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How 'Edge Of Tomorrow' captures the terrible future of real-world amphibious assaults
As military weaponry has advanced, the viability of amphibious assault against a defended beachhead isn't what it used to be. Unlike World War II and the Korean War, modern defenses are bristling with guided missile systems, thermobaric weaponry, and radar-guided machine gun batteries, among other lethal armaments. If the opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan captured the carnage of the most successful large-scale amphibious assault in history, it's 2014 military science fiction yarn Live. Die. Repeat. that reveals its modern shortfalls.
In Live. Die. Repeat. — also known as Edge Of Tomorrow and based on the amazingly-named book All You Need Is Kill — the United States leads a near-future multinational force in an invasion an unexpectedly well-defended beach in France, an assault led by an attack force consisting of bloodthirsty Marines in powered armor and every other murder-machine in the U.S. arsenal. But despite the advanced combat gear aside, the invasion goes so poorly that Tom Cruise literally has to go back in time t0 stop it— over and over and over again.
Even quad tiltrotors don't help the invasion force.Warner Bros
For context: Live. Die. Repeat. Centers itself around a public affairs officer played by Cruise, who manages to piss off the Supreme Allied Commander of the impending invasion into occupied France like any good PAO who's only out for his own neck. As punishment, he's reduced to the rank of private and tacked onto an ornery infantry squad for the upcoming beach party. The invasion takes place by air and sea, with futuristic C-130 sized tiltrotor aircraft based on the Bell Boeing Quad TiltRotor being the main method of inserting exoskeleton wearing troops onto the contested beaches.
The scenes of war and destruction in Live. Die. Repeat. are a surprisingly more visceral lesson on the perils inherent to a modern amphibious assault than, say, reading a dry 60-page report by the Naval War College on the same subject. The last major amphibious assault was in Korea at Incheon back in 1951, and since then, the United States has only really threatened an amphibious assault during the first Gulf War in 1991. The following year, Marines actually landed in Somalia during the dark morning hours only to be greeted by lights and cameras of American media outlets and a poorly-armed resistance. Imagining how an invasion against a well-prepared, modern enemy is much easier when you have a Hollywood budget of $178 million to throw at the problem.
Here's how the invasion plays out.
During the initial sea-air invasion, enemy fire is far more accurate than anticipated, and troops coming ashore are taken down by both missiles and artillery fire
Chaos rules the day as the invasion force makes for the beach.Warner Bros
The amphibious assault starts to go to shit as air support seems to be useless and the command structure has devolved to the squad level. The resulting operational paralysis kills any forward momentum.
Even Emily Blunt and her helicopter sword can't fix this catastrophe.Warner Bros
Special Forces are ineffective and taken out of the game before they even have a chance to perform behind-the-beachhead missions.
Special Forces make a less than ideal landing onto the beach.Warner Bros
Rotary-wing CAS can't turn the tide as allied helicopters find themselves fighting for their lives amid heavy fire. Friendly fire occurs during danger close situations.
Danger close CAS or enemy fire?Warner Bros
The beachhead crumbles. The force never makes it off the beach, and the invasion fails every-time
There goes the beachheadWarner Bros
Look the fact that its aliens who drive the invasion back into the sea don't really matter in this context, regardless of how the maneuverability and lethality of their individual warfighters are presented on screen: in their defense of the beachhead, they could represent literally any advanced army. The moments of chaos that are seen in the film show tilt-rotor aircraft blotting out of the sky, troops getting mowed down as they work across crater filled beaches, and special forces soldiers, so useful in the war on terror, decimated by a numerically superior and technologically equal enemy force.
Yes, Emily Blunt and Tom Cruise eventually win the day, but they do so through a pin-point special operations strike against an enemy command center far behind the beach — and with the help of both advanced ISR (read: precognition) and the support of the misfit roughnecks of J Squad, the unsung hero grunts of the film. Hopefully, amphibious assaults remain an academic exercise, because the reality of storming an occupied Baltic state defended by Russian missiles, aircraft, and tanks just seem like a slaughter waiting to happen.
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Moments before Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia went back into the house, journalist Michael Ware said he was "pacing like a caged tiger ... almost like he was talking to himself."
"I distinctly remember while everybody else had taken cover temporarily, there out in the open on the street — still exposed to the fire from the roof — was David Bellavia," Ware told Task & Purpose on Monday. "David stopped pacing, he looked up and sees that the only person still there on the street is me. And I'm just standing there with my arms folded.
"He looked up from the pacing, stared straight into my eyes, and said 'Fuck it.' And I stared straight back at him and said 'Fuck it,'" Ware said. "And that's when I knew, we were both going back in that house."
Former Army Special Forces Maj. Matthew Golsteyn will plead not guilty to a charge of murder for allegedly shooting an unarmed Afghan man whom a tribal leader had identified as a Taliban bomb maker, his attorney said.
Golsteyn will be arraigned on Thursday morning at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Phillip Stackhouse told Task & Purpose.
No date has been set for his trial yet, said Lt. Col. Loren Bymer, a spokesman for U.S. Army Special Operations Command.
John Wick is back, and he's here to stay. It doesn't matter how many bad guys show up to try to collect on that bounty.
With John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum, the titular hitman, played by 54-year-old Keanu Reeves, continues on a blood-soaked hyper-stylized odyssey of revenge: first for his slain dog, then his wrecked car, then his destroyed house, then ... well, honestly it's hard to keep track of exactly what Wick is avenging by this point, or the body count he's racked up in the process.
Though we do know that the franchise has raked in plenty of success at the box office: just a week after it's May 17 release, the third installment in director Chad Stahleski's series took in roughly $181 million, making it even more successful than its two wildly popular prequels 2014's John Wick, and 2017's John Wick: Chapter 2.
And, more importantly, Reeves' hitman is well on his way to becoming one of the greatest action movie heroes in recent memory. Few (if any) other action flicks have succeeded in creating a mind-blowing avant garde ballet out of a dozen well-dressed gunmen who get shot, choked, or stabbed with a pencil by a pissed off hitman who just wants to return to retirement.
But for all the over-the-top acrobatics, fight sequences, and gun-porn (see: the sommelier), what makes the series so enthralling, especially for the service members and vets in the audience, is that there are some refreshing moments of realism nestled under all of that gun fu. Wrack your brain and try to remember the last time you saw an action hero do a press check during a shootout, clear a jam, or actually, you know, reload, instead of just hip-firing 300 rounds from an M16 nonstop. It's cool, we'll wait.
As it turns out, there's a good reason for the caliber of gun-play in John Wick. One of the franchise's secret weapons is a professional three-gun shooter named Taran Butler, who told Task & Purpose he can draw and hit three targets in 0.67 seconds from 10 yards. And if you've watched any of the scores of videos he's uploaded to social media over the years, it's pretty clear that this isn't idle boasting.
The Navy's electromagnetic railgun is undergoing what officials described as "essentially a shakedown" of critical systems before finally installing a tactical demonstrator aboard a surface warship, the latest sign that the once-beleaguered supergun may actually end up seeing combat.
That pretty much means this is could be the last set of tests before actually slapping this bad boy onto a warship, for once.
The Justice Department has accused Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) of illegally using campaign funds to pay for extramarital affairs with five women.
Hunter, who fought in the Iraq War as a Marine artillery officer, and his wife Margaret were indicated by a federal jury on Aug. 21, 2018 for allegedly using up to $250,000 in campaign funds for personal use.
In a recent court filing, federal prosecutors accused Hunter of using campaign money to pay for a variety of expenses involved with his affairs, ranging from a $1,008 hotel bill to $7 for a Sam Adams beer.