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February 13, 2004

Interesting little tidbits from history today.

1503 A little forshadowing of things to come for the military fortunes of French senior leadership: Tournament of Barletta: 13 Italian knights defeat 13 French
knights. Unfortunately, it's not a momentum the Italian senior leadership can maintain. I don't generally pick on soldiers, as they do most of the dying - after all the italians are the people who provided the soldiery of the heart of the Roman Legions - the basic stock is good, and was only added to, not diluted by, the goth conquerors, ask any Austrian who fought along the Isonzo in WWI - it's the senior leaders who fail to match the metal of their men. And the French provided the men who stopped the Moors - setting the stage for the "Tragedy of Andalusia" an event that had Osama pissed off.

1692 Scotland: Campbells massacre the MacDonalds on orders of William
III - survivors move to Ireland, I wonder? Or emigrate and change their names to Hatfield and McCoy?

1942 Hitler cancels Operation Seeloew, the proposed invasion of Britain - thereby confirming he's a bloody-minded amateur and that the Germans have never really had a good understanding of grand strategy. It seemingly takes a maritime nation to truly understand the global construct. Of course, the Germans came to it late, not even being the nation we think of as Germany until 1870.

1942 Japanese sub I-17 shells oil depot at Goleta, California, to no
effect - you b@st@rds! They probably meant to get the amusement park pier.

1942 US and Canada agree to construct the ALCAN Highway. Now THERE was a piece of work, right up there with the Burma road.

1945 Allies begin fire-bombing of Dresden, an estimated 50,000 die. This is an example of why you like your wars to be short and sweet. The longer they go, the more likely this kind of thing is to happen as leaders try to force an end to things. Of course, the counter to this argument (and we've heard this regarding Iraq) if you beat them too fast, they don't really accept they've had their ass kicked. In May of 1945, there weren't too many Germans unaware that they had just been thoroughly whacked, and were ready to try something different.

1960 France explodes its first atomic bomb, in Algeria. Pikers. At least we exploded our first one on our own territory. No wonder the Algerians started getting pissy.

1989 Salvadoran Army attack Encuentros Hospital, rape, kill patients - this is an example of what happens when you try to make your army be both your police and your army. They are crappy soldiers, and usually end up being brutal police, doing nothing well.

Hat tip to Strategy Page.