Barbary Wars – The Derna Campaign

After marching 500 miles from Egypt, U.S. agent William Eaton lead a small force of U.S. Marines and Berber mercenaries against the Tripolitan port city of Derna. The Marines and Berbers were on a mission to depose Yusuf Karamanli, the ruling pasha of Tripoli, who had seized power from his brother, Hamet Karamanli, a pasha who was sympathetic to the United States.

The First Barbary War had begun four years earlier, when U.S. President Thomas Jefferson ordered U.S. Navy vessels to the Mediterranean Sea in protest of continuing raids against U.S. ships by pirates from the Barbary states—Morocco, Algeria, Tunis, and Tripolitania. American sailors were often abducted along with the captured booty and ransomed back to the United States at an exorbitant price. After two years of minor confrontations, sustained action began in June 1803, when a small U.S. expeditionary force attacked Tripoli harbor in present-day Libya.

In April 1805, a major American victory came during the Derna campaign, which was undertaken by U.S. land forces in North Africa. Supported by the heavy guns of the USS Argus and the USS Hornet, Marines and Arab mercenaries under William Eaton captured Derna and deposed Yusuf Karamanli.

Lieutenant Presley O’ Bannon, commanding the Marines, performed so heroically in the battle that Hamet Karamanli presented him with an elaborately designed sword that now serves as the pattern for the swords carried by Marine officers. The phrase “to the shores of Tripoli,” from the official song of the U.S. Marine Corps, also has its origins in the Derna campaign

During the Cold War

Balao-class submarine USS Stickleback after being struck by USS Silverstein. During a simulated torpedo run on Silverstein, Stickleback lost power and broached approximately 200 yards (180 m) ahead of the destroyer escort. Silverstein, which holed the submarine on her port side. Stickleback‘s crew was removed by a torpedo retriever and at 18:57 on 29 May 1958, Stickleback sank in 1,800 fathoms (3,300 m) of water.

Note the Dates


The Norman Expansion

With England conquered, Norman expansion continued in Italy and the Mediterranean under the impetus of individual initiatives. Several Norman aristocrats, hired as mercenaries by the Byzantines, seized in the eleventh century Sicily, southern Italy, 11th-12th century.


  1. india, 200k dead? that’s .000014 of the population. more die of dysentery. one point four billion folks crammed together in poor infrastructure, poor hygiene, poor nutrition. i’m surprised there are any left to get covid.

    • India is a horrible place. It’s an open sewer, the whole country (see SiG’s comments below). It’s cruel to say, but a 30% mortality might be the best thing that could happen to them. By that, I’m not saying that the Indian people are horrible as people. I’ve written for Indian defense journals and have advised elements of that government. It’s not that at all.

      Their problems are so big-big-big that fixing them is nearly impossible. The world’s largest democracy.

  2. My last employer contracted with some software firms in India. A friend of mine was sent there on a monitoring trip and I’ll never forget her description. She said that she landed in New Delhi to change planes and before the plane was even on the ground, the stench started to fill the cabin. By the time they were rolling up to the gates the cabin was unbearable.

    • Yeah. There is like 1% of the country with actual plumbing. There is a caste of people who collects night soil every morning and dumps it on crops. Rural China is much the same, but not the cities.

      Even in Dubai, the sewage trucks line up at the hotels, even 5-star hotels, to collect the waste. They don’t have plumbing and a modern waste disposal system. Sort of an evolved nightsoil collector.

      • A dear friend spent a month in Bangladesh organizing an international study of arsenic-related birth defects [1]. In the early planning stages she asked my advice on a few things (not that I have any expertise on B’desh). My only advice was “back out of this commitment, there is no upside and plenty of downside to you going.” This advice was not taken. On her return her first comment, and this is a woman who does not curse, was “that was a literal shithole.” (In the same sense as SiG’s report.)

        She was at the “best children’s hospital in B’desh” for a month, kept in literal purdah. As in locked into the female staff dorm after 6pm. Apparently rape of foreigners, especially good looking ones, is a bigger problem than anyone is willing to admit. Also, as a woman, a PhD (vs MD) and an infidel, she had problems getting the male Muslim physicians to take her seriously. As to the staff she was training, some were very good, but overall, adherence to SOPs and meticulous attention to detail (as needed for good clinical studies) were not the local forte.

        It was an unpleasant month of essentially wasted effort for her. On a personal note, she used to think that I am too critical of 3rd world cultures and people. This is no longer the case. “Oh my God, you were right. How did you know? You’ve never been to Bangladesh! ”

        [1] so the UN dug a whole bunch of tube wells so the poor Bangladeshis could have clean water. Those wells are heavily arsenic contaminated. Half-assed do-gooderism at its finest.

        • When Mother Teresa’s diary was revealed after her death it was learned that despite working so hard in Calcutta she struggled daily whether she was making a dent, and it affected her faith (as it would any normal person of faith). Systemic poverty and high birthrate (seriously, quit having kids) continues the cycle unabated regardlles what a person does to interrupt the entrenched mindset.

  3. Poor woman. Whenever she puts on that shirt and walks in that location, something bad seems to happen to her. Wonder what it’ll be next year.

    • She resurrects after each crisis and travels to the next where she dies. It’s the whole reincarnation thing. Same clothes.

      • Same Antifa/Burn.Loot.Murder buses show up, unload their contents of anarchist actors (Jan 6th was no different only they wore Trump gear)…every one of these street protests and mayhem are the same people. Rittenhouse righteously shot a couple that were at other cities creating chaos.

        Some group is funding this…Soro’s is one member.

        • Those behind it should be publically executed. Hanging is too good for them – but Utah still allows that as the death penalty, so ship them to UT for final disposition. When they’ve expired, leave them for the buzzards.

          • Like sex offenders continually let out on parole (???!). Nope…shoot them in the veggie patch, leave them for dead as carrion. Okay to offer some justice on this side of the veil instead of free meals and cable and weights.

        • Maybe she’s related to those palestinians that keep getting killed over and over again by the evil Israelis…

  4. You’d almost think that the same people reporting on poison gas in Syria were behind the Indian Covid coverage.

    The Normans were remarkable.

    • The Normans were merely Vikings who settled in France. The DNA didn’t change and neither did the attitude.

      Don’t get me started on the Syrian gas attack sham.

  5. Derna- I try to put myself there, as a foot soldier marching into Egypt then onto another hot house place. No thanks…but hats off to those who did.

    India- Scamdemic is correct, although Scumbagdemic is more like it. Dem’s and their international counterparts will do anything to steal and stay in power. Saw a video of an American Pharmacist opening a new J-J Covid-19 vax box, lifting out the very thick “insert”. She unfolds this 2’x4′ piece of paper, except for the bar code on the top part…IT WAS BLANK. Theater of the bizarre.

    Something just ain’t right, felt it in my gut last year, and that Spidey-sense is getting worse.

    • The 2022 election cycle will be instructive. That’s about all I can say. In a nation on the cusp of hyperinflation where we’ll soon pay $1,000 for a pine 2×4, the house of cards is teetering severely. The Presidential carcass may last until June (my prediction holds) at which time he will shuffle off this mortal coil. Maybe he will last longer. Maybe they will feed him more stewed prunes and the process will make him feel as if he’s 75 again?

      • I’ll be supporting my local sawmill, thickness plane to semi smooth, call it good…unless Weyerhaeuser and GP get their act together, however, I believe it is intentional hamstringing.

        You win, I had April for the Oval Office Potted Plant…the guy is starting to short-circuit even worse. The Dem’s are a national embarrassment. Thing is they don’t care…means to an end justifies their anarchy.

      • I have a friend with a sawmill. I mill my own wood too, at this point. Mainly cedar, because I like the look and I’m doing finished stuff, not structural work.

  6. In the header image, it sure looks like those horsemen are trying a caracole – although I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to do it farther away.

    That sort of thing with the sub happens now and then. When my Dad was working up for his deployment to the Pacific War, he was among a bunch of aviators doing torpedo practice down in the Gulf. Somebody’s torpedo ran shallow and hit Wasp, instead of passing under like they were supposed to. They were practice shots, so thankfully no warhead, but it still sprang some plates and put Wasp pierside for a few days.



    • That’s exactly what they’re doing, Kle. However, with the handguns of the day, jostling on horseback, uneven powder loads that might fire properly or blow up your weapon in your hand — I’d rather be on the side with the pikes. They also had guns.

      Ooops stuff happens in the military more often than is reported.

    • You pull the caracole right at the edge of the pike wall. The pike wall doesn’t move fast, and will stop and set to receive a charge, so it’s actually pretty damned safe to caracole right about a foot out of pike range.

      Pikes work by the enemy being pressed or pressing themselves onto the pike. They really aren’t designed to thrust with.

      Coupled with the, in comparison to modern weapons, the piss-poor accuracy and range of the cavalry pistols, well, up close is the only way to assure a hit.

      • Being on the side with the pikes is superior in all ways but one – if you decide to say “fuck it” and run away, it’s better to be sitting on a horse.

        Caracole always seemed like something thought up by the home-front brass, to be performed by other, less important people, far away. IDK why, if they wanted to cav to be firearm-equipped and use them in a primary role, they didn’t just give them rifles and train them as semi-Dragoon dual-mode skirmishers. Maybe that’s hindsight though.


  7. The Barbary raids were not just the Med- 150 years earlier, they hit Iceland and took a few hundred captives. Assisted by some European traitors.
    An interesting story, written by a literate Reverend who survived and was released to go get some coin for ransom of the others.

    • Don’t forget the raid of Baltimore (Ireland) in 1631.
      This one was under the leadership of a Dutchman.
      Matt Bracken used this, in part, as the basis of his novel The Red Cliffs of Zerhoun.

  8. Ah, the Barbary Wars.

    Few remember or are taught that that’s when Stephen Decatur made his first big mark in naval history by leading the raid to burn the captures USS Philadelphia. What balls and panache for a young man! And what a raid!

    As to the Normans… NORMANS!!!! Whoohooo!!!

    They taught the Sicilians the meaning of the word Vendeta…

    Most of the 1st Sons went to England with William. Most of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th sons went to Sicily, Italy and the Holy Lands. Ah, good times, good times. And the Normans were the last to leave the Holy Lands.

    There is also a Norman Renaissance, starting around 1040 AD, when the Lesser Sons first started getting involved in Italy and Sicily. They brought back Romanesque arts and new ideas.

    Then there was the Norman involvement in the Catholic Church, also bringing a renaissance in the Church, bringing in a much brighter interpretation of the Bible that still lasts to this day, well, except in various doomsday Christian churches…

    And you can thank the Normans for codifying the use of stirrups, couched lances and mass cavalry tactics using stirrups and couched lances. (Couched lance is held in the crook of the arm like you see on TV and in the movies. Before the Normans the lance was held overhand and thrust down (about the only way you can use a lance on a stirrupless horse.)

    Good people.

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