Al Nofi's CIC
| Issue #173, November 12th, 2007
"Abide then, O young men, shoulder to shoulder and fight, but make the heart in your breast both great and stout, and never shrink when you fight the foe."
|Trytaios of Sparta,
c. 650 B.C.
- In the early 1800s, horses were so valuable in the Oyo Empire of what is now northern Nigeria that that even small steeds of 13-14 hands (52-56 inches) normally cost from 8,000-12,000 cowries (£10-15), or about twice what a fit adult male slave ran.
- A master gunner who served during the siege of Metz in 1437 proved so efficient an artilleryman that his commander sent him on a pilgrimage to Rome, fearing that the man was in league with the Devil.
- Between 1802 and 1815, officer training schools in France graduated only about 4,000 new subalterns, a number hardly sufficient to meet officer losses in one or two campaigns, so that the majority of the officers in Napoleon's army were actually promoted directly from the ranks, usually those of the Imperial Guard
- A proposal to form a militia in Tlaxcala, Mexico, in 1762 failed when a canvass of the eligible residents revealed that there were only seven pistols, four shot guns, and four swords in the entire town.
- The greatest single loss of life in a military disaster occurred in 255 B.C., during the First Punic War, when a Roman fleet of 364 ships that had just inflicted a crushing defeat on the Carthaginians off Cape Hermaeum, was wrecked in a storm off Camarina, Sicily, with the loss of all but 80 vessels and perhaps 100,000 men, estimated as 15-percent of the adult male population of Italy
- During World War I some 25,000 Roman Catholic priests served in the French Army, mostly as combatants.
- Like all good middle class citizens of Austria-Hungary, Arthur Schnitzler (1862-1931), a noted author and dramatist, held a reserve commission in the Imperial-and-Royal Army, which he lost in 1900, when, in his short story “Lieutenant Gustl,” he ridiculed the practice of officers fighting duels.
- In 1912-1913, the U.S. intervened in Cuba to curb large-scale disorders, and, following the withdrawal of American troops, found itself billed by the owners of a railroad for the fare of the troops who had been riding shotgun on its trains!
- Of nearly 525,000 Communist Party members in the Ukrainian SSR in 1941, only about 16,800 were still living after the German occupation during World War II.
- By some accounts, in the early 1930s, after activation of reservists, 18-percent of the riflemen in the average French infantry regiment had never fired a rifle, 26-percent had never thrown a grenade, 70-percent had not been trained in the use of a gas mask, and none had ever fired a pistol.
- Because the service of heavy ordnance caused frequent cases of hernia among warship crews, during the Napoleonic Wars the Royal Navy issued some 40,000 trusses to its seamen
- In the 1880s France exported to Germany about 8,000 horses a year, despite a severe shortage of the animals in the French Army.
Portions of "Al
Nofi's CIC" have appeared previously in Military Chronicles,
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Chronicles (www.militarychronicles.com), used with permission, all rights