Military History

To the People of Texas & All Americans in the World:
Fellow citizens & compatriots—I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna—I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man. The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken—I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls. I shall never surrender or retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch—The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily & will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country—Victory or Death.
William Barret Travis
Lt. Col. comdt
P.S. The Lord is on our side—When the enemy appeared in sight we had not three bushels of corn—We have since found in deserted houses 80 or 90 bushels & got into the walls 20 or 30 head of Beeves.
Travis
 
Got back from South Africa a week ago. Picture overlooking the battlefield of Isandlwana (hill in the middle of the picture).

The center of the Zulu attack, approximately 20000+, came over the ridge I am standing on and attacked the British firing lines. The battle concluded at the base of Isandlwana.

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Isandlwana
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Memorials. The cairns of white rocks are the mass graves of British soldiers, buried in May 1879, four months after the battle.

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Our guide. His great-grandfather was a Zulu warrior on the field that day.

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Hell of a story, there and Rorke's Drift

Sunset from Rorke's Drift battle site.
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Fugitives Drift. This is where Lt. Coghill and Melville crossed the Buffalo to escape. On the day of the battle, the Buffalo was 6 meters deep and 75 meters wide. All the rocks here were covered. They were both killed and buried just a ways from where I took this shot.
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247 Years Ago Tomorrow

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George Washington and the Continental Army crosses the Delaware River

On this day in history, December 25, 1776, George Washington crosses the Delaware River on Christmas Day with the Continental Army on their way to attack the Hessians at Trenton, New Jersey. The attack had been planned in secret and was a "Hail Mary pass" from Washington to save the failing American Revolution. After invading New York in August, Washington's army had been driven out of the colony and across New Jersey late in the year. British forces quickly conquered Rhode Island and set their sights on wiping out Washington's remaining forces and conquering Philadelphia, the home of the rebel Congress.

After crossing the Delaware into Pennsylvania, Washington had all the boats commandeered for seventy miles up and down the river to prevent the British from crossing. Instead of trying to follow, British Lt. Gen. Charles Cornwallis set up a string of garrisons across New Jersey, ordering the troops into winter quarters. Washington sensed an opening, knowing that the British troops would relax their guard having begun their winter rest. He also sensed an opportunity to revive the flagging spirits of patriots everywhere, who were deeply discouraged with the losses of late 1776. Indeed, British Commander-in-Chief Sir William Howe seemed to believe the Revolution was all but defeated by this point.
On the 23rd, Washington informed only the most senior of his officers of the planned attack on Trenton, in order to prevent spies from getting word to the British and Hessian outposts on the other side of the river. On the 25th, the soldiers were gathered at 4 pm and given their orders. The plan was to begin the crossing after dark and to divide the men into three different crossing groups. 2400 men were to cross with Washington at McConkey's Ferry, 9 miles north of Trenton. Another group was to cross over with Lt. Col. John Cadwalader at Dunk's Ferry near Bristol to the south to create a diversion, while a third group was to cross with Brigadier General James Ewing at Trenton Ferry, just south of Trenton.

Drizzle fell during the evening of the 25th, but as dark came on and the evening progressed, the drizzle turned to freezing rain and, eventually, to snow. Fierce winds churned the Delaware as the soldiers began to cross on captured boats of every kind, flat boats, ferry boats, Durham boats and others. Soldiers later told of hearing Colonel Henry Knox's deep voice carrying across the river in the middle of the night, giving orders to the boats on how to get the soldiers, artillery and horses across.
In the end, Washington's boats were the only ones to make it over safely. General Ewing called off his crossing because of the treacherous ice and wind on the river. Colonel Cadwalader got many of his men over the river, but brought them back when he could not get the artillery over, only to cross again after hearing of Washington's victory at Trenton and to return again when he learned Washington had taken his captives back to New Jersey.

After the crossing, Washington's men captured nearly 1,000 Hessians at the Battle of Trenton on the 26th and returned to Pennsylvania. Within a few days, they crossed back over and turned back reinforcements at Trenton on January 2nd and defeated another British outpost at Princeton on the 3rd. The whole operation forced Cornwallis to withdraw all his southern outposts in New Jersey to New Brunswick, while Washington's army wintered at Morristown, New Jersey. The victories of December 25 through January 3 revived the flagging spirits of the Continental Army and proved that the Americans could stand up to their British foes.
 
Question re: Midway the movie made in ‘76. Does anyone know if the movie was factual in regards to the Jap scout plane being delayed 30 minutes because of catapult problems, as well as the radio issues in their plane that actually found our carriers and could not radio our position back to Nagumo? Not sure if that was the same plane, but if that was factual, both issues played a huge role in the outcome of the battle and the war. “All for want of a nail”.
 
Question re: Midway the movie made in ‘76. Does anyone know if the movie was factual in regards to the Jap scout plane being delayed 30 minutes because of catapult problems, as well as the radio issues in their plane that actually found our carriers and could not radio our position back to Nagumo? Not sure if that was the same plane, but if that was factual, both issues played a huge role in the outcome of the battle and the war. “All for want of a nail”.
their carriers didn't use catapults, other ships did but not their main carriers. I have never bothered to check but I have always heard there were some issues the japanese were having that made them more vulnerable. I know their desire for secrecy/surprise hurt them a couple times, not sure about Midway.

what I remember reading, again not sure if this is 100%, but there was some confusion/indecision amongst the Japanese leadership. The Japanese had found part of our fleet, and that got reported, so they were reading a big attack. but last minute someone wanted additional scouting because the scout only found a single ship or small portion of the fleet before it had to return. similar to Pearl Harbor they were worried about being flanked/surprised. this lead to them having to reshuffle to get more scout planes up, but because they were preparing to attack space was at a minimum and there were delays associated.

that delay gave us time
 
Wikipedia says the aircraft launched 30 minutes late came from a cruiser, Tone. So it was definitely catapulted. That's all I know. This was the aircraft that spotted the US forces.

Another interesting factor in the battle that the movie shows well is that the Japanese "sunk" Yorktown twice, thinking they had sunk two carriers, when in fact they still had to sink it a third time to actually kill it. American damage control was very far superior to Japanese damage control throughout the war.

The decision to rush Yorktown into battle rather than repairing it had a profound effect on the battle as the Yorktown absorbed a lot of Japanese Firepower which wasn't used on the other two carriers.
 
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I have a weird interest in WWII military executions. After looking online, found a book The Fifth Field. Anyone read it or something similar?
 
No doubt the Yorktown sighting at Midway had to be a head scratcher for the Japs. Not only that the damage they inflicted at Coral Sea didn’t actually sink it, but that we were able to get it operational again in such a short period of time. Many aspects of Midway lead one to believe the hand of the Almighty was upon our nation or the conclusion of the war would have been decided rather quickly in favor of Japan.
 
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Commandancy of the The Alamo

Bejar, Feby. 24th. 1836

To the People of Texas & All Americans in the World-

Fellow Citizens & compatriots-

I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna - I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man - The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken - I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls - I shall never surrender or retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch - The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily & will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country - Victory or Death.

William Barret Travis.

Lt. Col.comdt.

P. S. The Lord is on our side - When the enemy appeared in sight we had not three bushels of corn - We have since found in deserted houses 80 or 90 bushels and got into the walls 20 or 30 head of Beeves.

Travis
 
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I recently got into the whole ancestry thing as well. My fathers side of the family settled in Massachusetts in 1626. Had a family member in every war since the French and Indian war. One was the second most decorated Soliders of WWII is in my family.
That's the same year my family arrived in Massachusetts.
 

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