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your fine article on Bowies. I have one

minor point with which to disagree,
however. I have always understood a
Bowie to be a large, heavy, fixed blade
knife with a prominent guard and a clip
point. Indeed, all of the knives shown
in your article have clip points except
for the one at the bottom of page 11.
This knife is more in the form which I
would classify as a dirk or dagger. Have
I been mistaken in my understanding
that one of the distinguishing marks of
a Bowie is a clip pOint?
Thanks for the good work.



CONNIE MENDOZA, Managing Editor
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You are correct that a traditional

Bowie should have a clip point, though
the term has been stretched a bit to
include other large knives with differently styled blades. -Ed


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Thanks [or a great magazin . I particularly enjoyed th di u i n [war
films, both in your c lumn and in Mr.
Gagliassos "Movies Militair "pi cc.
Working in the film indu try, I often
see the similarities b tw n film-making and military action. Ih r are guerrilla filmmakers, small unit actions,
and large scale operati ns. There are
units and uniforms, pr tocol, and SOP
I think when you mix a film company
with the subject of th military, those
similarities mesh ev n further.
I'd like to add som notes on the
films mentioned in the issue. "Fort
Apache" was photographed with
black and white infrared film. This
technique allowed the big sky over
Monument Valley to be that beautiful
dark shade instead of white. However,
so that the uniforms and flags would
reflect the correct amount o[ lR light,
they were made in colors that are
non-standard to say the least.
Apparently lots of pinks and browns
and yellows.
During the shooting of "She Wore A
Yellow Ribbon," Ford and his
Cinematographer Winton C. Hoch,
quarreled over the safety of keeping
the company out in the middle of the
valley during a thunderstorm. Ford
won. They stayed, and the footage is
some of the most amazing in the film.
Hoch won an Academy Award for the
Cinematography, but he and Ford
never spoke again.
I took a class with Dante Spinotti
ASC, AIC who often shoots for Michael
Mann, and photographed "Mohichans".
Mann is obsessed with accuracy and
detail. He made Daniel Day Lewis
carry his Pennsylvania Long Rifle for

I1ths before filming began so that it

looked like it belonged in his hands.
As for the silk patch comment, I
believe that's from the book, so that
dramatic extension of the truth and the
range, may belong to Cooper.
The valley used in the massacre
scene was specially planted with the
proper plants and they were allowed to
grow to the correct height for the time
of year that is depicted in the scene.
So there are my few additions. I
hope they are of some interest. Thanks
again for the good work. Ilook forward to the next issue.

-Christopher B. Seivard
lCG Cinematographer
Hershey, PA


I really like your new publication
and intend to pick up every new issue
and become a subscriber once offered.
I am a real fan of the Surplus Firearms
series and have every issue tucked
away. I would like to get the first issue
o[ Military Classics Illustrated and hope
that you could direct me on how to do
so. Until then keep up the good work.
-R/ Mick Taylor

Unfortunately the first issue is out of
plint and currently not available. -Ed

I recently picked up a copy of your
magazine, specifically to read about
the MA Sherman tank. The article was
very well written, with one exception.
The author [ailed to mention a highly
effective modification used during the
war Rather than firing shells, the
Shermans in my father's battalion were
modified as flame throwers. These
were used in the Pacific, most notably
during the battle for Okinawa.

I have just found your issue with the

article on Bowie Knives in your Battle
Blades section. First, allow me to thank
you for your excellent magazine. I hope
I see it more often, and that you eventually offer subscriptions. Being a collector and user of knives, I enjoyed

-Roy Long
Chambersburg, PA

films. 1 hope you have coverage on the

making of "Wind talkers" and A&E's
"Lost Battalion" soon.
It's great that you did topics on
minority warriors such as the Buffalo
Soldiers. I hope you do one on the forgotten warriors the Philippine Scouts
1930's who fought along side
American troops in Bataan and
Corregidor. It's a subject which a vast
majority of military enthusiasts are
ignorant about.
You've got a great magazine.
Hopefully it will be bigger in size soon
just like the European military and aviation magazines.

-Philip Garcia
Thanks for the ideas. We'll get working
on them. -Ed

1 just got the third issue and was
highly surprised that you did an article
of the Legion Etrangere. I have most of
the equipment and complete uniform
of the "Beau Geste" era style. Will you
do an article about the making of "The
Light Horsemen" film and it's uniforms
soon and the highly accurate "Band of
Brothers" series? It's great that you are
doing articles on the making of war


1 have read three Military Classics
issues. 1 have found them to be exactly
what 1 have been looking for If you
keep printing them, I'll keep buying
them I
Thanks for a great magazine.

-LeRoy Singleton JI:

via e-mail l!iI

-Rick Goldberg
via e-mail

Your article on the Sherman tank is
the best consolidation of information
on the tank 1 have ever seen. The only
thing that was left out was that the
Ford 8 cylinder engine was a Rolls
Royce Merlin with the middle four
cylinders cut out. Ford had kept the
plans from when England had asked
them to make engines for them, and
isolationist Henry Ford refused.
Interestingly, the English used a gasoline version of the American WWl
Liberty aircraft engine in their tanks,
and the Russians made a diesel version
of the Liberty for their 134.

-Dave Grant
via e-mail


ries of them serving in operation Desert

Storm with me. 1 was shopping in the
American PX tent, recognized their
uniform and tried to use some high
school French to just be friendly. I was
just ignored and I thought, boy what
an S.O.B.lln the movie "Legionnaire" I
noticed, as a retired Army veteran, that
no one used their bayonet. I mean they
had run out of ammo, but no one even
pulled out the "cold steel." I guess Van
Damme was going to kick his way thru
the Arab mobs! I'd really like to see
something on Canadian troops of
WWl, my grandfather was in the 25th
Nova Scotia Infantry Regiment in

Just read your magazine cover to

cover. I loved every bit of it. As a Civil
War re-enactor for 14 years, the fresh
info about other historic periods really
sparked my interest. Civil War stuff is
about to burn out a bunch of us reenactors. Your article about the French
Legion Etrangere brought back memo-

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Those Wonderlul War

Film Soundtracks
usic and the military just seem to go together
hand-in-hand. From the days of ram's horns to
kettledrums, trumpets and bugles, armies
have risen, passed in review, fought battles and
finally bedded down to some sort of musical
accompaniment. But military movie music is a different

breed of musical cat altogether.

Creating a mood or rhythm that
makes a scene in a great military film
come alive is that final element that
completes the war film experience.
The music doesn't have to always be
huge orchestrated themes that sound
of brass and drums overflowing, sometimes contemporary or even recognizable classic pieces of music can set the
tone and work the scene in a truly
effective way. In the trailer for the new
military drama Blackhawk Down Bob
Dylan's "Knocking on Heaven's Door"
is used to great effect before you see an
American copter downed by a
Somalian RPG rocket. Of course the
use of "Ride of the Valkyries" in the Air
Cavalry attack sequence in Apocalypse
Now is one of the most unique uses of
music in a war film ever conceived.
But it's usually the more traditional
military type themes that seem to grab
military history buffs by their ears.
What follows is not al ist, just some observations of the best
music from military films that sometimes isn't even from
the top films.
Surely one of the best soundtra ks [or a military historical film would have to be composer Max Steiner's incredible score for The Charge oj the Light Brigade (1936.) Steiner
seemed to specialize in military and historical epics, also
writing the music [or the lassic Custer film They Died
With Their Boots On, and many other great Warner
Brothers' films of the 1930s and 40s. His music through
the final ten-minute charg s quen e builds with wonderful traditional-style them s so p rrectly that it can rouse
an audience to cheers. By the tim the British standard
bearer is shot from his h rse and holds the tattered banner up to be scooped out or his dying grip, the music
swells with such martial pride that it is one of the highlights of the film.
The imagery o[ a cavalry charge seems to loan itself particularly well to gr at film composing. Sam Peckinpah's
flawed epic Major Dundee (1963) features a great score By
Daniele Amfitheatror, that beautifully emphasizes the
French lancers depicted in that film with a combination of
gutsy energy and traditional sounds that greatly adds to
the often brutal battle scenes.
David Buttolph's soundtrack for john Ford's The
Horse Soldiers is one of the best Civil War scores ever
composed. The use of traditional American themes
including the Johnny Reb favorite "Bonnie Blue Flag"
matches in perfectly with the film's made up Union
cavalry song "I Left My Love." That original song was
composed by Stanjones, a former Park Service Ranger
who also wrote the hit "Ghost Riders in the Sky" and
penned several original period sounding Indian War
songs [or Ford's Rio Grande.
james Horner's melancholy, but heroic themes for
the ageless story of the all black 54th Massachusetts
Infantry Glory made their the film's fatal charge on
Fort Wagner exultant and mournful at the same time.
Max Steiner's music for the 1936 Charge of the Light
Brigade, still stands as one of the most rousing action
scores ever written. Marco Polo.


While a good deal of the music from The Horse Soldiers (1959)
was traditional ("Bonnie Blue Flag," "Lorena," "When Johnny
Comes Marching Home" some was written especially for the film
by David Buttolph, including the rousing, "I Left My Love." Delphi.

Mario Nascimbene's music for The Vikings

(1959), sounded pretty Norse for an Italian composer. It is
evocative, haunting and perfectly fits the mood of the picture. Intermezzo.

Film composer jerry Goldsmith has written the scores for

dozens of great films. One of his best would have to be his
1970 score the Oscar winning Patton. Goldsmith captures
the spirit of George Patton in all of his contradictions so
well, that a musical image of a 3rd Century Roman commander caught up in a 20th Century general's body adds
wonderfully to George C. Scott's magnificent portrayal.
Goldsmith also did a great score evoking legendary
heroics and military bravado for The Wind and the Lion in
1976. His music for this john Milius adventure film
alternately brings out the best of Sean Connery's Barbary
pirate derring-do and Brian Keith's Theodore
Rooseveltian imperialistic bluster.
In his eighties, Elmer Bo"stein is still one of the film
community's top and most prolific composers. His score
for The Great Escape (1963) features an appropriately
whimsical military-type theme that suddenly turns suspenseful, tragic and heroic at all the right times.
Berstein may be best known for perhaps the most rec"
ognizable movie theme of all time, the main theme
music for the classic western The Magnificent Seven. His
score for Cecil B. De Mille's 1958 remake of The
Buccaneer is a one of those grand examples of a score
that's better than the actual film.
Seagoing military films particularly lend themselves to great movie music. Music in pirate movies
in particular, like the Erich Wolfgang Korngold score
for the Errol Flynn starring classic Captain Blood capture all the gusto and open-seas spirit of adventure
necessary in a story about salty dogs and sparring

cutlasses. Two Viking films, 1958's The Vikings starring

Kirk Douglas and The Long Ships also boast wonderful
scores that capture the far northern barbarians sea-going
adventures in a lusty fashion.
My own favorite sea-going score is Michelle Legrand's
beautiful underwater and submarine theme [rom Howard

There is absolutely no question that John William's

score for 1941 (1979) is a lot offun...and perhaps one of
his best efforts. Varese Sarabande.

Corps Videos
NoBUII You Won't Find Else



o Kwajalein USMC Battle Report WWII: Qunpaign to take Roi and Namur islands by the 4th Marine Division, 70 min.

Hughes' favorite movie Ice Station Zebra. Listening to Jarre's

quietly proud music just brings to mind the powerful grace
of that nuclear sub in the film gliding under the Polar ice cap.
John Barry not only gave filmgoers the epic sweep and
sound of the 1860s American Plains in Dances With Wolves,
but 25 years earlier he wrote the great and awe inspiring
music for Zulu. Barry's score makes wise and liberal use of
both traditional Zulu sounds and the 24th Regiment of
Foot, South Wales Borderers' actual regimental song, "Men
of Harlech."
Mel Gibson's Braveheart in 1995 certainly featured one of
the most memorable of more recent war film scores.

Who can forget the prideful swell of the James Horner's

soundtrack as Gibson's William Wallace exhorts the Scots to
fight at his side in the pivotal and bloody battle of Sterling
Bridge in 1297. (Okay, I know in the film there is no mention of the bridge.)
The Rogers Rangers epic Northwest Passage (see my article
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well with the action on screen. Herbert Stoharts use of traditional British military themes like "The British Grenadiers"
and the beautiful and stirring, "Over the Hills and Far Away"
were perfect matches for this top notch story of the French
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The Man Who Would Be King, The Longest Day, Northwest
Mounted Police, Gunga Din, The Alamo, 1941, Captain from
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releases are tapping into this market by repressing or even
freshly recording new version of many of the classic older
scores that were previously no longer available.
So pop that CD into the stereo, lay back and rediscover
the magic of great military films music. Until the next
time, "Lest we forget."
While Major Dundee was something of a mixed bag
cinematically, Daniele Amfitheatrof's music was pretty
darned good. The "Major Dundee March" is particularly
interesting. Tsunami.

o Glamour Gal: Marine Artillery Unit!!wo Jimall: Pack Howitzer: 1st film is adocumentary; 2nd is atraining film, 45 min.
o 1st Marine Division On GuadalcanaI: Behind-the-Scenes!Day-to-Day Activities of Div.; No narration, 40 min.
o With The Marines In Korea II: Chasin Reservoir: 1st Film Gives Overview of War; 2nd Focuses on Chooin Res., 50 min.

o Notes OnJungie Warfare WWII: Training on Hand-to-Hand Combat, Knife-fighting and Tricks Used byJapanese, 40 min.

o Camp Pendleton Part n. Korean War Era: TraininYCombat!Sgt. Reckless/lnterviews/ Gens. Krulak & Halfman, 60 min.

oEdinburgh Tattoo 1958: Marine Corps Partiopation in the International Festival of Music in Scotland, 20 min.

o Marines 1966: Helicopter Sqd. 365 In Caribbean, 26th Marines Embark/Vietnam, 4th Marines, Ops. Hastings & Prairie, 30 min.
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o HAWK Missile Battery: Story of Marine missile specialists ofthe 1m who staffone of the Corps' new weapons systems, 25 min.
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o MOO San Diego 1950s: Covers the entire boot camp experience. Includes great footage of Rifle Range Qunp Matthews, 30 min.
oSeagoing Leathernecks: Produced in 19605, details training (Sea School) and shipboard duties of Marine detachments, 30 min.
oMarine Observation: fixed wing & helicopters. 2fIlms, "Tactical & Gunnery Observation" & "Eagle Eye Bravo," 30 min.
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D Band's All Here: Historical Salute To USMC Field Bands, 90 min.
D Embassy Marines 1960s: On Guard Around World, 30 min.
D Marines Land In Lebanon: 1958, 30 min.
D The Camp Pendleton Story WWII: 3rd, 4th, 5th Div., 70 min.
D M14: This Is My Rifle (On The Range At P.I.), 30 min.
D The Marines Who Defended Midway, 60 min.
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D Marine Corsair Pilot WWII (Silent & Narrated), 40 min.
D M16 Rifle: Care And Operation! Battlefield, 20 min.
D Marines Ship To Shore & How To Abandon Ship, 45 min.
D Cuban Missile Crisis & Marines At GITMO, 70 min.
D Tarawa: Official USMC Battle Report, 50 min.
D Guadalcanal: Official USMC Battle Report, 50 min.
D New Britain: Official USMC Battle Report, 40 min.
D Guam: Official USMC Battle Report, 70 min.
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sides of its 7-inch-long blade and easyto-grip slender handle, it was 12 inches overall. However, it should be noted
that the dimensions varied somewhat,
since the blades were hand drawn and
ground. Within a few months, 1,250 of
these daggers were in the hands of the
There were three basic patterns produced during the War. The first pattern had a brass checkered handle that
was nickel-plated and three different
crossguards. Initially, the recurved
crossguard was 3 inches wide (type 1),
but this was quickly shortened to 2
inches wide (type 2) Eventually, the
recurved crossguard became slightly
more shallow (type 3) with the handle
checkering less precise. On one side of
the blade's flat area, referred to as the
ricasso, just below the crossguard, had

The Fairbairn-Sykes Commando Knife

ith the British Army's
Expeditionary Force
trapped against the
beaches of Dunkirk, their
country's Prime Minister,
Sir Winston Churchill, on June 4, 1940
wrote the words that unleashed a new
kind of warrior to mangle the cogs of
the Nazi German war machines that
had just rolled over all of Northern
Europe-The British Commando.
Having served in his country's army

during the 1899-1902 South African

War, Churchill knew only too well
how the hit-and-run tactics of their
Boer adversaries, using small groups of
men to ride on horseback in what they
called "commando," dragged out a war
that should have been easily won by
England a year earlier.
Now, 38 years later, during his
country's darkest hour, Churchill's
words to the War Cabinet Secretariat,
General Ismay, read in part,

The F-S Fighting knife was popular with many services, including the British airborne troops. Chuck Fowler collection.

the words, F-S Fighting Knife, etched

on one side and the Wilkinson logo on
the other. The scabbard was dark
brown leather with a nickel-plated
reinforced brass chape on the tip to
prevent the stiletto style blade from
puncturing through.
Within a couple months, on April
29, 1941, some alterations were authorized to expedite production. Known
as the Second Pattern, it replaced the
recurved crossguard with a straight
one and eliminated the flat ricasso of
the blade, allowing the blade's grind
lines to continue up to the guard. In
addition, the handle checkering was
less pronounced. With the adoption of
the Second Pattern, the War Office
authorized other cutlery firms,
prinCipally in Sheffield, including
J. (john) Clarke & Son and

A British Commando gets ready for a

raid. He is carrying one of the early pattern F-S knives. Imperial War Museum.

"Enterprises must be prepared with

specially-trained troops of the hunter
class, who can develop a reign of terror
down the enemy coasts. I look to the
Joint Chiefs of Staff to propose measures for vigorous enterprise and a
ceaseless orfensive against the whole
German-occupied coastline, leaving a
trail of German corpses behind."
With Churchill's call for his new
specially trained "Commando" troops
came the new kind of knife that would
facilitate their "reign of terror"-the
sleek double-edged sanguinary stiletto
developed by Captains William Ewart
Fairbairn and Eric Anthony Sykes.
Prior to World War II , they learned the
art of killing quickly and silently while
serving in the Shanghai International
Police. The pair returned to England in
1939 where they became close combat
instructors for the Army Training new
Commando units for guerrilla warfare
now also came under their auspices.
Feeling that they could improve on the
two knuckle-duster pattern knives, the
BC41 and the Middle East Knife, that
were currently being used, Fairbairn
and Sykes approached the War Office
in November, 1940 with their new
design for killing. The long established
firm of Wilkinson Sword Limited produced the prototypes to be tested. By
January 1941, the Fairbairn-Sykes
Knife, correctly referred to as the "F-S
Fighting Knife," was officially
approved and ordered into production. With a razor-sharp edge on both

Crossguard of knife made by William Rogers of Sheffield. Maker's -E:~

mark is obscured by British proof. Chuck Fowler collection.


Indian Ishapore "I" stamp can be seen on this F-S crossguard. The "ENGLAND"
marking was added when the knives were imported into the United States for civilian sale after being declared surplus. Chuck Fowler collection.

George Wostenholm & Son, to also

produce them. However, only those
made by Wilkinson have the "F-S
Fighting Knife" logo acid-etched on
the blade.
With approximately, 56,048 of the
Second Pattern produced by
Wilkinson alone, the Ministry of
Supply eventually authorized 154,000
of the newly modified Third Pattern
style, which became official on
February 6,1943. This new knife was
parkerized entirely black, including
the handle and guard, which due to
war-time conditions was made of a cast
alloy, instead of brass. Also, the checkered handle gave way to one with concentric rings.
After the British Government adopted the Second Pattern, their cutlery
contractors, including Wilkinson
began making these knives for private
sale in their commonwealth, as well as
for the exiled Dutch and Norwegian
Governments. Examining the surviving knives reveal that variations on the
handle treatments and guards have
been observed within the three basic
patterns. By 1942, Captain Fairbairn
was transferred to the U.S. Government
for training their instructors in the
cloak and dagger knife fighting techniques. This resulted in the newly
formed Office of Strategic Services
("OSS, "the forerunner of the CIA),
who adopted a close copy of the
Fairbairn-Sykes Knife on July 1,1942
for their personnel. On August 24,
1943 the delivery was completed on all
10,000 of these knives made by
Only the early Fairbairn-Sykes knives
made by Wilkinson have the etched "F-S"
in the ricasso. They also featured the
early checkered handle. Robert

Landers, Frary and Clark of New

Britain, Connecticut. The blade, however, was more slender and the handle
was made out of steel, not brass.
Another version, made by the Camillus
Cutlery Company, was the Marine
Raiders Stiletto, believed to have been
used by the 4th Raider Battalion. It had
a checkered zinc handle and the initials, USMC, in a fancy scroll design
etched on the center of the blade.
Camillus manufactured 14,370 of
them. Still another version was made
by the Case Cutlery Company for the
Special Services Force. It was known as
the V-42, for the year it was authorized
and had a handle made out of oval
leather washers with a pointed steel
pommel cap.


Battle Blades
Amusingly, many American military
aficionados inverted the names of the
two former Shanghai policemen and
refer to the F-S Fighting Knife as the
"Sykes-Fairbairn Commando Dagger."
Among the many fighting groups that
used these knives besides the British
Commandos, included the British
Paratroopers, the British Royal
Marines, the British Special Air Service,
the Australian Special Air Service, the
British Special Boat Section, the Free
French and French Commandos, the
Canadian Paratroopers, the Polish
Paratroopers, the U.S. First Ranger
Battalion, the U.S Army Special
Forces, the Dutch Commandos, the
Burma Army, The Indian Army, the
Indian Parachute Division and the
NATO Special Forces.
The continued popularity and historical significance of this style stiletto
can be attested to the fact that companies are still making it today. There are
only minor variations on the knife that
the British Commandos wielded
during England's darkest hour to
which Winston Churchill predicted
onJune 18, 1940, would be one day
be described as "their finest hour."
The author would like to thank
Fred Bratmon, Robert Buerlein, Chuck
Fowler, John R. Gangel, Ivan Hiller
and Jim Phillips for their assistance.
For further reading, the following
books are recommended.
Get Tough! How to Win in Hand-toHand Fighting, as Taught to the British
Commandos and u.s. Armed Forces,
Major William E. Fairbairn, 1942, Out
of Print, available through Rutgers
Book Center, Highland Park, NJ
08904, Phone: (732) 545-4344.
Fighting Knives: An Illustrated Guide
to Fighting Knives and Military Survival
Weapons of the World, Frederick J.
Stephens, 1980, Arms and Armour
Press, London, England.
Allied Military Fighting Knives and the
Men Who Made Them Famous, Robert
Buerlein, 1984, The American
Historical Foundation, Richmond, VA.
ass Weapons, Dr. John W Brunner,
1994, Phillips Publications, PO Box
168, Williamstown, NJ 08094-0168.
British Commonwealth Military
Knives, Ron Flook, 1999, Howell Press,
Charlottesville, VA 22903.
Commando Dagger: The Complete
History of the Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting
Knife, Leroy Thompson with foreward
by Col. Rex Applegate.


TItis 12" figure has over 20 points of mticulation mld
features the authentic look of a CS 1st Texas
Infmlltymm1. flach figure includes: a Forage cap with
Texas plate, 1842 Musket, Socket bayonet with scabbard, Leather belt with Texas plate, Cap pouch, CS cartridge box mld sling, Haversack, Tm Cup, Texas issue
frock coat, Trousers, brogmJs mld Hard pack with blmlket mld emteen. Due to small parts mld sharp points
these items are not suitable for small children.

Typical checkered grip pattern Commando knife. The handle has been nickel-plated.
Chuck Fowler collection.


CSOT $34.95


"Blackened" version of the checkered grip. As the finish is somewhat worn, the
brass can be seen underneath. Chuck Fowler.

TItis 12" figure has over 20 points of mticulation

mld features tlle autllentic look of a US 2nd
Wisconsin Infmlttymml. Each figure includes: a
Hardee hat with Infmllry Hom emblem, 1854
Austriml Lorenz tille, Socket bayonet mld
scabbard, Leather belt with US plate, Cap pouch,
US cartridge box mld sling, Haversack, Tm Clip,
Cmlteen, Brogmls, Federal frock coat, Trousers,
Double bag knapsack, Gum Blmlket HoU mld
Canvas leggings. Due to small pm1S mld sh~u1J points tllese items are not
suitable for small children.
ITEM: CSTW $34.95


"Beaded and Ribbed" guard of the F-S Fig~ting knife. While it is believed these were
privately purchased variants, some have been found with British War Department
marks. Chuck Fowler collection.

This 12" figure has over 20 points of articulation

mld feanlres the authentic look of a US 2nd
'Berdml' Sharpshooter. Each figure includes:
Forage cap mld M1858 Frock Coat. Other issued
gear includes a leather belt, Federal-Issue U.S.
buckle, M1855 Bayonet Scabbard, 11855 Cap
Pouch, MI855 Cartridge Box with Sting, M1855
Cmlleen, Patter 1851 Haversack, Federal-Issue
cup, Prussian pattern knapsack with Blanket
Holl, M1859 Sharps Socket Bayonet and Sharps
M1859 Rifle. Due to small parts and sharp
points these items are not suitable for small children.


CBAC $29.95





MFRI $34.95

Tltis 12" figure has over 20 points of
articulation and features the autllentic
look of a WW1 German Assault Trooper.
Each figure includes: belt and buckle,
M1887 Haversack (Bread Bag), M1907
Water Bottle, M1887 Entrenching tool,
Bayonet mld Scabbard, Assault Pack
Holled Great Coat Wrapped around
M1910 Mess Tin, 1917 Patterned Hmld grenade Bags, Stick Grenade,
Hespirator (Gas Mask), Gas C~lJ1, MPI8 Sub-Machine Gun wi Snail
Magazine. Due to small parts mld sharp points these items are not
suitable for small children.
ITEM: MSGT $29.95


TIJis 12" figure has over 20 points of

atticulation mld features the autllentic look
of a 7tll Battation 'Black Watch' soldiet:
Each figure includes: P08 Shoulder Braces,
P08 Left!tight CaJ.1ridge Pouches, P08
Haversack, Water Bottle, P08 Frog Bayonet,
Enfield Bayone~ Entrenching Tool wi
Hmldle & Carry, Small box Hespirator mld
Bag mld '0. 1MKl11 Enfield IDfle. Due to small pm1S mld shmlJ point~
these items are not suitable for small children.

"NATO" marked knife dated 1977. It is presumed that these knives were made privately

This 12" figure has over 20 points of

articulation mld features the authentic look
of a WWI French Riflemml. Each figure
includes: ml Adriml helmet, Single breasted
great coat, Tunic Dickie, Breeches with
infmltry stripe, Puttees, Boots, Leather Y
strap mld waist belt, cartridge boxes,
haversacks, 2-titer emteen, bayonet frog
mld scabbard, M-2 gas mask and bag, Large
wire cutters, 1886 Epee bayonet and 1907
Berthier rifle. Due to small parts mld sharp
points these items are not suitable for small children.



to be sold commercially and were never issued to NATO forces. Gany James collection.


MSBW $29.95

This 12" figure has over 20 points of

articulation mld features the
authentic look of a British Lewis
Gunner. Each figure includes: a
helmet with cover, Uniform Blouse
wi 29th Division insignia, Trousers,
Ammo Boots with Puttees, P'08
Shoulder Braces mHlwaist belt, Webley No. VI Pistol, Pistol holster
and ammo pouch, P '08 Haversack, Water Bottle, P'08 Bayonet frog,
Enfield Bayonet, Entrenching Tool wi Handle and Carry, Small Box
Respirator mld Bag, Lewis Mk I Machine Gun and Holled Rain
Poncho. Due to small parts and sharp points these items are not
suitable for small children.
ITEM: MBLG $34.95

Order online:

For product or shipping inquiries -


tei. 1-800-3'58-6327.



By Philip Schreier

to come

'. A

Though the Olympia's keel was laid in

1891 and she entered into service in
1895, the original ship's bell bears the
date 1893, a reference to the date of her

living History on the USS Olympia

t the intersection of
Philadelphia's South Street
and the Delaware River sits in
neglected glory, one of
America's national treasures,
Admiral Deweys flagship from the 1898
Battle of Manila Bay, the USS Olympia.
The protected cruiser settled at her present berth in 1957 alongside the USS
Becuna, a submarine from the World
War II period. Today she stands as a
memorial to the officers and men who

served aboard her during her 30 years

of active service.
On a number of weekends during
the calendar year, the Olympia springs
to life with the aid of a living history
crew who demonstrate life as it was
aboard the ship in 1898. Comprised of
nearly 30 crewmen, and officially
known as the liVing History Crew of
the USFS (US Flag Ship) Olympia, the
crew strives to display numerous
aspects of how it was to live as a crew-

The Olympia today sits at Philadelphia's Penn's Landing in a slip on the Delaware
River, just opposite from the newly berthed USS New Jersey.

1Jlan in the age of the old steam navy.

From cooking, 5-inch gun drill, sword
practice and signaling, the crew makes
life for both the visitor, and the crewmen themselves, as close as anyone
might come to experiencing things as
they once were.
The USS Olympia is the oldest steel
hulled naval vessel in the United
States. Her keel was laid by the Union
Iron works of San Francisco, California
in 1891 and she was commissioned
into service in 1895. She was serving
in the Asiatic Squadron when war
clouds developed between the United
States and Spain inJanuary of 1898.
Commodore George Dewey joined the
ships company that month and made
her his flag ship as commander of the
On16 February, 1898, Dewey,
aboard the Olympia, learned of the
destruction of the USS Maine in
Havana harbor on the evening before.
In the afternoon of February 25th he
received the following cable from the
Navy Department in Washington D.C.
Dewey, Hong Kong: ORDER THE
The cable was not signed by the
Secretary ofthe Navy John D. Long, he

had left the office early that afternoon

due to a bout of insomnia, one that
began the night the Maine blew up.
The cable bore the signature authority
of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy,
Theodore Roosevelt. In an instant the
United States was 'mobilizing' for war
under the authority of an absent cabinet member. Long was warned by one
wag that if he ever left Theodore alone
in the office again, it was likely that he
would declare war all on his own. The
Olympia became the object of international attention once news of the cable
became public and Dewey was the
man on the spot, the tip of the sword.
The U.S. declared war on April 25 and
Dewey immediately set off to contain
the Spanish fleet, known to be in
Manila Bay, Philippine Islands.
The first taste of blood for the U.S.
came on May 1 when the U.S. Asiatic
Squadron, led by the Flagship
Olympia, steamed into Manila Bay
and, after a sharp engagement following the famous command "You may
fire when ready Gridley," sunk the
Spanish Fleet in quick order, establishing an American presence there that
would last nearly 100 years. Dewey
became a national hero, was promoted
to the highest rank in the history of the
Navy and the Olympia was treated to
the equivalent of a ticker tape parade
in every port she visited during her
return voyage home in 1899.
She later served the first part of the
20th Century in the Carribean,
Atlantic and Mediterranean. In 1916
she was named flagship of the Atlantic
Fleet and participated in the Great
War, eventually participating in the

The ship's company on the forward 8-inch gun turret. Uniform for the day is "working
whites" one of the most comfortable living history impressions available.

Murmansk expedition. In 1921 her

last noteworthy cruise made world
headlines as she bore the remains of
the Unknown American Soldier from
the Great War home to the Washington
Navy Yard for interment at Arlington
She served as a training vessel at various times for the U.S. Naval Academy
and today her mission is still training
and education. Owned and operated
by the Independence Seaport Museum
at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia she
has been host for various living history
crews since the mid-1980's. InJanuary
of 1996 the present living history cre\v
was established by the museum to
demonstrate and interpret life aboard
the historic artifact. Today's prospec-

Olympia's crew during a few moments of relaxation. Crew members hand make
each of the hammocks, and the musical instruments are original to the late 1890's.

tive crew member is literally trained in

various aspects of navy life before they
are passed to serve before the public.
Among the various disciplines are:
5-inch gun drill
06 Pounder gun drill
o "Single stick" (cutlass) drill
French foil fencing
o Small arms drill
Signaling (both Myer and
International Code of Signals)
o Navigation
Engine Room operations discussion
o Chanty singing
Knot-tying and rope work
Most crew members are cross

Crewman Peter Tuttle on the forward 8inch twin turret guns. The original guns
were removed and the current guns are
hollow cast replicas.


years and a professional

ship'S council composed of
museum curatorial staff conelected crewmen and overtinues to work daily to save
seen by the staff of the seathe historical artifacts that
port museum. The crew
comprise this 344-foot, S,800
adheres to a strict authenton ship. The adjacent museticity policy and most unium now houses the important
forms are handmade by
collection of original phoapproved providers chotographs and uniforms that
sen for their understandwere once left to fade in natuing of the crews requireral sunlight prior to the musements. As a participant in
ums acquisition of the vessel.
numerous living history
Today, many improvements
and re-enactment units,
have begun to help reverse
the Olympia crew is perdecades of neglect and the
haps one of the cheapest
effects of time and weather on
impressions I have ever
this old battle wagon.
outfitted. All that is needIt is a most rewarding expeed is a set of 'working
rience to walk a starboard
whites' for daily events.
watch late at night, listening to
The guns and equipment
the clang of halyards against
are all original fixtures, the
the masts, the sounds of the
biggest expense is the perirocking channel buoys and the
od shoes provided by a
soft murmur of passing river
local Amish cobbler.
traffic as you ascend the iron
Patrick McSherry is one
stairs to the bridge. There, on
of the founders of what is
now the crew. He and his
the bridge flooring you can
The bridge of the ship contains the wheel house and chart
father "Pops" were former table. Visitors here see how ships navigation was run as well find a pair of well worn brass
plates in the shape of Dewey's
Civil War re-enactors who as communication displays.
shoes, marking the spot where
became bored with the
repetitive nature of the civil war hobby is not required to participate in today's he gave the command to the ships
and formed a brass band to add a new living history programs. While one Captain, Charles V Gridley, to "Fire
dimension to their historical pursuits. major attraction to a living history when ready .." that May morning when
Soon after approaching the museum event for me is the camaraderie that a the curtain was about to close on the
staff they were invited to form the camp fire offers, it has been replaced final act of the Old World Empire and
ships band in 1996 and eventually by the smoking lamp and a gathering open anew on the American Century
Visit the USFS Olympia at
broadened their interests to include round the ships capstan to sing sea
Philadelphia's Penn's Landing or on the
naval life aboard ship to the extensive chanties and bull sessions.
The Olympia has undergone major web at
programs offered today. While talent
with a period instrument is desired, it restoration efforts in the last eight olympia.htm.

trained in all the disciplines but those

that have special talents or background
in any area are often asked to concentrate on the areas of their expertise.
The entire crew fills in on some of the
major areas like gun drill where originalS-inch and 6 pound guns are actually fired with blank rounds. (The
ships guns are fired from the seaward
or port side so as not to disturb the residents of Philadelphia's nearby hotels
and condos. The port side offers a clear
view of the newly berthed USS New
Jersey in Camden, NJ).
Navy life aboard the Olympia is a
special aspect of the living history program. Crew members actually sleep in
the hammock bays or in the Junior
Officers cabins in the stern of the ship.
The ship lacks all the comforts of
home such as lavatories, running
water, heat or air conditioning. I was
quite surprised to learn on my first
crew visit that the Olympia was originally outfitted with electric lights and
an ice making machine, which would
have certainly been the first time many
original crew members ever encountered such modern luxuries. One
night in a hammock will certainly give
you an appreciation for a soft mattress
and the chiropractor.
The present crew is directed by the

Rob Kinney in the uniform of one of the

ship's company of U.S. Marines.
Photographed in the junior officers cabins, this berth is small but comfortable.

The fluorescent lights and the large clock in the background are the only signs that
this isn't a period photograph taken in the ship's engine room.

Crew members Bill Munday, Peter Tuttle, Philip Schreier and "Pops" McSherry show
off their dress blue and dress white uniforms on the Olympia's starboard gangway.

The author striking a pose on one of the

working 5-inch port side guns. Gun drill
includes blank firing of the gun as well
as a cleaning drill.


The U.S. Army's Secret World War I Weapon
n October 8, 1917, eight
months after the United States
entered the "Great War," a
civilian trudged to the firing
line at the Congress Heights
Rifle Range at Washington D.C. With
him were three high-ranking Ordnance
Department officers including General
Crozier, Chief of Ordnance.
The civilian was].D. Pedersen, an
independent small arms deSigner who

magazine cutoff. He then took a long

stick-like object from the rifle case and
snapped it onto the right side of the rifle
so that it protruded at a 45 degree angle.
Without pause, he shouldered the rifle
and fired forty rounds as fast as he could
pull the nigger; snatched up a new magazine and emptied it as well.
Turning to the surprised Ordnance
officers, he offered the rifle for inspection, pointing out that he had replaced
the bolt with a blow-back device that
fired a smaller, lighter cartridge from
the fony round protruding magazine.
"Imagine, gentlemen," he is certain
to have said, "the effect of eighty shots
fired at an enemy in less than a minute
by an entire of company of soldiers, or
a regiment or even a division!"
Pedersen had developed a Simple
blowback device that looked like the top
of a semi-automatic piStol. It locked into
the bolt race and accepted cartridges fed
to it from the fony round magazine. A
standard Model 1903 rifle only required
five relatively simple modifications to
use the device: 1) an oblong port had to
be cut in the left side of the receiver to



worked closely with the Remington

Arms Company. On this crisp autumn
day, Mr. Pedersen took what appeared to
be a standard Springfield Model 1903
rifle from a case and pressed a clip of cartridges into the magazine. After firing all
five shots at the distant target, he
removed the rifle's bolt and from a metal
pouch clipped to his belt pulled a blocklike object which he pushed into the
bolt race and locked in position with the

The ---istor NetSho .com

An unnamed employee of the Remington Arms Company

demonstrating the Pedersen device.

The M1903 MARK I rifle modified to use

the "U.S. Pistol, Cal..30, Model of 1918"
also known to collectors as the
"Pedersen Device. " Photo courtesy of
Remington Arms and Arms Historian,

Roy Marcot.

Your guide to the best selection in books, videos, collectibles and more! In conjunction with the
editors of the PRIMEDIA History Group, we are pleased to bring you a wide array of familiar and
unusual history items. Please take a few moments to browse our collection and decide how you
want to make history a part of your day.

allow the empty cases to be ejected, 2)
the stock line had to be lowered below
the port, 3) the sear had to be modified
with the addition of a lever that released
the devices firing pin, 4) a shallow slot
was cut into the back top of the trigger
to allow the sear lever to make contact
and 5) the magazine cutoff spindle had
to be modified with a groove to hold the
device in place. Those M1903
Springfield rifles so altered were designated "United States Magazine Rifle,
Caliber .30, Model of 1903 Mark I"-an
attempt to disguise its true nature.
A cartridge fed into the device from
the forty round magazine protruding
from the right side of the receiver and
the firing pin was cocked when the
slide was drawn back and released.
When the rifle's trigger was pulled, the
trigger moved the lever on the modified sear and released the devices firing
pin to strike the cartridge's primer.
When the cartridge recoiled to the rear,
it struck the slide, forcing it back in its
track against a recoil spring. The .30
caliber bullet went the other way down
the rifle's barrel.
The cartridge was a pistol round
with a .30 caliber 80 grain gilding
metal jacketed bullet over 3.5 grains of
powder which produced a muzzle
velocity of 1,300 feet per second from
the rifle barrel. The service bullet in the
.30-M1906 cartridge would penetrate
60 inches of pine (a measure of performance then in use) while the .30M1918 bullet would only penetrate 8
inches. But at ranges of up to 350




This photograph of an original Remington Arms engineering drawing shows the 40

round magazine and its method of attachment.

yards, that was thought to be more

than sufficient to kill an enemy soldier.
Pedersens invention in combination
with this puny cartridge was destined
to stand the entire Ordnance
Department on their collective ear during the next eighteen months. It was
quickly classified "Secret" and
Pedersen was sent immediately to
France via fast destroyer to demonstrate it for Generaljohn Pershing. By
early 1918, the General, who commanded the American Expeditionary
Force, was sufficiently convinced of its
utility that he requested devices, modified rifles, spare parts and ammunition
sufficient to equip 100,000 troops for
the start of the 1919 offensive.
The excitement can be understood
with a brief history of the Great War on

An original Remington Arms Company engineering drawing

shows the interaction of the M1903 modified sear and
the firing pin release lever in the Pedersen Device.


the Western Front. During the fighting

season of 1917 alone (early spring to
mid autumn) nearly 500,000 soldiers
on both sides had lost their lives in
futile attacks on ea h other's trenches
which stretched in nearly unbroken
lines from the Swiss- French to the
Belgian-Dutch borders.
Major attacks on opposing trench
line made in multidivisional strength
were known as "offensives." After
weeks of intense anitlery bombardment the offensive usually jumped off
shortly after dawn as the artillery bombardment ceased abruptly. Whistles
blew and the first wave of troops on a
one, two, three or more division front
clambered "over the top" burdened
with packs, equipment and arms
weighing up to seventy pounds and
slogged across the shell-cratered,
barbed wire encrusted mud between
the opposing trenches
Within minutes, the defender's
artillery whistled in, targeting the
expanse of no mans land and the
attacker's trenches. With the high
explosive came gas shells. The attackers, fought for every breath through
their gas masks as they slogged
through the mud and mire while the
defending infantry poured machine
gun and rifle fire into attackers.
If the attacking soldiers managed to
cut through the tangles of barbed wire
and get into the enemy trenches, they
were usually so exhausted and low on
ammunition that they could not withstand the automatic counterattack. In
the three previous years, not one offensive had been successful.
General Pershing and the Ordnance
Department saw in the Pedersen device
the solution to both the offensive and

Ammunition pouch holding five magazines, magazine and .30-ModeI1918

ammunition, Pedersen device and metal
scabbard with cartridge belt attachment.

defensive stalemates. They envisioned

several divisions of American troops
climbing out of their trenches and walking across no man's land firing their
Pedersen device-equipped rifles from
the hip to lay down such a storm of lead
that the enemy deep would be forced
deep into their trenches and unable to
fire back. And because each soldier
would carry 400 rounds of ammunition, they would have plenty left to
defend themselves once they had captured a portion of the enemys trenches.
Then, because the killing machine guns
would have been silenced from the
start, successive waves would reinforce
them to push through the enemy lines
for the long-sought breakthrough.
When the Pedersen deviceequipped rifles were used in a defensive posture, each soldier would have
400 rounds of ammunition to fire at
the attacking enemy, thus supplementing their heavy machine guns with "a
light machine gun in the hands of
every soldier."
Production for delivery to the AEF
in time for the 1919 spring offensive
began in early 1918. But in October of
that same year, the great breakthrough
came as Allied forces smashed through
the German lines and raced to the
Rhine. A demoralized government in
Berlin called for an armistice a month
later and the last shot of World War I
was fired on November 11,1918.
It is interesting to speculate about
what might have happened if the
October breakthrough had not
occurred and if the Pedersen devices
had arrived as planned. Would the
spectacle of three divisions worth of
American troops climbing out of their
trenches and pumping millions of

rounds of ammunition at the German

defenders as they trudged across no
mans land have been sufficient to bring
the long-sought break through?
Probably not. The American planners
did not seem to have taken into account
the effect the additional thirteen pounds
of weight on already overburdened
troops, or the artillery bombardment on
the attackers, the hampering effects of
gas shells nor the muddy wasteland
between the trenches. The Pedersen
device and its .30 caliber cartridge had
only one third to one half the average
distance in range between trench lines. If
the attackers started out with .30-Model
1906 bolt in their rifles they would have
to stop at some point and insert the
device, thereby losing momentum. And
as later testing proved, men under the
intense pressure of an offensive and the
all-too real possibility of death would
have lost sufficient of their rifle bolts and
jammed enough of the Pedersen devices
with mud and grit when they dropped
them to reduce their effectiveness.
When World War 1 ended, 65,000
Pedersen devices had been manufactured and they were placed in storage
along with the 101,775 or so M1903
Mark I rifles built for them. They
remained in storage under strict secrecy until March 23,1931 when they
were offered to the Marine Corps and
Navy who rejected them as having no
practical use. In April of that year, they
were melted down for scrap steel and
the Mark I rifles returned to inventory.
The few dozen of the devices-or
less-that survived are today eagerly
sought by collectors.
An interesting foot note: despite the
rigorous security measures to protect
the existence of the Pedersen device
during and after World War I, Army
Intelligence discovered a complete
M1903 Mark I rifle with Pedersen
device in the reference collection of the
Rheinisch Westfallian Sprengstoff,
A.G. in Nurnberg, Germany in the
summer of 1945. It had been in the
collection since 1920!

Editor's Note: Photographs were furnished by Arms Historian Roy Marcot

and are original Remington Arms
Company photos taken during World War
I. They were first published inJoe Poyer's
new book, "The Model 1903 Springfield
Rifle and its Variations, "from which this
column is excerpted and which is available from North Cape Publications, Dept.
MCI, P.O. Box 1027mc, Tustin CA 92781
or by calling 1-800-745-9714,for $22.95
plus $3.25 postage. CA residents add
7. 75% sales tax.


oorr.- stock 01 WWll Getman badges, caps. 8IC.1n 1h8 us.
(TAKE DOWN) Grey-Green wool
with proper patch and buttons.
State S, M Of L. Enllsted-$38,
0fficeIs.-.S42 (same cap lor
S.5.-BLACK- same pnces)
U.S. Office(s Cap (new
from original U.S.
mal<er). Tan
with brown
leather visor,
chin strap and U.S.
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For the first time EVER, these award-winning
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By Garry James

Answers to your Militaria Questions

The Civil War in the West


Q: I have an old military helmet
that I would like to know more
about. It is blue-gray, has a leather
liner and a separate attached crest on
top. The emblem on the front depicts
a snake within a wreath and the letters "RF." What do I have? How old
is it? Does it have any value?

-Will Blankenship
Rochester; NY
A: You have a nice example of the
ubiquitous Model 1915 French Adrian
Helmet. It first came into use in World
War I, but was used by France and
other nations for many years thereafter.
During the Great War the Adrian was
employed by the Russians, Belgians,
Rumanians, Americans and Serbians.
There is even a photo of Winston
Churchill wearing one in the trenches.
The national or branch of service
insignias could be applied separately.
The most common is the standard

grenade with the letters "RF"

(Republique Francaise). It was used
primarily by the infantry. One also
encounters more unusual insignias
such as yours, which is Medical Corp.
Value on your helmet, in good shape is
around $200. A standard infantry
example is worth somewhat less.

Q: I have a lithographed tin box
that has been in my family for years.
It is 6 1/4 inches long and 3 1/4 inches
wide. In the center of a red background is an embossed portrait of
Queen Victoria. There is a crown,
the letters "VRI" and "SOUTH
AFRICA 1900." I was told that it
was a tobacco tin that was sent to
the troops during the Boer War. Am
I correct?

-Frank Mobley
Decatur; AL

During the Boer War Queen Victoria sent these tins full of chocolate to the British
troops. Many were sent back home as souvenirs, so they are not particularly rare.

The Model 1915 Adrian helmet was used

by a number of nations, though it is
most closely associated with the
French. This version has a Medical
Corps insignia on the front.

A: You are partially right. These were

sent to the troops by the Queen during
the Boer War, but as Her Majesty was a
vehement anti-smoker, the contents
was chocolate. A newspaper piece of
the period pretty well tells the whole
story. "With her customary kindness
and forethought, Her Majesty caused
to be dispatched to the troops in South
Africa shortly before the close of the
old year, a very large number of elegantly deSigned blue, red and gold tin
boxes containing chocolate in cakes, at
once a most sustaining and appetizing
form of food. Every soldier at the front
had a box specially aSSigned to him; in
nearly every case they were duly delivered, and in all they were immensely
appreciated. Often they were sent
home by the recipient untouched, that
they might be treasured heirlooms."
Lots of soldiers must have sent their
boxes home, as even after 100 years,
they still turn up very frequentlysometimes with the chocolate still
inside. A Queen Victoria chocolate box
in good shape is worth in the $75 to
$125 range-considerably more ifit
still has its contents. The "VRI" stands
for Victoria Regina Imperatrix (Victoria
Queen Empress.)

Q: I recently inherited a trunk full


Documentary Films of the Historic Battles


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The best Civil War

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- Ed Bearss
Chief Historian Emeritus
National Park Service




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: Saving Civil War Battlefields

~ explores the grass roots effort
~ underway to save America's
: hallowed Civil War battlefields
~ from encroaching urban sprawl
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The nation's leading
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: Lee Hodge, and Brian Pohanka
~ gUide you through the on-going
~ struggle to preserve our coun: try's most hallowed ground.


documentary series
explores three of the
deadliest engagements in
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Shiloh, Chickamauga,
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See the panorama
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Stunningly realistic reenactment 35 mm film and
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- - - - N e t --l


This overseas
cap was made in
France and privatelypurchased by an
American officer.
The insignia is
that of the Air
Corps and the
piping that of
the Signal

of material from my great uncle.

While most of it is just family paperwork, there was a military cap
inside, as well. It is dark brown, has
orange and white piping on the
edges and a lieutenant's insignia on
one side of the front and a set of
wings with a propeller on the other.
It has gold striped lining with the
name "BEVIERE/ll Rue Nationale,
Tours" in gold beneath the leather
sweatband. What do I have?
-Susan Quarness
St Louis Park, MN
A: It sounds very much like you
have an American aviator's overseas
cap from World War 1. It is interesting
that it was made in France, and has the
orange and white colors of the U.S.
Signal Corps. The Army Air Corps was
part of the Signal Corps at one time.
Sounds like a pretty rare and desirable
bird to me. Most World War I aviation
gear brings a premium nowadays.

My Father gave me an old bayonet
that has been in his garage for years.
It has a long, slender pointed blade,

For the best history

on the Web, go to

a part of the About

Visit Today and Make it
Your Home on the Web

go back to
around the time
of the American
Civil War. These are
scarcer than brass
field glasses, but
still don't bring a lot
of money. The regimental markings
add interests and
some value.

wooden grip with brass trim and

black metal scabbard. On the top of
the blade it is marked, "Mre dArmes
Tulle Modi 1880." Is this rare?
-Mark Warren
Philadelphia, PA
A: You have a bayonet for the
French Model 1874 Gras rifle. It is
amazing to me how many of these
things turn up. I have no idea why
there are so many Gras bayonets
around and so few Gras rifles. I do
know that the famed early military
surplus house of Francis Bannerman
and Sons was offering for sale as early

French Model 1875 Gras bayonets

are very common, though the rifles
are fairly scarce.

about $50 to $75.

The U.S. Model 1917 Naval Cutlass was
modeled after an earlier Dutch design.
These remained in service for a number
of years.

as 1907, and perhaps that is where the

great influx started. In any event,
while they are decorative, they have
little value, despite their age. A Gras
bayonet in great shape is worth only

I have an interesting sword. It is
all black, has a black plastiC grip and
three branch sheet metal guard. The
blade is curved with a clip point and
measures 25 inches long. I would
guess from its appearance that it is
some sort of Navy cutlass.
-Arlen Hodges
MemphiS, TN
A: Your description pretty well
matches that of aU .5. Model 1917
Naval Cutlass. It was the follow-on to
the earlier Model 1860 cutlass and was
patterned after a Dutch blade of similar
configuration but with wooden instead
of Bakelite grips. These cutlasses
remained in service for some time, and
were even seen on some vessels during
World War II.

A: Myoid binoculars are pretty

interesting. They appear to be made

of aluminum and have brown
leather grips. Dual sunshades can be
pulled out over the lenses. There is
no maker's name, but the sliding
barrels of the eyepieces are engraved
"H.C.B." "Scots Guards." I'm assuming they were used by some British
officer, but have no idea how old
they are. Any idea?
-Ralph Spaulding
New York, NY
A: From the pictures, it looks like
your field glasses probably date from the
latter part of the 19th century for binoculars, though this older style was even
used as late as World War 1. Aluminum
as a material dates back to the American
Civil War. It was more expensive than
brass or steel, and the lightness was
much appreciated by those who carried
them. The engraving certainly adds
interest and value, though older binocs
such as these are still not really too

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Untold Story



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This is a major contribution to the histOl)' of the

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Cody was born in 1846, during the period of the great

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Remember tile Abuno! The most famous battle Cl)' in

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This fascinating book tells the story of one of the

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The Wild West from a wife's perspective! Eli7.abeth

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Author Ted P. Yeatman follows Jesse and Frank
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Author Spencer C. Thcker, eminent naval and military
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RYOMA: Life of a
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CIVI~:::~: ~~~:~:~~:~PH~

This popular and competitive

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Colonel Ron Alexander is one of the most higWy
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Author Bob Zeller adds to Ilis fabulous first

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What brougllt the Chinese into tile Korean War? How

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Some of the world's most renowned military historians imagine "what if." David McCullough envisions
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The CSS David was the first vessel designed specifically from the keel
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Here is the StOlY of the Second World War, as it happened, unfurled day by day, involving every combatant nation and in every theater of war. Recorded
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11le founder of japan's first modem cOlporation was a

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(1\ II. II \H IS,\(il',


Pickett's Charge is probably the best-known military engagement of the Civil War, lvidely regarded
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What was a "ready finder"? An "anlputee fork"? Who

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Last Attack at


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n the year 1942 it was not certain that the Allies would win over their foe in
the East-the unbeaten]apanese. The Pacific war was touch and go with victories and losses for both sides. All was held in the balance as the bloody bat(
tles for the Solomon Islands proved. It was not until late 1943 that America
was certain that the]apanese could be beaten and that the war could be brought
eventually to a close.
By Dan King and Harlan Glenn

Type 99 "Arisaka" Infantry Rifle


Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) infantryman, rank of Superior Private of the 29th Regiment 2nd Division on theCanal. Note camouflage body net (gisomo), combat cap (ryakubo) with neck flaps (botare), helmet (tetsubo) with net (tetsubo yo gisomo) and cover
(tetsubo ooi). Written on the cotton cloth sewn onto the leather sling was the soldier's name & unit. He is armed with an Arisaka
Type 99 7.7mm rifle (Kyukyu shiki) with fixed Type 30 (1897) bayonet (juken). The Type 99 "Arisaka" was adopted by the Japanese
military in 1939, with approx 2,500,000 of them being produced by government and private arsenals in Japan, Korea and
Manchuria until 1945. Japanese rifles are often referred to as "Arisaka" due to the fact that the head of the 1905 commission
to produce a modern firearm for Japan was famed artillery Colonel, Nariaki Arisaka. The correct designation for this
weapon is the Type 99 Infantry Rifle (Kyukyu Shiki Hohei Shoju) although many collectors refer to them as
either an "Arisaka" or Type 99. Regardless of its nomenclature, the weapon was sturdy and well-built with
beautiful "urushi" varnished stock and surprisingly
lustrous bluing on earlier war production rifles.
The T-99 had a muzzle velocity of2,390 fps and a
maximum range of3,700 yards. Some interesting
aspects of the 8.31b T-99 rifle are a chromed bore
which reduced rust and rifling wear, a flip-down wire
monopod for added support when firing at long
range (often discarded in the Pacific), the flip-up
anti-aircraft sites with wings, the dust cover, a bakelite muzzle cover, and a safety that involved turning a
knurled knob with the palm of the hand. The safety
was designed for soldiers wearing cold-weather
mittens facing Russian & Chinese troops. When the
weapon was initially developed, Japan saw herself
fighting not in the tropical Pacific but against her
northern neighbors. The IJA soldier was not
"issued" a weapon, it was "loaned" to him from the
Emperor, for it bears the monarch's mum (kiku no
gomonsho). One interesting example is the difference in which the Japanese and U.S. Marines were
trained to handle their rifles when going to ground.
The U.S. Marine would use the butt of his '03
Springfield or M1 Garand to break his fall.
Japanese soldiers went to ground with their palms,
elbows and knees first keeping the rifle off the
ground, securely nestled on their leg taking care to
keep it out of the dirt - for this was an item belonging to the Emperor to be treated with respect.
The Japanese soldier and his bayonet were a
fierce combination. He was trained for night fighting, with his closest
ally; the bayonet. They affectionately referred to their bayonets as
"Gobo ken" (a Burdock root) due to the physical similarity and the fact
that in Japanese "Gobo" means to overwhelm one's opponent.
To the Japanese soldier, the Bayonet was not a last resort weapon (as
in the West) but one of choice whenever possible. The Japanese soldiers not only underwent straw-dummy bayonet training, but in China
many were forced to bayonet live "bandits" to anesthetize the natural
human tendency to preserve life. The result of this "training" blanched
hesitation from the soldiers' hearts enabling them to unflinchingly
administer deadly stabs at close range. The authors have spoken firsthand with Japanese veterans who have attested to the psychological
effect of "breaking in" a new soldier using this cruel, yet effective
method. The IJA preferred the night attack when possible. "We were
instructed to close with the enemy, hold him tight and bloody him with
our bayonets" states IJA veteran Corporal Akira Goto.
Japan had seen her enemies flee before waves of the Emperor's finest,
bearing flashing bayonets during foreign wars from 1894-1942. The
year 1942 saw the end of running before the bayonet. It was in the
Solomons the IJA encountered a new enemy not intimidated by cold
steel-the U.S. Marines.

Below: Leather ammo pouches (zengo) contained 30 rounds, wrapped in paper

wedges of 15 rounds each separated into three stripper clips of five rounds each.
Note the way the pouches open outward to allow the wearer to access them when
crawling and crouching and to avoid spilling the contents. The soldier wore two
pouches in the front, and a larger ammo pouch in the back (kogo) that contained 60
rounds. Note the metal painted button on the tunic.

The Pacific war was one of outright

savagery where no quarter was given
nor taken. The taking of prisoners for
the years of 1942 to 1945 was at times
unheard-at times it simply was not
an option. The japanese had been
schooled with a vision of supremacy,
and that to surrender and or to accept
defeat would bring dishonor and disgrace. As for the Americans, the Pacific
war was personal-they had been
attacked and those who were taken
prisoner were killed, butchered or
beaten. One would rather fight to the
death than suffer the fate of those men
who were lost in the first six months of
the war when japan ran rampant and
she seemed unstoppable.
The fighting that took place in the
Solomons from 1942 to 1943 was the
true lynch pin of the Pacific war. If
japan lost, her empire would begin to
crumble so she had to hold it at all
costs. America, on the other hand,
had revenge in its eyes and as the
hatred grew so did its ability to fight,
and her military became a force to be
reckoned with.
japan's forces were hardened veterans who had been blooded from years
of combat in China. Those early years
served as a training ground for the brutal battles which were about to begin
between japan and the Allied Armies.
For the most part, the Americans were
fresh-faced volunteers eager to prove
themselves yet still wet behind the ears.
Their ranks were bolstered with those
veterans that had also served in China
and in Panama. It was these veterans
who kept the young ones in hand and
helped to hold the line at such places as
Bloody Ridge in the defense of
Henderson Field on Guadalcanal. If
one thing could be said for the
Americans, it is that they were qUick
learners and were able to adapt to the
rigors of jungle fighting. Many history
buffs seem to have forgotten the battles
of the Solomons for better documented
affairs as Tarawa and Iwo jima. Yet had
it not been for the foot slogging efforts
of those in the swamps and jungles of
the Solomon's the war would have
surely taken a different turn-and a far
bloodier one at that.

Left: IJA Captain (Tai-i) patrolling with Type 98 Shin gunto sword in hand with company grade officer's blue and brown sword tassel. He is wearing his private purchase
uniform and equipment with of a Type 14 Nambu semi-automatic, Bmm pistol
(named after designer Colonel Kijiro Nambu) with holster and lanyard, a canteen
(suito), breadbag (zatsuno) and a mapcase (zuno). He has on two belts, the leather
one is his sword belt (rytakutotai) and the green cloth belt (dojime) is his equipment
securing belt, used to keep his gear close to prevent it from flopping when running.
The officer is also sporting his combat cap with bullion star and neck flap. The chinstrap button on the officer's cap is has a cherry blossom design, while the enlisted
cap's chinstrap buttons are plain brass. This captain wears a tropical rank button
patch attached to his left breast pocket.
The enlisted man behind him is wearing the tropical tunic with darker colored collar
on which are sewn his corporal rank collar tabs. He has placed leaves in his helmet
net. The short sleeves on both of these soldiers' combat uniforms are particularly
suitable to the tropical climate of the Pacific theater.
Above: IJA soldier stalking U.S. Marines in the
Solomons. His "fast pack" (sento bukuro) contained
only items essential for instant action or patrolling.
Note the canteen (type "A" "KO") the breadbag (zatsuno) and his homefront comfort bag (imon bukuro)
hanging from his belt. The Japanese soldier carried in
his breadbag not bread but rice, universally held in a
white cotton sock tied at the end. The soldier's typical
rations consisted of rice, canned meats and fish, vegetables, pickled radish and pickled plums, shoyu
sauce, powdered miso for soup, salt, sugar and tea.
On Guadalcanal, poor planning, logistical issues, terrain and weather, prohibited much of what the soldier
needed from ever reaching him giving birth to the
nickname "Starvation Island" that continues to this
day. Ironically, in the initial phase of the campaign,
large stores of captured Japanese supplies fell into
the hands of grateful U.S. Marines who felt they had
been abandoned by the U.S. fleet. U.S. veterans have
commented to the authors that Japanese canned
rations were better tasting than their own, possibly
due to the Japanese use of MSG in canned goods as
early as WWI.
Right: This IJA soldier wears his body net (khaki variation-many were tri-colored purple, yellow & green),
fast pack, canteen strap, breadbag strap and gasmask strap with quick-release button.

IJA enlisted combat cap with rare

theater sewn-in camouflage stitching. The Japanese used leather, rubberized cloth and ersatz tree bark for
chinstraps on enlisted caps.
Chinstraps were brown, green and
black. Combat caps came with
stitched and non-stitched bills. The
khaki "mustard color" of this cap
denotes this soldier is a veteran from the China Theater. Later in the war the IJA
went from a mustard colored wool cap to green which was more suitable for tropical
conditions. The gauze inner lining is visible through the stitched vent holes. This
liner carries the quartermaster mark which includes a date stamp and location of
manufacture. The cap has a leather sweatband. The spade-shaped metal pin is used
to attach the neck flap to the factory-installed cotton string loops on the cap.

Japanese wool
leggings, or puttees, in use by the
IJA from WWI up
until the end of
WWII. The leggingswere
wrapped from
bottom to top, and
criss-crossed in
this fashion to
keep them tight.
The IJA soldier
was able to tie his leggings in 30 seconds or less. The boots were cowhide with
leather soles, hobnails and horseshoe heel. Mounted and armored troops were also
issued leather boots with red rubber hardened soles to prevent slipping on metallic

Side view of the leggings and boots.

Also seen is the soldier's "comfort bag"
~mon bukuro) which he received from
the homefront filled with letters of
encouragement, hard candies, canned
treats, yam, and usually origami cranes
for good luck. Civilians bought and filled
these bags out of their patriotic duty and
shipped them to soldiers abroad.

Business end of the Type 99 7.7mm rifle with attached T-30 bayonet. This soldier has lost his cleaning rod, which was held in the
end of the stock. The Japanese used a "flashless" powder that made it difficult for Marines to locate the direction from which
sniper fire came, making it a deadly mission to locate hidden bunkers and sniper positions. The rifle gave off a high pitched
cracking sound making it distinguishable from the Marines '03 Springfield and M1 Garand rifles. Many a U.S. veteran recalls the
report of a Type 99 rifle.

Gas mask bag. The string in the "x" pattern on the bag is normally tied
around the body to keep it close-in tight when running. Also seen is the steel
helmet with cover and net. The leather rear ammo pouch holds 60 rounds
and an oiler on the right side. There are two thumb-sized holes on the bottom of the pouch which aid in removing the ammunition packets. This soldier has put his signed flag (yosegakij in the left side of his rear ammo pouch
for safe keeping. The helmet net is a variation pattern. The Japanese soldiers were issued helmet nets as well as those made their own from body
nets, vehicle nets macrame and wire, and even communication wire.

The method of tying the chinstrap on the Model 30 steel helmet. This technique was a holdover from the earlier Samurai period and had not changed
in hundreds ofyears! It explains why the chinstraps on Japanese helmets
seem to be "too long" for westerners who are unfamiliar with the complicated yet efficient method ofsecuring the helmet. The ends of the woven
chinstraps are usually sewn into a point being 18-22 inches long on each
side depending on manufacturer. The helmet did not have a separate liner
but consisted of an integral leather three-pad liner held in place by two
split-pin rivet pins on the side, and a metal star which doubled as the third
split-pin rivet in front. The leather liners each contained a cotton filled pad
used as padding as well as a compress in the event of a combat wound.

IJA soldier in his nighttime element. Note the

employment of foliage in his helmet net and body
net. The use of white cotton gloves (gunte-literalIy "military glove") was common, especially with
crew-served weapons, machine guns, mortars,
etc. This "China hand" soldier has his gloves on to
provide a better grip with his sweat-drenched
hands. Many American and British vets will attest
to the IJA proficiency at night operations, and
their uncanny ability to perform recon and probes
during late hours. This soldier has his signed flag
(yosegaki) tied to his rifle as a type of "friend or
foe" identification device held over from the earlier campaigns in China, and as a protection amulet
in battle.
Japanese soldiers received signed flags when
they went off to war from different sources. From
family members, co-workers, neighbors, and or
fellow students or any group pfpeople they had an
association. Flags were also presented after special campaigns.
The "meatball" flag symbolized the Emperor in

Above: This soldier is wearing his

combat cap with neck flaps under
his helmet. The combat cap was
also worn backwards under the
helmet as a personal preference.
Close-up of the canteen and rear ammo
pouch with metal oiler. The oiler had an
integral metal swab attached to the
inside of the cap. This oiler is black
painted metal, but they were also made
in black bakelite.

A close-up of the equipment this soldier is carrying: Canteen, breadbag,

rear pouch with black oiler, Comfort
Bag, grenade pouch and body net. The
canteens painted brown are aluminum
with cork and aluminum cap.

Japanese soldier in the standard "guard" position with the rifle resting comfortably on the right front ammo pouch. The weapon can be held for hours in this
Japanese NCO (sergeantmajor) of the 7th Division,
28th Regiment advancing
cautiously through the
undergrowth at
Guadalcanal with Type 14
Nambu 8mm pistol in hand.
Note the gauze wrapping
for improved grip on his
brass handled (brown
painted) NCO sword. He
has tucked his sword into
his 2'!,-inch leather sword
belt instead of using the
typical retaining position
with the leather strap.
Officers also often
wrapped their ancestral
swords to protect the
cloth handle. He is carrying his breadbag on his
right hip and is wearing
his rank insignia fastened
with a safety pin on his
left breast pocket. His
tropical-weight uniform is
much more comfortable
for the Pacific than the
summer service cotton
uniform. Note the cotton
lanyard that is attached
to the rear of the pistol
which was used especially in nighttime fighting to enable quick
retrieval if the pistol was

Close-up of the "comfort bag"

(imon bukuro). The bag has both
national and military Japanese
flags printed on the top. The saying, "Bu Un Cho Kyu," written in
kanji, translates to "Long Life,
Victory in Battle". The elongated
box on the left of the bag is for
the name and address of the one
donating the bag.

Above: Close-up of this "superior private's"

early type felt "pillow" collar insignia. Each
star is hand-stitched onto the red backing.
Later in the war the insignia changed to a
more cost effective flat bevo design. This soldier is wearing an undershirt which also has a
collar. This soldier has also hand-stitched
additional camo into his uniform.

A wounded Japanese soldier awaits medical attention while he balances his weapon
between his legs to keep it off of the ground. The Japanese rifles carried the Imperial
16 petal Mum on the receiver and were treated with the utmost respect. The soldier
was informed that while "he" was expendable and could be replaced for the cost of a
mailing a draft card which was "2 rin", his weapons was a valuable and expensive
piece ofmachinery that belonged to the Emperor and carried his holy seal. Today,
Japanese rifles that have the Imperial Mum on the receiver are much sought after by
collectors, as the rifles that were surrendered to the Allies at the end of the war had
the mum ground off or defaced with an "X" ground through the center.

The IJA canteen with the owner's name

"Kaneko" written on a piece of cotton
sewn onto the carrier. This canteen is
the type "A" (ko) pattern with the leather
cork strap and with buckles going from
side to side.

Detail of the various equipment

straps worn across the chest. Here can be seen the canteen
strap, breadbag, fast pack, helmet ties and gasmask. The white
patch of cotton on the soldier's left is his name and unit. This
old "China hand" has taken the time to sew stitching into his
tunic to allow the addition of more camouflage.
Lining is visible through the hand-stitched vent holes. The interior
liner carries the quartermaster which contains the 1939 date
stamp and location of
manufacture as Tokyo.
The cap has a leather
sweatband. Of importance is the spadeshaped metal pin used to
attach the neck flap to
factory installed cotton
sting loops on the caps.
A very rare piece of
Japanese gear indeed!
The cloth carrying
pouch for the Type 97
cast iron fragmentation
grenade. The grenade
had a four-to-five second fuse and 6.2 grams
of TNT which was activated by pulling the pin
attached to a piece of
cotton cord or twine,
and then striking the
grenade cap on a hard surface
such as the helmet, a rifle stock. The brass metal tab on the front
leather ammo pouch was changed to steel later in the war as
brass was needed for ammunition. The white string hanging next
to the grenade is the string for the Comfort-bag.

Above: An infantry Colonel advancing with both hands

full, ready for action. He is carrying in his left hand his
Type 14 Nambu pistol, and in his right is his symbol of
rank, his ancestral samurai sword with the red and brown
cloth tassel dangling from the end. His scabbard has
been carefully fitted with a leather protective sheath and
is stuck into his 3-inch-wide cloth sword belt for combat
action. He is wearing private purchase dark green riding
breeches with riding boots that retain the spur support
block behind each heel. Japanese officers were issued a
horse, and even though the officers in the Pacific no
longer rode horses (compared to the China front) officers'
boots were still produced with this spur support. The riding boots were produced predominately in black, but also
in dark and red-brown.

yr:;. The






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2~L e 8 SOll._ 2~Part.

4~L"880n ._l~~ Part.

American Horse Soldiers on the Frontier,1832-1845


Left Mou.linet.

When the United States Congress authorized the Regiment of Dragoons no manual existed for the American horse soldier. That
requirement ultimately was addressed and appropriate illustrations provided to ensure that the troopers understood their trade.
The dismounted trooper is shown in a dress uniform, while the later mounted engraving depicts a trooper wearing shelljacket
and forage cap. Library of Congress.


rized the raising of 600 mounted

rangers ...."
Frontier-wise, these hardy horsemen
cut colorful figures. Washington Irving,
destined to become a noted American
novelist of this era, turned from his fiction to describe these men. Irving
noted that the rangers adopted the
hunting dress of the day and "were a
heterogeneous crew; some in frock
coats made of green blankets; others in
leather hunting shirts, but the most
part in marvelously ill-cut garments
much the worse for wear, and evidently
put on for rugged service." In general


Illustrations by E. Forbes in the regimental history of the Second U.S. Dragoons depicted the evolution of the horse soldier's uniform
during the 1830s through the early 184Os. The volume also captured the short-lived experiment to arm some of the men with lances.

Oh! The dragoon bold! he scorns all care,

As he goes the rounds with his uncropped hair;
He spends no thought on the evil star
That sent him away to the border war.
His form in the saddle he lightly throws,

And on the moonlight scout he goes,

As merrily trolls some old-time song
As over the trail he bounds along.
Oh! Blithe is the life that a soldier leads
When a lawless freedom marks his deed;
And gay his path o'er the wildwood sod,
Where a white man's foot hath never trod.
-Popular Period Ballad

y the late 1820s, furs, land, mineral wealth, and other opportunities made the Indian territories west of the Mississippi River an
increasingly inviting realm. In response to pressures for expansion, the United States government attempted to move the
Native Americans out of the path of empire. Federal officials saw
to it that some groups were relocated through means of force or by negotiated treaties. To insure compliance, and to strike out against those who would
not accept the dictates of the "Great White Father's" efforts at resettlement,
military force seemed necessary. Not only would the frontier military establishment keep the Indians in check but, just as importantly, they were to
protect the Indian's treaty-reserved areas from white encroachment.
While conventional infantrymen had served in a similar capacity in the
garrisons elsewhere, vast distances on the Great Plains, coupled with the fact
that many tribal groups of the region possessed horses, reqUired a more
mobile type of soldier. Consequently, onJune 15, 1832, "Congress autho-

By John P. Langellier

Irving thought, "they looked not unlike

bandits, returning from their plunder."
What the Rangers lacked in spit and
polish, they made up for by their
horsemanship. The army realized that
the experiment proved the worth of
well-mounted troopers. All that
seemed absent was traditional discipline. Consequently, the Rangers gave
way to a more permanent organization. On March 2, 1833 legislation
provided for establishment of the
United States Regiment of Dragoons.
From the outset, a certain elitist air
prevailed amongst the horse soldier as

indicated by one of the new troopers

contending, "Many were enlisted
under the express declaration that
they were to rank with the cadets
at the Military Academy, and
that they should not be subject to the more severe
restrictions of Army discipline. Many were told,
when they were entreated to enlist, that they
would have nothing to
do but ride on horseback over the country, to explore the
Western prairies and
forests, occupations...."
Others succumbed
to the belief that they
were, "to explore far
and wide the Western
territory, and bear the
arms of the Union into
the country of many
The regiment's lieutenant
colonel, Stephen Watts
Kearny was an officer in the
U.S. infantry before being transferred to the dragoons as second
in command. As a Regular Army man
his ideas about the regiment's discipline
and training differed from Dodge's views
on these subjects. National Archives.

,I .

Indian tribes." Allegedly, "it was a

prospect that did not fail to excite the
enterprising and roving disposition of
many fine men whose imaginations
were inflamed ... with the thoughts of
scouring the far prairies on fine horses,
amid buffalo and strange Indians."
With this, recruiting officers expected
to handpick their men. In fact, Captain
Edwin V Sumner supposedly proved
successful in signing up his share of
adventuresome individuals whom a
newspaper described as, "the finest
looking raw recruits we ever saw; all
New Yorkers, selected by Captain
Sumner himself from the northern
and western counties of the state within the age of 25 years, and as nearly as
possible, 5 feet 8 inches in height, all
possessing a good English education
and men of strictly correct habits."
While the report seemed more
wishful thinking than fact, officers
attempted to follow the directive to
enlist native-born men between twentyfive and thirty-five, "whose size, figure,
and early pursuits may best qualify
them for mounted soldiers."
Moreover, the rank and file, "were to
be sought from all parts of the country
so that there would be no sectional
tone" to the new regiment. Even at
an early stage, concern over regional
differences proved a concern.
Nevertheless, politics of the period
played a key part in the formation of the
dragoons. First of all, the appointment
of officers for the regiment provided
congressmen with a certain amount of
patronage, although this fact proved
minor when compared to other matters.
More consideration seems to have been
given to mixing regular Army officers
and one-time Ranger officers. In theory,
the fonner group would teach their
quasi-civilian brothers-in-arms about
military procedures and discipline,
while the latter individuals could share
their knowledge about the West and
the Indians who peopled it.
For a leader of this composite outfit,
President Andrew Jackson personally
selected the colonel, fellow Indianfighter and hero of the Western press,
Henry Dodge. A veteran of the
Blackhawk War, Dodge had headed
the Rangers, remaining with that unit
until it was disbanded. His second-incommand, Stephen Watts Kearny, a
career infantry officer, assumed the
responsibility for recruiting and

Early cartridge boxes contained a compartment not only for cartridges, but for
percussion caps. The small area on the
right would have originally been lined
with lamb's wool to protect the caps.
Chuck Fowler collection.

The Hall breech-loading carbine was the earliest U.S. martial arm to use the percussion ignition system. It went through a series of incarnations during its career.
From top, Model 1833, Model 1836, Model 1840, Model 1842, Model 1843. All were
smoothbore. The M33 was .64 caliber and the others, .52. Chuck Fowler

It was found that caps could be more conveniently carried in special belt-mounted
boxes like the ones shown here. These are a very early pattern that first appeared in
the 184Os. Chuck Fowler collection.

Because the Hall's hammer was actually

fitted inside the breechblock, it was necessary to offset the rear and front sights
in order to aim properly. Chuck Fowler

organizing the regiment.

Kearny, a thoroughgoing professional,
antiCipated rapidly filling the ranks
followed by a lengthy period of intensive training at Jefferson Barracks,
Missouri, the original site designated as
headquarters for the unit. The War
Department instructed him to mold
the men into a formidable fighting
force of tightly diSCiplined troopers.
Turning this dream into a reality
proved another matter. Indeed, many
of the men were not familiar with even
the basics of horsemanship. Lieutenant
Phillip St. George Cooke, one of the
regiment's young officers, summarized
the sense of frustration, which soon set
in when he contended that the leaders
had to produce "order out of chaos."
He concluded the task ahead far

we made of it would be entirely out of

the question.. "
The men soon grew tired of the
parade field. After all, they joined on
the premise of adventure. Then, too,
instead of enjoying any of the privileges
and comforts promised them, they
found not only the onerous tasks of the
foot soldier as part of their lot, but also
they took on the extra responsibilities,
"that peculiarly belong to the
Dragoon." Thus, they performed drill,
fatigues, guard, and military functions
in addition to building their own quarters, stables, and other structures, and
raising some of their own food. All
these tasks came after each trooper
tended his mount and horse equipment, bothersome duty, which did not

Actually, many of the top-ranking

officers represented the best leadership
then available. Nevertheless, some of
these men saw their assignment as a
means of furthering personal ambitions.
Consequently, Dodge, a man described
by one of his subordinates as, "thick set,
somewhat grey, a thorough backwoodsman, very fond of talking of his own
explOits ... ," found some problem in
holding together his command. Not
exactly tactful, nor unassuming, the
colonel increased friction among his
officers. Impervious to his own role in
causing dissension, he blamed others
for the unrest. Indeed, his diary which
bespoke of his own lack of advanced
education: "1 find more treachery and
deception practiced in the Army than 1

exceeded the concerns of the average

infantry officer. He reasoned that this
was so because "with cavalry ... the
amount of duty, instruction, and
responSibility, may safely be considered doubled in comparison of the
extraordinary fact, that cavalry tactics
were unknown in the army; and with
that, whole theory and practical detail
were to be studiously acquired-in a
manner invented-by officers before
they could teach others."
Even basic dismounted drill taxed
patience because few of the men boasted
prior military service. Private James
Hildreth underscored this fact when he
wrote: "Sergeant Roberts ... was the only
one in the troop that knew how to put
his left foot foremost and to attempt to
describe the ludicrous piece of work

plague the infantrymen. Far from being

exempt, the dragoon endured the same
tiring routine as the frontier "doughboy" and more. This factor caused
many men to express their discontent.
Again, Private Hildreth, ventured his
opinions. He thought that the dragoons
still might have endured their lot if their
officers treated them more decently.
Unfortunately, according to Hildreth
some of the "brass" were ill-educated,
brutal, and alcoholic individuals,
causing a few of the rank and file to
believe the government broke its side
of the enlistment contract by commissioning such men. Their response
came through desertion, a problem
that constantly gnawed at the U.S.
Army during the Victorian era.


----. -

--- -----------_--=:,


ever expected to find with a Body of

Men who Call themselves Gentlemen [.]
My situation is unpleasant [Jefferson]
Davis who I appointed as my adjutant
was among the first to take a stand
against me[.] Major [Richard] Mason
and Davis are now two of my most
inveterate enemiesL]"
The regiment faced outside challenges, however, which required the full
cooperation of every member. Orders
arrived from the War Department sending Dodge's ill prepared and understrength command of five companies to
Fort Gibson, near present-day Tulsa,
Oklahoma. Lieutenant Cooke
expressed the sentiments of some of his
comrades when he quipped, "at the
appearance of winter, in November,
before any clothing or the proper arms
had been received; before two companies received their horses; just at that
season when all civilized, and, I believe,
barbarous nations, even in the state of
war, suspend hostilities and go into
winter quarters, these five companies
received an order to march out of theirs;
to take to the field!" Cooke commented,
"... the corps having been raised for the
defense of the frontier, would be disbanded if it remained inactive so far in
the interior at]efferson Barracks."
Whether this accusation found substance in fact or not, the partially constituted regiment set out on its first
march. Riding forth on November 20,
1833, the men made their way toward
Fort Gibson. Upon their arrival in midDecember, they received a warm welcome. This cordial reception soon gave
way to the daily problems of setting up
camp. For one thing, February brought
bitter weather that destroyed the local
forage. The horses suffered. More
mounts had to be procured, along with
fodder from the Arkansas Territory.
Next, a steamboat carrying their
clothing ran aground. Dodge decried
a lack of ammunition, which made
target practice next to impOSSible. He
could not abide by this fact since he
felt it "a matter of the first importance
to Make Men ... Good marksmen,
[therefore,] on relieVing the Guards I
have directed the Men to fire at a target
fifty paces [away]." Much to his chagrin, the Colonel found, "the greater
pan of them Know Nothing about the
use of Arms[.]"
Other matters proved irritating, as
the group waited for warmer weather.

The early mounted pattern white buff

leather waistbelt was fitted with a rather
flimsy sheet brass buckle which had the
iron belt hooks soldered onto the reverse.
It was replaced in 1839. Chuck Fowler

The dragoons were first issued with the Model 1833 saber (top) a rather delicate
blade copied after a British pattern. In 1840 they were given a heavier weapon based
on a French model, that was nicknamed by the troopers, "Old Wristbreaker. " For a
time, they remained in service together. Chuck Fowler collection.

_ _ _J

The 1839 Pattern dragoon saber belt was a sturdy buff leather affair that would
remain in service through the Mexican War and beyond. It had a cross strap (missing
on this example) to help support the weight of the edged weapon. Also shown are a
white buff saber knot and carbine sling. Chuck Fowler collection.

What it lacked in appearance, the Model

1833 leather forage cap more than made
up for in practicality. As well as having a
front visor it had a drop-down neck flap
and could be folded up when not in use.
Chuck Fowler collection.

Both the Model 1833 and Model 1836 Hall had sliding integral bayonets, a feature that
would be seen on some U.S. martial anns as late as 1903. Chuck Fowler collection.
The lead-filled brass oval
dragoon enlisted plate is
set up the reverse from the
infantry model and buckles
from left to right. Chuck
Fowler collection.


The Model 1833 dragoon

helmet (reproduction
shown) was an interesting
amalgam of French and
British styles. Garry James

The butt of the

Model 1833 Hall

was fitted with a
special tool compartment which
held a ramrod
worm and vent pick
turnscrew combo.
The '33 was the
earliest percussion

weapon to be
adopted by the U.S.
military. Chuck
Fowler collection.

They lived in large barracks of oak

shingles that "afforded poor protection
from the cold." Likewise, "the roofs
were leaky, but buffalo robes kept the
water from the saddles, knapsacks,
and clothing, assuring to preserve a
dry sleeping place for the night. At
times rain came down the wide
chimneys, perhaps besprinkling the
rusty pork and flour, or dripping
into the camp-kettles and diluting
the bean soup." Inadequate quarters
were not the only nuisances.
As often proved the case in a frontier
garrison, time weighed heavy. When
not performing drills or other martial
activities, the troops entertained themselves with impromptu dances, where
they joined the infantrymen from Fort
Gibson and members of the Osage,
Creeks, and Seminoles who camped
around the post. One of the sergeants,
a towering six feet six inches of horse
soldier, usually served as the master of
ceremonies. Some of the Tennesseans
brought out fiddles and, occasionally,
even a banjo or clarinet accompanied
the musicians. Sometimes one of the
buglers added his talents since the government authorized no band for the
dragoons unlike their counterparts in
the other combat arms.
When not dancing, the men might
just listen to music or sing some of
their favorites such as "The Hunters of
Kentucky" or "0 Tis my Delight in a
Storm Season of the Year". Additionally,
observing various aspects of the local
Indian life, such as horse races, dances,
wrestling, foot races, and ball games
passed idle time. The young artist,
George Catlin, who spent the winter
with the dragoons, particularly became
an avid spectator at the latter event.
When a tallow candle could be
spared, the literate men could take
advantage of the regimental library
which contained such titles as
Robinson Crusoe or the Life of General
Marion, the famed Revolutionary War
cavalry leader. Others probably played
cards, until nine in the evening when
tattoo sounded and the men retired for
the night.
With the approach of spring, the pace
quickened. First of all, General Henry
Leavenworth arrived and, on April 30,
1834, the Regiment of United States
Dragoons, along with the Seventh
United States Infantry, held a review.
Shortly thereafter, Captain Clifton
Wharton took 60 men to escort a group
of traders to Santa Fe, thereby relieving
the infantrymen their fonner task.
With the loss of Wharton's contingent, reinforcements, in the form of



five additional companies, started out

from Jefferson Barracks. The 453mile trip went smoothly for the horse
soldiers. One enlisted man of
Company "I" kept a journal in which
he logged their daily progress. At
Springfield, Missouri, he passed judgment on the local civilian population,
pronouncing the inhabitants as, "idle
and lazy depending upon their negroes
for support which is the custom in all
slave states." Perhaps more than sectional
bias colored the observer's opinion
because he noted further, "all men in
the country sell Whiskey and other
things to us soldiers at a most exorbitant price-for instance, 25 cents a
pint for Whiskey, 12 1/2 cents a quart
for milk." It seems that martial funds
often seemed more welcome than the
troops themselves.
Soon the troops would not have to
worry about their dealings with other
whites. Instead, far from settlements,
preparations for a summer campaign
began In anticipation, the camp came
alive. One man described the atmosphere: "throughout the day, a constant
scene of bustle and noise, the blacksmith shops are kept in continual
operation, tailors and saddlers find
constant employment, and in fact no
one has time to idle ... standing during
the whole of the day exposed to the
heat of the broiling sun, which during

the week has raised from 103 to 107 in

the thermometer."
Despite the soaring mercury, everything seemed in readiness. On June la,
1834, General Leavenworth reviewed
the assembled companies, each of
which followed what became a common practice for mounted forces in the
United States since they rode mounts
of "one color entirely." Catlin underscored this point noting, "there is a
company of bays, a company of blacks,
one of whites, one of sorrels, one of
greys, one of cream color. ... This
regiment goes out under the command of Colonel Dodge, and from
his well-tested qualifications and
from the beautiful equipment at his
command, there can be little doubt
that they will do credit to themselves
and an honor to their country, so far
as honors can be gained and laurels
can be plucked from their wild stems
in a savage country." This last sour
note, in some ways, better captured
the expedi tion's future fate than the
glowing accounts about Dodge and
the fine outfitting of his party
To begin with, Leavenworth decided
to accompany 'the troops on their first
leg of the trek. He and approximately
five hundred mounted men rode west
to impress the Pawnees and Comanche
with the power of the United States. By
so doing, officials believed these Native
Americans would make treaties, which
would insure peace on the frontier.
The cavalcade soon found survival
more important than their mission.
july's heat caused forty-five men and
three officers to experience
serious illness. As days
passed, more joined their
number on the sick list.
Some 180 miles out from
Fort Gibson, the situation
deteriorated to the extent that

Dragoons carried their pistols in a brace of holsters located on the pommel of the saddle. Chuck
Fowler collection.

a base camp was established where 109

of the command remained behind to
look after 86 of their comrades who
fell victim to the soaring mercury and
a "distressing bilious fever." The horses
also suffered. Many died. So did some
of the men, including General
Leavenworth. Other losses came
through desertion. Dodge summarized
the whole expedition in a letter. He
contended, "perhaps there never has
been in America a campaign that operated More Severely on Man and
Horses. The excessive Heat of the Sun
exceeded anything I ever experienced
[.J I marched from Fort Gibson with
500 Men and When I reached the
Pawnee Pict Village I had not more
than 190 Men fitfor duty."
After this disastrous foray, the survivors returned to Fort Gibson, in late
August. Nonetheless, they accomplished
their task of showing the flag and, at
least for the moment, attained
promises of peace with the powerful
plains Indians they met. In so doing,
their first effort seemed a success.
The newspapers of the era thought
otherWise, however, and pronounced
the experiment a failure. The Missouri
Republican maintained, "after a full and
fair trial of a year-after the expenditure of an immense sum of moneyafter the loss of an hundred men, and
some of the most promising officers in
the service-it must be evident, that
this regiment ... , ought to be disbanded or merged into the equally effective
ranks of the infantry." The New York
Evening Star echoed these sentiments
with the conclusion, "considering the
little that could have been antiCipated,
and less that has been achieved, the
expense of so many valuable lives and
so large an amount of property, has
been but of small avail."
In truth, the first expedition achieved

Hall carbine cartridges contained powder and ball, or in some cases,

buck-and-ball. The distinctive red and white string identifies it as a Hall
round. Chuck Fowler collection.

only limited objectives. On the other ensued. The talks bore fruit since the accomplishment, Kearny broke camp
hand, the operation underscored sever- government agents succeeded in mak- and set out again. As fate would have
al important lessons about campaign- ing one of the few agreements with it, he intercepted a party of Sioux
ing. For instance, the dragoons became these two bands that came out of the returning from a foray into Sac-Fox
aware that big, farm-fed horses pre-Civil War era. Despite the fact that country Holding a conference at once,
required corn to maintain their vigor. similar terms with the Kiowas were he secured a promise from the 15
Conversely, Catlin's mustangs and the not achieved, the dangerous braves that they would refrain from
army mules, which traced their ances- Southwestern Plains tribes such raids against their ancient foes.
try back to the Santa Fe trade, in many remained relatively peaceful for the
Then, Kearny reined south. After
instances, grew fat on the Plains' grass- rest of the year.
searching for a location to found a new
es. Moreover, the dragoons found their
To the north, Kearny's troops also military post at the mouth of Raccoon
cumbersome supply wagons slowed carried out a peacemaking mission. On Fork of the Des Moines, he proceeded
progress on the march. Learning from June 7, 1835 he led 150 dragoons on a to the Sac-Fox settlements west of his
their mistakes, the regiown garrison. There, he
ment managed to survive
attempted to impress this
detractors. Congress did
group of Native Americans
not cut appropriations for
with the advantages of
the troopers who, in 1835,
peace with the Sioux. After
took up station in three
his council, Kearny wrote
squadrons on the cutting
the adjutant general of the
edge of the frontier of that
US. Army that he could
over-awe the tribes from the
Colonel Dodge estabMissouri north to the
lished his headquarters
Minnesota with only one
with four companies
hundred and fifty draalong the Missouri River
goons. Fortunately, he
at Fort Leavenworth,
never had to test his boast,
while Kearny, with three
a claim that would be
companies, reported to
repeated with disastrous
Fort Des Moines, a new
results later in the century
installation on the west
by other military officers.
bank of the Mississippi
While Kearny conducted
River near the mouth of
business with Sioux and
the Des Moines River in
the Sac-Fox, Colonel
Iowa. Major Mason led
Dodge tackled a longer
the remaining three comand more hazardous
panies from Fort Gibson
march with his three compaand rode about eighty
nies of 120 troopers, baggage
miles up the Arkansas
wagons, and a pair of threeRiver to begin construcpounder swivel guns. His
tion of yet another new
orders directed him to visit
cantonment, Camp
the tribes of the Upper
Platte River, then circle
Dodge soon found that
back through the Arkansas
he could hold only partial
River Valley. A train of pack
control over his command.
animals carried sixty days'
This proved especially true
rations, while extra flour
because Dodge's and
was loaded into two oxKearnys forces were in one During the period covered by this article, dragoons carried these
drawn wagons. By 10 June
military district while single-shot pistols. From top: Model 1819, Model 1836, Model 1842.
the dragoons halted near
Mason's contingent fell All have swivel ramrods to facilitate loading on horseback. As can
the mouth of the Platte
into the jurisdiction of yet be discerned from the photos, the Model 1842 was simply a percusRiver for a meeting with the
another department. After sion variant of the 36, with brass furniture. Chuck Fowler collection.
Otos. Seven days later,
a miserable winter in poorDodge held discussions
ly constructed huts, Mason's men good will effort with the Sioux. Soggy with the Omahas at the same location.
received orders to head for Comanche ground slowed the column but, a
From there he continued up the
and Kiowa country in order to strength- month later on July 7, Kearny's blue- Platte. By June 23, Dodge met the
en the friendly relations with these clad cavaliers reached the Wabash's Pawnees at Grand Island, Nebraska.
tribes, which had been started during Sioux village on the Mississippi River Some two weeks later, at a spot some
the first expedition. OnJune I, Major near present-day Winona, Minnesota. twenty miles upstream from the forks
Mason set up Camp Holmes on the Several days later, tribesmen appeared of the Platte, the soldiers treated with
fringe of Comanche country for a treaty and began discussions. They eventually the Arickara. Pushing forward, the
site. Toward the end of August 1835 a agreed to restrain their warriors from force came into view of the Rockies
week long conference with three treaty raiding the neighbOling Sac-Fox country, before cutting south and starting
commissioners and delegations from an impressive promise since these were toward the Arkansas. Between August
the Wichita and Comanche nations their hereditary enemies. With this 6 and 1a the dragoons rested at Bent's


Fort, while Dodge heard from the

Osages who sent a promise to keep
peace with their enemies, the
Cheyennes and the Arapahoes. From
Bent's Fort, the men faced east and
returned home to Fort Leavenworth
across Kansas.
By their summer campaigns of 1835,
Colonel Dodge and his subordinates
demonstrated that the expedition of
the previous year did not display the
real potential of these horse soldiers.
They had shown that they could make
successful incursions into distant
Indian Territory and made valuable
maps of the routes they took. Indeed,
Dodges 1,600 miles cost only one man,
a soldier who died of "inflammation of
the bowels." This record stood in sharp
contrast to the previous year. Also,
there had been no clash with the
tribes. In fact, the Indians seemed
impressed that the United States Army
could at last find them in their vast
homelands. The idea that a mobile,
well-equipped foe could strike them
even on the limitless prairies made a
powerful impression on the potentially
hostile warriors of the West. It seemed
expedient, for the moment at least, for
both sides to keep the peace.
Despite these achievements, the outcry
over the costs of the dragoon expeditions
once again rang out among settlers,
taxpayers, and in the halls of Congress.
The Saint Louis Missouri Republican
continued to criticize the expeditions.
The paper lambasted the Indian
removal policy then in force on the
grounds that relocating eastern tribes
just west of the Missouri settlements
created a possible smoldering powder
keg, which could ignite in a bloody
Indian war. Even Lieutenant
Colonel Kearny came to share in
these sentiments.
Similarly, Colonel Dodge and several
high-ranking military officials supported the idea that a continuous line of
small forts would provide the best type
of protection for the frontier settlements, at a reduced cost. Local politicians, aware of the economic benefits
for their constituents living near the
proposed installations, pushed for
congressional approval. By January 31,
1836, a static frontier defense policy
went into effect. This practice restricted the movements of the dragoons in
the West for the next half dozen years
but may well have proved false econo48 MILITARY CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED

my that would be paid for in lives at

a later time.
The government also seemed to
error in that same year when it created the second regiment of dragoons, which immediately went off
to duty in the Everglades, an
unlikely terrain for the deployment of mounted troops. In fact,
the new unit ended up being dismounted as they fought a bloody
anti-guerrilla action in the
swamps of Florida.
For the next seven years, the
Second Dragoons spent most of
their efforts in a semi-tropical environment, ill suited to their employment. Nevertheless, they harassed
and pursued tiny bands of
Seminoles, as small as a family
group or an individual enemy, without really coming to grips with their
foes as a whole. One of the officers
summed up the frustration he and
his comrades experienced in the
unfamiliar, unconventional type of
warfare. He recorded: "The peculiar
service devolving upon the officer in
the scouts through the country was
quite as debilitating as the effects of
the climate upon the constitution.
His duties were divested of all
attributes of a soldier. ... His command of 30 or 40 men resembled
more a vandatti than a body of soldiers, in the service of their country." With these words, an early
Victorian soldier described the
problems of jungle fighting that
would be echoed in years to come.
For more than a half decade, the
Second Dragoons attained a reputation for their "dash," but at the cost
of the lives of seven officers and
some 212 enlisted men, most of who
succumbed to disease rather than
from encounters with the illusive
Seminoles and their black allies. One
notable exception occurred in July of
1839, when the regiment's second in
command, Lieutenant Colonel
William S. Harney, barely escaped
with his life after a night attack upon
a trading post where he and nineteen
of his troops encamped.
According to a black interpreter
who accompanied the party, at the
break of day onJuly 23, "I heard the
yell of Indians and the discharge of
rifles; and as I ran out I found they
were all around us." One of the
white traders received a wound
"but continued to talk some minutes, when an Indian, placing a rifle
close to him, fired. Still he talked,
when the Indian beat his brains out







In the field, including the Florida swamps,

a white cotton uniform provided some relief
against the summer heat, but the leather
cap still served as headgear, offering little
protection from the sun.

Frontiersman and former major of the

Battalion of Mounted Rangers, Henry
Dodge, was the first colonel of the U.S.
Dragoons when the regiment was formed
in 1833. He preferred buckskins to the regulation uniform as indicated by George
Catlin's painting from 1834. Missouri
Historical Society Art Collection.

with the butt of his rifle. As I ran for

the river several rifles were discharged
at me; a ball struck my leg, which
threw me down, when the Indians
brought me back to the store."
The Seminoles displayed compassion
for the formerly enslaved AfricanAmerican who had lived among them
at one time. The remaining captives
did not fare as well. Eventually, a captured dragoon sergeant, a white civilian
carpenter, and another black "were put
to death in a most cruel manner." After
holding their prisoners for four days,
the Seminoles "tied them to a pinetree, and inserted in their flesh slivers
of light wood, setting them on fire, and
at the same time placing torches at
their feet. In this way it was five or six
hours before they died." Another 11
dragoons fell during the original battle
while two more sustained wounds.
Harney and the remaining men managed to avoid this end and, in fact,
returned with a small party of dragoons
and artillery men in December of 1840
to take vengeance. According to an
early history of the incident, Harney's
force "committed dreadful havoc" on
the enemy "so that his name became a
terror to them far and wide." From
December 7 to 10, Harney's detachment pursued the foe from one island
to another in a forerunner of a search
and destroy mission. They captured
many women and children and hung
several of the men responsible for the
attack on the trading store.
While their brothers-in-arms waged
war against the Seminoles, the First
Dragoons (as the regiment was known
after 1836) continued to make routine
patrols on the frontier, although of a
much-reduced scale to the first expeditions undertaken by that unit. Other
changes took place in the mid-1830s,
including Henry Dodge's resignation to
accept an appointment as the territorial
governor of Wisconsin. Kearny took
over and immediately set about the
knotty task of shaking down the
regiment after a fairly easy-going
period under Dodge.
For one thing, the newly minted
colonel noted that no manual existed for
the use of the dragoon's breech loading
Hall carbine. Early in the unit's history
he wrote to Dodge requesting that something be done to fill this void but to no
avail. In Kearny's estimation Dodge,
"never did, nor could drill a company or
squadron of cavalry," and as a consequence displayed little interest in such
matters. With only one copy of the latest
French mounted manual available in the
regiment, Kearny appOinted Captain

The 1833-pattern dragoon enlisted

dress uniform resembled the finery
worn by their officers as this sergeant's
outfit topped with a white horsetail
plume indicates. Details of the outfit
contain both British and French elements. Smithsonian Institution.

James Clyman was a mountain man

turned dragoon. In 1833, when Clyman
received his commission as a second
lieutenant, he purchased this flashy
uniform, which was regulation full dress
except for the yellow silk sash that was
supposed to be orange in color. State of
California Parks and Recreation

Sumner as preSident of a board to come

up with a standard system for the carbine. Kearny ultimately gained approval
for three other officers to visit France as
observers at the Royal Cavalry School in
Saumur to study French cavalry tactics.
One of these favored young subalterns
was his nephew, Philip Kearny. More
than nepotism was involved here. The
younger Kearny joined the military over
his father's objection but, when his
grandfather died and willed him more
than a million dollars, the heir enjoyed
independence enough to ignore his
elder's wishes. Philip Kearny's wealth
proved an asset in that the men gained
benefits if they served in his company
not regularly available to other troopers.
For example, ifhe saw "a well turnedout soldier with clean equipment and
uniform" he would, according to Private
Tom Elderkin of Kearny's company,
"praise the man and give him a few
bucks as a reward." The same private
noted that anytime new types of saddles
or equipment became available Kearny
would buy it "out of his own pocket for
us .... " Little wonder then that the rank
and file thought he was, "a hunky-dory
shoulder strap," which was barrack's
slang for a popular officer.

With his usual enthusiasm, Philip

Kearny reported to France accompanied
by fellow junior officers, Henry Turner
and William Eustis. Arriving after a
voyage from New York on October 1,
1839, the trio found the American
ambassador and former secretary of
war, Lewis Cass, interested in their
duties. They even managed to dine
with the king before reporting to the
French cavalry school. When they
completed their study, Turner and
Eustis returned home but Kearny
remained abroad so that he could sail
to Africa where he participated in a
foray with the French before returning
to the United States.
Kearny was reunited with Turner
and Eustis at Carlisle Barracks,
Pennsylvania, the newly established
dragoon school of instruction. There,
the men employed their training from
Saumur, along with Kearny's experiences in North Africa, to complete the
first manual for the American horse
soldier. By 1841, their colonel declared
that beginning on March 23 the system, which finally had been approved
by the Army, would be followed to the
letter. Kearny made it clear, "neither
order of augmentation ... nor detail of

execution" would be tolerated and

that the commanders would not
depart from this "bible" to even "the
slightest degree."
Not to be outdone, the Second
Dragoons, who finally transferred
from Florida to stations in Louisiana
and Arkansas in 1842, began a "strenuous schedule of training" under
Captain William]. Hardee. This
future Confederate lieutenant general
just had returned from a tour of
Europe himself, where he too had the
opportunity to look at what the Old
World had to offer. Now, as the regiment's executive officer, he oversaw
the tactical exercises and mounted
drill of the unit. He even managed to
arm the four companies located at
Fort Jesup, Louisiana with lances, and
for a short while these men were the
only regular army troops to carry this
weapon. The remainder of the companies continued to practice with the
saber, Single-shot pistol, and carbine.
Just as Hardee began to make
progress in his training efforts, Congress
began a retrenchment typical of all postwar periods. With the cessation of major
hostilities against the Seminoles,
reductions were ordered in
Washington. Actually, the debate about
the Second Dragoons could be traced
back nearly six years when the
Jacksonians used the legislation, which
proposed the outfit's creation as a
springboard to attack the United States
Military Academy. These politicians
wanted to do away with West Point,
claiming its graduates did not learn to
fight Indians there, a major reason for
the existence of the army in the minds
of many a frontiersman. Despairing
that they could not close the Academy,
the representative from Kentucky

proposed that two-thirds of the new

regiment be taken from civilian applicants or from the ranks. While the
proposal went down in defeat, the
Second Dragoons would find their
organization's very life threatened. The
House of Representatives called for the
elimination of the unit in 1842. A compromise ultimately halted this move
when the Senate proposed the idea that
the Second Dragoons be converted to
a rifle regiment. By taking away the
horses and substituting rifles for
carbines, the size of the army would
remain the same but costs would be
lower without the additional
expense of mounts.
General Order Number 22 of March
13,1843 reqUired the Second to turn
over its horses to the First Dragoons or

to be dispose of them in other ways.

Morale sank but the secretary of war
helped relieve the situation in his
report. He noted that the government
saved an insignificant sum by dismounting the regiment. He called
attention to the extended frontier
which was too vast an area for the First
Dragoons to police alone, therefore, he
recommended that the regiment of riflemen be remounted, and with petitions
from the legislatures of Missouri and
Louisiana to support this proposal,
Congress retracted its earlier decision.
In March of 1843, officers and men
alike rej oiced when they heard that
their beloved horses were to be
returned. A holiday spirit prevailed
and a gill of whiskey went to each man.
After a variety of amateur theatrical
performances to celebrate the eventprobably in the wake of several toasts
ofjohn Barleycorn-the officers of
Fort Jesup decided to fire a salute to
the occasion. They moved in a body to
the parade ground where the retreat
and reveille gun stood. With no horses
available as yet, two of the officers
mounted the loaded piece to ride it
when it was fired. In the scuffle to
determine who would gain this honor,
one of the gentlemen ended up on top
of the vent hole. When the gun went
off, he went up several feet in the air,
then came down with his uniform
afire. Fortunately, some of his com-

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rades rolled him in the grass and

extinguished the flames before they
could cause real harm.
FollOwing the lead of their superiors,
some of the soldiers partook of spirits
too. One intoxicated ranker blurted
out, "hereafter, we'll do e-ev'ithin'
mounted! We'll eat (hic), drink (hic),
and sleep in the (hic) saddle; we'll live
mounted and (hic) we'll d-die mounted."
During the brief period when the
Second converted to a rifle regiment,
Kearny's men gained a number of
mounts, which put the First Dragoons
at full strength. This fact helped
Kearny carry out the directive to
establish a temporary outpost at the
mouth of the Raccoon Fork of the Des
Moines River in order to keep peace
with the Sac-Fox in the few years
remaining before their relocation
across the Missouri.
Not all the tribes liVing in Iowa of
1843 proved as easy to deal with, however. The Winnebagos crossed the
Mississippi to the former Illinois and
Wisconsin homeland to hunt. This
activity drew Captain Sumner's command from Fort Atkinson, Kansas, out
to track and return the foraging
Indians so that he could induce them
to return to their new reserve.
Further west, another dragoon officer,
Philip St. George Cooke, who during the
Civil War was destined to oppose his
future son-in-law, j.E.B. Stuart, led two
detachments to protect traders and
travelers on the Santa Fe Trail. Some
Texans had threatened to disrupt the
route and confiscate the caravans of
Mexican merchants. A band led by
Jacob Snively attempted to make good
this boast, but Cooke's contingent
managed to disarm the would-be
raiders and sent some off to Texas and
others toward Missouri. After seeing
the traders safely across the Arkansas
River at the Cimarron CroSSing, he
marched back to Fort Leavenworth.
Fearing further outbreaks by the
Texans along the road, Cooke took to
the saddle in August to escort 140
wagons belonging to Mexican businessmen. Beyond the Arkansas River
they met a Mexican patrol, which went
the remainder of the way to Santa Fe.
These amicable relations would not
last long because the press of Manifest
Destiny soon brought Mexico and the
United States to the edge of war. Before
the conflict actually commenced, the

dragoons concluded some of their

last forays to the frontier, undertaken
in part due to the growing push of
pioneers to the Pacific Northwest.
Thus Kearny led one of the last
major expeditions of this type, leaving
Fort Leavenworth on May 18, 1845
with five companies of his First
Dragoons. FollOwing the Oregon Trail,
they reached Fort Laramie, which was
still a fur trade post, on June 14, where
they met local Sioux. They exchanged
gifts and demonstrated their martial
skills to impress the warriors with the
importance of remaining peaceful
toward the whites. A portion of the
command then crossed the continental divide at South Pass, turned
around toward Fort Laramie, and rode
south along the front of the Rocky
Mountains. Kearny's troops moved on
to Bent's Fort, and from there followed
the Santa Fe Trail back to
Leavenworth. When the expedition
left this place, months earlier, Philip
St. George Cooke exclaimed, "it was a
beautiful sight!-the squadrons were
gliding, two abreast, along gentle
curves, over the fresh green grass
which was brilliant in the slant rays of
the sun." The scene was enhanced by
the horses with their "gallant bearing;
-bearing fifty blacks led; fifty grays
followed; then fifty bays; next fifty
chestnuts-and fifty more blacks
closed the procession: the arms glittered; the horses' shoes shone twinkling on the fast moving feet." Now,
after ninety-nine days in the field and
with the conclusion of 2,200 miles in
the saddle, Kearny's men came back
on August 24,1845.
"And what news" did they hear
when they reached "the States?" After
meeting Apaches, Kiowas, and other
tribes and gaining invaluable experiences on the Plains, which would
"break down anything but a cast iron
horse" the column received a new
challenge. Cooke and his comrades
found the newly elected President
James K. Polk was considering "a war
with Mexico so inevitable, that our
distant march at this time has been
criticized in camp...." Despite internal
questioning, the lessons learned on
this last excursion to the West "made
it pOSSible" in the words of one noted
historian "for the United States to
patrol the prairies and plains and thus
make effective American authority"
on the frontier. It now appeared that
the bold dragoons once again were
riding high in the saddle as a new era
was dawning in response to the powerful cry of "manifest destiny."

Backside of advisor gives a good

look at his 1st model CIDG rucksack,
first produced in a heavy greenish
grey duck material. These were
direct copies of the NVA rucksacks,
and were capable of carrying quite
a bit of gear. This also provides an excellent view of
the advisor's 1st model twoquart canteen and carrier,
which was modeled after an
experimental WWII canteen
and cover.

The Camouflage Uniforms and Gear of the U.S. Army Special

Forces in South East Asia in 1961-1966 was an Odd Mix of HomeGrown Military Styles and Civilian and Foreign Patterns.

Left: These two early advisors both wear

examples of the John Wayne dense
("JWD'? camo pattern which is printed
on heavyweight cotton material. The
advisor on the left sports the classic
three-pocket shirt with seven-pocket
trousers, which feature a zipper fly. The
suit is said to have reached its "full
maturity, " meaning that as far as colors,
the black has turned to purple. This is
due to the inferior vegetable dyes used
in all Asian countries. Soaking the garment in vinegar could counteract this.
Headgear is another example of a private purchase Vietnamese-made "cowboy hat" in the tadpole "sparse" pattern,
which is an early choice for hats. The hat
features two screened eyelets on each
side. On one side is a metal snap. Inside
the hat is lined in red, a color originally
used by the German Afrika Corps, after
research showed that it kept the wearer's head cooler. The hat also features a
vinyl sweatband.
The .advisor on the right wears another
set of JWS, an early pattern that came
into service around 1962. This is a variant cut; the shirt features the covered
buttons on the pocket flaps and
extremely wide button loops. Trousers
have the five-pocket style, lacking the
slash pockets. All pockets on the
trousers feature the large bellows. This
is one of the more popular patterns and
is very sought after by collectors.
Headgear is a typical French style campaign hat in the ever-popular parachute
silk material. This pattern WWII
parachute silk was also done in two distinctive styles. The pattern worn here in
the hat and around the neck is in the
"smooth" pattern.










This advisor carrying a Browning

Automatic Rifle, wears the John
Wayne dense (JWD) pattern shirt
and pants. Shirt worn is a very rare tailor-made four pocket shirt styled exactly
like a U.S. Jungle fatigue shirt, complete
with exposed buttons, but lacking the
two take up tabs on the waist. This pattern shirt was never an original garment
cut, which makes it very desirable and
rare. The John Wayne dense is the most
common and is even copied by a company called Tigerstripe Products.
Matching boonie hat is in the same JWD
pattern and is typically lined with black
material and features the white tag with
the size letter in red. This hat features a
red "M" for Medium. It also incorporates
two metal grommets for air circulation.

Special Forces advisor

wearing the 2nd model
windproof pattern camouflage. The shirt features two large breast
pockets, each secured
with a single covered
button, gas flap,
buttoned cuffs,
and air vents under
the arm. When the
South Vietnamese formed their own
Airborne Brigade, they continued to outfit their airborne soldiers in this pattern
using bolts of original British surplus airborne material. Once these were
exhausted, the Vietnamese quartermasters began printing their variation of this
pattern in 1962. These sets are very rare
and sought-after by collectors. Worn on
the advisor's pistol belt is a small hunting knife which featured a natural stag
handle and a 6-inch blade. These types
of knives were common among most
early advisors.

By Paul W. Miraldi and Owen Thornton




Early American Special Forces serving temporary duty ("TDY") in Vietnam

arrived wearing the same heavy OD
cotton uniforms of the conventional
army serving both stateside and in
Europe. These uniforms were ill-suited
for Vietnam's tropical climate and
lacked the camouflage properties of
the country's thick jungles. The U.S.
Army had "officially" done away with
camouflage at the ending of WWll,
and felt that the OD green uniform
filled the need of camo utilities. By the
end of 1948, the Research and
Development Laboratory had developed a pattern known as ERDL, but
would leave the idea of camouflaged
uniforms shelved until 1962 when further studies would be carried out at Ft.
Benning, Georgia.
At this time, the only camouflage
being produced by the U.S. was the
mapleleaf "Mitchell" pattern which
was offered in shelter halves and helmet covers and the older WWIl style
duckhunter helmet covers.
Many soldiers had locally produced
sets of camouflage uniforms made out
of these Mitchell shelter halves, while
serving with the 1st Special Forces
Group Airborne ("SFGA") on Okinawa
in the late '50s and early '60s. Others
privately purchased sets of commercial
camouflage from popular sporting
good outlets like Sears and Roebuck.
The U.S. Army had regulations concerning the wearing of "unauthorized"
uniforms, such as foreign camouflage
or hunting camo purchased privately
from the states. These regulations were
usually disregarded in exchange for the
comfort and protection the camouflage
uniforms provided. As well, the
enforcers of these regulations were far
from the dangerous areas that the
SpeCial Forces inhabited. Later in the
war, Military Assistance Command
Vietnam ("MACV") began to realize
after the loss of many men that the job
of 'advising' was extremely difficultand dangerous. Service with many of
these units began increasing Viet Cong
("VC') reprisal as early as 1963. Many
at MACV headquarters realized that the
American SpeCial Forces advisors were
being targeted by the Viet Cong, and
bounties were being put on their heads.
By 1965, MACV ordered that
Americans serving in the advisory role
to begin wearing parts or all of the uniforms of their "host" unit; this included
headgear, badges and camouflage

clothing. Many American

SpeCial Forces, already aware
of the fact that wearing a green
beret and non-camouflaged
clothing could draw unwanted
gunfire from the enemy, began
donning these uniforms and
headgear well before the
paperpushers in Saigon's
MACV HQ deemed it necessary.
Besides protection, the wearing of the Vietnamese uniforms, were shows of support
and helped with unit cohesion.
On the camouflage uniform,
many SF personnel sported the
eqUivalent rank of their
Vietnamese counterpart; many
times this was worn centered
on the front of the uniform as
well as on either pocket flap.
Most of the time, but not
always, these camouflage uniforms were worn void of any
patches, although members of
the elite "Mike Force" wore
numerous pocket and sleeve
insignia during operations.
Period photos show some SF
personnel wearing a pin of
U.S. airborne wings as well as
CIBs and a pair of cloth
parachute wings and South
Vietnamese para wings on
both the duckhunter and
tigerstripe uniforms. Many of
the South Vietnamese wore
their unit insignia; the LLDB
"jumping tiger" on the left
sleeve of their tigerstripe and
duckhunter uniforms. The
strikers wore patches on their
camouflage and adopted some
brightly colored scarves.
Besides the typical tigerstripe
and duckhunter uniforms provided by the Vietnamese quartermasters, other camouflage
found its way into Vietnam
such as the French "Lizard"
pattern, British airborne SAS
pattern and Belgian camouflage smocks, which were usually worn by members while
serving with the 10th SFGA in
Germany at Bad Toltz.

The Mitchell pattern or
"Maplelear' was printed with a
leaf pattern usually on thick
heavy canvas. The pattern was
first introduced as a camouflage shelter half during the
last months of the Korean

War, around 1953, and was used by
both the Army and Marine Corps. The
pattern was printed on two sides; a
green side was intended for spring and
summer and featured a four-color configuration with large maple leaves. The
opposite side was roller-printed with a
brown dominant pattern, intended for
use during the fall and winter. The
brown side had a four color disrupted
pattern, sometimes referred to as the
National Police pattern, since the
National Police used it as their uniform. Uniforms made from these shelter halves are usually identical to the
OG 107 uniforms, although trousers
have been seen that are very similar to
the herringbone twill "HBr trousers of
WWII having two large hip cargo
pockets. Even though the material was
quite heavy and therefore warm, it featured a camouflage pattern and had
the added benefit of being water repellent fabric.

The French, during their occupation, first introduced these camouflaged uniforms to Vietnam after the
surrender of the japanese. Many of the
Paras wore the French pattern called
Veste deSaunt mle 1947/53, or the
"lizard" pattern. Vietnamese copies of
this was first produced in 1959, and
issued to the then-new South
Vietnamese Marine Corps. Soon after,
the demand for these garments outgrew the small Vietnamese quartermaster system and "off shore" sources
such as japan, Taiwan, Korea and
Hong Kong began prodUCing tigerstripe clothing for the growing ClDG
program. By 1962 several patterns
were introduced and today are very
sought after by collectors.
In 1963, the basic issue for a ClDG
striker was two sets of tigerstripe
fatigues, a matching flop hat or
"boonie hat," one pair of the Bata
boots, a pistol belt, one canteen, an
indigenous rucksack, and a weapon.
U.S. advisors were usually able to
obtain two sets of tigerstripe or duckhunter if available in larger size.

Early advisors had no access to camouflage clothing that was lightweight
and functional. At this time, many were
still wearing the heavy and uncomfortable OG 107 cotton fatigues. Early CIA
and civilian operatives working in

Vietnam in the mid '50s had procured

sets from U.S. commercial sporting
goods outlets. The style was a direct
copy of the popular WWII Marine
Corps pattern used throughout the
Pacific Island-hopping campaign. The
camouflage features large "spots." It is
busier than its Vietnamese predecessor,
with the "spots" interacting with each
other. The "duckhunter" pattern is
printed on lightweight cotton material
and sometimes on heavyweight cotton
duck material, with the background
being tan. The spots vary in color, ranging from dark brown to lime green, and
an Indian red. These "duckhunter"
camouflage fatigues were popular with
the early advisors since they offered a
practical camouflage uniform, were
comfortable, lightweight, breathable,
and had the added room of large cargo
pockets on the trousers. The "duckhunter" shirt featured two "patch"
pockets located on the breast, although
the common variation featured the two
lower pockets. There was also a three
pocket variation which had the typical
two lower pockets with an additional
third smaller open pocket on the left
breast. Photos show some U.S. Special
Forces advisors officers wearing their
U.S. rank and Branch of Service
("BOS") on their collars. The author has
never seen an example of any Special
Forces member wearing the SSI on the
duckhunter uniform. Early fatigues featured pockets that were usually secured
with a Single blackened "Burst of
Glory" metal tack button, or large
WWII style plastiC button, normally
OD green or brown.

Black Bata boots bought and paid for

by the American Special Forces, and
produced in Canada. This is the rarer
black version. The OD green ones
were more common.

Typical French-made campaign hat in a

"duckhunter" pattern, popular with both the
strikers and American Special Forces. The Ek
combat knife is a good example of private purchase
cutlery. This style of knife was employed from WWII throughout the Vietnam War.
It could be purchased from the John Ek Knife company of Miami, Florida.

The ClDG "strikers" were organized
into local defense forces and were considered civilian employees of the U.S.
government. They were recruited, fed,
housed, trained, paid, and outfitted by
U.S. Special Forces, not the Army to
the Republic of Vietman "ARVN." Of
these uniforms, the Mutual Defense
Assistance Program "MDAP" pattern
duckhunter was the first camouflage to
be distributed to the ClDG "Strikers".
The MDAP pattern duckhunter camouflage was printed in two known patterns and two different weights of
material, and in three known variations or cuts ofjacket and trousers.
During Operation SWitchback, the
program outgrew CIA control and
orders were put in to have these camouflage uniforms produced by "off
shore" countries such as japan, Korea
and Hong Kong. Although two different patterns have emerged, both share

MDAP pattern duckhunter cowboy hat. Note the two screened eyelets. Identical
ones in tigerstripe were popular and are very desirable today by collectors.

I, '

the same geometric shapes. The pattern

IS always seen printed on a tan background. Unlike the sporting goods outlet pattern the shapes rarely touch each
other. These almost always features
"clusters" of spots. Another distinguishable characteristic is the white size tag
found inside both trousers and shirts.
Even when torn, the frayed white tag
can usually be seen, determining a
MDAP made garment.

The first model was done in the classic heavyweight material and featured
the "Burst of Glory" buttons which
were believed to have been blackened.
It's believed that since none were mint
condition, that the blackened finish
had flaked off. The shirt featured two
breast pockets, each secured with a
Single metal button, with an additional
buttoned sleeve pocket. Another identification characteristic is a vertical "W"
weave stitch in the collar and button
cuffs. These have been seen in photos
as early as 1961-62. The matching
trousers featured two rear pockets each
with a single metal button closure and
two cargo pockets and a Single lower
cigarette pocket.
The second model of the MDAP
"Duckhunter" was the same pattern as
the 1st model, but with plastic buttons
replaCing the metal tack buttons. The
shirt featured two breast pockets; each
secured with a single plastic button.
The pocket features a bellow on the left
side. The left sleeve cigarette or first aid
pocket was eliminated. Matching
trousers featured two rear pockets,
each secured with a single button, and
two large cargo pockets, both with the
bellow facing toward the rear, and a
Single plastic button. The second generatlon also featured the small first aid
pocket/Cigarette pocket. On the left leg
Just below the cargo pocket, plastic
buttons replaced the metal ones. These
were cut similar to the standard tigerstnpe pants.
The third model featured a different
pattern where each of the spots were
intermixed and touching each other.
Patterns before had always been separated. The shirt now incorporated two
button closures on each of the two
breast pockets. Trousers did away with
the two slash pockets and featured two
rear pockets, each with a button closure and two cargo pockets and a single left-sided first aid-dreSSing "cigarette

This Green Beret wears an example of

the Sears commercial duckhunter camo
pattem shirt and trousers. These camouflage fatigues were popular since they
were lightweight and fast drying and
offered the added advantage of camouflage over the heavy U.S. produced cotton fatigues. Headgear worn by this advisor is a tan cowboy hat, which was produced in a variety of patterns and colors.
Web gear is a variety of WWII era surplus
items such as his M1916 brown leather
holster, khaki first aid pouch and twin cell
ammunition pouch, X-harness and his
PAL Bowie-style fighting knife. Worn over
his shoulder is a pouch designed to hold
the long stick magazines of his
Thompson or M3 submachine gun.

Special Forces advisor wearing the

green beret with the flash that was
adopted in 1963, it represents the 1st,
5th and 7th SFGAs and the colors of
South Vietnam. The advisor wears the
Special Forces DI pin, depicting him as
an enlisted man.

Early Special Forces advisor wearing the

French ''Veste deSaunt mle" 1947/53 or
"lizard" pattern smock. These French
throwbacks to the First Indochina War
were easily available on the surplus
market and popular among many
Special Forces advisors. The advisor
wears the standard first model OG 107
pants with his camouflage smock, along
with the unpopular brimmed jungle hat.
Web gear consists of an OG 107 M1936
pistol belt, M1942 pattern first aid
pouch, a lensatic compass pouch
secured to his single universal pouch
and a single M1910 aluminum canteen
in the Korean War era cover which still
featured the M1910 hook system. Two
MK II pineapple grenades are suspended to his M1956 H-harness. Worn on his
right hip is his Colt M1911A1.45 cal pistol, secured in a very crude Vietnamese
made holster. On his left hip is a Boy
Scout's Western knife that featured a 6inch blade and leather sheath.
Canadian-made black Bata boots are
worn in lieu of the black leather boots.
Weapon is a Stevens 12-gauge shotgun.

American Special Forces advisor wearing a set of the Vietnamese copy of the
British windproof. This is an example of
the second model of the pattern, being
printed on lightweight poplin material.
The advisor wears the second model jungle boots and a Green Beret with the 5th
group beret flash. The advisor wears a
.38 cal pistol on his hip in a locally-made
brown leather holster. Circa 1965-66.

U.S. produced green beret with an

added camouflage liner. This setup was
common among some members of the
Special Forces.

pocket." The waist also incorporated a

button take-up tab on each side.
The final, and fourth model, featured the same pattern as the first two
but was printed on lightweight cotton
poplin material. The shirt had two
breast patch pockets, much like those
on the American OG 107 lacking the
bellows. The shirt also had the button
cuffs as the first three cuts, but lacks
the vertical "W" weave or stitch in the
collar. Trousers used incorporate twobutton take-up tabs on either hip, two
rear pockets, two cargo pockets, but
lack the two slash pockets usually
found on American garments.

The windproof pattern was a direct
copy of the British SAS pattern of late
WWII, first introduced in the form of a
pullover smock. This pattern also saw
use in Korea between 1950-53, and
was later issued to French Paratroopers
serving during the first Indo-China
war. When the South Vietnamese
formed their own Airborne Brigade,
they continued to outfit their airborne
soldiers in this pattern using bolts of
original British surplus airborne material. Once these were exhausted, the
Vietnamese Quartermasters began
printing their own variation of this pattern around 1962. The pattern is printed in two distinct variations on two
different weights of material, and in
three distinctive cuts like many
Vietnamese uniforms.
The first model of this Windproof
pattern was complete, and very colorful, containing four very rich colors;
plum, lime green, pinkish grey, and a
pine green. This was roller-printed on
a pink background, which was a silky
mid-weight cotton material.
It featured two chest pockets, each
with a covered button, button cuffs,
shoulder loops, reinforced shoulders
and elbows and a large gas flap, much
like the American OG 107 cotton uniforms of the '50s. Underneath the
armpits were small air vents for the aid
in cooling. The uniform was put
together with all-green cotton thread
and features a high quality Asian button. Matching trousers featured four
pockets; two front slash pockets, and
two rear pockets, each with a covered
button, and a four-button fly and belt

A Special Limited Commemorative Issue Available on
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Hitler$ Doublecross of Stalin
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Capture of Crete
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loops. Extra material was on the knees

for added strength.
By 1964, the pattern evolved into
the second variation which featured a
simpler print with the shapes being
more defined and with a slightly different color scheme, but the same overall
pattern. The second generation was
printed on lightweight cotton poplin
material. It contained the same style
elements as the previous version.
The third variation, based on the
original, is in the same color scheme
and material as the second generation
and was printed on cotton poplin. It
was cut identically to the first model
"exposed button" u.s. Jungle fatigues.
The shirt featured four pockets, all
with exposed buttons, shoulder loops,
but lack the side take-up tabs.
Matching trousers are cut the same,
featuring two rear pockets, each
secured with a single button, two
lower cargo pockets, both with two
exposed light green hand sanded buttons, and a survival pocket in the left
cargo pocket. On the knees and crotch
extra material is added like its
American counterpart. This variation
is believed to have continued through
the end of the war although in decreasing numbers. Like many Vietnamese
garments, extra pen pockets were
added by some. As well, the Advisors
to the Vietnamese Airborne and the
Vietnamese Paras added two extra zippered pockets behind the two-slanted
chest pockets, very similar to the
French lizard para smocks.
The authors have seen very few photos of an American Special Forces
member wearing this pattern, although
it was very popular. Once again, cloth
patches as well as metal insignia, are up
for debate. Photos show u.S. Advisors
assigned to Team 162 and working
with the Vietnamese Airborne wearing
these camouflage uniforms with all
insignia sewn on as well as other uniforms with all patches including name
and "u.S. ARMY" direct embroidered
on these uniforms as well as combat
patch, rank and Branch of Service.

The camouflage smock. was the
third model French camo known as
the "lizard" pattern, and featured hard
brush strokes and a feathering off pattern of red-brown and light green on a
tan khaki background. Thejump


Another example of the commercially produced "duckhunter" camouflage popular with

many advisors. The shirt is printed on lightweight cotton and features two breast pockets andplastic buttons. Headgear is a locally-made piece common with special Forces
advisors, in the parachute material. Around his neck is a small piece ofpara silk. Note
the dark green T-shirt. The advisor sports an unauthorized goatee and mustache.

smock had two large "bellow" breast

pockets secured with three snap fasteners. There is a large pocket behind
the right pocket, secured with a zipper.
A small patch pocket on the face of the
right pocket had tape pencil loops
sewn in. The two lower pockets,
mounted on a slant with the button
inward, had snap fasteners similar to
the top pockets and two drainage
holes. The smock also had two ventilation holes in the armpit and button
cuffs. It wasn't uncommon to see U.S.
advisors wearing these French colonial
leftovers early in the war. These jackets
were freely available on the military
surplus market until the mid 1960s
when supplies began to dry up.

Contrary to popular belief, the
Green Beret wasn't worn very often.
Most of the time no headgear was
seen, or a Vietnamese-made jungle
flop hat was worn. The berets were
hot and provided no protection from
the tropical sun. The only time the

berets were worn was when visiting

bigshots arrived at camp, or when soldiers were around other u.S. military
personnel in the rear, such a Nha
Trang, at the H.Q. or for photo opportunities. The bush hat or flop hat was
worn on operation because it provided protection for the neck and face
from the fierce heat.
"Duckhunter" matching hats were
also made in the same MDAP material
and came in cowboy style, CIDG style
patrol cap, and in the manner of the
M1945 field cap. Many South
Vietnamese LLDBs wore duckhunter
berets as well. Other hats could be
made in matching material at any of
the many tailor shops that sprung up
near any of the camps.
"Tigerstripe" matching hats came in
three known issued styles, with short
brims and one that featured two snaps,
these are all referred to as the CIDG's
boonie hats. Others were produced in
both the cowboy and French
Campaign style, as well as berets and
patrol caps.


Paul W Miraldi has been colleCting uniforms from Vietnam for almost 20 years,
with emphasis on Special Forces related items. He has written articles for Military
Illustrated dealing with Special Forces, Rangers, Special Operations, junk Force
Advisors and ARVN Ranger advisors,and has helped in numerous History Channel
projects dealing with Special Forces, snipers, and tunnel rats. He assisted Western
Costume with Brad Pitt's uniform in the recent release "Spy Games," and is the president of the Vietnam War Historical Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to the
preservation ofpersonal and unit histories from the Vietnam WaJ:
Miraldi has written two books for Schiffer Publishing dealing with the complete
uniforms and equipment ofboth US. Army Infantry, LRRPs and Rangers as well as
US. Military Advisors. His next book will deal solely with Rangers and LRRPs. Two
more books are planned dealing with Special Forces.
Owen Thornton hails originally from Ireland, and has spent much of his adult life
dealing with Vintage clothes and uniforms. He has one of the largest tigerstripe collections as well as other patterns from Vietnam, and currently is a military clothing

The Victrola "VI" was a popular phonograph that

was manufactured in great numbers for over a
decade. During WWI, armies on both sides of the
front used these American machines to bring
music to the troops. They were relatively inexpensive ($25-$32.50 by war's end), and easily transportable. Victor records of the time were available
for 75 cents each, with thousands of titles listed
in the catalogue. The large numbers of survivors
of this Victrola (and its slightly smaller sibling, the
Victrola "IV'? is testimony to its practicality, both
at the front and in thousands of homes.

World War I was the

First Conflict to See
Widespread use of
the Phonograph.
What did the
Soldiers Really
listen To?
here is a timehonored relationship
between warfare and musical or
rhythmic expression.
From the trumpet blasts
of ancient armies, to
Vietnam anthems such
as "The Ballad of the
Green Berets," music
has played a significant
role in the lives of soldiers (and nations).
Trumpets, bugles and
drums throughout history have "telegraphed"
battlefield commands to
the troops. By the eighteenth century, massed
armies in linear formations were maneuvered
by a bewildering variety
of drumbeats-and it
was every soldier's
responsibility to recognize and respond to
these signals.
By Timothy C. Fabrizio
and George F. Paul

Martial music had a positive influence on the soldiers' morale. Fifes,

flutes and pipes were found to have an
uplifting effect on the troops' fighting
spirit. For example, Scots would
relentlessly wade through blistering
fusillades with bagpipes wailing-a
phenomenon so impressive that the
British army adopted the instrument,
with legendary results. Naturally,
courage under fire was not the Simple
product of stirring musical accompaniment. However, the ameliorative
effects of these instruments in battle
were indisputable.
In the nineteenth and twentieth cen-


These German officers and an NCO enjoy wine and other domestic amenities in a
quiet sector. The presence of trees and the immaculate fortification suggest an
artillery battery or other rear area. As is often seen, the Germans made extensive
use of older, external horn phonographs. Quite a few of these machines survive.

turies, the value of music for troops

was proved again. Every major conflict
of the past 200 years has spawned its
own songs, easily recognizable to the
public at large. Some, like the melancholy "Lili Marlene," first popular with
German troops in the Second World
War, became worldwide hits.

The first "recreational" military

music became available on records in
the 1890s. Yet, for armies fighting in
Cuba during the Spanish-American
War, in China during the Boxer
Rebellion, or during the Philippine
Insurrection, recorded music could be
heard only from the delicate and often


In the spring of 1918, this contented group of Germans quaffed beer and played a
French Pathe phonograph.



Jack Dunn, SOlI 01 .\ ltUll, O\'t! in France loda~.
Iie,e p" fil, doinj:l: his bil, up t!I his eyes in clay:
Losch nj~hl. alltr a fiJolhl, 10 pass the time .::tlong,

. ~~~~'.:

In a scene dated October 12, 1917, Germans enjoying bottled beer gathered
around a European talking machine.

g~.t.~. lillIe ~I~~~ ~.o.~g.

In the trenches beneath a gloomy sky,

British soldiers set their weapons aside to
enjoy a tune from a portable "reflex"
phonograph. Courtesy ofPhilippe Le Ray.

The first Song or

the land sung by
the daughter
of the President
of the United States.

Christmas 1916 in a German underground bunker. These men are listening

to a French Pathephone Model "A. " The anemic-looking Christmas tree on
the table did little to assuage the stress of two years of war evident on the faces
of these soldiers. Courtesy ofPhilippe Le Ray.




During World War I, Columbia sold a disc

recording of President Woodrow
Wilson's daughter, Margaret, whose royalty was donated to the American Red
Cross. It's a pity that altruism and talent
are not always balanced. A 22" x 28"
dealer poster.

(;t,n:rt lQ11 fQfl) fl6Pif-,1 w fJ ~,I.," pr;!<)AG()~'/l-R~: ..\~A.'!Tl,5.
;\ rflflJ)jtal ill' 1'{O{dlH'atinll JHHU' .. .. :\\"'11:,' k ... dl' I.:. I l~r"a ... otl'n' ... Cllli IltLdl, ... ..11 ... n':':lt-.I"- d( (. h,\, ... ~ 1 H
(.)(. 1>1"0..... (.' i1'. df' Y'luHcdt' : Hlai", 11, ... !lflllllllt'-. .": ;tjlpfl'l1l1l4llt l"~}d,tUjJH la .1...1 "I,'. t ,t II! ',n', 11111, I ,n' ...
jt 11 '\. t.! 1,'" luit:u,\ tl(Ju. ... la 1IIU"iIIIW. C.'nillu" !HIItIHI''', ell" '< 1Ilh'lti 1!J1hl"1I1t'Bt t1"" IlI"'tJ ~ltnl"h 1 ...
"I' ,;" ~~_
I\rl"ud c::t. ,noll" ;\.Int~..

A group of five blind soldiers in Nantes, France with their instructor (standing, left).
Among the skills taught to these disfigured men was music, and according to the
caption, some of them rapidly excelled at their instruments. A part of the music room
is a Pathephone "No.4." Courtesy of Philippe Le Ray.

unpredictable phonographs of the

period. There is scant documentation
of phonographs and records being
used by fighting men at the turn of the
twentieth century. Not until the First
World War, did recorded music begin
to playa major role in bringing distraction to the troops.
By the outset of WWI in August
1914, the talking machine had evolved
into a durable and easily operated

apparatus. Most phonographs were

spring-driven, requiring the user to
"crank it up" before playing. Although
cylinder records were still being manufactured, the ubiquitous 78 disc record
had gained precedence. More importantly, phonographs and records had
become less expensive and more
portable. This last point was a valid
consideration in an environment of
mud and flying shrapnel. For the first

time, soldiers could hear a variety of

professionally rendered music during
inevitable periods of boredom.
The talking machines used by soldiers of the First World War varied
somewhat according to the uniform.
The earlier style phonographs, with
external amplifying horns, remained
popular in Europe considerably after
more "modern" models, with internally housed horns, became predominant
in the United States during the teens.
For this reason, images of French,
Belgian, German and Austrian soldiers
listening to recorded music often
depict the older type machines with
eye-catching horns.
The British were fond of reflex-style
"suitcase" portable machines. These

The YMCA provided these doughboys with a Victrola for their entertainment.

"United by Misfortune" reads the caption of this Great War postcard depicting
two horribly wounded French Sailors.
One can only hope that the Pathe
"reflex" phonograph on the cart
between them offered some solace.
Courtesy Garry James.



Jt; IiR IYlLf(4ll{.

"For the blue stars in the window tell a
story of their own,
Of the soldiers for 'Old Glory' for our liberty and home,
If the word comes 'they have fallen,'
Then the blues are changed to gold,
And it's then we kneel in prayer, for the
heroes 'over there,'
For that's the greatest story ever told."

A doughboy playing a Pathe disc phonograph. Why pose with a talking

machine? Perhaps to show the folks
back in the States that he had all the
comforts of home.

What attracted these American soldiers the most? The tempting pile of doughnuts?
The closeness of a pretty girl? Or the photographer's camera? Temporarily, the
Victrola "VI" was ignored. When all those "sinkers" were gone, they'd play it.
Courtesy of Todd Emery.




"The Victor company issued a short

course of emergency French for
American soldiers. Included were
instructional 785 and phrase book.
Courtesy of Alan H. Mueller.

These British soldiers are recuperating to the sound of a continental phonograph.



employed a sound-reflecting metal

"dish" in the lid to amplify volume.
However, the undisputed giant of the
wartime phonograph industry was the
Victor Talking Machine Company,
located in Camden, New Jersey (and
its British and European affiliates).
Although Victor did not introduce a
"suitcase" style portable until 1921 ,
the company's smaller table-top
Victrolas were common behind the
front lines of all the armies during the
Great War.

In what appears to be a hospital ward, soldiers in non-combat dress relax with a

phonograph. Courtesy of Dennis Peterson.

It should be noted that, despite

some advertisements and staged photographs, trenches and bunkers were
generally no place for phonographs
and records. The constant mud, dust
and dampness surely rendered them
useless in a short time. As we have

already noted, the portability of

phonographs of the period did allow
them to be carried among the worst of
the fighting, however far more appropriate venues were first aid stations,
hospitals, artillery batteries, supply
depots and rear areas where men rest-

Even after more than a year ofAmerican

involvement in the war, this Victor
advertisement that appeared in July
1918 stressed that, "Any time is dancing
time, " with only one bit of khaki evident
among the dancers (fifth from right).

All ..........."""""'...

......... No""


_.,1 P.-w",1tn

.. --


---,..... <.. I...,......,lI..

",- .. lhidors.-.


..... -.

~.c. . b........ ~

oW OS.

<'1 II .


.."..I 0)_,k


_-,..&.-..:.J _

An enterprising Victor dealer added this patriotic jacket to a regular Victor monthly
record supplement. Courtesy ofAlan H. Mueller.

Early in the war, this hopeful French

couple in German-occupied Alsace conjured up images of triumphant Gallic
troops marching to their rescue, while
the Pathephone played patriotic airs. In
reality, the drama of the province's
eventual return to French control was
far less breathtaking. French forces
were stalled for years far to the west.

The soldiers aboard "Transport Mercury" enjoyed books, cards, a banjolin, and of
course, the Victrola. Courtesy of Dennis Peterson.

Uncle Sam kicks the Kaiser in...perpetuity. This topical toy surmounted the turntable

of a talking machine, and the mechanism created amusing effects.

ed. Of all the front-line positions, those

of the Germans, generally built along
higher ground, with deeper fortifications, afforded an atmosphere more
conducive to playing records.
A common misconception (promoted by some advertising of the time)
suggests that soldiers in France were
particularly fond of listening to records
of patriotic and marching songs such
as "It's a Long Way to Tipperary," and

"We're All Going Calling on the

Kaiser." War-related records were
undoubtedly available to soldiers on
active duty, but young men, then as
now, were interested in the latest popular tunes: music that reminded them
of happier times and places. Pop history has predictably persisted in depicting doughboys forever caroling "Over
There": a silly romantic notion that
thankfully has not afflicted modern

impressions of the Second World War

to the same degree.
The home front was a different matter. Records such as "Keep the Home
Fires Burning," "Pack Up Your
Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag," "The
Rose of No Man's Land," and various
medleys of historical "War Songs" sold
in large numbers, as did sheet music.
The Great War was the first major conflict in which this phenomenon
occurred. Record companies offered
catalogues dedicated to "Patriotic
Music" for consumption by worried
families and pining sweethearts all
over the globe.
General William T. Sherman's often
quoted (and misquoted) commemary
on war stated, in part, "Boys, it is hell."
The truth of that sentiment has been
repeatedly brought home to successive
generations. Nearly 40 years elapsed
between the invemion of the phonograph (Thomas Edis n's "favorite"
invention) in 1877, an I the point at
which the machines were stout and
reliable enough to go to war. Once
enlisted, the phonograph made significant contributions toward mitigating
Shermans vision of combat. War is still
hell, but [or most of the twemieth century, the phonograph helped to assuage
the spirits of fighting men and women,
as well as their loved ones at home. ~

he legendary studio head

shouted across the desk at
the well-known director.
"The American Revolution!
Nobody cares about the
American Revolution! My god, you
want your actors to wear those silly
goddamn powdered wigs!" So hardnosed studio boss Harry Cohn supposedly shouted at director Frank Capra
of It's a WonderJul LiJe fame when
Capra had the temerity to suggest a
major film on George Washington at
Valley Forge.
Lucky for military history buffs that
some film industry types like directors
john Ford, King Vidor and Michael
Mann persevered and managed to produce such classics of early American
film adventure as Drums Along the
Mohawk, Unconquered, Northwest



Passage and Last oj the Mohicans.

Thanks to these talented filmmakers
audiences can still thrill to the celluloid explOits of Rogers Rangers
trekking northward to attack the
Abenakis, Ottawa war chief Pontiac's
confederacy of Woodland warriors laying siege Fort Pitt, and colonial
American infantry charging to the rescue of a besieged frontier stockade.
But in the early days of films it wasn't
so hard to get stories of the French and
Indian War, the American Revolution
and the War of 1812 on screen.
Numerous producers and directors
cranked out dozens of short silent
films with titles like With Washington
Under the British Flag, The Spirit oj 76,
Betsy Ross and Washington at Valley
Forge all celebrating America's 18th
century military heritage.

It was D.W Griffith's 1924 epic of

the American Revolution, America, that
really brought the redcoats and colonials to the forefront of the country's
movie screens. Designed as a companion film to Griffith's hugely successful,
and controversial Civil War extravaganza Birth oj a Nation, the film combined various stories of the Revolution
from Bunker Hill to the eastern Indian
campaigns of the Mohawk Valley into a
tapestry tribute to the founding of the
United States. It was full of derring-do
and rescuing American maidens in distress, though it's "penny dreadful"
depiction of the English managed to
get the film banned in Great Britain.
Acting legend Lionel Barrymore played
the lead British baddy in similar
overblown evil fashion to jason Isaac's
fictionalized Banastre Tarleton charac-

ter in last year's The Patriot.

Griffith's America made the 1920s
studios take note and soon several
other big budget Early American war
rilms were hitting movie screens.
Paramount's Old Ironsides in 1926
graced theaters with the tale of the
1804 U.S. Naval and U.S Marine
attacks under Stephen Decatur against
the Barbary Pirates in Algeria. The
handsomely mounted production was
directed on a lavish scale by james
Cruze, who several years before had
directed the epic western The Covered
Wagon, and starred tough guy Wallace
Beery and Charles Farrell.
MGM decided the country's Early
American frontier military was good
cannon fodder for the box-office by
making several nicely done mini-epics
starring silent cowboy star Tim McCoy.

The first one, Winners oj the Wilderness,

(1927) was a well-done story of
Braddock's Massacre on the
Monongahella at the beginning of the
French and Indian War in 1755. Even
more interesting was The Frontiersman
with a story built around the brutal
Creek Indian War in 1814 where
Andrew jackson smashed hostile factions of the Creek Indian nation at the
decisive battle of Horseshoe Bend.
Few films before or since have dealt
with this fascinating story of the complex Creek nation which was made up
of more then its share of slave owning
plantation owner Creeks living an opulent southern lifestyle. Both of these
MGM films, directed by WS. Van Dyke
featured extensive battle scenes though
the film's running times were usually
around one hour. And of course

McCoy's lead character was always a

heroic frontier gentleman type battling
to save the frontier from bloodshed.
There were also several early film
versions of james Fenimore Cooper's
classic story of the French and Indian
War, The Last oj the Mohicans.
Including a better than average 1920
version directed by Maurice Tournier
and a 1936 effort starring future gentlemanly cowboy star Randolph Scott
as the buckskin-bedecked Hawkeye.
One would think that super director/producer Cecil B. De Mille would
have jumped at portraying America's
fight for independence. But it was the
War of 1812; often referred to as the
"Second War of Independence" that
actually caught De Mille's attention
with The Buccaneer in 1938. Though
the story line featured jean Lafitte and

Rnngets, Toties, Mohnwks nnd Lobstetbncks

his Baratarian pirates, Andy jackson's Milber was nominated for an Academy
dirty-shirt troops' spirited defense of Award for his efforts.
By the next year the French and
New Orleans was the action centerIndian war and the Revolution had
piece of the film.
Like all De Mille films the sets, cos- regenerated film makers' interest and a
tumes and action were executed in a number of films featuring the early era
richly detailed manner that evoked the were soon in movie theaters-several
1812 era quite well, though privateer of which Were the best the genre would
Lafitte, played with appropriate gusto ever offer up to audiences. john Ford's
here by Frederic March, is overly cred- Drums Along the Mohawk was based
ited with the success of the American upon Walter D. Edmonds' best selling
defenses at Chalmmette battlefield that novel of life on the Mohawk Valley
frontier during the American
blustery january morn.
Part of the fun of watching any De . Revolution. Told through the eyes of a
Mille historical film is looking at all of young colonial couple played by
the period detail that makes the era Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert,
come to life. Though you will have to the film would also be the first major
forgive the mitered Prussian-style caps Technicolor film covering the
that many of the British troops wear in American Revolutionary War period.
the climactic battle. The battle scenes
With the Cedar City, Utah area douwere so well done for the time that The bling for early upstate New York, Ford
Buccaneer's cinematographer Victor and his crew set about duplicating life

on the early American frontier in an

amazingly human fashion. A magnificent and authentic looking hodgepodge of a colonial fort was constructed from designs by art director Richard
Day along with numerous period
houses including a roadside tavern.
But it was the original and authentic
characters that screenwriter Lamar
Trotti recreated from Edmonds' book
that really bring this film to life.
The battle scenes in Drums Along the
Mohawk are nothing short of brutally
realistic. Director Ford didn't pull his
punches as you see Mohawk warriors
and Tories break into the besieged
stockade savagely grabbing women and
children as militiamen fight back with
equal ferocity, choking, clawing and
clubbing. And then finally the
Continental regulars come to the rescue
bursting into the burning stockade.

There is little question that MGM's Northwest Passage (1939), based on the novel by Kenneth Roberts, was one of the grittiest
French and Indian War films ever. Directed by master King Vidor (who also was responsible for, among others, the classic war
film The Big Parade), it was produced on a lavish scale. Author's collection.


For a film made in the late 1930s

Drums Along the Mohawk is decades
ahead of so many others in its realistic
depiction of early American frontier
life. Edna Mae Oliver's portrayal of a
gutsy widow, Mrs. McKlennan who
proudly proclaims "A woman doesn't
have any politics. I'll shoot the daylights off any redcoat, Indian, Tory or
American who thinks he can come
around here trying to tell me my business!" won her an Academy Award
nomination. just one more great piece
of this now deservedly classic film.
Other highlights include Ward
Bond's rough and tumble portrait of a
seasoned colonial frontier ranger and
Roger Imhof as the real life General
Herkimer. Much of the story line
incorporates actual Revolutionary War
events in upstate New York including a
vivid description and the aftermath f
the Battle at Orinsky
The year 1939 gave theat I' audiences more grea t fi lms fr m
Hollywood than any other y ar b f r
or since. Gone With the Wind, unga
Din, Stagecoach and MI~ mith oe to
Washington, among many oth I' , were
all released that golden y ar. Th v ry
next year another classic of the arty
American (Well, British olonial anyway) military was released, th sl e tacular Rogers Rangers epic, Northwe t
Kenneth Robert's best-selling novel
of Rogers Rangers, the first American
guerrilla fighters who gave inspiration
to the modern SAS and Special Forces,
had been serialized in the Saturday
Evening Post. By the time the film eventually hit theaters Robert's book had
been a best seller for three years going
through 45 editions both here and
abroad. MGM jumped at the chance to
turn the French and Indian War epic
into a film.
In an unusual move, director WS.
Van Dyke from those old Tim McCoy
frontier films, was hired to shoot a
great deal of second unit battle and
expedition footage on location in
Northern Idaho before any footage was
shot with the principal actors. Though
originally Wallace Beery had been considered for the part, Spencer Tracy was
cast as the iconoclastic and flawed
Major Robert Rogers who had created
and led the famed forest fighting force
with eventually Robert Young and
Walter Brennan co-starring as a couple
of last minute Ranger recruits.
Most of the story line fairly accurately follows the Ranger raid on the
Abenaki Indian village of St. Francis in
1759. The Abenakis had swooped

Though their outfits were not particularly authentic, the attitudes of the actors portraying Rogers Rangers more than made up for it. Spencer Tracy was an excellent
Robert Rogers, though at one time Wallace Beery had been considered for the role.
Author's collection.

down on hapless New England settlements for almost 100 years, raping,
scalping, looting and torturing as sort
of a mercenary raider force for the
French out of Canada. Rogers and his
seasoned men, some of them young
British officers studying forest warfare,
took the war up to the Abenakis with a
secret and daring raid hundreds of
miles behind enemy lines. Out of
Rogers force of several hundred men,
less then half made it back to the safety
of the British fort at Crown Point,

many of them captured and tortured

by the pursuing enemy. Yet Rogers'
raid on St. Francis destroyed the ability
of the Abenakis to carry out any further depredations. All of this made it
into the film version, which was now
being directed by King Vidor.
It is a stunning film of stark contrasts, beautiful photography and
exciting action scenes that suggested
the kind of gut-wrenching brutality
that even few films today dare to
exhibit. One Ranger, overtaken by savMILITARY CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED

RQngers, Tories, MohQwks Qnd LobsterbQcks

For sheer exuberance, it's hard to fault Cecil B. DeMille's Unconquered (1947). Starring
Gal}' Cooper and Paulette Goddard, it tells the tale of British regulars and Colonial
militia vs. woodland Indians in the Allegheny mountains c. 1763. Author's collection.

age revenge eventually goes mad and

during their starvation retreat lives off
an Abenaki head until he is confronted
and commits suicide. In one of the best
scenes in the whole film Rogers leads
his men in a human chain across a roiling river of rapids. In another great
scene his men haul their whaleboats
over a mountain range to evade French
ships on Lake Champlain.
In still another powerful piece of the
film Rogers exhorts a seriously wounded Robert Young to stand and march
because the Rangers can't spare any
men to help the wounded. As the


music swells and Young's character,

Harvard drop-out Langdon Towne,
painfully struggles to try to follow the
retreating Rangers, Tracy's Major
Rogers gives him a little salute and
winks, ''I'll see you at sundown,
Harvard." And of course he does.
Only one other film has tried to
tackle Rogers Rangers as film material,
a rather tepid 1953 George
Montgomery "B" movie called Fort Ti,
for Fort Ticonderoga. It was shot in 3D
and used ample amounts of stock
shots from the earlier and far superior
film. There was also a short-lived late

Costume sketch for Gal}' Cooper's

buckskin outfit in Unconquered.
WeaponI}', sets and equipment were
considerably more authentic than those
seen in many early films portraying this
era. Author's collection.

fifties independent TV series called

Northwest Passage that suffered from
the same kind oflow budget mentality.
As discussed in last issue's "Movies
Militaire" column, the uniforms may
be highly inaccurate but on all other
accounts Northwest Passage is a tourde-force of historical military filmmaking. If you haven't seen it go rent ityou won't be disappOinted.
The same late 1930s early 1940s
time period gave film goers a few other
pleasant, if not top-notch early
American military adventures including a John Wayne vehicle Allegheny

Uprising that chronicled a 1767 armed

rebellion incident between American
colonists and British troops nine years
before the Revolution. The Howards of
Virginia with Cary Grant, told a story
of the effects of America's war for independence on one Virginia tidewater
family. Suave Englishman Grant was
miscast as a rough-and-tumble early
American type.
The next major early American military film would tackle the fresh material of Pontiac's Rebellion in Cecil B. De
Mille's beautifully conceived
Unconquered, released to theaters in
1947. De Mille's take on history is not
everyone's cup of cinematic tea, but for
sheer duplication of a time period that
makes an era and place come to life De
Mille was unsurpassed.
Unconquered tells the story of a
Virginia Militia officer, circa 1763,
heroically played by Gary Cooper,
who unsuccessfully tries to
stop th massive uprising
of almost all the woodland tribes west of
....... 4
the Allegheny
against the British. in the real uprising,
over a dozen English forts were actually
wiped out or burned to the ground over
a three- month period eluring the summer of 1763. British garrisons and hundreds of settlers w re slaughtered under
the supposed protection of a white flag.
While British commanders countered
with the first use of biological warfare,
spreading small pox infe ted blankets
among the rebelling tribes.
Only the two largest garrisons at
Fort Detroit and Fort Pitt managed to
survive the onslaught of allied warriors
and found themselves under siege for
almost three months. War parties
ranged as far as the outskirts of
Baltimore, Maryland that terrible and
bloody summer.
Against this dramatic backdrop De
Mille set his art director, costume people and prop department about duplicating this colorful colonial time period. The British uniforming and frontier costumes are impeccably recreated
including uniform details and early
floral beadwork styles never before
seen in a film. Weapons included a
beautiful antique Jaeger swivel-breech
rifle that is totally true to the time period. How many other films utilized
1700s grenades? In Unconquered you
can see colonists lighting the fuses of
these early explOSive devises and hurling them at Pontiac's warriors with
devastating results. All true to the time
and place.

In one of Unconquered's most dramatic scenes, the 42nd Highlanders come to Ft.
Pitt's rescue with wagonloads of dead soldiers. Rather fanciful, but pretty dramatic.
Author's collection.

Rangers, Tories, Mohawks and Lobsterbacks

When De Mille's film opened critic's
assailed him for having the famous
Black Watch, the 42nd Highlanders,
come to Fon Pitts rescue, how preposterous they assumed. The same critics
should have checked their history
books though. Indeed, the 42nd
Highlanders did come to Fort Pitts rescue after defeating Pontiac's warriors
decisively at the Battle of Bushy Run
using strategy straight out of
Hannibal's ancient tactics resurrected
by their Swiss mercenary Colonel

Bouquet. De Mille does have the 42nd

bluffing it's way into Fort Pitt with
wagonloads of dead Highlanders
impersonating live soldiers-dramatic,
but inaccurate.
The story line is pretty standard but
it is as a visual feast of a recreated early
military time period that Unconquered's
best filmic qualities shine through.
Much of the siege of Fort Pitt was
duplicated on massive sound stages
and through the then ingenious use of
special effects shots that earned the

The battle scenes in Last of the Mohicans were graphic and exciting. The film was
made on a lavish scale. Author's collection.

film an Academy Award nomination

for Best Special Effects. De Mille's Fort
Pitt really does look like the brick and
mortar bastion that had gained it the
reputation as perhaps the most
formidable British fortress west of the
For the next ten years Hollywood
cranked out occasional low budget
Revolutionary War or French and
Indian War films like Mohawk, When
the Redskins Rode and The Scarlet Coat
that are best forgotten. Walt Disney did
feature the Creek War as part of his
Davy Crockett television show that
was quite well done. But Disney's onehour episode only centered on the
Indian fighting aspects of that part of
the War of 1812. Finally in 1958 De
Mille returned to early American military themes prodUCing a remake of his
1938 The Buccaneer, directed by his
then son-in-law, actor Anthony Quinn,
who had had a bit part in the original.
It was great to see all of that 1812 era
period costuming and lush settings in
gloriOUS Technicolor, and this new version of The Buccaneer boasts a magnificent performance by Charlton Heston
as the best-ever Andrew jackson to
bluster across a movie screen. From an
entertainment standpoint the final
British attack is the only down side of
the film-mainly because of the rather
bland action of the attack sequence,
after a pretty suspenseful set up of the
actual dramatic events of the final battle at New Orleans.
For some reason De Mille's usually
impeccable period detail was discarded and the British Highlanders and a
rocket battery of the Royal Artillery are
the only enemy troops represented out
of numerous British Infantry units who
took part in that disastrous assault that
january morning. The highlanders in
their kilts look more like they did a few
months later at Waterloo then they
appeared at New Orleans where they
wore trews, instead of kilts.
Despite the fact that the battle was
fought days after the armistice was
signed in Belgium, New Orleans was
still an important victory. jackson's
6,000-odd militia, free blacks,
Choctaw Indians, frontiersmen,
marines, pirates and regulars defeated
a then-modern British Army of over
11,000 veteran troops who had just
helped whip Napoleon in Europe. For
many years it was the worst defeat the
British army ever suffered at the hands
of a like-trained modern enemy. Over

The Buccaneer (1958), directed by actorAnthony Quinn, was a remake of his fatherin-law Cecil B. DeMille's earlier film of the same name. Starring Yul Brynner as Jean
Lafitte and Charlton Heston as Andrew Jackson, it was a rousing if somewhat flawed
film. The Battle of New Orleans was a tad on the cheesy side. Author's collection.

2,000 British troops were killed or

wounded that day including the commanding General Pakenham, and several other general officers.
One year later a British production
company released an interesting version
of George Bernard Shaw's play The
Devil's DiSCiple staring Burt Lancaster,
Kirk Douglas and Sir Lawrence Olivier.
Set against the backdrop of British
General "Gentleman johnny" Burgoynes
campaigns during the American
Revolution, the film was an interesting
and unusual comedy/drama version of
those events. As in most British historical films the uniforming and weapons
were quite well researched (though the
Brown Bess muskets were of the later
"India Pattern) and the film features a
wonderful technique to cover transitions
with stop motion animated paper soldiers moving about on a map of the
colonial countryside. Its a forgotten mm
of our early military heritage that
deserves another look. Olivier steals the
mm as Burgoyne-but then hes given all
of Shaws best lines.
There were a few other occasional
mms of the earlier military time period
that didn't seem to hit with audiences
or the critics including an earnest, but
stodgy John Paul Jones starring Robert
Stack and a French/Italian production
of Lafayette in 1961 starring amongst
others Orson Wells, jack Hawkins and
Vittorio de Sica. The less said about
1985's dismal Revolution the better. Al
Pacino as a colonial fur trapper? I think

not, and neither did audiences.

Frenetic scenes of colonial Boston look
more like events of the French
Revolution than the American War of
It would take the man who brought
Miami Vice to television screens to
regenerate original film blood into
early American subject matter thirty
some years later. Michael Mann's 1992
remake of The Last of the Mohicans is
everything a period film epic should
be, visually involving, energetically
exciting without sacrificing a sense of
true-to-life history.
While the story still follows the same
basic framework of past film interpretations, this version is clearly the best.
With beautiful period detail, actors
who look, act and talk their roles in
period style and the huge numbers of
extras needed to stage the famous massacre of the British garrison at Fort
William Henry. Daniel Day Lewis
shines as Nathaniel, the updated version of Hawkeye whose name somehow sounds much more authentic.
The magnificent fort set was built to
scale in the forest of North Carolina
and the extras playing British and
French troops were expertly trained by
former Marine Corps Captain Dale
Dye. There is just a visceral movement
to so much of this film that it seems to
wrap you up in it's exotic mid-18th
century world and not let you go until
the period ride is completely over.
Mann didn't shy away from the bru-

While not 100 percent, the British uniforms in 1992's The Last of the
Mohicans, like this one worn by Steven
Waddington as Major Heyward, were
considerably more sophisticated than
many of those seen a few decades
before. Author's collection.

tal realities of frontier warfare and his

Magua, played by Wes Studi is a hardened warrior driven to savage revenge.
From the Huron and British costumes
to how the actors handle their
weapons, The Last of the Mohicans is a
period military film you can watch
over and over again.
20005 Patriot, on the other hand, is a
flawed film about the American
Revolution that should have been
much better. It was produced on a
huge scale with wonderful actors
including Mel Gibson, Tom Wilkerson
as Lord General Cornwallis and Chris
Cooper as a Light Horse Harry Lee
clone. There are even some quite good
individual scenes, but the film suffers
from the kind of Hollywood excesses
that seem to the think over-the-top
action and politically correct motivations are what audiences crave.
America's new found patriotism has
generated renewed interest in the
country's eXCiting early military history. As I write this film projects on
Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain
Boys and the 1804 US. raids on Tripoli
are now in the planning stages.
Hopefully the filmmakers involved will
look back at the best of America's early
historical themed classics for inspiration. We can always use a few more
exciting movies about colonials, lobsterbacks, Tories and Mohawks.

here is no doubt that

wheeled armored vehicles
take a back seat to tanks
in terms of reputation as
battle winning machines.
This is ironical in light of the fact that
wheeled AFV were in operation before
the tank made its battlefield debut during the First World War. British army
Rolls Royce armored cars were used to
support Colonel T. E. Lawrence
(Lawrence of Arabia) in his Arab revolt
campaign in the Middle East, for
Armored cars lack the firepower and
armor of tanks. In addition, being a
tracked vehicle, tanks have a much
better cross-country performance than
armored-wheeled vehicles. I well



remember an exercise that I took part

in in my South African army days that
drove this point home. As part of an
economy measure we used armored
cars in these war games. At the time I
was the Recce Troop sergeant commanding a World War II British
Daimler scout car.
Halfway through the war games all
operations ground to a halt when all
the vehicles became bogged down in
mud, because an unexpected flash
flood turned the arid Karoo terrain in a
virtual quagmire. In the end we had to
tow all the cars out with a few of our
M-4A1 76mm Sherman tanks.
Nevertheless, wheeled armored
vehicles do have some advantages.
They are less expensive to manufac-

ture and more economical to operate.

They have a good road performance
which means that they can travel to
the battlefield without the need of
large, heavy transport vehicles. In
addition wheeled AFVs can get to
where they are needed far more rapidly than tanks.
In passing it is worth noting that the
South African army actually used
multi-wheeled armored vehicles with
great success in their war in Angola
during the 1970s and 1980s. The large
six wheel "Ratel" was heavily armed
with a 90mm cannon and one successfully engaged Cuban/Angolan Soviet
T54 tanks, although in the end South
Africa did have to commit a regiment
of "Oliphant" (upgraded Centurions)

tanks to resolve the situation.

In World War II and most other
major conflicts armored cars and scout
cars have been used for reconnaissance
work and other support duties. The
White M3A1 was one of the first
American scout cars and although it
was really outdated by the time The
U.S. entered World War II, it continued to serve in a variety of roles
throughout the hostilities, not just
with the American forces, but by most
the other Allied armies.

The precursor of the M3A1, the T7,

was introduced by White in 1934.
Some 76 T7s were issued to the 1st
and 13th Mechanized Cavalry at Ft.
Knox, Kentucky. It had a 75
horsepower engine and
weighed some 7,700

The U.S. adopted a fairly casual
approach to armored car development.
A retired Colonel Davidson produced
the first American armored car at his

own expense. In 1915 he purchased

several Cadillac touring cars to which
he added an armored body. It is of
interest to note that, as late as 1935,
the Rock Island arsenal made a similar
vehicle using a 4 x 2 Studebaker chassis. The vehicle much resembled the
Davidson cars.
Various car manufacturers had also
produced armored car prototypes
prior to this.
The White Company produced their
first AFY, known as the T7, in 1934. It
was actually made by the Indiana
Truck Company, a White subsidiary.
Compared to these other vehicles the
T7 was a rugged, small, squat and
square-shaped car that was a lot more
The T7 was eventually to become
the M3A1 scout car. Some 76 T7s were
issued to the 1st and 13th Mechanized
Cavalry battalions at Fort Knox. The
T7 became designated the "M2."
Further developments and improvements resulted in the M2 and eventually the M3 and M3Al.
While the Indiana Truck company
was involved in the initial development of the M3 the White Company
eventually took over the manufacture
of all subsequent vehicles, hence the
name "White" scout car.

General George S. Patton often used an M3A 1 as his personal vehicle. Here he
inspects French scout cars in Metz. U.S. Army Photo.


The M3A1's basic construction consisted of a chassis and an armor plated
body. Its power plant was a six cylinder
in line JXD Hercules engine rated at
110 hp. The transmission was a fourspeed crash (non-synchronized) gearbox. This power train it had gave a
good road speed of 55 to 60 miles per
hour. It was unusual for a four- wheel
drive vehicle had no ability to convert
the drive to two wheels for road use.
The vehicle had a square box-like
appearance. It had a fairly conventionallayout with the engine located in the
front. The driving compartment had a
glass windshield and an armor plate
visor that could be dropped down over
it in combat. The passenger compartment was at the rear and separate from
the driver. Entry to the same was from
the rear. Both the driver and passenger
compartments were open at the top,
although a canvas cover was provided
for inclement weather conditions. It
was fitted with It.-inch cold rolled steel
armor plate that was heat tempered to

The White Scout Car could seat eight men. Often a radio would be placed between
the front passenger and center seats.

Usual armament for the M3A 1 was one.50 Browning M3 and a pair of Browning 1917 or 1919 30s. The guns were mounted on
special "trolley" mounts and could easily be moved along a rail that ran around the inside of the passenger compartment.
Tripods were carried on the rear armor so the guns could be deployed externally.

tOOL 80X _

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give a face hardened surface.

The armor provided protection
against light small arms fire and shrapnel but not heavier weapons such as
cannon, the .50 caliber machine or the
hollow charge anti-tank weapons that
were introduced towards the end of
the war.
The first versions were eqUipped
with a roller mounted on the front
bumper. This was deSigned to facilitate
negotiating obstacles. Field experience
would later prove that this device was
While the vehicle was not equipped
with a turret it was armed with a variety of weapons when in service. These
included machine guns on a number
of mounts as well as mortars. Of the
latter, one was designed to be fired
from the passenger compartment of
the vehicle, while the other was fired
from the ground. One of the last vehicles constructed was an experimental
model fitted with a 37mm cannon.
In all, some 20,000 M3A1s were
made by the time production ceased
around late 1943 or early 1944.

(MOOEl 1917.... 1)

SHun... -1!P11-H-








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nRE 8:25X20



Because of its size, the M3A 1 could carry quite a bit of equipment, as seen in this
section from the vehicle manual.

A canvas top could be erected over the open

compartment to protect the soldiers from the
elements, though it did restrict visibility.

itA I'D 3110


The White scout car was tested by
the army and accepted for service late
in 1939. An order was placed for the
construction of some 799 vehicles designated as the M3Al. These were completed ahead of schedule and issued to
the cavalry in 1940. A small number of
non-standard models were sold to the
Dutch Government before that country fell to the Nazi forces at the beginning of the War.
When The U.S. went to war some
10,000 cars were issued to the Army
and Marines with some also going to
the Air Corps. The first cars issued to
the cavalry took part in the great U.S,
war games of 1940. The cars served
with U.S. forces in theatres of World
War II. It was extensively used in the
Pacific where there was not a great
need for heavier armor.
The car performed as a "maid-of-allwork" being used in a variety of roles
that included reconnaissance, a vehicle
for forward observers of the artillery
and Air force, a personnel carrier and a
command vehicle. In the latter role the
M3A1 was used by some notable personalities including General George
Patton who used it in North Africa. It is
said that General Omar Bradley liked
the vehicle and used one extensively.


Front armored louvers could be closed to protect the radiator in combat. The large
steel roller on the front of the vehicle was designed to help extricate the M3A 1 from
ditches, but it really didn't work all that well.

Like other military vehicles, the M3A 1 could, and usually did, carry one or two Jerry
cans in special mounts. A collapsible canvas bucket was often strapped to the outside.








Special "combat rims" were added to the wheels to help protect the tires, one of
the scout car's most vulnerable areas.

Scout cars, halftracks, jeeps and motorcycles on maneuvers. Despite the

resemblance between the scout car and
the halftrack, very few parts were interchangeable. National Archives.





M3A 1 brass data plate located on the right side of the dashboard. It included most
of the vehicle's specs as well as its serial numbers.

~ ~ (~() I]'t' (~l'll

The rest were issued to various allied
forces including the USSR who
receiv d a ubstamial number.
Oth r re ipients were the Free
Fren h and the British. The latter used
it a a
ut car, armored personnel
carri r and a command car. One commander is reported to have attempted
to \cad his regiment through the
. erman panzers to link up with the
paratroopers trapped in Arnhem.
The Free French used M3Als extensively in their drive through France to
relieve Paris and made extensive use of
it after the war in their colonial conflicts. The Israelis also used the vehicle
in their various conflicts with the Arabs.
The vehicle's main detractions were
its poor off-road performances. This
lead to the development of the Halftrack. In fact White made one of the
first experimental models using a
stretched M3Al to which was added a
tracked assembly at the rear.
The White M3Al may not have the
glamour or appeal of more famous
vehicles like the Sherman tank, but it
proved to be a rugged, reliable vehicle
that performed well during the war and
all that was asked of it. Unfortunately,
not many Whites have survived. There
are only a few examples in museums
and private collections.

Power plant of the M3A 1 was usually a

six-cylinder gasoline Hercules that produced 110 horsepower, though Hercules
and Buda diesels were also seen.
The White Scout Car saw considerable service
with U.S. allies, as witnessed by these M3A1s
being used by Soviet troops on the Eastern Front.

Armored plate could be lowered over the

front windshield and raised on the sides
of the doors should it become necessary.


lthough during my military service I did not have any actual experience with the White M3A1,I saw service with the Reece troop of
my armored regiment. As already mentioned, we used the British
Daimler scout car that had anumber of similarities to the M3A1.
The Daimler was a lightly armored 4X4 vehicle that, like the White,
had a55410 mph road speed and had an open top and no gun turret.
Its main differences were a rear mounted engine and only had the
capacity for a two man crew. Firepower consisted of the crew's personal weapons-that could be a pistOl, a submachine gun and possibly a few 36 fragmentation grenades. There was provision for the
commander or passenger to man a .303Bren light machine gun.
The Reece Troop's role was to act as the eyes of the regiment by
advancing in front to report on the enemy's location and strength.
Other intelligence included the nature of the terrain and the location
of obstacles, both natural and man-made, such as rivers, tank traps
and destroyed bridges.
My responsibilities as troop sergeant included assisting the C.O
of the troop (in my case, the adjutant who was a captain) as well as
commanding my own vehicle. In this respect I manned the Bren
gun, operated the radio and reported on information about the
enemy and the terrain.
As the vehicle commander, I was assisted by a trooper who was
my driver. His duties, in addition to driving the vehicle, was maintaining and servicing it. Survival in combat and efficient intelligence
gathering depended on us both operating closely as ateam. The goal
was to locate the enemy without being detected.
Agood driver had complete control of his vehicle at all times. He


needed to have a good eye and appreciation of what terrain the vehicle could safely negotiate, especially when travelling over rough, broken ground. With experience he would learn how to select a path
that made the best use of available cover to avoid being seen by the
enemy forces. In this respect the commander would also keep an eye
open, ready to warn the driver of hidden hazards in the vehicle's path.
The commander's main task was to look for the presence of the
enemy. The enemy would of course be well hidden making maximum use of natural cover and camouflage.
To detect a well camouflaged enemy this required the commander and the driver, for that matter, to have a good battlefield appreciation. You needed to know what and where to look for likely enemy
positions. To do this you need to put yourself in an enemy commander's position and think where you would place guns and tanks.
A good appreciation of map reading was needed to navigate and
pinpoint locations when reporting back to the regiment. The latter
also required complete knowledge of radio operation and the use of
coding and decoding transmissions.
Finally, both crews needed to be familiar with each other's duties
in case of either member becoming acasualty. I once had to take the
duties of my driver after he injured his hand when negotiating some
very rugged ground. Both of us were fully competent with the arms
and weapons at our disposal.
An operation would usually begin with a complete briefing the
night before the start of the operation. We would be assigned our
areas of responsibilities, including the stop and start lines. The
latter was essential if the operation was to include an artillery
barrage or an air attack. Intelligence about the strength of the
enemy and weapon positions, obtained from other sources, would

also be given to us, as well as unit call signs and any other pertinent information.
Operations generally were either an attack of an enemy position
or an advance. Advances usually occurred after a successful attack
had been concluded. Ironically attacks were less hazardous than
advances. This was because an attack would involve considerable
preplanning and intelligence gathering. In addition, it would usually
be preceded by an artillery or air strike that would keep the enemy
occupied under cover. We thus had a better chance of moving about
on the battlefield undetected.
The barrage might also cause some enemy movement or remove
cover and camouflage, giving us a better chance of seeing
enemy positions. Admittedly, we were always in danger of
being subjected to friendly fire if we went over the stop lines
in the danger area of the barrage.
You had to be pretty dumb to do this because the exploding shells in the bombardment area would be pretty obvious.
Ashort round (a shell falling short of its intended target) was
much more likely. Generally our armor plate would protect
us from the shrapnel unless we were unlucky and SUbjected
to a direct hit.
The main attack would usually begin at the conclusion of
the barrage or air strike. We would then take up defensive position
behind cover and observe the battle continuing to observe and
report any potential targets.
At the conclusion of the attack, if succeSSful, we would move forward to recconoiter the terrain ahead of the advance. This was literally moving into dangerous uncharted territory.
A fast moving advance was best because there was a good

chance of catching the enemy by surprise-seeing him before we

were detected. If the enemy had prepared back-up positions (as the
Soviets did in the battle of Kursk in 1943) we could be in troublerunning into a minefield. Apart from knocking out our vehicle it could
have fatal results, especially if the explosion overturned the car,
trapping us in the open-topped cab.
Other dangers were running into hidden artillery and tanks, as a
direct hit from either would destroy us. With no protection above
our heads, we were very vulnerable to artillery air bursts and mortar rounds. Infantry in concealed positions could throw grenades
into the cab.
Author Arnold performed
some of his Service in South
Africa in a Daimler Scout
Car, similar to this Mark III.
Armament generally consisted ofpersonal sidearms,
a .303 Bren light machine
gun, and whatever else
could be dragged on board
the two-man vehicle.

If we came under fire and did not sustain a direct hit, our best
reaction was to get out as fast as we could relying on the speed,
agility and small size of our scout car to get us out of trouble.
At the end of the day we would move into leaguer with our regiment to service the vehicle and prepare the next day's operation.
The Reece troop lived an exciting and often nerve wracking life that
kept them continually on their toes.

ealizing that the self- contained tartridge

. was the wave of the
future, as early as
1864 British ordnance officials
began investigating the practicality of a universal issue
. breechloader. To be sure, the
. War Department had experi- .
mented with some Sharps:
Greene, Starr, Westley Richards
and other rear-charged rifles and
carbines on a limited basis, but
they generally used exterrially
primed paper ammunition.

Thissing'le-shot "Stopgap" remained in
use for over ha If .
a century
By Garry James


The' lessons of the American Civil Wartwere not lost

on the Select Committee's thinking, and while it was
. acknowledged that most of the Federal and
Confederate infantry still carried muzzle-loaders,the
outstanding effectiveness of the rimfire Spencer was
hard to ignore.
A number of British and American guns were
. accepted for tests, including of
. Jacob Snider, a New York wine merchant. Exhaustive trials
werq:arried out.
Some. arms were
thought to be too

.The Snider breechloader was a practical conver.

sion of the older P-53 Enfield mUzzle-/~der. While
it remained as standard issue in British service for
only. a few years, it was retained by Volunteers
and in the colonies for a considerable time.

Sniders fired a .577-caliber self-contained cartridge. Original early

cases (center) were
made of a paper-covered coiled brass body
with separate japanned
base. Currently drawn
brass ammo (left) is
available for shooters.


complicated, while others were patently unsafe or used cartridges too delicale for the rigors of military usage.
Shooting tests proved the Snider system to be the fastest and most reliable.
Some 20 rounds could be fired in just
2 minutes, 35 seconds, with its closest
rival, the Greene coming in at 3 minutes 18 seconds. The P-53 Enfield
muzzle-loader's time was a dismal 7
minutes 20 seconds. The breechloader
was definitely here to stay.
After the smoke cleared, in 1866
Snider's design emerged preeminent.
Basically it involved cutting 2112 inches off the breech of a standard .577
Pattern 1853 Enfield rifle-musket. The
breech was then expanded to receive a
cartridge, and a hinged breechblock
affixed to the right side of the barrel
A "plunger" (firing pin), which was
struck by a modified Enfield hammer,
was secured through the length of the
block at an oblique angle by a screw
retainer. As the retainer resembled the
nipple of a percussion musket, the

Loading a Snider is very simple. One first opens the breech, swings the block sideways and inserts a cartridge (1). To extract a
round, open the action and pull back on the block (2). The spent case is then dumped out (3).

a Ide r lea thertopped snap

caps could be
used with the
The chosen
round was in .577
caliber, eliminating
the need to change
or sleeve the original
barrel. The first
rounds were made of
papier-mache, though
these proved unsatisfactory, and eventually
white paper-covered
coiled brass rounds, developed by Colonel Boxer of
the Royal Artillery were
accepted. These black powder cartridges had a separate

The Snider was

offered in a number of configurations
including (from top) the standard Long Rifle,
Short Rifle and Carbine. Of the three types, Carbines
seem to be the most prevalent type in the United States.


japanned iron base and fired a 4 0grain hollow-based Minie-slyl bull-l

at some 1,250 feet-per-sec nd.
The prOjectiles thems Ive were an
interesting amalgamalion f Fr n h
and British designs in lhallh y
employed the annular gr a e
grooves of the form r, bUl r lai n I
the boxwood or lay', panding
plug of the lall r. Th' e r unds
went through nin variali n ( r
"Marks"), generally involving more
or less minor lweaking.
Too, Snid r' rigll1almodifi ali n
proved lO b om 'what fragil , a il
entailed healin the rear l f the b.rr I
red hot, thus laking lh lemp'r Ul f
the metal. Never h n f Y. nk
know-how, the invenl I' cam up
with a breech "shoe"-a separal ' unil
that could be screwed OnLO lh r ar f
the barrel.
The arm itself went through lh I'
Marks. With the first two, the sideswinging breechblock had no lalch,
merely a thumb piece. The block was
held into position by a simple springloaded pin which fit into a dimple on
the rear of the shoe face.
Despite many thousand arms being
made in this manner, authorities felt
the setup was somewhat inadequate
and modified the block by adding a
very positive latch that had to be
depressed before the breechblock
could be opened, and the retaining
stud was conSiderably beefed-up
Generally Mark 1 and Mark 11 guns
were conversions of older pieces, while
Mark Ills were commonly, but not
always, completely newly made.
To load a Snider, all the soldier had
to do was put the hammer on halfcock, rotate the breechblock Sideways,
insert a cartridge and close the action.

Firing was accomplished by Simply

cocking the hammer, aiming the arm
and pulling the trigger. Ejection was
effected by opening the block and
pulling it to the rear to acti-

vate a large extractor which pulled the

case free of the chamber. The arm was
now Simply tipped on its side and the
empty dumped

Two British regulars pose with their new

Sniders. Despite the gun's reliability, it was destined to be officially replaced by the MartiniHenry after a scant five years service.





niders were made in

several configurations,
butthe most common
were the three-band standard infantry Long Rifle,
a shorter two-band
"sergeant's model" Short
Rille, an Artillery Carbine
and Cavalry Carbine.
While all four styles are This early engraving shows
not uncommon in the the basic Snider setup, with
United States, there seem the attached breech'''shoe''
to be more Cavalry and transverse firing pin. Note
Carbines about than the that this is an early Mark I
version without the thumbFlO. 6.-SNIDER
others. This is due to the
piece latch.
fact that several decades
ago Golden States Arms
in Pasadena, California imported thou- ring at all.
The Snider acquitted itself well on
sands of Snider carbines from Portugal.
These guns can instantly be recognized the battlefield and at the target range,
by a sling ring on the bottom of the where it was a favorite of Volunteer
stock to the rear of the triggerguard. units. It was first used at the battle of
British issue Cavalry Carbines had Magdala during the Abyssinian
either a side-mounted ring bar or no





Snider Long Rifles are pleasant to shoot and quite reliable, though the
Carbines are a bit more punishing because of their smaller size.

Campaign of 1868, where according to

the editors of British Battles on Land
and Sea, London, 1876, "As the wild
foe came rushing with yells and war
cries down the ravine, they were
received by a terrible fire from
the Sniders of the 4th
(Regiment of Foot), while
some of the Punjabees contrived to take them on the
flank; and Colonel Penn getting his steel guns on a commanding ridge, or spur of
rock, scattered death and
destruction among them on
every hand. From the
extreme rapidity of discharge of the Snider, the
firing at this time in different parts of the field was as
heavy and continuous as
that of a general action
between two large armies.
Of more than 5,000 of
(Abyssinian Emperor)
Theodore's bravest men
comprising the sortie,

scarcely so many hUlldr 'ds r turned.

Three hundred and 'Iglll)' rpses
were countedth next tl1011l1l1g."
The Snider rapidl} b' am a very
popular arm, but it \ as Il 'v 'I' il1l nded as much m I' lhall.1 stopgap. for
no sooner was it adopll'd than fficials began xp nm 'Illlllg wllh ther
arms, culminaling" Ilh thl' .\dopti n
of the fam d.S77 '" 0 1,\llll1l II nry
in 1871.
1'Still the Snider nlll1111'd lo S"
vice right till the nd f lh' 19t h 'eI1lUry with native and olonlallroop .
Canada maintained it for quill' a whil
and even issued shortened rif!' lO il
cadet corps as late as 1905.
Unfortunately, Jacob nid I' tli 'ti
soon after the adoption of his arm and
the owners of the patents were for ed
to go through an awkward perio I of
negotiation in order to receive th
monies due then from the Crown.
The Snider has always been one of
my personal favorites among the
19th century single-shots and I have
put many, many rounds through
them over the years. For a time, a
commercial Snider was very difficult
to come by, the most available (albeit
still scarce and pricey) loads being
some put together by Kynoch a number of years ago. For a time I handloaded my .577 Snider brass, but
when the Northridge earthquake virtually liquefied my loading equipment, I gave up the endeavor and
hung my Sniders on the wall.


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RUUoY YUSTN'T 511001' WI
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In this period cartoon

from Britain's Punch
magazine, Mr. Punch
proudly hands John Bull
a new Snider rifle to
replace his old Enfield

the first This
generalissue breechloader in Crown

Now, fortunately for us

Snider lovers, The Old
Western Scrounger (Dept.
RS, 12924 Highway A-12,
Montague, CA 96064) is
offering some pretty decent
black powder, Berdanprimed, drawn brass case
loads, topped with the 476grain Lyman 575213 Minie.
Sniders function very
well, simplicity and robustness being the keys While
the sharp edge of the
extractor on U.S. Issue ........
Allin "trapdoor" system had
the nasty habit of slicing Accuracy with the Snider Long Rifle is not too bad as
through the rim of the cop- witnessed by this 1oo-yard seven-inch group. The
per .45-70 cartridge, effec- author has found that the Snider is marginally more
tively putting the rifle out accurate than the muzzle-loading P-53 Enfield, on
fa tion, the same was not which it was based. After a few shots, bullets started
tru of the Snider. Its wide keyholing due to fouling.
extractor encompasses a
large arc of the cartridge rim, cutting the lack of deformation of the Snider
way down on this problem. True, one bullet that one might experience
has to take time to dump out the case, when ramming a Minie down the
but after a while the operation length of the barrel-especially when
becomes second nature and the gun the gun is fouled.
For history, mechanics or shooting,
can be fired and loaded very rapidly.
While it would seem logical that, as the Snider is a good bet for the modern
the guns use virtually the same barrels, enthusiast, and while they may be a bit
accuracy between the P-53 muzzle- hard to come by right now, they are
loader and Snider breechloader should certainly worth the effort. I have sold,
be similar. Interestingly enough, I have traded and otherwise disposed of
found the Snider seems to have a bit of many arms over the years, but never
an edge on its progenitor either in the my Sniders. My guess is that this deciMark II or Mark III incarnations. My sion will probably have to be left up to
guess is that this can be put down to my heirs.

eritage Series
-from the





.22 Long Rifle

Hand Ejector

SKU 170198
Model of 1917
r..J. ) ACE
SKU 170197
The Heritage Series from the Smith & Wesson Performance Center capture the look and feel of the

--"" ....

revolvers of yesterday. With high polished blue or color case hardened frames, tapered barrels, four screw
sideplates, traditional thumb pieces and original front sight configurations, these limited edition revolvers
offer traditional styling with 21st Century performance. For more information on these and other
Heritage Series Revolvers, contact Lew Horton Distributing.

Available EXCLUSIVELY from


Lew Horton 15 Walkup Drive

Westboro, MA 01581
800-446-7866. Fax: 508-366-5332

Smith & Wesson 2100 Roosevelt Avenue PO Box 2208. Springfield, MA 01102,2208
800,331,0852 Fax: 413,747,3317 www.smith,