battalion 1

An unlikely hero.

During the First World War homing pigeons were used widely to transport communications between front line units and commanders in the rear. When the United States Army landed in large numbers on the Western Front in the summer of 1918, British pigeon fanciers donated 600 birds to them, one of which was a hen, soon to be named Cher Ami - French for ‘dear friend’.

On 3 October 1918 she, with Major Charles Whittlesey and more than 500 men, became trapped in a small depression on the side of a hill as an offensive was halted by German forces. There behind enemy lines, in dense woodland, food and ammunition quickly ran low and friendly fire began to rain down from allied guns oblivious to their location. After the first day just 194 men remained alive. Two pigeons were sent up with messages for aid but both were quickly shot down by German soldiers atop the hill. With just Cher Ami left, the following note was attached to her leg and she was released with the lives of 194 men dependent on her survival:

We are along the road parallel to 276.4. Our own artillery is dropping a barrage directly on us. For heaven’s sake, stop it.

Rising into the treetops she met a hail of fire, taking a round to her breast (her punctured sternum is shown on the left in the photograph) she began to bleed profusely. Another severed her the right leg leaving it hanging by a single tendon and yet another blinded her in one eye. She fell from the sky, only to pick herself back up and fly 25 miles in just 25 minutes. Her message was received and a push was made to rescue the 194 men of the lost 77th Division.

Army medics worked hard to save the life of Cher Ami and succeeded in doing so. A small wooden leg was crafted for her stump and once sufficiently recovered she was put on a boat to the United States, with General John J. Pershing personally seeing her off as she departed France. On 13 June 1919 she died at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey,  from the wounds she received in battle. She had been awarded the Croix de Guerre Medal with a palm Oak Leaf Cluster for her heroic service, delivering 12 messages during fighting at Verdun and also received a gold medal from the Organized Bodies of American Racing Pigeon Fanciers. She was later inducted into the Racing Pigeon Hall of Fame in 1931.

Throughout the 1920s and ‘30s Cher Ami was as well known to American school children as any human World War I hero. Her body mounted by taxidermists, she currently sits in the National Museum of American History’s ‘Price of Freedom’ exhibit, part of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

“Sniper’s Eye View: A telescopic sight mounted on the Remington sniper rifle carried by Corporal Tommy Romo, 21 (San Antonio, Texas), permits crosshair accuracy on targets more than 1,000 meters away. Romo is assigned to the 1st Battalion, 27th Marines [1/27] (official USMC photo by Sergeant Dave Martinez).” [1968]

From the Jonathan Abel Collection (COLL/3611), Marine Corps Archives & Special Collections.

OFFICIAL USMC PHOTOGRAPH

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“Everybody’s been doing this job for a long time, there’s really no reason for me to tell them what to do. It’s fast paced, it’s aggressive, it’s not something you could be timid at.”

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Tiger ‘332’ from schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 101 is seen at Elbeuf town situated by the banks of the Seine at the end of August 1944. Because of the lack of crossing capacity, the tank had to be blown up. The officers are from the Leibstandarte Division, which broke out of Falaise encirclement en masse the days before, and crossed the Seine near Elbeuf.

19-year-old Granger Korff during his two-year service in South Africa’s 1 Parachute Battalion, 1980-81. He was part of several major SADF cross-border actions, including Operations Protea, Daisy and Carnation. His downtime actions were also infamous, such as his severe beating of a sergeant-major in front of fellow soldiers and “several fistfights with Drug Squad agents over missing Sossi (morphine)”. His skill in the boxing ring led him to Los Angeles after the war, where he became a sparring partner and drinking buddy with the likes of Jake LaMotta, Ike Turner and Mickey Rourke before writing his memoirs. 

@demonmaxwell

“H-Hello? Anyone there?” Did Visha stammered. She had just woken up from the table on the night before she had to go on with her fellow battalion onto those V-1 rockets into enemy lines. Unlike everyone else, she had been handling it rather well by sleeping. But then again, helping out with the wounded did tired her out. Still, the girl would look around. Unsure of what is outside her tent at the moment.

Sweat remained at her brow as she looked outside.

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2nd 1st Farewell Their Fallen Comrades With A Huge Haka

Haka is used throughout New Zealand by many, not only Māori, to demonstrate their collective thoughts. There is a haka for each of the Services, as well as the Defence Force. Units with the NZ Army have their own haka. This video shows the soldiers of 2/1 RNZIR Battalion performing their Unit haka, powerfully acknowledging the lives and feats of their fallen comrades as they come onto the Unit’s parade ground. It is also an emotive farewell for they will leave via the waharoa (the carved entrance way) for the very last time. 

Haka –sometimes termed a posture dance could also be described as a chant with actions. There are various forms of haka; some with weapons some without, some have set actions others may be ‘free style.’ Haka is used by Māori (indigenous people of New Zealand) for a myriad of reasons; to challenge or express defiance or contempt, to demonstrate approval or appreciation, to encourage or to discourage, to acknowledge feats and achievements, to welcome, to farewell, as an expression of pride, happiness or sorrow. There is almost no inappropriate occasion for haka; it is an outward display of inner thoughts and emotions. Within the context of an occasion it is abundantly clear which emotion is being expressed.

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German tank Pz.Kpfw. VI Ausf. E (Sd.Kfz. 181), with the tail number “131” of the 1st company of the 504 battalion of heavy tanks (1. Kompanie/Schwere-Panzer-Abteilung 504), 21 April 1943, was damaged and captured during the battle with infantry tanks Mk.IV Churchill (Infantry Tank Mk.IV “Churchill”) of the 4th company of the 48th Royal tank regiment (4 Troop of the 48th Royal Tank Regiment) on the hill of Jaffa Jebel (Djebel Djaffa in Tunisia During the battle the Pz.Kpfw. VI Ausf. E destroyed two tanks Mk.IV “Churchill”. Returning fire, he received three rounds of 6-pounder guns of the British tanks. The first shell hit the bottom of the barrel and the rebound went under the tower, zakoniv its course. The second hit had in the eye of the tower. The third in Luke loader. Machine, in violation of the order was left by the crew is not compromised. The British also retreated. The next day, climbing the hill, they captured a tank. Subsequently, the car was shown to king George VI and Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Currently the Pz.Kpfw. VI Ausf. E is the tank Museum in Bovington (Dorset, South West England) and is the only existing instance.

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The Brigade of Guards during the American Revolution.

On 13 February 1776 orders were issued from Guards Headquarters in London forming a detachment from the three Regiments of Foot Guards for service in the war in America. Under the command of Brigadier General Edward Mathew (Coldstream Guards), the detachment was to consist of 15 privates from each of the 64 companies of Foot Guards. Officers, non-commissioned officers, and musicians were also drawn from the regiments. A chaplain, surgeon, and surgeon’s mates were recruited. The personnel were divided into 8 regular infantry or battalion companies, 1 light infantry company, and 1 grenadier company. The unit embarked for America on 2 May 1776.

Upon the detachment’s arrival at Sandy Hook, New York, on 12 August 1776, General Howe ordered it to field as a Brigade composed of 2 battalions of 5 companies each. First Battalion consisted of the Grenadier Company (men and officers from all three regiments), the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Infantry Companies (men and officers from First Guards), and the Brigade or 4th Company (men from all three regiments, officers from First Guards). Second Battalion was composed of Companies 5 and 6 (men and officers from Third Guards), Companies 7 and 8 (men and officers from Coldstream Guards), and a Light Infantry Company (men and officers from all three regiments).

Shortly after the Brigade’s arrival off Sandy Hook in 1776, the uniform was altered from the parade ground look of a London garrison regiment to the more rugged appearance of a combat unit. The smartly cocked hats of the infantrymen were let down and cut smaller, then turned up on one side only. The gleaming white waist belts were laid aside and the bayonet scabbards mounted on the cartridge pouches. Trousers and spatterdashes replaced breeches and gaiters for field service. Finally, the last vestige of the Guardsman’s glory, the 18 yards of white lace, was removed from the uniform coats, with the First Battalion men retaining only the lace on their shoulder straps.

The Brigade began its American service on 22 August 1776 when it went ashore on Long Island and camped at New Utrecht. During the next few months it saw service at various locations in New York. The Guards participated in the Battle of Long Island on 27 August, after which they camped at Hell Gate until 15 September when the Army landed on New York (Manhattan) Island at Kip’s Bay. The Brigade encamped near Turtle Bay during which time the men were called out to create a fire break to prevent the spread of the disastrous fire that burned one-third of the city of New York on the night of 21 September. The Guards accompanied Howe when the Army went north and landed at Frog’s Neck on 12 October and Pell’s Point on 18 October. They were present at White Plains on 28 October, although they did not see combat. From White Plains, the Army marched west to Tarry Town and then South towards New York Island again.

The Grenadier Company suffered the loss of two of its officers early in the campaign. Capt. Bourne died in New York on 14 October and Capt. Madan was left sick in New York from October 1776 until May 1777. As a result, on 11 October Capt. Charles Leigh of the 6th Company (Third Guards) was assigned to do duty with the Grenadiers until otherwise ordered.

On 15 November 1776 the Guards were ordered to leave their camp standing near Kingsbridge, New York, and be ready to march at 4:00 the next morning carrying canteens, blankets and haversacks with one day’s provisions. They were provided with a guide, a local loyalist who knew the territory. Their objective was Fort Washington, located on a prominent height at the north end of New York Island. Howe had planned a four-pronged attack on the fort. No attempt was made from the west, due to the high cliffs rising from the Hudson River. The main assault was launched from the north by German troops under General Kniphausen. General Percy, bringing up a column from New York City, formed line of battle from the south. The 42nd Regiment of Foot crossed Harlem Creek to storm the fort from the southeast. Meanwhile, Brigadier General Mathew led the Brigade of Guards and the Army Light Infantry in a waterborne assault down Harlem Creek from Kingsbridge to attack the fort from the northeast. The defenders surrendered to Kniphausen, and although the Germans suffered heavy losses in the fighting, there appear to have been no casualties among the Guards.

From Fort Washington the Brigade, with other elements of the Crown Forces under Cornwallis, crossed the Hudson River to New Jersey, participating in the capture of Forts Lee and Constitution. After marching through the Jerseys, Cornwallis sent his force to winter quarters. The Guards were quartered at Raritan Landing, just up river from Brunswick, New Jersey. After the Continental victory at Trenton, the First Battalion of Guards was ordered to the field for several days in early January 1777, while the Second Battalion stayed with Brigadier General Mathew to assist in the defense of Brunswick. During the remainder of the winter the Guards participated in several raids, feints, and foraging parties.

After going to the field in May of 1777, the Brigade was in combat at Short Hills, New Jersey. It took ship from New York with the British force destined for Philadelphia via the Chesapeake. The Guards saw action at Brandywine, Valley Forge, Germantown, and White Marsh before going to winter quarters in Philadelphia.

In 1778 the British forces, including the Guards, en route from Philadelphia to New York, met the Continentals in battle at Monmouth Courthouse, New Jersey. Due to a lack of officers, the Guards spent most of the next two years in garrison in and around New York City. The flank companies of the Brigade were sent to the field for raids and skirmishes including Portsmouth, Virginia and New Haven, Connecticut in 1779, and Young’s House in New York in 1780. The entire Brigade saw action at Springfield, New Jersey in 1780.

Brigadier General John Howard (First Guards) was temporarily appointed to replace Brigadier General Mathew in 1780 until the arrival of the new commander, Brigadier General Charles O’Hara (Coldstream Guards). The Brigade embarked for the South in October of that year, eventually joining Cornwallis in North Carolina in January of 1781. By that time O’Hara had joined the detachment. On 1 February the Guards forced the crossing of the Catawba River (North Carolina) with great gallantry and on 15 March suffered grievous losses at the battle of Guilford Courthouse, North Carolina, after which the Brigade was temporarily reduced to one battalion of 4 under-strength companies.

They marched with Cornwallis to Yorktown, Virginia and surrendered to the Continental Army on 19 October 1781. General O’Hara, as second in command, surrendered Cornwallis’ sword to Washington’s representative, General Lincoln. Most of the Brigade’s officers were paroled and the men marched into captivity at York, Pennsylvania, where they remained until 1783. During most their imprisonment, Lt. Col. John Watson Tadwell Watson (Third Guards) commanded the Brigade from New York.

The Guards returned to England in two detachments, one arriving in January and one in July of 1783. After disembarking, the men marched to London to rejoin their respective regiments.

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New Zealand soldiers honor their fallen comrades with a Haka.


‘Haka is used throughout New Zealand by many, not only Māori, to demonstrate their collective thoughts.  There is a haka for each of the Services, as well as the Defence Force.  Units with the NZ Army have their own haka. This video shows the soldiers of 2/1 RNZIR Battalion performing their Unit haka, powerfully acknowledging the lives and feats of their fallen comrades as they come onto the Unit’s parade ground.   It is also an emotive farewell for they will leave via the waharoa (the carved entrance way) for the very last time.

Haka –sometimes termed a posture dance could also be described as a chant with actions. There are various forms of haka; some with weapons some without, some have set actions others may be ‘free style.’ Haka is used by Māori (indigenous people of New Zealand) for a myriad of reasons; to challenge or express defiance or contempt, to demonstrate approval or appreciation, to encourage or to discourage, to acknowledge feats and achievements, to welcome, to farewell, as an expression of pride, happiness or sorrow.  There is almost no inappropriate occasion for haka; it is an outward display of inner thoughts and emotions. Within the context of an occasion it is abundantly clear which emotion is being expressed.‘

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Lancia 1ZM Armoured Car in service with the 1° Battalion of the Polizeiregiment ,,Bozen" . Built during the Great War for the “Regio Esercito” (Italian Royal Army), it saw limited use. Its armament consisted of 2 machineguns in the turret. Many of the surviving vehicles were commandeered by the Germans after the Italian Armistice and pressed into service, after being redenominated Pz.Sp.Wg.Lancia 1ZM(i).

Around the World Wednesday: Lt. Andrew Anderson, attached to Amphibious Construction Battalion (ACB) 1, takes point while on patrol during Field Training Exercise (FTX) 2015 in Camp Pendleton, Calif.  FTX 2015 gave Sailors the opportunity to practice and apply Seabee Combat Warfare skills, provide host nation security support, and stay mission-ready in a simulated environment intended to replicate in-country operations.