You Might be a Terrorist

RMS LusitaniaLast night I found out I was a terrorist…

Yep, I. You see I was at my synagogue’s book club and we were working on the summer reading list for the congregation. One of the members offer a new book on the RMS Lusitania when three members of the club started in on the fact that the submarine captain and crew  were terrorists as they were willing to not only sink the Lusitania but fire a second torpedo to ensure that more women and children were killed. I also found out the he refused to fire a third torpedo as he meet his quota of dead women and children. That was from a movie/documentary.

I smiled at the Rabbi and bit my tongue.

Afterwards talking to the chair of the committee and my Rabbi I brought up that I found out that I was a terrorist as I was willing to follow lawful orders on a submarine. Also I pondered how many other terrorists is part of the congregation. They both knew my back story and were willing to let it go, just ramblings of women who had not idea of the context.

I mean the passengers knew they were heading into a war zone, that submarines were sinking ships and that this war was going on for almost a year. It was in most of the newspapers. It would be like me wanting to go to the archeological site in Syria and be surprised that people were shooting. I mean I am an American so I am protected, right? Do I feel for the loss of the passengers and crew of the Lusitania, yes I do, but we all have to remember context and the fact that service men are often asked to do things most people would refuse or at least find distasteful.

I will now get off my soap box.

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Camp Colt

This past weekend my wife and I spent some time out at Gettysburg enjoying long walks, watching our dog Maya try to find the latest new smell and did some antiquing. In the off season Gettysburg can be very relaxing. I was not thinking at all about my project dealing with The Great War when we drove out on Friday evening.

That changed Saturday morning when I took Maya out for her morning stroll. Within a stone throw away from our hotel was a plaque showing a picture of Camp Colt, used to train American in armored warfare in 1917-19 commanded by Captain Eisenhower.

Camp Colt

I knew Eisenhower was doing that here in the states as Patton was doing similar training in France. The funny thing about this is that Camp Colt took up the entire battlefield that we now associate with Pickett’s Charge. I do wonder what if anything is left under the soil
from this time.

So with me o the lookout for a good map I have a new project, that has some potential for The Great War as well as wargaming. (By the way did you know the USMC refought the Battle of Gettysburg in 1922? I didn’t.)

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Harlem Hellfighters

With multiple book releases on the Harlem Hellfighters (and a possible movie) my only question is where are the 15mm miniatures. Will Peter Pig be releasing an American line in time to paint them for the Centenary of 1917-18? How about a new army for Flames of War?

hero_hell_fighters_headerTaking part in Champagne, Marne, Meuse, Argonne, Champagne 1918, Alsace 1918 suffering 1,500 casualties with only 900 replacements this long serving regiment (serving for six months in the line) should make an appearance on the gaming table in 2017-18.

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Stereoptic Cards

Here is the second card. I have looked through the ones I have and the cards fall into two categories. Staged events or posed shots around an artillery piece or a camp. The fact that the individuals in these images were veterans of the conflict makes me wonder what they thought of having these images taken.

C2a

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Stereoptic Cards

C1bMany years back my Grandmother gave me a gift that she was unaware how much an impact it was to have on me. It came about because I had bought a stereoptic card and I wanted to borrow a viewer. Well my Grand Parents had one and I headed over to view my new purchase.

After seeing the USS Oregon in 3D I thanked them and after a short visit I was planning to head home. Much to my surprise I was offered both the viewer and their cards. I knew no one had ever shown much interest in these. After trying to refuse I took the purchase home. I had used the viewer on several occasions but never spent a lot of time looking at their cards that is until last year.

While getting ready for the Centenary of The Great War, I saw several cards online dealing with the conflict. After going back to my cards, I found a dozen or so cards in my own collection. So over the next few weeks I will share these on both my blog as well as on Twitter.

Let me know what you think.

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The Wait is Over

MuavenetiMilliyeA hundred years ago, less two days the Breslau bombarded the Black Sea port of Theodosia. A hundred and two days from now Grand Vizier expressed regret to Allies for the operations of their Navy. It is not enough. War in on in the Middle East, and the world has changed in ways no one would of thought possible in 1914.

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On to Baghdad

11877330_f520As the Germans advanced deeper into France the British Empire was unifying to assist the home islands. The Indian Army while looking to support operations in east Africa and in France also looked at protecting the oil refineries in Mohammerah for the Royal Navy.

The Persian Gulf for decades was considered the domain of the Royal Navy and the Indian Army. It surprised no one when the HMS Espiegle and HMS Dalhousie arrived in the Shatt-al-Arab protecting British interests.

While the Ottomans were concerned at this intrusion in what they considered their territorial waters they lacked a navy to enforce their claims.

On the 5th of November the Indian Expeditionary Force ‘D’ arrived to protect the facilities and the next day landed at the old fort at Fao.

This blog will follow the advance north to Baghdad in real time using historical sources, period media and miniatures. Lots of miniatures. Together we will fight the battles as the Indian Army advances On to Baghdad.

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WWI Aviation is Back

Sopwith_1-half-Strutter_SN-940-3-Wing-RNAS-FSL_Raymond_Collishaw-Sept-1917-600pxI am pleased to see Will Boucher’s Blog WWI Aviation Illustration is back after a 241 day hiatus. He has produced so many great aircraft art pieces that are a boon to modelers and gamers.

He has started out with two posts on aircraft dear to many interested in the period.

Sopwith Aircraft – Part 1
Fokker DVII

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

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Battle of the Mons

mons15-lToday is the 100th anniversary for the Battle of the Mons. While not the first or the largest battle of The Great War, it was the largest so far for the British Expeditionary Force (BEF).

The British held a strong position along the Mon-Conde Canal. This was sacrificed with the pull back of Lanrezac’s Fifth Army. Communication between the allies was not what it should have been. By the afternoon the BEF was ordered to retreat. As this was done in the face of von Kluck’s First Army a number of sharp rear guard skirmishes occurred.

As the Germans held the field at the end of the day it should be considered a German victory. Yet for all of their numbers von Kluck’s First Army was unable to destroy the BEF. That in itself makes it a victory for the British. A costly victory.

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The Rules of the Game

bookAfter a very long slog, I have finally finished The Rules of the Game by Andrew Gordon. The subtitle “Jutland and British Naval Command” I found to be misleading.

While many parts of the book are good and interesting there is more emphasis placed on the issues of signaling and the culture around it. The reader finds that advancement in the Victorian and Edwardian Navies is based more on status and how well a ship is dressed than actually fighting the ship. Fire control and signals are shown to be not far removed from Nelson and Trafalgar.

This issue of command and signal development is set back after the HMS Camperdown sank the HMS Victoria. While the reason why this happened takes up a quarter of the book, it is enough to say that the development of simplified signals stopped and the officers of the Mediterranean Fleet (the most important in the prewar Royal Navy) were tainted over any new changes. This affects the Battle of Jutland in how orders were received and carried out.

What I ended up taking away from this book is an interest in reading seven books found in Gordon’s bibliography and several pages of notes on early wireless signals. I found a connection here as in the Edwardian navy wireless was part of the torpedo (my old stomping grounds) school and not signals.

A sub plot of this book is watching the rise of the commander of the 5th Battle Squadron, Rear Admiral Hugh Evan-Thomas. Sir Thomas had close connections to the royals and their influence is seen on his and other careers. Unfortunately he was also made into a pawn in the Beatty – Jellicoe feud that occurred after the battle and well into the Inter-War period.

I will only add that if you are knowledgeable on the Battle of Jutland this can be an interesting read. If you are a novice please stay away.

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