Saturday, 1 October 2011


The Mohmand Campaign (Aug-Sep 1935) by tim moreman

The Mohmand operations provided a practical test of the various changes introduced during the early 1930s. A combination of lightened personal equipment and light infantry training speeded up piqueting and improved cross-country mobility, but the Vickers machine gun company in each battalion remained a serious brake on mobility. Perhaps the most striking feature of the campaign was the willingness of Indian commanders to undertake large operations at night, enabling them to seize the initiative, upset tribal plans, and avoid the delay inherent in mounting deliberate attacks. As a result columns penetrated deeper into tribal territory before they had to return to the security of a perimeter camp each night .
New equipment also made its debut. A single tractor-drawn battery of 18lb supplemented the mountain artillery, whose longer ranged and more powerful guns were able to support several widely separated Indian columns. Perhaps of greater significance was the successful deployment of a single company of Mk II light tanks. Their invulnerability to rifle fire and cross-country mobility quickened the pace of operations as tanks could easily advance through tribal positions. Although cavalry was needed to reconnoitre the ground and engineers had to construct tank crossings over nullahs and improve the track across the Nahakki Pass, the terrain in Mohmand country did not present an appreciable obstacle nor did an attempt by the tribesmen to impede movement by digging pits and strewing the roads with rocks and boulders
'Mohforce' was heavily dependent on large quantities of ancillary units throughout the fighting which had both tactical and administrative implications for frontier warfare. A large number of non-combatant signallers, field ambulances, engineer parks, ordnance depots and motor vehicles accompanied 'Mohforce' and each day MT carried ammunition, supplies and water to a roadhead from where pack transport carried it to the forward troops. To encompass the large number of vulnerable vehicles and non-combatant troops, perimeter camps grew in size and complexity. It often proved difficult to find a flat space large enough for all troops and equipment and their construction was both time consuming and required considerable labour. The amount of manpower required for their defence, moreover, was considerable but as the proportion of infantry to other arms had fallen it was often difficult to provide sufficient troops [52]. A heavy consumption of ammunition made it vital to maintain and protect a permanent line of communication along the Gandab Road to service growing logistical requirements, facilitate the movement of reinforcements and evacuate casualties .
 Armoured cars regularly patrolled the Gandab road, but the burden of protection, as always, fell on the infantry. Permanent piquets were constructed in the Karappa Pass, but the intricate and relatively low-lying land between Kialgai and Karappa lacked terrain features that afforded a field of vision and fire. Nowshera Brigade and 3rd (Jhelum) Brigade adopted a new system based on mobility and offensive defence employing lightly equipped fighting patrols who operated between strong posts constructed on either side of the road to deny tribal marksmen good positions .
The lessons learnt in Mohmand country had clearly convinced the General Staff in India and many other British officers that both the tactical and administrative conduct of hill warfare had undergone major changes. A detailed section discussing this campaign in the A.H.Q. India Training Memorandum for the 1935-36 collective training season began:
The recent Mohmand operations showed marked advance in the conduct of operations of this nature and the methods employed. Apart from the advantages of a L. of C. with a road for M.T., which was effectively maintained, and of efficient administrative arrangements, the rapid and complete success obtained in this campaign may be attributed to enterprising leadership, development of existing methods, and the introduction of innovations.
Units throughout India were ordered by the Commander-in-Chief to follow guidelines laid down in this publication during the forthcoming training season which incorporated various lessons learnt regarding the employment of night operations, light tanks, armoured cars and the protection of the lines of communication. Sufficient practical experience of the impact of changes in the tactics, training, organisation and equipment on the conduct of hill warfare had now been gained to prompt the military authorities to begin preparation of a long awaited replacement for The Manual of Operations on the North-West Frontier of India .
The improving relations between the Air Staff and the General Staff, following the appointment of Air Marshal Edgar Ludlow-Hewitt as AOC in India, meant the RAF also took a greater interest in tactical co-operation with the army in mountain warfare during 1936 . Under his command in April 1935 the Air Staff in India had already issued instructions that RAF training in the subcontinent should henceforth be directed solely towards efficiency in tribal warfare, although primarily employing independent bombing operations . This decision had strengthened Wing Commander John Slessor's - CO of No. 3 (Indian Wing) - growing conviction that a radical change should be made in the system of army co-operation used in India, as the existing 'Aldershot model'- devised for conventional European warfare - was largely ineffective in mountainous terrain. Writing on 10th April 1936 he urged:
The great cry now-a-days seems to be co-operation - the balanced use of all arms and Services in Frontier warfare I should have thought there could be no better way of ensuring that good co-operation than by having a combined manual on which we all work, containing the description of all methods of Frontier warfare .
During the summer 'Tactical Exercises Without Troops' were held near Rawalpindi to demonstrate the effectiveness of close air support and study the inherent problems from the viewpoint of ground troops, while the Vickers-Bomb-Lewis (VBL) ground attack method was developed at Peshawar. 2nd (Rawalpindi) Brigade and aircraft from No. 3 (Indian) Wing took part in a large combined exercise at Khanpur between 17th and 25th November 1936, to both develop and test close air support tactics in mountain warfare, based on a provisional close-support manual written by Slessor and a draft of the new frontier warfare manual . These manoeuvres, (simulating tribal opposition to an Indian column engaged in road construction) conclusively demonstrated the practicalities of close-support and indicated the importance of RAF liaison officers at column HQs to direct operations, as well as an effective means of inter-communication between the aircraft and forward troops and between columns and airfields .


France was to call up a total of 1,600,000 men during the Napoleonic Wars, of whom a mere 600,000 were to survive. For those conscripted into service, one of the better fates would be recruitment as a cavalryman. Napoleon's dragoons were not just any band of individuals sorted and labelled cavalrymen; they were mounted infantrymen, trained to be adept with both musket and sabre, and proud of that distinction. Originally mounted for the sake of mobility but generally fighting on foot, they evolved into an army equally at home sabring at the charge as firing dismounted.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

apache life by atlantic

capone v ness

Eliot Ness was born April 19, 1903 in Chicago, Illinois. He was the youngest of five siblings born to Norwegian immigrants, Peter and Emma Ness. Ness attended Christian Fenger High School in Chicago.(now closed because of student violence) He was educated at the University of Chicago, where he was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, graduating in 1925 with a degree in economics. He began his career as an investigator for the Retail Credit Company of Atlanta. He was assigned to the Chicago territory, where he conducted background investigations for the purpose of credit information. He returned to the University to take a course in criminology, eventually earning a Master's Degree in the field.

It was lucky that America also had scandanavian refugees as Eliot Ness one of greatest lawmen came from that ilk. His showdown with Capone showed the difference between where an immigrant comes from unfortunately.

In 1926, Ness's brother-in-law, Alexander Jamie, an agent of the Bureau of Investigation (which later became the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1935), influenced Ness to enter law enforcement. He joined the U.S. Treasury Department in 1927, working with the 300-strong Bureau of Prohibition, in Chicago.The Capone family immigrated to the United States in 1893 and settled at 95 Navy Street, The Capone family immigrated to the United States in 1893 and settled at 95 Navy Street, in the Navy Yard section of downtown Brooklyn, near the Barber Shop that employed Gabriele at 29 Park Avenue. When Al was 11, the Capone family moved to 38 Garfield Place in Park Slope, the Navy Yard section of downtown Brooklyn, near the Barber Shop that employed Gabriele at 29 Park Avenue. When Al was 11, the Capone family moved to 38 Garfield Place in Park Slope, Brooklyn.The Capone family immigrated to the United States in 1893 and settled at 95 Navy Street, in the Navy Yard section of downtown Brooklyn, near the Barber Shop that employed Gabriele at 29 Park Avenue. When Al was 11, the Capone family moved to 38 Garfield Place in Park Slope, Brooklyn.Shortly after he was expelled, his father moved the family to 21 Garfield Place, in the neighborhood that would influence the direction of Capone's life and ultimately, his future. Capone joined two local street gangs, the Brooklyn Rippers and the Forty Thieves Juniors. Among the members were Johnny Torrio and Lucky Luciano

Following the election of President Herbert Hoover, U.S. Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon was specifically charged with bringing down gangster Al Capone. The federal government approached the problem from two directions: income tax evasion and the Volstead Act. Ness was chosen to head the operations under the Volstead Act, targeting the illegal breweries and supply routes of Capone.
With Chicago's corrupted law-enforcement agents endemic, Ness went through the records of all Prohibition agents to create a reliable team, initially of 50, later reduced to 15 and finally to just eleven men called, "The Untouchables". Raids against illegal stills and breweries began immediately; within six months Ness claimed to have seized breweries worth over one million dollars. The main source of information for the raids was an extensive wire-tapping operation. An attempt by Capone to bribe Ness's agents was seized on by Ness for publicity, leading to the media nickname, "The Untouchables." There were a number of assassination attempts on Ness, and one close friend of his was killed.
The efforts of Ness and his team had a serious impact on Capone's operations. However, Ness had very little to do with the IRS convicting Capone with income tax evasion, which lead to Capone's downfall. In a number of federal grand jury cases in 1931, Capone was charged with 22 counts of tax evasion and also 5,000 violations of the Volstead Act. On October 17, 1931, Capone was sentenced to 11 years in prison, and following a failed appeal, he began his sentence in 1932.


Lake View Cemetery
Ness was promoted to Chief Investigator of the Prohibition Bureau for Chicago and in 1934 for Ohio. Following the end of Prohibition in 1933, he was assigned as an alcohol tax agent in the "Moonshine Mountains" of southern Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee; and, in 1934, he was transferred to Cleveland, Ohio. In December 1935, Cleveland mayor Harold Burton hired him as the city's Safety Director, which put him in charge of both the police and fire departments. He headed a campaign to clean out police corruption and to modernize the fire department.[9]
By 1938, Ness's personal life was completely transformed, while his career began to have some ups and downs. Ness concentrated heavily on his work, which may have been a contributing factor in his divorce from his first wife, Edna. He declared war on the mob, and his primary targets included "Big" Angelo Lonardo, "Little" Angelo Scirrca, Moe Dalitz, John Angerola and George Angersola and Charles Pollizi. Ness was also Safety Director at the time of several grisly murders that occurred in the Cleveland area from 1935 to 1938. Unfortunately, what was otherwise a remarkably successful career in Cleveland, withered gradually. Ness's critics at the time pointed to his divorces, his high-profile social drinking and his conduct in a 1942 car accident.
Ness moved to Washington, D.C. in 1942, and worked for the federal government in directing the battle against prostitution in communities surrounding military bases, where venereal disease was a serious problem. Ness's later life saw him make a number of forays into the corporate world, all of which failed from his lack of business acumen. In 1944, he left to become chairman of the Diebold Corporation, a security safe company based in Ohio. He ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Cleveland in 1947, after which he was expelled from Diebold. In the aftermath, Ness began drinking more heavily and spending his free time in bars telling (often exaggerated) stories of his law enforcement career. He also spent himself into debt. Ness was forced into taking various odd jobs to earn a living, including as an electronics parts wholesaler, a clerk in a bookstore, and selling frozen hamburger patties to restaurants. By 1953, he came to work for an upstart company called Guaranty Paper Corporation, which specialized in watermarking legal and official documents to prevent counterfeiting. Ness was offered a job because of his expertise in law enforcement. The company soon moved from Cleveland to the quiet rural town of Coudersport, Pennsylvania where operating costs were lower. He made a decent income from GPC and moved with his wife and adopted son into a modest rental house. Once again, he enjoyed going to local bars and regaling amazed audiences with his tales of crime fighting. He collapsed and died at his home of a massive heart attack on May 16, 1957. Collaborating with Oscar Fraley in his last years, he co-wrote the book, The Untouchables, which was published a month after his death.
Ness was married to Edna Staley (1900-1988) from 1929 to 1938, illustrator Evaline Ness (1911-1986) from 1939 to 1945, and artist Elisabeth Andersen Seaver (1906-1977) from 1946 until his death. He also had an adopted son Robert (1946-1976).Ness's ashes were scattered in one of the small ponds on the grounds of Lake View Cemetery, in Cleveland.

Monday, 26 September 2011

sleuthing the alamo. crocketts last stand by atlantic in 54mm

The last stand of Crockett, bringing all history into one single heroic moment but not really true or was it, read this new book.In Sleuthing the Alamo, historian James E. Crisp draws back the curtain on years of mythmaking to reveal some surprising truths about the Texas Revolution--truths often obscured by both racism and "political correctness," as history has been hijacked by combatants in the culture wars of the past two centuries. Beginning with a very personal prologue recalling both the pride and the prejudices that he encountered in the Texas of his youth, Crisp traces his path to the discovery of documents distorted, censored, and ignored--documents which reveal long-silenced voices from the Texan past. In each of four chapters focusing on specific documentary "finds," Crisp uncovers the clues that led to these archival discoveries. Along the way, the cast of characters expands to include: a prominent historian who tried to walk away from his first book; an unlikely teenaged "speechwriter" for General Sam Houston; three eyewitnesses to the death of Davy Crockett at the Alamo; a desperate inmate of Mexico City's Inquisition Prison, whose scribbled memoir of the war in Texas is now listed in the Guiness Book of World Records; and the stealthy slasher of the most famous historical painting in Texas. In his afterword, Crisp explores the evidence behind the mythic "Yellow Rose of Texas" and examines some of the powerful forces at work in silencing the very voices from the past that we most need to hear today. Here then is an engaging first-person account of historical detective work, illuminating the methods of the serious historian--and the motives of those who prefer glorious myth to unflattering truth.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

alpini best unit of the 2nd world war

When Germany's Sixth Army advanced to Stalingrad in 1942, its long-extended flanks were mainly held by its allied armies-the Romanians, Hungarians, and Italians. But as history tells us, these flanks quickly caved in before the massive Soviet counter-offensive which commenced that November, dooming the Germans to their first catastrophe of the war. However, the historical record also makes clear that one allied unit held out to the very end, fighting to stem the tide-the Italian Alpine Corps.

As a result of Mussolini's disastrous alliance with Nazi Germany, by the fall of 1942, 227,000 soldiers of the Italian Eighth Army were deployed on a 270km front along the Don River to protect the left flank of German troops intent on capturing Stalingrad. Sixty thousand of these were alpini, elite Italian mountain troops. When the Don front collapsed under Soviet hammerblows, it was the Alpine Corps that continued to hold out until it was completely isolated, and which then tried to fight its way out through both Russian encirclement and "General Winter," to rejoin the rest of the Axis front. Only one of the three alpine divisions was able to emerge from the Russian encirclement with survivors. In the all-sides battle across the snowy steppe, thousands were killed and wounded, and even more were captured. By the summer of 1946, 10,000 survivors returned to Italy from Russian POW camps.

This tragic story is complex and unsettling, but most of all it is a human story. Mussolini sent thousands of poorly equipped soldiers to a country far from their homeland, on a mission to wage war with an unclear mandate against a people who were not their enemies. Raw courage and endurance blend with human suffering, desperation and altruism in the epic saga of this withdrawal from the Don lines, including the demise of thousands and survival of the few.