Saturday, 10 September 2011


I rate them higher than germans. sorry but Germans formation were not supermen, to be quite honest the bersaglieri regiments, especially the one in the Ariete and Trieste divisions were more effective than the german schutzen.
 Also not every DAK formation was the same, the idea of the Germans being supermen at all levels is  untrue.
 The ariete consistently bested Commonwealth formations (only to be changed TO A german unit in some histories).
I want  to point out several things that people easily forgot…

 there was no "italian infantry" like there was no such thing like "german infantry". The unitys in 1940 were colonial infantry with very few metropolitan formations in the group. Plus they surrendered when water was running low, to my mind a sensible conduct in the desert.
The australan at Bardia got as good as they gave. Surrender after water supply were exhausted was the norm in the desert. The germans defender of Halfaya did the same and still they are considered "supermen".
2) Italian infantry division varied a lot. Some were good some were bad. Same for German and Commonwealth
In prepared position the italian units tended to be
Solid Morale (at least until after Tunisia)
sometime they were well led.
Also italian infantry in the 1941-42 battle was much better than in 1940 (more regular metropolitan units). According to Patton even in 1943 a well led infantry unit like the Livorno division was much more capable than a german poorly trained panzer division (the Hermann Goering).
According to german after action review at Gela the supposedly elite Goering division was indeed a mess. SO I would be very very very very careful in generalization. There is nothing to suggest DAK infantry was so good and a lot to suggest that units like the 164 Afrika division were poor performers and in several cases even the 90th Leichte was not so good (look at how these units were formed).
there is a  myth about italian battalion officers and above being poor. That myth originated in italy in post war period for a lot of reasons and was propped up by selected memories. In reading after action reports, analysis and other primary sources I have never found proof of that.
Also germans commanders tended to put a lot of blame on THE ITALIANS  for every failure (but if you read them everyone has to be blamd, allies, hitler, weather never them or never the superior german soldier…)
Actually, if there was a weak point in leadership often was in company level officers (reserve officers hastily recalled in 1940) and sometime that was shown.
Italian infantry was not trained for attack but for defensive operation in the italian proto-blitzkrieg theory.
Now going to the bersaglieri:
they were trained as shock troops and the training was good and realistic, especially for the regiments shipped to africa.
Bersaglieri had more regular, opposed to reserve, company level officers and their organization was designed to be flexible in explotiation operations. Cooperation with artillery was excellent.
so I will rate them at the top level (again I have no proof that the commonwealth units performed along quality lines, and I think the Maori battalion was ovverated, during the crusader battles a combined arms column from ariete captured a New Zealand strongpoint (point 175) almost without a shot…
In November 1941 the Ariete division was a veteran outfit, well equipped confident well led (even Rommel said that) and well trained. I am   italian but probablY between crusader and gazala the Ariete was the best Axis (if not best overall) division in the FIELD.



mortar team. my collection

MOKAREX MADAME BONNACIEUX série demi ronde bosse

Also known as Constance Bonacieux, Madame Bonacieux spends the entire book doing one of the following: being abducted, about to be abducted, about to be freed, or becoming best friends with the woman who eventually fatally poisons her right before her lover arrives. She’s the classic damsel in distress who inspires D’Artagnan’s savior instincts as well as his love. As such, her character lacks depth – she’s young, she’s beautiful, and she’s quite trusting. Although she is an intelligent woman, her trustworthy nature allows her to be manipulated by the cunning Milady. If Constance had had more time with D’Artagnan, would he have also taken advantage of her sweet and trusting nature?

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

last of the buffalo by atlantic in 54mm

  • American social development has been continually beginning over again on the frontier. This perennial rebirth, this fluidity of American life, this expansion westward with its new opportunities, its continuous touch with the simplicity of primitive society, furnish the forces dominating American character. The true point of view in the history of this nation is not the Atlantic coast, it is the Great West.
  • The frontier is the line of most rapid and effective Americanization. The wilderness masters the colonist. It finds him a European in dress, industries, tools, modes of travel, and thought. It takes him from the railroad car and puts him in the birch canoe. It strips off the garments of civilization and arrays him in the hunting shirt and the moccasin. It puts him in the log cabin of the Cherokee and Iroquois and runs an Indian palisade around him. Before long he has gone to planting Indian corn and plowing with a sharp stick, he shouts the war cry and takes the scalp in orthodox Indian fashion. In short, at the frontier the environment is at first too strong for the man. He must accept the conditions which it furnishes, or perish, and so he fits himself into the Indian clearings and follows the Indian trails. Little by little he transforms the wilderness, but the outcome is not the old Europe, not simply the development of Germanic germs, any more than the first phenomenon was a case of reversion to the Germanic mark. The fact is, that here is a new product that is American.
  • The competition of the unexhausted, cheap, and easily tilled prairie lands compelled the farmer either to go west and continue the exhaustion of the soil on a new frontier, or to adopt intensive culture. Thus the census of 1890 shows, in the Northwest, many counties in which there is an absolute or a relative decrease of population. These States have been sending farmers to advance the frontier on the plains, and have themselves begun to turn to intensive farming and to manufacture.
  • As frontier States accrued to the Union the national power grew. In a speech on the dedication of the Calhoun monument Mr. Lamar explained: "In 1789 the States were the creators of the Federal Government; in 1861 the Federal Government was the creator of a large majority of the States."
  • On the tide of the Father of Waters, North and South met and mingled into a nation. Interstate migration went steadily on--a process of crossfertilization of ideas and institutions. The fierce struggle of the sections over slavery on the western frontier does not diminish the truth of this statement; it proves the truth of it. Slavery was a sectional trait that would not down, but in the West it could not remain sectional. It was the greatest of frontiersmen who declared: "I believe this Government can not endure permanently half slave and half free. It will become all of one thing or all of the other." Nothing works for nationalism like intercourse within the nation. Mobility of population is death to localism, and the western frontier worked irresistibly in unsettling population. The effect reached back from the frontier and affected profoundly the Atlantic coast and even the Old World.
  • Since the days when the fleet of Columbus sailed into the waters of the New World, America has been another name for opportunity, and the people of the United States have taken their tone from the incessant expansion which has not only been open but has even been forced upon them. He would be a rash prophet who should assert that the expansive character of American life has now entirely ceased. Movement has been its dominant fact, and, unless this training has no effect upon a people, the American energy will continually demand a wider field for its exercise. But never again will such gifts of free land offer themselves. For a moment, at the frontier, the bonds of custom are broken and unrestraint is triumphant. There is not tabula rasa. The stubborn American environment is there with its imperious summons to accept its conditions; the inherited ways of doing things are also there; and yet, in spite of environment, and in spite of custom, each frontier did indeed furnish a new field of opportunity, a gate of escape from the bondage of the past; and freshness, and confidence, and scorn of older society, impatience of its restraints and its ideas, and indifference to its lessons, have accompanied the frontier. What the Mediterranean Sea was to the Greeks, breaking the bond of custom, offering new experiences, calling out new institutions and activities, that, and more, the ever retreating frontier has been to the United States directly, and to the nations of Europe more remotely. And now, four centuries from the discovery of America, at the end of a hundred years of life under the Constitution, the frontier has gone, and with its going has closed the first period of American history.

In 1987, Deborah and Frank Popper, writing from Rutgers, published a modest proposal to reverse the settlement of the plains and reestablish the American frontier.

  • We believe that over the next generation the Plains will, as a result of the largest, longest-running agricultural and environmental miscalculation in American history, become almost totally depopulated. At that point, a new use for the region will emerge, one that is in fact so old that it predates the American presence. We are suggesting that the region be returned to its original pre-white state, that it be, in effect, deprivatized.
  • "Grass no good upside down," said a Pawnee chief in northeast Colorado as he watched the late-nineteenth-century homesteaders rip through the shortgrass with their steel plows. He mourned a stretch of land where the Indians had hunted buffalo for millennia. It grew crops for a few years, then went into the Dust Bowl; farmers abandoned it. Today, it is federal land, part of the system of national grasslands. Like most of the Plains, it is an austere monument to American self-delusion. Three separate waves of farmers and ranchers, with increasingly heavy federal support, tried to make settlement stick on the Plains. The 1890s and 1930s generations were largely uprooted, as the 1980s one soon will be.
  • The most intriguing alternative would be to restore large parts of the Plains to their pre-white condition, to make them again the commons the settlers found in the nineteenth century. This approach, which would for the first time in U.S. history treat the Plains as a distinct region and recognize its unsuitability for agriculture, is being proposed with increasing frequency. Bret Wallach, a University of Oklahoma geographer and MacArthur fellow, has suggested that the Forest Service enter into voluntary contracts with Plains farmers and ranchers, paying them the full value of what they would cultivate during each of the next 15 years but requiring them not to cultivate it. During this time, they would instead follow a Forest Service-approved program of planting to reestablish the native shortgrasses. Afterwards, the service would, as part of the original contract, buy out their holdings except for a 40-acre homestead.
  • Similarly, Charles Little, former editor of American Land Forum, suggests that by expanding the national grasslands, the grazing districts operated by the Bureau of Land Management, and the anti-sodbusting national conservation reserve, we could retire enough agricultural land to slow the depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer. Robert Scott of the Institute of the Rockies in Missoula, Montana, urges that 15,000 square miles of eastern Montana, about a tenth of the state, be transformed into an East African-style game preserve called the Big Open. With state and federal help, fences would come down, domestic animals would be removed, and game animals stocked. According to Scott, the land could support 75,000 bison, 150,000 deer, 40,000 elk, 40,000 antelope. A ranch of 10,000 acres (nearly 16 square miles), by now a normal size for the area, would net at least $48,000 a year from the sale of hunting licenses alone. Some 1,000 new jobs -- for outfitters, taxidermists, workers in gas stations, restaurants, motels -- would develop in this sparsely settled area.
  • It will be up to the federal government to ease the social transition of the economic refugees who are being forced off the land. For they will feel aggrieved and impoverished, penalized for staying too long in a place they loved and pursuing occupations the nation supposedly respected but evidently did not. The government will have to invent a 1990s version of the 1930s Resettlement Administration, a social work-finance-technical assistance agency that will find ways and places for the former Plains residents to get back on their feet.
  • The federal government's commanding task on the Plains for the next century will be to recreate the nineteenth century, to reestablish what we would call the Buffalo Commons. More and more previously private land will be acquired to form the commons. In many areas, the distinctions between the present national parks, grasslands, grazing lands, wildlife refuges, forests, Indian lands, and their state counterparts will largely dissolve. The small cities of the Plains will amount to urban islands in a shortgrass sea. The Buffalo Commons will become the world's largest historic preservation project, the ultimate national park. Most of the Great Plains will become what all of the United States once was -- a vast land mass, largely empty and unexploited.

Monday, 5 September 2011

georgia brigade

On April 11, 1863, Brigadier General John Brown Gordon, previously Colonel of the 6th Alabama, assumed temporary command of the Georgia Brigade from Colonel Clement A. Evans of the 31st Georgia. Gordon had been named a Brigadier in November 1, 1862 on Lee's recommendation after his heroic service at Sharpsburg (Antietam) where he sustained five wounds. He was not confirmed in his new rank until May 11, 1863 (with the promotion made retroactive to May 7), after the Battle of Chancellorsville, and was assigned permanent command of the Georgia Brigade shortly thereafter following a unanimous petition by its regimental officers to General Lee.
A "comparative stranger" to his new brigade, Gordon was to make quite an impression in the days that followed. Private G. W. Nichols of the 61st Georgia wrote that:

We were soon all acquainted with him. He put the company and regimental commanders to work drilling the boys. We often had three drills daily; first, company drill; then, battalion drill; and in the afternoon brigade drill. Gordon would ride along the line, talk very kind, yet very positive, and the officers and men were soon liking him very much.
The end of April found the Georgia brigade still posted in their winter encampments along with the rest of Lee's 60,000 man Confederate Army of Northern Virginia guarding defensive lines overlooking Fredericksburg and the west bank of the Rappahannock River. The 130,000 man Union Army of the Potomac under new commander "Fighting Joe" Hooker was positioned across the river to the east.
The 31st Georgia was encamped to the south covering the crossing at Port Royal. The rest of the brigade was posted with General Early's division along the line of the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Railroad between Deep Run and Hamilton's Crossing. Their camps were in the low foothills paralleled the Military Road with pickets advanced forward to the River Road [a.k.a the Richmond Stage Road] where they could cover the crossings south of the town. This was ground over which the Georgians had fought the previous December, launching the counterattack that repulsed the advance of General George Meade's Union division during Ambrose Burnside's disasterous first battle of Fredericksburg.