Monday, August 24, 2009

War in pictures (3) - The Grunt

The Grunt - a common soldier. All wars have been fought with grunts. Even after any successful bombing, you need eyes on the ground to confirm that the target was indeed destroyed.

Here's one of the earliest photographs ever taken during a military conflict - it shows British soldiers in camp. It is estimated to be taken between 1800-1815 during the Napoleonic era. The collars are stiff, uncomfortable stocks to help hold the head erect. The red tunics and white crossbelts (no color pictures then) offer little in the way of camouflage, but since the smooth-bore muskets were only effective at a range of 50 yards, such considerations were insignificant. Check out my post HERE for color pictures of 1/6 Napoleonic soldiers, including a detailed review of the King's Hussars HERE.

The American Civil War (1861 - 1865) - A Federal corporal poses for the camera in full gear. The Federal armies were much better equipped than their rebel counterparts, in part owing to the greater industrialization of the northern economy, but also because of the effects of the blockade imposed by the federal government on the rebel states.

A Federal cavalryman poses with his seven-shot repeating Spencer carbine. By the end of the war, the Federal army deployed several units armed with repeating breech-loaders, and while these did not in themselves prove battle-winners, they did give the Federal forces yet another important advantage over their opponents.

For pictures of 1/6 Union and Confederate soldiers of the American Civil War, go HERE.

The Spanish-American War 1898 – Lieutenant-Colonel Theodore Roosevelt stands with members of the 1st US Volunteer Cavalry, the famous "Rough Riders". The regiment was formed of volunteers from the south-western United States, and Roosevelt's prominent role in its actions during the Cuban campaign helped him secure nomination as the vice-presidential candidate of the Republican party in the 1900 presidential election.

The First World War, 1914–1918. Picture below shows well-equipped men of the 4th Battalion, the Worcestershire Regiment, on their way to the front of the Somme offensive. The soldier in the foreground has a pair of wirecutters for breaking through barbed wire obstacles.

Many battalions, nicknamed Pal's battalions, were drawn from single localities, which was to have tragic effects when the casualty notices began to arrive.

French soldiers proudly display British military decorations they have received. The French army had by now abandoned the dark blue and red uniform of the opening year of the war. Instead, a pale blue known as horizon bleu offered better camouflage on the battlefield, although it was still not as good as the British khaki or the German Feldgrau. The French also adopted the Adrian helmet, a far more elegant design than the British "tin hat".

British troops march through liberated Lille, France, in October 1918. By war's end, the British army was probably the most effective of the Allied forces.


Anonymous said...

It seems the colorful gears of the past are left to ceremonial parades/events...
what would be the reactions of this grunts if they were to meet a fully geared modern soldier! (complete with night visions, gps etc...)
what a company of soldiers can do before can easily be done by a squad of today! :)
Anyone knows the title of a movie long ago where in a group of modern soldiers somehow went back in time! they fought off hundreds of Samurai's or shoguns i think.
I only saw its trailer when i was a kid, want to watch it if theres a DVD available but cant remember the title!

alex teo said...

interesting thoughts there, AL

I think you are talking about the 1979 film "G.I. Samurai" starring cult favorite action star Sonny Chiba. I recently watched "Samurai Commando Mission 1549" which is the second movie adaptation of a novel written by Ryo Hanmura. It's about a small squadron of the Japanese Self Defense Force (including vehicles) being sucked into a time-warp to find themselves in the middle of the Senguko period.

Another great time travel movie was "The Final Countdown", a 1980 science fiction film about a modern aircraft carrier that travels through time to just before the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. It starred Kirk Douglas and Martin Sheen.

Then there was "The Philadelphia Experiment (1984)" based on the urban legend of the Philadelphia Experiment. Two sailors who are stationed on a ship in 1943 undergo time travel (because of the experiment) and find themselves in the Nevada desert in the year 1984.

Hope this helps :)

Anonymous said...

Thats it!!! i think! i can't recall if they are japanese defense forces, but your description is right, they have their vehicles with them when they went back in time!
Thanks a lot!!!
Philadelphia Experiment was great too! the Final Countdown i knew i watch that before but can't recall was a long time ago LOL 80's!!!
ah the 80's!!! :)