previous post next post  

On this day in history, Congress did something right...

Heimdall, Howizter of Argghhh!, and the Armorer sending Preston home.

Well, a Congress.  Certainly not the current one.  The Continental Congress unanimously elected Henry Knox "Colonel of the Regiment of Artillery" on November 17, 1775. The regiment formally entered service on January 1, 1776.  And, I would note, the artillery is the only Federal branch (of any service) to have been in continuous existence since the Founding.   The militias have their own claims. 


[Click the firing cannon for a musical interlude.]

In The Beginning there was Infantry, the Queen of Battle, and there was chaos in the universe, for the Infantry was alone. And there were huge monsters and creatures and other evil things, all of which could devour the Infantry.

And Fear was with the Infantry, and they wept unto the Lord, saying, "Lord, save us, for we are afraid!"

And the Lord harkened unto their pleas, and set certain of them upon beasts of burden, donkeys and jackasses and mules, and these the Lord called Cavalry.

The Infantry and the Cavalry looked about themselves at the very scary world the Lord had created and together they wept unto the Lord saying, "Lord, save us, for we are afraid!" And the Lord pondered, and saw that Infantry and Cavalry are as babes, and the Lord made to allay their weeping and lamentation, for it was most annoying.

The Lord spake unto them, saying, "Lo, and behold, for I bring unto you a noble race of men, keen of eye and wit, with great strength of head and heart and hand, and with courage and spirit undaunted," and the Lord created Field Artillery and named it The King of Battle.

And the Lord said, "The King shall light the darkness of your goblin-filled night and you shall tremble before him, and when you need smoke, there shall be smoke, and when you need it to rain down death and destruction upon the enemy, then too you shall have it. Just remember to duck."

And the Lord gave unto the Artillery, to be their own, great guns and huge shells, wondrously wrought, and Rockets to Shoot Deep.

The Infantry and Cavalry beheld these things, and as sheep in the fold are wont, knelt before the Artillery and their Pieces, and the Lord was pleased. So were the Redlegs.

And the Infantry and Cavalry said "The Lord must truly love the Artillery to have given them such Kewl Stuff!"

And the Lord said from above, "Check."

And now abideth in harmony, Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery, but the greatest of these is the Artillery.






Ironic then, isn't it, that the home of Armor is named after him but the home of Artillery is not?

Well, on a finicky note - it's not the home of the Armor any more... they moved to Benning to be with their sleeping-bag buddies in the Infantry.

Geez, everything has changed, eh?   I'm still trying to wrap my head around the whole 1AD / Ft. Bliss thing.  LOL
Happy Birthday, redlegs everywhere!

Nice song you got there.  Too bad the envious poachers stole it and banned forever the real words and substituted some diverse drivel that spilled from under their berets.

How about some history lessons on all the little children of Knox's original Artillery?  (No, not THOSE!)  I mean like Coast, ADA, etc.

Of course, when youse guys needed some REAL artillery, us Navy types were happy to add some real dignity to the otherwise vulgar brawl:
Yadda yadda yadda sailor boy.  Who *made* your "real" artillery?  The good guys and gals of the US Army, at Watervliet Arsenal...

Remember, sailor - you guys are just self-propelled artillery.

ADA was spawned from the Coast Artillery, for those who are unaware of that.  As the CA battalions became redundant due to changes in the nature of warfare, they were the source for the new units needed to cope with the instrument, aircraft, that made the coastal forts obsolete in the first place!
Oh, and there isn't a Redleg anywhere in the crowd who isn't running the *real* words through his head when the Entire US Army stands to ATTENTION when our song is played.  For that matter, you sailors stand to, as well - along with those Zoomies, Jarheads and Coasties.  It's all good.
Artillery is good, and so is Armour, but in the end, it is always the Poor Bloody Infantry that holds the ground.
Oh, we lurves our "ground gaining" bretheren, Ronin.  Keeps the riff-raff away from the guns and martinis!
I learned the real words when I was a kid. The words for the "Army" song grates a bit on me sicne I learned teh correct words first.

As a Tanker in the 80s I preferred the Panzerlied. But I leave the Redleg song alone.
I know those words!  My Pop used to sing them while he was working outside...or in the garage...where Mom wasn't around.  He may have retired Chair Force, but he started out in the Army and was as proud of those years as any of 'em.
Happy Birthday, Arty.
As usual, the conversation goes:

"King! Drop rounds here."

"Yes Dear... Shot, over..."

Happy Birthday Redlegs!
Artillery is the greatest killer on the battlefield.  U.S. artillery is the best in the world.  As a grunt who did a branch transfer to the "final arguement of kings", I'm very proud of my acceptance into both the infantry and the field artillery.

Thank God, I'm not a DAT.
Thank God, I'm not a DAT.

And how many Army parents/uncles/aunts have said the same thing about a youngster entering the profession of arms...?
I have heard it said that the Artillery brings dignity to what would otherwise just be an undignified and vulgar brawl.

But Marines like undignified and vulgar brawls...
Which is why we stand aloof and just shoot into the roiling mass (at least that's the story renowned Canadian tanker JMH puts forth...)
My gun (Mk42 Mod 9 or 10 (worked with both)) was from FMC in Minneapolis, 30 rd per minute sustained for about 5 minutes, then about 10 per minute thereafter.
Still think the best fire support was 16"50.

Infantry adds a touch of vulgarity to what would otherwise be a very stuffy affair.
 "roiling mass"???? more like "try that bloody grid square over there".
Some pictures and music:
nd this one:
You'll have to listen for the "Royal Artillery Slow March".

@jim b -- oh, so true!!!! 

I'm proud to be bi-lingual.  I speak both Infantry and Field Artillery.  With the DAT's, tell 'em they need to get their tanks close enough to the OPFOR so that they may hit them with their sabers.
Ahhhh.  Trolling for Heinrichs.  Always rewarding.
Artillery is the only rational way to kill people and break things. "Wait 'til you see the whites of their eyes" is a mug's game. Happy Birthday!
"On this day in history, Congress did something right..."

Musta been an accident.

The Caisson Song ...good, but not the best of the service songs. 

Actually, I like all four five of 'em ... when they're sung so you can understand the words.
P.s.  Besides, guns are fun, even if you ain't trying to kill anybody. The bigger the gun, the more fun.
Artillery is a great place to park those warriors that suffer fainting spells at the sight of blood :P
The song is based on the "Caisson Song" written by field artillery First Lieutenant (later Brigadier General) Edmund L. Gruber, Lieutenant William Bryden, and Lieutenant (later Major General) Robert Danford while stationed at Fort Stotsenburg in the Philippines in March 1908.[2] The tune quickly became popular in field artillery units. In 1917 the Secretary of the Navy and Army Lieutenant George Friedlander of the 306th Field Artillery asked John Philip Sousa to create a march using the "Caisson Song." Sousa changed the key, harmony, and rhythm and renamed it "U.S. Field Artillery."[3] The recording sold 750,000 copies.[4] Sousa didn't know who had written the song and had been told that it dated back to the Civil War. Although an Army magazine claims that Sousa passed on his royalties to Gruber.,[5] other sources state that Gruber became involved in a prolonged legal battle to recover the rights to music he had written and that had been lifted (unknowingly or not) by Sousa and widely sold by sheet music publishers who reaped profits while Gruber received nothing. The music became so popular that it was also used in radio ads by firms such as the Hoover Vacuum Company. Gruber lost his battle in the courts. They ruled that he had waited too long to complain and that his music was by that time in the public domain.

"The Caisson Song" was never designated as the official U.S.Army song likely because the lyrics were too closely identified with the field artillery and not the entire army. The official song retains Gruber's music, but with re-written lyrics.

John Phillips Sousa .... USMC
Oh, Grimmy, that is the whole point of the exercise!  You know about PTSD, right?  If you never actually see the guys you've killed (until later), you can keep a cool head!

Yes, killin' is killin', but my personal preference is that it all be done arty style, if we have to do it.
If you are ever in eastern New York near the town of Watervliet The Cannon Factory has an excellent museum. They will not let you into the actual factory, way too much current technology. Talk nicely to the armed guards at the gate and they will direct you to the parking lot for the museum. Definitely worth a couple of hours. They have 8, 12 & 16 inch naval gun barrels in the side yard. Woe is me, we are down to 5 inch 62s.
Old QM: Been there, done that:  Watervliet Arsenal Museum

Grimmy - not all Redlegs stand at the guns.  Like 2LT Harold Durham, of the Auld Soldier's battalion in Vietnam.  I would note that the 6-15FA was *not* a part of the 1st ID, as the page states, they were assigned to II Field Force Artillery, and were DS to 1st ID.  6-15FA is the only non-divisional unit honored with a window in the Chapel of the Regiments at Fort Riley.

And then, sometimes the Gunners do have to stand to their guns - like MG (then-LTC) Cal Rogers did when 1-5FA's fire support base was hit.
 Jim B - just like the Marines, always "appropriating" Army stuff...
 John, if the Marines didn't appropriate stuff they'd never get anything. That's how the Navy keeps them, generally, under control.

Now now sir. You know full well that if the Army wanted to keep that stuff, they'd have posted a decent guard mount on it.

What American Redleg ever engaged enemy infantry with a howitzer in direct fire mode single-handed? 

Killer Elite was pretty good.  Motivated me to bone up on Oman and Mirbat and Sergeant Talaiasi Labalaba.