Saturday, 21 May 2011

heroes who returned home to civvy street

I knew a simple soldier boy
Who grinned at life in empty joy,
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
And whistled early with the lark.
In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet through his brain.
No one spoke of him again.

You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you’ll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.
This is a blog about soldiers and history but its not about my country right or wrong bullshit, lets say this blog follows the wells ideal about war.And if you ever read it you'll know that I don't hold much belief in people doing the MY country right or wrong shit and joining the army, if you ever thought that you were really doing something patriotic then read this.But before that the edifice above is the type of shit hole that soldiers were allowed to move into after the war. masterbox
At first they were not so bad and for years people lived in harmony but that was until these flats became the dumping ground of the immigrants and their offspring, they quickly became the dens of drug dealers and those that had lost any semblance of human rapport so much so that now they are being pulled down to make super apartment blocks for yuppies. This particular block is in Manor House  I know all about it because my Grandfather a veteran of both the first and second world war lived there, my Grandfather a front line Sgt Major and also at Dunkirk used to write Graffiti on abandoned cars with a marker pen , things like "KKK Out With the Wogs " and if you are a Neo Lib you may be abhored by that point of view but then you didn't live out his life.
While perfectly understanding a person, a human being who can get a life in England and who has no life in the dusty hell hole from where he comes the real point is that the working class has always had to pay the bill for those who live in leafier climes and who are the dominant voice in the neo lib newspapers and media, most of it based on assumed opinion.
" I almost ended up on the streets after leaving the Royal Air Force in 2001. I was due to attened resettlment in my last few months of service but was needed to work to cover the two pregnant girls in my section. Despite having applied for local council housing in my home area 18 months prior to discharge I was still at the bottom of the list a few months before exiting. I was told by my local council housing office that I was a lower priority than prisoners leaving prison, asylum seekers and young pregnant teenagers. Luckily I had a relative take me in, I got work and got my own place but it could have been so different. The Government cares not a jot once you leave, and the plight of not just veterans but combat veterans is disgusting. If you are an asylum seeker who turns up at dover you at least get a roof over your head and some food. More than our veterans do on discharge. And today we hear that Cameron has gone back on his word to enshrine the military covenant in law. The public are extremely generous to charities like H4H, and its lucky for those veterans that thay are. Because Tommy Atkins by Kipling was never so poignant as today, hundreds of years after it was written.
Pounds great poem about what the First world war was about is true in all wars, as true today as it was all those years ago, councils in the U.K have more regard for the immigrant or those from places with names most British have never even heard of than those who are supposed to have loyally served their country, this is the so called left of our country but don't think its much different to the right. We have people coming to the country and those in the country that can't speak English but know everything about the social security system, these people are backed by the so called left of the country and wanted by the capitalist as cheap labour any time work is in abundance. Its a nation of imbeciles with the lesser "queers" following the affirmations of the Capo Honcho "queer" who seems to be the font of wisdom, I don't mean this literally but you get the message i'm sure. I use the word queer to mean kind of deranged.One of the few intellectual giants of our age Ezra Pound put his finger right on the button.
THESE fought, in any case,
and some believing, pro domo, in any case..
Some quick to arm,
some for adventure,
some from fear of weakness,
some from fear of censure,
some for love of slaughter, in imagination,
learning later. . .
some in fear, learning love of slaughter;
Died some pro patria, non dulce non et decor". .
walked eye-deep in hell
believing in old men's lies, then unbelieving
came home, home to a lie,
home to many deceits,
home to old lies and new infamy;
usury age-old and age-thick
and liars in public places.
Daring as never before, wastage as never before.
Young blood and high blood,
Fair cheeks, and fine bodies;
fortitude as never before
frankness as never before,
disillusions as never told in the old days,
hysterias, trench confessions,
laughter out of dead bellies.

HERE died a myriad,
And of the best, among them,
For an old bitch gone in the teeth,
For a botched civilization,
Charm, smiling at the good mouth,
Quick eyes gone under earth's lid,
For two gross of broken statues,
For a few thousand battered books.

civil war in plastic. The first death


it was inevitable that cavalry reconnaissance units would sooner or later meet. This happened in the first major skirmish of the Civil War, when a cavalry troop of about 1,000 Royalists commanded by Prince Rupert, a German nephew of the King and one of the outstanding cavalry commanders of the war
defeated a Parliamentary cavalry detachment under the command of Colonel John Brown in the Battle of Powick Bridge, at a bridge across the River Teme close to Worcester.

Prince Rupert of the Rhine withdrew to Shrewsbury, where a council-of-war discussed two courses of action: whether to advance towards Essex's new position near Worcester, or to march along the now opened road towards London.
 The Council decided to take the London route, but not to avoid a battle, for the Royalist generals wanted to fight Essex before he grew too strong, and the temper of both sides made it impossible to postpone the decision.
 In the Earl of Clarendon's words: "it was considered more counsellable to march towards London, it being morally sure that Essex would put himself in their way". Accordingly, the army left Shrewsbury on 12 October, gaining two days' start on the enemy, and moved south-east. This had the desired effect, as it forced Essex to move to intercept them
 on 12 October, gaining two days' start on the enemy, and moved south-east. This had the desired effect, as it forced Essex to move to intercept them.

battle of stamford bridge

The death of King Edward the Confessor of England in January 1066 had triggered a succession struggle in which a variety of contenders from across north-western Europe fought for the English throne. These claimants included the King of Norway, Harald Hardrada, who assembled a fleet of 300 ships, probably carrying about 15,000 troops, to invade England. Arriving off the English coast in September he was joined by further forces recruited in Flanders and Scotland by Tostig Godwinson.Tostig was at odds with his elder brother Harold (who had been elected king), having been ousted from his position as Earl of Northumbria and exiled in 1065, and had mounted a series of abortive attacks on England in the spring of 1066. In the late summer of 1066, the invaders sailed up the Humber and burned Scarborough before advancing on York. Outside the city they defeated a northern English army led by Edwin, Earl of Mercia and his brother Morcar, Earl of Northumbria at the Battle of Fulford on 20 September. Following this victory they received the surrender of York. Having briefly occupied the city and taken hostages and supplies from the city they returned to their ships at Riccall. They offered peace to the Northumbrians in exchange for their support for Harald's bid for the throne, and demanded further hostages from the whole of Yorkshire.
At this time King Harold was in southern England, anticipating an invasion from France by William, Duke of Normandy, another contender for the English throne. Learning of the Norwegian invasion he headed north at great speed with his huscarls and as many thegns as he could gather, travelling day and night.
 He made the journey from London to Yorkshire, a distance of about 185 miles, in only four days, enabling him to take the Norwegians completely by surprise. Having learned that Northumbrians had been ordered to send the additional hostages and supplies to the Norwegians at Stamford Bridge, Harold hurried on through York to attack them at this rendezvous on 25 September.
 Until the English army came into view the invaders remained unaware of the presence of a hostile army anywhere in the vicinity.
In his saga Heimskringla about Harald III of Norway, which was written around 1225, Snorri Sturluson described the disposition of the Norwegian troops. Snorri also claimed that the Norwegians had left their mail coats at the ships and thus had to fight with only shield, spear and helmets.[5] The sagas, however, are historical fiction which Snorri admits in his Prologue, "although we do not know the truth of these, we know, however, of occasions when wise old men have reckoned such things as true
But did William the Conqueror and Harald Hardrada have an agreement to attack England jointly.  This could after all explain certain curious behaviors by both William and Harald.  The Duke delayed his departure to England claiming a lack of favorable winds- was he instead waiting for Hardrada’s attack to draw away King Harold’s forces?  Along the same vein, did the Norse invader lower his defenses after Stamford Bridge because he was expecting Harold to be tied up at Hastings?  The Normans and Vikings had deep ties and a shared cultural background and it isn’t beyond the realm of possibility that they would act together.
It’s an intriguing idea, but ultimately, I think unlikely.  While the close timing of the invasions was certainly mutually beneficial and Hardrada almost certainly knew of William’s plans (he hardly bothered to keep them secret), neither man’s personality was given to sharing.
 William genuinely believed that he had the best right to the entire kingdom, and while his delay in crossing the Channel proved fortuitous it would be giving him too much credit to say that it was a calculated strategy.  Every day that passed with his army still in Normandy cost him in money, food and reputation, and he was as anxious as Harold to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.
 The more opportunistic Hardrada may indeed have taken advantage of William’s threat, but he was no more likely to share authority than his Norman opponent.  He had just finished a fifteen-year war with the legitimate king of Sweden, fought for no other reason than a blatant power grab.  This was a man who clearly didn’t tolerate rivals.
If indeed there was an agreement- something like the partition of England that Cnut and Ironside had concluded a generation earlier- it’s interesting to speculate what would have happened.  It would clearly have been a partnership headed for disaster, as neither man would have trusted the other an inch.  Only a matter of time and they would be at each other’s throats

below the waves

it wouldnt have been totally impossible for the fascist nazi union of cut-throats to have sent a mini sub up the thames to destroy the parliament but there again lets face it they both showed that Italian and German fantasy and imagination wasn't in line with that of the British. The British nation , in most respect, one of the greatest innovative nations in the world (when they are not copying the Yankees) gave rise to any number of sneaky but ingenious attacks on the Fascist empire. They more or less showed that the so called Italian imagination was at most calculated ridiculousness but the Italians did make one great piece of imaginitive war, that was the mini one man sub.Above we can see Atlantics version, the only one ever made in plastic.
After World War I Italy had a fleet 47 submarines in various classes; these were mostly obsolescent and she was interested in replacing them. To this end the Italian Royal Navy (Regia Marina) made plans for a fleet of vessels in three Types: Type I ocean going: Type 2 coastal/sea-going; Type 3 mine layers.
The Navy also invested time and resources in midget submarines and underwater special forces. At the same time the major powers were negotiating an arms limitation treaty at the 1922 Washington Naval Conference. Whilst there was discussion of banning submarines altogether, and to outlaw their use (a course favoured by Britain) both Italy and France opposed this.
 However the conference did place restrictions on the number and size of warships of various types that nations could build.
The ocean-going submarine was restricted to a 1500 ton surface displacement, while the coastal submarine was limited to 600 tons, though there was no limit placed on the numbers of these vessels that could be built.
Between 1925 and 1929 Italy built a series of ocean-going submarines in a number of small classes, in order to find the most suitable designs for expansion. Work was done principally by the design bureaux of Cavallini, resulting in the Mameli and Settembrini classes, and of Bernardis, building the Pisani, Bandiera, and Squalo classes. They also commissioned a design by Ansaldo, the Balilla class.
This was followed in 1930’s by the Archimede, Brin, and, just prior to war, Liuzzi classes from Cavallini, and the Glauco, Marcello, and later, Marconi classes from Bernardis. They also ordered the Calvi and Argo classes from Ansaldo. Just prior to war, in 1939, the Italians also commissioned the Cagni class, designed specifically as a commerce raider with a long range and armed with 14 Torpedo Tubes of 17.7in calibre (these being more suitable against merchant ships). These were built to a CRDA/Bernardis design.
For coastal and medium range operations, the Italian Navy ordered a series of submarine classes, known as the 600 series. This commenced in 1929 with the Argonauta class, followed by the Sirena, Perla, Adua, and Accaiao classes, all to Bernardis designs.
For minelaying operations the Italians built the Bragadin class in 1927 (a Bernardis design), followed in 1930 by the Micca, and then the Foca class, from Cavallini.
Italy's interest in midget submarines resulted in the CA class, built in 1938, and followed during the war by CB, CC and CM classes. She also developed a manned torpedo, the SLC, an update of an Italian First World War design, for use by the Navy's special forces.
During World war II Italy also had designs for a wartime building programme. This was the Flutto class of submarines, an enlarged 600 series design for medium range use, with mass production under war-time conditions in mind. 48 vessels, in three series (Types) were ordered, but only 12 were completed. Also during the war Italy came to require a submersible transport; designs for this led to the R, or Romolo class of boats. Again, though 12 were ordered, only two were completed.
This was one of a number of Italian WWII-set collaborations with English-speaking countries, a couple of which I watched recently – namely THE CAPTIVE CITY (1962) and TORPEDO BAY (1963). While the handling is fairly dull, the film's main plot develops into a sustained suspense situation as a British vessel (commandeered by stiff-upper-lipped John Mills) is planted with explosive charges by Italian naval officer Ettore Manni and his (wounded) companion, who are then imprisoned on the ship itself after refusing to give details of their mission including the whereabouts of the bomb itself.

An underwater search at night fails to reap the desired results and Mills – with the help of officer Robert Shaw (who's married to an Italian girl) – determines to retrieve the necessary information which could save the ship and the life of more than a thousand men on it. Doctor Liam Redmond opposes his treatment of the P.O.W.s, but remains on board to cure the injured man even after the vessel has been evacuated. The explosion eventually occurs early the next morning – when the ship was scheduled to set sail for war duty; the film, then, ends with Mills awarding Manni for his integrity and loyalty to his cause three years after the fact.

As I said, the film is generally interesting (like the same director's DON'T BOTHER TO KNOCK [1952], it's mostly confined to a single setting) though the interrogation/confrontation scenes do get repetitive; it's also bogged down by resistible comic relief provided by two marines appointed to guard the saboteurs.

P.S. I'd love to revisit Mills' previous effort with Baker (in all, they worked six times together) i.e. the eccentric psychological Western THE SINGER NOT THE SONG (1961) – which I acquired some time ago

french cavalry uniform of 1859

standard bearer

I dont know where this figure comes from but its perfect for the Italian wars of Liberation as regards a French Foreign legioonaire

bazooka from world war two magazine

Edward Uhl demonst rates the
army's new weapon in 1942
The Man Behind The Bazooka 2
World War II Magazine, November/December 2010
liant one at that. The tube was just long
enough so that the rocket would finish
its 1/50th-of-a-second burn by the time
it emerged from the front opening. The
whole thing weighed a mere 13 pounds
and could easily be carried in the field.
It took only two men to operate, one to
load the rocket into the back end of the
tube and hook up a wire that trailed out
of the rocket's tail, the other to aim and
fire by pulling a trigger that sent an
electric current to the igniter from a
battery in the stock of the launcher. It
could hit a tank or pillbox from 300
yards, putting a hole through four
inches of steel plate.
'I was walking by this
scrap pile, and there
was a tube that was
five feet long and 60
millimeters in
I said, That's the
Probably the real breakthrough for
Uhl and Skinner, though, came shortly
afterward. One day in May 1942 they
were firing some dummy rounds at a
moving tank at Aberdeen Proving
Ground in Maryland when Brigadier
General Gladeon Marcus Barnes, the
head of ordnance research and development,
happened to pass by with some
other visiting brass. Noticing all of the
flames and whooshes, they came over
to see what was going on. Skinner saw
his chance and—taking a certain
calculated risk—handed the launcher to
Barnes and offered to let him take a
shot. Barnes nailed the tank on his first
try, and pretty soon the visitors had
fired off all of the available rounds.
The weapon was ordered into
production that day; in one of the
fastest development contracts in history,
General Electric was given 30 days to
deliver an initial 5,000 launchers—and
finished the order with 89 minutes to
By the end of the war, 440,000
bazookas had reached the field. (The
name came from a joke musical instrument
comedian Bob Burns has made
famous in his 1930s radio shows; made
of 3-inch gas pipe and sounding like a
"wounded moose," it bore a definite
resemblance to the rocket launcher.)
Uhl left the army as a lieutenant
colonel in 1947 and went on to become
chairman of the giant defense contractor
Fairchild Industries, but he never forgot
the lesson of what a small team of
innovative thinkers can do. "We have
gotten into the bad habit of heaping
people onto projects," he once said.
"The trap we've fallen into is to believe
that a thousand incompetents properly
organized can do the job of a few dozen
outstanding people."

EDWARD UHL was barely out of
college and barely into uniform when he
found himself constituting 50 percent of
the U.S. Army's rocket research
program. Along with another engineer,
a young major named Leslie Skinner,
Uhl was to figure out some way that
armor-piercing could hurl an armorpiercing
grenade at a target.50 Green Kneeling Bazooka Combatants
The grenades were extremely effective,
using a hollow explosive charge to
form a focused funnel of gas that cut
through armor like a blowtorch. But at
nearly four pounds, they weighed too
much to throw by hand or be fired from
the end of a rifle barrel. So far, the only
idea anyone had for delivering it was
for some poor sap to run up and stick it
directly on the surface of an oncoming
enemy tank.
The army had done a few experiments
with rocket-propelled projectiles as
early as the end of World War I. The
catch was finding some way to shield
the soldier who fired it from the jet of
flame and hot gases that spewed
directly back as the rocket took off. Uhl
was probably engaging in a little
hyperbolic hindsight when he told the
story years later of the eureka moment
he had one day in the spring of 1942
that solved the problem: "I was walking
by this scrap pile, and there was a tube
that was five feet long and 60
millimeters in diameter, which
happened to be the same size as the
grenade that we were turning into a
rocket. I said, 'That's the answer! Put
the tube on a soldier's shoulder with the
rocket inside, and away it goes."
But it was no exaggeration that the
firing tube was the solution, and a bril-