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Men of action in coffee-stained crackerjacks, 104 years ago today

These are not the kind of guys you want to pick a fight with.

NHHC NH 100612

Ensign Schuyler F. Heim and other members of the landing party from the South Carolina-class battleship USS Michigan (BB-27) preparing to disembark, 22 April 1914, at Vera Cruz, Mexico.

Their white uniforms have been crudely dyed for camouflage purposes. Heim is wearing an M1912 pistol belt and magazine pocket, with a very newly issued M1911 automatic .45cal pistol in a swivel holster. The immense First Class Boatswain’s Mate beside him wears the M1910 dismounted cartridge belt for the Springfield M1903 rifle. Note additional ’03s in chests on deck.

BB-23’s career was cut short by the Washington Naval Treaty in 1922 and she was decommissioned in February 1923 and broken up for scrap the following year.

Heim went on to become a commodore and was in command of the Naval Air Station on Terminal Island in 1942, resulting in a bridge named in his honor crossing the Cerritos Channel at the Port of LA that remained in service until 2015.

No word on what became of the Hulk BM1.

The last duel in France, just 51 years ago today

On 21 April 1967 French politicians Gaston Defferre and Rene Ribiere met at the private residence of Neuilly-sur-Seine to conduct the duel over a petty matter of public honor. Fought with epees, the men were deadly serious and in the four-minute combat, Defferre wounded Ribierre twice on the arm. After the second wound, the engagement was stopped by the combined intervention of the duelists seconds, and Defferre declared the winner.

Peaches and Pound Cake

Story Corps has this great bit of relation from PFC Roman Coley Davis, who grew up in a small town in southern Georgia.

After graduating from high school in 2004, he joined the military. By the time he was 20 years old, Roman found himself 7,000 miles away from home, in the Korengal Valley of Afghanistan — one of the most remote outposts in the U.S. war there. At StoryCorps, he told his friend Dan Marek about his family and his time in Afghanistan.

After the military, Roman enrolled in culinary school. He used his GI Bill to attend Le Cordon Bleu. He’s now a chef, based in Arkansas.

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the most important, and least remembered Canadian cavalry charge

The Battle of Moreuil Wood on March 30, 1918, is captured in the painting “Charge of Flowerdew’s Squadron” by Sir Alfred Munnings via the Canadian War Museum:

UNDATED — Undated handout photo of Alfred Munnings’ painting CHARGE OF FLOWERDEWS SQUADRON, held by the Canadian War Museum.

The story behind the charge:

“The Canadian charge at Moreuil Wood occurred at the height of the Kaiserschlacht, the German Spring Offensive of 1918, a massive assault on the Western Front that the German High Command hoped would split apart the Allied armies and drive the British out of Europe.

On the foggy morning of March 30, 1918, the Canadian Cavalry Brigade, one of the few Allied units not retreating from the German onslaught, was tasked with recapturing the Moreuil Wood, a forested ridge east of the French city of Amiens, a crucial railway junction that linked the British and French armies…”

There, only C Squadron of Lord Strathcona’s Horse, under a 33-year-old British Columbian rancher named Lt. Gordon Muriel Flowerdew, made ready to ride into history.

More here in this great piece in the National Post

The Anne-Marie

On this day in 1841, the 2nd Regiment of the Foreign Legion of the French Army was created at Bone in Algeria and enrolled 2,240 legionnaires– largely Swiss and Germans– organized in 3 battalions stationed in Bone, Bougie, and Djidjelli.

The regiment fought throughout Algeria for the next decade until it was shipped out to the Crimea to join the allies fighting Russia, freezing at the Battle of Alma and the Siege of Sevastopol then went on to fight in the Franco-Austrian War in 1859.

By the 1860s, they were fighting in Mexico to prop up Maximilian and a patrol of the regiment, just 62-strong under Capt. Jean Danjou (Saint-Cyr, 1848) engaged 2,000 Mexicans at the Battle of Camarón with a predictable outcome.

The wooden hand of Capt. Danjou, treated as a holy relic by the Legion, housed at the Legion’s museum in Aubagne.

Then came service in metropolitan France during the war with Prussia in 1870, the Sino-French War, the Sudan and Morocco, Dahomey, Madagascar, fighting in France again in the Great War where they bled at the Somme, Verdun and along the Marne, then, of course, World War II where they fought in North Africa and later in the Colmar Pocket, ending the conflict on occupation duty in Austria, a country some of its men had left in the 1930s.

Then, like the rest of the Legion, the back to back 17-year armageddon in Indochina and Algeria before they were moved from their traditional “home” to Corsica and reformed. Since then, they have undertaken peacekeeping and intervention activities in Lebanon, Chad, and Bosnia, among others.

Their march since the 1900s is the Anne-Marie, oddly enough a German drinking song in the French Army, but then again, it is the Legion, and the regiment curiously hosted both German refugees during the broken Weimar era, German Jews fleeing from Hitler in the 1930s and 40s, and after WWII, former Wehrmacht soldiers.

The words, translated:

Anne-Marie, where is the journey going,
Anne-Marie, where is the journey going,
She goes to the city
Where the soldiers are.
One two three
Young, young, young Anne-Marie

Anne-Marie, today we want to be funny,
Anne-Marie, today we want to be funny,
We want to go dancing
And we rotate in circles.
One two three
Young, young, young Anne-Marie

Today the 2e REI is a two-battalion strong mechanized infantry unit based in Nîmes, France, and their mascot is a mule.

Carry choices for rangemaster certified instructors

I thought this list was pretty interesting. It’s a survey of the carry choices of 100 Rangemaster certified firearms instructors.

Most commonly, they carry (almost every day) a 9mm striker-fired semi-auto, with about 80 percent falling in the compact to full-sized arena (very few mouse guns or subcompacts). Almost all waist-carry (concealed) IWB on the strong side, appendix to the back of the hip, in a Kydex holster. All have a round in the chamber, with about half carrying a secondary piece for a New York reload.

Hmm. I agree with most, but I do like my leather sometimes…


75 years ago today: Have a smoke and a smile

A wounded German POW of the 15th Panzergrenadier Division offers a light to one of his captors; a wounded British Army soldier of the 6th Durham Light Infantry, 50th Infantry Division, XXX Corps. March 23rd, 1943

A wounded German POW of the 15th Panzergrenadier Division offers a light to one of his captors; a wounded British Army soldier of the 6th Durham Light Infantry, 50th Infantry Division, XXX Corps. March 23rd, 1943

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