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July 01, 2006

H&I* Fires 1 Jul 06

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...


Some history for the day.

For our Canadian guests (Especially certain Maritimers): The Royal Canadian Legion of Newfoundland and Labrador at Beaumont Hamel.

On July 1 in broad daylight one hundred thousand men, the Newfoundlanders among them, climbed out of their trenches and advanced shoulder to shoulder in line, one behind the other, across the crater-torn waste of No-Man's Land. Weighed down by 30 kilograms of equipment each, they advanced slowly towards the waiting German guns.

From their starting position in the British support trench known as St. John's Road, the Newfoundlanders had to cross 230 metres of fire-swept ground before they reached even their own front line. As they made their way through zigzag lanes previously cut in the British wire, casualties came with increasing frequency. Those of the leading companies who finally emerged into No-Man's Land could look down at a incline to see for the first time the barrier of the German wire, 550 or more metres away. It was a wonder that any man could remain unhit more than a minute in the inferno of fire that swept across the exposed slopes. Nevertheless, holding as best they could the parade-ground formations then prescribed for assaulting infantry by the General Staff, the thinning ranks pushed steadily forward. Half-way down the slope an isolated tree marked an area where the enemy's shrapnel was particularly deadly. Called "The Danger Tree", its twisted skeleton has been preserved and still stands at the spot where many a gallant Newfoundlander fell on that tragic July day.

Read the rest here. H/t, CAPT H.

For us 'Muricans, of whatever region, Gettysburg. Union General John Buford's finest hour.

The concept that John Buford employed in the initial defense of Gettysburg is called a "defense in depth". The theory behind a defense in depth is for the defending force to select a position far from the point that it ultimately wants to defend, so that there is a place to fall back to. A delaying action is fought, with the idea of slowly making a fighting withdrawal. The defending force makes use of the terrain to delay the enemy's advance. Buford recognized the good high ground to the south and east of the town square and elected to fight a defense in depth to hold it until the infantry could come up. Buford had been consulting with John Reynolds in Emmitsburg on the way to Gettysburg on June 30, and knew how close the infantry was. He would defend the town from the west and north. Gamble on the west side, and Devin on the north. Buford set up his videttes on an arc seven miles long. Gamble's farthest post was four miles from the town square, Devin's six. The idea of videttes is to serve as an early warning system. They make contact with the enemy, fire warning shots, delay as long a possible, and then fall back to the next chosen defensive position. Gamble covered an arc from the Fairfield Road to the Mummasburg Road. Devin covered the Carlisle, Harrisburg and York Roads. The next fall back position from the west was Herr's Ridge (which combines with Belmont School House Ridge), and then finally, the main line of battle was atop McPherson Ridge.

Read the rest here. H/t, Me.

Take me to your leader!

No, it's not a new character from "Star Wars." It's Sgt. Tommy Hughes, crew chief on a UH-60 Blackhawk, 1/108th Aviation Regiment, 36th Combat Aviation Brigade wearing a dust guard during the brigade's final exercise before deploying this summer to Iraq.

Speaking of CAPT H, he sent this link to a video along with some snarky comment about Gunner versatility on display. All I thought was - looks like a tanker to me... I wouldn't show it to impressionable teenagers unless your insurance is fully paid up.

The Right Place has their weekly caption contest up. -The Armorer


I had plans to commemorate this with a celebratory post of my own, but the relocation madness made it impossible. However, Chuck did a great job of looking back himself:

But other things have happened in this year. I came to truly appreciate and understand the depths of love, and inner strength that my darling wife has. The trauma I suffered physically and emotionally cannot begin to compare with the ordeal she faced in putting me back together again. When she finally smartens up and sees what a rat bastard I am, I’ll miss her.
All Things Considered, a year after he got his "ass splattered all over" Iraq... I'm so glad he's still with us and so proud to count him my friend [more here and here]. - FbL

[You are depriving yourself if you don't go read Chuck's post. Since I don't want any deprived visitors - go. That's an order. We'll be here when you get back. -The Armorer. Thanks, Armorer. You're exactly right, of course. - FbL]

*A term of art from the artillery. Harassment and Interdiction Fires.

Back in the day, when you could just kill people and break things without a note from a lawyer, they were pre-planned, but to the enemy, random, fires at known gathering points, road junctions, Main Supply Routes, assembly areas, etc - to keep the bad guy nervous that the world around him might start exploding at any minute.

Not really relevant to today's operating environment, right? But, it *is*

The UAVs we fly over Afghanistan and Pakistan looking for targets of opportunity are a form of H&I fires, if you really want to parse it finely. We just have better sensors and fire control now.

I call the post that because it's random things posted by me and people I've given posting privileges to that particular topic. It's also an open trackback, so if (Don Surber uses it this way a lot) someone has a post they're proud of, but it really isn't either Castle kind of stuff, or topical to a particular post, I've basically given blanket permission to use that post for that purpose. Another term of art that might be appropriate is "Free Fire Zone".

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