Monday, October 27, 2014


In a tense scene in the movie Fury, the characters reminisce on the charnel house of the Falaise Pocket. For those unfamiliar with that bit of WWII history, after the breakout from the bocage country, Operation Cobra, U.S. forces swung in a northerly hook to meet UK/Commonwealth forces driving southeast from Caen. Vast numbers of German troops and their equipment were pinched off in the ensuing pocket and the orbiting "cab ranks" of Typhoon and Thunderbolt fighter-bombers had a field day, strafing and rocketing and bombing at will, the Luftwaffe having been largely swept from the skies*.

In the space of a couple weeks, the German war machine in the west was short nearly a half million men: dead, wounded, or prisoners. Burning vehicles littered the landscape for miles in all directions. General Eisenhower wrote:
"The battlefield at Falaise was unquestionably one of the greatest "killing fields" of any of the war areas. Forty-eight hours after the closing of the gap I was conducted through it on foot, to encounter scenes that could be described only by Dante. It was literally possible to walk for hundreds of yards at a time, stepping on nothing but dead and decaying flesh."
The countless tons of putrefying, flyblown flesh turned the area into a hazmat site for months, since continuing the drive to the Rhine superseded any effort to clean up the mess.

Can you imagine Gen. "Pete" Quesada, whose IX Fighter Command carpeted northern France with dead Germans, putting out a press release to acknowledge the destruction of a guard shack? That is the inherent problem with the administration trying to convince the world that we're serious about ISIS. The world (ISIS included) knows what we look like when we're serious, and this ain't it.

*'44/'45 German joke: "How can you tell if a plane is American, British, or German? If it's silver, it's American; if it's camouflaged, it's British; if it's not there, it's the Luftwaffe."