Blogs > Cliopatria > Military History Digest #163

Aug 17, 2011

Military History Digest #163


19th Century

1. The War List: Overrated Civil War Officers by Gary Gallagher

"Gary W. Gallagher, a professor of history at the University of Virginia, is the author of The Confederate War (1997), Lee and His Army in Confederate History (2001), and The Union War (2011). "

2. Barry and the Artillery Organization of the Aop: Part 8, Siege Train by Craig Swain

"Continuing with the examination of the initial organization of the artillery in the Army of the Potomac, I turn now to William Barry’s recommendation for a siege train to accompany the army. Barry intended for the siege train to operate … Continue reading →..."

3. Back Into Port by Craig Swain

"The photo from the boat ride back from Fort Sumter captures my mood today. End of a long, event-filled vacation. Now back towards home and to the routine. Blogging was understandably light in weight during the vacation. The paragraph-by-paragraph examination … Continue reading →..."

4. Northern Slavery, Public History, and Memory by Kevin Levin

"A few of my readers have requested that I comment on ongoing and recent exhibits in my new neck of the woods that concentrate on the history of slavery and [...]..."

5. The Hunley Is Upright by (dw)

""The first submarine in history to sink an enemy warship is upright for the first time in almost 150 years, revealing a side of its hull not seen since it sank off the South Carolina coast during the Civil War." (AP) Read about it here. Photo gallery is here (AP Photos: Bruce Smith).Meanwhile, progress continues on preserving remnants of the U.S.S. Monitor...."

6. An Honest Account of the Sutler's Store by (Ron Coddington)

"Sutlers, or independent traders who sold food and other goods to the Northern army, had a love-hate relationship with soldiers. The best provided delicacies and luxuries at tolerable prices, and became trusted comrades with the men they served. The worst were known for questionable business practices, leading one veteran to vent, "Sutlers, as a rule, were described as a swindling, hard-fisted and grinding race."An account in the regimental history of the Thirteenth Illinois Infantry took a balanced view in its description.Here first loomed upon the horizon of the Thirteenth that wonderful requisite of army life, the sutler's..."

World War I

1. Black Death Rain by Brett Holman

"In a discussion of the activities of MI5's Port Control section during the First World War, Christopher Andrew mentions German musings about using biological weapons against British civilians: The most novel as well as the most sinister form of wartime sabotage attempted by Sektion P was biological warfare. At least one of its scientists in 1916 devised a scheme to start a plague epidemic in Britain, either by infecting rats or, more improbably, by dropping plague bacilli cultures from Zeppelins over ports. The Prusso-German General Staff, however, vetoed bacteriological warfare against humans as totally contrary to international law..."

2. Light Verse of the First World War by (Tim Kendall)

"Vivien Noakes, who died in February this year, was one of the best editors of her generation. Her variorum edition of Isaac Rosenberg's poems and plays is a model of good textual practice, and her anthology Voices of Silence revivified the canon of First World War poetry by focusing on the work of 'less gifted writers' who created 'a body of rich, exciting, often deeply moving work that complements the established literary canon'. Some of her poets risk being undersold even by that description---Borden, Gibson, Cannan, Service, and one or two others were significant poets who ought to appear..."

World War II

1. New Caledonia and the New Yorker? « Government Book Talk by n/a

"From time to time I’ve talked about the little World War II-vintage booklets produced to familiarize Army and Navy personnel with various places around the world that the fight against the Axis might compel them to go. Some of those places are still hot spots, like Iraq. Others were obscure then and remain so today, unless you’re a specialist or someone with an inordinate curiosity about things in general (me)."

2. World War II: Daring Raids and Brutal Reprisals by n/a

"In early 1942, as the Axis powers pursued their war aims, Allied forces were still reeling but working on a wider strategy. Japan swept through the southern Pacific, conquering Burma, Malaya, the Dutch East Indies, Singapore, and the Philippines. Germany regrouped on the Eastern Front, holding off several Soviet attacks and preparing for a summer offensive. But during this time, American bombers successfully struck Japanese targets in a daring, morale-boosting raid led by Lt. Col. James Doolittle, and British forces destroyed an important dock facility in German-occupied St. Nazaire, France. Most of Doolittle's raiders landed in China, receiving..."

3. World War II: the American Home Front in Color by n/a

"In 1942, soon after the United States entered World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order creating the Office of War Information (OWI). The new agency was tasked with releasing war news, promoting patriotic activities, and providing news outlets with audio, film, and photos of the government's war efforts. Between 1939 and 1944, the OWI and the Farm Security Administration made thousands of photographs, approximately 1,600 of them in color. OWI photographers Alfred Palmer and Howard Hollem produced some exceptional Kodachrome transparencies in the early war years depicting military preparedness, factory operations, and women in the work..."

4. World War II: Guy Gibson Born by n/a

"August 12, 1918 - Wing Commander Guy Gibson (right) is born at Simla, India. Entering the Royal Air Force in 1936, Guy Gibson became one of its most highly decorated pilots of World War II. A bomber pilot by trade, Gibson transferred to Fighter Command in late 1940 rather than rotate to a training unit for six months. This thirst for action marked the duration of his career. Returning to Bomber Command, Gibson led No. 106 Squadron in 1942 and early 1943. Though only 24, he had won multiple Distinguished Flying Crosses and the Distinguished Service Order when he was promoted..."

5. Body Horror in the Blitz by Brett Holman

"Fears of poison gas attacks during the Blitz don't receive much attention from historians, and with good reason: not only did they not take place, but the evidence (for example, the number of gas masks being carried about) suggests that most people were complacent about the possibility. But not all. On 2 September 1940, a Mass-Observation investigator in London heard the following from a woman in her mid-30s: There's a nasty rumour going around that Hitler's going to start using a gas this week that's going to penetrate women's bodies through their sex organs. Women will have to..."

6. Tobruk Diaries: ‘We Are Targets Day and Night’ by Carlie Walker

"Bryant’s Diary: Friday 8th August 1941 The camp isn’t so bad. The surf and beach are good and it is a lazy life. We parade for an hour in the morning and once in the afternoon for a swim. The canteen service is good and a fair picture theatre operates. The place improves with time. [...]..."

7. Berlin Serial Killer Caught! by Charles McCain

"Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3At this point I will say that one of the eight men was the killer. The police work had been excellent. But who? Surely it couldn't be the handsome Aryan, Paul Ogorzow. In addition to being a hard worker, Paul was married and had two children. And he was a wholesome young lad since he belonged to the Nazi Party and was a member of the SA. (The Nazi Party storm troopers or Brown Shirts, most of whom were drunken thugs.)After an initial interview, the police struck Paul off their list of suspects. It..."

8. German Propaganda Posters - Antibolshevism Exhibition by Charles McCain

"Tad found a great collection of Nazi Propaganda that has been collected by a college professor in Michigan, Randall Bytwerk. I've shown plenty of WW2 propaganda posters but the majority have been from the Allied side of the war and I'm using this opportunity to showcase the types of propaganda used by the Germans and will be highlighting some of these posters over the next few months. In an effort to promote the Nazi Party's campaign against other peoples and ideologies, the Reich's Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda created posters in an attempt to sway public opinion. One action..."

9. German Propaganda Posters - Another Antibolshevism Exhibition by Charles McCain

"Tad found a great collection of Nazi Propaganda that has been collected by a college professor in Michigan, Randall Bytwerk. I've shown plenty of WW2 propaganda posters but the majority have been from the Allied side of the war and I'm using this opportunity to showcase the types of propaganda used by the Germans and will be highlighting some of these posters over the next few months. In an effort to promote the Nazi Party's campaign against other peoples and ideologies, the Reich's Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda created posters in an attempt to sway public opinion. After the..."

10. &Quot;We Shall Never Be Beaten&Quot; by Charles McCain

"+Berlin's Unter den Linden in the 1930's. It was heart-breaking, but it seemed true, when a German officer, at whose side I was strolling down Unter den Linden in the first spring of the war told me: “Look around you, Herr Smith. Nowhere a sign of war. Not the slightest difference from two years ago. Is that not the best argument for our strength? We shall never be beaten.” (The first spring of the war would be the spring of 1940.) German officer to CBS Radio News Correspondent Howard K. Smith as quoted on page 38 of..."

Cold War

1. Diary Entry 113: Saigon, Friday Night, 7 January 1966 by (J.R. Clark)

"Saigon Friday Night, 7 January 1966This is briefing week for me. So far I’ve been on the platform for briefings to [Brigadier] General [John D.] Crowley [Assistant Chief of Staff for Logistics (J-4)], the Deputy Chief of Staff ([Major] General [Richard S.] Abbey [U.S. Air Force]), the Chief of Staff ([Major] General [William B.] Rosson), the Deputy Commander ([Lieutenant]General [John A.] Heintges) and the J-3 ([Brigadier General [William E.] DePuy). Sunday I must brief General [Frank S.]Besson (four-star) who is commander of the Army Materiel Command and who was formerly the Chief of Transportation. On..."

2. Diary Entry 115: Saigon, Monday Night, 10 January 1966 by (J.R. Clark)

"Saigon Monday Night, 10 January 1966 General Frank Schaeffer Besson, Jr., Commanding General, U.S. Army Material Command. (Photo courtesy U.S. Army) Home late again tonight so things are back to normal again. Result of General Besson’s briefing yesterday: My part went so well that right after it was over General Crowley decided that I should replace the regularly scheduled J-4 briefer for General Westmoreland tomorrow, Tuesday 11 Jan. Although it was made clear that I already was in preparation for a special briefing for him on Monday (today), General Crowley said never mind, he would get the dates changed..."

3. Diary Entry 118: Saigon, Sunday Night, 16 January 1966 by (J.R. Clark)

"Saigon Sunday Night, 16 January 1966 General Creighton W. Abrams, Jr., U.S. Army (Image courtesy U.S. Army) The briefing went pretty well this afternoon for General [Creighton W.] Abrams [U.S. Army Vice Chief of Staff]. And right after it was over, I just sent the charts back to the office and took the rest of the day off. There wasn’t too much risk to it as General Crowley had departed for Honolulu at 1:30 p.m.Lieutenant Colonel Price who works in J-4 (and who was another briefer) and I went first down to the Hong Kong BOQ and celebrated..."

4. Profile 56 - ????? as Flown by Ken Dahlberg by (JSM)

"Today was the first time in two weeks where I could really sit down and indulge myself in this particular airplane. I'm sorry I can't report more details at this time, but I hope to shortly.In the meantime, this gorgeously brutal P-47 Thunderbolt of the 354th Fighter Group will likely be finished this weekend. I just have to mask-in the tail and even out the lighting on the hard-worn fuselage. And redo the skull.Not too many photos of Ken's P-47 exist, but enough do of the 353rd Squadron's flying-skull nose design. As a little kid..."

5. Profile 57 - "Nothing Much" as Flown by Don Erickson by (JSM)

"Today is August 15, 2011. In case you're not the history geek that I am, this date marks 66 years since the surrender of the Japanese forces. Can you believe it?! And WW2 continues to hold a fascination over people worldwide. And get this - every day, the more and more of those people will never have known anyone who experienced those critical months between September 1, 1939 and August 15, 1945.But there's also additional significance to this date - albeit small significance. See that photo on top? It's likely that the photo was taken pretty close to that August 15..."

6. Profile 57 - "Nothing Much" as Flown by Don Erickson by (JSM)

"Don flew two models of the P-51 - the C model and the D model. He asked that I do The D. And so it will be.Did you have a look at the photo in the post below? The black-tailed Mustangs look more like sharks than they do their horse namesake.Funny about the sharks, however - a Shark was the squadron's mascot. The shark is a logical choice, too. Most people have seen the white-toothed P-40 fighters of the American Volunteer Group (AVG) - that group was originally a bunch of mercenary pilots who were hired by the Chinese..."


1. On War, Guilt and ‘Thank You for Your Service’: Elizabeth Samet - Bloomberg by n/a

"But today, a woman or man in military uniform dining in a restaurant, sitting on a bench in Central Park or walking up Broadway constitutes a spectacle. I have witnessed this firsthand whenever one of my military colleagues and I have taken West Point cadets to the city to attend a performance or to visit a library or museum. My civilian clothes provide camouflage as I watch my uniformed friends bombarded by gratitude."

2. The Epitome of Awkward | Kings of War by n/a

"I have yet to figure out the “appropriate” response to the “thank you for your service” refrain and I fear I live up to the title of this post. I am admittedly surprised to hear it personally as much as I do, living so close to an Army post where I’m hardly novel."

3. The History of Torture—Why We Can't Give It Up by n/a

"The 20th century saw military forces around the world torturing prisoners as a matter of operational policy, some at a scale that might have shocked Genghis Khan or Vlad the Impaler. Americans tortured and slaughtered prisoners in the Philippines. Japanese raped, tortured, and murdered captives by the tens of thousands in China and dissected Allied prisoners on Pacific islands. German military units were ordered to treat Soviet POWs as subhuman slaves, transferring some to be experimented upon by state-employed medical doctors. In more modern conflicts of every size and type—Korea and Vietnam, the Belgian Congo and Liberia, the Algerian civil war and the bitter Yugoslav split, Soviet-occupied Afghanistan and American-occupied Iraq—soldiers tortured soldiers on the orders of their superiors. "It has reached a scale that dwarfs even the darkest Middle Ages," wrote British foreign affairs columnist Jonathan Power in his 1981 history of Amnesty International."

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