Insane but in command?

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Hitch, Jun 5, 2007.

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  1. I was told some years ago about a French General in WW1 who commanded his forces from his bed as he believed that his legs were made of glass and that they would shatter should he stand on them.

    Does anyone know who this was or if this is accurate?

    Name that General!
     
  2. Sorry Hitch. Edited as previous poster has been removed.
     
  3. Sorry, thought this was another thread about Bliar :D :D
     
  4. We had madness, recognised by the King no less

    NAM link

    No idea on Gen Grenouille though
     
  5. I read somewhere that at some point Marshal Blucher believed that he was pregnant with an elephant fathered by a French soldier. If this is true he did pretty well in the Waterloo campaign considering he was as mad as rubber.
     
  6. Not just the French who were like this - I'm afraid the name escapes me as of this moment, but a British General in the Napoleonic campaign was raving mental, and fairly useless. Sometime just before the Lines of Torres Vedras (spelling?) were stumbled into by the frogs...
     
  7. I think the story about the glass legs was Blucher - who also once had a delusion that his servents had heated up the floors red hot and he had to move around on the furniture.

    For a time in the Peninsula I think the Light Division was led by a certified lunatic.

    Please Forgive the cut and paste.

     
  8. He had a sense of humour then as well :)
     
  9. Not strictly on thread but a right nutter all the same : Geoffrey Spicer Simpson, commander of the expedition sent to regain control of Lake Tanganyika in WWI.
    Synopsis of the book, named Mimi and Toutou go forth, by Giles Fodden:
    "At the start of World War One, German warships controlled Lake Tanganyika in Central Africa. The British had no naval craft at all upon 'Tanganjikasee', as the Germans called it. This mattered: it was the longest lake in the world and of great strategic advantage. In June 1915, a force of 28 men was despatched from Britain on a vast journey. Their orders were to take control of the lake. To reach it, they had to haul two motorboats with the unlikely names of Mimi and Toutou through the wilds of the Congo. The 28 were a strange bunch -- one was addicted to Worcester sauce, another was a former racing driver -- but the strangest of all of them was their skirt-wearing, tattoo-covered commander, Geoffrey Spicer-Simson. Whatever it took, even if it meant becoming the god of a local tribe, he was determined to cover himself in glory. But the Germans had a surprise in store for Spicer-Simson, in the shape of their secret 'supership' the Graf von Gotzen ... Unearthing new German and African records, the prize-winning author of The Last King of Scotland retells this most unlikely of true-life tales with his customary narrative energy and style. Fitzcarraldo meets Heart of Darkness, this is rich, vivid and flashmanesque in its appeal - military history at its most absorbing and entertaining"
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0141009845/?tag=armrumser-21
     
  10. Must get that book thanks, they sound a right laugh :)
     
  11. Poppy_Travel, I thank you! That was exactly what i was thinking of; same passage and everything! Good work!
     
  12. He may well have been harry barkers but he whopped the boxheads ass good styley. Another fictionalised but impressively coherent account of the same expedition is the novel "Utmost Fish". That African WW1 campaign was quite incredible, not least because of the characters involved and the plucky, stick-at-it-ness of the Hun. Damn bad friend but blo0dy good enemy the wily Hun...
     
  13. Oh and I believe it was Napoleon who when informed one of his favourite generals was Dagenham (two stops past Barking) replied "Good, maybe he will bite some of my other generals..."
     
  14. Its a great story. Some us mention this to recruit platoons from the RLC as part of the RLC heritage. Moving the 60 ton boats Mimi and TouTou is a classic.
     
  15. Taking the MTBs through the jungle was fantastic - but they used traction fecking engines to do it! The Age of Steam...unbelievable...but they did it.