[Vwdiesel] Patriotism and Limping Home

Val Christian val at swamps.roc.ny.us
Sat Dec 25 17:46:16 EST 2004

Merry Christmas.  Birthdays are good days to reflect on the 
blessings we have all had.  Hagar and others have written about
the Limping Home stories, and I'm sure we have some untold 
Limping Home stories.  I have a few in Diesel VWs, a few in other
vehicles, and even a few in aircraft to tell about.

A couple of years ago I visited Ft. Knox, to examine first hand
how our US troops were trained, and in particular trained for 
tank warfare.  A couple of my flying buddies, were with me, and
a point of pride is that our tank (simulator) had the most 
kills, and absolutely no friendly kills (unlike all the other
trainees).  The tank simulator rocks and rolls, and the chaos 
in battle is quite significant.  As tank commandor (TC), I 
found it very challenging to maintain situational awareness.
The noise, the nearby hits, the many tanks, friendly and otherwise
moving, our own ammo and communications to maintain, all presented
a significant workload to the uninitiated (me).

There were several significant personal lessons learned on that
trip.  One of them was learned from through one of the 20 minute
standups on the history of tank warefare.  The lecturer covered 
the superior mechanical machinery of the Germans during WWII.
How the Germans had specialized their forces.  There were tank
crews, and there were mechanics.  The mechanics were the only ones
to touch the mechanical components.  So in battle, there were tank
crews, helplessly standing by, while they waited for the mechanics 
to make a tank call.

This lecturer offered conjecture that a deciding factor in the war 
was yankee ingenuity.  We had troops who could change engines in
a Jeep, under a tree.  Many troops were capable of working on 
machinery, and they were permitted to do so.  Our tank crews fixed 
their equipment whenever they could, instead of waiting for the 
mechanics to make house calls.

Thematic with vwdiesel, is our willingness to learn about the 
unconventional (at least for common North American transportation),
and to experiment and learn how to repair, modify and get things to 

Proprietary systems, which imply a monopoly on service, remind me of
the German mechanics, who called on the tanks in battle.  Cars, trucks 
and tractors which can be fixed by the people will offer us greater
resiliancy, ability to adapt, than something stamped out, and serviced
only by contract.  

VWdiesel is a collection of people who exercise this ingenuity and 
creativity, and have a stroke of independence.  In a pinch we can 
run our vehicles on vegatable oil, animal lard, or what have you.
And many of us know how to adapt the vehicle  to do that.  

Fortunately, most of us are not in a battlefield.  Our daily challenges
of starting cars in the cold and and driving in snowstorms and cold
are minimal in risk to battle.  Yet, the more flexible our lives and 
the systems we use are, the greater resiliancy we have in dealing 
with economic and political adversity.

Keep hacking the hardware.


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