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Should They Have Known?


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JStudebaker #41 Posted 25 February 2016 - 03:46 PM

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If you want an interesting perspective on the war, read Memoirs of a Dutch Mudsill. It's the edited writings of John Henry Otto. He was a Prussian officer who had come to America and ended up enlisting. He joined the 21st Wisconsin when it formed up and marched with them till the end of the war. It's especially interesting to me because My Great Great Grandfather also joined the 21st when it formed and served the entire war with his company.

 

One rather interesting event was when some runaway slaves came into their camp. The slave hunters came looking for them but no one would turn the slaves over. This was early in the war so they still had some rights to reclaim their "property". Different accounts say why the General acted like he did, but the entire 21st was mustered up without their guns. The three other regiments in camp with them were ordered to surround them with guns ready. So, they were basically ordered at gun point to turn over the slaves. Several soldiers who had thrown rocks and stuff at the slave hunters and officers trying to help the slavers turned themselves in but they never got the runaways.

 

There are a lot of accounts like that, from both a soldier and officer point of view. Also very interesting when they go marching with Sherman. Not the South's version of raping and pillaging but definitely total war.



Section47ABH #42 Posted 25 February 2016 - 05:10 PM

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View PostJStudebaker, on 25 February 2016 - 02:33 PM, said:

 

Just don't tell anyone out of town what your football allegiance is or they'll beat the snot out of you. 

 

 

 

That's mostly just Milwall and Aston Villa supporters.  The rest of it's just banter - unless you admit to following Manchester United, in which case actual football fans drag you off to be swum for witchcraft or gibbeted, depending on what part of the country you're actually in.
Terranis Holds.  FOR THE EMPEROR!

NSW Mntd Rifles #43 Posted 01 March 2016 - 11:34 PM

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The Australian colonies were very grateful for the US Civil War. The Union blockade of the Confederate states pushed the price of Australian wool through the ceiling. 

Section47ABH #44 Posted 01 March 2016 - 11:45 PM

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It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good, after all.
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NSW Mntd Rifles #45 Posted 01 March 2016 - 11:54 PM

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Perhaps I have missed it amongst all the side comments but this thread seems to have ignored the fact that Great Britain and her Empire had fought at least one war with modern weapons. In the Second South African War (aka The Boer War), which went from 1899 to 1902, British and Empire troops came up against modern artillery, machine guns and the deadly accuracy of bolt action rifles - a far more technologically advanced scenario than the US Civil War. Massive flanking movements by large columns of cavalry and mounted infantry carried the day in The Boer War, which eventually degenerated into guerrilla warfare.

 

My understanding of the conduct of the British and Empire armies in The Great War is that the officer cadre were heavily indoctrinated with the lessons of the South African and other colonial wars. Rapid movement and breakthrough were tactical doctrines that determined much of the higher planning in The Great War. These doctrines worked wonders in the conflict against Turkey in Egypt, Palestine and Syria but proved disastrous in France where the Germans invested enormous resources in strong defensive systems with multiple secondary lines. Haig and his cronies, who rarely bothered to look at conditions in the front line, hankered for the great breakthrough that would allow the cavalry to sweep all the way to Berlin. In their heads the infantry and artillery were merely to be used as battering rams to achieve the breakthrough. Hence the senseless parade of offensives that were renewed over and over, regardless of failure. The mindless cronyism of the British class system exacerbated the problem. It took a Jewish engineer and part-time soldier from Australia to develop tactics appropriate to the situation. 

 

I know that many in my country (Australia) regard Haig and his confederates as criminals.


Edited by NSW Mntd Rifles, 01 March 2016 - 11:59 PM.


NSW Mntd Rifles #46 Posted 01 March 2016 - 11:55 PM

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View PostSection47ABH, on 02 March 2016 - 09:45 AM, said:

It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good, after all.

 

Indeed! India was also a great beneficiary of the US Civil War.

JStudebaker #47 Posted 03 March 2016 - 04:41 PM

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This is what I like to hear about. Even with America's shorter history they don't have time in school to teach you everything. It all gets condensed into a highlight real. Forget about what was happening anywhere else in the world. I had heard of the Boer War but until now couldn't of told you what continent it took place on. All good stuff.

NSW Mntd Rifles #48 Posted 04 March 2016 - 01:10 AM

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View PostJStudebaker, on 04 March 2016 - 02:41 AM, said:

This is what I like to hear about. Even with America's shorter history they don't have time in school to teach you everything. It all gets condensed into a highlight real. Forget about what was happening anywhere else in the world. I had heard of the Boer War but until now couldn't of told you what continent it took place on. All good stuff.

 

My gamer tag is the name of the unit my Great Grandfather fought with in The Boer War. The New South Wales Mounted Rifles was an all volunteer unit formed in January 1900 and were sent to Cape Town by the end of that month. The British so desperately needed mounted troops that they were sent into action almost immediately. They joined the massive mounted force being marshalled by Lord Roberts at Paaderberg for a flanking movement to take Bloemfontein, capital of The Orange Free State. Over a period of ten days from 4 March the New South Wales Mounted Rifles were involved in a great mounted flanking movement that took the British into Bloemfontein. This memorable ride, punctuated by some small engagements with the enemy, was accomplished at the expense of an amount of suffering by both men and horses. There was little sustenance available on the almost waterless veldt and horses were given only about one kilogram of oats per day.

 

The men’s rations, which had been “one loaf of bread a day … one pint (600ml.) of coffee or tea for breakfast, one pint of soup for dinner, with a bit of meat in it, and for tea the same as for breakfast” 10, were greatly reduced for the march. Only what could be carried was eaten and the men had three biscuits a day, about 250 grams of tinned beef, and one quart (1,200ml.) of tea. On many days this was reduced even further. Water, when found, was mostly undrinkable and many men sickened after sampling the brackish contents of farm dams or waterholes.

 

Horses and men were given a chance to rest after the army occupied Bloemfontein on 13 March. The army camped there for seven weeks while supplies and fresh horses were sent up from Capetown and the Modder River. The Australian units in Robert’s mounted force had lost a great many horses and were partially blamed for treating them badly. However, such was the haste with which the new units were sent into action that the horses had not been given time to acclimatise. They were therefore unable to cope with the rigours of the hard march. The next great advance captured Pretoria, capital of the Transvaal Republic. This march took a full month, involved more fighting and the traverse of greater distances than had been covered on the march to Bloemfontein. Shortages of food and water, and disease afflicted the soldiers and horses.

 

The advance to Pretoria contained its fair share of suffering but this was in some ways compensated for by the spectacle of marching with one of the greatest British mounted forces ever assembled. The Boers burnt the veldt as they retreated and the army advanced like the Children of Israel, preceded by a great column of smoke in the day, and by night the glow of a great fire. One of the most inspiring events of that march occurred on the evening of the 24 May. That day the army had just crossed the Vaal River and entered the Transvaal. There was singing in the different regimental camps all evening and, when the order for lights out was given, “regiment after regiment took up the national anthem” (God Save the Queen). It was estimated “that 40,000 men would have joined in the homage of the fighting army” to Queen Victoria on what was to be her last birthday. This incident appears to have been a rather rare example of campfire revelry. Wood for cooking or warmth was scarce and manure, the only other combustible material available, was rarely more sufficient than to warm the men’s dinner. Journalist A.B. Paterson observed that the “soldiers campfire with a merry chorus is a fraud … the men are too tired to do anything but eat their usual meal and go to bed at once”.

 

Bed was generally on the ground beneath the stars. Tents were scarce and there was almost no natural cover in the open country. Occasionally pieces of galvanised iron were scrounged and primitive lean-tos constructed, but the sky was more often than not the only roof above the weary soldiers as they slept in their clothes. Washes were few and far between and lice became a chronic problem. There was almost no way to eradicate the vermin but one method adopted by harassed troopers was to place their clothing across an ant nest, allowing the small predators to devour the lice. The Valsche River provided an opportunity for a wash and here the Australians and Canadians in the column availed themselves of the water to have a good scrub using sand and gravel instead of soap. English troops accompanying the colonials sat on the banks and watched their antics with great amusement. 

 

This is an extract from my biography of my Great Grandfather. My sources for this included: Field, M., 1979. "The Forgotten War"; Wallace, R., 1976. "The Australians at the Boer War."; 1st NSW Mounted Forces [online] My Great Grandfather's QSA (Queen's South Africa) Service Medal includes bars for actions fought in the following places: Witterbergen, Diamond Hill, Johannesburg, Driefontein & Cape Colony. I wore this medal, and my father's Second World War service medals, to the 2015 ANZAC Day Dawn Service recognising the 100th anniversary of the landing of Australian and New Zealand troops on the Gallipoli Peninsula. I will also wear them to this year's ANZAC Day Dawn Service.


Edited by NSW Mntd Rifles, 04 March 2016 - 01:22 AM.


JStudebaker #49 Posted 04 March 2016 - 05:38 PM

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History like this means a lot more when it's family history. My Great Great Grandfather who served during the US Civil War only passed down one story during the war. That was his first battle where his entire regiment was poorly positioned between the lines and fired on from both sides. He apparently never told my Grandfather anything else about the war. But, we did inherit several of his promotion papers, discharge papers, and a print of Abraham Lincoln given to him when he was discharged. I've learned a lot more about his regiment and had the chance to stand where he stood on that first battlefield. That influenced me when I started this thread.

 



NSW Mntd Rifles #50 Posted 04 March 2016 - 07:44 PM

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My great grandfather was estranged from our family after a nasty divorce in 1891. His life was a mystery to us and I know what I know of him through years of research. I was fortunate to be given mementos of him by his eldest daughter from his second marriage. He was a dance teacher and is apparently famous amongst dance historians! I also have in my possession the letter sent to my great great grandparents in Mittagong by the New South Wales Military Forces after he was wounded in action.






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