Mares Nest


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Lynn J Mcdonald

Napalm Death were recording their Live Corruption video at the same venue that evening, and seeing as both Cardiacs and Napalm Death shared the same manager, it was decided they could record two live videos in the same place for the price of one-and-a-half. In fact, the lineup of Cardiacs which played this concert did not entirely reflect the live touring band of the time.

Sarah Smith had left the band the previous year, but had maintained her connections with the band: she was persuaded to temporarily rejoin the band as a special guest for the show. Although William D.

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Drake is clearly heard performing on the album and is fully visible on the Maresnest video recording, his name was entirely left out of the personnel credits. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Big Ship. Pony Hazel.

mare's nest

At times the skeins became crossed, and it was some time before the intelligence Services could disentangle them and establish that there really were two weapons. After that the search became much easier. Anyone reading these books must be impressed with the efficiency of the British Intelligence Services at the lower level. On the whole they got on to the existence of these weapons at a very early stage and the backroom boys -- and girls -- were clever at putting the right interpretation on fragmentary pieces of evidence. It was the coordination and presentation of their conclusions at the higher level which was not always so good.

The atmosphere of Nigel Balchrin's Time Small Back Room was an ever present danger, and scientific and intelligence Boffins were sometimes unconvincing in face of gilded pundits like Lord Cherwell if they chose to disagree. Even then, the application of intelligence to operations was often misplaced. Some of the most disruptive damage to the V weapons programme was done when installations were bombed without any knowledge of what their real nature was.


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But it is arguable that by forcing the Germans to convey production and testing activities elsewhere their programme gained. At one point the allies clearly missed a trick. After obliterating the first set of ski-shaped sites intended for V-1 launching, they had good intelligence of the alternative " modified" sites prepared by the Germans.

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For a number of reasons these were not bombed. Then, two days before the first V-1s were launched, air intelligence and ground agents both reported significant signs that the attack was about to begin.

Mare's Nest

They included activity at the launching sites and a train loaded with V-1s on its way from Belgium. Still no action was taken. Perhaps the author of The Battle of the V-Weapons makes too little allowance for the fact that the Higher Command were more interested in winning the Normandy battle and thereby putting an end to the flying bomb threat for certain than in diverting resources to targets which might or might not be vital.

Who shall say that history will blame them? In the event, the Air Defence of Great Britain was conducted with consummate skill by Roderic Hill: and the land forces were very shortly overrunning the scattered French farmhouses round which were clustered the launching ramps and garages of wingless V-1 torsos. No defence was ever found against the V-2s, but as a military weapon they were remarkable as a foretaste of things to come rather than useful as a contribution to German chances of victory.

Yet no activity of government is more bedevilled by irrational impulse and romantic notions. Nowadays, a prime minister, as Mr Wilson is discovering, needs to know a great deal about such matters, for the sums of money involved are so enormous, and the consequences of error so decisive in the fate of nations, that decisions, however complex and specialised, must be referred to the highest authority.

History, alas, can provide no guidelines for public men; but it can illustrate the kind of pitfall which yawns beneath their feet. Most of them, like their giant wind gun, designed to propel a miniature tornado towards approaching aircraft, remained little more than fantasies. Others, like the A10, an intercontinental rocket for the bombardment of New York, were only in their early stages when the war ended. The V3, or 'high-pressure pump' gun, designed to smother London in a rain of huge shells, was built but never used.

Both these weapons-systems, as they would now be called, show the military planners on either side in a far from flattering light. For the British, the problem was primarily one of Intelligence. The German War Office began work on a terror-rocket to bombard London as far back as so much for the peace-loving Weimar Republic and Von Braun's team, which eventually produced the V-2, was already in existence by The project expanded until it eventually occupied , people and a huge slice of Germany's war effort.

Reports of all kinds flowed to London. A high-powered Intelligence team, under Mr Duncan Sandys, was appointed to investigate the problem. Yet the precise nature and capability of the weapon remained a mystery until the first rockets landed. It is not entirely clear even now why our experts were baffled.

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A number of critical mistakes were made in the analysis of aerial photographs. But the real reason, I suspect, was that the British assumed too high a degree of rational purpose on the part of the enemy. They worked from the sensible premise that the scale of the German effort would be meaningless unless the rocket could deliver a warhead of about 10 tons. Arguing backwards from this assumption, they were confronted with the apparent absence of huge launching-sites and gigantic rockets which alone, so they reasoned, could propel so large a payload over such a range.

It never seems to have occurred to them that the whole basis of the V-2 programme, from the viewpoint of military economies, was unsound. The rocket had only a one-ton warhead, which could have been delivered far more economically by a conventional bomber.


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The project was pursued because the men in charge of it were more interested in rocketry than winning the var. The British military scientists had made the elementary error of assuming that their enemies were acting on strictly rational principles. The hypothesis that your opponent is a fool should never be omitted from an Intelligence investigation.

Mr Sandys' belief in the German rocket threat was throughout hotly contested by Lord Cherwell right , who dismissed the whole thing as a mare's nest. His behaviour was thoroughly irrational, ill-informed and, at times, tinged with personal rancour. His only real argument was that such a rocket could not be propelled by solid fuel; that this was the only type known in Britain false, as it happened ; and that the rocket therefore did not exist.

During the course of the dispute, largely as debating points, he flung out the assertion that the rockets, if by any chance they did exist, would only have one-ton warheads, and that a flying bomb could deliver such a payload far more cheaply. Maddeningly enough, both these guesses proved absolutely correct. But the errors of British Intelligence were more than balanced by the miscalculations of the Germans. The object of both the V-1 and the V-2 was to kill so many Londoners that Britain would be forced to make a negotiated peace.


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Neither had much hope of achieving this aim, since they were essentially nothing more than new delivery systems for conventional high-explosive. Without a far more destructive warhead, they had no chance of achieving a decisive effect. Yet the Germans showed no particular enthusiasm for nuclear explosives, the necessary complement to their V-weapons. Their entire programme, therefore, was based on a fallacy.

Cardiacs - Mares Nest (Tour Video/HQ Audio)

Within this framework of unreality there was a further crucial error. The V-1 and the V-2 were run as rival programmes, by the air force and the army respectively. Throughout, the V-2 was given the higher priority, though all the evidence showed that the V-1, in terms of cost-effectiveness, was by far the better weapon. Mr Irving produces some startling figures to prove this point. In terms of lives, the disproportion was even greater: 7, including 1, trained airmen on the Allied side, on the German.

It absorbed a higher proportion of Germany's scientific and skilled-engineering manpower than any other project, and the demands it placed on scarce supplies, particularly heavy chemicals, inflicted grave damage on the German war economy. Indeed, it might be argued that the V-2 did more harm to the German war effort than the entire Allied strategic bombing offensive. How, Mr Irving asks, could a perceptive military economist like Albert Speer, the German Minister of Supply, allow such a thing to happen? The answer is simple and, again, instructive.

Speer, like many less intelligent men, allowed himself to be captured by the mystique of rocketry. In order to control the flight of a rocket, a slow take-off is required: the huge missile must crouch on a pillar of flame as it rises ponderously into its trajectory. The first seconds in the firing of a big rocket provide perhaps the most awe-inspiring sight conceived by man. The noise is tremendous, the light blinding; but what impresses most of all is precisely the controlled lenteur of the takeoff, the image of cataclysmic force retained on a man-held leash.

It is a firework display fit for gods. Maybe it's because I live in the United States, but I have never once heard of a mare's nest. I do watch British television from time to time, but often, I can't understand what the people are saying because of their strong accents. It is possible that I have heard them say this before but just couldn't decipher the words, because after all, they wouldn't have made sense to me. Post your comments Post Anonymously Please enter the code:. One of our editors will review your suggestion and make changes if warranted.

Note that depending on the number of suggestions we receive, this can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Thank you for helping to improve wiseGEEK! A mare's nest is an extremely messy or complicated situation. View slideshow of images above. Watch the Did-You-Know slideshow. Follow wiseGEEK.

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