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March 29, 2024 35 mins

Robert and James cover Ukraine's defeat of the Russian Black Sea Fleet using irregular warfare, and James looks over how Myanmar's rebels have stymied the junta Navy.

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Speaker 1 (00:01):
Al Zone Media.

Speaker 2 (00:05):
Welcome back to It Could Happen Here and our special
two part series Irregular Naval Warfare and You, where James
and I teach you how you too can challenge the
US Navy's dominance of the seas, or at least the
coasts for fun and profit. Actually today, last episode we

(00:25):
talked about people challenging the US Navy's coastal dominance. Today
we're talking about doing the same thing for the Russian Navy.
So that's going to be fun. And of course the
Navy of Meanmar, which is a bit of a different
class from the US and Russian Navy, but no less interesting.

Speaker 3 (00:41):
Yeah, still fun. I'd love to see about lose.

Speaker 2 (00:43):
Yeah. Well I just like boats going down, you know,
I just hate a boat.

Speaker 3 (00:46):
Yeah, yeah, USS, many many such cases. Yeah, I'm going
to start with Ukraine, and then we're going to throw
to James to talk about our friends in Myanmar and
how they have repurposed civilian technology and stolen weapons to
counter a navy without really having one of their own.

Speaker 2 (01:04):
But first Ukraine. In twenty fourteen, when the Russian Army
invaded eastern Ukraine and took Crimea, Ukraine lost a significant
portion of it's already not that impressive navy. Most of
their boats were just taken by Russia, along with a
number of sailors who defected. A lot of other sailors
fled the region, leaving behind their homes and cities like
Sebastopol to continue serving their country in a war that

(01:27):
a decade later is still ongoing. One of these sailors,
who is a Sebastopol native and had to flee his home,
possibly forever, in order to continue serving his country, is
the current commander of Ukraine's navy, Admiral Nazpapa. He leads
a navy that is almost without manned ships, and on paper,
it is utterly incapable of challenging Russia's legendary Black sea Fleet.

(01:49):
Since the age of the Tsars, the black sea Fleet
has been infamous as a pillar of Russian military power. However,
also since the age of the Tsars, it's had a
nasty tendency to get utterly housed by enemies that should
have been able to beat it.

Speaker 1 (02:03):
Right.

Speaker 3 (02:03):
Yeah, yeah, yeah, not the first time. It's taking an
unexpected loot.

Speaker 1 (02:08):
Yeah.

Speaker 2 (02:08):
It has a legendary history. That doesn't mean good. There's bad.
Legendsy out there, you know, Yeah, it's well known. Yeah
today that enemy is Ukraine. Since the expanded Russian invasion
in twenty twenty two, just two years, Ukraine has destroyed
or badly damaged more than a third of the Black
Sea fleet. Despite having no battleships or destroyers in the

(02:30):
sea to counter Russian naval power. They have done enough
damage to reopen Odessa and at least one other port
on the Black Sea to international commerce, which has provided
Ukraine with a crucial economic and strategic lifeline. And that's
a remarkable achievement. Sinking a third of the Black Sea fleet,
and basically when you reopen a port, that means that
you have taken away naval dominance from a country that

(02:52):
has a navy and you don't. That's pretty good, pretty
good stuff. Over the last two years, had damaged, irreparably
or sunk seven active landing ships and one to seven
active landing ships and one landing vessel. I don't know
the difference. They've They've fucked up a lot of boats.
They have destroyed a submarine with seed to ground capability

(03:14):
that was docked for repairs. They have sunk a cruiser,
the capital ship of the entire Black Sea fleet, the Moskva.
They've also sunk a supply vessel and a handful of
patrol boats and missile boats, and a number of other
boats have been damaged. That's a significant rate of casualties,
especially when you consider that every actually destroyed vessel we're
looking at a year's multiple years lead time to replace.

(03:36):
You cannot make naval vessels very quickly anymore. Back during
the big dub Dub dose, the US did, but nobody
really does that anymore, not with the big ones. At
least you just roll through that. We were just yeating
aircraft carriers.

Speaker 3 (03:53):
Into the sea, just just flotting them out.

Speaker 2 (03:57):
Yeah, it don't take them out a week.

Speaker 3 (03:58):
Yeah, because it's because Raisi de Rivetay was really riveting
at a high speed.

Speaker 2 (04:03):
She was quite a riveter. So at the start of hostilities, Turkey,
which controls access to the Black Sea forbade any additional
military vessels or at least military vessels of significant size,
from entering the area. What this means this has a
significant impact on how well Ukraine strikes work, because even
if Russia can replace the losses physically, they can't actually

(04:24):
get replacements into the Black Sea easily. They can't sail
new shit past the Turks. The Turks are not allowing
that right now. So again, this is a situation that
has kind of favored the way in which Ukraine has
adapted to countering Russian naval dominance. It is possible that
at the present rate of attrition, the Black Sea Fleet
could be rendered inoperable in less than two years. Like

(04:46):
if they keep going at this rates, like eighteen months
or something before, there's not really much of a fleet
anymore now. If Ukraine had accomplished this task with a
traditional navy using standard naval tactics, this would have been
an impressive victory given the disparity in resources between the
two nations. But they have done all this with a
mix of cruise missiles, many of which are produced in country,
aerial drones, and new bespoke locally produced suicide drone boats.

(05:10):
This irregular naval warfare has been successful enough that one
Rand Corporation engineer and analyst, Scott Savatz, described the Black
Sea Fleet as a fleet in being quote, it represents
a potential threat that needs to be vigilantly guarded against,
but one that remains in check for now. And I'm
going to quote from a New York Times article on
the topic, it brought a little more context. Ukraine has

(05:31):
effectively turned around ten thousand square miles in the western
Black Sea off its southern coast into what the military
calls a gray zone, where neither side can sail without
the threat of attack. James Heapy, Britain's Armed Forces minister,
told a recent security conference in Warsaw that Russia's Black
Sea fleet had suffered a functional defeat, and contended that
the liberation of Ukraine's coastal waters in the Black Sea

(05:51):
was every bit as important as the successful counter offensives
on land and Corsona and Kharkiv last year. The classical
approach that we studied at military maritime academies is not
work now, Admiral Nese Papas said. Therefore, we have to
be as flexible as possible and change approaches to planning
and implementing work as much as possible. That at articles
about a year old or so so. The Neptune anti

(06:11):
ship missile is one of the prides of Ukraine's nason
arms industry. Neptune missiles are credited with destroying the Moskva
in April of twenty twenty two. Ukraine also has access
to several Western anti ship missiles, including these storm Shadow
and Scalp missiles. I believe the storm Shadow comes from
your folks, right, James, Yeah, convention, Yeah yeah. And these
seem to be pretty effective missiles. These obviously much more advanced.

(06:34):
And these are modern naval weapons, right. These are much
more advanced than, for example, the weapons to who these have.
These are the kind of things that can counter to
some extent modern anti missile technology. For an example of
kind of how that tends to work, they used a
barrage of I believe it was mostly storm shadows to
rain death on the crime import of Sebastopol. Recently. Seven

(06:55):
out of eighteen of the missiles fired made it through
Russian air defenses. And these damaged or just destroyed four
landing ships and a single strike. And these are sizable
maple vessels. This is the most recent attack, although as
after I wrote this, there was another attack on the
Kirch Bridge. I'm not really sure how that took place
yet that seems to have shut it down again. But
that gives you an idea of like what you actually

(07:15):
have to do. How much of these missiles you have
to put in the air to get some through. And
that's not too bad, right eighteen missiles seven get through,
four ships down. That's a really good rate of return.

Speaker 3 (07:25):
Especially when you consider that, like you know, we were
talking in our first episode about how the US is
spending significant resources on maintaining its defending its carriers, right
Russia does not have the same ability to keep good
lord munitions, no, and so like that's a finite resource,
right there, their means of defining that. Defending their ships

(07:46):
and defending really anything against missiles are a finite resource.
So any time you can, even if the ship doesn't
get sunk, if the ship has to deploy one of
these missiles, which it doesn't, which the whole country doesn't
have very many of, that's win.

Speaker 2 (08:00):
Now, this is we are talking about irregular naval warfare,
and then this is not what most people would have
considered a traditional naval conflict prior to the expansion of
hostilities in Ukraine. However, we are talking this is very
different than the case of the Huthis. Ukraine is a state.
It doesn't have a massive arms industry, but it has one,
and it has the support of nations with sizable arms industries, right,

(08:22):
So we are not talking about this part. We are
going to talk about the aspects of Ukrainian irregular naval
warfare that are some guys that are hobbyists building shit. Yeah,
this is not that part yet. But I think this
information is kind of significant and that it shows the
tactical use of anti ship cruise missiles and their ability
to significantly shape an operational environment even when the country

(08:42):
using them has minimal conventional naval assets of their own.
It is largely through the use of these missiles that
Ukraine has been able to reopen their black sea ports.
That matters to people seeking to understand both this conflict
and the future of unconventional naval warfare. I mean, I
guess you could say this is the future of conventional
naval warfare, but think we're still leaning on the unconventional
side at the moment, at least in terms of how

(09:04):
doctrine is changing as a result of this. So maybe
I should update how we're defining this. But for our
purposes as people unlikely to have access to cruise missiles
but significantly likely to find ourselves waging an unconventional war
than having cruise missiles, it's more relevant to look at
the new weapons systems Ukraine has developed that have helped
them lock down the Black Sea Fleet using civilian hobbyists.

(09:25):
And this is where we get to drones. Ukraine's conventional
aerial drones are a mix of actual military hardware. I'm
talking about stuff like the Bairaktar, the Turkish drone, which
is like kind of like the Predator, all right, it's
like an actual military product. But the majority in terms
of numbers of drones that Ukraine is fielding are civilian drones,

(09:45):
or at least drones that started out a civilian technology.
A lot of these are now built to be military,
but they're still based on these designs that started with
people hacking and cobbling together civilian drones and outside of
naval stuff. Prior to the war, there had been a
lot of veterans and hobbyists who were veterans trying to
convince the Ukrainian military that it needed to adopt drone

(10:06):
warfare on a large scale, the kind of drone warfare
that you can do with these these less expensive drones,
and they received a lot of pushback until the war
started and these guys just took to the field and
started fucking murking Russian armed units and infantry and killing
generals and shit. And now Ukraine has integrated in a
way that everyone is going to follow. Like Ukrainian like

(10:26):
battalions have like companies now that are drone assault companies
and like line battalions, and.

Speaker 3 (10:31):
Within infantry you have people used artillery eating transport zebibas.

Speaker 2 (10:36):
Yes, all over. They have set a goal for this
year producing at least a million and ideally more like
two million drones, and at least from what I read,
that looks like very plausible. And most of these are
quite small, right, but that doesn't mean obviously ineffective.

Speaker 3 (10:48):
I know they buy a lot of their drones in
the UK because the UK has consistently kicked itself in
the nuts when it comes to like breaxit, and so
the pound is significantly weaker, and so they're able to
get the drones cheap a price and then drive them
all the way across. Yeah, people who've done that. I
was going to go join them, but never wait it out.

Speaker 2 (11:06):
Yeah, And you know there are a number of different
like these drones earlier in the war had an easier
time being effective and causing casualties in the Russians. Then
later this is something that you know, kind of the
hooplaw and support which I think is necessary that Ukraine gets.
Lead some people to discount the degree to which Russian

(11:27):
forces have adapted and gotten smarter. And one of the
ways in which they've adapted and gotten smarter is in
blocking drones and using drones of their own. You know,
one of the stories the last couple of weeks is
that Russia has succeeded in carrying out strikes on advanced
weapons systems like samsites deep in Ukrainian territory. They've extended
their kill chain beyond what they used to be capable of,

(11:48):
and that's because they've adapted. They're also adapted with less
efficacy at blocking drones and attacks on naval vessels. Some
of this has been kind of funny. I want to
read a quote from a Business Insider article here. Russia
is painting silhouettes on naval vessels on land to try
and trick Ukraine, which keeps destroying its warships. In an
intelligence update on Wednesday, the UK Ministry of Defense said

(12:09):
that silhouettes of vessels have also been painted on the
side of K's probably to confuse the uncrude aerial vehicle operators.
They showed there's some images of this. They don't seem
convincing to me. I don't know if I think this
is working.

Speaker 3 (12:23):
This is great. I love this. Have a cardboard navy nags.

Speaker 2 (12:27):
Yeah, it's very bugs bunny. Yes, they're not working as
well as bugs would.

Speaker 3 (12:32):
More like a hole in the side of the cliff
face and crushing.

Speaker 2 (12:35):
Into it, keeps throwing at it. It's very funny. I
mean obviously they just Ukraine just sank like or damn
it badly damaged four boats. So I don't think this
is I haven't seen evidence this is working well. Their
actual like jamming efforts have been much more successful.

Speaker 3 (12:50):
Right, Yeah, they always will be on civilian One of
the thing that's really interesting compared to me and is
that Ukraine tends to rely on modified off the shelf
civilian drone. Right your dji is that kind of thing
in Mianma because of where a lot of the PDFs are.
Because but they increasingly do control the borders, but they
haven't always. They have been making their own drones. The

(13:13):
group called Federal Wings you can find them on telegram,
who make their own drones and I think those seem
to be less. The Jammas that the sac that the
Tamadoor has are Chinese made like Jamma rifles. You see
them all the time in captured weapon cases, but they
don't seem to be having as much impact on these

(13:34):
homemade drones, which is really interesting.

Speaker 2 (13:37):
Yeah. Yeah, and it's you know, I've mentioned a couple
of times we're doing this in part because the odds
that people listening might be involved in an irregular conflict
are not zero. You know what I think about when
I say that is not that there's high odds for
any individual person fighting themselves in that situation, but there is,
given the number of people who listen to this podcast,

(13:57):
probably someone who is not currently involved in conflict that
will find themselves that way in the future. And I
based that in part on the fact that all of
our friends in Myanmar who are currently fighting a war
were a couple of years ago delivery drivers and you know,
playing pubg online and not really thinking they would wind
up as insurgents.

Speaker 3 (14:14):
Yeah. I've spoken to a number of people who are
currently fighting on in Mianma who have listened to our
Meanma podcast and realized the capacity of three D printing, Yeah,
to be very useful and so like, even in that sense,
it's already happening. But yeah, don't know one in Memma,
Like many of them said, their entire combat experiences playing
pubg Yeah, now they're murking ships.

Speaker 2 (14:36):
Yeah. So anyway, it bears thinking about this stuff. And
this brings me back to Ukraine's irregular drone warfare units,
which again a lot of these guys started out as
civilian enthusiasts who expanded responded to the outbreak or at
least expansion of hostilities by expanding their hobby into a
real world military effort that had a real world effect.
Civilian drones were crucial in the Battle of Kiev, allowing

(14:58):
Ukraine to do severe damage to that mass of Russian
armored column heading towards the city and providing intel that
led to the assassination of multiple general level officers. So
it is perhaps not surprising that Ukraine looked to the
same group of volunteer hobbyists when it came time to
expand their naval arsenal. And there's a really good article
I found in CNN by Sebastian Shukla, Alex Marcott, and

(15:18):
Daria Tarasova. And I actually want to give you the
title of this article. Yeah, I'll try to thriller in
the show notes is exclusive rare access to Ukraine's sea drones,
part of Ukraine's fight back in the Black Sea. Haven't
really seen the word fight back us that way, but
there you go. So I'm going to read a quote
from that article. A government link Ukrainian fundraising organization called
United twenty four has sourced money from companies and individuals

(15:40):
all around the world, pooling funds to disperse it to
a variety of developers and initiatives from defense to soccer matches.
The entire outfit is very security conscious, insisting on strict
guidelines on filming and revealing identities. Those who see in
and met with declined to give their full names or
even their ranks within Ukraine's armed forces. On a creaky
wooden jetty, a camouflaged sea drone pilot says he wants
to go by shark. In front of him is a long,

(16:01):
black hardshell briefcase. He unveils a bespoke multi screened mission control,
essentially an elaborate gaming center combined complete with levers, joysticks,
a monitor, and buttons that have covers over switches that
shouldn't accidentally be knocked with labels like blast. The developer
of the drone, who asked to remain anonymous, said their
work on sea drones only began once the war started.
It was very important because we did not have many

(16:22):
forces to resist the maritime state Russia, and we needed
to develop something of our own because we didn't have
the existing capabilities. So again, these are hobbyist design I mean,
this guy's not really a hobbyist in anymore, but that's
how he started. He's only not a hobbyist because the
military recognized the value of what he was doing. And
the current iterations of this sea drone weigh a little

(16:42):
over two thousand pounds with an explosive six hundred and
sixty one pound payload, a five hundred mile range and
a max speed of fifty miles per hour. That is
a significant weapons system. Yeah, multiple sea drones have been
used to strike Russian assets in the Black Sea, and
drones were involved in a successful attack that severely damaged
the Kirch Bridge last July, rendering it impassable since until September.

(17:05):
So these have had a real battlefield effect and they
probably will continue to do so. The developer of these
drones told CNN these drones are a completely Ukrainian production.
They are designed, drawn and tested here. It's our own
production of holes, electronics and software. More than fifty percent
of the production of equipment is here in Ukraine. And
that's really significant because you know, I think we're all
aware of the difficulty Ukraine has had getting weaponry lately

(17:28):
from the West as a result of fucking around in Congress,
and so it is a necessity for them to be
able to develop weapon systems like this that can interdict
and counteract more advanced and expensive weapon systems and can
be produced indigenously. You know, I don't think we have
seen a mass suicide boat attack. I'm interested in what
happens when we do, like with more significant numbers than

(17:51):
we've seen deployed. I kind of wonder the degree to
which the Russians have gotten good at spotting this stuff.
I've come across at least a couple of stories of
these boats like that destroyed on approach. So they certainly
don't always work or even a majority of the time.
But given the cost of these things, they don't have
to get through the majority of the time, very much
worth it right now. In that interview with The New

(18:12):
York Times, Admiral Najpapa caution that Ukraine is still outgunned
in the Black Sea. Even though the Russians no longer
have supremacy, they still have air superiority. They are still
able to launch from the sea long range missiles at
Ukrainian targets, including civilian targets. So this is not again
a situation that should be portrayed as them having their

(18:33):
own way. Their ability to kind of interdict the sea
has been the primary effects of it have been number one,
the reopening of trade in the Black Sea, and earlier
in the war, by locking down the ability of these
landing ships to put more troops on ground and by
doing damage to the Kurch Bridge, they were able to
slow Russian reinforcements in Russian materiel from entering the war

(18:54):
zone in order to and this aided in some of
the advances, particularly in areas like Carson. At this moment,
the situation has changed because again the Russians aren't just
kind of like sitting around doing the same thing over
and over again, or at least not always, and we
don't tend to talk as much about successes on the
Russian side of things, but that is an important part
of the story. And one of the things the Russians

(19:15):
have done is kind of acknowledge that the Black Sea
Fleet may not be a fleet in being forever and
certainly cannot be relied upon to handle everything they initially
thought it would handle. And so Russian engineers spent a
significant period of time building a sizeable new railroad that
connects Rostov and southern Russia to Mariopol and occupied southern Ukraine.

(19:35):
This has allowed them to get high volume shipments into
the area and supply troops to the area along Ukraine's
southern front without relying on that bridge or relying on
naval landings.

Speaker 1 (19:47):
Right.

Speaker 2 (19:48):
So the fact that Ukraine has been able to take
out for landing ships recently is good. That's a win
for Ukraine. It reduces Russian capability, but it is not
half the same effect that it would have had, for example,
two years earlier. Yeah, because Russia has also evolved, and
among other things, railroads are a lot easier or a
lot harder to destroy to like take out. Right, It's
easy to damage a railroad, but they're easy to fix.

(20:11):
It's not. It doesn't take a lot to get some
guys over to fix a damage sunk of railroad. Fixing
a bridge that's been blown up or a sunk boat
is a lot harder.

Speaker 3 (20:19):
Yeah. Absolutely, I mean, and there are people within Russia
even who are sabotaging railroads, but as you say, it's
like it's very high stakes for them, and it's relatively
low cost for the Russian state to fix that stuff,
so like it's not as effective.

Speaker 2 (20:34):
Yeah, but I think this gives you an idea of
kind of like what we're looking at when we look
at this kind of ongoing irregular conflict is the side
that does not have access to a functional navy, not
able to interdict or destroy fleets, but able to stop
them from dominating the coast. And when you can stop
them from dominating the coast, you have effectively denied them

(20:54):
terrain that they can act in without being countered, and
you have also denied them from stopping you from acting
in that same terrain, even if you don't have total
safety in that area. That opens up the operational possibilities substantially.
And this is something that I kind of don't think
is going to get put back in the bag. Even
if some of these Star Wars ass weapons systems do

(21:16):
come out in the near future, you know, maybe that'll
have an impact in the immediate term on people like
the Houthis, but I don't think that it really will
on you know, for example, what what Ukraine's doing right?

Speaker 3 (21:28):
Yes, yeah, Russia can't keep up with getting decent small arms,
body armor, grenades and shit like it's there's no way
it's going to implement some kind of massive Star Wars
system over its navy. Not right now in the middle
of a conflict. That's it's struggling to supply.

Speaker 2 (21:44):
Yep, you know what, here's an ad break.

Speaker 3 (21:57):
All right, we're back and we are traveling around the
world's been your little globe in your head, and look
for Meanma, which is of course in Asia. Now I'm
talking about two different I guess anti ship sabotage or
attack or two different ways the ships have been sunk
in the EMMA. I'll start with the first one, which
is undoubtedly the flashiest, just because it's fun. So a

(22:22):
ship in the port of Yangon about about a month ago,
so we're recording on A twenty. It's about the first
of March. It was in the river in the river
in yangon right, and it was carrying allegedly carrying jet fuel. Now,
if you follow Burmese activists, people in the Burmese Freedom Movement,
they will one of their demands for a long time

(22:42):
has been to stop supplying the Hunter with jet fuel,
which would in turn stop it being able to bomb villages, schools, civilians,
PDF formations, just about anyone in the country. It's bombed
at some point in the last couple of years. And
they haven't been to exactly right. They haven't been able
to stop the supply of jet fuel coming to the Hunter.

(23:03):
So they've taken it into their own hands. And what
they did on the first of March was that they
snuck onto a boat. So two this is the story
from the Burmese National Unity Government's Ministry of Defense. Anyway,
combat divers snuck onto this boat planted a kilogram of
TNT or a charge equivalent to a kilogram of TNT.

(23:25):
Robert and I've both spoken to people who make explosives
in memis we do. We definitely know the PDF has
access to a range of explosives. They set it on
a five hour fuse and it blew up in the
middle of the night, and there's definitely footage of a
ship on fire having blown up. Now, this is pretty
remarkable for never real. This is why the United States

(23:46):
has units like the Navy Seals, right, like the higher
speed guys, because it is not easy to scuba dive
across a harbor, climb onto a ship, send an explosive
charge without being detected, and then leave that ship and
have the charge go off and sink the ship without
you being compromised, without the charge itself being like compromised,

(24:08):
and the ship being saved. Right, this is some like.
This is some classic like. This is why there are
special units within the US military. Now. The PDF very
obviously did not have combat divers. Two years ago, I
was looking into hobby scuba diving in Yangon. The rivers
in that area are extremely muddy and visibility is very low.

(24:30):
So the people who you find diving in that area
are not so much like hobby scuba divers or free divers,
but they're salvage divers. And there's a whole little industry
of people. And these people are diving in equipment that
I would not consider safe or reliable. It's clamping an
air hose in between your teeth and diving down and

(24:53):
trying to find there's a large deposit of coal in
one of the rivers in Yangon because of a ship
that's sunk. There was, of course copper, which everyone all
around the world, including the big Coong in Santia, stealing copper.
There's iron, right, So these people are diving down and
trying to collect scrap and sell that for whatever minimal
amount they can.

Speaker 1 (25:12):
Right.

Speaker 3 (25:13):
It's an extremely dangerous and extremely low income. It's one
of the sort of really high risk, low reward jobs
that you get in economies where people are really struggling
to make ends meet. Right, So those are the only
divers I can find evidence of in Yangon. I don't
think it was them who did this, because you have

(25:33):
to have a boat above you with a pump if
you're diving with a rubber hose in your teeth, right,
So it seems like somebody in within the They said
it was a Yangon PDF, that's what they attribute it to,
So that would be one of these. It would likely
be an underground group within the PDF. Right. Some people
living in the city who were able to sneak onto

(25:54):
this boat set a charge and blow it up, and
they would also had to have intelligence at the boat
where it was, what it was carrying, et cetera. It's
a pretty pretty daring mission that this is the first
one like this we've seen, and we haven't seen anything since.
But it's of course possible that this is a story
that we're being told. In fact, they had like someone
undercover on the ship, right or like they had some

(26:17):
other means of getting this charge onto the ship. But
one way or another they managed to blow up this
ship carrying fuel, which is a significant detriment. Yeah, right,
And that's how they get most of their ship. It's
not over land, especially with more the.

Speaker 2 (26:32):
Terrain there is just absolutely, like even with modern technology
difficult to get significant amounts of shit through.

Speaker 3 (26:39):
They're resupplying some of their outposts that are ten miles
from a town with helicopters right now, like A the
terrain is burly, and B they don't have They PDF
has denied them access that any time they send out
a convoy, it gets attacked, so sending out plus you
know that their land board crossings are increasingly falling into

(27:01):
the hands of the PDFs and the eros, So getting
stuff through the ocean is one of the ways that
they can still get stuff. And if this keeps happening,
then they will make that more expensive for them. And
they're not exactly a wealthy hunter, even though I guess
Mina Lang just made himself an air Force one recently.
I was just looking at it today.

Speaker 2 (27:20):
He's good.

Speaker 3 (27:20):
He's got himself too luxury. Yeah, they called it dictator class,
like he's upgraded from president class.

Speaker 2 (27:27):
Nice.

Speaker 3 (27:28):
Yeah, yeah, yes, he has in many ways. So yeah,
that's one way that the PDF has been blowing up
ships in the yang On. But Robert, do you know
who else has been blowing up ships in the in Yangon?

Speaker 2 (27:41):
Well, we are sponsored entirely by the British Navy circa
the mid eighteen hundreds, so I would guess them, that's right, Yeah, yeah, yeah,
yeah yeah.

Speaker 3 (27:52):
Lots of repressed, repressed feelings and growing.

Speaker 2 (27:55):
Up a lot of cabin boys with deep trauma. Anyway, it,
Eric Rebeca.

Speaker 3 (28:12):
We hope you enjoyed that. That pivot one of our
best ones yet. And we're talking about the Arakan Army now,
So the Arakan Army are not to be confused with
the Arakan Rahine of Salvation Army. Different group. Arakan is
the name of what is now a kind state before
it was colonized by the Burmese. That was I think
Arakan was a king before it was colonized by the Burmese,

(28:33):
so that that's where that refers to. It's a geographical
appellation rather than like necessarily an ethnic one. The Racine
would be the ethnic group. So what the AA have
done is sunk. I think at least four Hunter ships now,
and most of these ships are kind of they're like
the They look like big Higgins boats. They're like landing

(28:54):
craft or like car ferries, like flat bottom with a
bow that goes down. Right. I ride around a lot
in the Marshall Islands in little landing craft like that
because they can get them in. They don't have like docks,
so they can just ride that right up to the
beach and then drop the front and off you go.
And they use them a lot. The Hunter doesn't have
like per se marines that they don't have maritime infantry,

(29:16):
but they use them to transport their regular army around, right,
and they use them to transport them up river. They
also use them a lot in Rakhine State to shell
AA positions and any townships that they've decided they want
to wipe off the map and kill all the people
in right, So, these these boats have been a real
thorn in the side of the Arakan Army. After Operation

(29:37):
ten twenty seven when they joined with two other groups
to form the Three Brotherhood Alliances A launch attacks on
the Hunter all over MA. And so what they've been doing,
it appears, is using underwater mines to think these ships,
which is interesting, right. I guess the mines are like

(29:59):
a very old technology, right, Like it's probably one hundred
years plus underwater mines have existed. It seems the way that, like,
the reason they're able to get away with using what
is their relatively dated technology is because the Hunter doesn't
expect to encounter anything, right, and so has not equipped
its ships as such. Like they do have stuff like submarines,

(30:20):
but that's not what's getting sunk. What's getting sun to
these big kind of landing craft riverboats, And it seems
that they're using mines and then once they disable the ship,
they're then attacking it with small boats, small arms like
indirect fire mortars and stuff. I saw one post that
suggested they'd use which is pretty cool if they did.
The Burmese military has these like tank destroyers.

Speaker 2 (30:42):
It's a tank, it's.

Speaker 3 (30:43):
What it is. And they've captured the AA has captured
a number of these, right, and I've seen suggestions that
they're using some of these on like they just set
up an ambush along the banks of the river, right
and as a ship comes in they can they can
maybe disable it with a mine and then attack it
with those. But there are videos online you can find
them of the AA sinking these ships. And then they've
done some amazing drone photography of like they obviously they

(31:07):
then like staged their units on the ships, like all
saluting the drone and they had the Arakan Army flags
and they're actually really cool photos of them taking these ships.
But again, like I think this might be the first
sinking of a Bermese naval ship since since independence from Britain.
Like I can't think that they were. They al really

(31:28):
haven't played much of a role at all in its
conflicts with the Eros, aside as from like basically kind
of just shelling places when they want to do that.
But there's never really been any significant opposition to them,
and that's changed now they have to obviously just like
everywhere else, watch out for drones. Drones have been used
to a massive extent in Myanmar, and like the AA

(31:51):
doesn't have as many like associated PDFs, I haven't seen
them doing as much of the drone stuff as the PDFs.
The pdf tend to be like the more urban folks, right,
the younger folks and the gen Z folks that we've
spoken about before, and a lot of them have been
very savvy with their use of drones. Like I said,
you can look up Federal Wings and you can see

(32:12):
them dropping bombs with drones on all kinds of stuff
with their heavy metal soundtracks that they like. But what
it wasn't even drone here, It's pretty simple. It was
just mine. So things they do love mines and meat
of mines all over that country, but in this case,
these I guess, massive what mines in the rivers. Given
that the Hunter is the only only entity sending big

(32:34):
boats up and down, you could set them at a
certain depth where these small boats wouldn't hit them, and
eventually one of the Hunter boats is going to hit them,
I guess. And so it's pretty basic technology, but it's
still a massive step forward in terms of like a
place where the state had complete impunity. It now doesn't right.
They can't just cruise up and down these rivers shelling people.

(32:55):
They were actually using some of the ships to evacuate
soldiers and their families from a position, and the soldiers
they were trying to, like, rather than surrendering, they were
trying to evacuate them and move them to somewhere else.
The AA asked them to surrender, and they didn't. They
tried to evacuate them. So then they mined the ships
and took those out. I think the hunters like tried
to spin this as like the AA is attacking civilians,

(33:17):
But I think a Burmese Navy ship with a Burmese
Navy flag, when those ships have just been shelling you,
seems like a legitimate target to me. And I think
it's very hard. It's you know, it's a hunter, but
children on one of their naval ships rather than the
AA who attacked the ship because it had children. You
can hear in one of the things you can hear
the AA are like attacking the ship in small boats

(33:39):
and they're shouting like there are children on board, and
you can hear them acknowledging it, and there are videos
of the AA rescuing people who jumped overboard, rescuing them
from the river, and then like, I guess they just
held as POWs.

Speaker 2 (33:52):
Cool.

Speaker 3 (33:53):
Yeah, it's cool. It's interesting. Obviously, not many of us
have access to underwater mines, but you know, maybe in
a fictional future we might.

Speaker 2 (34:04):
Yeah, well there you go, folks. Uh, this has been
a regular naval warfare, and you a podcast about a
regular naval warfare, and you.

Speaker 3 (34:15):
Yeah, send us to your videos of yourself in irregular
naval war Yeah.

Speaker 2 (34:19):
Absolutely, go out there. Look how about this, Every listener
go out and sink one naval vessel, you know, don't
matter who's just any boat. Any go sink a boat,
any boat, Take a fucking superyot, knock it out. You
see a dinghy, take that fucker out, people kayaking, fuck
them up, you know. Ban on a boat, absolutely, a

(34:41):
banana boat for sure. One of those weird duck boat
car things that they have in some city. Oh yeah, actually,
you know what, you don't need to do anything with that.
That'll kill everybody on board on it. Those things are
dead traps. Just pray for those people. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (34:56):
Any other boat. Yeah, you see a doughnut, you know
behind behind a speedboat?

Speaker 2 (35:00):
Oh yeah, market Anyway, Everybody go away.

Speaker 1 (35:10):
It could Happen here as a production of cool Zone Media.
For more podcasts from cool Zone Media, visit our website
coolzonemedia dot com or check us out on the iHeartRadio app,
Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts. You can
find sources for It could Happen Here, updated monthly at
coolzonemedia dot com slash sources. Thanks for listening.

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