Something From History You Probably Never Knew...

4(T)

LE
I always understood that it was height requirements that were an issue to enlistment and most were fit enough (barring usual issues like eyesight etc).
As a bit of a thread drift, we had a lad binned off a Chieftain driving course as he simply wasn‘t strong enough to lift the back decks. That was the story, anyway.

I have a couple of SMLEs with "B" bantam stocks fitted. These are 1/2" shorter than "short" and 1" shorter than "normal". Evenso, the rifle without bayonet fitted would only have been about eight or ten inches shorter than the bloke it was issued to.

Drill must have been, er, unusual, especially with bayonets fitted.
 
Wasn't Lt Calley of the My Lai hearts and minds episode someone who wouldn't have made officer but for the war?
Calley failed Basic land navigation (now we all joke about entry officers being lost but he actually was), he failed the 2nd time as well. BUT officers shortages being what they were he was passed on. At the time Successful Platoon leaders in RVN spent 6 months on the line leading platoons and then sent to staff positions involuntarily. so Good officers were scarce

He was supposed to be a company clerk, but scored high enough on the AFQT to be accepted into OCS (Officer Candidate School)
 
Wasn't Lt Calley of the My Lai hearts and minds episode someone who wouldn't have made officer but for the war?
Apparently.
Didn't stop them from promoting him from 2/Lt to 1/Lt though.

ETA: Wiki says 2nd Lt but I am sure he was promoted 1st Lt just before his trial.
 
Last edited:

Pteranadon

LE
Book Reviewer
@Pteranadon @4(T) Thanks for that. That was pretty much how I understood it. I'm trying to remember where I read the other bit, although I would imagine many shorties may have had other health problems.

I've just finished 'The complete McAuslan' and GMF mentions the short Glaswegians, something like

'Once the biggest men in the UK now stunted by three generations of poverty'.

Then says that regular feeding and training saw them bulk out and some gain height. Possibly at 17-18 they may not have finished growing (plus 'Stand up straight you 'orrible little man!!' stuff).
My grandfather served in 17th (Bantam) Lancashire Fusiliers. He survived the Somme but fell sick to some lurgy that meant he had to go back to the UK, which is where he met my mothers mother. He was always a short-arse. My childhood memory of him and my mothers mother together was a cartoon from a seaside postcard.
 
Apparently.
Didn't stop them from promoting him from 2/Lt to 1/Lt though.

ETA: Wiki says 2nd Lt but I am sure he was promoted 1st Lt just before his trial.
Like Slick Sleeve Private to PFC an automatic promotion due to time in service its not a meritorious promotion. And since he had not been convicted at that time it had to go forwards

From the court-martial transcripts-


Specification 1: In that First Lieutenant William L. Calley, Jr. ...did, at My Lai 4, Quang Ngai Province, Republic of South Viet-Nam, on or about 16 March 1968, with premeditation, murder an unknown number, not less than thirty, Oriental human beings, males and females of various ages, whose names are unknown, occupants of the village of My Lai 4, by means of shooting them with a rifle.

Specification 2: In that First Lieutenant William L. Calley, Jr...did, at My Lai 4, Quang Ngai Province, Republic of South Viet-Nam, on or about 16 March 1968, with premeditation, murder an unknown number, not less than seventy, Oriental human beings, males and females of various ages, whose names are unknown, occupants of the village of My Lai 4, by means of shooting them with a rifle.

Specification 3: In that First Lieutenant William L. Calley, Jr...did, at My Lai 4, Quang Ngai Province, Republic of South Viet-Nam, on or about 16 March 1968, with premeditation, murder one Oriental male human being, whose name and age is unknown, by shooting him with a rifle.

Specification 4: In that First Lieutenant William L. Calley, Jr...did, at My Lai 4, Quang Ngai Province, Republic of South Viet-Nam, on or about 16 March 1968, with premeditation, murder one Oriental human being, an occupant of the village of My Lai 4, approximately two years old, by shooting him with a rifle.




 
Like Slick Sleeve Private to PFC an automatic promotion due to time in service its not a meritorious promotion. And since he had not been convicted at that time it had to go forwards

From the court-martial transcripts-


Specification 1: In that First Lieutenant William L. Calley, Jr. ...did, at My Lai 4, Quang Ngai Province, Republic of South Viet-Nam, on or about 16 March 1968, with premeditation, murder an unknown number, not less than thirty, Oriental human beings, males and females of various ages, whose names are unknown, occupants of the village of My Lai 4, by means of shooting them with a rifle.

Specification 2: In that First Lieutenant William L. Calley, Jr...did, at My Lai 4, Quang Ngai Province, Republic of South Viet-Nam, on or about 16 March 1968, with premeditation, murder an unknown number, not less than seventy, Oriental human beings, males and females of various ages, whose names are unknown, occupants of the village of My Lai 4, by means of shooting them with a rifle.

Specification 3: In that First Lieutenant William L. Calley, Jr...did, at My Lai 4, Quang Ngai Province, Republic of South Viet-Nam, on or about 16 March 1968, with premeditation, murder one Oriental male human being, whose name and age is unknown, by shooting him with a rifle.

Specification 4: In that First Lieutenant William L. Calley, Jr...did, at My Lai 4, Quang Ngai Province, Republic of South Viet-Nam, on or about 16 March 1968, with premeditation, murder one Oriental human being, an occupant of the village of My Lai 4, approximately two years old, by shooting him with a rifle.




Thanks, I thought I was imagining it and it goes to show how inaccurate Wikipedia can be.

As for his promotion, I hear what you say, very much like the British system for 2Lt to Lt.
Still, goes to show that even recognised incompetency was no bar to promotion however 'automatic' the system is.
I suppose our system does the same.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
Thanks, I thought I was imagining it and it goes to show how inaccurate Wikipedia can be.

As for his promotion, I hear what you say, very much like the British system for 2Lt to Lt.
Still, goes to show that even recognised incompetency was no bar to promotion however 'automatic' the system is.
I suppose our system does the same.
My troop leader (2Lt) and vehicle commander (I'd actually just moved up to squadron leader's driver) misplaced his SMG (it's actually a very long story).

I was in Tidworth MRS with gut rot. Entire squadron less me was digging up the Plain looking for it. Was never found.

Upshot. In front of CO. "It's unacceptable, Mr Rommel. You need to consider handing in your commission."

"Shan't be doing that, Colonel."

"Well I'll have to have you court martialled."

Adj. "Can't do that (on some technicality) Colonel."

"Bugger. Oh. You served your time as 2Lt. Take a promotion."
 

Zhopa

War Hero
You say that but...I know two USN aviators. I know this is not the Vietnam generation, but their training is not as technical as you may think. They learn how to fly, but not about aerodynamics or aeronautical science. One of them explained to me how they were taught the Bernoulli principle with a series of slides showing some stick men pushing up and others pushing down. This was used as the model and the stick men cropped up for all flight configurations, attitudes and met. However, they practiced a lot, a real lot, until their aircraft and its capabilities became an instinctive extension of themselves. Also, if you f4ck up three times you get grounded.
This makes sense. The distinction made in the book was more about basic stick-and-rudder aptitude and skill: USN pilots not only had to fly better to make the cut, but actually learned a lot more in terms of tactics and basic fighter manoeuvres, and then were able to apply that learning in practice because it was, as you say, ingrained. There is much else in there about lessons that had been rapidly and wilfully unlearned (again) since the previous round of genuine air-to-air combat in which the US was involved.

On the "theory" side of training: the part that I found astonishing a few years back regarding USAF pilot training (or maybe it's only astonishing to me because I'm really, really old) was not learning basic navigation, and consequently being totally dependent on exquisite onboard systems to tell them where they are and where they are going and when they will arrive there. I once watched an air display by the Blades with an ex-USAF friend, and when they converged on the field from different directions to meet up perfectly synchronised she asked how they could possibly do that without Link-16.

I did read a few years ago that that had been recognised as a problem so basic nav was being re-introduced in training, in order that pilots are not quite so utterly screwed if their computers fall over or suffer battle damage. I wonder what the situation is now.
 
I always understood that it was height requirements that were an issue to enlistment and most were fit enough (barring usual issues like eyesight etc).
As a bit of a thread drift, we had a lad binned off a Chieftain driving course as he simply wasn‘t strong enough to lift the back decks. That was the story, anyway.
We had a lad who arrived as a gunner, unfortunately he was not able to open the breech, he was In receipt of a special milk supplement to his usual scoff to build him up, it didn’t work he became a clerk.
 
History related - Motte and Bailey, as well as being an early form of castle layout, is a rhetorical technique or fallacy used in arguments as a sort of inverted straw man

 

Zhopa

War Hero
Thank you. I tried reading that. I wonder if there are other explanations of it with subtitles for the hard of thinking.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
It seems 15th Hussars weren't the last regular regiment of cavalry to wade into rioters (think Peterloo).


I do believe (or a.meringue?) 3rd Dragoon Guards became 3/6 Carabiniers, became Scots DG.
 
It seems 15th Hussars weren't the last regular regiment of cavalry to wade into rioters (think Peterloo).


I do believe (or a.meringue?) 3rd Dragoon Guards became 3/6 Carabiniers, became Scots DG.
I think the regiment just prior to amalgamation with the Scots Grey was known as 3rd Dragoon Guards (The Carabiniers).
 
The War of 1812 against the US came from an attempt to stop slavery and UK's only assassinated Prime Minister, Perceval was likely killed by slavery supporting scousers...
 

quadrapiper

Clanker
The War of 1812 against the US came from an attempt to stop slavery and UK's only assassinated Prime Minister, Perceval was likely killed by slavery supporting scousers...
With the possible exception of sorting out the corsairs, they seem to have had a remarkable run of luck in starting wars only against the weak or the distracted, from their inception on. Should really spend more time thanking Bourbons and Bonaparte for keeping the Empire otherwise occupied.
 
Naval, rather than Military. Relevant, though.

1867 - Sweet Fanny Adams

24th August. Young Fanny Adams from Alton was cruelly murdered and partly dismembered. At that time the process of tinning meat for the Navy was still in its infancy and the rumour spread that parts of young Fanny were tinned for consumption by the navy in the Victualling factory at Gosport. Tins of meat quickly became known as tins of Sweet Fanny Adams.


The empty tins, often called “fannies”, found a use in the Dockyard as containers for liquids such as tea. Later, when training centres for apprentices were established in the Dockyard, Coppersmith and Plumber apprentices would earn a few extra shilling by making copper tea fannies for dockyard men that could be filled with water and boiled on rivet fires. These came in various sizes from a one man to a 10 man fanny.

 
Just had this pop up. I'm familiar with some of the names, but not the real events. Getting from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada is quite a feat.

'Pirates, shipwrecks, mutiny, and murder are hallmarks of fictional swashbuckling adventures. But they were also features of an ill-fated French expedition to colonize part of North America. Now, human bones discovered in the wreckage of the expedition’s flagship are adding a new level of mystery to the story thanks to cutting-edge DNA analysis.

'In 1682, French explorer René-Robert Cavelier de La Salle explored and claimed the Mississippi region for France, naming it La Louisiane after King Louis XIV. Two years later, La Salle set sail from France with 400 sailors and colonists aboard four ships, intending to colonize the mouth of the Mississippi River.

'But the expedition didn’t go according to plan. Privateers plundered one ship en route and the remaining vessels, including the flagship La Belle, mistakenly landed at Matagorda Bay, some 650 kilometers southwest of the Mississippi in what is now Texas. Then one ship ran aground and another returned to France, leaving only La Belle afloat to support the remaining expedition.

'After several failed attempts to locate the Mississippi, La Salle started building a settlement inland called Fort St. Louis. In 1686, however, La Belle was sunk by a storm while anchored in the bay, taking the expedition’s remaining provisions with it. Ultimately, La Salle led a party to seek help, but mutineers murdered him before turning on each other. Later, the few colonists in Fort St. Louis who had survived hunger and disease were killed by the local Karankawa people.

'Details of the doomed expedition exist in accounts written by the expedition’s chronicler, Henri Joutel, and five other survivors who reached Canada before sailing back to France. But it was only in 1995 that archaeologists found and recovered La Belle and its contents. Much of the ship had decomposed long before, but the bottom third survived buried in mud which, lacking oxygen, prevented aerobic organisms such as shipworms from consuming the wood and other organic matter.'


 

New Posts

Latest Threads

Top