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July 30, 2008

More 173rd Airborne

McQ, with the able assistance of Jeff Emmanuel, penned a fine tribute to the 9 soldiers of the 173rd Airborne I wrote about recently.

It is well worth your time. He does good work.

Posted by Cassandra at July 30, 2008 08:01 AM

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Comments

What an amazing, inspiring story. Don't mess with the Airborne! A shame the air support didn't get there sooner...

Posted by: sean at July 30, 2008 08:42 AM

I thought some aspects of the heroic "Tien Bien" fight sounded familiar! Enjoy...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rorke%27s_Drift

Posted by: sean at July 30, 2008 08:48 AM

You know, I never thought I'd find myself enjoying military history.

It's an odd avocation for a woman. There are still parts of it I find boring, but I became enthralled with it years ago after reading Shaara's Gettysburg series. We were living on Parris Island in SC and I kept hearing my eldest son's friends talk about how much they loved the movie, "Gettysburg".

I had no desire to see a long, boring movie about war. I was a housewife. It didn't really mesh with any of my interests and I was in college at the time and busy with my law classes and a part time job at the depot law center.

I can't recall when I first watched the movie, but it hit me like a ton of bricks. Or maybe just a few hundred years of history. I ran out to the library and gathered up all his books and read them, then got Bruce Catton's Civil war series and read that, then biographies of Longstreet, Lee, and several other generals.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 30, 2008 08:59 AM

I never thought I'd find myself enjoying military history.

Military history, taken in context, is human history.

Posted by: BillT at July 30, 2008 09:18 AM

Cass, thanks for the link to the Stars and Stripes story ... as you know I was out of touch the past couple weeks, and while I knew the attack had taken place, I had no idea of the details until now.

Posted by: Frodo at July 30, 2008 09:20 AM

I think that's what Shaara's novels did so well for me, Bill. The movie (Gettysburg) has been panned for not being 100% historically accurate but often movies aren't. What it did do (and I took it in this context) was make the battle accessible to me and awaken my interest in the Civil War. It helped me to relate to war in a way I'd never been able to, before and consequently, I wanted to learn more about it.

I went on to visit the battlefield (and Antietam, and other battlefields) and to read about other famous battles. While I'm hardly an avid reader of military history, I do number it among my interests now. Every now and then I become fascinated with some battle or other and I'll dip into it.

Posted by: Cass at July 30, 2008 09:34 AM

It helped me to relate to war in a way I'd never been able to, before and consequently, I wanted to learn more about it.

Exactly. In the macro, battles never happen in a vacuum and wars never occur of themselves. In the micro, why did one side win a particular fight, even if "conventional wisdom" held that side would get creamed because the other side had the advantage of location, or superior numbers, or superior weaponry?

Fascinating stuff...

Posted by: BillT at July 30, 2008 09:56 AM

Re: excellent war films, I think "Zulu" continues to pack a wallop (thus my link to the Rorke's Drift story). (I believe it was among Michael Caine's first films.)

"Gettysburg", while cinematic and thorough, kept distracting me with the acres of fake facial hair, which I'm sure was not their goal.

Cass, if you haven't already, you should poll your readership on their favorite war movies and why we should see them...

Posted by: sean at July 30, 2008 10:03 AM

sean -- Whooo-eee! I was thinking Rorke's Drift when I wrote my comment!

Posted by: BillT at July 30, 2008 10:09 AM

Cass, if you haven't already, you should poll your readership on their favorite war movies and why we should see them...

Well it sure isn't "Generation Kill"! Boy did that one take a left turn down Bedwetter Alley. Started with such promise too. Damn shame!

Posted by: JHD at July 30, 2008 10:12 AM

Great idea, Sean.

I've done a lot of movie posts, but I don't think I've tried that one yet. Coming up.

Posted by: Cass at July 30, 2008 10:16 AM

I had a friend/co-worker years ago that did 4 combat tours in Viet Nam as a Marine (including half a tour at Khe Sanh in '68), and "Zulu" was one of his favorite movies, too. I think he kinda lived that movie on one of his tours, if you get my meaning.

That was Michael Caine's first movie, as I recall.

Other faves of mine (in no particular order):
Battleground
They Were Expendable
Pork Chop Hill
12 O'Clock High
Gettysburg (me too, but my DVD version of this is screwed up)
In Harm's Way
Run Silent, Run Deep
Stalag 17 (is that really a war movie?)
Waterloo (with Rod Steiger as Napolean, and Christpher Plummer as the Duke of Wellington)
Ran (well, not exactly a war movie, although there is a family war being fought in the middle of it)
The Battle of Britain (hey! Michael Caine is in that too!)

I've probably forgotten something good in here, though.

Too bad that they (who is the nebulous they?) will probably never make a movie about some of the incredible small unit actions in Iraq or Afghanistan, unless future conventional wisdom holds that President Obama won both wars.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at July 30, 2008 11:08 AM

Some of my favorite war movies:

Glory
Gettysburg (Gods and Generals on the other hand was a stinker)
Patton
Lawrence of Arabia
The Bridge on the River Kwai
We Were Soldiers
The Great Escape
Zulu
Black Hawk Down
The Longest Day

Posted by: Frodo at July 30, 2008 12:09 PM

It's an odd avocation for a woman.

Are you saying war is a man's business? heh

Military history, taken in context, is human history.

Human history has been essentially controlled by the results of the battlefield. One cannot know human history, without knowing the history of war and battles.

Erase all the details of the battles and the context, and what you get out of history is a bunch of meaningless dates, names, and events.

My AP European history teacher back in the day scorned "battle" as being the contextual connector of historical events. Aside from that, she did a very good job explaining what made events happen, in terms of causality. Either that or I just read the text book religiously. It made sense in a European setting, since the battles there didn't really decide much of anything. Just which aristocrat got which crown and usually it was fought with mercenaries, with no long term occupation and policy changes. Just land switching hands and peasants suffering. A lot of medieval European wars were pretty pointless, all in all. Which, actually, hasn't changed, has it.

The Ancient wars between Greece and Persia, Rome and Carthage, and Byzantine and the Seljuk Caliphate, now that was critical to human history.

In the macro, battles never happen in a vacuum and wars never occur of themselves.

Uho, Bill's in his professor mode. Everybody take cover!

even if "conventional wisdom" held that side would get creamed because the other side had the advantage of location, or superior numbers, or superior weaponry?

God hated the other side ; )

Boy did that one take a left turn down Bedwetter Alley. Started with such promise too. Damn shame!

A lot of them start off with good promise, but you have to realize that there aren't a lot of Casses, BillTs, or Grims in the entertainment industry. No matter how a good an institution becomes institutionally, it is only as good as the people in it. You can't stiffen spit, after all.

If you drafted 80% of Hollywood and the Left into the Army... what do you think will happen? Do you, then, expect something better to happen when they are put in charge of making an entertainment product, or even a propaganda product, about war and the US military? I don't. The only show I ever saw that portrayed military values in a fair and just fashion was Babylon 5, concerning American Hollywood at least. That and Stargate but Stargate doesn't count cause they were purely small unit tactics and there's only so much "military tradition" you can put in small units composed of... 5 people.

I've done a lot of movie posts, but I don't think I've tried that one yet. Coming up.

Might as well do it again, even if you deleted it before ; )

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 30, 2008 01:38 PM

I think Cass just likes reading about guys.

Because if you're reading about military history, you're pretty much reading about guys.

Heh.

Posted by: Eric Blair at July 30, 2008 06:43 PM

Are you accusing me of reading war p0rn, Eric?

/smack!!! :)

Posted by: Cass at July 30, 2008 07:27 PM

No, I believe he is just mentioning the natural bonds of love that exists between men in war, in those lonely hide outs, patrols, and barracks.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 30, 2008 11:00 PM

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