Military Jeopardy

Feb 14, 2017
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I don't recall the city, but the bakers were up earlier than everyone else, making the pastries (was it croissants?) to sell for breakfast. They heard the enemy digging underneath them and raised the alarm, saving the city. I want to say it was somewhere in the Ottoman Empire.
 
Feb 14, 2017
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To decimate is to kill one of every ten soldiers as a punishment and a way to restore order where mutiny is afoot. It was a Roman thing. It is also a cure for desertion. It wasn't used very much, but when it was it was done by lot. Would hate waiting that out.
Correct.

There are accounts where units were identified as lacking in fighting spirit. After picking every 10th man, the other 9 were then ordered to attack the and kill the unfortunates as a barbaric team-building exercise.

And I read once of a case of reverse decimation. The victorious army identified every 10th man of the defeated invaders and blinded that man in the right eye. They then blinded the remaining 90% in both eyes and sent the entire army back to the land from which they came, with the "lucky" 10% guiding and caring for their less fortunate compatriots.
 

Strykervet

Gunny Sergeant
Jun 5, 2011
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Shit! I missed a lot of great questions, some that I knew the answers to!

So what question are we on now or do we need a new one?

I have one. How did Julius Caesar end the siege at Alesia? There was a singular event that led to the end.
 

sirhrmechanic

Command Sgt. Major
Feb 23, 2010
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Ding Ding Ding Ding... we have a winner

The Sepoys were upset that the cartridges they were issued may have been lubricated with animal fat. The Muslims believed that it may be pig fat... the Hindus believed that it may be cow fat. Whatever it was... the loading process involved biting the paper cartridge (which was soaked in fat) to separate the bullet from the powder. Both religions were sure that their principles were being violated.

The reality was that there were many underlying causes for the mutiny. But the use of fats is said to have been the spark. Personally, I am not sure this is true... but it is enshrined into regional history.

BTW, Gurkhas had no problem with either fat. And IIRC helped put down the rebellion in short order!

You're up for a question, Time!

Cheers,

Sirhr
 

Strykervet

Gunny Sergeant
Jun 5, 2011
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This is one from the previous page that was overlooked.

This MOH awardee eluded his captors for six weeks despite having a fractured tibia.
Lt. Sijan, Vietnam, right? That would fucking suck. A broken leg in the jungle alone for a month and a half while being hunted, yeah, that's a nightmare alright. Downed pilots usually get it pretty bad if caught, the enemy hates them as much or worse than a sniper or a spy.

Sorry I was out for a bit... Insomnia crap.

So again, what was the deciding factor that allowed Julius Caesar to break the siege at Alesia? There was one single event that heralded the end of the siege. There is a lot to be learned about warfare in general from this one battle, it's a good one to look into.
 

ADA

EINHERJAR
Feb 28, 2007
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... So...what was the deciding factor that allowed Julius Caesar to break the siege at Alesia? There was one single event that heralded the end of the siege. ...
This is just my opinion, but I believe it was the fortifications the Romans built around Alesia. Those fortifications withstood attacks and broke the main force of the Gauls. The Gauls attacked in multiple places along the twenty-mile defensive works. Their attack was a close run thing in the area where the defensive works were the weakest, and this gets to the answer I think you are looking for. Caesar showed up during the attack on that weak point and when his troops were at a critical stage in the fight. When Caesar showed and fought with his men, it reinvigorated his men's fighting spirit and they won the day. I think the decisive factor was the Roman engineering that boxed the Gauls in, the Romans being very impressive in their ability to make defensive works. Many historians poo poo on Caesar's account of what happened there (Caesar showing up like Mighty Mouse to save the day), but I think a strong leader's appearance can invigorate and motivate a group of men to greatness. I think he was a decisive factor, but not THE decisive factor. But, what do I know? I wasn't there.
 

Strykervet

Gunny Sergeant
Jun 5, 2011
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This is just my opinion, but I believe it was the fortifications the Romans built around Alesia. Those fortifications withstood attacks and broke the main force of the Gauls. The Gauls attacked in multiple places along the twenty-mile defensive works. Their attack was a close run thing in the area where the defensive works were the weakest, and this gets to the answer I think you are looking for. Caesar showed up during the attack on that weak point and when his troops were at a critical stage in the fight. When Caesar showed and fought with his men, it reinvigorated his men's fighting spirit and they won the day. I think the decisive factor was the Roman engineering that boxed the Gauls in, the Romans being very impressive in their ability to make defensive works. Many historians poo poo on Caesar's account of what happened there (Caesar showing up like Mighty Mouse to save the day), but I think a strong leader's appearance can invigorate and motivate a group of men to greatness. I think he was a decisive factor, but not THE decisive factor. But, what do I know? I wasn't there.

I gotta give it to you, wasn't what I was looking for but you are right, that was also a turning point.

What I had in mind was that when Gettericks made the deal with Caesar to allow the women and children of the soldiers to leave. He did. But he also didn't allow them to pass the cordon, dooming them to no man's land, because Gettericks wouldn't let them back in either. The deal was to let them out so they could conserve on essentials like food. This caused huge discontent and reduced morale beyond compare. This went on for about a year, the women left eating grass and possibly even each other. So yeah, after that they were a pretty easy target.

It was brutal as shit, but what Gettericks did was try to make his problem, feeding the women, Caesar's problem. Instead, Caesar turned the tables and made them his problem, now only worse. IMO, this was the deciding factor. But yeah, had he not shown up it wouldn't have happened.

Pick a question!
 

Strykervet

Gunny Sergeant
Jun 5, 2011
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I gotcha. What I really had in mind was how he used the women (and children too IIRC). The cordon was SOP. Gettericks tried to turn the trapped wives into Caesar's problem but what he did was compound Gettericks' problem by trapping them in a no-man's land. He figured on Caesar letting them through where they would forage and use up what his army depended on. Gettericks couldn't let them back in so the men were forced to watch their families starve or commit suicide or die of exposure. They were also running low on food even after releasing the women.

On the other hand, it wouldn't have been possible with out the cordon, so technically that's the right answer. And I apologize for not picking up on the language. Ask away!
 
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sirhrmechanic

Command Sgt. Major
Feb 23, 2010
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The "nuclear football" is a stainless steel briefcase in a leather carrier, there was an alternative design proposed, what was it?
There was a proposal by a Harvard professor to keep the launch codes in the chest cavity of a volunteer Navy officer. The President would have to use a cleaver to hack into the chest cavity of the volunteer to get out the launch codes. The Harvard genius (I added that term...) felt that this would ensure the President had to really be serious about launching weapons... as he would have to chop into the chest of a human being to get the codes.

I'm not making this up....

But I suspect that these are not the droids you are looking for...

Cheers,

Sirhr
 
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Strykervet

Gunny Sergeant
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Sorry mate, your suspicions are wrong, that is exactly what I was looking for.
Wow, are you fucking serious? I'd NEVER have thought of that in a million years, I must admit I searched because I got so frustrated with this question but found nothing. That's insane. Great question. Love it when the "experts" step in with "expert ideas"!
 
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Strykervet

Gunny Sergeant
Jun 5, 2011
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My first thought was the Curtiss JN-4 "Jenny" but I am having problems with the 17 year old part?
The Jenny was the plane the army bought the most and after WW1 they became airmail planes and barnstorming planes. Does it have to do with the Jenny keeping aviation going post WW1? Or airmail itself? I don't know a specific story without searching for one, or if I'm even on the right track.
 

sirhrmechanic

Command Sgt. Major
Feb 23, 2010
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The Jenny was the plane the army bought the most and after WW1 they became airmail planes and barnstorming planes. Does it have to do with the Jenny keeping aviation going post WW1? Or airmail itself? I don't know a specific story without searching for one, or if I'm even on the right track.
Who said anything about a plane??

Cheers, Sirhr
 
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sirhrmechanic

Command Sgt. Major
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Correct... Jenny McCrea was killed by Mohawks just before the Battle of Saratoga. In the weeks before, British General "Gentleman Johnny" Burgoyne had issued an edict that he would be, in essence, unleashing England's Mohawk allies on the patriots in Western Mass, Western Connecticut and Eastern New York... This caused outrage among the Patriots and continentals because this was considered a despicable act by the British. Not long before the battle of Saratoga, a group of Mohawk (Wyandot) scouts ambushed and killed Jane McCrea, scalped her and brought her scalp to Burgoyne to claim their bounty. Burgoyne was disgusted, to his credit. But could not punish the Mohawks or risk having all his scouts and fighters go home.

Despite the fact that McCrea was from a Loyalist family, the network of Patriot pamphleteers and newspapers grabbed ahold of the "Jenny McCrea" story. Her name was 'turned into a kids name' specifically to help inflame sensitivities. But the patriots and ran with it, creating utter outrage among the colonists all across New England and New York. An estimated 20,000 men grabbed their muskets and (more importantly) rifles, and headed towards Burgoyne's Army. And they were looking for blood! McCrea was a true martyr... even though her family were loyal to the king!!

Between the infusion of American Colonists, Benedict Arnold's heroics (this was before he turned traitor) and Daniel Morgan's riflemen, the Continental Army had one of its biggest victories at Saratoga. At exactly the right moment. France was waiting for a 'win' to come into the war to help the Continentals. And Saratoga tipped the balance and showed the French King that the Americans could beat the British in a major battle. After Saratoga, Ben Franklin, at the time an envoy to Versailles, was finally given an audience with the king and foreign minister... and was given money, support, weapons and supplies. Without France's entry into the war at this crucial period, England likely could have crushed the Continental Army within the next couple of years.

Jenny McCrea's death, while probably blown way out of proportion in some regards (both at the time and in history) was the major spark that sent an Army out looking for British blood. They got it... Psychological warfare goes back a long way!

Cheers,

Sirhr
 
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^^^ because of the old 'Damascus' manner in which they used to be made.

Not unlike the staves of a wine barrel, the strips of steel were wrapped/welded/hammered into a round, tubular shape.

To follow up with:

Where did the term "Lock, Stock, and Barrel" originate from, and why?
 
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