Thursday, May 31, 2007

Denying Reality: Military Style


Brit Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig liked cavalry and infantry. Liked that disciplined frontal assault a lot, too (think the Brits during the American Revolution.)

Well, it cost the British Army 60,000 casualties at the Somme, on the FIRST day of the battle. Machine guns, you know, old chap.

But Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig didn't get it--so in the ensuing 120 days, another 340,000 Brit casualties were taken.

And he STILL thought that the horses and infantry were here to stay:

As late as 1926 --years after the horror of World War I ended -- Haig still clung to old-world notions of warfare. He wrote the following, which I reproduce because it is so unbelievable, so astonishing, that it makes one wonder how the human race ever got as far as it has:

"I believe that the value of the horse and the opportunity for the horse in the future are likely to be as great as ever. Aeroplanes and tanks are only accessories to the men and the horse, and I feel sure that as time goes on you find just as much use for the horse -- the well-bred horse -- as you have ever done in the past."

Well, for the "well-bred horse," there IS the Kentucky Derby.

And 'boots on the ground' are still with us. But they don't march in neat, broad, lines against automatic weapons, Sir Field Marshal.

(Source: The Rude Awakening)


Fidei Defensor said...

In fairness, the 1920's wittnessed some of the biggest cavalry battles in history between Poles and Russians. Also, there was actually some intense cavalry fighting on the eastern Front in 1945. Though in the latter case, mostly as a shock weapon against retreating German conscripts.

Dad29 said...

Uhmmmmmmnnnn, yes.


Ignoring machine-guns is not quite the same as equal-party skirmishes or battles.

And prognisticating that "aeroplanes" would not be significant to war...

Well, OK. I didn't buy Microsoft stock at the IPO...