Military History 2004-12

IUTMYHISTOl Onlineextras December 2004 You'll find much more about military history on the Web's leadiiag histoiy resource: HISTORY ^«^——"Net WHERE HI...

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Onlineextras Napoleon's coronation cost him December 2004 You'll find much more about military history on the Web's leadiiag histoiy resource:

a chance at musical immortality.



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Sans Souci palace outside Potsdam in May 1747, Johann Sebastian Bach crafted a series of fugues around a tune provided by the Prussian philosopher-king, military genius and sometime composer, and presented it to Frederick on July 7 of that year as A Musical Offering. In 1804 Napoleon Bonaparte, first consul of the French republic, might have been able to boast of at least inspiring an even greater "musical offering" had he not been Napoleon Bonaparte. As early as 1798, Jean-Baptiste-Jules Bemadotte, then French ambassador to Austria, had suggested to Ludwig van Beethoven that the exploits of then-Maj. Gen. Bonaparte made a worthy musical inspiration. Over the next several years Beethoven's enthusiasm for the idea grew—^Bonaparte indeed seemed to be the dynamic man of the future, who promised to make the best ideals of the French Revolution a reality and usher in a new, enlightened age for mankind. In May 1803, he began serious work on the project, and by the time of its completion in Apdl 1804, Symphony No. 3 in E Flat Major, Opus 55 had become as much the harbinger of a new age as the man who inspired it. Almost twice as long as the average symphony of the time, it also marked a radical musical break from Beethoven's first two symphonies, which had been rooted in the tonal principles established by Franz-Josef Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Revolutionary in its own right. Symphony No. 3 redefined symphonic music in a manner that arguably signaled the beginning of the Romantic Age. Beethoven's friend and student Ferdinand Ries recalled seeing the subtitle "Buonaparte" (the Corsican-bom first consul's name in its original spelling) and the composer's name in Italian—Luigi van Beethoven— on the symphony's title page. About a month later, Beethoven had yet to arrange for the debut of his revolutionary work when he received news that changed everything. On May 18, the French

Senate, acting on a proposal first made in March, had voted in favor of a new law that began with the words: "The government of the Republic is invested in an Emperor, who takes the title of Emperor of the French." That title was meant for the first consul—and Bonaparte had accepted it. According to Ries, Beethoven's naive, idealistic notions about Bonaparte instantly dissolved as he expressed himself in all-too-prescient terms: "Is he then too nothing more than an ordinary human being? Now he too will trample on the rights of man and indulge only his ambition. He will exalt himself above all others and become a tyrant!" Flying into a rage, he ripped the title page from the symphony, tore it in half and flung it to the floor Once he calmed down enough to at least preserve the music, he revised his dedication, devoting the piece to one of his most loyal patrons. Prince Franz Josef von Lobkowitz, and stating that it was "composed to celebrate the memory of a great man." Perhaps he was referring to the Bonaparte he had known before—or perhaps merely to the abstract ideal expressed by the more generic tide that he gave it: Simfonia Eroica. In a three-hour ceremony in Paris' Cathedral de Notre Dame on December 2, 1804, First Consul Bonaparte officially crowned himself Emperor Napoleon I (story, P. 10). It was indeed the start of a new era—in intemationsJ ideological warfare. On April 11,1805, four days after the Eroica symphony premiered in Vienna, Britain and Russia formed an alliance against France, joined by Austria on August 9. The fragile peace in Europe swifdy gave way to a decade of what could truly be called Napoleonic wars—highlights of which will, of course, get their bicentennial recognition in coming issues of Military History. They will include the Battle of Vitoria, on June 21,1813, which would again inspire Beethoven to write a rousing musical commemoration, this time, to one of Napoleon's enemies: Wellington's Victory. J.G.



I greatly enjoyed, as usual, the June 2004 issue oi Military History and was particularly interested in the 11th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry's role in taking Bumside's Bridge. Its "courageous captain" mentioned in the feature was Captain John D. Griswold from Old Lyme, and from a family that had helped settle the lower Connecticut River valley almost 200 years before the CivH War His mortal wounding at Antietam Creek is depicted on the bas relief plaque attached to the 11th Connecticut's monument. That monument can be reached by crossing the bridge, bearing right and walking until the old lane terminates neEir Bumside Bridge Road. James C. Beers Lyme, Conn.

tles that won World War II. Then I read Doug Pricer's article "Remembering Tarawa" and realized there were other battles that cost many American lives. I served in the 78th Construction Battalion and returned to Okinawa 50 years after the battle. That invasion on April 1, 1945, involved more personnel (175,000) than D-Day (150,000). There were 14,000 Americans killed during that campaign (9,000 Army and Marine Corps, 5,000 Navy), about 100,000 Japanese army and 140,000 civilians. Those statistics really startled me, but it also brought home to me how President Harry Truman was able to make the decision to drop the atomic bombs on Japan. I enjoy your magazine very much. Lt. Cmdr. K.D. KeUy, U.S. Navy (ret.) Spring Lake, Mich.

choosing to cover this strange and terrible episode of Brazilian history. In spite of the bravery of Canudos' people and the resolution of the army, the conflict was an example of how not to deal with such a question—how a situation characterized by ignorance, poverty and isolation was transformed into a military issue by the social incomprehension of those times. Colonel Marcelo Oliveira Lopes Serrano Breizilian military attachd Washington, D.C.

I enjoyed Glenn Bamett's article on Canudos. The ultimate reference book on that campaign is Euclides da Cunha's Os Sertoes (1902, translated into English as Revolt in the Backlands in 1944), a masterpiece of Brazilian literature. I would also clarify that "Hospital de Sangue" was actually a common designation for afieldhospital where blood supplies were available. CHEATING? WRONG BORIS As a U.S. Army officer, I found "U.S. Army I would like to congratulate Military His- I look forward to more articles about officers between World Wars I and II tory on its 20th anniversary. It is a most South American military history. often placed personal ambition above interesting, intelligent and lively magaLt. Col. Richard F. Nunes honor," by Robert L. Bateman ("Per- zine. It's great that you have people writBrazilian army exchange officer spectives," June 2004), very enlightening. ing their stories from or near where they West Point, N.Y. I must say that we still labor in a "corpo- actually happened, as for example rate climate," and though the Officer Thomas Zacharis writing from Greece FREDDIE STOWERS' GRAVE Evaluation Rating (OER) system makes alongside American Greg Maynard. Their I certainly enjoyed the August 2004 "Perfor excellent briefing material in front of article about Svyatoslav of BCiev and the sonality" article on Corporal Freddie the congressional budget committees, it Byzantine Emperor John Tzimisces Stowers. It caused me to visit the Ameristill allows for "cronyism" and adminis- (August 2004) was most enjoyable, but it can Battle Monuments Commission Web trative abuse. The Army has published did contain one slight error in referring to site, where I discovered that Stowers is many materials on professional leader- Svyatoslav capturing Tsar Boris I. The buried in Plot F, Row 36, Grave 40 of the ship; these documents are leirgely ignored Bulgarian tsar of Svyatoslav's day was Meuse-Argonne Cemetery, containing the in the evaluation process. In the schools, Boris II, the great-grandson of Boris I. remains of a number of Medal of Honor officers are not given the answers to tests Keep up the great work you're doing! awardees. I was fortunate to have visited outright, but they are given the answers Charles W. Barry the cemetery for the Memorial Day serindirectly by the instructor's "stamp of the Warsaw, Poland vices in 2000. In addition to representafoot." This is the modem equivalent to tion by the U.S. Army, as well as Amerithe "cheating" charge that was levied I came across the August issue oi Military can and French veterans' groups, French against the Army Officer Corps of the era History and read the article "The Prince army units provided an honor guard and covered in the article. and the Emperor" Thomas Zacharis and band. If I ever return I will be sure to Captain William H. Lavender 11 Greg Maynard wrote a very accurate ac- salute Corporal Stowers as well. Hohenfels, Germany count, which I enjoyed reading. The ilMaj. Gen. Thomas Pierson Jones lustrations were wonderful. Hope to see U.S. Army (ret.) more such articles in the future. OTHER BATTLES Indianapolis, Ind. I can relate to Thomas A. Desjardin's arFlorence Chdstofilides ticle "America's Flawed Valhalla" in the Thessalonild, Greece Send letters to Military History Editor, August 2004 issue. I think the same thing Primedia History Group, 741 Miller Drive, is happening now with D-Day in Europe BRAZILIAN TRAGEDY Suite D-2, Leesburg, VA 20175, or e-mail to and Iwo Jima in the Pacific. With the hype In regard to the feature on the Canudos [email protected] Please that is given to those two actions you get campaigns in the August 2004 issue, I include your name, address and daytime the impression that they were the two bat- wish to compliment Military History for telephone number. Letters may be edited. 8 MILITARY HISTORY DECEMBER 2004

PERSPECTIVES Napoleon Bonaparte's coronation 200 years ago split his life into two separate chapters. By William E. Welsh

FT WAS A TYPICAL December morning in Paris. The cold, damp air and gray sky pi ovided a bleak backdrop to the procession planned for the coronation. Shortly after sunrise, government officials and foreign dignitaries began converging on Notre Dame Cathedral from points all over the French capital. The most famous of these. Pope Pius VII, set out for the church escorted by a full squadron of dragoons. As the guests arrived at their destination, they passed through rows of troops in dress uniform. The first consul of the French Republic, Napoleon Bonaparte, and bis wife Jt)sephine anived last, under heavy guaitl in a carriage with glass sides topped by four silver eagles supporting a crown. Shortly before noon, the couple entered the cathedral. Bonaparte was wearing a red velvet coat embroidered with gold undemeath a matching cloak, and a plumed hat with white feathei^s set in diamonds. He wore the Legion d'Honneur on

his cape, a sword with a huge diamond in the hilt hung at his side, and he cairied in his hands both Charlemagne's scepter and the traditional Bourbon ceremonial symbol, the Hand of Justice. Napoleon and Josephine slipped into their coronation robes, and Bonaparte exchanged his white plumed hat for an open laurel wreath like the ones the Romans gave to their victorious genei^als. At the altar, he knelt to receive the triple unction. Bonaparte then climbed the altar steps, took the imperial crown fiom the cushion and, as he had prearranged, placed it atop his own head, to the astonishment of those assembled. Finally, members of the legislature administered the constitutional oath to Bonaparte, who signed it afterward. With that, the Republic ceased to exist. At age 35, Fii-st Consul Bonaparte had become Napoleon I, emperor of France. Napoleon and Josephine seated themselves on their thrones and received the

pope's blessings. The remainder of the aftemoon was devoted to a lengthy sen'ice followed by choral perfonnances. As darkness swallowed Paris, the couple retumed to the royal palace along a route lighted by thousands of torches held aloft by cheering citizens. From that night of December 2, 1804. onward, the French Republican commander who much of Europe had regarded as a military dictator was officially on an equal footing with other royalty, such as Tsar Alexander I of Russia and Emperor Francis II of Austria. At the same time, the event polarized attitudes towai'd Napoleon tliroughout the Continent. Many leading intellectuals ol the time, including George Gordon Noel, Lord B>Ton and Ludwig van Beethoven, believed he had foi"saken the principles of the French Revolution for his pei"sonal benefit. Like the di\'iding page between two sections of a book, the event marked the split between two related but separate parts of his life story. NAPOLEON'S TRANSITION from relative

obscurity to royalty was largely made possible by his steady rise to fame and glory as a soldier in the turbulent yeai"s of the newly founded French Republic. His military career encompassed five memorable achievements on the field of battle: the siege of Toulon, the Paris rebellion, the first and second Italian campaigns and the Egyptian expedition. His behavior was by no means consistently great; sometimes it was puzzling, but he made up for it with spirit and charisma. The fire of ambition that burned in his soul \\ aimed the hearts of soldiers and fellow citizens amid the turmoil wrought by the French Revolution.

Having crowned himself emperor of France on December 2,1804, Napoleon I crowns Empress i Josephine, in a detail from Jacques Louis David's painting. MILITARY HISTORY DECEMBER 2004

Napoleon Bonaparte entered the world on Augtist 15, 1769, as the second son of a petit bourgeois Coi^sican family. Because tiie infantry and cavali-y were lai-gely re-


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served for the aristocracy, he enrolled in artillery school instead. The first real opportunity for the youthful Bonaparte to gain distinction came duiing tlie aimpaign to drive the British ground and naval forces from the strategic Royalist-held Meditenanean port of Toulon in 1793. During the campaign, the 24-year-old artiller>' captain hammered away at his superiors for more authority the same way the batteries under his command pounded away at the enemy's resistance. As the battle progressed, Bonaparte devised a successful plan for capturing the cit>' and was promoted to brigadier genei^al. The next notable milestone was a Royalist attempt to overthrow the Republican government in October 1795. Close to panic, the government called on Bonaparte to defend the Tuileries, the seat of government in Paris. With 40 cannons at his disposal, Bonaparte deployed his guns at key locations throughout the city on October 5. When the Royalists smashed through the barricades in midafternoon and advanced on his position, their attack was broken by two guns on the Rue Neuve Sainte-Roche, as well as six others in the general \'icinity. After the grapeshot tore into the Royalists, the Republican cavali>' cleared the streets and the infantry secured them. In Toulon Bonapaite had saved a campaign, but in Paris his swift and decisive action saved the Republic. For his achievement, he was appointed commander in chief of the Army of Italy, Dming the first Italian campaign, he defeated forces four times the size of his anny and won a dozen major battles. Ai the Battle of Lodi on May 10,1796, he personally led the attack over a bridge that secured victory. The same held true ai Aicola in November. In Januarv' 1797, he soundly defeated the Austrians at Rivoli thiough a series of daring flank attacks. Bonaparte emerged from the campaign with the realization that his personal charisma could tum the tide of battle as effectively as his strategic and tactical skills. He also betrayed his ambitions for the future when he chose not to consult the Republic's five-man DirectoiT before dictating the tei"ms for the Austrians to accept in the harsh Treaty of Campio Fomiio in October 1797. Bonaparte would show more of the same independence in May 1798, when he led an expedition to Egypt wdth plans to use it as a springboard from which to invade India. The campaign started well enough with a spectacular victory over

the ruling Mamelukes, the Egyptian warrior caste, at the Battle of the Pyramids in July 1798, Bonaparte's fortunes abruptly turned for the worse, however, when British Rear Adm. Horatio Nelson caught and destroyed the French fleet at anchor in Aboukir Bay on August 1, The situation went from bad to worse when the Ottoman empire declared war on the French. Bonaparte, hoping to can-y the war to the Turks, advanced on Syria in February 1799. After defeating the Turks at Jaffa, the French laid siege to the coastal stronghold of Acre in midMarch. A Tuj kish relief force was soundly defeated at Mount Tabor on April 16, but Acre's defenders, jointly commanded by Ahmed Djezzar Pasha and Commodore Sir William Sydney Smith, finally compelled Bonaparte to concede failure and withdraw from the city on May 20. Learning that the Ottoman Army of Rhodes was sailing for Egypt under British convoy, Bonaparte retumed to Eg\'pt in time to defeat the Turks on open giound before the Aboukir fortress on July 25, 1799. At that point Bonaparte, having learned that the Directory was suffering setbacks in Europe at the hands of the Second Coalilion, set sail for France on August

24, leaving his Army of the Orient to its ultimate doom in Egypt. In a bloodless coup d'etat on November 9-f 0, Bonaparte became first consul of the Republic, with two other consuls serving—theoretically, at least—in a consultative capacity. By spring he had raised a new army. When Austrian General Michael Melas bore down on Pixjvence, Bonaparte tlirew him off balance by leading the French Reserve Army through the rugged Great Saint Bernard Pass, cutting the enemy supply line in northern Italy. On June 14, 1800, the two sides clashed at Marengo, and the Austrians drove the French back. But after reinforcements under General Charles Decaix arrived, Bonaparte launched a vigorous counterattack that ultimately routed the Austrians. Almost two years of fighting still lay ahead, but the signing of the Treaty of Amiens by the Second Coalition on March 25, 1802, brought the French Revolutionary wars to an end.

statesman as well. Moving into the same suite of rooms at the Tuileries that the late King Louis XVI had occupied, he worked hard at the business of nmning the most poweiful nation on the EuRipean continent. His unbounded ambition coexisted with a fascination with ancient Rome. When he was unsure of a matter in the council, he sought precedents in the days of the Roman republic. The peace that followed the TVeaty of Amiens was short-lived. Britain's refusal to cede the Mediteiranean sti"onghold of Malta to the French, one of the principal terms of the aceord, was a deliberate attempt to immvel the treaty by provoking the new emperor. Napoleon was indeed provoked, calling Britain "the vampire of the north" as he laid plans to invade "that nation of shopkeepers," Britain's Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger responded by expanding the British aiTn\ and Royal Navy, and mobilizing volunteers to defend the coast. The slide towaid renewed hostilities accelerated on BONAPARTE HAD INITIALLY seen himself April 11, 1805, when Britain and Russia as a great general in the tradition of formed a new alliance against Napoleon Alexander, Julius Caesar and Frederick in the Treaty of St, Petersburg. On August the Great. Now, with his vastly increased 9, Austria joined them, and Sweden, enpolitical power he aspired to be a great couiaged by a British pledge to finance its

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participation, pledged 10,000 soldiers. Nine months after his coronation. Napoleon would have to defend his empire against the Third Coalition. When the French fleet under Vice Adm. Picne Charles Jean-Baptiste Sylvestre Villeneuve proved incapable of supporting an invasion of Britain, on August 25 Napoleon issued orders for his 200,000strong Grande Armee to march from Boulogne on the English Channel to Austria, where he hoped to crush its army before the Russian anny, under General Mikhail Kutusov, could reinforce it. The task of holding off the French until the Russians anived fell to the hapless Austrian General Karl Mack, hivading Bavaria in September, he took up position at the town of Ulm and put his troops to work rebuilding the fortress of Michelsberg on the west bank of the Danube. A month after departing Boulogne, the French crossed the Rhine. Napoleon's strateg>' was to feint at Mack's fi ont while moving his main force around to cut the Austrian supply line. In a series of smallscale battles, the Grande Annee fought its way into the enemy rear until, on October 14, the Austrians were completely cut off. After the French captured Michelsberg the following day, Mack had no choice but to surrender to Napoleon on the 20th. Napoleon proved he was not only a great general at Ulm. where he took 60,000 prisonei"s. but also an enlightened emperor. Following the battle, he went to gi'eat pains to assure the Bavarians. Swiss and the Elector of Wlirttemberg that he would respect their sovereignty and restore them to their preinvasion stature. Even as Napoleon was entering Vienna in triumph on October 21. Admiral Villeneuve's Franco-Spanish fleet was being decisively defeated at Trafalgar by Admiral Horatio Nelson, although the British victory cost Nelson his life. Less than two months later, on the anniversary of his coronation. Napoleon would win the most brilliant victoi>- of his career at Austerlilz. By making his right rtank appear weak and vulnerable. Napoleon lured the Russians into a trap, and by the early afternoon of December 2, 1805. he had destroyed one-third of their army. Following the battle, the Austrians capitulated and the Russians withdrew. At that moment, it must have looked to the French emperor and his advei'saries as if he would soon rule the entire Continent. It would take nearly another decade of almost incessant warfare to prove that supposition wrong. MH

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PERSONALITY Though not a great general, Patrick Sarsfield became an Irish legend. By Allan B. Ashworth

"7}ien down the glen came SarsfieM's men, And they wore the jackets green." ON ST. mTRICieS DAY, March 17,1689,

James Stuart, loiTnerly King James II of England, Ireland and Scotland, landed from a French ship at the port of Kinsale on the south coast of Ireland. His intention was to recover the crown from Dutchbom William III, who had deposed him the year before. Among the retinue of French, Irish and English Catholic nobility with James that day was a ielatively unknown liish colonel, Patrick Sarefield. During the next two years, Sarsfield's status would rise from that of an obscure regimental commander to one of the great heroes of Ireland, remembered in songs and folklore. Born in about 1650 in the county of Lucan, the second son of a landowning family, Sarsfield was educated at a French military college. Though a good student, he displayed an early preference for action to the more tedious aspects of planning and implementing campaigns. Returning to England, he took his first commission as a captain in Dongan's Regiment of Foot on February 9, 1678. He commanded the same unit after the accession of King Charles Us brother, James, in February 1685. Transferring to a captaincy with Hamilton's Dragoons on June 20. Sarsfield fought gallantly at Sedgemoor on July 6, 1685, against a would-be usurper, James Scott, Duke of Monmouth (a personal friend and relative by marriage). In that battle, Sarsfield served under another man destined for martial renown: John Churchill, later the Duke of Marlborough. An unsubstantiated story has it that Sarsfield was wounded and sun'ounded at Sedgemoor, onlv to be rescued bv Churchill himself. 18 MILITARY HISTORY DECEMBER 2001

Even after the Jacobite cause was lost in his native Ireland, Patrick Sarsfield kept up the battle against England's King William III by fighting in France's army (Mary Evans Picture Library],

The next challenge to King James TI's authority came just three yeai^s later. This time James was not so fortunate, and he lost his throne to William of Orange. One by one, James' officers deserted to the new king. One of the few who remained loyal was then-Lt. Col. Patrick Sarsfield. The "Glorious Revolution" of 1688 was relatively bloodless, but at Wincanton Sarsfield was seen leading the only serious armed resistance to William. Beaten, Sai-sfield followed James to exile in France. The expedition to Ireland in the following year started with grand ambitions. James was hoping to use Ireland as a

springboard for the invasion of Scotland and England. It was not to be. The tii"st setback occtured when the Pixjtestant Ulstermen closed their towns against James, then defeated him and his army of Irish volunteers at the Battle of Newton Butler in 1689. Later William himself brought over his English and Dutch forces to defeat James' Irish army (supported by French regiments, a gift from Louis XIV) at the Battle of the Boyne on July 1, 1690. James subsequently blamed the "cowardly Irish" for his own shortcomings as a general. Although Sarsfield was now a colonel of the Life Guards, James did not think he had the head for command, and Sarsfield's ordeT"s al the Boyne were to wait patiently with his ca\ airy regiment in the rear. Afterward, he was detailed to escort James to a French ship. So it was that James was the first man away from the battle, while his \olunteei' Irish anny guarded his back. So much for the "cowardly Irish." THE CHARACTER OF THE war then

changed. Far from being a stiuggle to regain all of Britain for James, it became a battle for Ireland itself. That was when Patrick Sarsfield came into his own. The Irish army retreated to Limerick, in the southwest of the countiy Sarefield became the commander of the Itish rear guard cavalry, and he and they were in constant action during the four weeks after the Battle of the Bov-ne. At that time, too, the legend of Sarsiield was bom—the giant green-coated cavalry leader, always at the front of his regiments, always the last man away from those desperate reaiguard actions. The fact that a significant portion of the Irish army got as far as Limerick is attributable to Sarsfield. There, he and his men waited for William.








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The situation at Limerick was desperate. The dispirited and defeated Irish were bottJed up in the town, viith little artiller\. The French regiments had been drawn off to Galway by their commander, Lt, Gen. Antonin Nompar de Caumont, comte de Lauzun. Even the best of the Irish forces were taken away from Limerick by their commander, Richard Talbot, Earl of Tyrconnel, it was widely Wieved with treacherous motives. Remaining in Limerick were the remnants of the Irish \c)lunteer anny, still recovering irom the disaster at the Boyne. William was an astute commander, but in the approach to Limerick, he made his fii"st mistake of the campaign. Thinking that the town would fall to him at the mere sight of his forees. he marched ahead of his artillery train. Learning of that, Sarefield seized the opportunity' that it presented. On the night of August 10, 1690, he led 600 horsemen and dragoons in a daring night raid. Skirting the besieging army, he found William's siege train at Ballyneety. some six miles behind the siege lines. A popular story of that action relates that Sarsfield's fame, even among his enemies, was such that the watchword in the English siege train was "Sarsfield." When challenged by sentries, he is alleged to have said, "Sarsfield's the word, and Sai^sfield's your man," before charging in with his mounted assailants. The train was completely destroyed, and the raiders took enough booty to mount a new regiment of Irish dragoons. THE FIRST SIEGE OF Limerick was a failure. Although William called up another train, by tJie time that nexi^^ ailiileiA' airived, it was late fall, and the rains had increased in intensity. One general assault was made, but was repulsed with heavy losses. The English and Dutch forces retired to the east, William himself returning to England. The winter of 1690-91 saw a new type of warfare. Sarsfield enlisted and led wild bands of Irish ft eeboolei^. called "Rapparees." against the English outposts in the south and west of Ireland. Those brigands weit a nuisiince in peacetime, but Sarsfield learned how to employ their talents ag-ainst ihe invaders o! their countiy, in a number of guerrilla actions. The other Irish leadei's (particularly the landowners, who had good reason to despise the Rappai^es) resented Sai-sfield's initiative. Sarsfield once more came into contact with his old comrade-in-arms. John Churchill, that winter. Churchill led an expedition to capture the ports of Cork

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and Kinsale on the southern coast, successfully cutting off a main avenue for French support to the Irish. Sai-sfield was ceiiainly in action in the area at that time, but whether the two men came face to face in battle is not recorded. The campaign resumed in earnest the following spring. A new French commander, Lt. Gen. Charles Chalmont, marquis de Saint Ruth, made the mistake of arpjing with Sarefield. At the disastrous Battle of Aughrim on July 12. 1691, Sarsfield was made to stand at the back, like a naughty schoolboy, with his cavahy While he did, the new English commander, Dutch-bom Lt. Gen. Godeii de Ginkel, turned the liish flank and routed the Jacobite army. Upon learning Saint Ruth had been decapitated by a cannonball, Sai-sfield took chai ge of covering the retreat, once again permitting a significant proportion of the Irish army to escape back into Limerick. If Sarsfield had been given a battlefield posting with his mounted regiments, then the outcome might have been different and the army might not have needed to retreat at all from the carnage at Aughrim. Pursuing Sarsfield to Limerick, Ginkel did not repeat King Williams mistake of aiTOing without his a!tiller\'. Limerick was battered to the ground over a four-v\eek period of intensive bombardment. There was no need for an assault. On October 3, the garrison surrendered. The war was over, and Ginkel was subsequently made Earl of Athlone for his role in winning it. Despite Limericks indefensibility and the poor condition of its defenders, Sarsfield and the rest of the Irish leadership negotiated an honorable surrender. Four thousand men (2,600 according to some sources) were allowed free passage to France under Sarsfield's command on December 22. The English authorities even provided the 12 ships for these future enemies. TAUNTiD BY AN ENGLISH captain dur-

ing this final retreat into permanent exile, Sarsfield is reported to have said, "Change kings and we will fight it over again with you." That expression of admiration for William and disgust for James explains a great deal of Sai"sfield's attitude. He despised James for his cowardice, yet he stayed faithful to the Jacobite cause through all his life. In France, the beaten Irish volunteer found a new life—and a new reason for living—as the Biigade Irlaudaix. In that capacity, they fought Louis' enemies from


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one end of Europe to the other. They dreamed of being led home again to Ireland, but it was not to be. Louis certainly had designs on England and IreUmd, and he planned more than one expedition ot conquest, but he was foiled over and over again by English and Dutch sea power. In May 1692, the Irish Brigade got so far as to embark on transports—but then, on June 2, English ships destroyed Ihe French fleet that had been detailed to escort the invasion force, off La Hougue. Consequently, the Irish Brigade never crossed the English Channel. Sarsfield served in the Netherlands during the series of campaigns known as the War of the League of Augsbuj^ (16881697). Once again, in a number of engagements, Sarsfield faced William of Orange. For his gallantry at the Battle of Steenkerke on August 3, 1692—in which he again led a wild cavalry charge—Sarsfield was made a marshal of France by a grateful King Louis. THAT CHARMED UFE could not continue. It ended on July 29,1693, at Neerwinden, also known as the Battle of Landen, in the company of many old friends and adversaries. King William was there, as were Churchill and Ginkel. The French were led by Marshal Francois-Henri de Montorency-Bouteville, due de Luxembourg, who won the last of an uninteiTLipted lifetime of victories when he struck at William's army from both flanks, capturing 103 guns and killing, wounding or capturing 18,000 troops. Sai-sfield, however, was hit by a musket ball while (of course) leading a French cavali^- division into Neeiwinden. Seeing the blood from his mortal wound on his hand as he was carried from the field, he is reported to have said, "Oh that this were for Ireland." He died three days later in Huy, Belgium, and was buried at St. Martins Church. Patrick Sarsfield, the First Earl of Lucan and a marshal of France, was not one of history's great captains. He never commanded armies, and he never conducted great battles. A Jacobite comradein-anns, James Fit/.-James, Duke of Berwick, said, "He is a man of amazing stature, utterly devoid of any sense, very good natured, and very brave." These aie not the attributes of a great general. Rather, it was the example he set in action thiough his personal valor, and his utter devotion to a cause in the face of treachery and disaster, that elevated Sarsfield, the obscure 17th-century soldier, to Sarsfield the legend. MH

WEAPONRY Between the 15th and early 17th centuries, mounted samurai ruled Japan's battlefields. By Arnold Blumberg

edly trounced by these nimble, bowequipped riders. A key reason for the ineffectiveness of Japan's cavalry was the fact that until the late 5th centuw its militar>- leaders did not consider the horse a necessary tool of w ar Prior to that time, the average horse found in the Home Islands was small and too light to cany a fighting man and all the weapons, equipment and supplies he would need on campaign. In Japan's eai^lv dark ages the horse was viewed primarily as a domestic beast of burden. As a result, horse breeding to increase strength, height and endurance was not pui'sued in an effort to create an animal that would fit a mounted warrior's needs. Learning from past defeats at the hands of its "barbarian" countrv'men, the emishi, Japanese cavalry had e\ olved by the 12th centuiy adopting new fighting methods and equipment. The old, heavy sword was discarded for the curved blades employed by the emishi. The result was the development of the superbly crafted weapon that became the instantaneously recognizable badge of the samurai in the next century. Of even greater importance was the bow that became the mounted warrior's primary' battlefield weapon. For the next 350 years the Japanese mounted archer supplanted the infantiyman as the principal arbitrator on the field of combat. Although samurai (servant) is a general term deHosokawa Sumimoto, as portrayed by Kano Motonobu, noting any Japanese soldier, displays typical weapons, armor and equipment of a by the 1200s it came to refer mounted samurai of the early 16th century. to a mounted combalanl


aimies were for ihe most part made up of infanti>, supported by small contingents of heavy cavalry. Slow-moving, armed with a large, clumsy straight sword and woefully ill-trained, these horee soldiei^s performed dismally against Korean and Chinese opponents, usually made up of peasant inlantry wielding long spears, They did equally poorly when faced with the emishi—inhabitants of the northeast Home Islands who were virtually bom in the saddle. In a stiing of rebellions by the ouisJii between AD 661 and 950, traditional Japanese horsemen were repeat-


somewhat akin to a European knight of the Middle Ages. The samurai was considered in a social class of his own, his status rigidly defined and difficult to acquire unless an illustrious pedigree could be proven. And like his knightly European counterpart, the samurai's main purpose was to render service to the emperor, a daimyo (noble), or some great warlord. Also minoring the mounted warrior a hall a world away, the samurai was accompanied into battle with a large personal retinue, some mounted as he was, but mosi of them common foot soldiers, or ashigam. THE APPEARANCE OF the new cavalrv

did not automatically ti-anslate into new tactics. Until the 15th centurv, Japanese cavalry, like Japanese armies in general, fought highly individualistic combats on the battlefield. Relying on his skills "of the way of the horse and the bow," a samurai would seek out an enemy of equal or greater reputation or standing. The next step would be to initiate an extended long-range archei>' duel with the chosen opponent, which sometimes involved small squadrons. After the appropriate number of aiTOw volleys were loosed at one another, the respective antagonists would close (at a walk or measured trot) and decide the contest with sword or dagger. It was all designed as a spectacle to be performed in f^ront of both contending armies. After the individual clashes of samurai—which coidd number in the scores^ the main bodies of ihe opposing armies would move against each other in a massive collision of arms. Even during the main battle, however, samurai would continue to seek out worthy advei-saries and conduct personal battles regardless of the general course of the fighting oi" the tactical situation. Once an enemy force Coiilimied on page 77


The Lon^ Road t o



Major General Frederick S. Roberts knew the going would be rougb as he took charge of the 'Kandahar Field Force/ but he also knew that failure was not an option.

he soldiers were eign guarantees secured by the some of the toughest Liberals were worthless unless ever produced, and backed by military force. Both the they belonged to the secretary of state for India, amiy of the world's Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoynegreatest superpower. Yet even Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, they wilted under the 110-degree and the regions new governorheal as the dust they raised, general, E. Robert BuJwer-Lytton, whipped up by the wind, choked Earl of Lytton, strongly supported By Simon Rees their throats and stung their eyes. that stance. It was only a matter The mountainous terrain made of time before there was a major for an uneven march, ihe high alquarrel with Russia, and, sure titude left them gasping tor breath, and behind each rock face enough, it came when Russia declared war on Turkey in 1877. and within every ravine lurked the possibility of ambush. This As the tsar's ti"oops marched on Constantinople, Britain sent a was the road to Kandahar in 1880. And for the British and lar^e naval presence to the Dardanelles and began amassing a Indian troops and their commander. Major General Frederick counterinvasion force on Malta. Russia reacted by preparing to Sleigh Roberts, there were hundreds of miles still to go. march a 15,000-man army through Afghanistan into India. To

ensure Afghan cooperation, a Russian diplomatic mission met with the kingdoms emir, Sher AH. The Great Game In the Victorian Age, India was the jewel of the British empire This put Sher Ali in a difficult position. He drew a large and Britain's foreign policy was shaped around keeping the sub- British "pension" with two main provisos: keep the peace along continent secure from external thi'eats, especially that posed by the Northwest Frontier of India, and reject any diplomatic adRussia. Afghanistan, a barrier between the two expanding em- vances from Russia. Accepting the tsar's men would certainly pires, became the setting for an ongoing succession of intrigues, cause Britain to withdraw its funding and possibly provoke an invasion. If he rejected the Russian mission and hostilities did known famously as the "Great Game." The rivalry stemmed from Russias attempts to dominate break out, however, then the Russians would march through Turkey and secure access through the straits of Constantinople. Afghanistan and almost certainly depose the emir on the way. Biitain had guaranteed Turkey's sovereignt\' and was willing to Making the best of a bad situation, Sher Ali accepted the Rususe its superior navy to blockade the Black Sea and close off the sian mission, but kept it in Kabul (spelled Cabul in Victorian Dardanelles if the Russians made any aggressive maneuvers, ln Britain) with protracted negotiations and noncommittal response, Russia drew up well-publicized plans to march an promises—^while hoping that the British would understand that army through Afghanistan and into India should hostilities ever he was only playing for time. break out. As long as both nations stayed their ambitions and upheld Lytton's War the results of diplomacy, most of the tensions between them As Sher Ali hoped, Britain and Russia settled their differences could be resolved. That balance peacefully at the Congnsss of Berlin in 1878 and the Russian mission was upset in Britain's genei:al elecprepared to withdi"aw. His hopes tion of 1874, however, when the Gurkhas, joined by a company of Highlanders, stomi that the British would appreciate Conservative Party under Benthe first obstacle in the British march to Kandahar, his predicament were soon dashed, jamin Disraeli ousted William in Vereker M. Hamilton's The Attack on the however. Lord Lytton was furious, Gladstone's Liberal government, Peiwar Kotal, Afghanistan, by 5th Guhdia labeling the emir "a savage with a ln Conservative minds, the forRifles. December 1878. DECEMBER 2004 MILITARY mSTOKV 31

British artist Richard Caton Woodville makes the best of a humiliating defeat in his painting Saving the Guns at Maiwand, July 1880. Caught in the open plains and outnumbered almost 3-to-l by Ayub Khan's Afghan army, only 1,595 of Brigadier George Burrows' 2,734-man force survived to return to Kandahar—including its commander, in uncontrollable tears.

touch of insanity" and demanding that he welcome a British embassy, along with conditions that were likely to reduce both Sher Ali's and his country's power Even if the emir had been well disposed to receiving the embassy, however, his countrymen were not. The First Afghan War of 1842, in which British forces had avenged the deaths of the soldiers and citizens massacred on a retreat from Kabul, was still fresh in the Afghans' memories. By accepting the embassy and its terms, Sher Ali would in effect be signing his own death warrant. Thus the emir warned the British mission's leader, Joseph Chamberlain, to turn back at the border, which he promptly did. Indignant, Lytton issued the emir an ultimatum: Apologize for refusing the embassy and accept its demands, or face invasion. Regardless of such thi"eats. Chamberlain colorfully but succinctly reported to Lytton that Sher Ali "had no more intention of apologizing than of turning Christian and applying for a Bishopric." Both Salisbury and Lytton pushed the British cabinet to approve an invasion of Afghanistan. Their goal was simple—to replace Sher Ali with a more pliant ruler. But in spite of its tough stance on foreign policy the cabinet was unsure about risking another military disaster 32 MILrrARV HISTORY DECEMBER 2004

in Afghanistan, and a consequent collapse of public confidence. On the other hand, Lytton had raised the stakes to such a degree that backing off would have undermined British authority in the subcontinent, which largely depended on the perception of British might. Many ai^ued that letting Sher Ali off the hook would encourage a reprise of the 1857 Indian Mutiny Reluctantly, in the name of "Pax Britannia," the cabinet allowed Lytton to have his war.

Major General Frederick Sleigh Roberts, V.C.

Ready to Fight The British and Indian armies were in relatively good shape in 1878, with generals who, in contrast to their bumbling predecessors, worked to a clear and concise plan of action. The invasion was to take three lines of advance. One column of 13,000 well-equipped men, under Maj. Gen. Sir Donald Stewart, would march from Quetta to Kandahar. A second 16,000-man column, commanded by one-armed Victoria Cross recipient Maj, Gen. Sir Samuel Browne (designer of the famous "Sam Browne" beh), was to fight its way hxjm Peshawar through the Khyber Pass to Jalalabad. The third, numbering a mere 6,600 men, was to secure the Kun^am Valley and then threaten Kabul. To lead that so-called Kuiram

To defend the Peiwar Kotal, Sher Ali placed eight NA^ell-led but not so \A/eII-equipped regiments and a number of artillery batteries under the command of his best genera I, Karim Khan.

Field Force, the British had appointed Lord Roberts. Multilingual and a man of quick intelligence, the 46-yearold Roberts had earned the Victoria Cross during the Indian Mutiny, but he now had much to prove. His first field command was predominately made up of native soldiers, or sepoys, including the 5th Gurkhas, a crack 1 egiment of feai"some Nepalese troops. Four of Roberts' regiments, however, had large contingents of Muslims, some of whom had misgivings about fighting their religious brethren. His largest British unit was the 2nd Battalion of the 8th (Liverpool) Regiment, whose troops were inexperienced and completely unused to the climate and altitude. Roberts requested further support and received a number of Sikh units, as well as a detachment from the veteran 72nd (Seaforth) Highlanders. On November 21, 1878, the deadline on the ultimatum for Sher Ali passed. At 3 a.m. the Anglo-Indian columns began their advance into Afghanistan.

the Peiwar Kotal, Sher Ali placed eight well-led but not so well-equipped regiments and a number of artillei-y batteries under the command of his best general, Karim Khan. Although the other British columns had been making headway, Sher Ali was confident that Roberts' force could be held at bay. "Wage a holy war on behalf of God and his Prophet," he urged his troops, adding, "A foreign nation, without cause or the slightest provocation has made up its mind to invade our country and conquer it." Supported by hordes of iiregulars, Afghan forces outnumbered the British almost 6-to-I.

Left Hook Having received mistaken intelligence that the Afghans were retreating through the Peiwar Kotal, Roberts ordered a quick advance in order to catch them while they were in disan-ay. As the British approached, however, the waiting Afghan 6-poundei"s brought down a heavy fusillade of solid shot. The British hastily retreated, setting up camp beyond gun range. To gain the upper hand, the British and Indian troops needed to face the enemy alor^ a small front, preferably where they could use their superior discipline and firepower. Robeits realized that a flank attack up and across the precipitous heights offered the

Into Afghanistan The Kurram Valley is approximately 60 miles long and surrounded by mountain ridges that rise to a height of 6,000 feet. Now long since deforested, in 1878 those ridges were heavily wcxxled, and offered perfect cover for defending forces. The region was unfamiliar to the British, who were unprepared for the ';) f' natural obstacles of boulders •>\, and glacial debris scattered across the valley floor. Movement of equipment and supplies was difficult and time consuming. The local population, however, were mostly Shia Muslims who had suffered lor decades at the hands of the Sunni Afghan warlords. Therefore they mostly welcomed the British, whose lines of command and control through the valley were, on the whole,relativelysecure. Towai'd the end of the valley the suiTounding mountains fan out to form a large, steep and uneven horseshoe ridge, the peak of which thrusts up 9,000 feet. Intersecting that mountain ridge is a pass, the Peiwai- Kotal, 60 miles beyond Dire reports from Kandahar, followed by the cutting of communications, led to Roberts' being put in which lies Kabul. To defend charge of a force that njshed to relieve Lt Gen. J.M. Primrcse's surrounded 4,000-man garrison.


best chance for success. To that Their bombaidment set some end, he had sent out a number Afghan tents on fire, causing a of reconnaissance patrols, and panic among those manning they discovered a mounlain the defenses and the baggage pass on the extreme left of the train. The panic stwn spread— Afghan lines. Roberts quickly even Afghan units that had yet formulated a brilliant but to engage joined in the flight. simple plan. He left a skeleton British casualties totaled two force at ihc bottom of the officers and 18 men killed, and valley, to make glaringly ob\a75 wounded. For his otitstandous preparations for a ft'ontal ing Nacton' over superior numassault. While Afghan attenbers. Roberts received thanks tions were preoccupied with from both Queen \1ctoria and their center, he wotild take just Pai'liament. over 2,200 troops along the pass at nighl and deliver a Peace? knockout left hook in the early The road to Kabul was now hours of morning. open and Kandahar had fallen to Stewart's men. while General At 11 p.m. on December !, Browne had secured the Khylx^r Roberts' troops began the Pass and was making good flanking march in bitterly cold headway on Jalalabad. Left weather, under strict orders with no other option but to flee to advance in total silence. to Russian-contn.illed TurkmeniRoberts remembered the ocstan, Sher Ali asked for assistcasion in his memoirs: "Onance, but the tsai; with no furwards and upwards we slowly ther need of the Afghan leader, toiled, stumbling over great rebuffed him. Alone, ashamed boulders of rock, dropping and heartbroken. Sher Ali into old water-channels, splashstaived himself to death—yel ing through icy streams, and another victim of the vicious, halting frequently to allow deadly Great Game. troops in the rear to close up." Once Sher Ali had left, his The pace was not to Roberts' son and successor, Yakub liking—in fact, it seemed that "Onwards and upwards we slowly toiled." British artllietymen Khan, sued for peace, and at the lead battalion of the 29th haul their fieldpiece up through the Krojak Pass, in an image the end of lengthy negotiations Punjabis (made up of many from The Illustrated London News, August 18, 1880. the Treaty of Gandamuk was Muslims) was deliberately designed on May 29,1879. Yakub laying the column's progress. Khan agreed to cede the As if to confirm his suspicions, some Pathan sepoys in the 29th let off a number of warning Ktmum Valley, the Khyber Pass and several other frontier disshots before being oveipowered. Two men were arrested and tricts. Britain controlled Afghanistan's foreign policy. A permalater tried for treason. The elder man was sentenced to death, nent embassy was to be established in Kabul and linked with a but the younger was given a reprieve. With bated breath, telegraph line to Delhi, in return for those concessions, the Roberts braced for an enemy response, but nothing happened. British wotild withdraw their troops from Kandahar and JalalAmazingly, although Karim Khan's sentries had reported the abad and pay Yakub Khan an annual pension of 60,000 pounds shots to him, he dismissed it as a minor distiu-bance. It would sterling—a fortune for those days. Many Afghans from across prove a fatal lapse in judgment. the social spectrum felt that Yakub Khan had sold his countrv's Roberts removed the 29th Punjabis fiom the vanguai'd and honor and lands purely for personal aggrandizement. Those replaced them with Gurkhas and a company of Highlanders. who knew the ways of Afghanistan predicted further trouble. Despite the delays, the British were in position by the early In July Roberts personally escorted the new British ambasdawn hours. Roberts gave the order, and his elite Nepalese and sador to Afghanistan, Major Sir Louis Cavagnari, and his escort Scottish troops led the attack. Totally surprised, Afghan resis- through the Kurram Valley toward Kabul. Roberts later tance collapsed, and while his troops began rolling up the recorded that he felt a deep sense of foreb(xiing as he waved the enemy's broken flank Roberts heliogi-aphed an order for his sol- mission off. His mood soon lightened when he received perdiers at the bottom of the valley to begin a frontal assault. By mission to return to England for a well-earned holiday. Events, midday the Afghans had been driven olT the Peiwar Kotal and however, were to scupper his plans. Roberts was preparing to strike Karim Khan's camp, but the 'KingofCabul' Afghans withdrew before he had the chance, Gunners from the Royal Horse Artillei-y had dragged a number On September 2, Cavagnari telegraphed India claiming that all of cannons up to commanding positions on the Peiwar Kotal. was well in Kabul. Three days later, however, British authori3a MnJT\RV HISTORY DECEMBER 2004

On September 2,1879, Ambassador Louis Cavagnari telegraphed India claiming that ties learned that the mission all w^as well in Kabul. Three days later, cially tried and hanged. There had been slaughtered to a the matter ended. however, British authorities learned that man by Yakub Khan's Herati While his political masters regiments and the citizens of wrangled over who should Kabul. It is still hotly debated the mission had been slaughtered t o a man. succeed Yakub Khan, Roberts as to whether Yakub Khan inigot on with running Kabul. The city's incomplete citadel, tiated the massacre or simply the Bala Hissar, posed a polost control over those who considered him an imperial stooge. Whatever the causes, the tential problem if it fell into insurgent hands. Roberts refrained annihilation of the British embassy was a serious blunder by fi"om destroying it, however, because of its size and becatise he the Afghans. Her Majesty's army was never better at fighting wished to minimize hostilities with the citizetis. Nevertheless, there were some moments of tension, including the accidental exthan when smarting with the desire for revenge. Recalled to the Kun"am Valley, Roberts swiftly advanced into plosion of the city arsenal. Afghanistan, retaking Kabul by October 12. Yakub Khan had As the harsh Afghan winter approached, Roberts, aware of somewhat embarrassedly joined Roberts on his advance, blurt- his weak position within Kabul, decided to move his army into ing out protests of innocence, saying that his people had be- nearby Sherpur, which had gcK)d, thick walls. However, the cantrayed him. Roberts, however, was tinder the distinct impression tonment's size (4^ miles of defenses) meant that the British that he was double-dealing with both sides. Upon entry into couid only field one rifle for evew yard. Moreover, the eastern Kabul, Yakub Klian abdicated, but Roberts was far from pleased fortifications were incomplete and the position was overlooked with his position, ln a letter to his wife he wrote: "Now I am King by the Bimaru heights. Roberts had his engineers fortify the of Cabul...its not a kingdom I covet and I shall be right glad to walls and set up some small forts along the heights, ln spite get out of it. "The new but unwelcome "King of Cabul" did not, of the hard work involved in preparing the defenses, morale as Lord Lytton had wanted him to, set about exacting retribu- was high. To keep it up, Roberts authorized paper chases, polo tion and striking terror into the citizenry. The scene of the crime matches, gymkhanas, music shows and, on one memorable was properly investigated, and ringleaders were identified, offi- occasion, a mass snowball fight. As November turned to December, Roberts began to receive disturbing news— mullahs were traveling across the hinterland preaching holy war, and vast numbers of irregulars were flocking to the banner of Mohammed Jan, who claimed the throne for Yakub Khan's eldest son, Musa Khan. Roberts learned that three columns of Afghan troops weie heading toward Kabul. Using the repaired telegraph line to India, he requested reinforcements and then produced a series of plans to attack the Afghans before they could mass. Caught in the Great Game: Russian overtures and a heavy-handed British reaction forced Emir Sher Ali (seated center, with Prince Abdullar JanJ into a war with Britain. He died in February 1879 of self-imposed starvation. DECEMBER 2004 MILrfAKV HISTORY 35

A Bengal Lancer poses before the Bala Hissar fortress at Kabul. Since the citadel was incomplete. Roberts moved his forces to Sherpur and the Bimaru heights to make a stand in December 1879.

Ovei' the next six days, the British fought a series of running hattles that soon placed Roberts in position to deliver what could have been another knockout blow—one that again depended on the element of surprise. Unfoitunately lor the British, their intentions were betrayed when Brig. Gen. William Godfrey Dunham-Massy (a subordinate so incompetent that Roberts would ti"y his best to keep him away from the action) led his force of 300 cavaliy and precious horee ariilleiT on an unauthorized shortcut—one that went almost straight into the Afghan army! Roberts arrived on the scene with the Bengal Lancers as Massy began a rapid retreat. Desperate to save the cannons, he ordered the Lancers to charge in an effort to thi'ow the Afghans off balance. It was suicide, but the brave men gave the artillerymen just enough time to escape with their guns. Roberts himself was unhorsed and would have been cut to pieces had it not been for a Bengal Lancer who raced to his i^escLie v^ith complete disregard for his own safety. The Lancer v^ho saved him was a Muslim. Under Siege With his carefully laid plans now compromised, Roberts ordfi ed a withdrawal, and by December 14 all his troops were ensconced in the cantonment and the forts on the Bimaru heights. Four months' worth of supplies and munitions were on hand, emd the troops' morale remained high. Although the telegraph line had been cut, on a clear day Roberts could make use of the heliograph and, on December 21, he received news that 1,500 men led by Brig. Gen. Charles J.S. Gough were on the way. The Afghans, buoyed by their recent success, planned to make a head-on assault before Roberts' reinforcements arrived. On the night of December 23, a mullah lit a signal beacon on a nearby hillside and hordes of Afghans streamed forward, screaming their war cries, British cannons fired star shells into the air, casting a weird light upon a temfying scene of fearless men rushing to their deaths in a lethal hail of lead. Some Afghans managed to scale the battlements, only to be brought down by bayonets, By morning the snow around the cantonment was stained with blood and littered with the dead and dying. At 10 a.m. the Afghans launched one last attack. By now MILrr-^RY HISTORY DECEMBER 2001

Roberts had placed a number of cannons on the eastern side of the fori. Their enfilading fire ripped through the advancing columns—any survivoi-s were scythed down by rifle fire. B> 1 p.m. the fight had petered out, and Roberts deliveix'd a coup de grace. His cavalry, the 5th Punjabis and the 9th Lancers, galloped out of the cantonment ai'ound the Afghan flanks and began to hack down any enemy too slow to r'cach the safety of Kabul. The victory* had been total, The British and Indian ar'my had lost 30 men killed, while one estimate suggested that well over 1,000 Afghans had perished. On the next day. Roberts received a vei>' welcome Christmas present—Gough's column anived. Maiwand After the Tr-eaty of Gandamuk, Sir Donald Stewart's foire had remained in Kimdahar because of supply problems and poor health. Over the following months the British had regained theirstrength. Stewail, the senior general in the theater, was now ordered to take a further 3,000 troops from Kandahar with him to Kabul, where he would take over and prepare for the important negotiations with the emir-to-be, Abdur Rahman, a nephew of Sher Ali's. The responsibility of protecting Kandahar and its environs now fell to Lt. Gen. J.M. Primr'ose. On arrival in Kabul, Stewart was given a wann welcome by Roberts, who was quite pleased to hand over' such a difficult political responsibility. Stewart also brought news that Gladstones government vvfas back in powei" and that the tempestuous Lytton had been replaced by George Ft ederick Samuel Robinson, first Marquess of Ripon, With a less aggi-essive foreign policy governing Britain's relations with Afghanistan. Roberts hoped to return home to his beloved wife sooner rather than later. Birt the cruel lesson of Afghanistan, then and now, is to always expect the worst. In July 1880 in the northwestern city of Herat, the brother of Yakub Khan, Ayub Khan, proclaimed himself emir. He knew that the Biitish had reduced their presence in Kandahar and was confident that if he were to take the fortress town and successfully defeat the British, the Afghan people would rally to his cause and r'eject Abdur Rahman. The British were aware of Ayub Khan's intentions. To smash his army of an estimated 7,500 men with a good number of quality guns (and a countless number of iiregirlars), Gener^al Primrose had sent out a woefirlly small force of 2,734 soldiers. Their leadei; Brigadier Geor'ge Bunows, while capable, was way out ol his depth. On Jtdy 27. the British and Indian inxjps were pounced upon by Ayirb Khan's army on the open plains near the village of Maiwand. After four hotirs of sterling defense in the midday heat against impossible odds, BUITOWS' men bnikc and the inevitable Continued on page 80


Brooklyn Boys Brief COMBAT


CAREER At age 18, Vito Marrano experienced frostbite in the Battle of the Bulge and a debilitating wound in the Hurtgen Forest. BYROSSROSENFELD


rafted at age 18, Vito Marrano saw hisfii-staction in December 1944, a mere month after arriving in Europe. His first injury was frostbite, during the Battle of the Bulge. When he returned to combat, it was in the Hurtgen Forest, where he received a somewhat embarrassing wound that nevertheless ended his wartime career and still handicaps him today. After the war, Man-ano worked in the garment industry and later owned a fruit store. He had two children with his wife, Gloria, with whom he celebrated his 50th anniversary on August 1, 2004. He is currently president of the Puiple Heart Association and a volunteer at Veterans Hospital near his home in Brooklyn, N.Y. In an interview with Ross Rosenfeld, he described his brief but eventful participation in one of World War Us greatest battles. Military History: Which branch of the ser\'ice and in what unit did you sen'e during the war? Marrano: I was in the Army—Company A, 331st Regiment, 83rd Infantry Division. MH: What was it like when you anived overseas? Marrano: When I first got into the service, I was a wild one. I didn't know how to take orders. Anybody gave me an order, 1 didn't know how to accept it. I was always on kitchen police....They put you on KP if you didn't listen to the sergeant or your orders. I was mostly in the kitchen. I became an expert at cleaning the stove. The stoves they had there, they called 'em potbellied stoves. After you cleaned them, you had to wipe them down with bacon, oil 'em down. I had a good time. I enjoyed it. I had a bunch of nice guys I worked with. Any New Yorkers that came up, anybody from Brooklyn, the Southerners didn't go for us. And me, I didn't tolerate them. So we would just have a fight, fight, fight. MH: What was the U.S. Army's situation when you shipped out to Europe? Marrano: In my personal opinion, they had nobody. So anybody that came into the service was sent to the front—they had all these young kids like me. What the hell did I know about war? I followed the leader. MH: You were only there a month when the Battle of the Bulge

Infantrymen of the 83rd infantry Division wami themselves around a fire near Fays, Belgium, on January 3, 1945. Fays was finally secured, along with Ferme de IVlenil, on January 15. DECEMBER 2004 MILITARY HISTORY 39

Sergeant William D, Tritt of the 51st Combat Engineci ^ji.L;!,Li;i. tiJrd Division, dries his feel after wadiiiy iiuu and placing explosives under a bridge near Nettino, Belgium.

occurred? lUarrano: I went overseas in October or November 1944. By December I was in the Battle of the Bulge. MH: What genera! was your division under? Marrano: I had a few generals. I had "01' Blood 'n Guts"... Patton. George Patton. And our division commander, Maj. Gen, Robert C. Macon. Patton, he had plenty of guts, we had plenty of blood. That was a joke we had. MH: How did the men feel about him? Marrano: A lot of people didn't like him because, like I said, he shed a lot of blood—our blood. But he got the job done. He was one of these guys that wouldn't take orders. He decided what he wanted to do and he did it. He was a good general. Crazy, but good. MH: How did you react to hearing that he had died in a jeep accident in 1945? Marrano: Well, I had no feelings about it, I had seen so many of them die...l mean, close friends of mine—fuhgeddaboudit. MH: Were you on the march with Patton's Third Army? Marrano: Yes.

MH: What did you actually know of the Third Army's moveMILITARY HISTORY DECEMBER 200'i


iicuziny stream

ments? Marrano: Nothing. The Army don't lelt you nothing. I knew we were going into the Battle of the Bulge. Did I know what the Battle of the Bulge was? What did I know? 1 was a young kid, 1 didn't know nothing. Now today, I make a big joke [grabbing his stomach]: I got the Battle of the Bulge right here. MH: Who was your immediate commander? Marrano: Potter. Captain Potter. He had a motto: Kill or be killed. In other words, no prisoners. MH: Can you describe the scene when you first came upon the Battle of the Bulge? Marrano: Ice-cold, snow all over the place. We had these little things to heat up water—you know, if you wanted to make a cup of tea. We lived strictly on rations, like bullion soup. We used to get the water from melting snow. I had no water, and I went to the ditch. Nothing but mud. One of the guys came around and says, "Whadaya making?" I said, "Bullion soup," He said, "It looks good." I said, "Looks good? 1 didn't put in the bullion." That was just mud. Mud. I went into the service weighing 204 pounds. I came back weighing 116 pounds. So they put me on a real diet.

MH: Can you describe what you were thinking? MH: What was the fighting like for you? Marrano: 1 was thinking to get home, get to a warm place. Get Marrano: I earned the rifle, but I didn't like firing it. None of off these front lines to where you would have hot food. 'em did. It was not like you see in the movies, where these guys MH: How long were you at the Battle of ihe Bulge? are firing. Not me. 1 was no hero. Marrano: Ten, 12 days. Then I went to the hospital, to recu- MH: Were there times you were forced to lire your rifle? perate for frostbite. Marrano: Yeah, I fired it. MH: How did you get frostbite? MH: How did you feel about possibly killing somebody? Marrano: In the Battle of the Bulge, my feet were constantly Marrano: I could've killed somebody, right. That's what I'm in water. You were very seldom dry. We had extra socks we used saying: 1firedit, but I wasn't firing it accurately at somebody. to carry, and we used to carry them close to our stomach, be- Just tofireit. Not that I'm looking to hit somebody. I'm not lookcause you couldn't keep anything dry because there was plenty- ing to kill anybody. I was in the war because they made me go of snow there. Any time you had a chance to change your socks to war. Nothing Hke that Audie Muiphy, he volunteered. The lo put on dry ones, you would change them. But if you neglected guy was a nut-job, because he helped kill many people. He was them, that's how you got fiostbite. The majority of the people a wild one. He'd be all over the place. And that's how you get thai got wounded in the Battle of the Bulge either had trench the Medal of Honor. You don't get it by just sitting back, or befoot or frostbitten feet. You know, not too many guys got cause you killed 10, 12 people; you get it for being all over. Not woimded by bullets. That's the wounds they got^from the cold. me, I was never gonna hit somebody. If I fired my rifle, you MH: When did you realize you had frostbite? know how many people I could've killed—fiihgeddaboudit—esMarrano: I didn't. My feet were constantly cold; when I went pecially with the Germans all around me. We were three, four to the hospital, they told me. And they issued a Purple Heart. I people and there were 20, 30 of them out in front of us. said, "What's that for?" Frostbitten feet. Frostbitten feet were MH: Did you see evidence of the Luftwaffe} different from trench foot. Trench foot is when your feet get Marrano: Oh, yeah. We were bombaided. black. Those guys really deserved the Purple Heart, but they MH: Did you get to fire your weapon before you were wounded? didn't get a Purple Heari, I got a Purple Heari. That's whal 1 couldn't understand, why they issued a Purple Heart for frostbitten feet. Not everybody got it for that. If 1 fired my rifle, you know how I did MH: How would one get trench feet? * many people I could've killedMarrano: Trench foot is if.. .they're constantly in water, and you never change your socks. You couldn't keep mm fuhgeddabouditthem warm. We got two pairs of socks—two pairs we kept, insideout,closetoourbodies to keep them warm, especially with the Germans all around me. and eveiy time you got a chance—your feet were constantly wet—^you'd hafta change them. But we had no time. How could you change socks? MH: What was it like in the hospital? Marrano: Oh, yeah. I was firing like crazy. Before I ran [intoj Marrano: You would just lie, and the nui^ses came around and the hole. When I went behind the hole, I left everything there— tried to keep your feet warm. They elevated your foot so that my pack, my guns and eveiything. The soldiers in it weren't the circulation would travel down your legs. Up until today I firing. They were more scared than I was. Who's a hero? Audie Murphy. You saw his moxde. To Hell and Back? The weapon I wear two pail's of socks. My feet are always cold. used to carry before this was a BAR^—Browning Automatic MH: How long were you in the hospital? Marrano: I was there for a couple of weeks, [and] they shipped Rifle—that holds 21 rounds. When I got scared and I ran into a hole, whose hole did I run into? I ran into a BAR team. You me back to the front lines again. MH: When did you first realize you were heading back toward can't break up these two guys. One guy feeds the ammo to the guy who's firing the weapon. And a sergeant was with them. (he Germans? Marrano: After I went to the hospital...! was a replacement. MH: What happened then? You become their unit. So they happened to be overstrength, Marrano: I was in the hole not evenfiveminutes, and the serand they kept us in...the know, to wait until they geant turns around and says to me, "There's too many guys in this hole." And he picks up his .45 and puts it to my head. "Marneeded more men. MH: How did you react to hearing you were going back to the rano, whadaya waitin' for?" Either I had to get out of the hole or he would've shot me. Up until today, I still see this guy. Right front lines? Marrano: I knew I was gonna go back. It's not what you want, after I ran out of the hole, I ran behind the hole, because behind it's what Uncle Sam wants. They needed men.. .and you go back the hole was a trench, like you see in the moxdes. Soon as I got and do what you had to do. I went up the second time. This was behind the hole I got hit in the buttocks. My granddaughter in the Hurtgen Forest in Germany. I was therefivedays. And on today says, "Grandpa, where'd ya get shot?" I say, "They call it the buttocks, I call it my ass." I got hit with a German rifle. January 18, 1945,1 got wounded again. Thirty-one caliber, the bullet was. See, these Germans were so MH: What was the situation when you returned to combat? Marrano: When I went back there—as soon as I got back smart that their bullets could never fit in our rifles, but our bulthere—the Germans were all ai-ound. Me, I was a kid, I didn't lets could fit in their rifles. See, we had .30 caliber, they had .31. MH: What did it feel like lo get shot? know what to do. OECEMBER2a04 MILITARY HISTORY

Right: On a hill overlooking Gey. 83rd Division troops hug the sides of snowbanks on the trail leading into the village in December 1944. Below: Mail call brings a belated Christmas package to Sergeant William Rush of Washington, Pa., as he retums to the rear from his mortar position.

Marrano: A burning sensation. I didn't know what it was. MH: But you knew you were shot? Marrano: Oh. yeah. After 1 got hit, the sergeant runs out and the BAR team follows him. So I tried to get up and mn with liim. But, like 1 said, 1 got hit, I had a nerve injuiy—I didn't know what it was, but I couldn't run. So I crawled on my hands and knees. I crawled about 200 yards. I gol behind a big tree. When you're in the forest, the forest looks like burning.. .all that black shifting all over the place. I finally get behind this big tree. The Germans were right near us. And this one German^bing, bing—I saw him, shooting his rifle at me. And he hit the tree...four shots, boom, boom, boom, boom! He almost hit me. Then they had a Tommy gun—they fired! I put my hands over my helmet, and in my fatigue pocket, I pulled out photos of my girlfriend, my mother, my father, and I Ieamed every prayer there was, 'cause I'm Catholic. I Ieamed eveiy prayer there was. 'a


And I moved no more. It seemed like I was thereforever.And I hear running in the forest, and when you hear lxinning you hcai" all the twigs. I said: "Holy, shit! There they are! They're right on top of me!" And this one guy ran and fell right where I was, because he hit me. 1 didn't even wanna Jook up, 'cause 1 figured il was the Germans. And I hear this guy say, "We're American." And 1 looked up. Oh, thank God these guys were here! They picked me up and tried to bring me back. One said, "Can you walk?" I said, "No, I can't walk." So they carried me. One guy was 6 feet tall, the other guy was 4 feet^you know. Mutt and Jeff. As they're lainning, they [the Gennans] are firing al these guys. Everv time we ran like 10 to 20 feet, they dropped, automatically. When these two guys carried me away, 1 lost all of the equipment that I had. But I was only too glad to get out of there. MH: What was it like seeing people lying dead around you as you were being carried away?

How these human bodies,...How people..,.What they did to these poor Jews...not only Jews—everybody. They had trenches—pen holes—with these poor bodies They sewed it up, and that was it I got laying in there. Staiving, You ever see these movies with these kids stai%'ing to death? That's how these kids were. hit in 1945, and I didn't take the bullet out until And with their eyes they're trying to tell you, "Help me, help me!" How you gonna help somebody that's 1949. When the doctor took it out, I said, really,, ,bad? That's why Jews are never gonna live down the Holocaust. 'Oh-ho-ho, I'll take that!' MH: What was it like coming home? Marrano: They flew me to England. Then from England I came home on a ship—an English ship. We were Marrano: I was only too glad it wasn't me. 'Cause I came close priority. I was in Hollerin Hospital in Staten Island, 1 got out, to death when I got shot. The Germans were all around me. and I came home. They were shooting at me when I was tying there waiting for MH: How was it there? someone to help me. I still have the bullet at home. Marrano: Hollerin Hospital? Beautiful. Beautiful. You had a MH: Souvenir? lot of these entertainers. You had Boh Hope,..,Every week you Marrano: Uh-huh. I got a nice scar because of it. They tried to had a different entertainer They used to have parties eveiy lake the bullet out when I was in the tent—they didn't have hos- week. They had these big companies. They used to come in with pitals tliere, they had tents—and this guy's dying to get the bullet a van and get 10. 12 people and take them to the city to see a out. He's going all over the place, but he couldn't get it. They show, or take them to a nightclub, I went to a couple of nightsewed it up. and that was it. I gol hit in 1945, and I didn't take clubs where Ed Sullivan was, and Maxy Rosenbloom, the the bullel out until 1949, When the doctor took it out, I said, fighter. It was like a bachelor party—only men—and they used "Oh-ho-ho, I'll take that!" to serve us, I didn't wanna come home. I loved it. Every day, parMH: EmbaiTassing though your wound was, it was really se- ties, I came home with crutches, I didn't wanna go to another rious, wasn't it? hospital, Marrano: Oh, yeah, The war was over for me. I stayed in the MH: What was your homecoming like? hospital 16 months 'cause I had a nerve injmy My right leg, the Marrano: When I came home, I didn't know where my parents sciatic nerve was injured. It's one of the nerves that pick up your had moved. When I went into the service they lived one place. foot. Up until today I still wear a brace. I have a drop foot. So While I was overseas I never received one letter or package. I've been wearing [the] brace from then until today. That's a lotta years. In other words, they knocked me out of action completely..,.I couldn't run anymore. But 1 survived. MH: While you were at the front, did you know about the Nazis and the atrocities they were committing? Marrano: Not much. They had kids on the tail of the war—when I was there—kids that were 12 and 14yeai"s old, they were using. They were young kids—they were brainwashed. They had no more men because Adolf Hitler was going to conquer the world. He had to use whatever he could use. MH: Do you think it would have made a difference to youi conscience if you had been aware of the German atrocities? Did you see the effects ol the Holocaust firsthand? Marrano: The Holocaust— that was a tragedy. I was Private Frank Vukasan of Great Falls, Mont, stops to reload his rifle while advancing on the snowthere—I [saw] the camps. covered sector of the front line at Houffalize. Belgium, near two dead Germans wearing snowsuits. DECEMBER 200^1 MILITARY HISTOIO' 43

"When he tells you something, you gotta snap to it." 1 learned to be more of a man. I learned to respect people. At one time, I worried about one pei-son: Vito. But now, today....I worked in a bar for 35 years. 1 used to hang out with a guy there. He used to have a motto: Be nice. But I never knew what this motto meant. The guy didn't iight with people, even if they cursed him. I'd ask him, "How could you be nice to a guy that curses ya?" "Vito, listen t'me," he'd say, "Be nice, 'cause it's nice to be nice." "But the guy's shittin' all over you," I said. "You let him get away with that?" But I learned his motto; he's right. Eventually this guy who was nast\' all the time said, "How can I be nasty to a guy who's so nice to me?" That's a good motto in life: Be nice, 'cause it's nice to be nice. li you're nice to him, he's gonna leani and do it to the next pereon. MH: Is that why you work vvilh VL'tcrans today? Marrano: I don't have to help people at the hospital, 'cause I'm getting my money. 1 don't need to be here, I could be in Floiida. But I help the next guy. And that's what ynu should do. MH: Which organizations do you work with? Marrano: 1 belong to almost all the organizations there are. I'm a volunteer in the Brxwklyn Veterans Administration Hospital and I'm the commander of the Purple American infantrymen march German prisoners captured in the Hurtgen Forest to the rear on November 30,1944. The struggle continued for more than two months thereafter. Heait. You know the Puiple Heart? You don't win it, you earn it. MH: Have there been any special 'cause they were moving me from one place to another. My mail cases that have stood out among the fellow veterans you've met? never caught up to me. And when I came home, I didn't know Marrano: I had a guy that worked with Audie Murphy who where my parents lived. As soon as you came, they put a phone was highly decorated like Mui*phy. This guy got I don't know on—you could call anvwhere in the United States. In those days how many Silver Stai-s. thi-ee Puipie Hearts. He was really gungwf didn't have any phones. So I called a lady who lived a couple ho. He came to me about disabilit\ benefits, and after two weeks ol dooi's down from me. She didn't even know who I was talk- this guy couldn't even talk lo me about this. He used to break ing about. And I called my sister who lived in Staten Island, and down. 1 lost him for about six years. Then one day he came back she goi in touch with my parents. to the hospital. 1 said, "Whadaya doin' here?" They wixHc a bcwk MH: What did you do after the war? about him. Now he's coming out of his shell; he's starting to Marrano: 1 went back to work. I put in 34, 35 years in the gar- come out. A lot of these guys stay to themselves—they don't ment line. Then in 1968 or 1970, the garment line was going wanna reveal what's inside them. A lot of them. MH downhill, and I wound up buying into a fruit store. MH: How would you say your wartime experiences have Ross Rosenfeld is a teacher and professioual historian who is curchanged your lite? rently writing a biography of George Washington. For further readMarrano: I learned to take orders. Which I never, never, never ing, try: The Thunderbolt Across Europe: A History of the 83rd did. I never even listened to my father—my father used to kick Infantry Division, 1942-1945,' and The Lost Diary: A True Story, t he shit out of me. Evervone used to tell me—the old-timers— by Irwin B. Spandau. MILITARY m.STORY DECEMBER 2004



This 19th-centuiy Italian aquatint shows ancient Rofnan battering rams, a siege tower, ballistas (huge crossbows) and various hurling siege engines, including post-Roman trebuchets.

THE EARLY 13TH CENTURY was a time of tuimoil in England. The threat of invasion h"om France weakened King John's grip on the thione, already precaiious since the barons' iehcllion and John's signing of the Magna Carta in 1215. And across the English Channel, King Philip II Augustus was seizing castles and reestablishing Fi-ench control in Nomiandy, Brittany and other pi-ovinces on the Continent. Even wilh the political gains made in the Magna Carta, England was not at peace with itself. A reorganized, revitalized group of rebel barons moved into London and offered the English crown to Prince Louis, eldest son of Philip Augustus. Enticed, the prince swiftly led an invasion fleet across the English Channel and began a series of successful assaults on key towns, including Canterbury and Rochester, as he made his way toward London, where he established his own power base. Prince Louis then headed westward to capture Winchester with the aid of the English barons. Finally, only one key obstacle blocked Louis' pathway to the English ihrone^Dover Castle, arguably the mightiest of England's medieval fortresses.


The siege began in earnest in July 1216. Louis ordered the construction of several siege engines designed to pummel a castle's walls, and moved a giant belfiy, a mobile siege tower, into position. Inside the belfi-y, soldiers prepared to assault the walls while sappers tunneled under the foundations. Louis' men eventually succeeded in opening a breach, but the English gairison withstood the assault, forcing the prince's troops to retreat and regroup, to storm the castle another day. That day came in May the following year, when Piince Louis introduced to England what would become the medieval world's most intimidating weapon: the trebuchet. The only siege engine to have been invented in the Middle Ages, this counterweighted stone-thrower had already been used in the Holy Land against the Crusadere by the formidable Sultan Saladin in 1187 and 1188. By the lale 13th centurv' Muslims were so adept at using the trebuchet that they never needed more than six weeks to foree a DECEMBER 2004 MILrrARY'HISTORY

the range, and the counterweight could hold as much as 20 tons of ballast. Once ready, the men used the windlass to hoist the counterweight into the air as it also winched down the longer side of the beam. This end held a leather sling, pouch, wooden scoop or other container, into which the men piled their missiles. When they released the restraints on the windlass, the force created by the descent of the countenveight propelled the missile on a high trajectory toward a specific point on the curtain wall, at a tower or into the center of the castle. The trebuchet was most effectively used as an intimidator. Besiegers might strap a captive soldier, unwelcome messenger or kinsman of one of the defendei"s to the throwing sling of the trebuchet and then fling him—or his body parts— back into the castle. Attackers also hurled flaming missiles, burning tar and Greek fire into the castle. The machines fearsome reputation spread throughout the realm, and garrisons often preferred to sun-ender rather than face the fury of the A mid-Uth-century rendering of soldiers with a trebuchet at what is possibly a trebuchet. When King Edwaixl I mounted Saracen castle. The man at far right is a sapper, equipped with a digging tool. a siege on Stirling Castle in 1304, besides positioning 12 other siege engines around castles surrender. Louis undoubtedly had great expectations for the formidable fortress, he ordered the construction of the legthe trebuchet, which some historical documents identified as endary Wai-wolf, the immoisis tonnentis. When the Scottish defenders spied the mighty trebuchet, they promptly offered to the "malvoisin," or "bad neighbor" Many scholars believe that Chinese engineers designed a form surrender. Nonetheless, the vengeful English king went ahead of trebuchet as early as the 7th century. The traction trebuchet with the assault, just to see how well his prized weapon would was operated solely by manpower, using ropes to pull down the perform. Wanvolf accurately hurled missiles weighing as shorter side of a wooden beam attached to a timber framework. much as 300 pounds and battered down a large section of the A leather sling attached to the opposite, longer end of the beam castle's wall. held the stone, incendiarv device or other missile of choice. Unfortunately for Prince Louis of France, his soldiers' skills Inexperienced engine operators sometimes had trouble ma- with the trebuchet were not well honed when they began their nipulating tbe human-powered machines. In 1174, when Scot- second siege on Dover Castle on May 12. 1217. Wbether tbeir tish soldiers besieging Wark Castle failure was due to inexperience with the in Noilhumberland barely mancomplicated machine, the fact that part aged to propel a missile out of its of the French army had been sent to Linsling, it landed on the head of one coln—where it was slaughtered on May of their own men. 20—or that the strength of the castle's powerful defenses thwarted their efforts UNLIKE THE traction trebuchet. is unclear. What is clear is that the treihe later counterweight trebuchet buchet failed to make a dent at Dover. effectively used the principle of Upon learning of his aiTiiy's defeat at Lincounterpoise in place of mancoln, Louis dismantled his terror mapower. The trcbuchet's seesawlikc chine, retreated to London and then to design used a long timber beam, France, abandoning his campaign. situated on a timber framework, to But eight years after the counterweight capably fire 300-pound missiles at trebuchet's less than impressive debut at targets several hundred yards awa\. Approximately one quarter of the way along the wooden arm, solFourteenth-century sappers undermine a diers filled a massive ballast box castle wall, using a hide-covered framework with stones and other objects. called a cat to protect them from buming Weights could be altered to adjust liquid and stones dropped by the defenders. aft MILITARY HISTORY DECEMBER 2004

A 13th-century siege: Besiegers have set up a siege tower, a device for crossing a moat, stonethrowing trebuchets and shielding devices. Inside the walls and on the tower to the rear, the defenders seek to launch firebrands to destroy the attackers' engines.

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Dover, Kitig John's son and heir, Henry III, employed one, along with creative tactics and several other siege engines, to bring down Bedford Castle, which was held by Falkes de Breaute, previously King John's right-hand man. Increasingly voicing his disdain for Henry, de Breaute repeatedly ignored an order issued in 1222 to relinquish control of his castles to the new king. Besides Bedford, Fa!kes also held castles at Oxford, Hertford, Carisbrook, Christchurch and Plympton. He was also loiown to have used unrivalled brutality to quell a riot at Wesitninster, slashing off the hands or feet (il participants and executing their leadei-s. By 1224, de Breaute had illegaUy sei/cd so much land in Bedfordshire and olfended so many locals that in June royal courts charged and convicted him on more than 30 counts of depriving local freemen of their tenetnents and rights in common pastures. Enraged by the convictions, Falkes de Breaute again refused to comply with the ordei^s of the king and his legal representatives, justiciaries Henry de Braibroc, Martin de Fateshulle and Thomas de Milton. On June 16,1224, Falkes' brother, William de Breaute, and his men defiantly seized Heni^ de Braibroc and imprisoned him in Bedford Castle. HeniT ILI saw no other option but to seize Bedford Castle, and despite the difficulty of preparing for a siege his orders were filled with unprecedented speed. In five days, the king staged his assault on the castle. Falkes fled to Wales, where he tried to gamer support from the Welsh Icadei- Llywelyn ap Iorwortb, Prince of Gwyncdd, and iilso from Ranulf, Earl ot Chester. In the meantime, he left his brother, William, to brave the king's wrath at Bedford.

Soldiers, laborers and materiel required for the siege came from as far away as London, Dorset and Cumberland. They included wagonloads of cord and 20 slings for mangonels and peBESIEGING ANY CASTLE INVOLVED much more than merely traries, 200 pickaxes, 200 lumps of wax (for waxing the cords setting up siege engines and pummelling a garrison into sub- of the engines), 12 tanned hides to make additional slings, more mission. A.R. Goddard, who based his words on 13th-century than 25,000 quairells (crossbow bolts), supplies of money from documents, described the enoTTnous undertaking: "The King's the royal exchequer, a master carpenter and assistants with mandates require men, money, arrears of scutage payments, horses and tools, and—to soothe the nerves^30 casks of wine iron, steel, and stone shot; quarrymen, masons, saddlers; al- and a variety of spices. monds, spice, and ginger, from the Royal stillroom. Knights on Adhering to the siege conventions of the age, Heniy HI spent castle guard at Lancaster are ordered up, even two men from late June to mid-August methodically reducing Bedford Castle. the same service at Newcastle-on-Tvne. Greyhounds are wanted On thi-ee separate occasions, the king offered the defenders the for the King's sport. The sheriff of Bedfordshire must supply chance to surrender with honor, but they refused. The archquarrymen and masons, with levers, hammers, mauls, and bishop of Canterbury excommunicated de Breaute and his wedges, and all requisites for preparing stone shot for the en- soldiers, but they remained unfazed. During those initial magines. Miners are to come from St. Briavels, in the Forest of neuvers, the king's siege specialists had been constnicting the Dean, and charcoal with iron and steel horn Gloucester. The ad- stone-throwing machines. Now they were put into position, and jacent motiks of Newenham are to supply much raw stone to the fiist of four well-planned assaults began. be turned into shot." Sti^ategically placed beyond the lange of the defenders' crossso MILITARY HISTORY DECEMBER 2001

Troops in the besieged garrison of Edesse-now Urfa in modernday Turkey-use a catapult against a siege tower during the Crusades. Both attackers and defenders have constnjcted mining and countermining tunnels under the castle fortifications.

bows, the king's trebuchets, mangonels and ballistas bombarded the caslle. The first stmcture to fall was the weakly fortified barbican. The .stone-throwing machines periodically continued to slam their missiles into the interior of the castle, killing men and livestock. Opening a gap in the barbican, royalist soldiers charged, pushing the garrison back into the outer bailey. The king's men promptly seized any useful materials and foodstuffs, then torched the stixictures in the bailey. Making a valiant effort lo withstand the siege until their leader could reappear with reinforcements, the defenders managed to kill and capture many of the attackers. After weeks of pounding the castle walls. Hem^ III turned to arguably the most consistently effective medieval siege technique to demolish the keep at Bedford. Protected underneath a hide-covered framework called a cat, sappere tunneled into the castle's foundations. As they made their way underground, the miners buttressed the ceiling and walls of the tunnel with timber props. After estimating that they had mined beneath both the walls of an outer tower and the keep, they burned the

wooden props and other flammable materials until the tunnel collapsed and the masonry gave way with a thundering crash. The besiegers surged into the inner ward, and the garrison, recognizing the folly of further resistance, surrendered Bedford Castle on August 14. Falkes de Breaute was subsequently captured near Chester, removed to London and then forced into exile in France. He died in St. Cihac in 1226, allegedly after eating a meal of poisoned fish. DESPITE ITS FEARSOME REPUTATION, the logistics of constiTicting and operating a trebuchet. as well as its smaller cousins, compelled a besieging force to deploy them only after other tactics, including negotiation, blockade and escalade, had failed. Gathering and hauling all the necessaiy supplies to build the engine was costly and time-consuming. Depending on the castle's location, timber might be in short supply. Consequently, woodcutters had to cut and gather enough lumber to construct several stone-throwing engines, then move the lumber to the siege site in 20 or more wagons. The condition of the ground— DECEMBER 200ii MI LI TARV HISTORY 51

An illustration from a Uth-century Latin military manual shows a wooden trebuchet Its short throwing arm is compensated for by the long sling, which adds momentum lo the stone as the weighted box swings down through the frame.

whether the area had experienced an especially wet springtime, for example—and the lay of the land could also impair the usefulness of the engines. Alternatively, the attackers might preconstruct the engines and then transport them to the siege site by ship. Once the machines were raised at the scene, operating them required workers with specialized skills. These engineer, orgynours, often had to be located and brought in from a distance. In all, the exorbitant costs and large-scale effort to involve gi*eat stone-thi-owing engines in a siege could outweigh their benefits to the attacking army. THE PLACEMENT OF THE ENGINES around a castle was critical to success. If they were placed too far fi'om a target, the missiles could easily come up short. In 1267 the strength of Kenilworth Castle's masonry and the enormity of its water delenses, which encompassed some 111 acres, forced Henry Ill's troops to station their stone-thi'owing engines a considerable distance away. Using nine strategically located trebuchets, the royalist soldiei-s constantly bombarded the castle for six months, primarily concentrating on the norihem side, which was protected by a fairly narrow pocket of land and a dry ditch. Barnes brought in from Chester failed miserably during the waterbome assault, and undermining proved impossible due to the water banners. When the 1,200-man ganison finally suirendered, it 52 MILITARY HISTORY DECEMBER 2004

did so due to star\'ation and disease. If besiegers were situated too close to the castle, on the other hand, they were vulnerable to crossbow fire sallies from inside the castle and missiles shot from engines on the battlements. Many British castles, like Criccieth and Pembroke in Wales, were bolstered with engine towers or platforms from which trebuchets could be fired outward at the attackers. Muslim castles also featured special engine towers— indeed, the massive square emplacement known as Baybars' Tower still commands the southern wall of Krak des Chevaliei^s (Qalaat al-Hosn), I arguably the mightiest mei dieval castle built in the < Middle East, on a volcanic I hilltop in what is now Syria. I The great stone-throwing I machines remained integral I weapons in the medieval I army's arsenal until well after I the cannon appeared in I Europe. In the 14th century, 6 historian Jean Froissart s named the most common siege weapons as "engiens, canons, trebus, espringaks, brigoels el ars." and claimed that tr^ebuchets were relied upon to break down walls. Even though Edward I and other English kings incorporated the stonethrowing machines into their siege arsenals, at best they had inconsistent success with them, and generally resorted to undermining to collapse walls. The trebuchet actually came into its own against fortified cities elsewhere in Europe and in the Holy Land, such as Corinth, Burgos and Rhodes, where 22 stone-throwing machines were deployed to combat 10 cannons. In what may be the largest-scale medieval siege on record, Muslim soldiers led by Egyptian Sultan al-Ashraf Khalil capably used some 100 stone-throwing machines, including a trebuchet known as "The Victorious," to devastate the walls of Acre in 1291. Trebuchets deployed together with mangonels, ballistas and belfries effectively cracked the medieval world's most sophisticated defenses. In the technologically advanced 21st century, researchers and hobbyists alike still strive to understand the true capabilities of these stone-throwing machines. MH Lise Hull is a freelance writer and castleologLsl from Bamlon, Ore., whose articles have also appeared in MHQ; The Quarterly Journal of Military History and other publications. For further reading, she recommends: Annies and Warfare in the Middle Ages, by Michael Prestwich; and The Medieval Siege, by Jim Bradhuiy.

Kine Philio's FERO< An Indian alliance forged by a Wampanoag chief rolled back the English frontier in 17th-century New England. BY RONALD G.DOMER


fter the crushing defeat of the Pequot tribe by the English colonists in 1637, an uneasy peace settled over the New England frontier. The yeai"s that lollowed were marked by political intrigues, shifting alliances, arms deals and occasional limited armed conflicts. Relentless westward expansion by the Colonies and the P^iritans' highhanded treatment of the natives provided fuel for a conflagi'ation. The Colonies maintained a fairly scrupulous policy of formal land purchases from the Indians. Indian culture did not provide for ownership of land, however, and the two parties' understandings of these transactions were often different. The Indians saw no reason to stop hunting and gathering on land thai had been sold, especially if it was not in use. The English, on the other hand, often saw these activities as trespassing. The Colonies quickly learned to exploit factional conflicts among the Algonquian tribes of southern New England, and the tribes were often more than willing to use alliances with the English to their advantage against intertribal enemies. The 40-year treaty between Massasoit, chief of the Wampanoags, and the Puritans of Plymouth was motivated in part by the Wampanoags' desire to use the Puritans as a foil against their hostile and powerful neighbors, the Narragansetts, Fear of the powerfiil Narragansetts was a major factor in the formation of an alliance in 1643 known as the United Colonies of New England. The alliance included Massa54 MILITARY HISTORY DECEMBER 2004

chusetts, Connecticut and Plymouth colonies, but not Rhode Island. The sale of firearms to the Indians was an area of controversy among the colonists. If the Indians could not obtain muskets and powder from the English entrepreneurs, there were always other Europeans who would sell to them. By 1675, the Indians of New England were armed with flintlock muskets and had the technology to repair them and to mine lead and mold bullets. They had not, however, learned how to manufacture muskets or make gunpowder. With the death of Massasoit in 1661, his older son Wamsutta took over as chief of the Wampanoags. Wamsutta requested that the English give Christian names to himself and his younger brother Metacom. After some careful deliberation, they were given the names Alexander and Philip. Wamsutta was less tractable than his father, and relations with the English began to deteriorate. Wamsutta died suddenly in 1662 following a stoimy conference with the English. His death brought the young Metacom to power. Soon after his ascendance, the English began to call Metacom "King Philip" because of his "ambitious and haughty manner." By 1671, the Wampanoags had been pushed into the Mount Hope Peninsula, and the Plymouth Colony was coveting that land. Already English settlements at Swansea reached into the peninsula. The Indians left no written records, but it seems certain that Philip had come to see the English lust for land as insatiable and his fathers policy of peaceful coexistence as ineffective.

Although the New England colonists called the Wampanoag chief Metacom "King Philip" because of his "ambitious and haughty manner," he was less inclined than were his warriors to start the war that would bear his name CHaffenreffer Museum of Anthropology. Brown University).



te 76

ing Philip's Wkr





^ Battle ' S^ Village Aibickeil ECAUSE OF EPIDEiVlICS OF EUROPEAN diseases J among the Indians and the steady infusion of English set:m, the colonists outnumber ed the Indians in southern New England. Realizing the Wampanoags were not strong enough to take on the English by themselves, Philip began making diplomatic overtures to other tribes in the area. The colonists maintained an active and mostly accurate intelligence network among friendly Indians and frontier traders. Bits and pieces of Philips intrigues leaked out to the colonists like wisps of smoke from a hidden fire. In 1667 Philip was called to Plymouth and questioned about reports that he was conspiring with the Dutch and French. In 1669 he was again summoned to Plymouth to answer charges that he was conspiring with the Narragansetts. In 1671, afier reports of warlike preparations reached Plymouth. Philip was again summoned to be questioned regarding "the repairing of guns, suspicious assemblings and impertinent bearing towards Englishmen in divers parts of the country." Philip at first refused this summons. However, after a diplomatic mission by Roger Williams, Ouaker leader of Rhode Island, Philip agreed to meet at Taunton, a settlement about halfway to Plymouth. There, Philip, not yet ready for war, was browbeaten into signing a new treaty, which, in part, required the firearms of the tribe to be surrendered. As a final humiliation, the warriors who had accompanied Philip were disarmed before leaving Taunton. The cold war continued without major incident tintil Janu56 MILITARY HISTORY DECEMBER 2004

ary 1675. At that time the body of Philips former counselor and secretary, John Sassamon, was found beneath the ice of Assawompsett Pond near Middleborough. Shortly before his death, Sassamon, a Christian Indian, had defected from the Wampanoags and informed the Plymouth authorities that Philip was planning for wan After a lengthy investigation, three Wampanoags, close associates of Philip, were arrested and tried by the Plymouth authorities. Following a trial that included an atixiliary jury made up of Christian Indians, the three were convicted and in June 1675 they were hanged. Both sides saw the three as suirogates for Philip and his tribe. Philip's credibility as chief and his hold on his waiTiors, already undermined by the 1671 Taunton agreement, now depended upon his taking action. Still Philip hesitated. His warriors did not. Within days of the hangings, Wampanoag warriors began to roam the settlements in Swansea, displaying "an impertinent bearing." As the settlers moved into ganison houses in anticipation of trouble, abandoned or empty farms were looted. On June 23, while looting an appa]"ently empty house, a waiiior was shot and mortally wounded by a settler. The next day, two parties of Swansea settlers were ambushed and eight or nine killed, including the man who had inflicted the first casualty of what would become known as King Philip's War The authorities at Plymouth acted swiftly, sending 70 men fi'om Taunton who anived in Swansea the next day, and an additional 140 a day later. Messengers were dispatched to Boston

Left: King Philip forged alliances with the Narragansetts and other nations that widened the struggle and threatened the New England colonies from many directions. Right: The English found Wanisutta, whom they called Alexander, less tractable than his father, IVlassasoit. Alexander's death in 1662, here depicted by Howard Pyie, brought hjs younger brother, Philip, to the fore [Harper's Magazine]. Below: Enterprising and adaptable, Benjamin Church proved to be Philip's nemesis O_ibrary of Congress].

and Haitlord to seek diplomatic and military assistance. Once the troops anivecl at Swansea, swift action ceased. A golden iippoi-tunity to trap Philip on the Mouni Hope Peninsula was lost due to inaction. '"^APhilip and his warriors escaped to the cast across Mount Hope Bay by canoe. Philip's diplomacy over the past years now bore fruit. Al rangements were made with the Nairagansetts to shelter Wampanoag women and children before Philip left Mount Hope. Once across the bay on the mainland, the Sakonnets and ihe Pocassets joined him. These tribes, both under squaw chiefs, Weelamoo of the Pocassets and Awashonks of the Sakonnets, had long been on Iriendly tenns with the Wampanoags (Weetamoo was, in fact, Wamsutta's widow). Philip was now in position to mfike real trouble for the colonists.


I 11 LIP STRUCK NEXT at Dartmouth, Taunton and Middleborough, killing several settlere and burning fields and buildings. Raids were also made at Rehoboth, Providence and Mendon with like results. These latter raids wert' undoubtedly made by Nipmuck warriors and some renegade Nairagansetts. The Nai ragansetts, who could put more than 1,000 waniors in the field (some have estimated 3,000), were seen by the United Colonies as a key to the conflict. Authorities at Boston favored a policy of negotiation backed by a strong show of ioree. They were prepared to launch a preemptive strike if the NaiTagansetts did not display a conciliatoiy tone. In Hartford, a very different position was taken. The Royal Province of New York, with a long-standing boixler dispute with Connecticut, chose this moment lo send aimed vessels, loaded with troops, to the mouth of the Connecticut River. These troops would be fi^ee to land and take possession of disputed territory if Connecticut troops were sent to deal with the Narragansetts. If the Nanagansetts went to war, it would be Connecticut settlements that would feel the first blows. With these constraints in mind. Governor John

Winthrop instructed his mission to the Narragansetts, "It is best to keepe and promote peace with them, though bearing some of their ill manners and conniving at some inegulahties." The combination of sugar and vinegar brought about a treaty between the United Colonies and the NaiTagansetts that, among other things, bound them to turn over any Wampanoags in their teiTitory. It is doubtful the Narragansetts ever intended to comply with the terms of this treaty. At the end of July, while the authorities were "conniving" with the Natragansetts, Philip and his allies broke out across the Taunton River to join forces with the Nipmucks. Traveling across the Rehoboth Plain, Philip's party was spotted and pursued by a mixed force of militia and Mohegan wairiors. A sharp skiiTnish, with casualties on both sides, took place at Nipsachuck, 12 miles northwest of Providence. \ Philip, encumbei"ed with Weetamoo and her women and children, withdrew. If Philip had been pressed he would have had difficulty extricating his party, but the opportunity was lost when the pursuers decided to wait for reinforcements. Philip and the waniors escaped to the northwest to link up with the Nipmucks while Weetamoo lieadedsouth to find shelter for the women and children among the Narragansetts. The war was next earned into the Connecticut River valley of Massachusetts. Lidians besieged Brookfield, and two parties of reinforcements were ambushed on their way to relieve the towTi, Brookfield, isolated and heavily damaged, was later abandoned. Noithfield and Deerfield were attacked next. Authorities in Boston ordered Northfield, partially destroyed and too exposed for defense, abandoned, and on September 4, a company of 36 men was sent to aid in evacuation, At Hopewell Swamp, near Northfield, they were ambushed and more than


half the party, including the commander, were killed. Two days later, a larger force completed the evacuation, passing on its way the severed heads and limbs of the earlier party mounted on poles. On September 18, a company sent to assist in the evacuation of Deerfield was ambushed and nearly annihilated before reinforcements drove off tbe attackers. Sixty-four English bodies were buried at "Bloody Brook." A contemporary account said this day was "the Saddest that ever befel New England.. .the ruine of a choice Company of young Men, the very Flower of the County of Essex." To deal with Indians in the upper Connecticut River valley, authorities decided to reinforce the garrisons at Hadley and take the offensive. Troops were assembled for this purpose at Springfield, and on October 4 the entire force of militia was dispatched to Hadley, leaving Springfield undefended. An Indian \illage near Springfield was inhabited by a tribe that had been on friendly terms with the settlers for years. When the troops were withdrawn, however, some townspeople expressed concern about the local tribe. On October 5, a party of town officials was sent to confirm the tribe's intentions. So sure were the officials of the Indians' good faith that the party went unarmed. On its way the "friendly" Indians ambushed them. Foriunately for the townspeople, one mortally wounded official made it back to Springfield to sound the alarm. As the settlers crowded into three garrison houses, the Indians set about burning the town. SB MII.rrARY mSTORY DECEMBER 2004

Reinforcements arrived and drove the Indians away, biii not before 30 houses and many bams and crops were destroyed. The destiTJction of homes, bams, mills and crops by the Indians was matched by English destruction of villages and Indian food supplies. Noncombatants on both sides had been killed, and torture of captives, while more pix'valent among the Indians, was by no means unheard of among the English. Both sides drew on their heritage in war making. Prior to the coming of white men, Indians had regularly conducted war in the form of a deadly game. It consisted of raids, usually with light casualties. Prisoners were often the primaiy T eason for a raid and were taken for purposes of torture or on occasion to replace dead or missing family members. Torture was a village affair, and a captive could win great respect by withstanding the ordeal wilhoul ciying out before dying. Often a brave captive's heart would be cut out and eaten. On occasion the victim would be eaten. By 1675, warfare as practiced by the English had become a brutal business, carried out in mass formations with heav\' casualties and often with a policy of no quarter for captives, including women and children. Many of the Puritan leadere of the militia had learned their tactics and iiiles of engagement under Oliver Cromwell's Roundheads at Mai"ston Moor and Naseby. In late September the United Colonies, still loath to tiTist the Narragansetts, called a conference and gave the Nairagansetts in attendance an ultimatum to comply with their earlier agree-

On December 19,1675, colonists led by Governor Josiah Winslow stormed the main Narragansett fort. After being repulsed twice, the English finally entered and burned the compound, slaughtering all within. Their own casualties exceeded 200 dead and wounded [Library of Congress).

In August 1675, King Philip's warriors lay siege to Brookfield. Although the Indians ambushed two relief parties, the isolated settlement managed to hold out [Library of Congress).

ment. After considerable wrangling among themselves, the surly Narragansetts agreed to send '^^^_— '--_' one of their chiefs to Boston to '"'^ ^^.^TTTT sign a reaffirmation of the earlier J_ . treaty with the additional proviso -' ^rr — "'' that by October 28 all Wampanoags sheltered by the Narragansetts were to be turned over to the authorities. October 28 came and went. Word was sent to the Narragansetts to comply. Canonchet, speaking for the Nairagansetts, replied. "No, not a Wampanoag, or the paring of a Wampanoag's nail." After considerable discussion and much stalling by Connecticut, on November 12 the United Colonies decided to dispatch 1,000 armed men to Nantigansett tenitoiy If compliance was not immediately forthcoming, the Nanagansetts would be attacked. Planning and mobilization were to begin immediately, with December 10 set as the date to commence the operation. Governor Josiah Winslow of Plymouth was named to command the expedition, with Major Robert Treat of Connecticut as his second-in-command. Rhode Island was asked to provide logistical support in shipping supplies and men. This would be the largest military force yet assembled in New England, and much thought was given to logistics, a flaw in past operations. Wickford. with a good harbor and proximity to Newport, Rehoboth and Portsmouth, was chosen as the staging area from which actual operations would begin. New London was chosen as the assembly point for Connecticut troops, Dedham for Massachusetts and Taunton for Plymouth. Powder, lead and foodstuffs began pouring into the assembly points. By early December, in spite of some refusals to serve, troops began gathering at the assembly points. The Narragansetts dispatched an advance party to garrison Wickford and prevent its destruction.

As the men began arriving at Wickford, patrols were sent out, and a number of Narragansetts were captured. One captive, who went by the name of Peter, reported that the Narragansetts were camped in a fort in a lai^e swamp nearby. Peter agreed to guide Winslow and his men to the fort. About this time, a Narragansett warrior appeared offering to negotiate with Winslow, who dismissed him cuitly, saying that he would negotiate only with their chiefs. As the warrior departed, a party of Narragansetts that had apparently accompanied him fired from ambush. Motivated in pait by the rapid consumption of his dwindling food supplies, Winslow now decided to strike immediately. On December 19, with Peter as a guide, the army set off in heavy snow. The march into the frozen and gloomy swamp with a large force of hostile Narragansetts somewhere ahead, and Peter an uncertain quantity, was a stem test. At last the force came upon a fonnidable structure sitting on a low rise of ground, with log palisades and blockhouses. Surrounded by water, the fort was accessible only by a narrow log causeway, forcing a single-file approach. Though formidable, the fort was not quite complete, and an opening in the palisade near the causeway pro\ided an opportunity for entry. With Massachusetts in the lead, the men made their way across the causeway and charged the opening under a galling fire. Twice they were driven back, once by a Nairagansett counterattack. Finally the English gained the inside of the fort. The Narragansetts, whose women and children were DECEMBER 2004 MILITARY HISTOKV 59

King Philip's role in the war ended where it had begun, at Mount Hope, Rhode Island, on August 12, 1676. There, after evading a volley from Benjamin Church's militianien, he was cut down by one of Church's Indian scouts [Library of Congress).

in wigwams inside the fort, fought desperately. After listening to arguments for and against, Winslow ordered the wigwams set afire, and soon a general slaughter of the Nan agansetts took place. As the firing petered out in the afternoon, Winslow considered his options. Casualties among his men were high, with more than 200 killed and wounded. Fearing a Narragansett counterstroke, Winslow ordered a retreat all the way back to Wickford. The march, 17 miles through ice and snow loaded with the wounded and captured weapons, much of it in the dark, was a backbreaking ordeal. Although English casualties were high, the Great Swamp Fight was decisive. The Narragansetts' losses, although not known with accuracy, were estimated to be as high as 600, about half of whom were women and children. The casualties and loss of their food supplies and equipment were devastating. IiT)nically, while the Great Swamp Fight was taking place, Philip was along the Hudson River trying to forge an alliance with the Mohawks. Philip's attempt ended in disaster when the Mohawks ambushed his force and killed most of his 400 warriors. The army was demobilized, and Indian attacks died down lor a few weeks. In Febiuary and March 1676, however, Indian attacks began to escalate, and the war was carried all the way to the coast. Weymouth and Hingham.just south of Boston, were attacked, as were Scituate and a garrison near Plymouth. On March 26, neai- Providence, Narragansetts wiped out a company of 65 men, under Captain Michael Pierce. Mounting casualties, abandoned homes, farms and villages, food shortages and economic disniption took their toll. Taxes to pay for the war were rising, and no end was in sight. On April U, as the morale of the colonists reached a new low, they received some good news. A mixed force of Mohegans and militia had captured Canonchet, a principal Narragansett wai^ chief. Infonned that he would be executed, Canonchet was reported by his captors to say that he liked it well, that he should die before his heart had grown soft 60 MILITARY HISTORY DECEMBER 200A

or he had spoken unworthy of himself. Canonchet requested that he be killed by Oneco, son of Uncas, the Mohegan chief. His wish was granted. After the villages of Groton and Lancaster were abandoned, a force of 500 warriors left Mount Wachussetts on April 20 and invested Sudbury that evening. The townspeople barricaded themselves in ganison houses and the next morning watched grimly as their abandoned homes, bams and fields went up in flames. Three relief parties set out for Sudbury. Two were ambushed with heavy casualties, including a few captured for purposes of torture. The third part\' arrived safely and helped the garrison beat off the attackers. In the next major engagement, on May 19, a scratch force of 150 men and boys, under Captain William Turner, surprised a large group of Indians in a fishing camp at Peskeomscut {present-day Turner's Falls) on the Connecticut River. As the English mopped up the camp, a large group of warriors got between them and their base at Hatfield. Before fighting their way out, 40 of ihc English were killed, including Turner, but neaiiy 200 Indians were slain, many of them women and children.


N THE SPRING OF 1676, it appeared to many colonists that the cause of the Indians was ascendant. Most villages in Massachusetts had been attacked and many destroyed. However, in the forests and swamps the silLiation among the tribes was even worse. Indian casualties were staggering, many of their food supplies had been destroyed and they had been unable to plant crops. The attacks at the Great Swamp and Peskeomscut showed that they too were vulnerable at any point. Perhaps more important, deep dissension among the tribes and among leaders in the same tribe was becoming evident. Many wanted to sue for terms fi^om the English. As the United Colonies struggled to find military solutions, perhaps they contemplated the words of John Eliot, missionary to the Indians: "We were too ready lo think that we could easyly suppresse that flea; but now we find that all the craft is in catching of them, and that in the meane while they give us many a soare nip." In order to catch the flea the authorities began to consider a new type of military organization: an independent company, reporting directly to a governor, and made up of both Indians and English troops. Such an organization, headed by Continued on page 88

OF WORLD W A R I The Golden Age of Trench Art sprang from the battlefield debris of the industrial era'sfirstglobal war, producing items collectors highly prize today. BYJOEBAGEANT

len I was a small boy in the years just after World War II, there stood on my grandparents' mantle a shrine of war—a 37mm artillery shell crafted in the shape of a cross. That brass cross sei"ved as both a souvenir and a symbol of gratitude for two sons' having returned safely from the European and Pacific theaters, venerated relics in a household and a nation where the war was still fresh in memory. Half a century later, I know that brass cross was an example of "trench art," the name given to objects crafted by soldiers, ci\ilians and POWs during times of war. Once they were familiar to every soldier and family in Europe and the United States. Scairely a home was without one of these curious artifacts that grandpa or an uncle had bestowed, doubtless in the spirit of establishing a family heirloom. Eor decades they have rested in attics and garages, casualties of changing taste and the receding memor>' of the wars that fostered them. Now trench art is coming back into the light as it draws increasing interest from collectors, antique dealers and scholars. Museums ai"e adding to their long-overlooked trench ari collections, thereby lending this art fonn the historical premium that attends research. There is a gi'owing body of research into the material culture of the industrial worlds first global wai" and those objects that embody the ordinary soldier's cultural and psychological experience. Meanwhile, these investigations into the cultural meaning of what was formerly written off as "the jimk of war" take place amid the 62 MILITARY HISTORY DECEMBER 2004

heat of the public craze for acquiring all things collectible. Trench art is certain to gain in value as more people begin to wonder what great-grandfather's embossed artillei-y shell fi om the Somme or Vimy Ridge is actually worth. It was the stagnation of aiTny life on Western Front areas like the Somme and Vimy. following the German invasion of Belgium in 1914, that gave the form its name, and it is pieces from this "Golden Age of Trench Ail" that most collectors are talking about when they use the term. However, very little trench art was actually made in the trenches, where hammering on brass would have invited a bullet or an officer's anger. The vast majority originated away from the front lines, created by soldiers in reserve, by convalescing soldiei-s as handicraft therapy, or by POWs. Still more was made by skilled civilian artisans near the Western Fi-ont, accounting for the marked craftsmanship and artfulness of so many of the pieces. Trench art's manifestations are as endless as individual expression, which is what makes it art and at the same time difficult to neatly categorize. Considering its breadth, the time span when it was created and the cultures that produced it, trench ari is often appraised sociologically or anthropologically To that end, a definition of trench art has been provided by anthropologist Nicholas J. Saunders, British Academy senior research fellow at the Department of Anthi opolog>; Saunders defines it as "any object made by any person from any material, as long as it and they are asso-

This clocK described as "the mother of all trench art clocks" by trench art expert Jane Kimball. is made from artillery shells and rifle cartridges and is on display at the Sanctuary Wood Museum near Ypres, Belgium CAN photos courtesy of Jane A. Kimball}.


1: Decorated shell casings such as this American 3-pounder naval shell are among the most common examples of trench art. Dated on the headstamp and 12 inches tall. it features a Statue of Liberty motif with three birds in flight on the reverse. 2: Dated 1916. this French 37mm shell is decorated in low relief with a scarab beetle motif, suggesting Egyptian origin. 3: This embroidered postcard was sent from France to Ruth Spaulding in Washington, D.C., by Stephen Byron Lloyd, Company C, 1st Regiment. U.S. Engineers, as a little token of love. 4: Allied soldier's trophy "hate belt" with German buckle and assorted badges and buttons. 5: Two of the colorful beadwork snakes shown here are marked 'Turkish Prisoner 1918" and 'Turkish Prisoners 1917"

ciated in time or space with armed conflict or its consequences." These objects, ailifaclual records if you will, seem to have been made across all time and all wars. Ovoid lead missiles hurled from Roman slings, called plandes, have been found bearing designs, patriotic statements and insults tn ihe enemy. During the Napoleonic wai-s, French POWs created items h"om soup bones and wove elaborate marquetry boxes using plaited straw from prison bedding. In the Crimean War cannonballs became inkwells. America's Ci\dl War saw soldier-decorated canteens, snuffboxes and leather goods, and game pieces carved from soup bones and spent bullets. When brass shells replaced cannonballs in the Boer and Spanish-American wars, their spent casings became the mosl peiTasive medium in trench art and remained so right up through World War II. Spent casings art is still being produced today. Even as this is being written eBay offerings in66 MILITAm'HISTORY DECEMBER 20D4

clude a cigarette lighter made during the Bosnian War fi om a 7.62mm Kalashnikov machine gim round. Whether Napoleonic, Crimean or World War I, each piece is part of the cultural record of those who created it. For example, the 20tb-ccntui-y Bosnian lighter is marked with designs that flourished there in the 15th centun, part Gothic, patl By/antine and part Islamic, which would have been familiar in Sarajevo 400 yeai-s ago. Saunders' anthropological definition makes trench art easier to deal with, at least initially, by type. Noted authority Jane Kimball groups trench art thus: war souvenirs, shell art, soldier-decorated equipment, POW art, convalescent soldier art, battlefield tourism souvenire, commercial items, and trench art from the intenvar yeai-s to the present, In elaborating, Kimball points up the sheer variety oi World War I trench art: "Some artists fragments, damaged wooden propeller blades, and rifle cartridges to produce

artistic souvenii's....The universal smoking habit of soldiers made tobacco humidors, lighters, matchbox covers or match safes, cigarette cases, ashtrays and snuffboxes popular items lor artistic conversions from shell casings and cartridge clips....Aeroplanes and tanks were popular subjects; less common ai"e models of artilleiy pieces and submarines. Letter openers or paper knives, often made in a scimitar style from pieces of flat brass soldered to cartridge casings, were a popular 'trench art' item, and an amazing number ol these have suiYived, The more interesting ones of this type are engraved with the names of battles or individuals.... Napkin rings, another common domestic item, were made from scrap brass and less commonly from aluminum salvaged from crashed /eppelins. Coal scuttles and dinner gongs, mainstays of most households at the time, were replicated in trench art, often with intricate engraving. Models of coal scuttles are sometimes referred to as sugar scoops or in the smaller 37mm

size as salt scoops. Picture frames were made from scrap brass or wood. Wooden aeroplane propellers provided raw material for picture frames and clocks. Aluminum from canteens or mess kits was transformed into a variety of objects unrelated to sordid everyday waifare. Trench art finger rings were produced in quantity from brass, aluminum or from silver coins. Regimental badges made into pins and lockets, often called 'sweetheart jeweliy' were made by soldiers and commercial firms to confirm the bond between soldiere at the front and their loved ones at home." By 1916 much soldier art had been produced in the stagnant "war of waiting," particulariy on the Western Front, where Belgian and English soldiers spent months huddled in their greatcoats on duckboards amid the detritus of war. These conditions mostly produced items such as sweetheart rings made fi"om frise caps, bracelets from the copper driving bands of shells, embroidered gas masks, and other small or DECEMBER 2004 MILITARY HISTORY 65

1: A Belgian inkwell made from the cast aluminum and copper driving band from an artillery shell mounted on four cast aluminum "oxen feet" The ovals inside are engraved "1914" and "1915," and the band is engraved "Dixmude" (Belgium] "1916" and "1917." 2: The thistle motif of this soup bone engraved by a German prisoner suggests that the piece was made in Scotland. 3: Trench art model of 1914's most beautiful airplane, the German Taube (dove). Made from scrap copper and copper wire, with Iron Crosses on the wings and a movable propeller, it is 35^ by 2 inches. 4: This splendid inkwell in the form of a tank is made from scrap brass, copper and tin mounted on a wooden base. Engraved on one side "Souvenir 1917, 1916 Lens, Gambrai 1918." The reverse side is marked "Arras 1915, Ypres, Somme 1914" with a floral decoration. It measures 5% by 31^ by 3/i inches.

poilable items that couid be created without attracting the attention of the enemy. This purest of trench art can be poignant stuff. For example, an intricate sweetheart bracelet left unfinished when a sniper's bullet cut down its craftsman, a Belgian soldier, is a bittersweet memorial. While frontline soldiers in all aiTnies were crafting personal remembrances and tributes to fallen comrades, farther to the rear POWs created pieces for sale to guards or the public. POW cmft markets were common, and quite an extensive distribution network evolved for POW pieces. Later, with the arrival of well-paid, souvenir-hungr>' American doughboys in 1918, sales of trench art soared as the lower-paid European soldiere sought to augment their incomes. Overall, the bulk of the Great War's trencii ail was produced purely with the intent of sale to fellow soldiers, to American soldiere who aiTived neai' the end. or later to battlefield tourists. November 1918 saw a surge in the production of souvenirs f>6 MIEJTARY H I S T O R Y


by the departing British and Americans bogged dovm in the weeks'-long wait to be shipped home. As one returning American Expeditionai'y Forces ambulance driver put it at the time, "The first part of the month of December 1918 was passed in collecting and making souvenirs of various foims and patterns, which ser\ed temporarily to busy the soldiers' hands and minds and to burden the homegoing mails," Again the chief material was shell casings, though a wide array of war detritus was employed. Battlefield tourism spawned the last stage of World War I trench art. Commercial tout's of battlefields started very shortly after the war's end, and tourists began collecting battlefield items as souvenirs to take home. The commercial tours of the battlefields continue to this day, and though none are alive who sened on those fields, the battlefields still bring historical tourists and sightseers by the hundreds of thousands who are moved to reverential meditation inspii-ed

by these fields. A cottage industry sprang up along the Westem Front serving tourists and relatives of fallen soldiere making pilgiimages there. For many pilgrims, the object purcliased would foi^ever represent the missing body they could not biing home, and thus became an object of genuine reverence. This period has left us with some of the most artistic sou\'enii"s, as skilled local craftsmen competed to create the most beautiful, and therefore the best selling, shell vases, umbrella stands and myriad other souvenir pieces. In fact, WWI's irench art pieces caused the word "souvenir" to laigely replace the term "keepsake," because pieces were marked Souvcmrdt' la Guerre. Battlefield tours remained veiy popular ihrough the early 1930s, and locally crafted World War 1 souvenii^s were available in Belgium's Ypres area into the 1950s. There were other more strictly commercial endeavors during the war that produced souvenirs, items such as lockets, cigarette cases or gold-plated soldiers' identification disks. After-

war items were produced by companies that transformed shell cases, fuses and shell fragments brought home by soldiei"s into decorative objects. The war left a huge suiplus of materiel, some of which was turned into souvenir "militaiT decorations" by companies such as Bannerman in Brooklyn, New York. Francis BanneiTnan—whose name is known to ever\' collector of militaria—was a native-bom Scot, and a speculator in surplus fix^m the Civil Wai; the Spanish-American War and, later. World War I. He made his fortune by reselling equipment and selling display assemblages of bayonets, knives, swords and other pieces of militaiT suiplus. Today some of BanneiTTian's "recycled" and mounted pieces occasionally turn up and are sold as trench art. Regrettably, most of the human connectivity with family or war service associated with these pieces has long ago been lost, leaving them without provenance, anonymously adrift as folk art to be collected, often as not, merely for their assoDECEMBER2004 MILHARY HISTORY 67

1: Painted souvenir helmet with campaign map of the Western Front. 2-4: Three cigarette lighters. Left: Book-type lighter made from scrap brass. Center: Round lighter featuring "Gott Mit Uns" roundels from Gemian belt buckles. Right: Cartndge lighter made from a small cartridge or a rifle cleaning kit cylinder.

ciation with a particular battle or unit. Yet these pieces are social documents with a cultural value tar heyond ordinat^f military memorahilia: To the discerning mind and eye they contain a spark of the human spirit during the industrial age's first global war. Voices do speak, even if anonymotisly, from those trenches of the Western Front, in such things as an embroidered postcard reading, "Always will I love thee and the heaiih that is thy heart." It reminds us that, as writer Neal Cassady put it, "...there are death masks piled one atop another clear to heaven," but "to have seen a specter isn't everything." Or consider this deeply ambiguous example, cited by Nicholas Saunders, of "a small carved-wood item containing a piece of bone. Its rare sun-iving note reads 'Carved by Hertri Jarman de Rieucouit lor his comrade in anTis...Emile Bulot de Selly-Somme. woimded and amputated at the aiTTi at Lorette in November 1914.' The bone is a fragment of humerus from Emiles amputated arm." 68 MILITARY HISTORY DECEMBER 2004

In a time when every aspect of every war has been discussed, debated and documented, and in a world irplete with war memorials, war cemeteries, remembrance ceremonies and battlefield pilgiimages, we are beginning to look closer at the hard evidence of history all around us, enigmatic and mai-velous objects waiting for a know^ledgeable expert to interpret their meaning. Every soldier artist doubtlessly thought, or at least hoped, that what he cr eated would endure long after his passing^a bridge over unconquerable time itself. Some of it has. And thai \\ hich remains stands to ofler us insight into the collective memon; what it means to be both individual and pail of humanity's most cataclysmic expression of all—the making of wai: HUI Joe Bageanl is a senior editor of Militaiy Histoiy For additional reading he recotuniends: Trench Art: An Illustrated Histoiy, by Jane A. Kimball; and Trench Art, h\ Nicholas J. Scmnders.

R EV I E Hew Strachan reexamines a global conflict whose effects still guide world events today. By Michael Oppenheim

DO WE NEED ANOTHER history of World

War I? The answer is: of course. Many historians claim the 20th centun' began in 1914. The Woi'ld War merely paused in 1918 to I'esume in 1939 and continue with the Cold War. According to some, the Soviet Union's collapse in 1990 marked the end of both the 20th centuiT and ihe effects of World War I. Others note that the Versailles settlement in 1919 was a crarshing disappointment to Arabs in the Middle East, so... British professor Hew Strachan, who is writing an immense, three-volume histoi"y of World War I, may be the world's expert. His relatively modest summary, Tlie First World War (Viking Press, New York, N.Y, 2004, $27,95), an offshoot of a new BBC television series, delivers a lively overview. No r"e\isionist, Strachan presents the traditional picture of the war's background. Having watched its hated rival, Serbia, prosper after the First (1912) and Second (1913) Balkan wars, Austria-Hungarv' used its archduke's assassination in June 1914 as an excuse to set matters right. Austria's inept army (no better than Benito Mussolini's in World War 11) could not light on two fronts, but Germany (with the poor judgment in choosing allies that it would display in the next war as well) promised to scare off Russia, noimally Serbia's protector. When Austria mobilized for what its leaders assumed was the Third Balkan War and Russia pr'otested, Germany warned it to keep its hands off. Russia's response was, historians agr^ee, only mildly thi eatening, but not mild enough for the pugnacious Geiman general staff. Deciding war was ine\'itable, they convinced the kaiser, and the dominos fell. Great historical events generate great cliches. Strachan biushes aside arguably the gieatest of ihem all: that when General Helmuth von Moltke sent his arTnies thr"ough Belgium to outllank the French, 70 MILITARY HISTORY DECEMBER 200a

Palestine is less well known, that in the Balkans even less. A footnote in man\' histories, Turkey's bitter war against Russia in the Caucasus produced as much slaughter as any major campaign. Two million Africans served, both inside and outside the continent, suffering casualties compiu^ible to those of the Euixipean powei's. Japan quickly joined the war, eager to snatch Germany's Pacific colonies and take over its Chinese concessions. China declar'ed war on Germany in 1917, less from hostility than to fend off Japan. Describing the Western Front, Strachan dismisses the populai- image of dimwitted generals mindlessly sending tawps to slaughter Aware that the firept:)wer of modem weapons vastly favored defense, military leaders worked hard on tactics to overcome this. And they eventiialK succeeded. The offensives of 1918, employing massive, sophisticated artilleiy preparation coor-dinaled with infantry he was following the brilliant 1905 Schlief- raishes, wor-ked far better than attacks fen plan—and he failed when he didn't early in the war. Strachan regards tanks, stick to it. fn fact, Alfi'ed Gra/von Schlief- a favorite of popular authors, as far less fen considered many scenarios during his important than artillery. Despite its more efficient militan materm as chief of the general staff. One was invading France through the Low Coun- chine, Germany's government showed an tries, and his colleagues liked the idea. incompetence that historians are still There was no detailed plan. As years trying to explain. The democracies did passed, the gener'al staff did what general much better at organizing industw for staffs do; it obsen'ed events and planned war, regulating the economy and distribits response. When Moltke invaded Bel- uting food and other material to both gium, he was following current strategy, civilians and soldiers. Inflation and the not his pr-edecessor's plan. He failed for black market harmed Germany morv thaji reasons historians continue to debate, England and France, Germans steieotypbut deviatingfix)mSchlieffen was not one ically believe that Englishmen are dumb, so no one in Berlin realized the British of them. Strachan takes the "world" in World had broken their military and diplomatic War seriottsly, devoting half the book to codes (a mistake they repeated in World events outside Europe. Even sophisticated War 11). German relations with the readers will blink to read that Germany's United States are a textbook case of a govmost effective ally was not Austria but the ernment shooting itself in the foot. StraOttoman empire, which fought on four chan agi'ees with most experts that it was fi onts. Gallipoli has no shortage of ac- Ameiican money and morale, not solcounts; Turkey's four-year campaign in diers, that doomed Germany.



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t!-aining in the South. A notorious but hardly uncommon example of this was the unjust court-maitial at Camp Hood, History of the First World War, a lushJy il- Texas, of future baseball Hall of Famei" lastraled coffee-table book published in Lieutenant Jackie Robinson, then with 2001 with a text that sticks more closely the unit, after he reluscd to get off a post lo nuts-and-bolts battlefield action. Both bus to make room for whites. bcwks sei^'e as a fine introduction, but exAssigned or attached to three different perienced readei^ will prefer Strachan's armies and seven divisions—then standefinitive work. Volume one—1,100 dard doctrinal practice for independent pages—also appeared in 2001. tank battalions—the Black Panthers distinguished themselves in lour campaigns. Brolliers in Amis: Tfie Epic Story The authoi-s provide context by weaving of the 761st Tank Battalion, WVilU's in perfunctory sections about the cmsade Forgotten Heroes, by Kareem in Europe, and equally unsophisticated Abdul-Jabbar and Anthony Walton, descriptions of equipment and tactics, Broadway Books, New York, $24.95. but the heart of the book lies in the gripApproaching a work of military history ping depictions—often in their own co-authored by a sports immortal im- words—of the men themselves. Dirty, mediately brings to tnind Dr. Samuel tired, cold, occasionally despised by Johnson's famous observation about a whites alongside whom they fought (alwoman preacher. The curmudgeonly though there appear to have been far 18th-centui"y wit quipped that it was "like fewer racists in foxholes than in rear a dog's walking on his hind legs. It is not areas) and at times hoiribly mishandled done well; but you are suiprised to find il by commanders to whose units they weiv done al all." A peiusal oiBrothers in Arms, attached, the Black Panthers earned 250 however, quickly dispels any uncharita- Fuiple Hearts, 70 Bronze Stars and 11 ble suspicions. Since his retirement fiom Silver Stars, in addition to the overdue professional basketball, Abdui-Jabbai" has awards noted abo\e. written several books on Aiiican-Ameiican Brothers in Amis provides an inspirahistory, and Brothers in Amis is a creditable tional, moving account of courage and effort—very much in the tradition of comradeship on the part of exceptional other "band of brothers" accounts— men. This book also overcomes the soft about a black unit in World War II. bigotiy of low expectations, much as the The subtitle is slightJy misleading. While soldiers of the 761st surmounted the its achievements were indeed epic, the much hai'sher bigotry of their era. "Black Panther" battalion has hardly been AlanCate forgotten. It has been the subject of pre\ious books, upon which this volume relies Alexander the Great: A Mew Life, by heavily, and a documentai^ film. Futiher, Paul Cartledge, The Overlook Press, the unit received a belated Presidential New York, 2004, $28.95. Unit Citation for its gallantry, as well as a Alexander, Invincible King of posthumous Medal of Honor for one of Macedonia, by Peter G. Tsouras, its membere in the 1990s. Still, the story Brassey's, Inc., Washington, D.C., is worth t etelling, and it's well told here. 2004, $19.95. This is not "politically correct history" Alexander 111, King of Macedon, was and the authors show commendable re- not the first great conqueror in history, straint, unlike some others in this genre, but he was the first to extend his conin not claiming too much for their hetxies. quests to three continents and set the The bare facts are stiiring enough. The standard by which all later militaiy gen761 st Tank Battalion was one of several iuses sought to be measured. He was an all-black—but for a handful of officers— outstanding diplomat and politician for combat units raised by the then-segre- his time as well as a general, so it is hardly gated U.S. Army, largely as a White House surprising that none of his successots sop to black ieadei"s and white liberals. could hold his empire together after hi.s The nan'ative traces the outfit from its death. Peihaps aware of that, Alexander formation in 1942 through its deploy- philosophically appraised his past ambiment to Europe in late 1944 and subse- tions while convalescing from a wound quent six months of almost unbroken in India in 326 BC: "My own assessment combat. The men suffered from their of myself is based on the extent not of my era's sadly prevalent racial discrimina- life but of my glorv... .and \\ herever 1 figlit tion, particularly during their Stateside I shall believe myself lo be playing to the

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theater of the world." The empire he carved from Greece to Egypt and India may not have lasted, but the hi.slorics and legends of how he did it .still lesotind lhn)ugh the millennia. Paul Cartledge, professor of Greek histoiy and chairman of the classics faculty at Cambridge Univei-sity, tnes to soil out life from legend in Alexander ihe Great: A New Ufe. For all that has been wiitten and told—and painted and sculpted—of the conqueroi', from as far away as China, Cartledge claims that little of it sheds convincing light on the man. He also laments that only fi^agments exist of the writings of historians in Alexander's own time, such as Ptolemy, the Macedonian general who founded an Egyptian dynasty, and Callisthenes, the Greek historian who accompanied the expedition until 327 BC, when Alexander had him tortured and executed for treason. Trying to bridge the disconnect between those scattered primary sources and the later historians who used them in their biographies of Alexander—albeit with their own interpretive axes to grind—Cartledge makes a critical effort to reconstruct both the image and reality of Alexander, in relation to his fellow Macedonians, to the Greeks and to the world at lar"ge, as general, rtder and even, as much as possible, as a man. As with his recent book The Spartans. Cartledge is one academic whose narrative can catch the reader up in the journey and shed some new light on a mortal \\ ho achieved a forni of immortality, simply by the fact that his short life remains, even today, so open to interpretation b> all who regard it. Militaiy historian Peter G. Tsouras is \ct another of Alexander's many chroniclers, but his addition to Brassey's series of compact volumes on historvs great commanded, Alexander, Invincible Kijig of Macedonia, makes a good summation of both the man and his accomplishments. At its heart, Tsouras describes Alexander's saga as an ongoing love stoiy between the charismatic leader and the aimy he needed to win his victories. Like most long-term love affairs, that relationship had its share of falling-outs, sometimes with tragic and deadly consequences, but ultimately the Greek concept of philotinio. "love of honor," prevailed to keep Alexander's men loyal up to and past his death. Jon Guttman ^ Fnr additional reviews, go to _ www.histoiybookworldxom.

WEAPONRY Continued from page 28

was beaten and put to flight, the victorious and defeated samurai ahke would continue to engage their counterparts if possible. AFTER THE MID-ISTH century, the brittle

long, straight sword was replaced by two blades of superior quality, collectively called the daisho. One sword, the katana, was a medium size saberlike piece sporting a tempered, slightly cui^ved blade ideal for the two-handed fighting style, while the second, the wakizashi, was a shorter thrusting weapon. The Japanese horseman's pHmai^ weapon, however, was the ywni, or bow. Constructed of an oak ash base (kashi) and finished with bamboo laminate, it was fitted with a lightweight, medium-length handgrip that allowed an arrow to be fired easily and accurately from a rapidly moving horse. The combination of a trooper's many years of equestrian and bow training, combined with good quality horses bred in the eastern region of the country, made the samurai a master of bakyu jutsu, or mounted archery. For protection against enemy weapons the 15th-centuiy samurai would adorn himself with beautifLiliy crafted aiTnor {do). Although light in weight, it proved capable of deflecting most aiTwws and sword slashes. The armor suits coasisted of stiips of metal held together by leather thongs or some other binder; and was covered by lacquer for added strength, weatherpiooBng and sheen. Putting on ones armor was a ritual with quasi-religious overtones, done with great attention to detail. Topping off the samurai's costume were exqLiisitely made helmets, often decorated with peaks, horns, antlei^s orfeathere. Many were stunningly ornate or huge and frightening affairs. To further the latter effect, face masks resembling the devil or wild animals were worn. Of course a cavalryman was only as good as his horse, viewed by the trooper as his second self. Better breeding methods over the centuries had improved the Japanese horse, though it was still small, light iind slow compared to the European warhorses. Little armor was placed on the animal, but the saddle used was very heavy, fastened by a girth on top of the creature's back. The overall size, weight and speed of the horse dictated the tac-

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tics that best suited its use in battle. Consequently, mounted samurai tended to avoid making frontal attacks. Standing oft and firing arrows was always safer for the samurai until the targeted enemy foot formation started to break or become disorganized. The cavalrymen could then close with their opponents, often dismounting to wield their trusty swords on foot. While the mounted samurai reveled in engaging each other in archery duels and sword-swinging melees, they had more of a problem when they had to face enemy infantry. The Japanese got theirfirstdistressful taste of that during their military interventions on the Korean Peninsula, starting in the Packche Kingdom Wars of the early 660s. They went down to defeat after defeat at the hands of Tang Chinese and Korean armies comprised of common footmen using spears and long swords. Those battlefield losses slowed the evolution of cavalry in Japan, since they put its relevance in question. Development of the service progressed at a pitiful pace during the 13th and 14th centuries, due to only limited fighting against the Mongols, followed by internal strife during the Shokyii and Naubokucho ware. The later period was marked by few openfieldencounters, mostly confined to sieges against castles, and hit-and-mn mounted ambushes. As a result, this time frame saw little cavalry development or the apparent need for it. All that would change at the start of the 15th century, when the mounted samurais nemesis, the lowly foot soldier, began to enter the field armed with his own bow—and, after 1540, with the harquebus, an early foiTn of matchlock musket. Those weapons allowed the masses of ashigam who made up much of every Japanese army to deliver a deluge of missile fire at the mounted warriors. This threat to their dignity—not to mention their lives—from mere peasants and other lower classes on the social scale compelled cavaliy samurai to change their battle tactics in a hurry. The answer they came up with was to replace the bow and the sword with the mochi-yari, a 13foot-long spear. This weapon was used by a charging rider in one of two ways: Either he could be seated down low in his saddle and use the spear as a piercing weapon, or he could stand up in his saddle stirrups and handle the spear blade as a slashing tool. The mochi-yari was light and handy enough to employ in either manner.

Complementing the use of the spear, the Japanese cavalry of the mid-15th to early 16th centuries put aside the practice of loose combat formations and the quest for individual combat. Against the double and triple lines of enemy infantn aimed with bow and musket, compact bodies of cavalry would ride at speed, in order to generate more shock power" to break an\ infantry in iheir path. THE MOUNTED INNOVATIONS proved

particularly effective in the hands of the famed Takeda cavalry; which served the mightv' clan that dominated centi^ Japan from the 1530s. Among the Takeda tactics was the tjorikoni ("move among"), in which mounted units were sent out to harass and dismpt the forwar d movement of an advancing enemy. When the enemy was advancing toward friendly forces, the latter sent out mounted units to harr\' and disrupt the enemy foi"uard movement. When the oppo.sing lines had been cracked open or disorder-ed, the iiorikiri ("cut-through") tactic was used, in which squads of fiiendly cavalry were sent to attack the enemy units that were waveiing or falling back. At the right moment, the Takeda would e.xecute the norikuzushi ("ride in and scatter"), in which hoi^se and infantry charged into the enemy lines in order to break and oveiiTrn them. Those mounted tactics gave the Takeda a fear-some reputation that is all the more surprising consideiing that out of their army of 30,(X)0, only 3,(XX) were horsemen. Of great use to the Takeda and considered their strong suit was the employment of what they referred to as kilsutsuki ("woodpecker") tactics: First divide the enemy, lure him toward you and then Strongly attack him. For those methods to work, the Takeda massed their men into power'ful mounted columns and char'ged their foes in fierce hit-and-mn strikes called atenori ("hit-and-ride"). The century from 1477 to 1576 was called the Sengoku Period, or "The Country at War." The climax of that epoch was the Battle of Nagashino in 1575, which involved a direct clash between the shock of charging cavalry and the massed firepower of harquebus-equipped infantn, with the former coming off second best. That conOict, the Kor'ean War of 15921598 and the 1615 Battle of Tennoji. to name just a few, revealed that the only way cavalry could be useliil on the battlefield in the ftrture would be in conjunction— combined amis if you will—with missilearmed infantiy MH

Ayub Khan's army, which was skulking at the nearby Baba Wali Kotal. Although the Afghan general had chosen a good posiContinued from page 36 tion from which to deal with the expected British frontal assault, he should have r"ealized that his opposite number was massacre began. Only 1,595 managed to nothing like Burrows. Indeed, Roberts r etum to Kandahai, including Bunows, used every trick in the book, inckrding who after having fought bravely from the feints and llanking attacks, to cut thi-ough saddle all day, anived cr\ing uncontrolthe Afghan host like a hot knife through lably and no longer able to speak. It was butter. Having leanied of his amazing something of an irony, but on that same majich and yet another r'esounding victory, day Abdur Rahman officially accepted the Britain sent messages of thanks. Roberts, throne of emir to grand declarations of however, was too exhausted to bask in the peace between Afghanistan and Britain. glory. On September 8, the medical board With wounded men literally camped gi^anted his request for leave. outside his door. Primrose—despite having a 4,000-man garrison, lots of equipment, The new emir, Abdur Rahman, was accannons, strong fortifications and plenticepted by his people and proved to be an ful supplies^bresaw impending disasadept niler. Although he had handed ovei" ter He ordered all of Kandahar's contiT)! of the Kuiram Valley, the 15,000 citizens to leave, creating Khyber Pass and areas a)'ound a large refugee problem and Quetta, he retained sover'eignty even more anti-British resentover Afghanistan's foreign policy. n irregulars shadowed the ment. He also sent a series of Britain also dropped any ideas of desperate telegrams to India, a peimanent embassy and withcolumn, only too willing t o cut the outlining the Maiwand catadrew its forces from Kimdahar strophe and overplaying the throats of stragglers. It was the lack of and Kabul. The new emir in turn danger of the siege his garrison upheld his promise to reject any was about to face. When Avub water, however, that gave the British Russian diplomatic missions. Khan's aiTny did sun'ound KanOf all the tragic wars fought their greatest physical test. dahar it could make little headin Afghanistan over the last two way against such a strong posicenturies, the Second Afghan tion. Because the telegraph had War remains one of the most been cut. however, the British controversial. Flexing its imperibelieved Primrose's last dire communica- suffered, and he fell ill with feverish s\Tnp- al muscle, Disr'aeli's government had purtions and considered it imperative to lift toms the next day. To his annoyance, he sued a foreign policy that resulted in the the siege as quickly as possible. was foreed to take to a doolie, an Indian deaths of friends and foe Edike—for the litter. Although they were testing times, sum total of a lew territorial acquisiThe Race to Kandahar there were moments of humor; on one tions, with a diplomatic deal that was virStewart had no hesitation in appointing occasion, as the British were a few days tually the same as the one it originally Roberts to head the 9,900-strong "Kan- away from Kandahar, a massive herd of had with Sher Ali. One could ar gtre, howdahar Field Force," made up of all the 3,000 sheep suddenly appeared, accom- ever, that a more secure peace had been elite troops available in Kabul. Wheeled panied by entrepr'eneurial shepherds of- established, along with the vital bor der artillery was left behind (although screw fering them for sale, along with fresh passes into India, against the threat of guns were taken on the back of mules). melons. A British officer wrote of the re- Russian invasion. and r'ations were extremely light. Roberts markable event, "We just paid the price and As for Roberts and his men, their was in no doubt that the going would be regaled ourselves on mutton and melons!" march to Kandahar against the odds pretough, but he also knew that the eyes of sented by both man and Mother Nature the empire and the world were on him A Victory of Sorts placed them in the pantheon of imperial and that failure was not an option. On August 31, Roberts reached Kandahar. heroes. After serving with distinction in The mareh began on August 9 and ini- He and his troops had mairhed a stagger- India and the Boer War, 82-yeai-old Lord tially went well through the Logar Valley, ing 313 miles in 21 days over some of the Roberts came out of semiretirement in which was well stocked with supplies. After worlds harshest terrain, and although they the autumn of 1914 to visit the sons of his that, however, the jourTiey became a night- were tired, they were still ready to fight. Indian troops on the Wester^n Front in marish 120-mile slog to the next point of The same could not be said of those they France. He fell ill and died soon after in call. The men stumbled along over the had "rescued." To Roberts' and his men's the way he undoubtedly wished—in supirneasy ground, facing daytime tempera- disgust, the garrison was in a slovenly port of his troops. MH tures of more than 110 degrees. At night condition, failing to even fly a Union Jack the temperatui'es diT)pped below freezing. during the siege. General Primrose was For further reading, London-based contribuAfghan irregulars shadowed the column, sent back to England in disgrace. tor Simon Rees recommends: Oueen Viconly too willing to cut the throats of stragStill feeling unwell, Roberts regrouped toria's Little Wars, by Byron Fanvell; and glers. It was the lack of water, however, that his forces and made a quiek advance on The Savage Frontier, by D.S. Richards,



gave the British their greatest physical test. One officer wrote, "Tantalizing dreams of a ruby-coloured claret cup, or of amber cider, used to haunt my imagination till I felt I must drink something or perish." But the army's suffering was eased after it reached Khelat-il-Ghilzai on August 23. There, a small British garrison waited with supplies and news that Kandahar was secure. Roberts ordered a halt for a day, giving his tired men a well-earned rest. On August 26, the force was less than 50 miles from Kandahar when Roberts received a message from Primrose informing him that Ayub Khan had lifted the siege after hearing of the relief column's approach. Roberts only increased the pace, for he was keen to reach the safety and supplies at Kandahar, His own health had

INTRIGUE Horemheb rose from an Egyptian army general to the progenitor of a dynasty. Bv Alan Freer


rulers of ancient Egypt, yet in most histories he is treated as a footnote to the 18th dynasty, more famous for Akhenaten, the heretic pharaoh. his wife, the beautiful Nefertiti, or the boy king Tutankhamun. It was Horemheb, however, who laid the foundation for the glories that were to come in the reigns of Seti I, Ramses II (The Great) and Ramses III. Horemheb's hometown was Hierakonopolis in the north, and he probably came fiom a minor noble or farming family. With few connections and little wealth, he joined the army as an infantry officer, either at the beginning of Akhenaten's reign or at the end of Amenhotep m's. This was a jx;ri(xl of decline for Egypt, when Akhenaten's main concern was to build a new religion centered on the sun god, Aten. As

his reign progressed, the Egyptians lost Syria, Palestine, Nubia and Libya. It must have been frustrating for a self-made man like Horemheb to see the empire shrink. Nevertheless, his determination carried him through the ranks, and by the time Tutankhamun became pharaoh. General Horemheb had reached the position of overseer of the army. With Akhenaten dead and a pliable child in his place, three very different men seem to have stiuck a deal. Maya, the kingdom's treasurer, was a cautious, conservative accountant who viewed things in terms of profit and loss on papyrus scrolls. Once freed from the extravagances of his late master, he set about slowly replenishing the country's coffers. Aye was Nefertiti's father, and therefore probably Tutankhamun's grandfather. He

was a fixer, a politician with fingers in every pie. With his pri\dleged position he had the ear of the young king, and he did everything in his power to prevent anyone else gaining influence with the boy. There are indications that Aye saw himself as more than a mere mortal. A scene from a gilded piece of furniture, found in the Valley of the Kings, depicts Tutankhamun in the traditional pose of a conquerer, slaying prisoners of war. In such scenes the king is usually offering the prisoners to Amun, but in this case the god's place is taken by a figure of Aye. Both Maya and Aye needed one more element to implement their plan to restore Egypt's hegemony—the army, and that meant Horemheb. To bring him on board. Aye married the general to his daughter Mutnodjme, sister of Nefertiti, which technically made Horemheb a member of the royal family. Bolstered by Maya's financial skills, Horemheb began to rebuild the army, while his father-in-law saw to the kingdom's administration. Using the revived force, he subdued Nubia and made tentative moves against Libya and the lands beyond the Sinai desert. Those conquests brought much-needed gold into the treasury. Soon Syria was returned to the Egyptian fold, and Horemheb even challenged the rising power of the Hittite kingdom. As Tutankhamun's reign progressed. Ayes power increased. Then in January 1352 BC, the king died, at age 18. ON NOVEMBER 4,1922, Howard Caiter

Survivor; A soldier caught up in palace intrigue in the wake of Tutankhamun's death, Horemheb became pharaoh of Egypt-largely by being the last man standing. 82 MIUIARY HlSTOKy DECEMBER 2004

discovered the entrance to the boy king's tomb in the Valley of the Kings and made Tutankhamun the most famous pharaoh in histoiy An initial autopsy was carried out by Dr. Douglas Derry, professor of anatomy at Cairo University, but it was a hapha/-ard, destructive affair. It was not until the 1970s that the mummy was properly examined and X-rayed. The

findings suggested that the boy had not died of natural causes. Those findings were dismissed at first by the antiquarian establishment, but then the respected Egyptologist Bob Brier investigated further In his book The Murder of Tutankhamen, Brier concluded that the king was injured by a blow to the back oi his head and died a few weeks later from pressure on the brain from a blood clot. Tutankamun died without sumving issue, leaving his maternal grandfather, Aye, as his nearest hving relative. To strengthen his claim to the throne. Aye would have to mariT Tutankamun's widow, Atikhesen-Amun. In desperation, the queen wrote an extraordinary letter to Suppiluliuma I, king of the Hittites. "My husband died," she told him. "A son I have not, Bui to Ihee, they say, the sons are many. If thou wouldst give me one son of thine, he would become my husband. Never shall I pick out a sei-vant of mine and make him my husband." She concluded with the phrase, "I am afraid." ANKHESEN-AMUN'S OFFER to the Hit-

liles, comparable to inviting ihe king of France to become the king of England in the 18th century, makes clear her contempt and fear of her giTind father-in-law. Aye had the motive and opportunity to murder the young king. The only other suspect, Horemheb, had neither, but he was almost certainly responsible for \\ hat happened next. After sending an envoy to make sure (hat Ankhesen-Amuns letter was genuine, Suppiluliuma dispatched one of his sons to take up the queens offer, That son did not get very far Horcmhebs police intercepted the party and had the prince put to death. There was no way Horemheb would accept an enemy prince as his pharaoh. The Hittites reacted by declaring war on Egypt, but that seems to have been more of a diplomatic protest than a serious call to aims. Although his empii'e had been expanding, Suppiluliuma did not >ct judge his forces ready to take on his southern neighbor. The real clash would come some 40 years later, during the reigns of Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II and Hittite King Muwutallis, climaxing in 1296 BC, in the Battle of Kadesh, Even as Ankhesen-Amun was writing her letter. Aye was ha\ing himself depicted as a pharaoh. The old man had obviously laid his plans carefully for he swiftly took power, and soon after he came to the ihi'one, the queen disappeared fiom the scene. Having served her purpose by

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ough. Warwick, Wickford and Simsbun had been destroyed, and Springfield. WcslContinued from page 60 field, Marlborough, Scituate. Rehoboth and Providence had been heavily damaged. Of longer lasting impact was the effect on the relationsliip with the mother an enteiprising officer, should be able to countiy The war devastated the Puritan beat the Indians at their own game. At economy for yeai^s, requiring infusions of about this same time, Benjamin Church resources and denving dividends to inapproached Governor Winslow with much vestors. Henceforth, the English in the same idea. Church, in his 30s, vigorAmerica would feel an increasingly hea\'\' ous and ambitious, was well known to hand of the royal government. Winslow, having served as his aide in the Great Swamp Fight. He had also distinThe most effective tactic used by the Inguished himself in the July 1675 camdians was to i^aid a settlement, besiege the paign duiing an ill-fated soitie into Ptxrasganison. biun abandoned iLums and home.s set Swamp, bv extiicating his command and then waylay relief paities. In a related from an ambush without the loss of a tactic that also proved effective. Indians man. He chafed at what he considset fires in uninhabited patches of ered the excessive caution he obwoods and ambushed detachments served in many of the militia officers. of troops sent to investigate. Although no formal records were He was nothing if not enteipiising. Benjamin Church was the most Church had thought things thi^ough. kept, it is estimated that up to 6,000 successful English officer in adapting standard English tactics to the He wanted an ail-volunteer force of men, women and children were reality of warfare on the frontier. 150 to 200 men, with booty to serve Church never used the same naute to as an incentive. He wanted to name killed, captured or sold into slavery. enter and leave an area. His emplo> his own officers and to pursue his ment of scouts and trackers to find quaiTy into any colony. Last but not the enemy and use of open formaleast, he wanted authority to grant mercy to any Indian except notorious Philip and his men toward Church, who tion to avoid ambush was highly sucleaders. On July 24, 1676, Governor with the rest of the command fomied a cessful. He studied his adversaries firstWiaslow granted Church a commission blocking foire. The surprise was complete. hand luid, unlike his compatriots, respected giving him the latitude he had requested. Philip sui'Yived the first volley, but as he many of the Indian leader's. Although the war bore his name, there Church quickly formed his command ran toward Church's force he was cut and began operations. On July 30, an ex- down by one of the Indian scouts. After a is no evidence that Philip exercised over cited Winslow summoned Church out of brief celebration, Chiurh's men da'apitated all operational control of events. With a Sunday worship services. A large party of and quartered him, taking Philip's head tribal culture and tradition based upon Indians had been sighted near the town to Plymouth and presenting it to Winslow. decentj-alization of political and militaiv With Philip's death, the war in the power, such control was probably imof Bridgewater. Church quickly gathered his men and equipment and set out tor United Ct)lonies quickly begim to collapse. possible. Once the war stalled, it took on Bridgewater, camping for the night at Bands of tired and hungiT Indians, some a life of its own. After the enti> of the Naitrying to escape to the west, were pursued ragansetts into the war, it is likely that Montponsett Pond. Eaily the next morning a group of men androLindedup. However, north of Massa- Canonchet became the dominant sachem from Bridgewater informed Church that chusetts Bay the Abenakis, incited by and that Philip's role was diminished. Philip himself was part of the gioup. The King Philip's War. began attacking Eng- After Philip's aboitive attempt to gain an e.xcited men anived at the spot where lish settlements in Maine. Hostilities in alliance with the Mohawks, his status was further reduced. Viewed from a modem Philip had been spotted crossing the Maine dragged on into 1678. King Philip's War was fought with un- pei"spective. Philip served as a catalyst foi Taunton River. As they approached, an Indian was seen sitting on the opposite mitigated ferocity on both sides. The con- the tribes to rise up against the English bank. Church drew a bead on him but was flict's effect on the Indians of New England and as a centi^al s\Tnbol of resistance. In stopped by one of his scouts, who thought was devastating. Although no records are the end it was, perhaps, the lack of unity the lone Indian was friendly. A few sec- available, estimates made at the time and and central direction among the Indians onds later. Church realized too late it had later put the toU at up to 6,000 men, women that was the deciding factor in King been Philip across theriver.In the pursuit, and children killed and captured. Many Philip's War. The English, while often several Indians were captured, including of those captured were sold into slavery. bickering among themselves, were united Philips wife and son. After some deliberaAs many as 2,500 English men, women in their determination to maintain thcii" tion as to their fate, they were sold into and childien died duiing the war. Colonial hold on America. MH slavery with the other captives. A short expenses during the war amounted to time later, Weetamoo, Philip's longtime ally, 100.000 pounds sterling, a huge amount For further reading, contributor Ronald G. drowned while tiying to cross the Taunton. for the time. English settlement had been Domer of Danville, Calif., recommends: Philips inner circle was growing smaller. pushed back 20 miles. Noithfield, Deer- The Red King's Rebellion, by Russell Philip now made his way to Mount field, Brookfieid, Worcester. Lancaster, Boume; and King Philip, Wampanoag Hope, where the war had begun just over Groton, Mendon, Wrentham, Middlebor- Rebel, by Joseph Roman. MILITARY HISTORV DECEMBER 2004

a year before. He may have been looking for hidden food caches or, feeling the closeness of the pursuit, he may have come home to die on familiar ground. One of Philip's warriors deserted and approached Church, offering to guide him to where Philip and his small band were hiding. Many of his men were skeptical of the deserter, but Church, a shrewd judge of men, believed him. He and his command were ferried across Mount Hope Bay to the peninsula, where just after midnight on August 12 they entered the swamp in which Philip was reported to be hiding. Splitting his force, Church sent one detachment, with the guide, to circle behind the camp, openfireand drive




How the American Civil War had a role in World War N's Battle of the Bulge 60 years ago. By C. Brian Kelly

FOR THE THOUSANDS upon thousands

of fighting men, American or German, struggling through the Battle of the Bulge 60 years ago, surely the American Civil War didn't seem any too relevant to this last great convulsion of Nazi Germany's war machine. For George S. Patton Jr., on the other hand, the Civil War long had been omnipresent in his thoughts. That of course was when he tiuned his rampaging Third Army on the proverbial dime, an amazing feat of logistics and organization—^to say nothing of sheer determination—^to mEike his command's storied dash to the rescue of the 101st Airborne Division and other American units under siege at Bastogne in December 1944. And what a tight, threatening siege at that.. .what an explosive offensive to suddenly emerge from behind the borders of a war-ravaged Germany thought to be on its last legs! Certainly this was not the way the Allied crusade to liberate Europe, started at Normandy on June 6, was supposed to end. Not with this huge bulge pushed into the thinly stretched AUied front lines. Not with this near breakout beyond those same thinly supplied &xjnt lines. Nor with an Allied coalition stunned by the size and energy of the German assault that burst from the snow-covered Ardennes on December 16. It wasn't the end of the great crusade. A close call, yes, with a miles-long casualty list to match. But not cin end, only a setback, thanks in large part to Patton... but thanks also, you could argue, to a Civil War-era grandfather also named George Smith Patton. How's that again? Well, drop back in time a few generations and we come across a Virginia couple named Patton who had 12 children, seven of them sons destined to serve in the Civil War as Confederate Army officers. Of this small 90 MILTIAKY HISTORY DECEMBER 2004

crowd, furthermore, four had attended Virginia Military Institute, two of the latter had taught there.. .and one of them was Colonel George S. Patton, organizer and commander of the Kanawha Riflemen of western Virginia. While neither a teacher nor a career military man, this George Patton graduated from VMI second in his class of 24 in 1852, taught there briefly and then became a lawyer in the area of today's Charleston, WVa. His brother Waller Tazewell ("Taz") Patton likewise graduated from VMI, briefly taught there and became a lawyer. There was no doubt which side any of the brothers would choose with the advent of the Civil War—^Virginia's. George, in fact, had organized his Riflemen in anticipation of the coming hostilities. Then, with the war really imminent, according to George S. Patton Jr. s recent biographer Ccirlo D'Este, the ejirUer George and his family moved back to the Patton ancestral home in Culpeper, Va. "The Patton homestead became a beehive of activity as the family prepared for war en masse," wrote D'Este in Patton: A Genius for War. "While the women made ponchos and uniforms, the Patton men went about the grim business of preparing themselves for war." Then came the fighting itself, withfiveof the seven brothers directly taking of them, William, as a member of the VMI Cadet Corps that fought at New Market, Va. AS THE WAR GROUNO on, Taz survived the Seven Days' battles outside Richmond. He was wounded at Second Manassas and fought in the first two days at Gettysburg. On the third, though, he heroically led his regiment in Pickett's Charge far up the hill, suffered a mortal wound and was captured. He died days later. His brother George also fought in major battles as a regimental leader— New Market and Cold Harbor immedi-

ately come to mind—but spent most of his combat time in the small-scale, mean little battles that marked the war in southwestern and western Virginia. He was badly wounded in the arm and captured at Scary Creek in 1861. Refusing to have his arm cimputated, he was paroled, recuperated, then went back to war. He stayed on his feet until a fatal wounding on September 19, 1864, in the Third Battle of Winchester. He and Tazwell share a common grave in the same city's Stonewall Cemetery. Thus the George S. Patton of World War n fame could claim a proud family history of brave military sendee.. .and let it go at that. But he didn't. For the 20th century Patton, wrote D'Este, "was an ancestor worshiper...whose veneration of his forefathers verged on obsession. He saw himself as the modem embodiment of his heroic Confederate antecedents." And that he was in many ways, if on far greater scale. Like his 19th-century namesake who anticipated the Civil War, the 20th-century Patton was so overprepared that he spent time in 1913 scouting the back roads of Normandy with a Michelin map. Rather than Normandy, his crowning achievement would be the Bulge and the incredible feat he pulled off by sending his Third Army to Bastogne on wintry, enemy-clogged roads with practically no advance notice. Even his old rival Omar Bradley was moved to extol Patton's generalship. Bradley had it dead right when he described it as "one of the most brilliant performances by any commander on either side in World War U." True and deadright.Except for the 20thcentury Patton's early perception of the threat and his bold planning, the Battle of the Bulge 60 years ago very well might have become a terrible defeat rather than a great Allied victory.. .rather than George S. Patton Jr.'s finest hour, as well.


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