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Old January 16, 2011, 01:54 PM   #376
4V50 Gary
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So I'm reading Lady Florentia Sale's book

A Journal of the Disasters in Afghanistan. She was married to General Sale, who was posted up there.

Quote:
A poor woman, a Mrs. Smith, the wife of a conductor, was traveling up the Bolan pass to Kandahar, with a few suwars as a guard. She was attacked by the Belooches; the suwars fled, Mrs. Smith got out of her palkee and ran a short distance, but was soon overtaken and killed; the body was not plundered, and her rings were found on her fingers, and her earrings in her ears; not that they committed the act from hatred to the Feringhees and disdain of plunder, but that, according to the superstition of these tribes, it is a most unlucky circumstance to kill a woman; and finding their victim of the gentle sex, the fled, and left her as she fell.
Suwars, troopers (cavalrymen)
palkee, palanquin
Feringhees, europeans

Interesting how over a century and a half later, some folks think nothing of killing a woman there today.
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Old January 28, 2011, 08:54 PM   #377
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Letter from a wife to a husband during WW II

Quote:
The strangest thing happened last night that left me filled with all kinds of emotions such as confusion, fear, joy, amazement and wonder. I don't know how long I had been asleep but I suddenly awakened and sat straight up to see a bright light shining on your picture which was on my dresser. I could not cry out or get up, all I could do was just stare at this phenomenon and wonder what message it was trying to convey. Did something happen to you? Were you in trouble? Are you all right? The light on your picture slowly dimmed until it was gone and my room was left in total darkness. I lay back on my pillow trying to determine what meaning I could attach to this awesome experience which left me totally drained but mysteriously calm and assured that all was well, permitting me to fall back into a deep sleep for the rest of the night.
The husband is Lt. C. Windsor Miller, commanding a M4A3E8 Sherman (76 mm gun) tank platoon. At the time his wife Gracie was awakened to witness this act of God, Miller was leading his platoon (actually he was ordered to be in the second vehicle) across the bridge at Remagen. The very first tanks to do so after its capture! Miller saw ten more days of combat before being pulled out and sent on R&R in Paris. It was during his R&R and that he received Gracie's letter.

Miller gives talks and his memoirs, A Tanker's View of World War II, is published by Thomas Publications of Gettysburg. ISBN 1-5774--111-3
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Old February 21, 2011, 07:45 PM   #378
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Sentenced for homelessness

This is modern stuff out of Weimar Germany.

Quote:
Case No.... P. B.
Was heard by the court in Berlin on ___ 1920.
Mr. [deleted by author] was instructed to find himself alternative accommodations within five days, failing which, notwithstanding the most strenuous efforts on his behalf to do so, he would be punished for making himself homeless. The appellant was further warned that in accordance with #361, subsection 8, of the Criminal Law of the German Empire, such punishment will consist of up to six weeks in prison, and, in accordance with #362 ibid., transferral to the police authorities, for placement in the workhouse.

XXXX

Signature of the homeless man in question.

XXXX

Signature of the police case worker.
"The document quoted above is the so-called declaration, which has to be signed by anyone entering the homeless shelter on Frobelstrasse. The German in which this philanthropical document is couched corresponds to the philanthropy it expresses."

That old law German Empire law was phased out as jailing a person for being obdachlos (homeless, if I got the spelling right) didn't make sense.

The above was written by Joseph "Red" Roth and published in the Neue Berliner Zeitung, Sept. 23, 1920 and later republished as "What I Saw: Reports From Berlin."
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Old March 13, 2011, 12:06 PM   #379
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US Army unofficial bicycle corps

I rummaged through the Friends of the Library bookstore and found a book on the 25th Infantry, an original buffalo soldier unit. The book is The Twenty-Fifth Infantry by John H. Nankivell. It had too much modern history (for my taste) and not enough frontier and Spanish American War. I did find this gem in it.

Quote:
An innovation of this period was the establishment of the 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps, under the command of 2nd Lieutenant James A. Moss. An article by Fairfax Downey in the American Weekly for September 18, 1928, gives a very entertaining description of the "Corps," and from which I have culled the following extracts:

In the heydey of the bicycle, the year 1897, there was organized at Fort Missoula, Montana, the 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps. In command of the cycle corps was Lieutenant (now colonel) James A. Moss, widely known as the author of Moss's Manual and other military text books. His talent made him a fit chronicler of the activities of his command - activities which were to resolve themselves into a veritable peace-time anabasis, a series of bikes through the Rocky Mountains.

'Now this Bicycle Corps of the 25th Infantry, was not the sizable organization it sounds. With customary army conservatism, the strength of this new department was restricted to one lieutenant, one sergeant, one corporal, one musician and five privates, one of them a good mechanic. They all presumably qualified as being able to ride wheels. Before very long, they could do a good deal more than that. They cold drill, scale fences, ford streams and hike - or bike - forty miles a day in heavy marching order.

'The Corps would clear a nine foot fence in twenty seconds. The command was, 'Jump fence,' and they did it - of course 'By the numbers.' A front rank man would rest his wheel against the fence and pull himself over. Thereupon his file would pass over both wheels and follow himself. On the other side, the Corps would smartly assume the position of 'Stand to bicycle.' To ford a stream not deep and swift, they dismounted, and rolled their wheels through, but if it was a more formidable proposition, two men slung a wheel on a stick resting on their shoulders, and carried it over. Their packs consisted of aknap-sack with blanket roll and shelter half strapped to the handlebars. A haversack was carried forward underneath the horizontal bar. Under the seat was a cup, in a cloth sack to keep off the dust. The rifle was strapped horizontally on the left side of the wheel. Slung on the rider himself was the canteen and thirty rounds of ammunition, having been found that it was prudent to burden the soldier's person with little, in case of a fall.

'The corps made its first real hike to Lake Macdonald. Starting at 6:20, they had clicked off thirty-three miles by 12:30 without much untoward happening, except for two men falling in a stream. By 7:30 that night they had put fifty-one miles behind them. the next day it rained and was very muddy, but they made thirty-one miles. All in all, they made 126 miles in twenty-four hours of actual travel and that under adverse conditions. The Corps next put a hike to Yellowstone Park. A hot sun and steep hills which necessitated pushing the wheels were encountered, and down grades where it was hard to hold back also provided difficulties. At last the command halted on the Continental Divide, where half the squad took position on one side and half on the other. When a tourist asked one of the cyclcists, 'Where do you expect to go today?', the answer came back quick as a shot, 'The Lord only knows, we're following the lootenant.' Deprecating the deep dust and many falls, but enjoying the scenery and the geysers, the Corps pedaled through the park, making a speed of seven miles an hour for 133 miles.

'Their record hike was seventy-two miles averaging eight and three-quarters miles per hour. While the strength of this Corps was increased later to twenty and it proved valuable as scouts and couriers in regimental maneuvers, it did not continue, and during the usual peace inertia between wars, no similar organization took form. The extent of our country, its lack of network of roads, its large supply of horses - all these were factors discouraging cycle corps while the reverse in Europe encourages them."
Their bicycles were the old steel frame, one gear type. No carbon fiber or aluminum frame, titanium gears, shock absorbers or anything that can be found on a modern mountain bike. That was some tough biking.
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Old March 16, 2011, 10:13 AM   #380
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Since 4V50 Gary's previous post mentions that the 25th Infantry was an original buffalo soldier unit... Who Were These Buffalo Soldiers And How Did They Get Their Name?

Photo Link:

http://projects.ajc.com/gallery/view...rn-art/10.html

What's their connection to General John "Black Jack" Pershing?
Read all about the history of these Buffalo Soldiers and discover what they accomplished.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo_Soldier


Quote:
Buffalo Soldiers originally were members of the U.S. 10th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army, formed on September 21, 1866 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo_Soldier
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Old August 15, 2011, 01:56 AM   #381
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During the Civil War...

James Hancock was a spy who had wonderful facial expression and great powers of mimicry. While in Richmond's Castle Thunder Prison, he staggered and fell over. Witnesses rushed forward and after examining, stated he was dead. A Confederate surgeon was summoned who also examined him and pronounced him dead. Hancock's body was placed onto a wagon and driven off to the hospital where the coffins were. When the driver arrived, he turned around and discovered he had lost the body. He retraced his steps and to see where the body fell off. Unable to find Hancock, he notified the officials and Castle Thunder Prison who in turn notified the detectives (Libby had its own detectives to track down escape prisoners) and the police.

Hancock didn't leave town but registered himself at the best hotel in the city. He bought himself some new clothes and ran about town, availing himself to the sights, the food and entertainment. While running about town enjoying himself, the Provost guards stopped him. Hancock crossed his eyes and drew his mouth to one side. Confused, the provost released him. Wiser men would have fled long ago for safety but not Hancock who stayed for four more days until he was arrested at the post office. This time Hancock squinted his left and and drew his mouth to the right side and feigned deafness. Nonetheless, he was taken to back to Castle Thunder where neither the staff, the guards nor the inmates recognized him. After a while, Hancock's facial muscles tired from the contortions and he relaxed his face. Immediately he was recognized and it was only the war's quick end that saved him from the hangman's noose.
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Old August 17, 2011, 12:23 AM   #382
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More Strange Escapes

Brown, being pro-Confederate, got into a drunken brawl with a Union soldier whom he killed. Brown was what the Provost called white trash. Arrested, he was thrown into Old Capitol Prison in Washington, D.C. His cellmate took an immediately disliking to him and wanted him out.

The cellmate told Brown that he had overheard the warden instruct the guards that Brown was to be executed and it was to be the next morning. Distressed, Brown bemoaned his fate and desperately wanted to live. The cellmate then assuaged Brown's fear by telling him that prior to the war, he was a circus acrobat. He then told Brown that with a good springboard, he could fly high into the air and that it was quite possible to spring from the cell, over the inner yard and the fence and into the outer yard where escape would be possible.

Seeing a chance to cheat death, Brown filled with enthusiasm and so the two pried up a floorboard in their cell. They pushed the floorboard out of the window and secured it to the window sill. Brown then crawled out on hands and knees until he reached the very end. Then ever so carefully, he began to stand up. Once fully erect, he started to bounce. Slowly at first, as if he were seemingly unsure of himself, and then as he began to gain height, with greater energy. When he thought he was bouncing high enough, he lept!

The drop from the cell window's was a good 40-50 feet. Brown sailed into the air, over the yard the fence. He almost impaled himself on a guard's bayonet when he landed in the outer yard. The wide-eyed guard was shocked by Brown's sudden appearance. With gaping mouth, the guard fled from Brown. Brown ran to the shed and began to climb its roof. Once on top, he could hop over the outer wall and be free! Unfortunately for Brown, one guard who was alert brought him down at gunpoint.

Brown repeated his stunt but on his next try, was shot.

Unfortunately, the cellmate's name was not recorded. I guess he was pretty effective in getting rid of cellmates.
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Old September 24, 2011, 01:37 AM   #383
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Bribe your guard to let you escape

That was done by PoWs both blue and gray.

At Castle Thunder in Richmond, Virginia, some Yankees didn't have any money but that minor fact didn't stop them. One Yankee approached the Confederate guard on duty and told him that he and three other PoWs would each give $50 in gold if they were permitted to escape. The guard didn't blink and excused himself to consult with the guard outside. Figuring that they would each net $100 in gold, they agreed and told the Yankees that it was a bargain.

That night, the prisoners approached the window to climb out onto the platform where the outside guard stood. From the platform they could descend via staircase to the street below. As the first Yankee approached, the guard inside asked for his money. "Last man has it," he was told. The guard watch as the first man, then the second, then the third, the fourth, the fifth, the sixth and finally the seventh. Finally the guard gave the alarm but not before five men got away. The two who were caught readily identified the two Confederate guards who were bribed.

It is likely that the hapless pair were court martial.
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Old September 24, 2011, 01:49 AM   #384
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It might not be much of a story, but I always got a kick out of the fact that the first POW's of the Civil War or many prisoners from the beginning of the war weren't even really kept behind a fenceo r treated bad in the least bit. Some could just walk away, but most chose not to at - least at first.
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Old September 24, 2011, 11:23 AM   #385
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There are examples of PoWs being sent to the rear without first having been disarmed.

After Richmond was evacuated, Libby Prison was converted to a prison for Confederates. One Confederate Capt. Richard Turner imprisoned there was once the second in command at Libby. Capt. Turner was placed into a cellar cell. Having been second in command, Turner was aware that there had been a previous escape where a Yankee officer removed an iron bar and slipped out into the street. Lacking resources, the Confederates didn't have the iron (or stone mason) so they simply got a wood stick, painted white to match the iron bars and installed it where the iron bar was. Turner took advantage of this and removed the wood bar and slipped out. He was free for a month and hiding with his family when the soldiers came for him. His daughter convinced him not to fight and he surrendered himself. Turner was paroled on June 18, 1866.
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Old March 9, 2012, 02:20 PM   #386
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During the Siege of Chattanooga, General Peter Osterhaus was part of the relief column that entered the city. He and some of his officers were standing on the porch when the lady of the house came out and complained to him that they were getting the porch all muddy. She asked him to do something about it. He being a German gentleman agreed immediately. "Poys. You are getting the lady's porch all muddy. Please step inside the house so you won't get it dirtier."
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Old March 12, 2012, 10:32 AM   #387
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In the Days of Victorio

This is by a Warm Springs Apache who, as a child was given a can of food, perhaps underwood liverwurst. Here is their reaction:

Quote:
Once I came I with a flat container upon was pictured the figure of a tall man with hooves and a tail. The officer had been eating man meat! My people had been told that sometimes White Eyes practiced cannibalism, and here was the proof. No more collecting of discarded cans! Nana made medicine for me and I suffered no ill effects.
I know many White Eyes and none of them are cannibals.
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Old March 20, 2012, 06:32 PM   #388
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Civil War water gun and flame thrower

Beast Ben Butler, the most hated Yankee General, was enthusiastic about a new invention with which he would bring down the Rebs. "One man has brought a fire-engine, wherewith he proposes to squirt on earthworks and wash them all down! An idea that Benjamin Butker considered highly practicable. Then, with his Greek fire, he proposes to hold a redoubt with only five men and a small garden engine. 'Certainly,' said General Meade; 'only your engine fires thirty feet, and a minie rifle 3000 yards, and I am afraid your five men might be killed, before they had a chance to burn up their adversaries!'"

The flame thrower was proposed to the USN in the early 1810s or so and was rejected as barbaric.
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Old March 20, 2012, 08:04 PM   #389
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recommend "Killer Angels" historical novel on Civil War
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Old April 2, 2012, 01:30 PM   #390
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When in late 1861 pro-secessionist women began wearing red and white rosettes to proclaim their support for the South, Union General Henry Halleck responded by distributing like rosettes among the town's prostitutes. Not wanting to be associated with the women about town plying their vocation, the practice of wearing rosettes promptly ceased.
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Old April 11, 2012, 06:38 PM   #391
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History of the Ojibway People by William Warren

First published in 1885, Objiway member Warren transcribed the memory of his people. They were at times enemies with the Dakotas and at others inter-married with them. The Ojibway participated in the attack at Fort Michilimackinac and at the Rendezvous of the Fur Trade Era.

The book is worth the time for anyone interested in the period.
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Old April 14, 2012, 06:58 AM   #392
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Sometimes I read modern stuff. This is from the memoirs of Austro-Hungarian Navy U-boat commander Georg von Trapp. His family was the basis for The Sound of Music. They fled Austria rather than serve Hitler. The book is reprinted in English as, To the Last Salute. Enjoy.

Quote:
The sailboats come in from the islands. Heavy, massive crafts that carry supplies, they bring sheep's cheese, fish, and schnapps, and their owners buy sugar, tobacco, and whatever else they need in town.

There is hardly any wind, and the boats must be rowed. The man sits at the helm and smokes; the woman stand to row the long, heavy oars. They also moor the boat and furl the sails. It's more or less like that in the Black Mountains. When the Montenegrins come to market at Cattaro, the man sues on the donkey; the wide runs alongside and carries the load.

One of the officers goes to see the man, who has sat down on the mooring post while the woman unloads the boat.

"And you? Do you do absolutely nothing whatsoever? Do you let the women do all the work?"

"Nothing? I sleep with my wife!"
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Old April 20, 2012, 10:53 AM   #393
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Lovely eyes

During WW I, UB-II commander Oberleutant Werner Furbringer was told:

Quote:
"I think you have the most lovely eyes." I was taken somewhat aback. "I'm going to have some painted on my boat too, above a shark's mouth.". My friend had meant the eyes of my boat UB-2 now lying in the yard at Bruges. I had had black-white-red roundels stuck each side of the bow well forward to serve as an identification symbol. The eyes, together with the convex nose of UB-2, gave the boat a rather whale-like appearance. Valentiner's boat with eyes and shark's mouth would definitely look like some kind of sea monster. However, I had some more urgent business to attend to than boats' markings.
The book is, Fips: Legendary U-Boat Commander, translated by Brooks.
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Old November 9, 2012, 08:59 PM   #394
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No Life for a Lady

by Agnes Morley Cleveland. She was born in 1874 in New Mexico. Her book records life in New Mexico in the late 19th and early 20th Century. It's great reading for those interested in cowboys.

Here's an excerpt:

Quote:
Because of the conventional system of administering justice was unpractical for us, we worked out a legalism of our own. Take for instance the trial of young Pedro Bustamente for shooting Casimiro Gonzales's dog. The cur had snapped at the heels of Pedro's already fractious horse, which promptly 'turned his pack,' neat phase for throwing its rider. Pedro picked himself up and shot the dog and Casimio had the law on him. It was some time before any law could be found, but finally Old Man Adams agreed to act. He summoned the litigants before him. Sitting impressively behind a table he had the parties to the action stand, their sombreros respectfully held against their chests. Their eyes were glued to the tome on the table before the judge. They looked upon it with awe, because they had never been permitted to look inside of it. It was a mail-order catalogue and contained pictures of ladies in their underwear. The youths' parents in their homes. Just what might be in that forbidden volume besides indecent pictures of females in their union suits the young men did not know. They did not question that it set forth the law covering their case.

Old Man Adams opened the book and ran his finger down a page of cuts of saddles and bridles.

'Ha, here it is,' he bumbled. 'It sez here, "If a dog runs out and bites at a horse, the rider of the horse has a vested right to shoot that thar dog." He slapped the catalogue shut and pronounced judgment.

'You, Casimiro Gonzales, ain't got no redress. Case dismissed.'

The verdict was fully upheld by public sentiment. Dogs snapping at a horse's heels can be very trying.
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Old November 17, 2012, 09:47 PM   #395
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From page 60 of Agnes Morley Cleveland's, "No Life for a Lady." Cleveland was raised on the New Mexico frontier. Here she tells of horses and how they were reliable and trustworthy friends who knew the way home.

Quote:
"Another story involved a small boy whose name I cannot recall. He lived over near the Muleshoe Ranch. A snowstorm descended upon the section and the youngster, unbeknownst to his family, set out on horseback to find his pet pony, which had been too long missing and for whose fate in the snow the young boy was gravely concerned. He felt that he must find his pony, and find it he did, but only a hollowed-out, skin-covered skeleton. Lightning had probably killed it, and then coyotes had eaten all the internal organs, leaving a clean and dried-out carcass covered with a hide too tough for the
jackals to tear.

"The little owner dismounted, sat down beside all that remained of a dear friend, and cried. The tears froze on his cheeks. As he sat there a sudden gale of blizzard proportions swept across the San Augustine Plains. The fury of the wind was so great that shelter, any shelter, was imperative.

"'I knowed Billy'd want to help me if he could,' the boy said when he finally told his tale long afterward, 'so I just crawled inside him out of the wind and my other horse stood alongside all humped up. 'course he had a saddle and saddle blanket on, which helped him. After a while it quit blowing so hard and I was getting so stiff and cold I knew I had to move around or I'd freeze, so I crawled out of Billy and took hold of Pete's tail and told him to go home and he did. He drug me through snowdrifts that'd 'a' been too deep for me, alone, and he never minded me pulling his tail. I wrapped some of it around my hands, and that helped keep them warm.'

"Exhausted but alive, the child reached home. Yes, horses know!"
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Old December 29, 2012, 06:47 PM   #396
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Camp Trinidad

Near Trinidad, Colorado was the site of a WW II PoW camp. Most of its prisoners were from the Afrika Korps. When they arrived, they were not happy at all with the camp and expected better treatment (ha! They didn't know how bad our GIs and Airmen had it over there). Anyway, letters going out were read and where applicable, were censored.

Quote:
The major quoted an excerpt of a letter sent by the Germans:

"Well another dull Sunday. The only diversion was chasing two rattlesnakes under the barracks, but that is to be expected from the Americans. They are used to handling rattlesnakes and gangsters and not fitted to handle Germans."
Another German remembered how Americans handled rattlesnakes:

Quote:
The locals explained how to deal with snakes: grab their raised tails and then whirl them like a whip in the air. Thus the bowels of the animals are pushed to their head, they bit and kill themselves with their own venom.
Don't know if it's true, but I'd blast a rattler before I'll try that stunt.

Ironically one escapee (all escapees were eventually caught) Til Kiwe, whose real name was Till Edward Kiefer, post-war became an actor and played the role of Frick or the Ferret in The Great Escape.

The above is from Kurt Landsberger's Prisoners of War at Camp Trinidad, Colorado 1943-46. Landsberger was a Viennese Jew who fled Austria to America before Krystallnacht. During the war he enlisted in the US Army and served as an interpreter at Camp Trinidad. The camp is gone today but some of the stone post markers are said to be still standing.
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Old December 29, 2012, 08:15 PM   #397
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Pop'em like a whip and it breaks their neck......I've seen videos of tribesmen doing cobras that way.
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Old December 30, 2012, 03:23 PM   #398
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Hard tack, hard tack, come again no more.

Quote:
While before Petersburg, doing siege work in the summer of 1864, our men had some wormy hardtack served out to them for a time. It was a severe trial, and it taxed the temper of the men. Breaking open the biscuit, and finding live worms in them, they would throw the pieces in the trenches were they were doing duty day by day, although the orders were to keep the trenches clean, for sanitary reasons.

A brigade officer of the day, seeing some of these scraps along our front, called out sharply to our men: " Throw that hardtack out of the trenches. " Then, as the men promptly gathered it up as directed, he added: " Don't you know that you've no business to throw hardtack in the trenches? Haven't you been told that often enough?" A disgruntled soldier offered his explanation: " We've thrown it out two or three times sir, but it crawls back!"
H Clay Trumball, War Memories of Army Chaplain, 1898 pp52-53
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Old December 30, 2012, 04:55 PM   #399
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wow thank you for the story gary. i can't imagine that but believe it(as every situation and scenario/location was different at the time not even counting more often the rebs were more hungry than the union soldiers). that being said many Enlisted men would eat the corn out of horse manure, so I wouldn't be surprised if they would swallow the hardtack worms and all too....
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Old January 13, 2013, 12:39 PM   #400
4V50 Gary
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Join Date: November 2, 1998
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Sir Robert Baden-Powell

He was mentioned on page one of this thread as the founder of the Boy-Scout movement. During WW I, he penned a small book as part of his contribution to the British War effort. From "Quick Training For War" we have this amusing entry:

Quote:
The sizing up of your men at squad or any other drill requires a close observation and a quick eye. In my subaltern days I was lucky enough to make a success of my very first parade, the day after I joined, and in the wise. My troop was ordered to parade in double rank, and I was given by my captain the simple task of walking round to inspect the men and to see that each of them was wearing a cholera belt. Shirts were thrown open and I walked down the front rank, finding each man dressed as he should be. As I turned at the end to come up the rear rear my eyes downcast from the sheer shyness at commanding a parade, I just caught with the tail of my eyes a movement at the opposite end of the troop, as a man stepped from the rear rank into the front rank which I had just examined. I only knew the name of one man in the troop at that time, because he had been detailed to bring me my horse, and this happened to be the man who stepped across. I took no notice of the move, as I had to debate in my mind whether or not it might be a bit orthodox drill that, when the officer arrived at the area rank, one of its number should step into the front rank. As I passed along the rear rank examining their belts I pondered the matter over, and came to the conclusion that I would risk matters and call this man out.

On arriving at the front again, I called, "Private Rasbotham, step to the front. Have you got your cholera belt on?" There was a blushing, confused reply of, "No, sir." I did not punish him, as I was not clear what powers of punishment I had; but I said, with much far and great gruffness, "Take care you don't allow it to occur again," and dismissed him. But the punishment which he afterwards got from his own comrades in the way of jeers at being caught out by a fresh-joined subaltern was far heavier for him to bear than any I could have inflicted.
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