14 January 2006

Storm on the Horizon : Khafji--The Battle That Changed the Course of the Gulf War

David J.Morris' account of the Battle of Khafji is interesting not because of the plight of the marines who were trapped in Khafji but rather, their observations of the traits and performance of the Qatari and Saudi Arabian army.

In addition, there are other bits of information that are of interest.

On the performance of the Saudi Arabian army:

1. The unit involved exhibited poor fire discipline. At one point, it was noted that they were firing TOWs in a wanton display of firepower. There was no regard for the conservation of ammunition. It is also stated in the book that they have a habit of expending all their ammunition before returning to base.

2. The Saudi Arabian units started firing at extreme ranges when the chances of hitting anything is low.

3. The Saudi Arabian V-150 TOW missile carriers starting launching TOW missiles without regard for anything or anyone in their rear area (backblast).

3. The Iraqi units were using a large number of Chinese-built Type 531 APCs.

4. The Saudi Arabians stopped to loot the Iraqi bodies regardless of the surrounding firefight. They were not looting weapons but personal effects!

5. The Saudi Arabian V-150s is a thin-skinned vehicle. There were reports of how RPGs sliced the vehicle in half. A number were destroyed in the fighting. Singapore fields the V-200, a variant (used only in Singapore) of that vehicle. Anyway, most thin-skinned vehicles would be sliced apart by LAWs or RPGs.

6. The Qatari AMX-30s (with a maximum frontal armour of 80mm) were highly vulnerable to tank fire. Two were destroyed in that action. One of them 'charged' in...

7. The Iraqis were using Brazilian ASTROS II rockets to shell the marine positions but the marines noted that these were highly inaccurate. Of course, the Brazilians, Chinese and French were the biggest suppliers of arms to Iraq... The Malaysian army has since bought a number of the ASTROS II multiple rocket launchers.

8. Dismount? What dismount? The Saudi Arabians rode into combat!

I think the title is surely hyperbole?


Front Line Assembly's 'Comatose' single came in the mail today. Woo!

I picked this one up from an eBay auction.
The Great Wilderness

Watercolour 2004. I found this buried between two pages in a sketchbook.

Illustration Friday theme: E is for 'Escape'. Escape into the great wilderness, escape the concrete jungle into a world of tranquility.

13 January 2006


I have always enjoyed real-time strategy (RTS) games. 'Cossacks', in my opinion, is one of the most enjoyable ones out there. I have played 'Cossacks: European Wars', 'Cossacks: The Art of War' and 'Cossacks: Back to War'.

I have been consistently beaten by the computer again and again when it sent an army to 'fix' my main one while a second large one flanked me and descended on my hapless town. Damn!

In another case, I had attempted to gain command of the sea and instead, the computer opponent outbuilt me, sank my fleet and gained sea dominance, after which, its fleet sank my transports and landed troops on various locations (attempting to flank my defences).

In terms of tactical battles, one can form square against cavalry charges, form line for maximum firepower, form columns for melee. And if one were to form square or columns, one can be very vulnerable to artillery fire. There is a lot of room for tactics here. Pikemen against cavalry, protecting musketeers. Light infantry screens as skirmishers. Mobile firepower in the form of dragoons.

Last night, when I was laying siege to the enemy town after overcoming the computer opponent in a series of vicious battles, I ran out of coal, iron and gold, essentially, my units will not fire. And my invading army of 62 mortars, 12 cannons, numerous pikemen, dragoons, hussars were overcome by grenadiers and dragoons. I need to husband my resources well. Ugh! This game is a challenge.

I have always preferred controlling nations that has light cavalry, be it, cossacks or hussars. I find raiding to be very worthwhile. If possible, light infantry would be great too.

On another note, it is necessary to play on the 'Hard' setting or higher. 'Normal' is simply boring.


The last of the small watercolour pieces I tried in 2004. Of course, it is a tree, a my favourite subject and theme.

12 January 2006

The Angry Sea

The seething dark waters... Mixed media. Watercolours, Copic markers, pigment ink.

Illustration Friday theme: The Sea

11 January 2006

Pelikan Fountain Pen Ink

This was found in the warehouse. This obviously dates back to a long gone era. The design of the bottle is such that one can dip one's pen conveniently.

Pelikan is, of course, a long established maker of fine fountain pens based in Germany.


I just received this Front Line Assembly CD 'Convergence' after winning an eBay auction. It's a compilation of two early EPs, 'Corrosion' and 'Disorder'.

There is another Front Line Assembly CD 'Corroded Disorder' which is essentially the same two EPs with a different ordered tracklisting.

'Convergence' is an interesting collage of disturbing sounds and through these early tracks, one can appreciate how the later Front Line Assembly tracks came about.

10 January 2006

Book store Shizuoka Yajimaya Singapore

I wonder if anyone remembers the good ol' Yajimaya Singapore bookstores that were located in the old Plaza Singapura and Thomson Plaza?

I was just looking through some old books in my cupboards when I stumbled upon this old book mark tucked into one of the books.

There were apparently two stores in Singapore and one in Malaysia.

I remember the one in Plaza Singapura with great fondness. I remember visiting them in the late seventies and early eighties. I remember buying those Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigator books there when I was still in primary school. That was before Kinokuniya came to Singapore with its expensive volumes.

Presently, Kinokuniya is the only surviving Japanese bookstore chain from what I know. Maruzen had departed from Millennia's Walk and Ngee Ann City a few years ago. I have always found that Kinokuniya priced their books 20% more than Borders through many volume-by-volume comparisons and strangely enough, quite a few people I know have the erronenous perception of the opposite! (ie The Cambridge History of the Roman World is $80.95 in Borders and over $100.00 in Kinokuniya! I have also done many other book-to-book comparisons.) I have spoken to one of the overseas acquisitions manager at Kinokuniya previously on this as well as one of their promotions manager. They insisted otherwise. Oh well. I hold a Kinokuniya privilege card and I could, of course, wait for those 20% off sale. Right!

Anyway, the book mark brought back quite a few memories.

08 January 2006


Watercolours. I was starting to get the hang of it again. Circa 2004.