women being exploited with sub-minimum wage jobs.

    2. ChrisPacific

      I admit I was surprised to see the Biggles series presented as serious literature (if aimed at kids). I confess to not having read any, but they were all over the place in my youth. I always thought of it as good old tally-ho best-of-British stuff without much more than a passing connection to reality – in fact, it’s almost the defining series for that genre. Your take would seem to confirm that.

      If there is a lesson to be taken from Biggles, I would say it’s that wars happen in reality, not in an imagined fictional world constructed around British ethnocentrism, and governments ignore that at their peril. Helmer, writing as he does from the Russian perspective, is surely well aware of this, but his take is apparently the opposite: the West’s problem stems from an insufficiency of Biggles, rather than an excess.

      I’m also not sure why Helmer chose to lead with a poorly-photoshopped image of a sinking frigate, despite admitting in the postscript that this has not happened yet to any of them.

    3. Revenant

      I hate to disappoint you Bill but DC Thomson comics is unrelated to Thomson Reuters.

      I never read Biggles – or its adult equivalent Flashman. I did read Rider Haggard, Erskine Childers and the incomparable John Buchan.

    4. Bugs

      In one concise comment you’ve summed it up. Thanks. I truly don’t understand Helmer’s writing style. It’s practically impenetrable. And the bizarre illustrations that seemingly have only a peripheral relation to the content make it even less clear.

  5. Synoia

    Having read many of the Biggles stories in the 50,s and 60’s, L very am surprised, to see them quoted here, in N Cap.

    Some of the Biggles stories also cover WW 1 and past WW 2 with police actions.

    1. Not Qualified to Comment

      I was hooked on the Biggles books as a kid, and because of them I joined the ATC (Air Training Corps) as a teenager which gave me many wonderful hours flying Chipmunks at Cambridge Airport and gliders at RAF Swanton Morley – tho’ I didn’t join the RAF or take up flying as a career so the service didn’t get its money’s worth.

      I’m surprised to hear the claim that Johns’ plots had a grain of truth – some of the later ones had the fiendish Hun, Ruskies and, I think, inscrutable Chinese even, involved some pretty far-fetched plots against the Empire as I recall. And not a single femme-fatale in any of them.

      My favourite, I recall, was of course “Biggles Flies Undone”.

      1. JohnA

        If I recall Biggles was a World War One flying ace, a World War 2 flying ace, and post WW2, an aeroborne police detective, often sent to African colonies to sort out some local mess or other. Immortal and unageing in other words.
        The title of your favourite, should, of course, be “Biggles’ Flies Undone”.

  6. Paul Whittaker

    the globalists have their sticky tentacles in all the dark corners around the globe, non shall be safe.

  7. JonnyJames

    ‘”…This is not over-confidence or bluster. “With or without European troops and new supplies,” a Moscow military source believes, “the Ukrainians are preparing defensive lines more sturdy than Bakhmut and Avdeyevka, better armed, better manned. Where and what lines or pockets they have built, I don’t know. No one is saying…” ‘

    These better-trained troops must be non-Ukrainian: NATO and/or mercs. I would have thought that most well-trained, experienced Ukrainian troops are either dead, wounded, disabled or have fled the country. Even still, how many well-trained troops can they muster, foreigners or no?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I don’t know where this source gets that idea. Bakhmut has pre-existing bunkering of sorts just due to the super sturdy buildings. They were fortified from 2014 on. Adviika was incredibly well fortified.

      I recall reading an MSM source saying no way could Ukraine even build something dimly approaching the Surovkin line, which took the Russians 6 months. They lack anywhere enough construction equipment. And the Russians would destroy plenty of it too. They are droning men digging mere trenches.

  8. Tom K-ski

    The pictures coming from the Russian side are spectacular and one would wish not to be on the receiving end of their weaponry. Moreover, in the late 1990s and early 2000s the life in parts of Europe was hard and not many children were born. An idea that French German Poles and others could bring a combat ready military forces to fight Russians is absurd. Our overlords don’t know geography nor demographics. They have no soldiers wiling to trade their lives for what ? Young men in their 20s are not stupid. As I recall about 15 months ago Warsaw decided to to do a test mobilization and to their total dismay, about 100K young men ran away to Germany and many more procreated in order to have an exemption from the military service. No appetite to die for nothing among the few young men suitable for the military service. In summary Macron’s foolish tantrums won’t change the outcome of this “misadventure”.

    1. Feral Finster

      Nobody of influence and authority cares about public opinion, except when the public happens to agree with them at the moment.

  9. Matthew G. Saroff

    I read H. Rider Haggard’s People of the Mist given to me by the former Governor General of Grenada, after he and my dad had a long chat in a pub.

    It would be impossible for Johns’ work to be more racist than that. It would be impossible for anyone’s work to be more racist than that. I noticed that at age 14.

  10. Mikel

    “our good old Luftwaffe”

    Since the 1930s are calling, maybe I should start a swing band.

    1. playon

      You could do worse. I occasionally play music with a piano player who has a swing background and many of the tunes are a lot more interesting than most rock n roll (especially the recent stuff). But then I’m an old man…

      1. juno mas

        As you likely know ‘swing music’ was propelled by accomplished musicians and the Big Band leaders (Ellington, et al.) Swing is essentially a form of Jazz music and requires astute musical skills to accomplish the necessary improvization between the rhythm section and soloists. A piano player is unrecognizable in the ascending sound of Big Band horns, but when it comes to soloing he can be magic.

        1. MFB

          I think the reference is to SWING KIDS, a movie about juvenile semi-delinquents under the Nazis who listened to what jazz they could find . . .

  11. Kalen

    The western ignorance about events in Ukraine is astonishing, still after two years they don’t see what was and is going on.

    There are two military wars, one economic and one political all against Russia with aim of regime change in Moscow which is integral part of western strategy. Biden said it himself in Warsaw in 2022.

    It is clear now even in the west that economic as well as Political Isolation war with Russia has been totally lost by NATO and this spectacular defeat was a pivotal event that will underlie coming complete military failure of NATO’s project Ukraine.

    In first 45-day war Russians defeated all Ukrainian offensive capabilities, opened up land corridor to Crimea, secured critical Crimea water Canal, seized Sea of Azov ports and territories and by knocking at Gates of Kiev (Mussorgsky) forced Zelensky to negotiating table, demilitarization, recognition of Russian Crimea and never-NATO neutrality.

    After NATO rejection of Istanbul draft agreement Russia began second war this time attrition war but not as much against already defeated Kiev regime but against NATO as they did not plan nor were capable to take over entire Ukraine with 190,000 soldiers intervention force and hence withdrew into defendable positions wrongly interpreted by NATO as Ukrainian advances in 2022. Russia did not lose an inch of territory it decided to defend.

    In July 2022 in a pivotal decision Putin ordered canceling all Russian military exports and put entire Russian MIC under command and control of MoD de facto beginning of mobilization and militarization cycle of 3-5 years to ultimately force Western Europeans into integrated pan European security treaty framework to replace NATO. Russia and perhaps China would replace American security guarantees for Europe according to those plans. Also Russia, China and India together negotiating global (also nuclear) security treaty with U.S. would be preferable solution among BRICS+. Expanding drastically military cooperation with Iran, NK and China secured Russian military war making capability. Opening accidentally or not additional global military fronts binding US forces even more diminished America capability to effectively support Ukraine.

    No wonder that panic set in among NATO elites and hysterical paper sword waving has begun.

    As US hegemony crumbles US guarantees to its vassals fade as well and that fuels more panic and uncertainty with severe consequences.

    Daily psychological warfare western media unleashed against own citizens seems to fade as well as all the promises of victory based solely on demeaning Russian leadership and military and economic capabilities have been shattered. In contrast Putin was able with huge help of Western Russophobes to galvanize society to support his decisions as he has become probably most popular leader in Europe.

    When Macron was insinuating that NATO troops deployment in Ukraine is on the table as an attempt for strategic ambiguity top Russians responded with their own strategic ambiguity by warning that use of tactical nukes against NATO troops deployment in Ukraine is on the table as well, That immediately shut down that nonsense by a queue of NATO leaders de facto denouncing the idea while scrambling to save slapped face.

    The collapsing US hegemony has already consequences as abandoning dollar could give them chance of more equitable relations with the west as U.S. military hegemony fades.

  12. Mikel

    So it looks like a bunch of people trying to expand the world war again, but they want to have a line for their media suplicants to feed to the brain-dead that they are for peace.

  13. Es s Ce Tera

    I very strongly suspect the West’s best trained troops and equipment mounting a spirited defense of the Battle of WoD (West of Dnieper) may be Russian humour. A spirited defense of the best trained troops from the other side of a wide river, from whence said elite troops could declare their eliteness and superiority.

    But I do think once the Russians stop at the river and a bit of a longish stalemate ensues, that’s probably when NATO foot soldiers will be massed there – in other words, only when it’s safe for them to do so. As in, “I’m coming in, I’m going to stand over there, please don’t hurt me!”

  14. bwilli123

    Macron nuclear parody (malheureusement, disponible uniquement en français)
    Hopefully you’ll still get the gist of it.

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