The Life of a Volunteer Mercenary Warrior

The International Brigades (Brigadas Internacionales) were military units set up by the Communist International to assist the Popular Front government of the Second Spanish Republic during the Spanish Civil War. The organization existed for two years, from 1936 until 1938. It is estimated that during the entire war, between 40,000 and 59,000 members served in the International Brigades, including 15,000 who died in combat.

Fast forward to the present. Lonestar Parson commented on the contemporary situation with the Internation Legion in Ukraine. Some brought their own custom-fit Gucci camo and their matching luggage to the fight. Others inked up a little more and brought tomahawks.

Some have been killed in action, some surrendered to the Russians and were spared for their propaganda value. I wonder if the Russian prisoner rations are on par with the standard fare back home in Old Blighty?

And if you’re just one dude who speaks no Ukrainian but showed up because you’re an ace at Call of Duty or you steal cars on your Grand Theft Auto game, you will likely be left behind or sacrificed.

Some who joined the International Legion in Ukraine have been complaining because they haven’t been paid.

The flip side is the professional mercenary soldiers who are part of Blackwater (it has another name now and it’s not worth the bother of looking it up), or some other PMC. They make $1K a day or more for the RISK.

It’s a lot like evacuating high-value civilians – cash upfront as opposed to being a crusader.


    • There are a surprising number of “war dogs” in the world that drift from war to war, handling things like executive security when there is no war or when they are too long in the tooth. I’ve met a number of them. Had I not realized the monkey trap earlier in my life (you are afraid to let go of the coconut), I might have gone that way. A wife, children, and now grandchildren change things. The International Legion is comprised of wanna-be Walter Middy types who dream of medals and honor and they always end badly.

      • I very nearly went that way when I came back from Vietnam. I was really p***ed off that they wouldn’t let me go back. Understandable really, in retrospect, but I didn’t think so then. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, I found something interesting to do, almost got married, but didn’t. Stuffed it up. She was a really nice girl and, strangely, I still keep in contact with her some fifty years on. I knew/know quite a few who went to Rhodesia and, when Perfidious Albion sold the Rhodesians out, moved to South Africa, and to the war in what was then South West Africa (now Namibia). After that they kicked around Africa and elsewhere. Some went to Biafra. Some went to Oman. Some later went to El Salvador, in the 1980s. Some have worked with the Karen in Burma. It is strange the places I have bumped in to some of them. What I will say is that none of them, whilst they were paid, never made their fortunes. Although, I suppose, still being alive is a fortune in itself.

  1. Mercs hare the world’s second oldest profession.
    Mercs also should never expect to be treated as soldiers by any side, and have always been expendable by their employers and very expendable when captured.
    There should never be any sympathy for those who engage in this, as they have placed a monetary value on their moral character.

    • Historically, some mercenaries worked their way into historically significant places but they had to climb the bleached bones of others to ascend to those posts.

      You could argue that by deploying US troops to places like Kuwait (Gulf War 1) and being paid entirely by the آل صباح Āl Ṣubāḥ family, they became mercenaries at the beck and call of the Oil Potentates. It was an oil conflict that the US didn’t have a part in. We did it for the money.
      Saddam Hussein asked US Ambassador April Catherine Glaspie what the US would do if he invaded Kuwait. She gave him the green light and he went for it. The al Subah Clan paid us to expell him and we did. Mercenaries? You be the judge.

      • Harry Truman said that being a piano player in a knocking shop was a more honest profession than being a politician.

  2. She gave him the green light. That always ends well. Except maybe for Czechoslovakia, several million European Jews, Korea, Kuwait and now Ukraine. I’m sure other examples that don’t immediately come to mind. And now Iran has a green light special as well. Lovely.

  3. That dude with the bearded axe is a Dane. His name is Christoffer Christian Sørensen, if I recall correctly. He has no military background. Those tattoos are not prison tattoos, the guy is just into Norse mythology. He’s a bit of an oddball. A harmless weirdo. He got into a minor bit of legal trouble for spraypainting graffiti on a wall a couple of years back.
    And now he’s fighting Russians in Ukraine with a group of Belarusians. I say he has turned his life around for the better.

      • There’s a dead Dane yes, but to my knowledge it’s a Vietnamese guy (former military) with Danish citizenship.
        I might be wrong, though, there could be more than one dead Dane.
        And Sørensen also goes by the name “Storm”.

  4. That’s just it, LL, a generation of kids raised on Call of Duty and maybe some military experience, even. Then boom, quite literally canon fodder.

    PMCs? Perhaps a different level of, ahem, executive outcome. Speaking of which, one of the extended flock left USMC and fought in the Congo (one of the later wars…) tells me his pals in the Ukraine are finding it a bit intense, to put it mildly.

    Well, he survived Africa and set up as an antique shop owner in Dallas(!). Persistently tries to sell me a dodgy .38 special which I refuse to succumb to.

  5. Contractors have been part of war since war was created. There’s alway someone looking to get their salt off of someone else’s trouble.

    As to the Internationalists, eh. Socialists killing socialists. Don’t care. Funny how the lefitsts stole Abraham Lincoln’s name to support a cause that Lincoln would never have supported. Typical leftist bull-scat.

  6. During my time in Iraq and the Stan, I interacted with a lot of mercs, mostly Blackwater but not exclusively. Some were good friends from Saudi who decided to join the big leagues using their military/medic backgrounds and make the big bucks. But most of the ones I encountered were sub-par and not impressive at all….mostly they did bodyguard and VIP escort duty. Contractors of all types ruled the roost, the DOD outsourced everything…..except the fighting and dying.

  7. There’re always uses for starry-eyed cannon fodder. Some of them even survive it.

    Look on the bright side – in this current war, there aren’t really any good guys. as such. However, neither party really rises to the level of despicableness of either side in the SCW,
    and that one sucked in all kinds of imbecile idealists. In certain circles, those “heroes” are still lauded today, for their supposed valor in advancing the causes of monsters. People never learn.


  8. Instead of ‘the war in the Ukraine’, I prefer ‘the biden war to protect the foreign-aid skim scam’.

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