The Minute Book
Saturday, 4 March 2017

Efficiency of Enemy Tactics (Korea)
Topic: The Field of Battle

Summary of the Efficiency of Enemy Tactics (Korea)

Enemy Tactics, HQ Eighth US Army Korea (EUSAK), 1951 (Unclassified 1984)

Enemy tactics were sound and well-executed. Contrary to the popular conception of the enemy as "a screaming horde," the [North Korean] and [Chinese Communist] Forces were well-coordinated fighting machines. Enemy attacks showed considerable prior planning and good judgment for the most part.

Reconnaissance of UN positions was thorough and resulted in many penetrations. The extensive use of guerrilla activity, especially during the days of the PUSAN perimeter and the INCHON landing, aided the enemy's fighting machine. Tactics employed were similar to Western tactics; especially the old Patton adage of "holding them by the nose and kicking them in the pants." Envelopments were widely used. It is believed that air superiority, firepower, and mobility of the UN Forces provided the difference between the two forces.

Defensively, the enemy used the same tactics, on the whole, as UN Forces; namely, that of trading terrain in an effort to gain time and inflict maximum losses on the opposition. After May 1951, the enemy the enemy adhered to the principle of the main line of resistance, and proved a stubborn, tenacious foe to dislodge. Massed artillery fire and hand-to-hand assaults were necessary to clear the enemy defensive positions.

Certain definite disadvantages to the enemy were noted in the tactics he employed. Definite offensive indications were conspicuous before every attack. This enabled UN Forces to prepare themselves. Since the enemy attacks followed a definite pattern in all cases, UN Forces were able to take appropriate defensive measures.

Another weakness noted in enemy tactics was his inability to sustain an offensive, especially at lower unit levels. This was caused by the damage inflicted on his supply system by UN air and artillery. Consequently, each enemy soldier carried approximately a week's supply of food. When this was exhausted, the enemy attack lost momentum, and finally stalled. Undoubtedly winter weather hindered the resupply of enemy rear installations. This was due to the scarcity of natural camouflage and to the good flying weather available to UN aircraft.

The advantage of the enemy's superior manpower became a disadvantage in the face of UN fire superiority. Enemy troops became demoralized and confused; units were difficult to control because of inadequate communications; and logistical support was difficult. The capture of many enemy troops suffering wounds indicated that Communist medical support was limited.

All in all, the Communist Force employed in Korea was a capable opponent which employed sound basic principles of war.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 31 December 2015

New Year, a German Soldier's View
Topic: The Field of Battle

New Year, a German Soldier's View

Werner Liebert, German Army, quoted in Jon E. Lewis, The Mammoth Book of War Diaries and Letters; Life on the battlefield in the words of the ordinary soldier, 1775-1991, 1998

January 3rd, 1915

I have lit a pipe and settled myself at the table in our cow-house in order to write home, where they are certainly looking for news again. The pipe tastes good and the old soldier is also otherwise all right.

New Year's Eve was very queer here. An English officer came across with a white flag and asked for a truce from 11 o'clock till 3 to bury the dead (just before Christmas there were some fearful enemy attacks here in which the English lost many in killed and prisoners). The truce was granted. It is good not to see the corpses lying out in front of us any more. The truce was moreover extended. The English came out of their trenches into no-man's-land and exchanged cigarettes, tinned-meat and photographs with our men, and said they didn't want to shoot any more. So there is an extraordinary hush, which seems quite uncanny. Our men and theirs are standing up on the parapet above the trenches …

That couldn't go on indefinitely, so we sent across to say that they must get back into their trenches as we were going to start firing. The officers answered that they were sorry, but their men wouldn't obey orders. They didn't want to go on. The soldiers said they had had enough of lying in wet trenches, and that France was done for.

They really are much dirtier than we are, have more water in their trenches and more sick. Of course they are only mercenaries, and so they are simply going on strike. Naturally we didn't shoot either, for our communication trench leading from the village to the firing-line is always full of water, so we are very glad to be able to walk on the top without any risk. Suppose the whole English army strikes, and forces the gentlemen in London to chuck the whole business! Our lieutenants went over and wrote their names in an album belonging to the English officers.

Then one day an English officer came across and said that the Higher Command had given orders to fire on our trench and that our men must take cover, and the (French) artillery began to fire, certainly with great violence but without inflicting any casualties.

On New Year's Eve we called across to tell each other the time and agreed to fire a salvo at 12. It was a cold night. We sang songs, and they clapped (we were only 60-70 yards apart); we played the mouth-organ and they sang and we clapped. Then I asked if they hadn't got any musical instruments, and they produced some bagpipes (they are the Scots Guards, with the short petticoats and bare legs) and they played some of their beautiful elegies on them, and sang, too. Then at 12 we all fired salvos into the air! Then there were a few shots from our guns (I don't know what they were firing at) and the usually so dangerous Verey lights crackled like fireworks, and we waved torches and cheered. We had brewed some grog and drank the toast of the Kaiser and the New Year. It was a real good "Silvester", just like peace-time!

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 24 December 2015

Christmas, 1914
Topic: The Field of Battle

Christmas, 1914

Frank and Maurice Wray, The London Rifle Brigade, "Christmas, 1914," Army Quarterly and Defence Journal, Vol. XCVII, October 1968 and January 1969

And so on Christmas Eve we settled down to our normal watch-keeping without relaxation and without any idea of what the immediate future was to bring. It soon became clear, however, by the sounds of activity coming from the opposite trenches that the Germans were celebrating Christmas Eve in their customary manner. They had brought up a band into their front line trenches, and, as we listened to hymns and tunes common to both nations, quite understandably a wave of nostalgia passed over us.

When it became quite dark the light from an electric pocket-lamp appeared on the German parapet. Normally this would have drawn a hail of bullets, but soon these lights were outlining the trenches as far as the eye could see and no sound of hostile activity could be heard. When the lights were dowsed we waited in the stillness of a beautiful night (nevertheless with the usual sentries posted and fully alert) for the dawn of the most remarkable Christmas Day that any of us was ever likely to see. As dawn was breaking a voice from the German trenches was heard, 'We good, we no shoot," and so was born an unofficial armistice.

After some initial caution the troops from both sides rose from their holes in the ground to stretch their legs and then to fraternize in "No Man's Land" between the trenches—a happy state of affairs which continued for about ten days. It became clear that the same extraordinary situation extended towards Armentieres on our right and Hill 60 on our left, as a battalion of the 10th Division on our left arranged a football match against a German team—one of their number having found in the opposing unit a fellow member of his local Liverpool football club who was also his hairdresser! Many souvenirs were exchanged, ranging from buttons and badges, a piece of cloth cut from a Saxon's overcoat (still in our possession), some cigars which had been received from the Kaiser (not very popular apparently, either cigars or donor!).

The prize souvenir, however, was a German Regular's dress helmet, the celebrated "Pickelhaube." Our currency in this piece of bargaining was bully beef and Tickler's plum and apple, so called, jam. They asked for marmalade, but we had not seen any ourselves since we left England. This helmet achieved fame as, on the following day, a voice called out, "Want to speak to officer," and being met in "No Man's Land" continued, "Yesterday I give my hat for the bullybif. I have grand inspection tomorrow. You lend me and I bring it back after." The loan was made and the pact kept, sealed with some extra bully! The spike from this helmet we still have.

This Elysian situation was not to last, and, incidentally, it was said to have caused some misgivings in the High Command, possibly owing to the disproportionate number of Germans emerging from the ground on Christmas morning. The end came when the word came over, "Prussians coming in here tomorrow," and so it was and we returned to the comparative safety of our holes in the ground.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 16 November 2015

Anti-Gas Precautions
Topic: The Field of Battle

Anti-Gas Precautions

How I Won the War; the memoirs of a heavily armed civilian by Lieut Ernest Goodbody (as told to), Patrick Ryan, 1963

This was too grave a matter to be dealt with on the line of march. We would have to have a kit inspection on the objective.

'Sergeant Transom,' I said. 'We're not observing proper anti-gas precautions. The leading man has no litmus paper on his bayonet.'

He looked down at the thick, white dust puffing over our boots.

'Nor he hasn't, sir,' he said in surprise. 'And this is a dead likely place to meet mustard gas, and all. I'll see to it right away.'

He moved forward and spiked a sheet of paper on Private Drogue's bayonet.

'What we do now,' asked the gas sentry. 'Flag day?'

The litmus paper did not look of standard size to me and so I went up to inspect. It was a square of toilet paper. Quite useless, I assure you, for detecting mustard gas deposits. I was about to remonstrate with the sergeant when I noticed that no one in the platoon but myself still had a gas mask. They'd all thrown them away. This was too grave a matter to be dealt with on the line of march. We would have to have a kit inspection on the objective.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 3 September 2015

VC Supply Caches
Topic: The Field of Battle

Summary of Salient Points Learned With Respect to VC Supply Caches

Viet Cong Base Camps and Supply Caches; Counter Insurgency Lessons learned No. 68., July 1968

a.     The use of information provided by PWs and Hoi Chanhs can materially assist units in locating caches. Information provided by such people must always be considered and, whenever possible, exploited to the utmost.

b.     The VC use natural and man made anthills as caches for weapons and munitions.

c.     Caches are more easily identified if units recognize the key protective measures used by the VC.

d.     Flocks of birds are a frequent indicator of the proximity of rice caches.

e.     Analysis of the disposition of booby traps in an area can lead to the discovery of valuable VC stores and material.

f.     When searching for caches, operations should be methodical, deliberate and thorough.

g.     Operational planning must include methods of extracting rice or destroying it in place.

h.     Rice caches can normally be effectively scattered by the use of cratering charges and effectively contaminated with CS.

i.     Rice caches are infrequently booby trapped.

j.     The VC frequently place grenade type booby traps inside bags of rice. Therefore, all rice bags should be sanitized by EOD and Engineer personnel prior to handling. (see Fig. 6)

k.     Engineer bulldozers cab be effectively utilized in the destruc­tion of rice caches by pushing them into rivers or constructing suitable LZs close to the caches to allow evacuation by air.

l.     Caches are usually well concealed, located in the proximity of transportation routes, and are not placed in any discernible patterns.

m.     Extraction of rice caches are ideal missions for RVNAF's organic transportation units and Province/District Headquarters in carrying out Civic Action Programs.

n.     Nipa palm trees have been used by the VC to store equipment. The foliage of these trees offers excellent concealment for caches.

o.     Medical supplies should be evacuated through intelligence chan­nels rather than being destroyed in place.

p.     The use of probes and mine detectors in locating buried caches has proven to be effective.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 27 August 2015

Clothing, Necessaries, and Badges of Non-Effectives
Topic: The Field of Battle

1617—Disposal of Clothing and Necessaries and Badges of Non-Effectives:—(B)

Extracts from Volumes 5 and 6 of Canadian Army Routine Orders, R.Os. 1541 to 2755, 31 Dec 1942

DEATH

The following articles may be used in conjunction with the burial of deceased soldiers who have died whilst serving:—

  • Battle Dress:—
    • Blouse.
    • Trousers, pair.
  • Underwear.
  • Shirt.
  • Socks.
  • Badges.

The above items will be struck off the individual M.F.C. 800 but will not be brought back to the Unit's ledger charge and again written off. A note should, however, be made on the M.F.C. 800 against these items to the effect that they were buried with the deceased soldier.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 26 July 2015

Small Unit Operations, Vietnam, 1967
Topic: The Field of Battle

Small Unit Operations

Counterinsurgency Lessons Learned No. 61, 27 January 1967

The war in Vietnam is a small unit leader's war. Because of the large number of semi-independent platoon and company missions performed by units in Vietnam, the knowledge and skill of the small unit leader are more important than ever before. Some of the lessons learned by small unit commanders are discussed below.

(1)     A major problem is locating the enemy. One solution to this problem is to patrol from company bases. Consistent with communications capabilities, squads operate in areas for three days without resupply. For example, one company operating by squads in designated zones, separated but mutually supporting, can cover a large area with thoroughness and stealth. The mission of squads under these circumstances is to ambush at night, observe during daylight, and engage small enemy groups. When a squad locates a significant enemy force, the platoon/company consolidates on the squad to fix the enemy. The battalion (–), standing by as an immediate reaction force, is brought to bear on the enemy to destroy him. Once contact is made, the unit reacts rapidly with all available firepower and reinforcements without further regard to deception, stealth or surprise. Following the engagement with the enemy, the squads revert to semi-guerrilla tactics in a designated zone until a subsequent contact is made.

(2)     Another major problem of the commander in jungle terrain is control of his troops. The commander often is hindered by poor ground visibility and difficulty of communications. At times he can help his unit stay on course, spot targets and mark them, and in general have a much better feel for the operation if airborne by helicopter.

(3)     The commander needs a method of locating maneuver elements. When companies are moving by bounds, smoke placed at the flanks of the lead companies becomes a valuable reference on which to base maneuver of the trail (reserve) company.

(4)     To locate small VC units the best results are obtained from separate company and platoon size operations as compared to larger organizations which are detected more easily by the enemy. The separate unit usually is successful in closing with the enemy. However, supporting fires must be planned in detail and a reserve reaction force must be available on short notice. Such operations require the highest caliber of leadership.

(5)     Most enemy contacts are made at distances of 15 to 30 meters. Once contact is made with an enemy employing automatic weapons, the contacted force often is pinned down in its position and it is difficult to use heavy supporting fires on the enemy front lines.

(a)     One technique used successfully by a brigade under these circumstances was to precede the main body by 100 to 200 meters during an approach march with approximately five fire teams of five men each. In this manner, the minimum force will be committed when contact is made, thus ena, ling maximum freedom for maneuver of the main body.

(b)     Because the fire fight upon contact may be short and violent, some automatic weapons should be placed near the point.

(6)     Certain lessons learned concerning contact with the enemy stand out in importance.

(a)     Once contact has been made, pressure on the enemy must be maintained to keep him off balance. The VC are well versed in the use of delaying tactics. Excessive time must not be lost in develop­ing the situation else it may allow the enemy main force to prepare an ambush, occupy a defensive position or escape.

(b)     The VC may choose not to break contact immediately. In this case he employs the "close embrace" or "bear hug" tactic to prevent friendly use of supporting fires. Friendly units must keep the VC at arm's length in order to use supporting weapons. Once a unit is involved in a "close embrace" with the VC, any attempt to withdraw prompts the enemy to follow the withdrawing forces. Extensive use of hand grenades and intensive small arms fire will assist in defeating the "close embrace" tactics.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 21 July 2015

The Sabre
Topic: The Field of Battle

For good or evil, the saber had one quality that set it apart from all other weapons. It had glamor.

The Sabre

Cold Steel: The Saber and the Union Cavalry, by Stephen Z. Starr, presented in Battles Lost & Won; essays from Civil War History, John T. Hubbell (Ed), 1975

 

For good or evil, the saber had one quality that set it apart from all other weapons. It had glamor. A cavalry officer of the Napoleonic Wars once remarked that the function of cavalry in warfare was to give tone to what overwise would be nothing but a vulgar brawl. And cavalry derived its distinctive tone from the saber and the saber charge. The long-range rifle, the breech-loading magazine carbine, and the rifled cannon had become instruments of mass slaughter, impersonal machines of destruction, and only the saber remained as a weapon of individual combat, man against man. Of course, given the self-consciously heroic atmosphere of the Civil War, such single combats sometimes occurred in ways not contemplated by the regulations, as when Captain Myrick of the 1st Maine and the colonel of another cavalry regiment settled a crossroads dispute as to which outfit had the right of way by fighting a saber duel on horseback. It may be taken for granted that neither the Confederate nor the Union War Department would have sanctioned the highly unorthodox but eminently sensible proceedings of a party of about one hundred Federal troopers and a contingent of roughly equal size of the 7th Tennessee, C.S.A., when they met by chance near Aberdeen, Mississippi. The commander of the Union detachment proposed, and the Confederates agreed, that rather than have a general engagement with its inevitable casualties each side should appoint a representative to fight a mounted saber duel. The Confederate champion was a "Polander; a German did battle for the honor of the Union. The two gladiators met between the lines, and (the story is told by a member of the Tennessee regiment) it was but an instant after they clashed the sword of the German went flying from his hands." The issue thus settled, the two groups parted "the best of old friends," with mutual expressions of esteem.

 

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Pilfering
Topic: The Field of Battle

Pilfering

Voice from the Ranks; A Personal Narrative of the Crimean Campaign by a Sergeant of the Royal Fusiliers, edited by Kenneth Fenwick, 1954

Sergeant-Major Timothy Gowing

All our wounded found in [Sevastopol] were carried as quickly as possible to camp, and then the men set to work to get what they could for themselves out of the midst of the ruins—set to work plundering, if you choose to call it so.

But it was dangerous work and many of them lost their limbs—and some their lives—through their foolishness, by the fire from the enemy across the harbour. Some who were laden with all sorts of articles were stopped by the officers, who wanted to know what they were going to do with all that rubbish. The men would at once throw down their loads and salute the officers, who repeated the question:

'What on earth do you want with all that rubbish, my men?'

'An' sure, your 'onor, don't we mane to let furnished lodgings!'

They were carrying chairs, tables, bed-cots—in fact articles too numerous to mention:

'Sure, your 'onor, we are not going to let the Zouaves have it all!'

A stalwart Irish grenadier, when being rebuked for pilfering, answered:

'Sure an', your 'onor them nice gentlemen they call Zouaves have been after emptying the place clane out. Troth, if the Divil would kindly go to sleep for only one minute them Zouaves would stale one of his horns, if it was only useful to keep his coffee in.'

Truly these gentlemen were capital hands at fishing up all that was likely to be useful!

Some of our Hibernian boys had got a good haul, and were making off as fast as possible, when a party of Zouaves stopped them and wanted to go halves, but Paddy was not half such a fool as he was taken for—he would not give up anything until he had found out which was the best man, so the load was thrown down, and the Frenchmen were very soon satisfied and only too glad to get out of the way.

It was a common saying in camp that there was nothing too hot or too heavy for the Zouaves to walk off with; and where there was room for a rat, there was room for one of these nimble little gentlemen to get in. They proved themselves all, during the fighting, troublesome customers to the enemy; and now that the fight was over they distinguished themselves by pilfering everything they could lay hands upon. But they did not get all—our huts were made very comfortable by the wood that our men brought out of the town.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 3 July 2015

The Most Essential Condition of Service is Danger
Topic: The Field of Battle

The Most Essential Condition of Service is Danger

Bayonets of the Republic: Motivation and tactics in the Army of Revolutionary France, 1791-94, John A. Lynn, 1996

American troops in World War II definitely felt that their efforts were appreciated. Of 3,754 troops who were surveyed in the European theater, 82 percent answered that one half or more of the American people appreciated the soldiers' efforts. The last word has yet to be written concerning the American experience in Vietnam, but it is clear that the young men who fought in its jungles and rice paddies felt no such confidence in the folks back home. Some of the troops even went so far as to express their disillusionment by chalking "UUUU" on their helmets, that is "the unwilling led by the unqualified, doing the unnecessary for the ungrateful." There are indications that the young American in Vietnam was no less patriotic, tough, and capable than was his father in World War II. The great difference was that by the late 1960s a profoundly divided America could not applaud the soldier's actions. War resistance may have affected combat troops not so much by winning them over as political converts but by telling them that their suffering, endurance, and bravery would go unappreciated and unrewarded. The soldier could be left with the conviction that no one cared about him. He was a victim or sucker, fighting the war no one wanted.

Another aspect of wartime opinion is the status awarded to the wartime soldier. A nation that holds the peacetime soldier in contempt may glorify him at war. Perhaps it is only because an army swelled to wartime proportions contains a broad cross-section of society, so to look down on men in uniform is to look down on your own neighbors and sons. A last element of wartime opinion worth mention is the respect and aid given to soldiers' families. The knowledge that those at home are being honored and cared for not only frees a soldier's mind, but also tells him that he is respected and valued.

Reactions to conditions of service include opinions and feelings generated by the realities of the soldier's daily life. Some observers go so far as to say that good food, sufficient rest, efficient equipment, proper medical care, and frequent mail guarantee high morale. Experience does not always bear out this view, but such conditions are unquestionably important. Without doubt, good weapons give troops confidence while poor weapons sap it. Conditions of service also include less tangible, but very important elements, such as the character of discipline, the concern shown by company grade officers, and the competence of commanders. The momentum of victory or defeat is also a determinant of morale. An army marching from success to success has fewer morale problems than does the army it is defeating. Ultimately, troop reactions to all the elements of what will be called the military system become part of morale.

For the combat soldier, the most essential condition of service is danger and the fear it engenders. This point cannot be overstressed. Experience—time on the line—can teach a man to learn how to fight effectively, how to depend on his fellows, and how to deal with fear. Yet at the same time studies have demonstrated that courage has its season; men can only bear the burden of fear for a given amount of time before they collapse under its weight.' But fear is not the only condition that undermines morale after long periods at the front; boredom, too, takes its toll.

Canadian Army Battle Honours


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 23 June 2015 8:26 PM EDT
Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Marching
Topic: The Field of Battle

A good traveler will make his forty miles a day without any great effort. But a march of an army is quite a different affair. An unskilled general will manage to make a march of five miles in one day by an army corps a very exhausting day's work for the men.

Marching

The Last Full Measure; The Life and Death of the First Minnesota Volunteers, Richard Moe, 1993

After a series of false starts, the First Minnesota began its march back down the Peninsula on 16 August. An account of just how tedious the trek was came from a member of Company B, who sent the following description of the march to the Stillwater Messenger under the pen name "Saint Croix." It could have described almost any march any time:

Our first orders came to be ready to move in light marching order on Monday, August 11, but owing to change of programme, or some other cause, we were kept in camp constantly on the qui vive until Saturday the 16th, when we finally got under way and dragged our slow length along out of the fortifications and over about four miles of road, and encampt for the night within a mile or two of Charles City Court House. In civil life we do not regard a walk of ten or twenty miles in one day as anything very arduous. A good traveler will make his forty miles a day without any great effort. But a march of an army is quite a different affair. An unskilled general will manage to make a march of five miles in one day by an army corps a very exhausting day's work for the men. The reveille will sound at half past two in the morning, and every man must get his coffee and gird on his armor. One hour later the bugles sound "attention" and the men fall in, all strapped up and loaded down. Here they wait under arms right in their tracks one hour and a half—this a moderate statement—when the welcome "forward" is sounded, and your regiment marches off promptly for ten or twenty rods and halts to let by a long column of cavalry, or infantry, or a wagon train. This occupies from fifteen minutes to three hours, according to the brilliancy and magnitude of the movement. By this time the sun is high and the heat is great. Dust ditto. Finally the regiment will get out of sight of camp, and it is time to take a lunch. No sooner has the whole corps got stretched out on the road, than the hateful, but inevitable order comes to "closeup," and the poor devils toward the rear are compelled to take up a sort of double quick step until some obstruction delays the head of the column, and they come slap up against their file leaders. Then a long halt and another weary stand-up ensues, to be followed by another double quick to make up for the accumulated time and distance lost by all the men and trains in front. And thus we march and stand. No matter how great the heat, how thick the dust, or how heavy the loads on our shoulders … By this style of marching, when five miles are made, the men are very much fatigued, while a march of ten or twelve miles is a serious affair.'

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 7 May 2015

Vietnam Sketchbook (Part 2)
Topic: The Field of Battle

Vietnam Sketchbook (Part 2)

War's Something More than Charts, Headlines

There's more. Much more, to the war in Vietnam than battle reports and casualty figures, statistics and strategy. Above all, there are the soldiers, the "GI Joes," each fighting for his life in a very personal way, in his own personal war. John Wheeler, who has been covering Vietnam for The Associated Press for years, recounts some of those personal experiences, funny and bitter, tragic and ironic, that make up the war in Vietnam.

Eugene Register-Guard, 18 August 1968
By John T. Wheeler, of Associated Press

For all the horror of war, there is still humor.

A reconnaissance team sat in its Army helicopter as it dived toward a landing zone deep in enemy territory. As the chopper leveled out, the door gunner panicked and pushed the first heavily laden recon man out while the chopper was still 25 feet in the air.

As the chopper dropped lower, the next man paused at the door, got a firm grip on the door gunner's arm and dragged him out when he jumped.

The door gunner, without adequate field gear, spent the next five days with the recon team. When the patrol was over, all the recon men were decorated. The door gunner got an official reprimand.

elipsis graphic

For a man on night ambush, there are many perils. Cpl. Jim Shepherd didn't know it that night, but he had one standing right beside him.

The Montpelier, Idaho, infantryman said later, "I felt something hit me on the arm. I thought it was the squad leader jabbing me.

Shepherd turned and faced not his squad leader but a grown tiger. The tiger, apparently satisfied that the 19-year-old corporal would make a satisfactory dinner, began dragging Shepherd away.

Shepherd pounded the tiger's face with his free right hand. He was afraid to try and jerk free for fear of losing his left arm. His buddies were afraid to shoot for fear of hitting him.

"He got me into the water and I guess he figured he couldn't get me across the creek. He probably didn't know what to do with me," Shepherd said.

What the tiger did do was drop Shepherd in the water and move majestically into the night in search of slightly smaller prey. Shepherd went to hospital for stitched and two weeks of antirabies shots.

elipsis graphic

The interdependence of men, especially in jungle warfare, has wrought what one officer called a revolutionary change in race relations in the military. Vietnam is the first war in which all U.S. units are thoroughly integrated.

A 25th Division battalion commander once said, "There is no room for bigotry in foxholes." The comment was made after a particularly bitter battle in "Hell's Half Acre" near the division's headquarters at Cu Chi.

During the fight, one U.S. squad was being systematically shot to pieces by Viet Cong snipers. Four bodies of white GIs lay deep in the snipers' kill zone. A powerfully built sergeant called out for volunteers to race out and pull the bodies and weapons in.

Spec. 4 Newman heard the call in the bottom of a trench where he was resting a hip wound. The Baltimore, Md., Negro was under no military compulsion to volunteer. There were enough unwounded men to do the job. But he scrambled painfully out of the trench and began running with a heavy limp into the kill zone.

The wound slowed him down. Everybody made it to protection in shell holes but Newman, whose side was opened up by a burst of enemy automatic weapons fire. Two men immediately leaped from the trench to rescue Newman. One was white, the other Negro.

Earlier in the war, a U.S. 101st Airborne company was commanded by a Negro captain from Atlanta, Ga. The captain was articulate, well;-educated and very much the commander of his men.

The company's first sergeant was the product of the Mississippi Delta, a white with little formal schooling.

The captain and the sergeant worked together in near perfect teamwork with frequent gusts of humor.

The battalion commander said that more of the company's men undoubtedly returned home alive that they would have if the relationship had been any different.

If race had been elbowed out of the foxholes, at least one chaplain says that the long-held belief that atheists are also absent is not true.

The chaplain, Navy Lt. Ray Stubble of Milwaukee, Wis., ministered to the 26th Marine Regiment during the worst days of the siege at Khe Sanh south of the DMZ.

Sitting in a bunker during one shelling, Stubbie said the proportion of atheists in foxholes and trenches was about the same as on any peaceful street in America.

What about the old saying, then, "There are no atheists in foxholes?"

"Maybe it was true once, but it isn't now. Perhaps the world has changed. I don't know. But the shelling isn't bringing in any more men for religious purposes," he said.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Vietnam Sketchbook (Part 1)
Topic: The Field of Battle

Vietnam Sketchbook (Part 1)

War's Something More than Charts, Headlines

Eugene Register-Guard, 18 August 1968
By John T. Wheeler, of Associated Press

There's more. Much more, to the war in Vietnam than battle reports and casualty figures, statistics and strategy. Above all, there are the soldiers, the "GI Joes," each fighting for his life in a very personal way, in his own personal war. John Wheeler, who has been covering Vietnam for The Associated Press for years, recounts some of those personal experiences, funny and bitter, tragic and ironic, that make up the war in Vietnam.

SAIGON—In the battlefield, where the killing is done, the chaos of war makes a mockery of the neat, mimeographed battle plans and colored symbols arranged on wall maps back at headquarters.

For in the field, an incautious step, a minute flaw in a howitzer's sights, a commander's mistake, fortune's whimsy—almost anything—can kill a man or cripple his body.

Most GIs learn to conquer or control their fear of the predictable dangers of combat. But many find dealing with chaos and the bitter ironies it spawns a much tougher proposition.

They find that life—and death in the rice paddies, swamps, jungle and mountains often is the direct opposite of their backgrounds in a well-ordered civilization where the question "Why?" usually has an answer.

For the combat infantryman here, the question often is not only unanswerable but unasked.

elipsis graphic

For one Marine sergeant, the ironies piled up one atop the other at the very end of his 13-month tour in Vietnam.

During the hectic days of the siege at a Khe Sanh, routine paperwork often was delayed. One piece of late paperwork contained the order for the leatherneck to go home.

A day after he should have left Khe Sanh, the sergeant finally got his orders. His friends congratulated him. Home, today he was starting home.

The sergeant joked with his comrades in the trenches until the morning fog lifted and it was time to go to the airstrip for the last ride out.

Looking toward a hill infested with hidden North Vietnamese troops, the Marine emptied his pistol in their general direction. "Well, those are the last shots I'll fire in Nam," he said and climbed out of the trench.

Moments later, one of the 800 shells that hit Khe Sanh that day exploded near the sergent, sending steel splinters into his body.

Later when he was being evacuated by helicopter, he could muse not only on the red tape, but that he had won a much undesired third Purple Heart.

Under Marine regulations the third Purple Heart automatically means a man is sent out of the war zone no matter how long or short a time he had spent in Vietnam.

elipsis graphic

GIs are deeply superstitious about being "short-timers," men who are near the end of their combat tours. There have been many cases where battlefield savvy, extreme care and an unbroken chain of luck have failed a man at the last moment.

The sergeant major of one Marine battalion in the demilitarized zone area was within 14 days of returning to the States after fighting in his third war. In two months he would leave the military for good and retire.

One of his men called the grizzled veteran "the mole" because of the way he stayed near his sandbagged bunker.

One day during a prolonged lull in the routine enemy shelling, the sergeant major crawled out of his bunker and headed rapidly for the foxhole of another oldtimer who had hot coffee.

The lull ended midway between the bunkers and the sergeant major was killed instantly.

A few hours later a Marine CH46 helicopter began spiraling down with a full load of replacements, men just starting their Vietnam tour.

As usual, Communist mortar and artillery shells began dropping around the off-loading area as soon as the chopper landed. An 18-year-old Marine who had been in Vietnam only two days sprinted out the back door of the chopper and raced toward the safety of a trench line 100 yards away.

An older man, cursing his age and slowness was clear of the blast from the shell that exploded virtually at the private's feet 40 yards ahead. The youngster had led the field, but lost the race. He was the only one of 25 men to be hit.

elipsis graphic

Although the war unquestionably brutalizes most men who fight it, GIs sometimes voice another side they see to the coin.

A young, sandy-haired corporal from St. Louis stared into his half-emptied can of cold C rations and said:

"Somehow we're both better and worse than we were before we were pushed into this war up to our necks.

"Half the things I've seen and done here I hope I never have to think about again. And I sure wouldn't want my wife or family to know some of the things I've had to do.

"But at the same time there are times when we are all better than we were. I've never known friendship like I've found here. There isn't anything I wouldn't do for the guys in my fire team. And I sleep better knowing most of them feel the same way. Yeah, that's it. Sometimes we are better."

elipsis graphic

The better side, as the corporal called it, is the wellspring for much of the positive side of the war—heroism, endurance, determination and sacrifice—sometimes the ultimate sacrifice of giving your life for your comrades.

Many in Vietnam have heard the thump of an anemy grenade landing near them and in the midst of their comrades. Sometimes the grenade is on a trail, sometimes in a shell hole, sometimes among men huddled behind trees or termite mounds firing at an enemy only yards away.

More than a score of men have reacted instinctively—there is no time to pause and consider—by throwing themselves on the grenade to save their friends. The results normally are fatal to the man who cared enough.

Some men welcome war as a personal proving ground. Because they are in some way unsure of themselves, they press harder than most, taking reckless chances that will put some nagging fear or uncertainty to rest. Often these men return to the United States with several rows of ribbons on their chest. Often they go home in caskets, the questions and proof no longer relevant.

"You know, I'm going to sign over for another tour when my 12 months is up," a beardless 24-year-old lieutenant nicknamed Buddy said one night in the central highlands.

"This is the life for me, I'm going to try to stay in Vietnam for as long as the Army'll let me."

The next day Buddy's company was caught in an ambush which killed or wounded half the unit. Buddy was killed early in the action, leading a counterattack at the head of his men.

Only later did a correspondent who was with the unit learn from a family friend that Buddy was the son of a much-decorated World War II Army officer who was killed in action.

"All through childhood Buddy tried to live up to the standards of a father he had never known," the friend said.

elipsis graphic

No one questions the courage of the American fighting man and not a few tributes have come from the enemy which sets some pretty high standards for its own men. But the idea that Americans always charge into the guns or are spoiling for a fight isn't true.

In one instance an American unit under heavy fire lay behind what cover it could find. They had been ordered to assault up the hill. The sergeant called out the order, "When I count three, everyone move out." the order was passed down the line without elaboration. Minutes later the sergeant called out loudly, "One. Two. Three. Go." Everyone, including the sergeant, began running toward the rear—away from the hill.

"Nobody is going to be interested in that hill in a couple of days," the sergeant explained later. "We would have taken two or three men killed for each one we got. Those are very bad odds."

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Chillianwallah
Topic: The Field of Battle

Chillianwallah

Rorke's Drift, Michael Glover, 1997

If Chard had any qualms, they can scarcely have extended to the reliability of the Twenty-Fourth Foot. Their tradition of steadiness and bravery went back through Burgos, Alexandria and Malplaquet to Blenheim. No regiment of the line could excel them for reliability. On the other hand they had been a consistently unlucky regiment. Their first operation outside the British Isles had been a disastrous raid on Brest in 1694. In 1741 they were at the mismanaged, fever-ridden siege of Cartagena in what is now Colombia, an operation which cost them twelve officers and eight hundred men. Fifteen years later they were one of the regiments which had had to surrender when Admiral Byng failed to relieve Minorca. In 1777 they had had to capitulate again with Burgoyne at Saratoga. At Talavera they lost almost half their strength in extricating the Guards Brigade from the consequences of their uncontrollable ardour. A year later, in 1810, two shiploads of their 1st battalion had been captured by a French warship off Madagascar. The colours had been thrown overboard to keep them out of the enemy's hands. None of these misfortunes were of the regiment's own making but, taken together, they suggested that if there was any bad luck to be had the Twenty-Fourth would have it.

The officers of both battalions of the regiment had dined together at Helpmakaar two days before the advance into Zululand had started. It was a few days short of the thirtieth anniversary of Chillianwallah and Captain William Degacher, second-in-command of the 1st battalion, proposed the toast, "That we may not get into such a mess, and better luck next time"- Twenty-one of the officers present were to die in action within a fortnight.

Chillianwallah, a village near the Jhelum river sixty miles south of Rawalpindi, was the scene of a desperate battle in the second Sikh war. 12,000 British and Indian troops attacked 30,000 Sikhs in a naturally strong position. The Twenty-Fourth formed part of a division commanded by Colin Campbell, later the hero of the Indian Mutiny. Having given their brigadier his objective, Campbell rode away to supervise his other brigade pausing only to tell the Twenty-Fourth to make the attack without firing a shot. They advanced through thick jungle which broke them into small detachments before they came in sight of the enemy. Refusing them time to reform their brigadier urged them on to the attack. Under a storm of grapeshot, which killed the impetuous brigadier, they advanced 850 yards, reached the Sikh guns and spiked them. They suffered heavily and had no semblance of regular order. Their flanks were in the air, as the sepoy battalions ordered to support them had not come forward. A Sikh counter-attack overwhelmed them. They had gone into action with 31 officers and 1,065 other ranks. 13 officers and 225 men were killed, 9 officers and 278 men were wounded. The Queen's Colour was lost. [Footnoted: The Colour was not captured by the Sikhs. When the ensign carrying it was killed, it was rescued by a private soldier who wrapped it round his body under his tunic for safety. He was killed soon after and, unwittingly, the colour was buried with him.] Five years later one of the consolations offered to a survivor of the charge of the Light Brigade was 'It is nothing to Chillianwallah'.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 15 April 2015

El Alamein 1942
Topic: The Field of Battle

El Alamein

Military Customs, Major T.J. Edwards, M.B.E., F.R.Hist.S., 1947

And so all through the centuries the British soldier has sung his victorious way through numerous battlefields all over the world, quite undaunted by adverse circumstances.

At the Battle of El Alamein in October, 1942, an American officer was attached to a British armoured division. He witnessed our advance through the Axis artillery barrage and through the well-set minefields. Writing to a friend in New York, he said:

"Incidentally, while I'm on the subject, I'd like to say something about the British Tommy. There's no finer or braver fighting man in the world than the Tommy. For sheer guts and ability to keep coming back time and after, he has no superiors. I remember vividly one night at Alamein, just before the push, that to me exemplifies the fighting qualities of the British. It was in the southern sector, and the Jerries were tucked in snugly behind three minefields. They were trying to get through the minefields. The idea was that the tanks were to blast their way through the minefield gap, spread out on the other side of the fields, and work their way forward. We were being followed up by a unit of light infantry.

"Well, the tanks got through the minefields all right, and the medical officer and I stopped on the other side of the third gap, about three hundred yards behind the tanks. Then all hell broke loose as Jerry opened up with everything he had: 88s, heavy ack-ack fired along the ground, small arms, everything. The tanks were forced to drop back on us, and we had so many casualties we couldn't back up. And then, in the face of one of the worst barrages I have seen, the infantry came up to us and started through.

"I have never witnessed anything like it. At a steady walk, with their rifles at the port, looking straight ahead, they marched into it. I saw men with their heads blown off as they walked, men with arms and legs shot away. There was no hope of getting through, but they kept on, wave after wave of them, and they marched in singing. Usually you could just sort of feel the beat of it under the barrage, but occasionally, for a few brief seconds, the noise of the firing would lift and you'd hear their voices rolling out. I don't think I have ever felt such pride in fellow-men. I was just mightily proud of mankind in general."

What a tribute to the dauntless spirit and sense of duty of the British soldier!

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 23 March 2015

An Avoidable Death, South Africa
Topic: The Field of Battle

An Avoidable Death, South Africa

With the Royal Canadians, Stanley McKeown Brown, 1900

For the first time the seriousness of the actual campaign broke on the Canadian regiment, and again the next day as a sad and impressive funeral cortege wended its way out over the sandy veldt, …

Two nights sufficed for the Canadians at Orange River, during the first of which a very sad shooting accident occurred in the Shropshire regiment, which was lying side by side with our men and which battalion was at a future date to form part of the now famous 19th Brigade along with the Royal Canadians.

The country around for miles was strongly patrolled at night and every precaution was taken to keep the Boers from taking our little garrison by surprise.

Out into the dark night the Shropshires sent a heavy picket with instructions to the men to be very careful to challenge every person who might come in or out of camp. At the foot of a kopje one of the men of the Shropshires stood on sentry, another private of the same regiment was returning to camp. The sentry promptly challenged, "Halt! who comes there?" and failing to call "Friend," the returning soldier said, "Oh, to you know me." These were fatal words, for no sooner had they been spoken when three ringing shots sounded through the Orange River garrison, three steady shots from the sentry's rifle, and his companion-in-arms fell, never to rise to life again. It was an unfortunate occurrence which cast gloom over the whole camp, but it shows that the rigidity of military discipline should not be trifled with.

For the first time the seriousness of the actual campaign broke on the Canadian regiment, and again the next day as a sad and impressive funeral cortege wended its way out over the sandy veldt, the men from our Dominion saw in reality a dark side which to them was new, and attended with a solemnity which was doubly solemn on the sands of Africa.

To slow music with bayonets fixed and arms reversed the creeping kharki procession passed by the lines of the Royal Canadians, and a hush came on the camp. Then it was that many a man shuddered as he thought of a burial in South Africa, thousands of miles from where any of his friends could ever see his grave or ever plant a flower on his last resting place.

There are times at war when one is pensive and reflective, that is when one sees a comrade buried with all the impressive ceremony of a military funeral. When the muffled drums resound but to a slow dirge; when the gun carriage with its gloomy coffin load, wrapped in a Union Jack death pall, lumbers along to a waiting grave, unsympathetically jolting the soldier on the way to his last lone bed. Sorrow is written on the faces of every rugged and sunburnt man of arms, as with reluctant steps he nears the burial place of his lost companion. The funeral notes of the mournful music have the effect of striking into a living man's soul a deep hatred of death in a foreign clime. The sand or limestone "six feet of earth," on a South African field, seems but a mean mockery of a proper grave; the shallow bed seems too short for that last long sleep, too narrow for a quiet rest of such duration as it is bound to be. The sewn-up blanket in which the soldier is shrouded makes at times but a poor, scanty apology for the sound coffin one is used to seeing on such occasions in peace time. The spades of earth thrown in on the human form as it bulges in the blanket seems a scarce sepulchre; the volleys from the muzzles of the rifles over the grave are like empty messages to the dead, and the quivering "last post," which the bugles blast over the silent mound after the burial service, are but a brazen farewell to the soldier as he lies free from the care of campaign, "where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest."

Then, according to military custom, the burial party starts from the lonely spot, and, where they before had come marching to slow music, the band at once strikes up a quickstep, and as if tired of the tedium of the service, swing with a dashing air back to the camp, till Death's hand beckons another fighter home, and the dead marches are again called into requisition.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 19 March 2015

Ulundi
Topic: The Field of Battle


Massacre At Ulundi, by James E. McConnell

Ulundi

The Washing of the Spears; The Rise and Fall of the Zulu Nation, Donald R. Morris, 1965

The outline of the square was perfectly marked on the rise by the thick windrows of expended cartridges; the troops had fired over 35,000 rounds.

[Following the battle of Ulundi,] Chelmsford finally ordered the guns to limber up, broke the square and marched the men to the banks of the Mbilane, where the force rested and dined on the contents of its haversacks. A surprising number of officers had packed a bottle or two of champagne into their kits for just this occasion, and they toasted the victory in the warm and gassy wine. A few working details were still busy on the knoll; the engineers were gathering equipment, and the dressing station was preparing the wounded for the trip back to the laager. The outline of the square was perfectly marked on the rise by the thick windrows of expended cartridges; the troops had fired over 35,000 rounds. The surgeons made their report. Wyatt-Edgell was dead and Lieutenant George Astell Pardoe of the 1st/13th had been shot through both thighs. Eighteen other officers had been wounded more or less seriously, including four of the mounted staff officers. Chelmsford's aide, the naval lieutenant Milne who had climbed a tree to observe the camp at Isandhlwana, had been grazed by a bullet. Ten men had been killed and 69 wounded. There was no accurate count of the Zulu dead, and not even an estimate of their wounded, but over a thousand bodies lay on the slopes and in the path of the mounted pursuit.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 13 March 2015

The Orders of Lieut Bethune
Topic: The Field of Battle

The Orders of Lieutenant F.P Bethune

Fron a now-defunct version of the Australians at War website

On March 13, 1918, Lieutenant F.P. Bethune, commanding No. 1 Section of the 3rd Machine-Gun Company was instructed to post his guns at Spoil Bank. He considered this position to be suicidal and complained. Neverless, he lead his men there. Before he could get into position a runner reached him with new orders to move to Buff Bank. This was a good position, better than Spoil Bank, but without infantry nearby to cover them, the machine-guns were dangerously exposed. With the safety of that part of the line in his hands, Bethune decided his men should have written orders.

He therefore issued these orders:

1.     This position will be held, and the Section will remain here until relieved.

2.     The enemy cannot be allowed to interfere with this programme.

3.     If the Section cannot remain here alive, it will remain here dead, but in any case it will remain here.

4.     Should any man through shell-shock or other cause attempt to surrender, he will remain here dead.

5.     Should all guns be blown out, the Section will use Mills grenades and other novelties.

6.     Finally, the position, as stated, will be held.

F.P Bethune, Lieut.
O.C. NO.1 Section

Bethune and his squad survived the occupation of the post, holding it for 18 days. The position was held.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 15 February 2015 12:29 PM EST
Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Harass, Worry, and Bait Your Enemy
Topic: The Field of Battle

The Disaster at Koorn Spruit. the Royal Horse Artillery working their guns.
from: h. W. Wilson, With the Flag to Pretoria, 1902

Harass, Worry, and Bait Your Enemy

Ian Hamilton's March, 1900, as presented in Frontiers and Wars, Winston S. Churchill, 1962

Nevertheless, function or no function, it is war, and the way to win war. Harass, bait, and worry your enemy. Once he is more frightened of you than you are of him, all your enterprises will prosper.

Thus disturbed, I thought it might be worth while to walk up to the outpost line and see what was passing there. When I reached the two guns which were posted on the near ridge, the officers were in consultation. Away across the Sand River, near two little kopjes, was a goodly Boer commando. There were about 150 horsemen, with five ox-wagons and two guns. The horses were grazing, but not outsaddled. The men were lying or sitting on the ground. Evidently they thought themselves out of range. The subaltern commanding the guns was very anxious to fire — 'really think I could reach the brutes'; but he was afraid he would get into trouble if he fired his guns at any range greater than artillery custom approves. His range finders said '6,000'. Making allowances for the clear atmosphere, I should have thought it was more. At last he decided to have a shot. 'Sight for 5,600, and let's see how much we fall short.' The gun cocked its nose high in the air and flung its shell accordingly. To our astonishment the projectile passed far over the Boer commando, and burst nearly 500 yards beyond them: to our astonishment and to theirs. The burghers lost no time in changing their position. The men ran to their horses, and, mounting, galloped away in a dispersing cloud. Their guns whipped up and made for the further hills. The ox-wagons sought the shelter of a neighbouring donga. Meanwhile, the artillery subaltern, delighted at the success of his venture, pursued all these objects with his fire, and using both his guns threw at least a dozen shells among them. Material result: one horse killed. This sort of artillery fire is what we call waste of ammunition when we do it to others, and a confounded nuisance when they do it to us. Even as it was an opportunity was lost. We ought to have sneaked up six guns, a dozen if there were a dozen handy, all along the ridge, and let fly with the whole lot, at ranges varying from 5,000 to 6,000 yards with time shrapnel. Then there would have been a material as well as a moral effect. 'Pooh,' says the scientific artillerist, 'you would have used fifty shells, tired your men, and disturbed your horses, to hit a dozen scallawags and stampede 150. That is not the function of artillery. Nevertheless, function or no function, it is war, and the way to win war. Harass, bait, and worry your enemy. Once he is more frightened of you than you are of him, all your enterprises will prosper.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 28 February 2015

Bayonet Fighting
Topic: The Field of Battle

Bayonet Fighting

"I never saw a bayonet fight. And I never took part in one. I've walked a long way. I've been shot at with a variety of deadly weapons. And I was wounded in the Hitler Line. But I don't know anything about bayonet fighting."

The Long Road Home; The Autobiography of a Canadian Soldier in Italy in World War II, Fred Cederberg, 1984

For the next few days, with Scotty watching curiously, Albert and I hammered home our points. "One more thing," Albert said, "most of you guys think your weapon is your key to survival. Well, it isn't. And don't laugh when I tell it's your friggin' shovel. Don't go anywhere without it." He grinned crookedly when the seated men laughed. "Hell," he held it up, "it can be a weapon, if that's all you got."

"What about when you're bayonet fightin'?" a round-faced kid named Robbie Crawford asked in a high-pitched voice. "Whatta you do then? Just stick an' jab like the pamphlet says?"

I pointed to a sallow-skinned one-time Loyal Edmonton private whose thin lips barely masked a perpetual small grin. "You tell 'em about bayonet fighting, Alex, you came in with the Eddies 'way back in Sicily in July of '43."

Alex Greenwood, a thirty-one-year-old general store owner, father of three and graduate of the University of Alberta, laughed lazily.

"I never saw a bayonet fight. And I never took part in one. I've walked a long way. I've been shot at with a variety of deadly weapons. And I was wounded in the Hitler Line. But I don't know anything about bayonet fighting."

Canadian Army Battle Honours


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST

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