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OT Call: Military Question Thread

Military History 2004

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#1 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 16 August 2004 - 04:18 PM

If you ever seen Mail Call on the History Channel then you will get the basis behind this thread.  If you have never seen Mail Call then you would probably be called a maggot by R Lee. ;)  The idea behind the show is viewers write in to Gunnery SGT. R Lee Ermey with their questions about something related to military matters.  The Gunny then fires off an answer to the question whether it be something related to modern militaries or military history.  Since we have a fair base of people who know military matters I hope to start a similar structure here in OT.  I have talked to Ilphi and he has already signed up for the idea.  I hope that other people in the know like Jon, Tennyson, Talkie Toaster, and others will jump onboard and help answer questions.

So have at it with questions.  Submit away. ;)
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#2 Rov Judicata

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Posted 16 August 2004 - 04:21 PM

What's the distinction between a destroyer and a battleship?
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#3 tennyson

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Posted 16 August 2004 - 04:51 PM

I'll take this one, at the most basic level the distinction beyween a battleship and a destroyer is size and mission. The destroyer as we know it today did not exist until the end of the 19th century when the torpedo became a reliable military weapon. At that time it was thought that fast little boats that were eventually called torepdo boats would be able to launch torepedoes at battleships with impunity so a protecive measure was needed. This was the torpedo boat destroyer, later shortened to just destroyer. A larger ship than the tiny torepdo boat but fast enough to catch and destroy them with its limited armament. Those early ships displaced about a thousand tons and were armed with a few small guns and torpedo tubes themselves and eventually they tookover the roles of the torpedo boat as well since they could actually accompany the fleet.
Eventually it was discovered that in addition to delivering torpedoes against the enemy battleeships thier speed and small size made them good submarine hunters in World War I. Since then this and screening larger ships from threats have been the primary jobs of the destroyer and it has grown in size to the point that ships displacing 8000 tons can be called destroyers.
Battleships are the ships of the line, in the age when guns decided battles they were the main means of projecting power and achieving natonal dominance. Every navy that aspired to any world power had to have battleships to defend thier coasts from the battleships of over nations and to project power across the seas. A battleship is a large, heavly armoured and armed ship that can displace up to 90,000 tons if not more. But the combination of the submarine and the aircracft carrier made the battleship obscelent for its orginal duties and the guided missile made it all but obscelete for anything but bombarding a shore in preparation for an amphibous landing. or other such missions. Most navies of the world rapidly decommissioned thier battleships after World War II with the US Iowa class being the last to see service when they were reactivated in the 1980s to deal with the threat of the Soviet Kirov class battlecruiser. Currently there are no battleships in operation anywhere in the world and the number of intact battleships can be counted on a persons' fingers.
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#4 QueenTiye

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Posted 16 August 2004 - 04:53 PM

what precisely was the real military strategy that is represented by such things as Braveheart, where everyone lines up on a field and runs into each other??? And, why did anyone EVER think this was a good idea?

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#5 Ilphi

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Posted 16 August 2004 - 04:59 PM

I'll give it a go, Handmaiden07. You shouldn't think of battles by disorganised militaries of that era like modern encounters. They were more like rioters smashing into a line. The military thinking was simple - get as many men as you can together, rush at the enemy. Try to distinguish yourself in battle. It also tried to discourage the enemy psycologically - break their morale, seeing a mass of people screaming and charging towards your thin line.

It works fine as long as your enemy is doing the same thing. Against an organised enemy, it is suicide. One of the most famous examples is 2 Roman Legions in Boudicca's uprising in England of about 12,000 men crushing the attacking British force of over 120,000. The British rushed into the Roman lines who formed wedges - sharp points like a jagged knife. The British were funnelled inbetween the sharp inverted V's, and simply got stabbed to death by Romans advancing in formation behind shields. And because of the rabble, the British were pushed onto the blades by all the thousands of troops trying to push forward from behind.
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#6 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 16 August 2004 - 05:04 PM

Thanks Tennyson and Ilphi. ;)  Tennyson beat me to it but I'll add mine since I have a few different comments and he has some that I lacked in mine too.

A battleship would be the largest, most heavily armed, and armored warship of a given time.  The armament would be primarily based on large caliber naval guns arrayed in turrets.   The idea behind the battleship evolved over time with battleships initially being crammed with guns of all calibers with their being a tertiary, secondary, and primary armament.  HMS Dreadnaught changed this concept by focusing the brunt of the armament on the primary battery allowing the largest possible guns to be fitted to the ship.  After Dreadnaught the race was on to fit the largest guns to a design that you could while retaining a smaller secondary armament to deal with threats from smaller vessels like torpedo boats, destroyers, and cruisers.  

At the end of the 19th Century the self propelled naval torpedo arose as a new threat to capital ships like battleships.  Navies countered by creating the Torpedo Boat Destroyer which was basically a enlarged version of the torpedo boat making it a larger but still small warship that was fast lightly armed and maneuverable.  The torpedo boat destroyers were used to screen large warships from torpedo boats by destroying them before they could launch at the battleline of ships.  The torpedo boat destroyers soon proved to be better at carrying and deploying torpedoes than the smaller and very unseaworthy torpedo boats.

Eventually the name was shortened to destroyers in the early 20th century and the destroyer continued to screen the fleet from threats.  The destroyers were used to protect against these traditional threats and then during World War I destroyers became the primary means to protect against submarines and again during World War II another duty was added with the destroyer protecting against aerial threats.  High value ships like battleships or carriers would be protected by a “ring” of cruisers and then on the outside there would be a ring of destroyers as the first line of defense.  A World War II destroyer like the Fletcher Class displaced a little over 2000 tons and was armed with five 5”/38 cal dual-purpose guns in single mounts with a typical AA armament varied depending on when the ship was built but consisted of 20 mm and 40 mm mounts. The US Iowa class battleships the epitome of battleships design displaced  48,110 tons with a armament of 3 triple turrets with 16"/50cal rifles, 10 dual turrets with 5"/38cal and 19 quad 40 mm AA and 52 single 20 mm AA guns.

Following World War II the battleships were rapidly removed from service in favor of the aircraft carriers.  Only the four completed members of the Iowa class survived to be reactivated for the Korean War, Vietnam War, and the 1980-90s including the Gulf War before being deactivated into reserve statue where two are still retained.  Other than the Iowas the only other surviving battleships are currently museums.  Following World War II destroyers continued to grow in size with the modern Arleigh Burke class displacing 9,200 tons at full load.  In terms of both size and mission destroyers in the past few decades have slowly meshed together with cruisers.  The Arleigh Burke is only 1,000 tons more in terms of displacement than the Ticonderoga class cruiser and has a slightly more capable combat system and heavier armament with her carrying more weapons.  It should be noted that the Tico is based off the same design as the Spruance class destroyer.
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#7 EvilTree

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Posted 16 August 2004 - 06:07 PM

Handmaiden07, on Aug 16 2004, 09:51 PM, said:

what precisely was the real military strategy that is represented by such things as Braveheart, where everyone lines up on a field and runs into each other??? And, why did anyone EVER think this was a good idea?

HM07
I'll try to answer this question reference Scottish highlanders, though Ilphi did get to the main point really.

Scottish highlanders were very unruly lots. Heck, most of the time the king of Scotland didn't have much control over them. The highlander's favourite past time was raiding each other's homes and killing each other and stealing stuff.

Their bravery and courage were never questioned as shock troops, they would have made a fine lot.

But as Ilphi said, the highlanders really had no organization skill other than chief/tribal level and they had no real organizational still or generalship really.

So, as they found out that battle of Neville's Crossing in 14th century, their favourite charging with yelling their heads off doesn't do much against English longbow archers behind a good defensive position as they were cut down into pieces.

Still, highlanders were very respected by the English for their courage that for some time, highland units were banned until highland units were raised by the English to fight for the English crown.
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#8 Delvo

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Posted 16 August 2004 - 07:07 PM

CJ AEGIS, on Aug 16 2004, 04:02 PM, said:

A battleship would be the largest, most heavily armed, and armored warship of a given time.  The armament would be primarily based on large caliber naval guns arrayed in turrets.
I have an issue with that first sentence that I'll get to in a moment, but the second one I have to point out as a post-Monitor/Merimac definition. Before those ships, the largest ships with the heaviest firepower were wooden and had no turrets; the sides were lined with cannons. In use/role, they were the equivalent of modern battleships for their time, and are generally called by that name now, but don't fit the definition given here because of the turret issue.

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The idea behind the battleship evolved over time with battleships initially being crammed with guns of all calibers with their being a tertiary, secondary, and primary armament.  HMS Dreadnaught changed this concept by focusing the brunt of the armament on the primary battery allowing the largest possible guns to be fitted to the ship.  After Dreadnaught the race was on to fit the largest guns to a design that you could while retaining a smaller secondary armament to deal with threats from smaller vessels like torpedo boats, destroyers, and cruisers.
...and aircraft... This reminds me of something called "pocket battleships", which I've seen described as having hte firepower of a battleship but being smaller. I had always figured that the sacrifice was in storage, so they couldn't stay out at sea as long, but could it be that they instead had only big guns and lacked the intermediate and smaller ones?

Quote

In terms of both size and mission destroyers in the past few decades have slowly meshed together with cruisers.
Now this is getting weird. When I was reading a book on the voyage of the Bismarck, the Hood was consistently referred to as a battle cruiser, not a battleship, but was also said to be among the biggest sluggers around, always equated with other battleships, not cruisers. What was the deal there?

Also, I looked at the Navy's website and found that the things they call "cruisers" now don't have any appreciable guns on them anymore, just a few little dinkers and a big square box in the middle. What's with the big box? I know they're going largely to missiles instead of guns these days, but I didn't figure missle storage and launchers would be in the form of a box like that

#9 Rov Judicata

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Posted 16 August 2004 - 07:50 PM

Thanks tennyson and CJ and Delvo.

I've heard a lot about the AK-47 being a better gun in the Middle Eastern theatre than anything our troops have. Is that true? If so, what makes it superior, and why can't we emulate those attributes (or, alternatively, why do we choose not to)?

EDIT: Because Delvo snuck one in on me....

Edited by Javert Rovinski, 16 August 2004 - 07:51 PM.

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#10 DWF

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Posted 16 August 2004 - 07:57 PM

Well, I've never heard of a battleship that could displace 90,000 tons, the most I've ever heard of were the Yamoto class vessels displacing 64,000 tons. Aircraft Carriers OTOH have been known to displace that much and more. :cool:
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#11 emsparks

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Posted 16 August 2004 - 08:22 PM

Javert Rovinski, on Aug 16 2004, 08:48 PM, said:

Thanks tennyson and CJ and Delvo.

I've heard a lot about the AK-47 being a better gun in the Middle Eastern theatre than anything our troops have. Is that true? If so, what makes it superior, and why can't we emulate those attributes (or, alternatively, why do we choose not to)?

EDIT: Because Delvo snuck one in on me....
The nature of the AK47 – 74, is the designer used wide mechanical tolerances, for the parts, then are use in American weapons. This means that dust and dirt do not cause as many stoppages in the AK series, where as a M16 needs to be kept clean. This is a problem in a desert environment as, in deserts there is most usually a very fine dust that gets into every thing, and I do mean everything especially during sand storms.

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#12 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 16 August 2004 - 10:07 PM

^ In addition the lightweight design of the M16 and the materials used in the construction of it makes it more vulnerable to jamming.  Rifles like the Garand and M14 were built with tight tolerances that allowed them to be used accurately to longer ranges than either the AKs or the M16.  You could drop a M14 in the mud, pick it up, and wipe off with a cloth then use the rifle.  Try the same thing with a M16 and you’ll regret dropping it and not disassembling the entire rifle to clean it.  One could say you could make it up by cleaning the M16 very often but you can’t call a timeout in the middle of a battle to take apart and clean your rifle.  

The other matter with the M16 compared to the AK-47 or M14 is that the modern rifle lacks penetrating power.  In Vietnam one of the nastier surprises for US soldiers was when AK-47 rounds would penetrate into and out of trees with sufficient force to seriously injure or kill anyone behind that tree.  An M16 round in the same situation is stuck somewhere short of halfway through the tree. It must have been rather disconcerting to go from the M14 that could penetrate in situations to a rifle like the M16 that can’t.  The other thing is that the M16 throws a smaller slug which many will state has less stopping power.  The theory behind the M16 round is the small round will start to tumble and do all types of nasty things upon entering the body.  The thing is that in places like Somalia  people stayed up after being hit multiple times by fire from M16s and this seems to have occurred again a few times in Iraq.        

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Delvo:  In use/role, they were the equivalent of modern battleships for their time, and are generally called by that name now, but don't fit the definition given here because of the turret issue.
That is a modern addition to the name as far as I know.  The official terminology for the “early” wooden walled broadside armed warships was ships of line.  The term came from the fact that these ships were large enough to take a place in the battleline of the fleet.  

Quote

Delvo: This reminds me of something called "pocket battleships", which I've seen described as having hte firepower of a battleship but being smaller. I had always figured that the sacrifice was in storage, so they couldn't stay out at sea as long, but could it be that they instead had only big guns and lacked the intermediate and smaller ones?
Prior to World War II the British Admiral Fisher became rather fond of a concept called the battlecruiser.  His entire concept was to retain the armament of a battleship on vessel with less armor thus substituting increased speed for armor.  So  for the battlecruiser speed was armor.  The problem is the idea never quite worked as it was meant to.  Now the pocket battleships were really something that fell between a Heavy Cruiser and a Battlecruiser.  In the German case they had 11” guns placing them as smaller than the 15+” guns carried by battleships but with armor and guns heavier than most cruisers and sufficient speed to outrun most battleships.  About the only thing that could run them to ground was a pack of cruisers, a battlecruiser, or a fast battleship like an Iowa.  About the only cruiser that could take them on one on one is perhaps the Des Moines class due to their semiautomatic 8” guns they might be able to soft kill a pocket battleship and then kill it.

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Delvo: Now this is getting weird. When I was reading a book on the voyage of the Bismarck, the Hood was consistently referred to as a battle cruiser, not a battleship, but was also said to be among the biggest sluggers around, always equated with other battleships, not cruisers. What was the deal there?

Hood is a weird case.  The British had really one modern class of battleships at the time the Bismarck broke out.  The King George V Class were armed with five dual turrets with 13.5 inch guns, a top speed of 28 knots, and were fairly new and untested.  Prince of Wales a KGV that fought Bismarck along with the Hood was so new that she went out with workers onboard because she was having issues with her primary armaments.  The thing about the KGVs is that they were built to the specifications and limitations of the Washington Naval Treaty while Bismarck totally ignored that treaty.  The Bismarck was faster, more heavily armored, and outgunned them.  Other than the KGV the only thing that could tangle with Bismarck was the Nelson and Rodney.  Nelson and Rodney had heavier armor and 16” guns but they were dirt slow at 23 knots and had a host of reliability issues.  Bismarck could have ran circles around them.  

So what can actually catch Bismarck, is reliable, and has the guns to take her out?  You have two so so modern battleships classes and a host of World War I designs.  This leaves the old lady Hood who at 31 knots could catch the 29 knot Bismarck and match her 8 15” rifles  with her 8 15”/42.  The only problem with Hood is she was a battlecruiser and lacked sufficient armor.  The British were planning a refit to upgrade her into a fast battleship by increasing her armored protection.  The problem is all of this got put on hold by the war and in comes Bismarck who happens to hit Hood in her fatal glass jaw.  

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Delvo: What's with the big box? I know they're going largely to missiles instead of guns these days, but I didn't figure missle storage and launchers would be in the form of a box like that.
That would be the VLS or Vertical Launch System which is a canister based launch system that allows a missile located in each canister to be readied for launch.  This allows the ship to prepare for multiple threats with a higher ROF compared to older rail based launch systems.  In addition with the system being located below the deck it has a much higher survivability than the rail launchers.
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#13 jon3831

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Posted 16 August 2004 - 10:25 PM

CJ AEGIS, on Aug 16 2004, 08:05 PM, said:

Try the same thing with a M16 and you’ll regret dropping it and not disassembling the entire rifle to clean it.  One could say you could make it up by cleaning the M16 very often but you can’t call a timeout in the middle of a battle to take apart and clean your rifle.
That, and when the lubricating oil acts like a dust magnet for that real fine desert sand and it acts like a wet sander, thus complicating the matter more...
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#14 Delvo

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Posted 16 August 2004 - 10:51 PM

What makes a 1911 a 1911?

#15 G1223

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Posted 16 August 2004 - 10:58 PM

What do you think the next size of rifle cartirdge is going to be.

I was a Con with a couple of folks who talked about the fact that with the new body armors and  lack of stopping power of 5.56mm  that a heavier bulliet is going to needed.

Also do you think caseless cartiages are a dead dog?
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#16 Delvo

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Posted 16 August 2004 - 11:08 PM

CJ AEGIS, on Aug 16 2004, 09:05 PM, said:

That is a modern addition to the name as far as I know.  The official terminology for the “early” wooden walled broadside armed warships was ships of line.
And yet I've also heard battleships referred to as ships of the line, a term which should be defunct and inapplicable to modern ships if it indicates that older type... unless it really can include both modern and 19th-century big gun ships... in which case it's redundant to "capital ship" so one of the terms is pointless... :p :wacko:

Quote

Prior to World War II the British Admiral Fisher became rather fond of a concept called the battlecruiser.  His entire concept was to retain the armament of a battleship on vessel with less armor thus substituting increased speed for armor.
So a battle cruiser isn't exactly a species of cruiser but a hybrid between battleship and cruiser? I guess the name does look constructed that way, but I had always thought "cruiser" was just short for "battle cruiser" until now, and "heavy cruiser" and "light cruiser" were just size subgroups within the category of battle cruiser, short for "heavy battle cruiser" and "light battle cruiser". And then it wouldn't make sense for the same class to include some ships that were equivalent to battleships and some others that you just said were smaller than an AB destroyer. But if the battle cruiser is a separate thing from (and bigger than) ordinary cruisers, more like battleships modified to be somewhat cruiser-like, now it all makes sense.

Quote

That would be the VLS or Vertical Launch System which is a canister based launch system that allows a missile located in each canister to be readied for launch.  This allows the ship to prepare for multiple threats with a higher ROF compared to older rail based launch systems.  In addition with the system being located below the deck it has a much higher survivability than the rail launchers.
I'm not talking about those below-deck vertical missile launchers. I'm talking about that giant huge box that pretty much is the whole ship and stands out stories above the deck, like an architecturally unoriginal office building floating in the middle of a big tray. Both modern destroyers and modern cruisers are dominated by this single big block shape, since they don't have much gunnery anymore. Is that really just like a building, containing just housing and work stations?

Edited by Delvo, 17 August 2004 - 06:17 AM.


#17 jon3831

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Posted 16 August 2004 - 11:55 PM

Delvo, on Aug 16 2004, 08:49 PM, said:

What makes a 1911 a 1911?
"1911" is a general descriptor for a semiautomatic handgun that follows a design by John Moses Browning for the US Pistol, Caliber .45, Model of 1911.

A 1911 is a single action, semiautomatic pistol with both a grip safety and a thumb safety. Government 1911s are chambered for the .45 Automatic Colt Pistol cartridge, contain 7 rounds in the magazine, plus one in the chamber.

Browning designed the Model of 1910 in response to a US Army call for a new service pistol to replace their .38 revolvers, which they found didn't have good enough stopping power, mainly that enemies were taking 4 or 5 hits before they went down. The 1910 was semiauto, single action, but it only had a grip safety. The theory was that the grip safety would be sufficient because horse cavalrymen would be the primary users of the weapon, and thus wouldn't want the extra hassle of a thumb safety. The Army disagreed, and requested a thumb safety be added. Thus was born the Model of 1911.

Currently, the 1911 is typically used in defense applications, target guns, and race guns, because it's such a versatile platform, and it's been proven by time and battle. Nowadays you can get a 1911 in .38 Super, .40S&W, 9MM, .357SIG, but the purists will tell you that .45ACP is the only way to go.

Now... How to tell a 1911?

Most obvious is the shape of the frame and slide, but the length of the barrel doesn't necessarily matter.

This...
Posted Image

and this...
Posted Image

...are both 1911s.

The firing mechanism is the key. Note the grip safety at the top back of the grip, and the thumb safety at the rear of the slide.

I won't get into the differences between the 1911 and the 1911A1, but the function and overall design is the same. ;)

The design of the 1911 allows the gun to be carried in "Condition 1", otherwise known as "cocked and locked". Meaning, round in the chamber, hammer back, safety on. Pundits call this ridiculously unsafe, but it's how the weapon was designed.
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#18 Hambil

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Posted 17 August 2004 - 02:16 AM

In all the movies they do these chants when they march: "I don't know but I've been told..." etc. Do they really do that? If they do, Is it in all the services? And what it the purpose and origin? Finally, can you provide the text of a few?

#19 jon3831

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Posted 17 August 2004 - 02:43 AM

^The Cadence FAQ

In short? Cadence keeps everyone in step and it's good for morale, as it builds unit cohesion and keeps soldier's minds off how bad their feet hurt, how cold it is, and the like.

As to the origin? It probably started when two Athenian soldiers started singing in ranks while on a road march to pass the time... It's something that's pretty much always been done in one form or another.

Early one morning in the pouring rain,
First Sergeant said it was time for pain,
grab your ruck and follow me!
Its time to do some PT.
We jogged nine miles and we ran three,
The First Sergeants yelling follow me!
Then we walked two miles and ran eight!
Airborne PT sure is great!

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#20 Ilphi

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Posted 17 August 2004 - 03:37 AM

Hambil, singing has always taken place in armies. Both, as Jon says, to keep step and other practical measures - but also just to keep spirits up. It's been going on for ever - there are some really famous marching songs from the Napoleonic Wars that many people still know today. It still goes on today - I just read a book called "Falklands: A Soldiers Tale" which told of an Artillary battery singing in unison as they fired off shells, or in "HMS Brilliant" I read about two gun officers dueting over the tannoy.

I'll post some of the real classics from Britain then try to get some American ones as well.

Quote

Here's fourteen shillings on the drum
For those who'll volunteer to come
To list and fight the foe today
Over the hills and far away

[Chorus:]
O'er the hills and o'er the main
To (through) Flanders, Portugal and Spain
King George commands and we obey
Over the hills and far away

Through smoke and fire and shot and shell
Unto the very walls of hell
We shall stand and we shall stay
Over the hills and far away

[chorus]

Now though I travel far from Spain
A part of me shall still remain
For you are with me night and day
*And* over the hills and far away

[chorus]

So fall in lads behind the drum
With Colours blazing like the sun
Along the road to come-what-may
Over the hills and far away

[chorus]

When evil stalks upon the land
I'll nyther hold nor stay me' hand
But fight to win a better day
Over the hills and far away

[chorus]

If I should fall to rise no more
As many comrades did before
Ask the pipes and drums to play
Over the hills and far away

[chorus]

Let Kings and tyrants come and go
I'll stand ajudged by what I know
A soldier's life I'll ne'er gainsay
Over the hills and far away

One of the interesting things about these tunes is that they get changed all the time - swapped between enemies, even. Here is an American version from Maryland in 1754 (and I'm sure there are post-declaration versions).

Quote

Over the Hills with Heart we go,
To fight the proud insulting foe,
Our country calls and we'll obey,
Over the Hills and far away.

Chorus
Over the Mountains dreary waste,
To meet the enemy we haste,
Our King commands and we'll obey
Over the Hills and far away.


Whoe'er is bold, whoe'er is free,
Will join and come along with me,
To drive the French without delay
Over the Hills and far away.

Chorus
Over the rocks and over the steep,
Over the waters, wide and deep,
We'll drive the French without delay,
Over the Hills and far away.


On fair Ohio's Banks we stand,
Musket and bayonet in hand,
The French are beat, they dare not stay,
But take to their heels, and run away.

Chorus
Over the rocks and over the steep,
Over the waters, wide and deep,
We'll drive the French without delay
Over the Hills and far away.

Sea Shanties are perhaps more famous. Here is one of the all-time classics:

Quote

Farewell and adieu to you, Spanish ladies,
Farewell and adieu to you ladies of Spain;
For we've received orders to sail for old England;
We hope in a short time to see you again.

Chorus: 
We'll rant and we'll roar like true British sailors,
We'll rant and we'll roar all on the salt seas,
Until we strike soundings in the channel of old England,
From Ushant to Scilly ?tis thirty five leagues.

We hove our ship to with the wind from sou'west, boys,
We hove our ship to, for to strike soundings clear;
It?s forty-five fathoms with a white sandy bottom;
We squared our main yard and up channel did steer.

Now the first land we sighted it is called the Deadman,
Next Ramshead off  Plymouth, Start, Portland, and Wight;
We sailed on by Beechy, by Fairleigh and Dungeness,
And we hove our ship to off the South Foreland Light.

Then the signal was given for the grand fleet to anchor,
And all in the Downs that night for to lie.
?Let go your shank-painter, likewise your catstopper,
Haul up your clew garnets, let tacks and sheets fly!?

Now let every man drink off his full bumper
And let every man toss off his full glass.
We'll sing and be jolly, and drown melancholy,
And here's to the health of each true-hearted lass!

And sometimes the songs were less generic, actually written to describe a specific event. This one was written after Nelson's famous Battle of the Nile.

Quote

'Twas on the ninth day of August in the year of ninety-eight,
We'll sing the praise of Nelson and the bold British fleet;
For the victory we have gained over the rebellious crew,
And to the Mediterranean Sea, brave boys, we'll bid adieu.

Chorus:
So come, you British tars, let your hands and hearts agree
To protect the lives and liberties of the mother country.

At four o'clock that evening he brought that fleet in sight
And like undaunted heroes we were eager for the fight.
They were lying at an anchor near the Egyptian shore,
Superior to the British fleet, and to take us they made sure.

Our noble captain he was slain soon after we began;
Brave Cuthbert in succession he boldly took command.
For four full hours that evening we engaged them on the main,
And early the next morning we renewed the fight again.

Full fifty seamen we had slain, which grieved our hearts full sore.
Two hundred more were wounded, lay bleeding in their gore.
But early the next morning most glorious to see
Our British ships of war, brave boys, were crowned with victory.

And now the fight is over and we have gained the day
Nine sails we took and four we burnt, the rest they ran away.
But when we come home to England, so loudly we will sing,
"Success to our Majesty, boys, and long live George the King!"

Yea, ere my hot youth pass, I speak to my people and say:
Ye shall be foolish as I; ye shall scatter, not save;
Ye shall venture your all, lest ye lose what is more than all;
Ye shall call for a miracle, taking Christ at His word.
And for this I will answer, O people, answer here and hereafter,
The Fool - Padraic Pearse



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