October 11th, 2005


Letters in the mail . . .

I've gotten on a kick, thanks to shizukagozen, of writing letters. One or two have already gone out. Some that are going overseas I'm planning to grab some special paper for. I've stolen an idea or two about them, and I'm still writing. I feel her pain in my own cramped hand.

It's surprising how honest a long-hand letter can be. I'm not all that great at writing letters, really. They're not at all like e-mail or phone calls. Sometimes, by the time you reach the next paragraph, you've lost your train of thought, and you're not sure that what you're saying is at all proper or wise, but it's remarkably true.

I save all the letters I receive. I rarely read over them again, but I love to have them. Some are from friends I'll never hear from again, some are from friends I see sometimes, and a couple are from friends I see nearly every day.

They mean so much to me.

Ah, War.

I'm watching the a documentary on the Falklands War. This particular war is vital in the history of modern warfare, though no one is willing to admit it.

Forget for a moment that there were around 2,000 people on the islands, very few of whom were actually British citizens (most were "British Dependent Territories citizens," a whole different class of citizen, and today there are 1,700 British troops on the islands, too) . . . There were at least 700,000 loyal British sheep there to defend!

But one reason that this little skirmish is so important is that HMS Conquerer is the first and only nuclear submarine to ever engage an enemy ship. They sank a cruiser, the ARA General Belgrano. They chose an older, more reliable torpedo, one that was more likely to explode, yet which would do less damage than the modern Tigerfish. Once this ship was sunk, the Argentine navy didn't leave port until the end of hostilities.

Interestingly, the choice in torpedo was key, as the Tigerfish would have resulted in a much larger loss of life, had it exploded. The Tigerfish torpedo was designed to break the back of the ship, and split it into two pieces, but the torpedoman who was interviewed described his choice simply as, "Out of all the ones I'd fired, I'd never had a banger," meaning that none had ever actually exploded. The Mark 8 mod 4 torpedos that hit their target, while they sunk the ship, sunk it at a much slower rate, giving the men aboard time to abandon ship. 323 men were killed in the engagement, and 770 survived from ths cruiser.

I love the Falklands War. I think it should be studied more in schools. War, itself, is underrepresented in our schools, though certain wars are certainly overrepresented.

I'd love to wax poetic about it, and yet my mind is failing at this late hour to fixate on the issue. While I had the significance within my grasp, it's slipped. I need to watch the documentary again.

Gods, I wish there were more documentaries on this little war.
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