Even In War, Simple Often Wins

There is an article in the Independent on Sunday on the recent discovery of sunken German submarines from the Second World War, and the underwater archaeology that has shown how many of them were sunk. It appears that many more were destroyed by mines than has previously been acknowledged. The author, David Keys, notes that “over-enthusiastic airmen and escort ship commanders … sometimes claimed they had sunk U-boats with depth charges or anti-submarine mortars,” claims which research has shown to be unlikely at best.

While the article had general historical interest, I was also intrigued to note that the simple and comparatively inexpensive solution to the problem of coastal-patrolling German U-Boats — mines — was not publicly recognized by the senior military and civilian brass.  They preferred to go with the fiction that their expensive anti-submarine toys on and above the oceans had created success.  That decision allowed them to design and order ever more expensive and sophisticated “solutions” to problems in a never-ending process rather than learn whatever lessons the cheap mine could offer.

And the beneficiary? The military-industrial complex (as Eisenhower so carefully warned us a half century ago) and the politico-civil service infrastructure that supports and feeds the complex.

It’s just nuts that we allow this to go on.

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