Booze as a battle winner.

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Pteranadon, Jun 18, 2012.

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  1. I have just attended the Battlefields Trust Waterloo event and a story I heard prompted a thought about the vital military significance of...... BEER.

    The Belgian Tourist Board (Brussels and Wallonia) and the Brasserie Bocq dontated 24 Bottles of Waterloo beer. This 8% electric soup is brewed in a brewery at Braine l'Alleud and the label makes the brave claim to be the same type of beer drunk by Allied troops at the battle of Waterloo.

    This fits with some contemporary stories about the over exuberance of Dutch troops at the end of the battle of Waterloo. After spending all day camped around Braine l'Alleud, the troops of the 1st Brigade of the 3rd Netherlands Division were ordered into battle against the 1/3rd grenadiers of the imperial guard at 7 PM. 'They dashed into the fray shouting "Long live the House of Orange. Long live the King" An officer of the British 2/30th Foot wrote. " a heavy column of Dutch infantry, the first we had seen, passed, drumming and shouting like mad with their shakos on their top of their bayonets near enough on our right for us to see and laugh at them.” Funny or not, the charge was a success, and the Old Guard recoiled.' (Mark Adkins) A painting of this event used to hang in the officers mess of the 1st Armoured Division HQ and Signal Regiment at Wentworth Barracks Herford.

    Now we know why. The British troops spent the 18th June standing in square and being shot at by the French. These Dutch soldiers spent the day tanking themselves up on Auntie Stella’s big sister. The horde of drunken Dutchmen unleashed on the French neither knew nor cared who they were fighting.

    So rewrite the history. The battle of Waterloo may not in fact have been won by the Foot Guards on the playing fields of Eton. It may have been won in the breweries of Belgium.

    Do you know of any other battles where alcohol played a critical factor?
  2. Given the consequences of drinking dubious local water supplies on combat effectiveness, coupled to the process of brewing beer that ensures sterilisation by boiling, it is unsurprising that beer was the drink of choice for the squabbling masses.

    As any self-respecting CWW will tell you. :)
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  3. Mr_Fingerz

    Mr_Fingerz LE Book Reviewer

    Over proof rum played a huge role in the day to day existence of the soldiery of WWI.
  4. Not battles as such but the Commies were held back in the Cold War era by yellow handbags, an SLR and a bottle of Hawaiian Tropic.
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  5. Mr_Fingerz

    Mr_Fingerz LE Book Reviewer

    Not to mention Asbach and Coke, Myers Rum, Du Jardin Brandy and Apfelkorn.

    (Not necessarily in the same glass at the same time).
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  6. You forgot the 200 Regal :)
  7. TheIronDuke

    TheIronDuke LE Book Reviewer

    Oh, shedloads. From the shield walls of my ancestors to battering the **** out of Sunderland supporters in Big Market rammies.

    Do a Google on 'The Royal Navy'? Or better yet, do a Google on John Paul Jones. A Scotsman not afraid of breaking out a dram and giving it some.
  8. animal you :)
  9. Mr_Fingerz

    Mr_Fingerz LE Book Reviewer

    One tries 8)
  10. heathen .... it was Peter Stuyvesant for the masses....
  11. Apfelkorn would give co codamol a headache....
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  12. Mr_Fingerz

    Mr_Fingerz LE Book Reviewer

    Embassy surely?
  13. Most of them, I suspect; as Cloudbuster noted water was very dodgy and everyone drank some form of alcohol until the arrival of affordable tea. European History makes more sense when considered as an international drunken brawl.

    Lincoln, on being asked what he intended to do about Grant's prodigious alcohol consumption, said; "Find out what brand he drinks and send all my generals a case."

    The Indian wars were also largely influenced by the white man's smallpox and firewater.
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  14. It did indeed. After seeing his platoon cut to shreds on the opening day at Messines, my Grandfather calmed his nerves on his ration and that of those "who didn't need it anymore". After a while, he felt sufficiently emboldened to charge the strongpoint responsible for the carnage whereupon he captured 4 machine guns, killed the 8 enemy manning them and was awarded a DCM for doing so. I struggle to see how any sober individual would make the same decision.
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  15. Hardly a fair fight Your Grace. Mackems, being the more intelligent of the Northern Barbarian tribes, rely on their wits not their fists.
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