Thursday, June 29, 2017

Last Stands

The Last Stand of the 44th Regiment at Gundamuck, 1842. William Barnes Wollen (Source)
As Americans we are familiar with Custer's Last Stand, the Battle of the Alamo, and a few others, perhaps, if one paid attention in history class, back when they actually taught that subject. But I digress.

After a late night in the lab, with many successes which caused us to keep pushing the envelope, I found myself at home, bereft of time to put together a proper post. So, I went to the archives (ahem, YouTube) and searched for an interesting video with which to entertain, and perhaps educate you. For those who think they know this stuff, don't run off just yet. This video has a number of interesting things of which, as Buck like to say, "I had no ideer."

While I consider myself to be fairly well read in history, one can't possibly know it all.

I found the following interesting, I hope you do as well.



A longer post tomorrow, I hope.


28 comments:

  1. There was also Camerone - when the French Foreign Legion fought itself into legend.

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    1. PS - Today there is a monument at Camarón de Tejeda, Veracruz, attesting to the bravery of 3,000 Mexican infantry who were able to wipe out a company of 65 Legionnaires whose ammunition ran out and had to defend themselves with bayonets against Mexican muskets...

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    2. Yes, Captain Danjou and his hand. The Legion celebrates that day every year.

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    3. What's that old joke about Cinco de Mayo? Mexico celebrating the defeat of the French, in Germany they call that "Wednesday." Something to that effect.

      Camerone, 'tis a fine topic for a post I think.

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    4. Legio Patria Nostra! https://youtu.be/TwM3oYi5ltQ

      There is something about last stands that resonates with our concepts of bravery and honor, and like the Spartans - come back with your shield or on it. It's all the better when you live to tell the tale, such as the few who survived at Camerone. The mysteries such as Custer's Last Stand take many years to figure out in terms of granular details of what happened. There is the song and story - but that's not always history.

      And while I'm here burning up electrons on your blog, may I offer two excellent books (the best books) on the subject of the Zulu Campaign (22 January 1879 - last stand), both by LTC Mike Snook- How Can Man Die Better : The Secrets of Isandlwana Revealed and Like Wolves on the Fold: The Defence of Rorke’s Drift. They are the definitive work, and eclipse Donald Morris' The Washing Of The Spears - A History Of The Rise And Fall Of The Zulu Nation Under Shaka And Its Fall In The Zulu War Of 1879 I knew the late Donald Morris, who worked counterintelligence at the CIA and spent time in South Africa. Morris is a nice guy and he spent a lot of time researching, but Mike Snook was Colonel of the 24th Foot and his work is simply superior.

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    5. I have a copy of The Washing of the Spears and have read it many times. I need to track down those two books you mention. The Zulu War fascinates me.

      Thanks LL.

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  2. There's a rather good book, entitled oddly enough, Last Stand! Famous Battle Against The Odds by Bryan Perret that covers quite a few last stands and his follow on book Against All Odds: More Dramatic Last Stand Actions are both worth reading.

    Also the Last Stand of Fox Company about a unit of US Marines in the Korean War holding against the Chinese Hordes while ridiculously outnumbered is a riveting read and highly recommended. Heroic is an understatement.

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    1. Sigh, more books for the ever lengthening list of books I want to read.

      I need to hit the library soon.

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  3. Fascinating accounts- thank you. I wish some of the artifacts I have could speak. In particular a British Officers Sword of the Victorian era, with an Afghan hilt. Lost at Maiwand? Who knows.

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    1. I have artifacts like that, only not as old. Ah, yes. If only they could tell their story.

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  4. from my own nations history, a few examples:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Wizna
    battalion holding off panzer corps for 3 days
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warsaw_Ghetto_Uprising
    a battle not for survival, but for dignity to die fighting...
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hill_262
    a bit of revenge for all the sufferings of the German occupation and actually a win for Poles... and a crowning moment of teh Falaise encirclement

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    1. I need to dig into those Paweł. I will say this, I am very familiar with the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, a tale of heroism which deserves wider recognition.

      Too many in my country picture Polish cavalry charging German tanks, there is so much more to that story. The story of Poland is one of a long struggle, often against horrendous odds. But somehow the Poles not only survive, they thrive!

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    2. Survive indeed. In case you haven't seen it, Polish squadron 303---

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dghmTWGkjPI&list=PLLWeE90lsjdPu-6DiTFlCFD6zz04VXNmr

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    3. Most excellent! Thanks for the link, RHT447!

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    4. The Poles are thoroughly Badger Approved.

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  5. Another good post. Off-topic warning here! Revisiting the topic of the RN's motto: I think it's a result of someone hearing a quote from Vegetius and translating it back into Latin, creating what's actually a better slogan for an existing military force. The Roman writer Vegetius, reviewing Rome's campaigns, wrote "qui desiderat pacem praeparet bellum" or "whoever desires peace, let him prepare for war". The Royal Navy's motto, "Si vis pacem para bellum" is sometimes given as a paraphrase or variant. Notice, however, the different verbs "praeparare" and "parare". The latter means to supply or provide, giving more immediate advice: If you wish for peace, have war ready. That sounds less like a parliamentary speech and more like something a centurion might have said: If you want peace, kid, you'd better have a warehouse full of war right at hand. As I said, a better slogan for a "fleet in being". That's what I could figure from some research and dredging up what I could remember of Latin. For your amusement or whatever, but I couldn't let it go.



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    1. It's these little tidbits that I enjoy so much!

      Great stuff LoFan John!

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  6. Just imagine all the last stands lost to history. Including, perhaps, the last stand of humanity circa 11,500 BC.

    The novel "Silent Ship, Silent Sea" was, at least in part, Robb White wondering what might have happened to USS Jarvis (DD-393) on or after August 9, 1942. http://destroyerhistory.org/goldplater/index.asp?r=39300&pid=39310

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    1. Like LL mentioned, there is something about the bravery of a last stand that those of us with a warrior ethos can appreciate. Fights against incredible odds are inspiring.

      Having recently read Neptune's Inferno, I recall the story of USS Jarvis. Same chap who wrote Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors, talk about heroism against all odds!

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    2. "This is going to be a fighting ship. I intend to go in harm's way, and anyone who doesn't want to go along had better get off right now."

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    3. Give me a fast ship...

      As another captain said.

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  7. OAFS, if you don't consider this to be a proper post, I think that you are wrong. Between what you provided and your fine group of commenters, it is a most informative post.

    Paul L. Quandt

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    1. Thanks Paul. I like to share these kinds of "I didn't know that" videos, but I always feel a bit guilty when I don't write a lot.

      I'd make a great substitute teacher...

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  8. "...I always feel a bit guilty...". Funny, you don't look Jewish.

    Paul

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    1. That was meant to be humorous; I hope it comes across that way.

      PLQ

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)