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  • Reprieve? June 5, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Reprieve?

    This weird war tale comes from a rather suspect book, Thrilling Stories of the Great Rebellion (1865), about the American Civil War. Note the almost total lack of details here: we are not even told whether this was a Confederate or Union regiment, though given the author’s loyalties we should presume the latter. This could […]

    White Man at Daratoleh May 8, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    White Man at Daratoleh

    22 April 1903 a British column was attacked at Daratoleh (Somali) by dervishes: the British, as so often happened in Africa, were vastly outnumbered and the Imperial troops did the only sensible thing they could in these circumstances. They formed into a square and put their maxims to best use. Superior weapons did for superior […]

    When God Spoke in a Wind: the Battle of the Frigidus March 23, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    When God Spoke in a Wind: the Battle of the Frigidus

    The Battle of the Frigidus 394 was one of the most important clashes as the Western Roman Empire was winding down: Honorius, the loss of Britain, Gerontius in Spain all just above the horizon… 5 and 6 September of that year, two enormous armies, perhaps as many as 150,000 men, took to the field under, […]

    The Battle of the Three Kings November 27, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    The Battle of the Three Kings

    The Battle of Alcácer Quibir (the Battle of the Three Kings), fought in Morocco in 1578, was a freaky melee. It involved Sebastian of Portugal (obit 1578) and his Arabic patsy Abu Abdallah Mohammed II Saadi (obit 1578), the old sultan of Morocco, who both fought against Abu Abdallah’s uncle, the new sultan of Morocco, […]

    Tojo’s Teeth: Remember Pearl Harbor November 16, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Tojo's Teeth: Remember Pearl Harbor

    There is a post to be written and perhaps, when his file is big enough, Beach will attempt it of puerile acts of revenge carried out against defeated nations. Limiting ourselves here to the Second World War there is, for example, Hitler’s insistence that France’s surrender be signed in the same railway car, where German […]

    Rabbit Death at Manassas July 22, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Rabbit Death at Manassas

    In 1863 some Confederate troops had a horrific experience at Manassas: this is important for understanding the rabbit incident that follows. So steel yourself, reader. On the morning of July 21, 1863, our regiment, the 5th North Carolina State Troops, under Col. Duncan K. McRae.  ordered to double-quick across Bull Run and charge a  Battery […]

    Weird Wars: Lost Maps, Lost Plans June 29, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Weird Wars: Lost Maps, Lost Plans

    You’ve all had that awful sinking feeling. You’ve prepared your masterful attack with a vast army across the entire front and then some fool goes and misplaces the map: and next thing you know the scrap of paper ends up in the hands of your opposite number, in the enemy  high command. There must be […]

    Early Modern Sentries and the Supernatural May 16, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Early Modern Sentries and the Supernatural

    Beach has previously examined the frequent paranormal experiences of sentries in the nineteenth century: with the help of Chris from Haunted Ohio Books. It has, long-time readers will remember, been suggested that lonely, potentially violent men asked to spend the night, attentive to every noise and movement, might easily conjure up ‘something’. Here are two […]

    Lee’s Luck May 11, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Lee's Luck

    Robert E. Lee led the army of North Virginia, the central institution of the Confederacy, for just under three years (1862-1865). In that time he was able to rely on the most important military resource of all: not acumen, not courage, not atom bombs but sheer dumb luck. In Lee’s case the luck was deserved: there […]

    Mysterious Balaclavas on South Georgia May 3, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Mysterious Balaclavas on South Georgia

    In 1982 Argentina invaded two British possessions the Falklands (2 April) and South Georgia (19 March). The British, under a determined Margaret Thatcher, sent a task force to retake the islands, something that was finally achieved 14 June of that year. The deadly struggle between the two sides included many moments of tragedy: all too […]

    The Army That Was Defeated by a River December 7, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    The Army That Was Defeated by a River

    There are good historical records of armies fighting animals, armies fighting frost bite (the Wehrmacht from 1941 onwards) and one doubtful case of an army accidentally fighting itself. But Beach has recently been reading about a remarkable instance of an army that fought a river, and lost. The year is 1221, the army in question […]

    A Fourteen-Year Second World War?! November 29, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    A Fourteen-Year Second World War?!

    Strangehistory recently featured the longest European war of the twentieth century, that between Greece and Albania (1940-1987). While looking at this Beach was intrigued, nay amazed by the true duration of the Second World War. In fact, this morning his room has taken on a strange orange sheen. For example, how long was Britain at […]

    Clearing Minefields with Human Beings November 13, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Clearing Minefields with Human Beings

    So a hundred infantry have to get across a field to their objective and safety, only they know that the field has been planted with mines. How do you clear the field? The simplest (and most horrible) thing to do would be to send your troops forward down a plotted route with gaps of ten […]

    The Longest Modern War: The Greco-Albanian War 1940-1987 November 4, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    The Longest Modern War: The Greco-Albanian War 1940-1987

    The longest war between states in modern history? Well, Wikipedia has a page and there are several freelance attempts to elevate this or that conflict to the most protracted, but what about the Greek-Albanian war of 1940-1987? Albania, in 1940, was an Italian satrapy and in October of that year when the Italians decided to […]

    Gentlemanly Soldiers October 2, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Gentlemanly Soldiers

    There are lots of different types of soldiers but today Beach wants to put aside the cowards, the sadists, the pragmatists, the survivors and concentrate on perhaps one of the few attractive categories: the gentleman soldier. The cult of the gentleman soldier began amongst the European aristocracy in the middle ages, its values were embodied […]

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