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Author Topic: PzLdr History Facts  (Read 26201 times)
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apples
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« Reply #360 on: January 08, 2018, 01:21:14 pm »

I just love the old gangster ones you do.
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« Reply #361 on: January 08, 2018, 01:29:57 pm »

It has been called a battle. It has been called a massacre. It has been blamed on the Army, particularly the 7th Cavalry. It has, occasionally, been blamed, in part on the Indians involved. But it has never been blamed on the proximate causes that brought the two sides together a t wounded Knee, militant Lakota who perverted the teachings of a Paiute mystic, and Indian Agents with a lack of spine worthy of serving in the congress.

By 1886, the Indian Wars were largely over, insofar as actual hostilities taking place. Geronimo, Naiche and the last of the Chiricahua Apaches had been sent to Florida. Peace reigned over the western part of America. but peace didn't mean happiness. The Indians were undergoing a traumatic change to their culture, their way of life, and their very existence. Once free roaming, they were confined to reservations. The buffalo were, for all extent and purposes, gone. The cultural marks for advancement for the men, hunting, horse staling and war were denied them. Their children were taken to "Indian Schools", like Carlisle, and shorn of their hair, their tribal identification, and their languages. In short, it was not a happy time for the tribes.

Enter Wovoka. Wovoka was a Paiute medicine man/mystic, like many before him [see Tecumseh's borther, the 'Prophet', and Neolin]. And like many of his predecessors, Wovoka had a vision, or series of visions, predicting the disappearance of the Whites, and the return of the old ways, via ceremonies involving what became known as the "Ghost Dance" [according to Wovoka, not only the buffalo, but all the dead ancestors would return]. But Wovoka's teachings, which included a jumbled version of Christianity were basically pacifistic. There was no call to violence against the whites.

Enter two Lakota 'envoys', Kicking Bear and Short Bull. The two carried Wovoka's teachings, and how to do the Ghost Dance back to the Lakota reservations. But they threw in one added fillip: According to them, wearing Ghost Shirts made the wearer impervious to bullets. and their version of Wovoka's theology was a sight more militant than it had been when they learned it from Wovoka.

The new religion swept the Sioux reservations. The Indians began almost unending dances. And large numbers of them traveled to the Badlands to spend all their time dancing and praying for the white man's disappearance. And the Indian Agent on the Pine hills reservation panicked. He first sent Indian Police to arrest Sitting bull, who he [wrongly] believed supported the Ghost Dance [Sitting Bull hadn't committed himself]. the result was the death of both Sitting bull, several of his followers and several Indian Police. But as Caesar would say,'the die was cast'. The Army took the field.

On December 28th, 1890, a mixed band of Minneconjou and Hunkpapa Sioux [the latter having fled after Sitting Bull's death], under Spotted Elk, a/k/a Big Foot, met a detachment of the7th Cavalry while traveling to the Pine Ridge reservation. the next day the rset of the 7th arrived.

The Indians were camped in a valley, with the cavalry around them, and a number of Hotchkiss guns surrounding them on the heights.
  As per agreement, the Indians were supposed to surrender their weapons. During that process, several troopers entered Tee Pees searching for weapons. At about the same time, one of the Lakota, allegedly deaf, was found with a rifle on his person. Either through miscommunication, his deafness, the cavalry's conduct, the Ghost Dance preaching, or a combination of all four, a shot was fired, although the perpetrator is, to this day unknown.

In any case, a fire fight erupted, and the Hotchkiss guns began to shell the village [several of the 7th's casualties may have been the result of 'friendly' fire], and groups of Indians fleeing it. By the time order was restored, almost 50 troopers were dead or wounded. But the Lakota had at least 150 dead and 50 wounded [some authors put the death toll higher]. among the dead was Spotted Elk. the survivors were taken to Pine Ridge. The deceased were buried on site in a mass grave. The Indian Wars were over.   

Once again, thank you PzLdr another historic event I always wondered about the whole truth. I think they have done movies about this...but I always take those with a grain of salt.
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« Reply #362 on: January 08, 2018, 03:36:34 pm »

He was Lee's longest serving Corps Commander [Ist Corp]. He broke Pope at Second Manassas, destroyed the Union position at Chickamauga, and commanded [against his will, and counter to his advice] Lee's attack on the center of the Union line at Gettysburg. He was GEN. James Longstreet, and he was born on this day.

Longstreet attended West Point, fought [and was wounded] in the Mexican War, and was commissioned as a Brigadier General in the Confederate Army after resigning his commission in the United States Army. Aside from a stint in the west from Chickamauga to late 1863 with his corps, Longstreet spent his entire career in the East, starting at Bull Run. But it was with the assumption of command of what became known as the Army of Northern Virginia by Robert E. Lee that  Longstreet came into his own.

Commanding one of two infantry Corps in that Army [Thomas 'Stonewall' Jackson commanded the other], Longstreet fought at Second Manassas, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville with distinction. He was so close to Lee that 'Pete' [his nickname from West Point] became known as "Lee's Old Warhorse".

After Chancellorsville, and Jackson's death, with the reorganization of Lee's Army, Longstreet became the senior Corps commander in Lee's Army [Lee restructured his infantry into THREE Corps, with Richard Ewell getting Jackson's old Corps, and Ambrose Powell Hill getting the new Third Corps]. And then it was on to Gettysburg.

Due to the order of march, Longstreet's Corps was the last of the three to arrive at the Gettysburg battlefield, on the afternoon of the second day. His last division [Pickett's] didn't arrive until that night, and was the only unblooded unit in the army  [which was why it led what is known as Pickett's Charge.

Longstreet had counseled, from the beginning of Gettysburg on, that Lee should interpose his Army in a defensive position between The Army of the Potomac and Washington, and force the Union to attack him. but Lee, his 'blood up', would have none of it, and after two days of failures [first Culp's hill, then the Round Tops] decided to attack the Union center on Cemetery Ridge, an attack eerily similar, topographically and otherwise, to the slaughter of the union troops at Fredericksburg some seven months earlier.

Longstreet argued against the attack, to no avail. He then sought to have A.P. hill command the attack, since most of the troops in Pickett's Charge came from hill's Corps. Again, 'No'. Longstreet literally procrastinated to the point where his assent to the request by the Army's artillery  commander to open fire became the order to attack. The results are well known.

In 1864, after his return from the West, Longstreet received a serious throat wound during the Battle of the Wilderness. The enemy commander at the time was Longstreet's friend from the Point, and the husband if one of his cousins, U.S. Grant.

By the time Longstreet returned, some six months later, the handwriting was on the wall. He was with Lee at Appomattox, and renewed his friendship with Grant. And after the war, he became a Republican, accepted several government posts from his friend, and entered several businesses.

But it was during this period that Longstreet became anathema in the South. First, he had become a Republican. Second, during his time  in New Orleans as a Federal government agent, he had led a militia against White rioters. And, third, he challenged the blossoming orthodoxy that developed into "The Lost Cause" in a variety of southern journals and periodicals, i.e. that the Union won the war only because of material advantage, and that Robert E. Lee was without military sin.

Jubal Early started by laying the blame for Gettysburg on Longstreet. Longstreet argued that the fault was Lee's, an argument akin to a mortal sin. And by the time it was over, Longstreet was persona non grata in the land he had fought so hard for.

History has been somewhat kinder to Longstreet than Jubal Early was. Longstreet is now recognized as a good strategist, and a great tactician, a general who anticipated, early on, the advantages of the tactical defenses. But the fact remains that aside from a recently erected statue on the field of Gettysburg, no statue of James Longstreet exists on any Civil War battlefield, nor anyplace in the south he served so valiantly.
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« Reply #363 on: January 08, 2018, 07:27:23 pm »

Montgomery could not rise up to the bottom of Patton's shoe.  How he EVER kept his position is a mystery to me.  He was an utter joke.  Left to his devices, Hitler would have won the war.
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« Reply #364 on: January 08, 2018, 11:31:42 pm »

Montgomery could not rise up to the bottom of Patton's shoe.  How he EVER kept his position is a mystery to me.  He was an utter joke.  Left to his devices, Hitler would have won the war.

Monty kept his position for two reasons. First, he served under Alan Brooke before the war on the imperial General Staff. He also served under him during the withdrawal to Dunkirk, and was left in command of Brooke's Corps when Brooke was pulled out of France first. Brooke became chief of the Imperial general Staff. and like Marshall, he had a little black book of favorites [in his case acolytes]. So when 'Strafer' got was killed before he could assume command of 8th Army at El Alamein when  Auchinleck was relieved by Churchill, Monty assumed command, and took over Auchinleck's plans for the defense of Egypt. Which led to the second reason. Monty won [eventually] at El Alamein. The hallmarks of his future works [pedestrian strategy, overcaution, a tendency to dissemble when losing, or stretch the truth when winning] were overlooked, because the British public was starved for a hero. and since Monty was first through the gate, he got the role [as opposed to Britian''s truly great WW II field commander commanders, Auchinleck and William Slim] - and the immunity from criticism and relief that went with it [although Churchill came close after the press conference].

Montgomery was an adequate general - for World War I. He had no concept of armored warfare [almost no Brit did], and but for the disparity of equipment, Rommel woulod have handed him his ass.  Smiley
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« Reply #365 on: January 09, 2018, 11:52:06 pm »

He was the oldest of the James family children, a reader of Shakespeare, a family man, a farmer, a thief and a murderer. And he was, in his lifetime, and after, overshadowed by his younger brother Jesse. his name was Franklin Alexander James, and he was born on 10 January 1843, in Missouri.

Frank James' father, an itinerant preacher had left the family for the gold fields of Caslifornia, where he died. Frank, younger brother Jess and a half brother were raised by their mother Zerelda's second husband, Rueben Samuels, but Zerelda Samuels was the dominant pafrent, and influence on her sons' lives.

the James' farmed in clay county, Missouri, but they were a slave holding family, and the now Mrs. Samuels was a loud and vociferous supporter of both slavery and the South. so it is no surprise when war broke out, Frank James and his cousin, Coleman 'Cole' Younger, opted to fight for the Confederacy. Frank James and Younger initially fought in a uniformed militia. But James was captured and paroled by Federal forces. Rather than honor the parole, James [and younger], took to the bush, and joined the guerilla band of William Clarke Quantrill [Jesse was too young to join up].

Frank James participated in the raid on Lawrence, Kansas, where some 160+ men and boys were killed by the bushwhackers, and most of the town was burned down. He [and Younger] may then have re-joined regular Confederate forces. but when Quantrill was mortally wounded in Kentucky in 1865, Frank James was with him.

Starting in 1866, Frank and Jesse James [who had served with 'Bloody Bill' Anderson from 1864 on], the Younger brothers and several associates, launched what would be a 15 year crime spree of bank robberies, train robberies, stagecoach robberies and murder that ranged from Alabama to Iowa, from Texas to Minnesota.

And in that decade and a half crime wave, Frank James largely disappeared in the shadow of his younger brother, to the degree that Jesse, a stone killer in his own right, was occasionally blamed for murders Frank  committed, the most notorious being the bank teller in Northfield, Minnesota [Jesse never even entered the bank. He spent the entire time out in the street].

Northfield was the James-younger gang's Waterloo. All three youngers were captured, and sentenced to life in Stillwater prison. all the associates on the raid were killed. The only two to escape were the James boys. And after one further train robbery, both brothers disappeared for what appeared to be good. But Jesse couldn't give up the life [Frank apparently did]. And then Jesse was killed by Bob and Charley Ford, part of the dregs that constituted the last James gang, for a pardon and a sizable reward.

Frank James surrendered, survived trials in several states, and an extradition request from Minnesota, and spent the rest of his life on the straight and narrow [including a stint on the "crime doesn't pay" circuit with the then newly paroled Cole Younger. Frank James died hwere it had largely begun, on the family farm in Missouri, in 1915

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« Reply #366 on: January 14, 2018, 08:50:59 am »

He was probably America's greatest field commander in the early part of the revolution. In a sense he was the 'real' father' of the United States Navy. He was the real reason the Americans won the supremely important battle of Saratoga. and yet, he is remembered solely for the act of treason that has led his name, 'Benedict Arnold' to be synonymous in American minds with the word 'traitor'. And he was born on this date in Connecticut in 1741.

Arnold had served with the Colonial militia during the French and Indian War, but gave no sign of the  soldier he would become some dozen years later. Instead, after that war, , although trained as a pharmacist, he became involved in commerce and trade [Arnold opined more than once that he should have been a ship captain than a soldier].

But when the Revolution broke out, Arnold offered his services to the Rebels. And he started his career with two spectacular undertakings, one a success, and one a failure. the first was the seizure of Fort Ticonderoga in cooperation with Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys [Allen took all the credit]. the second was commanding one of two prongs in an attack on Canada.

Arnold's force's line of march took it through Maine, and some of the roughest terrain in the colonies. By the time Arnold reached Quebec, winter had set in. Joined by the second column, which had taken Montreal, commanded by Richard Montgomery, Arnold was forced to launch an attack on Christmas Eve [a large number of his men's enlistments were due to expire]. Montgomery was killed, Arnold was wounded and the attack failed.

Arnold commanded the retreat and got his men out, and then faced the oncoming British on Lake Champlain. Arnold built a flotilla from scratch, and at the battle of Valcour Island managed to delay the British warships long enough for the prevailing winds to shift, forcing the British to return to Canada, and call off durther operations.

Arnold was, by now, one of Washington's favorite generals [He was a brigadier], although he was increasingly hard for Washington to handle. Arnold was headstrong, with an overblown sense of honor, and a VERY hot temper. He did not take slights well. And when several brigadiers junior to him in seniority were promoted over his head, he went ballistic [which played into the hands of his enemies, both political and military].

So to save him, Washington sent him to the northern department [ New York], to serve under Philip Schulyer, a Washington ally, and a general who Arnold knew, and liked, to help defend against a British invasion down Lake champlain led by British General John "Gentleman Johnny" Burgoyne.

But Arnold wasn't the only target of enemies. And Washington's enemies maneuvered Schuyler out of actual command of the Northern Army, in favor of former British officer Horatio Gates  a man who Arnold did NOT get along with.

The result was that  by the second day of the Battle of Saratoga, Arnold was under close arrest in his tent.  But when the British attack on the American left looked like it might succeed, Arnold took to his horse and led a counter-attack, that included sniper Timothy Murphy killing the British attack commander, BG Simon Fraser, on Arnold's direct order.

Arnold broke the British, and took their redoubt. But in the process, he suffered another leg wound, and had his horse fall on his leg. After surgery, his left leg was shorter than his right.

Arnold was then made military governor of Philadelphia when the British withdrew. He was subjected to investigations by both the Pennsylvania legislature and congress over alleged illegalities in huis administration. And Washington was forced, at the direction of Congress to reprimand Arnold. For Arnold it was the last straw.

During his Philadelphia posting, Arnold had married Peggy Shippen, the daughter of a well known Loyalist [Arnold's first wife had died]. Peggy Shippen's former beau was Major John Andre, who was soon to be GEN Clinton's intelligence chief. As a result of his grievances, his wife's loyalties, her spending habits, or all three, Arnold became communicating with Clinton with an eye toward betraying the Americans. and in furtherance of that betrayal, Arnold declined command of the southern Army, based on his wounds, and requested, instead, command of the fortifications of West Point.

Happy to oblige, Washington gave Arnold the command, and but for the fortuitous interception and capture of John Andre at a colonial outpost, with a complete set of the plans for West Point, and a pass signed by Arnold, Washington himself, on the way to inspect the Post, might have been captured by the British, along with the works.

Inadvertently forewarned, Arnold escaped to the British[Andre, in civilian clothes was hanged as a spy]. And as a British Brigadier, Arnold raided Richmond, Virginia, and Norwalk, Connecticut.

After the war, Arnold and his wife were received by George III, but were never accepted by British society. allegedly, no British officer serving with Arnold would speak to him, except in the line of duty. His commercial ventures, after he left the British Army were not particularly successful. His wife wore a locket with a lock of John Andre's hair in it for the rest of her life. four of his sons served as officers in the British Army.

Benedict Arnold supposedly requested that he be, and may have been, buried in the uniform of an American Major General. No monument in the United States bears his name. But at the Saratoga battlefield, there is a pedestal crowned by a marble boot folded over, dedicated to a great American patriot. It stands on the spot where Arnold supposedly fell with his horse crushing his leg. 
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« Reply #367 on: January 16, 2018, 07:54:06 am »

It was the ultimate example of do-gooderism run amok. What started as groups of individual states' temperance groups railing against the pernicious effects of alcohol on American society and individuals had, by 1917, coalesced into a major national political force. And the result was the 18th amendment and the Volstead Act [passed over Wilson's veto] that basically banned the manufacture or sale of alcoholic beverages [with certain exceptions, e.g. religious purposed spirits, medicinal spirits]. It was expected to lead to a better America. and for one segment of society, it did.

Crime, in 1919 was still somewhat penny ante. There were gangs, and there were 'territories'. But the crimes themselves tended to be street level, with extortion and robbery at the top of the list.

Prohibition changed all that. From initially using Canadian liquor, imported by 'rum runners', gangs branched out into manufacture, distribution and sale [via 'speakeasies', and gang controlled saloons] to a public that hadn't gotten the message. and as the money rolled in, the gangs were able to corrupt police and politicians with payoffs. and as more money rolled in, the gangs themselves got bigger, and richer.

The result was that by the end of the 1920s, crime, courtesy of one Charles "Lucky" Luciano was national, AND organized, AND making millions. the profits [and corruption] got bigger. And so did the mob.

By 1933, Prohibition was gone, repealed by the 21st Amendment. But the mob remained.
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« Reply #368 on: January 16, 2018, 08:05:36 am »

His last offensive, the Battle of the Bulge having failed, Adolf Hitler returns to Berlin from the Western Front, and moves his HQ into the air raid bunker that lay below the Reichs Chancellary. Except for no more than three or four occasions, he live never be above ground until after his death on April 30th.

the bunker, a warren of rooms and hallways, forever damp, and humming with the noise of the generators that kept it running, had been built by Speer during the war in the chancellery garden. There were conference rooms, a first aid station, a message center, and a variety of rooms or suites for Hitler, a guard detachment, and others.

Hitler's last appearance [filmed] was in the garden where, his left arm shaking uncontrollably, he awarded Iron Cross 2d degrees to Hitler youth fighting in Berlin.

On April 30th, after marrying his long tome mistress, Eva Braun, Hitler and Braun committed suicide in the Bunker, she by taking cyanide, he by using the poison and a handgun. then, for the last time, Hitler [his body] went above ground where it, and braun were doused in gasoline, and set afire.

Hitler's suicide was not the last bunker death, however. Two generals, Burgdorf and Krebs, shot themselves. And Magda Goebbels, prior to her suicide with her husband, Joseph, murdered their six children. 
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« Reply #369 on: January 17, 2018, 09:59:15 am »

The British strategy of swinging the strategic focus of crushing the American Revolution to the South had begun well enough. The captures of Charleston and Savannah, the battle of Camden, had all been British successes, to the point that Southern Loyalists had come out of the woodwork and joined Gen. Cornwallis' efforts to subdue the Rebels.

But then had come King's Mountain, and the death of Patrick Ferguson, and the virtual annihilation of his entire Loyalist force. Then Horatio Gates, shamed by his epic flight from the Camden battlefield [and his army], was replaced by the far more capable Nathaniel Greene. Cornwallis had a war on his hands.

Greene adopted a strategy of luring Cornwallis further and further from his supply bases, and then split his own army into two columns, forcing Cornwallis to split his.

Commanding one column himself, Greene gave the other to Daniel Morgan, the renowned Virginian who had commanded sharpshooters and infantry from Boston to Saratoga, with orders to head northeast toward a rendezvous in North Carolina.

Fearing [erroneously] an attack on a Loyalist strongpoint, Cornwallis detached his "American Legion", a mixed unit of Loyalists and regulars, cavalry, dragoons and infantry under LTC Banastre Tarleton, and sent them after Morgan.

Tarleton had had a pretty good war. He had captured American General Charles Lee early in the war, had fought with distinction in the campaigns in New Jersey, and had been one of Cornwallis' more aggressive commanders in the south, almost capturing the Governor of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson, in a raid on Richmond.

But Tarleton came with baggage. He was known as "Bloody Ban', and "Butcher Tarleton" for allegedly murdering surrendering American troops at Waxhaws, South Carolina. And the Americans hated him.

Morgan withdrew to an area known as "Hannah's Cowpens", or just simply "the Cowpens" with Tarleton in hot pursuit. With the Broad River to his back, Morgan decided to fight it out.

Commanding a mixed force of militia, regulars and cavalry, Morgan made the best use of his assets and terrain as he could. He posted his regular infantry on rising ground behind two lines of militia. His cavalry was hidden behind the rise.

The key to Morgan's plan was, surprisingly his militia, which constituted over half his force. American militia had established a reputation during the war of cutting and running at the first opportunity. Morgan decided to use that to his advantage. the night before the battle, he visited every militia unit and explained his battle plan to them. And he required that they only fire two volleys at the British before withdrawing behind his regulars.

The next day Tarleton, with slightly over 1,000 men arrived to face Morgan's deployed force,, which was twice as large. Tarleton sent in his infantry. the militia fired their two volleys and withdrew. Seeing this as business as usual for militia, Tarleton ordered a more general attack. Whjich was stopped from fire from Morgan's regulars, who then also withdrew up the rise.

Mistaking this for a rout, Tarleton ordered a general attack, charging with his cavalry and dragoons behind his infantry. But the American regulars suddenly wheeled, and joined by the militia, fired a devastating volley that staggered and halted, the British.

At that point, Morgan's cavalry, commanded by George Washington's cousin, charged into Tarleton's flank. The rout Tarleton had surmised now happened, but his was the force that was routed. Tarleton himself escaped, with less tha 2)% of his attacking force. the rest were either killed or captured [and it took some effort by the American officers to stop the killing, with cries of 'Waxhaws' echoing over the field]. By the time Cornwallis was made aware of the debacle, and sent reinforcements, Morgan had already slipped over the Broad River and moved to rejoin Greene.

Cowpens put paid to Clinton's 'Southern Strategy'. Cornwallis would go on to hold the field against Greene at Guilford Court House, but would lose 25% of his men doing so [he wound up shelling his own line at one point to hold off Greene]. Southern Loyalists lost heart after Cowpens, while Rebel guerillas, like Andrew Pickens, took heart, and set South Carolina aflame.

And after Guilford Court House, coupled with his losses there, King's Mountain, and Cowpens, Cornwallis withdrew northward. To Virginia. to a place called Yorktown. 

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« Reply #370 on: January 19, 2018, 08:49:25 am »

His father was a hero of the Revolution who fell on hard times and abandoned his family. He was connected to George Washington's family by marriage. His estate became one of, if not the, most revered pieces of ground in the United States. He graduated first in his class at West Point, with no demerits. His name was Robert Edward Lee.

Lee was a member of the Virginia aristocracy, but his father's conduct did two things. It left a blot on the Lee name, and it meant that Robert would always hold himself tightly in check [Lee had a bad temper], and develop an austere fa?ade in his public life.

Lee was appointed upon his graduation from West Point, to the Corps of Engineers[as were the top graduates in every class, included George McClellan], and spent his early career working on various building projects, including building coastal fortifications.

But it was in the Mexican War that Lee 'made his bones', and reputation.

Winfield Scott relied heavily on now Captain Lee for reconnaissance of routes and Mexican defensive positions. Lee's dasring and concise reports led to a series of victories for Scott, and a burgeoning reputation for Lee.

Lee next soldiered on the Plains as the XO of the Second Dragoons, a mounted force fighting Indians. From there he went to West Point again, only this time as Commandant.

With the civil War looming, and Lee one of the United States' most distinguished soldiers, Scott, now commander of the Army, and Lincoln, its commander in chief, pursued Lee to accept field command of the Army. With Virginia still neutral after the first wave of secession, Lee sat on the fence [although there is an indication he began negotiating with Virginia over a commission while still in U..S. service]. But once Virginia seceded, Lee threw in with the South.

Lee's first command did not go well. Sent to western Virginia, which seceded from its parent state [and, ironically, which Virginia refused to accept], he fought against McClellan and lost. He then became a military advisor to Jefferson Davis, until the wounding of Joseph Johnston during the Peninsular Campaign led to Lee's assumption of command of what became known as the Army of Northern Virginia. Lee would command it for the rest of the war.

Lee's record as a commander was mixed. The strategy for the Seven Days' Battle was overly complicated, and Lee first showed what could happen when his 'blood was up' at Malverne hill. But Second Manassas, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville were brilliant victories. Antietam was, at best a draw, although the Union held the field when it was over.

But except for Fredericksburg, Lee's battles showed some disturbing patterns. First, he was overly aggressive [somewhat forgivable since static defense wasn't always available to a smaller army like his]. But more importantly, while on each individual occasion, Lee may, and usually did, lose less men than his counterparts in blue, he invariably lost a higher PERCENTAGE of his Army than the Union did. Baldly put, Lee was fighting a war of attrition - and losing.

Lee's failures were epic. A meeting engagement at Gettysburg turned into a three day blood bath principally because Lee's 'blood was up'. The Wilderness Campaign failed to stop Grant, cost Lee his best subordinate for several months [Longstreet], and was, once again, characterized by Lee attacking - in a perfectly good defensive area.

The Wilderness was the last time Lee could engage in a large scale attack. His losses precluded anything more than local attacks [see fort Stedman] for the rest of the war.

When Lee was forced to abandon the Petersburg position after the disaster at Five forks, his retreat was more of an annabis than a clear cut movement. At one point, almost half his Army wound up separated from the main body [a third of them were caught by Custer at Sailor's Creek]. The strategic idea was to join Johnston and the Army of Tennessee to the south. The tactical plan was to get to a train of supplies and rations near Danville [Custer got there first]. When Union cavalry, supported by Union infantry threw themselves across his line of march, the bottle was corked. Lee surrendered on April 9, 1865. It was the end of his military career.

Lee went on to become President of Washington College [now Washington and Lee]. He died there.

Lee is still remembered as one of America's greatest battlefield tacticians. As a tactician, he was a nonpareil. As a strategist, not so much.
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« Reply #371 on: January 20, 2018, 08:27:22 am »

The attendees alone were enough to give one pause, if not freeze the blood. The chair was SS Obergruppenfuehrer [LTG] Reinhard Heydrich, Chief of the Reichssicherheithauptamt [RSHA - Reichs Main Security Office], head of the SS Sicherheitsdienst [SS Security Service], and Himmler's number two man [seen as Himmler's brain by many in the SS]. the secretary for the meeting was SS Sturmbannfuehrer [Major] Adolf Eichmann from Section 4B4 of the RSHA and Gestapo [the Jewish Affairs desk]. In attendance were, among others, the head of the SS Race and Resettlement Office [RuSHA], Wilhelm Stuckart, the author of the Nuremburg Race Laws, Martin Luther, a deputy from Ribbentropp's Foreign Office [who would be arrested for launching a coup to replace his boss, and who provided the only extant copy of the minutes of the conference from his files - all copies were supposed to be destroyed], the head of an SS Einsatzkommando from Latvia, the SS and Police Chief for Poland, various Nazi functionaries from the Government General, and to put a cherry on top of the cake, SS LTGT Heinrich Mueller, Chief of the Gestapo.

The meeting had originally been scheduled for December, 1941, but the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and Hitler's declaration of war on America had rolled it back, and so, ironically, at a mansion seized from a Jewish owner, the cream of both German bureaucracy and thuggery gathered in answer to Heydrich's summons.

And they were summoned for a specific purpose, encapsulated in a short order signed by Hermann Goering in his role as chief of Jewish Affairs. They were there to come up with "The Final Solution to the Jewish Problem" in those areas controlled by the Reich [which included western Europe [minus Britain, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Finland and Sweden], plus Poland, most of the Balkans, and the western parts of the U.S.S.R.

The first item that came out of that meeting was that the solution would be an SS operation. The other ministries would coordinate with the SS, cooperate with the SS, but in reality be subservient to the SS, in solving the 'problem'.

And that solution was death, either by overwork and starvation, or by other means [Heydrich's Einsatzgruppen were well on their way to shooting a million Russian Jews by the end of the first year of war] And the 'other means' discussed included gassing by carbon monoxide [vans, fixed facilities], as well as other types of chemical agents. And preliminary plans regarding camps dedicated to extermination were discussed, as were other means of ending the Jewish presence in Europe [sterilization by X-ray, for example].

Indeed, the principal area of argument regarded the treatment of the 'Mischlinge', those of mixed blood, and what constituted what degree of mixed blood.

But by the end of the some 90 minute meeting [which included a sumptuous lunch], the die had been cast. the Jews of Europe were to be annihilated, with the eastern Jews, either in the villages or ghettos killed first, and the Jews of Western Europe swept up from west to east, and sent to Poland to share their fate. And by 1945, over 6,000,000 Jews had died, the result of a short meeting in a lovely Berlin suburb. 
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« Reply #372 on: January 23, 2018, 10:26:20 am »

U.S.S PUEBLO was a Navy 'Spy Ship", a smaller trawler/freighter sized ship with a crew of 80+, several machine guns and an array of electronic intercept components, coding and decoding machines and sophisticated radio receivers/ transmitters.

On January 23, 1968, Pueblo was either in international waters, or if one chose to believe the North Koreans, in north Korean territorial waters, surveilling North Korea, and gathering intelligence. The ship was then approached, at sped by several north Korean patrol boats [at least three]. the north Koreans demanded that PUEBLO surrender and follow them to North Korea. Pueblo's captain, Lloyd Bucher made some effort to destroy sensitive materials and equipment, but refused to use his weaponry [including .50 caliber machine guns] to fight off the North Koreans [his calls for assistance and air support were to no avail]. The PUEBLO was taken to a North Korean port, where it remains to this day.

The crew was held until December of that year when, Bucher having signed a confession, the entire crew, including one crewman who had died, were returned to the United States via Panmunjon [As a 2LT with the 3/23 INF, of the 2d ID, I was on a hill, like the rest of the troops near the DMZ (2d ID, 7th ID) on full alert.

The United States was humiliated by the PUEBLO incident. North Korea was emboldened. In the next year they killed 14 American soldiers in the Dmz, and shot down an American plane to, IMO, celebrate Kim Il Sung's birthday. 
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« Reply #373 on: January 29, 2018, 08:38:40 am »

The Baseball Writers vote in the first 'class' of Baseball Hall of Famers. The class of five includes George Herman "Babe" Ruth, Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson and Honus Wagner. Of the five, three, if you count Ruth's stellar pitching career with the Red Sox are pitchers [although pitching is NOT why Ruth goes into the Hall]. Wagner goes in as a great all around fielder, Cobb for his hitting [9 consecutive batting titles], Ruth for his slugging and hitting, Mathewson for his wins, and Johnson for his power pitching.

In the voting, Cobb finished first, Ruth and Wagner tied for second, and Mathewson and Johnson brought up the rear. Many others have followed them into the Hall, but they were the first to enter Cooperstown's Hallowed Hall.
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« Reply #374 on: January 29, 2018, 08:56:59 am »

Leutnant Erwin Rommel leads an attack on four French blockhouses in the Argonne, France, by crawling through barbed wire entanglements first [to recon and clear the way], and then leading his company into the attack.

Rommel, who already holds the Iron Class, Second Class, is awarded the Iron Cross, First Class for his actions. He is also transferred to the Wurttenburg Mountain Battalion and out of France. Rommel will go on to participate in Falkenhayn's invasion of Romania [which will knock that country out of the war], and to join the German and Austrian troops in northeast Italy, where, at the battle of Caporetto, Rommel will distinguish himself, capturing the key defensive position of Mount Matajur, and some 9,000 prisoners [including some 90 generals].Rommel will be awarded the "Pour Le Merite", the 'Blue Max' for that battle.

Rommel will survive the personnel cuts imposed on the German Army by the Treaty of Versailles. He will command a company and a ski battalion. He will also become a noted instructor at various war academies, and will write a classic book on infantry tactics, based on his First World War experiences, "Infanterie Greift An!" ['On Infantry Attacks!']. The book brings him to Hitler's attention, and he will command the Army's "Fuehrerbegleitbatallion" in both Czechoslovakia and Poland.

Rommel will then go on to command the 7th Panzer Division in the French campaign of 1940, the Deutsches Afrika Korps, and "Panzerarmee Afrika" in North Africa [1941-1943], and Armee Group 'B' in Northern Italy and France [1943-1944]. Severely wounded in France during a strafing attack, Rommel was implicated in the attempt on Hitler's life and forced to commit suicide [to protect his family].

At the time of his death, Erwin Rommel held the rank of Generalfeldmarschall. His decorations included the Iron Cross, first and Second Class, the Pour Le Merite, the Knights Cross with Swords and Oakleaves, the Tank Fighting Badge, the Wounds Badge in black [five or less wounds]. It was a long road he traversed, from that day in the Argonne long ago.
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You can get more with a smile, a handshake and a gun than you can with a smile and a handshake - Al Capone
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