The Lament of Robert Francis O’Rourke

He’s Texas’ favorite democrat son, a fixture at skateboard events, and a politician who married into money. I suspect that Mrs. Beto is none too bright primarily because she married the Beta. Can he convince her that he contracted monkeypox from sitting on a toilet seat?

 

Is it the Dallas Light Cavalry, LSP’s Immortals?

Unfortunately not. It’s a painting by Heinrich Ambros Eckert (German, 1807-1840)-Austro-Hungarian hussars in the middle of the 19th century. Date 1835.

Moving on, I watched part of Braveheart on tv and wanted to comment on tactics.  Essentially the whole of the battle sequence, though stirring, was complete hogwash. I don’t know if Kevin Costner’s films are worse. It’s a toss-up.

There were essentially two formations – articulated (like a formed shield wall) and inarticulated (a mob). The formation that thought they had the advantage in manpower, or in morale and position would advance.  The defender likely had a slope or some terrain feature that favored them. Perhaps their flanks were anchored by wet ground or a river.

Advancing to contact was never a long charge over hundreds of yards. It might be a sudden rush of 20 paces to gain impetus to push the enemy back.

If both sides had shields then they might lock shields like a Rugby scrum and try to push the enemy back. Supporting ranks would push from the rear. Weapons would be thrown or slashed OVER the shields or someone might be jabbing a knife under the shields. The aim was to breach the shield wall and surge into the center of the enemy formation, widening the breach if possible.

If both sides had pole weapons then they would be fencing along the line, stabbing or slashing at each other, and looking for enemy weakness or exhaustion. We know that in one Swiss battle the Austrians had the advantage and used their knights’ dismounted lances as long spears. Seeing the Swiss halberdiers thus disadvantaged, one of the Swiss ran forward and took four spears in his chest and stomach and dragged them down creating a gap. The Swiss then saw what he had done and surged over his body and downed lances and opened a breach into the Austrian line, hacking and slashing against foot soldiers who now only had shorter swords against the Swiss long halberds.

Anyone who fell to the ground wounded while the line moved back and forth was doomed – they would either be trampled under foot or else finished off on the ground. In the classic period, Greeks and Macedonians had a second spike on the butt ends of their spears (Greek) or pikes (Macedonian). While noted as a counter-balance it was also called the ‘lizard spear’ by the Greeks and would doubtless be driven downwards by the rear ranks of spear (advancing with their weapons pointing upwards) into any unfortunate enemy wounded men trampled under foot, they were the ‘lizards’ being spiked.

We know from the huge grave pit at Wisby (1361) and the smaller grave pit at Towton (1461) that most men died of head and leg injuries with some defensive wounds to their hands and arms. This earlier battle was fought with swords and shields, the second was mostly fought with polearms. Analysis suggests that the victims’ legs were attacked first to get the target down; once down, the victim’s head or face was brutally smashed in.

The skulls at Towton show distinctive injuries from the point of a poleaxe, some blades, or the crow’s beak of a war hammer. They also show a slight preponderance of first injuries to the right and rear side of the skull which suggests that the men were running and were attacked by right-handed men from behind. They were hacked down from behind, rolled over, and had their heads and faces stoved in. There was no finesse, no fencing with swords. The absence of helmets suggests the Towton men were actually routing from the field and had thrown off their helmets to save weight, allow themselves to look over their shoulders, and draw breath easier.

Charles the Bold of Burgundy had both jaws broken when the attacker came up under his helmet but careful treatment and a milk diet resulted in his recovery – only to be killed at Towton several years later.

The exhumed Towton bodies show an almost complete absence of torso injuries which implies that the ‘stabbing’ bodily death blows – seen in the movies – were not considered effective due to body armor, probably the fabric ‘jacks’ used in England at that time and much favored.

Cavalry charges were effective until the other side figured out how to “receive cavalry” using pikes. The point of cavalry beyond reconnaissance was to turn a flank through quick maneuvering, attacking where the armor and spears were not directed or to attack from the rear. Once a formation was broken, they could spit individual soldiers as they ran.

Movie scenes where men are spread across a field and they are all dueling ‘one on one’ are unrealistic. Look at modern riots and note how rioters will often cluster together in groups for mutual support and to prevent rear/flank attacks. Once the line has broken I would then envisage groups facing and fighting each other, perhaps with periodic local rushes or charges, until eventually, one side decided it had had enough. At that point, it will either withdraw (if any order is still possible) or just dissolve in a panic-stricken route.

And I haven’t even begun to discuss the goofy-looking armor that you see in many if not most Hollywood productions.

 

Bullet Points

* Electronic warfare – The Russians filmed a video about using a drone to spot Ukrainians, but partway through the drone was hijacked by Ukrainian electronic warfare and taken away from them. The drone in question is a DJI Mini 2, worth. about US$900 retail, made in China and susceptible to the most powerful signal. Sending it over enemy lines where the Ukrainians are using the same tech is – funny.

* Continuing on with the Canadian practice of euthanasia as a matter of government policy instead of providing better (and more expensive) care, some elderly individuals say they were pushed toward euthanasia by government medical workers, and one 40-something guy got pressured into it because of hearing loss. Some Canadian news outlets are telling the stories while others are spiking them.

* Once you hit a certain age, a lot of shit fails to impress you.

* Why was there a beavertail sap and a 245 Gonzales sap on the header of this blog? Why not? I was playing with the Gonzales, which I carried at work a million years ago and I thought that it should be featured in some small way. I love this sap. Do NOT buy a 415 Gonzales. It’s simply too light to cause the sort of damage that you want to cause when you’ve escalated force to the point where you need to use a sap. The 187 Gonzales is so big that it’s unwieldy.

Using a sap on another human being is no small thing. It will crack a clavicle, it will smash a jaw or a skull plate. It will break a bone. It will knock a lot of teeth out with one strike. Yes, nunchucks will do that too, but the sap is used in close and it’s always personal.

24 COMMENTS

  1. BREAKING: Texas officials confirm the first US monkeypox death – an unnamed Harris County resident is the 15th person globally to die while infected. The first question that popped into my mind was whether or not it happens to be Beto O’Rorke’s little buddy. Does that mean that Beto could be following him into the great beyond before he can become governor of Texas?

  2. Call me mean spirited (which is true) but monkeypox might be a tool to rid our political system of certain “wokes”. A certain governor comes to mind.

  3. I thought the header photo was what Our Betters take us for.

    Hollywood, with very rare exceptions, totally sucks at battle scenes of any milieu.

    -Kle.

  4. Beto – known as Bob to his friends – has some serious problems. Wonder if the Lord is trying to get his attention to straighten up and quit his grifter lifestyle funded by his wife and PAC’s.

    (Sidebar: ZERO out of state/non-resident funds should be allowed in any state election. None. Nada. Don’t even try. $400K+ given by Jersey Billionare Cayre to Hochul’s campaign??! This is the start of election interference on a broad scale.)

  5. Beto must have finally looked at his polls. Re the battles, obviously they were ‘paying the insurance’ by bashing them in the head. My dad carried a beavertail sap for years at his work. I still have it.

  6. Now look. The DLC is a prestigious if irregular cavalry unit. You know this as RHSM (Regimental Sergeant Major).

    Beto, on the other hand, is a pathetic faux/mex sandwich.

    I rest my case.

  7. In the dimly remembered days of my yoot, we used to say “If you ain’t Cav, you ain’t S–t.” Usually at the EM club, whilst well lubricated, and preferably when there were enough members of the Assault Helicopter Company down the hill to make a sporting proposition out of it.

    I suppose the salutation would be considered bad form in the clubs of London where you lot will gather shortly. Pity.

  8. Growing up back in Chicagoland, we always called them “Blackjacks”. I never heard the term “Sap” used until I was on the West Coast.

    Do they load them with lead shot, or have they made them “Environmantally Friendly” by using something else these days?

      • Out here, you can still use lead birdshot for trap / skeet / upland game target shooting.

        And of course the kind of shot for shooting people is still lead.

        So there’s plenty of lead shot around to fill them, anyway.

        -Kle.

  9. Well, yeah. When it comes to historical veracity, pretty much ALL of Braveheart is rubbish. But the spirit of the movie is a beautiful thing that transcends the grubby reality of the quotidian world.

    So far as movie armor goes, ridiculous. The Schola Gladiatoria guy just did a vid on the armor in the latest GRR Martin thing. He was trying to be nice and enthusiastic, but whoo boy. And don’t get me started on shield abuse in movies. One does not swing the shield arm behind yourself for balance as you’re winding up for the most-telegraphed evar swing of your ridiculous movie sword that looks like it weighs 10 lbs what with all the crap on the guard.

    As for “Billionare Cayre” — funny, but he doesn’t *look* Syrian….

    • My point – assuming that I have an actual point, is that it wouldn’t take that much to make these battle scenes realistic.

      GRR Martin is a man with an altitude-challenged personality who has made a name for himself. A lot of it is deserved, but he could be and do so much better.

  10. Gah. Movie fighting. Have ranks upon ranks upon ranks of finely ranked troopers all covering each other and very defensive and offensive and…… suddenly run 6 ranks deep into the other idiots who are running at you and then start whacking around like an idiot while ignoring using your damned shield because you’re an idiot and weapons that make lightsabers look positively feeble and able to cut clean through some idiot wearing armor.

    Yeah, I feel your pain. Was even watching clips from a samurai movie where one leader slashed the back armor of another leader using his sword, you know, a katana or a taishi that’s designed to cut through laces and cloth and skin and not shellaced bamboo or iron or steel armor. Gah.

    Then there’s, well, in the SCA I was known for my ability to move a shield to keep it between me and the other guy’s weapon (it’s not hard, just keep it between you and the weapon. It’s knowing where the weapon is that is the key.) Shields work. Shieldwork works. Shields can also be quite offensive (a 10lb shield smashed down upon an unarmored knee or foot can do quite some damage, especially if rimmed in metal.) “Kingdom of Heaven” had some decent shieldwork in it. So did “The Warlord” with Charlton Heston (all of the Normans’ armor and harness and weapons was pretty darned perfect, not so much the opponents, but the Normans? Perrrrfeect, down to hairstyles even.)

    Seriously, I would, if a billionaire, would love to fund a miniseries on the events leading to and during the year 1066. Correct armor, correct weapons, correct hairstyles (very important) and correct facial hair (the Normans: No Facial Hair. Saxons: Mustaches Norse: Beards.) And real shieldwall fighting including poking people in the face with spears.

    And another dealing with decent tourney fighting (the best so far was that dogsqueeze movie with Heath Ledger, the fight scenes and armor were very good, the rest spoiled the good parts.) Like no stabbing with pointed weapons. Or only using rebated weapons (weapons that had the edge removed, seriously, edge cut off and handed back as a ‘rebate’ because edge steel was expensive.)

    And.. Any movie where they ‘pour’ swords? Good bye. Good riddance.

    Any movie where the bad guy, in a very Christian empire, is a satanist or witch? Good bye. Good riddance.

    Any move where some muslim has to teach a Christian how to fight or do anything? Good bye. Good riddance.

    (That horrid Kevid Costner “Robin Hood” movie had all three. Cast swords, Satanic Sheriff of Nottingham, SumBlackMuslim teaching the friggin Saxon Earl of Locksley how to use a sword or bow or breath.) (Not against blacks and muslims but friggin come on, it’s England during the reign of Richard the Lionhearted (who only saw England as a cash cow, and bankrupted the kingdom to support his continental lands and his political desires, and blamed John for it all.)

    I could go on, but my blood pressure is getting high.

    The only real good scene out of “Braveheart” is the whole drawing and quartering pantomine. Because that really showed.

    And for another big bummer moment for movies, guess what, Hollyweird. The midland and lowland Scots were better at battle because their armor was 50-75 years ahead of Englands, as they were getting prime new armor from France. And it was midlanders and lowlanders who mostly won Scotland free with Robert the Bruce (that would be Roberte de Bruisee actually (with accent marks) because the nobility of lowland and midland Scots were FRENCH-NORMANS!!!

    We saw, historically, how good the highlanders were at Culloden. If only they had the lowlanders and midlanders on their side…

    • I’d like to make a period piece about huscarls (free men in service of a king or lord) who sold their service (their sword). For the most part, they fought as heavy infantry and were quite effective. They were effective in Harold Godwinson’s service and had Harold not caught the arrow, might have held back the Norman invasion. They were not knights in a feudal sense but provided a service during that time period that is often overlooked.

      • 2 years after Hastings, William’s army was full of huscarls. William really liked the huscarls.

        More professional soldiers than feudal warriors.

    • That was cool. Lots there. Those Hollywood massive army scenes didn’t have 10,000 men on one side and 300 on the other- in full garb and on horses – running headlong at each other always seemed weird to me, but made for a great 12 yo boy imagination come to life.

  11. Saps are illegal in many jurisdictions, however coin purses are perfectly legal.
    See Mean Gene Leather:
    meangeneleather.com/product.category/coin-purses/

    Brings new meaning to:
    “Everything is a weapon, depending on how you hold it.”

  12. “Can he convince her that he contracted monkeypox from sitting on a toilet seat?” – LL

    In 1969 our high school sent a group of us to SFO on a field trip related to one of our classes?
    I am assuming we were sent because we country kids needed some cultural enrichment. not available on the school farm through the FFA program.
    Although, biting the testicles off of the spring lambs was kind of a right of passage for some of the girls in our school.
    I guess the administration decided to broaden our horizons and show us how city-folk lived.
    We went to Berkley, maybe becauss one of our classmates had got a scholarship to the school?
    I am kind of fuzzy on how we detoured into the Haight-Ashbury district, but we had never seen hippies and it was kind of like going on one of those African safari treks where you drive through the veldt and look at exotic animals from the safety of your vehicle. Our school bus gave us an elevated view of Haight and Ashbury.
    I know this is hard to believe but the bus pulled over, stopped, and we were encouraged to get out and walk around for awhile.
    There was hippie selling newspapers.
    I loved newspapers. I bought one. IIRC it cost a quarter? It was called
    The Bsrkley Barb. I read it from front fo back.
    It was quite educational.
    There was a column written by a “Doctor Hippocrates” also known as Dr. Hip.
    Someone wrote in and asked it it was possible to get a venereal disease in a bathroom.
    Dr. Hip replied, “Yes, but the floors are usually hard and cold.”

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