The saddest sight I have ever seen.

#1
The saddest sight I have ever seen is a war graves cemetery in the backwoods of Tunisia. (Visited when I took my son on an 'exercise' to the Western Desert.)

The cemetery is located within sight of a hill on which so many German and British soldiers died . When you look at the hill - a lump of nothing in the middle of nowhere - you have to wonder - why??

What motivated those young men? Why did they think at that time it was important to defend or attack and to die for a poxy hill in the middle of nowhere? And for what?

Sixty years on....will we look back at Iraq or Afghanistan and think the same???

God! I hate politicians for getting us in this mess - again and again!!
 
#2
Everyone has to go sometime and the way I see it, better to die fighting for a 'poxy hill' or die in an old people's home knowing that you once fought for a poxy hill than to reach the end of your life never having done anything except accumulate money and kids.
 
#3
wedge35 said:
Everyone has to go sometime and the way I see it, better to die fighting for a 'poxy hill' or die in an old people's home knowing that you once fought for a poxy hill than to reach the end of your life never having done anything except accumulate money and kids.
Naaahhh! You don't really believe that do you.. ?? Maybe too much Braveheart.....y'know....better to die this day....etc. etc.

My old man coughed his lungs out and his da' did the same. ( WW1 gas, WW2 fags.) Both served. Bullets or Cancer.....take your choice??
 
#4
You get me wrong shagnasty, I'm not trying to be emotional or 'braveheart' or any of that stuff. It's just that when I remember the lads from my paticular engineer regiment who fell in Bosnia, I feel as much pride as I do sadness, not for any high-falutin patriotic or political reason but because their sacrifice as professional soldiers directly prevented the deaths of innocent civillians. I refuse to believe that their efforts were wasted or that they died for nothing. In fact, a slack handful of Bosnians who have now grown into adulthood prove otherwise.
 
#5
wedge35 said:
You get me wrong shagnasty, I'm not trying to be emotional or 'braveheart' or any of that stuff. It's just that when I remember the lads from my paticular engineer regiment who fell in Bosnia, I feel as much pride as I do sadness, not for any high-falutin patriotic or political reason but because their sacrifice as professional soldiers directly prevented the deaths of innocent civillians. I refuse to believe that their efforts were wasted or that they died for nothing. In fact, a slack handful of Bosnians who have now grown into adulthood prove otherwise.
I must be gettin maudlin....time o' night suppose. I wish I could agree me ol' mucker....I also refuse to believe that our efforts were wasted or that my mates died for nothing. But it's hard to hold onto that belief when you see the graves on a bare arsed hill in the middle of nowhere.....and you wonder.....was it worth it?
 
#6
I do know where you're coming from, shagnasty, but I've come to the conclusion over the years that you have to follow your own heart over such matters and not feel you have to think the way that 'Born on the Fourth of July' tells you to. I'm not accusing you of that, just saying that whereas every soldier's death is a tragedy, some of the pain is leavened by the fact that they died in the service of something bigger than themselves.
 
#7
shagnasty said:
The saddest sight I have ever seen is a war graves cemetery in the backwoods of Tunisia. (Visited when I took my son on an 'exercise' to the Western Desert.)

The cemetery is located within sight of a hill on which so many German and British soldiers died . When you look at the hill - a lump of nothing in the middle of nowhere - you have to wonder - why??

What motivated those young men? Why did they think at that time it was important to defend or attack and to die for a poxy hill in the middle of nowhere? And for what?

Sixty years on....will we look back at Iraq or Afghanistan and think the same???
I look back now, and think the same. When I think of the friends I'll never see again, there isn't any closure. I can't tell myself that they died for a reason, or even died doing something they believed in.

The cold, hard bottom line is that they died doing their job because a particularly weak bunch of politicians thought it appropriate to put their lives on the line.
 
#8
It may look like a hunk of rock now, but what was it at the time of the battle?

A vital strongpoint on which German defences or teh British attack hinged? Might not look much, but battles are generally not fought in locations picked for their natural beauty.
 
B

benjaminw1

Guest
#9
shagnasty said:
The saddest sight I have ever seen is a war graves cemetery in the backwoods of Tunisia. (Visited when I took my son on an 'exercise' to the Western Desert.)

The cemetery is located within sight of a hill on which so many German and British soldiers died . When you look at the hill - a lump of nothing in the middle of nowhere - you have to wonder - why??

What motivated those young men? Why did they think at that time it was important to defend or attack and to die for a poxy hill in the middle of nowhere? And for what?

Sixty years on....will we look back at Iraq or Afghanistan and think the same???

God! I hate politicians for getting us in this mess - again and again!!
Well my father in law has no problems with wondering why, and he was there at the time (and at El Alamein, Sicily, cassino, Crossing the Po and Greece)...

You reckon we should have let Uncle Adolph do his thing, and thank Chamberlain for keeping us out of it?
 
#10
It was necessary or we might be speaking German. Just as in Afghanistan, we are attempting to prevent a bunch of raving Islamist nutters from plotting further attacks on the West as a whole. We may not know until years later whether the sacrifice was worth it, or if it was the right thing to do, but it is at least better to know that we acted in the belief that we were doing some good, than to regret that we did nothing at all.
 
#11
Friendly casualties always evoked a mix of frustration, impotence and heartbreak - I think seeing a mate, or even just someone on your side, lying wounded while the medic worked was the saddest sight in my view.

When I saw the field after a night attack in GW1, I had an overwhelming sense of anger towards the Iraqi leadership that they would leave so many poor fools to be needlessly slaughtered to no damn purpose whatsoever. They were just ordinary blokes trying to get back home and pity rarely has a place in combat.
 
#12
shagnasty said:
The saddest sight I have ever seen is a war graves cemetery in the backwoods of Tunisia. (Visited when I took my son on an 'exercise' to the Western Desert.)

The cemetery is located within sight of a hill on which so many German and British soldiers died . When you look at the hill - a lump of nothing in the middle of nowhere - you have to wonder - why??

What motivated those young men? Why did they think at that time it was important to defend or attack and to die for a poxy hill in the middle of nowhere? And for what?

Sixty years on....will we look back at Iraq or Afghanistan and think the same???

God! I hate politicians for getting us in this mess - again and again!!
Death Valley

Some Nazi or other has said that the Fuehrer
had restored to German manhood the
‘right and joy of dying in battle’.


Sitting dead in ‘Death Valley’
below the Ruweisat Ridge,
a boy with his forelock down about his cheek
and his face slate-grey;

I thought of the right and the joy
that he got from his Fuehrer,
of falling in the field of slaughter
to rise no more;

of the pomp and the fame
that he had, not alone,
though he was the most piteous to see
in a valley gone to seed

with flies about grey corpses
on a dun sand
dirty yellow and full of the rubbish
and fragments of battle.

Was the boy of the band
who abused the Jews
and Communists, or of the greater
band of those

led, from the beginning of generations,
unwillingly to the trial
and mad delirium of every war
for the sake of rulers?

Whatever his desire or mishap,
his innocence or malignity,
he showed no pleasure in his death
below the Ruweisat Ridge.
 
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