Military Jeopardy

Dec 2, 2011
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The Soviets in WW2 created the first smart anti-tank weapon. However, it was a weapon that backfired rather seriously due to, for lack of a better term, sensor issues.

What was it? How did it work? How did it backfire on them?

Cheers,

Sirhr
Dogs?



Sometimes, the dogs came running back to the trenches, or to where their controller was. On several occasions, the bomb detonated, killing Soviet soldiers, or its controller. Of the 30 dogs, six exploded upon returning to the trenches.

Inevitably, the operator had no option but to shoot the dog before it reached him.
 
Dec 2, 2011
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That's it mate.

Battle of Hamel remembered
On 4 July 2018 close to 1,100 people attended the Centenary of the Battle of Hamel commemorative service in Northern France. DVA Secretary Liz Cosson joined Minister Darren Chester along with Governor-General His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Ret’d), Lady Cosgrove and French Secretary of State under the Minister of the Armed Forces Ms Genevieve Darrieussecq at the service.
The Battle of Hamel is famous for a series of firsts: the first significant operation of the Australian Corps since Lieutenant-General Sir John Monash became commander in May 1918; the first in which a non-American officer commanded US troops; the first time Australians fought side-by-side with US troops; and the first to coordinate infantry, armoured tanks, aircraft and artillery in such a way. The Battle of Hamel also proved to be a turning point for the Allies in the First World War.
Monash’s meticulously planned attack, which consolidated the strategies used in previous battles by the British Expeditionary Force, saw the Allies achieve all of their objectives in 93 minutes, just three minutes longer than Monash had planned and with a relatively small number of casualties compared with other battles on the Western Front.
In all, some 1,200 Australians and more than 170 Americans were killed or wounded, while German casualties were more than 2,000 with some 1,600 taken prisoner.
For those who missed the commemorative service, you can re-watch it on the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Facebook or YouTube, or on ABC iView by searching ‘Le Hamel’.​
 
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sirhrmechanic

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Feb 23, 2010
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^^^ Actually guys, I am pretty sure that the Harlem Hellfighters, the 369th Infantry were the first by a few weeks. An all-black unit, Pershing did not want them under his command. He assigned them to the French army as replacements in April. And by May, they were equipped with French gear (including helmets) and were in the trenches fighting. They performed extremely well and were active throughout the war.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/369th_Infantry_Regiment_(United_States)

The French, who had a lot of colonial regiments, including a number from colonies in Africa, were only too happy to have the 'Harlem boys' and they were treated like Royalty by the French. Used to discrimination in the U.S. they found Paris to be a very liberating place! No restrictions and they were truly celebrities.

Le Hamel was the first time that non-colored U.S. troops were placed under non-American command. But the 369th had them beat by 2 months in terms of assignment... one month in terms of combat.

IIRC, Pershing sent a secret memo to the French saying that "They better not treat the colored troops too well or integrate them too closely" into the fighting. Pershing and Army brass were worried that if they performed well, they could cause racial tensions at home in a growing civil rights movement... The French ignored the 'memo' which was circulated as a booklet. True to form, after the war, many of these veterans became civil rights champions... and arguably the post-war resurgence of the KKK across the U.S. was a reaction to the early civil rights movement.

It took WW2 to really kick off an equality movement in the U.S. I may be wrong on my timeline.... but I am pretty sure that it was the "Colored Regiments" who were first.

Cheers,

Sirhr
 
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sirhrmechanic

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Dogs?



Sometimes, the dogs came running back to the trenches, or to where their controller was. On several occasions, the bomb detonated, killing Soviet soldiers, or its controller. Of the 30 dogs, six exploded upon returning to the trenches.

Inevitably, the operator had no option but to shoot the dog before it reached him.

Correct. The "Dog missiles" had explosive packs with tripwires attached to their backs. They were trained to run under tanks. Unfortunately, they were trained to run under Soviet tanks (they were fed under tanks... and trained to spot a tank and run under it for reward.) The dogs, however, were too smart by half. The Soviet tanks they were trained under looked and smelled different from their German counterparts. When on a battlefield, the dogs tended to run right to their 'familiar' tanks... and ignore the unfamiliar shape, sound and smell of German tanks.

The Germans also got in the habit of shooting all dogs. And actually circulated material claiming all Soviet dogs were rabid and should be shot on site.

A good idea.... wrong training methods!

Cheers,

Sirhr
 
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Fig

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That is true...sort of splitting hairs... I would think to exclude that answer you would have to be more specific.
In what battle were American troops first under the command of a non American officer?
I was thinking of the first time a foreign officer "commanded" US troops being troops under "the command" of a non American officer. Lafayette was certainly under Washington, "The Commander".
 
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sirhrmechanic

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Fig: It's a good thought (the Revolutionary War 'foreign' officers... but technically, they were American officers.

Back in the Revolutionary War, anyone could be commissioned... there was not a very high bar. The Continental Congress could issue a commission. And I believe that as CinC, George Washington could also issue a commission.

In the case of Lafayette and, earlier, Von Steuben... these were foreign officers who 'showed up' at Washington's camp with spiffy uniforms, foreign medals and letters of introduction. In the case of Von Steuben, he portrayed himself as a General or Colonel and had very 'exceptional' introductions and implications that he was a staff/senior Prussian officer. The reality is that he was about the equivalent of a captain... Washington knew it. But Von Steuben was a brilliant organizer and trainer. So Washington gave him a commission and Von Steuben developed a program of training for the very 'countrified' Continental Army... And he trained them into shape and turned them into a world-class Army that whipped the British not just in 'guerilla' and asymmetric warfare... but an army that was utterly brilliant at using European Tactics. The Continental Army that went into the Revolutionary War was nothing like the Disciplined, trained European-style army that won it.... And they won it on British terms using British tactics against British soldiers. The Continentals DESTROYED the British after they got European-style training. And THAT was due to von Steuben.

It is interesting to note that many of his training methods are still at the core of U.S. basic training today. His style of drill, organization, etc. Is the very foundation of today's U.S. Service branches.

Like Lafayette, Von Steuben was commissioned as an American officer, despite his foreign birth and foreign training. In fact, any foreigner who showed up in the United States back during the Revolutionary War with a modicum of military training and some letters of introduction, was instantly commissioned. Many also petitioned Congress for a commission. Some got them... some not. Lafayette was no exception. He was trained in France. He was a Commissioned American Officer.

Of note, part of the reason that many wanted commissions is that many commissions came with land grants and huge largesse from the Continental Congress. I can't remember what Von Steuben's 'reward' or land grant was. But today we'd call it a County... Officers in Europe could never aspire to such reward. Unless one became a General or... higher. Retirement was cold soup and hope your knees don't give out. Sounds familiar. So an American Commission was a real plum for some foreign officers! Including some British officers. Remember that Horatio Gates who WHUPPED on Burgoyne at Saratoga.... was a British officer who was passed over for promotion, treated like crap... looked down upon by his British counterparts. And said "Screweth This... I Shalt Become An American General." He handed the British their ass at Saratoga... the turning point of the Revolution.

So when it comes to having American troops fight under foreign officers... I would bet on it being WW1. Either Harlem Hellfighters or the Americans at Hamel. I still think that the colored troops who were assigned (dumped on?) the French were the first. And acquitted themselves brilliantly. But it may be so close in date that it's equivocal as to what was the first/last/only time.

Cheers,

Sirhr
 
Well, nobody even tried, far as I can tell. The guy who first explored Texas from his stranding on the beaches of east Texas (New Spain) across the hard way, to El Paso (EP was on the trail to Taos), was Alvar Nuñez Cabeza De Baca (Vaca). His family name was given to an ancestor for valor in combat, and a prize bull from the King's herd was slaghtered and made into a trophy mount. The name became both an honorific and a family name. Cabeza De Vaca was enslaved by the Aborigines, and traded from one tribe to the next over several years. he was found black and burned, and completely naked by Spanish soldiers near El Paso. They almost killed him, thinking he was a hostile warrior. His story is one of endurance, quick thinking, (they thought him a healer, so he played one during his capture) and sheer luck. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Álvar_Núñez_Cabeza_de_Vaca
 

sirhrmechanic

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Pull out of NATO and move into the Soviet Sphere, if I am correct. Though the threat was pretty empty.

The U.S. was speaking with double tongue in the post WW2 era when it came to European countries giving up their colonies. The nations had massive debts to pay and there were few ways they were going to pay back their loans and aid without their colonies. The U.S. wanted its loans paid back... more than they wanted freedom and soft landings for colonies. The feeling was likely "Give it a few years. They're not ready yet, anyway."

Cheers,

Sirhr
 

Strykervet

Resident Phoenix Eye and Dim Mak Instructor
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Yep, you got it! Loans were one thing but every one of those European nations were worried even during the war about keeping their colonies afterwards. They didn't like it that Roosevelt wasn't into it. Truman wasn't as experienced and was more easily influenced by others and Eisenhower probably just wasn't taking chances. Wonder what would have happened had Roosevelt lived just another year? Or if he'd kept his pervious vice president?

It's crazy now, but I think it had more impact back then when things were in motion. That they'd go Soviet after what just happened in Germany and E. Europe is nuts, but they've always had a socialist element in French politics.

They also went nuclear somewhere around that time IIRC.
 

Strykervet

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Sirhr, you always come up with the good ones!

There can only be a handful of ways to do it with a rifle, taking out a train ain't easy. So nitroglycerine on the tracks and a shot at the right time? (that's what I took from you hint, shaken not stirred). Possibly catastrophic depressurization of the steam vessel with an appropriate shot?

Some ammo back then was made with guncotton, which is another nitrated organic, but you'd need a lot of it.
 
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ADA

EINHERJAR
Feb 28, 2007
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This standard issue Victorian era infantry rifle was frequently used to blow up trains...

What and how on earth do you blow up a train with an infantry rifle?

Cheers, Sirhr
A good way to blow up a train is with a Martini Henry. Captain Jack Hindon is credited with this type of bomb which was used to great effect in the Boer War:

During this time, a number of trains, bridges, culverts and even the railway track itself fell prey to Hindon and his ingeniously-manufactured special mines. These were made by using Martini-Henry rifles sawn off about four inches (10 cm) in front of and behind the magazine, filing the trigger guard to leave the trigger mechanism exposed, placing the device in a carefully covered up hole under the tracks in such a way that the trigger was in contact with the dynamite and at just the right height to be affected by the weight of the train on the tracks, yet so little exposed that it went unnoticed. All surplus railway stones were carried away in a bag and great care was taken to conceal all traces of the mine. After a train had been immobilised using the mine, Hindon and his men would ride up to it and loot it. Even armoured trains, guarded by British troops, were attacked and often destroyed.



(Based on that description, I disagree with the details but you get the idea)
 
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I remember someone mentioning this previously here on the hide. Not sure if it was in this tread or somewhere else. The lubricant was rendered pork fat and the Arabs refused to use the cartridges due to their religious beliefs. They didn't want to handle or load them iirc and revolted when given the ammunition.
 
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sirhrmechanic

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I remember someone mentioning this previously here on the hide. Not sure if it was in this tread or somewhere else. The lubricant was rendered pork fat and the Arabs refused to use the cartridges due to their religious beliefs. They didn't want to handle or load them iirc and revolted when given the ammunition.
Close.. And not Arabs... But rumors of animal fat on cartridge papers that had to be bitten off... caused the Sepoy rebellion. The Muslim Sepoys (Indian Levies -- before partition... they would be Pakistanis's today) objected to pork fat.. The Hindu troops objected to cartridges and cartridge paper being lubricated with beef tallow. The objections to the fat (and rumors about it... was very overblown) was a spark... There were deeper seated issues. And, technically, this pre-dated the Martini.

Very well-written Wiki entry

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Rebellion_of_1857

The Gurkhas, who did not care about fat were instrumental in suppressing the rebellion. They were happy to kill everyone. Then as now!!!

Cheers, sirhr
 
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ADA

EINHERJAR
Feb 28, 2007
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The brass foil casings?

You got it Barney. (Sirhr, you nailed the lubricant issue. I'm sure that's often said of you in many contexts). The shorter lever on the Mark IIs was replaced by the longer lever seen on Mark IVs. Greater leverage and better casings solved the issue, but the .303 and bolt actions were already on the way in by the time all this was relatively sorted out, so Mark IVs didn't get much combat use. If you are picturing Ishandlawana or Rourke's drift, it would have been a Mark II.

Mark II vs. Mark IV