1893 Grand Exhibition. The world's intro to PBR, hot dogs, ice cream cones and the Ferris Wheel.

1893 Grand Exhibition. The world's intro to PBR, hot dogs, ice cream cones and the Ferris Wheel.
A view through the wheel. The black, horizontal line is the axle, the single largest forging to that time.
"I don't make hell for nobody. I'm only the instrument of a laughing providence. Sometimes I don't like it myself, but I couldn't help it if I was born smart."

1st Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden.
"From here to Eternity"

Paul Valery

"You are in love with intelligence, until it frightens you. For your ideas are terrifying and your hearts are faint. Your acts of pity and cruelty are absurd, committed with no calm, as if they were irresistible. Finally, you fear blood more and more. Blood and time."

The Wisdom of the Ages

"When a young man, I read somewhere the following: God the Almighty said, 'All that is too complex is unnecessary, and it is simple that is needed',"

Mikhail Kalashnikov
"Here lies the bravest soldier I've seen since my mirror got grease on it."

Zapp Brannigan

Saturday, February 27, 2010

"Ils ne passeront pas"

It's such a nice day.
The west coast is arguing with the east coast about climate change.
I'm not sure which is winning but the payoff is sweet for yours truly.
However, at this time of year in 1916 one of the longest (9 months), most costly (More than a quarter of a million battlefield deaths and at least half a million wounded) and pyrotechnicaly intense (40 million artillery shells expended by both sides) battles in "the history of the world" as famed historical hack Dennis Prager would put it, was on the cusp of its second, merry week.
Fifteen years ago I spent an amusing part of an afternoon, bantering with a bartender in my old hometown, Helena, MT.
He was a young, frustrated, thwarted-marine. He'd gotten as far as boot camp but was sent home for some medical reason - and he would have been prime First Gulf War material.
I wasn't unsympathetic.
But, he had this Jonah Goldbergesque take on the French. The "surrender monkey" thing so beloved by the historically ignorant.
He'd said that, in the First War the French hadn't done anything until we showed up - essentially.
I tried to point out, with as much grace as I could pull off at such a time, that the French had had quite a busy time of it at Verdun - and that more than a year before the first US troops arrived, and two years before any significant US contribution.
Nope, says he. He knew from Verdun and it happened when the Americans were there (They/we were there, just for the record - just a bit later but no less gallantly).
Anyway, I have no staggering insights on Verdun. That information is all available and all I'd do is repeat it. That's why the links are there.
This post, by the way, was made possible by longtime, faithful friend, Kevin the Heroic French Guy who sent me the definitive book on the subject for my birthday and thus broke my obsession with the Brit war.
His merde is way ragged now though. Thanks to the miracle (Demonic curse) of FaceBook - I know his birthday as well.
Feel my gratitude, Toadeater!
Second picture, an armored observation cupola at Fort Douaumont. Someone, at some point, has expressed a keen interest in this bit of steel and concrete - and expressed it with a machine gun. Rather emphatically, I'd say.
The fort mentioned, by the way, fell without a shot on 2/24 when, due to some serious strategic blockheadery on the part of the French, a German pioneer Sgt managed, without having to work very hard at it - and without being shot at, to find his way in.
What this really is though is this: A GoogleMap thing.
I've mentioned the Zone Rouge earlier, albeit briefly here.

That's the places you don't gets to go...
even if they rock for a kegger, yo.
Only the guys in the blue jumpsuits get to go there and several die every year doing it.You may recall the blue jumpsuits from the Big Bertha post earlier.
Here's the above map superimposed on the real world (such as it is).

Now, again courtesy of Kevin the French, some photos of the things you'd get to warn your kids about if you lived in the vicinity.

Some interesting petards and other things I'm seriously glad I have chance absolutely no of finding in my garden.

Hey, as the Brits would say; "Mortar Bombs".
Now, these were seriously improvised.
Therefore they, as projectiles, were cheap and expedient and thus, plentiful.
But, being cobbled-together pieces of shit, lots of them didn't detonate.
I wonder what happened to them?
Okay, it's getting late.
One last shot - just for Jonah Goldberg:
Can't recall where I got it.
It's titled "Sniper Hunt".

Early war; kepis and, in all liklehood, red pants.
Would you run headlong into machine guns wearing red pants?
I'm looking at you, Jonah.

I'm thinking, the toadeaters would eat your lunch, Goldberg.
"Sneak home and pray you'll never know the hell where youth and laughter go" you sorry SOB.

No comments:

Locations of visitors to this page