Rani Laksmi Bai became one of the leading figures in the 1857 Indian Rebellion against the rule of the British East India Company. She was brought up at the Bithur Court of the Martha Peshwa where her father was an official and therefore enjoyed more independence than most girls of the time. Whilst at court Rani was well-educated. She also studied horsemanship, archery, and became expertly skilled with a sword.
In 1842, when only seven years old, Rani married the Rajah of Jhansi who would die eleven years later, leaving no direct male heir. Taking advantage of this situation, the British East India Company seized the kingdom and expanded their already growing empire. It was not long before the Indian Rebellion made its way from Meerut with many supporting the cause in the hope that the old Jhansi state would be restored. Rani was reluctantly forced to take action against the British. She raised a volunteer army of 14,000 men and women, leading them to victory, and then instantly set about strengthening defences. The British struck back on the 24th of May, 1858 with a force led by Major-General Sir Hugh Rose, and besieged Jhansi. Rani stood firm and fought to defend the city, but she was defeated. Jhansi was stormed and looted by the British with many of the rebels hanged for their resistance, including Rani’s father. Rani herself managed to escape with her adopted son and bodyguard. She met up with other rebel forces, including those of Tatya Tope, and advanced to Gwalior where they hoped to defeat the British. It was at this battle that the brave Rani attempted to stop her soldiers from fleeing by charging with a sword in each hand at the enemy with the reins for the horse held between her teeth. As she was charging, however, she was shot. Knowing death was near she ordered her supporters to burn her body.
Rani was an incredible woman who possessed the intelligence to lead armies into battle and rule her kingdom effectively, despite being only eighteen when her husband died. She was a brave woman who earned the respect of her enemies and conquered the hearts of the rebels fighting. In later times she was hailed as the ‘Indian Joan of Arc’ and would be recognised by Indian nationalists as the forerunner to Indian independence. Rani has become a national heroine in India, and in 1943 the Indian National Army paid tribute to her by establishing an all-female regiment in her name. What better way to remember such an inspirational woman who died fighting for independence?
The Lewis Machine & Tool LM7 was in competiton with the FNH SCAR-17 (Mk17 Mod 0), the H&K model 417, Sabre Defence’s XR-10 and offerings from Knights and Oberland Arms. When the competition was over, LMT’s rifle was designated as the L129A1. It has been several decades since MOD has changed rifles for the longer range duties, and the new L129A1 is geared towards the 800 meter ranges being encountered in today’s combat environment. The AI .338 bolt action replaced and upgraded the AI L96 7.62mm several years ago. “Sharpshooter” is a completely new role for the British Army. Quick reaction, rapid follow up shots, long range, harder hitting than 5.56mm is the idea for the L129A1, but the sniper rifle is still a bolt action making it unsuited for CQC environments.
SIERRA LEONE. 2000. A 14-year-old child soldier during the Sierra Leone Civil War (1991 to 2002), which for over more than a decade devastated the country. This proxy war left more than 50,000 people dead, much of the country’s infrastructure destroyed, and over two million people displaced as refugees in neighbouring countries.
Photograph: Adam Butler/AP
More recently, in 2016, a former senior director at the British firm
Aegis Defence Services
says that it employed mercenaries from Sierra Leone to work in Iraq because they were cheaper than Europeans and did not check if they were former child soldiers.
Contract documents say that the soldiers from Sierra Leone were paid $16 (£11) a day. A documentary, The Child Soldier’s New Job, alleges that the estimated 2,500 Sierra Leonean personnel who were recruited by Aegis and other private security companies to work in Iraq included former child soldiers.
Aegis was founded in 2002 by Tim Spicer, the former Scots Guards officer who was at the centre of the 1998 “arms to Africa” scandal, in which his previous company Sandline was found to be breaching sanctions by importing 100 tonnes of weapons to Sierra Leone in support of the government.
Ellery, Aegis’ director of operations at the time of the Iraq contracts, previously served as chief of staff to the UN’s mission in Sierra Leone, at the time when the organisation was responsible for demobilising thousands of former child soldiers.
Interviewees in the documentary provided detailed testimony of serving as child soldiers, and documents showing their employment with Aegis.
One interviewee, Gibrilla Kuyateh, told the film’s makers: “Every time I hold a weapon, it keeps reminding me of about the past. It brings back many memories.” In extended footage seen by the Guardian he said he was kidnapped at the age of 13 by rebels who also killed his mother.
When Sierra Leone’s civil war ended in 2002, the international community spent millions of dollars giving former militia members the skills to use in peacetime. A UN mission demobilised more than 75,000 fighters, including nearly 7,000 children, at an estimated cost of $36.5m. The total number of children demobilised is understood to be far higher.
Sierra Leone remains one of the world’s poorest countries, and the documentary charts how from 2009 onwards private military firms turned to it, along with Uganda and Kenya, for cheap labour to guard military installations in Iraq.
6/8/2016: King Abdullah II, accompanied by Queen Rania, attended the 2016 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, as a guest of honor at the UK historic Edinburgh Castle with the participation of military bands from around the globe.
Upon arrival, the King was received by British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, Governor of Edinburgh Castle, Mike Riddell-Webster and a number of senior military officials as well as Jordan’s ambassador to London Mazen Homoud.
His Majesty watched a number of military tattoos performed by military bands representing different world countries including Jordan. The Royal Jordanian Honor Guard - Silent Drill Team, the Jordanian Armed Forces Band, the Royal Guards Brigade and Circassian Guards are representing the Kingdom in the festival, which coincides with the Kingdom’s celebrations of the centenary of the Great Arab Revolt. The Kingdom’s first participation in global event dated back to 1963.
His Majesty also attended a reception hosted by the Governor of Edinburgh Castle with the presence of 120 people. Ahead of the event, he met with Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon, during which they discussed ways to boost bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the military, defense and training fields. (Source: Petra)
The British Royal Air Force Aerobatic team, The Red Arrows, display their skills over Tanagra Airbase in Greece on March 20th 2016, during their overseas training known as Exercise Springhawk. The exercise runs between March 17th and April 28th, and will end with the pilots being awarded their Public Display Authority (PDA) which allows them to display in public and wear the iconic red suits. Credit: EPA/Cpl Steve Buckley MA (RAF)/British Ministry Of Defence
Though announced on
5th November, the French aircraft carrier and escorting ships pulled out of their homeport at
today, five days after the ISIS attack on Paris, bound for the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Charles de Gaulle is carrying 18
Dassault Rafales, 8 Super
Northrop Grumman E-2
Hawkeyes and 2 Dauphin and 1 Alouette III helicopters. The Royal Navy’s anti-air Type 45 destroyer HMS Defender is also currently sailing in company and British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has said: “We will consider any further requests for support from France under Article 42.7 of the EU Treaty following Friday’s Paris terror attacks.” Find the nearest rock boys, the rain’s coming.
A Japanese bomb drops on brick houses in Chapei on the edge of the International settlement, along which American and British troops are on defence duty during the Second Sino-Japanese War, on October 14, 1937. (Photo by AP Photo)
The Royal Air Force Typhoon fleet has now reached more than 100,000 flying hours. Typhoon jets play a vital role in the protection of the UK, and we remain committed to enhancing Typhoon’s capability to meet the needs of the RAF’s Future Force 2020. The picture shows a Typhoon at the Farnborough International Air Show.
The Korean War Memorial, a gift from the Republic of Korea to honour the British troops that served between 1950 and 1953, is in the form of a bronze statue of a British soldier by sculptor Philip Jackson. The memorial was unveiled in London on 3 December 2014
The current British Defence Secretary, under this Conservative government,
Rt Hon Michael Fallon, has said that the
Strategic Defence & Security Review 2015 will be delivered late this year. Here’s the scale of his challenge.
We have three pillars, sacred to the Royal Navy as a credible force. There is also an absolute budget of, at present, £34-billion, between all three branches of Britain’s armed forces. That’s just over £11-billion for the Navy to play with, without stealing from the Air Force or Army. So, for the Royal Navy, a permanent at sea carrier force and Trident SSBN presence is essential. These are also requisites for this government - meaning two Queen Elizabeth carriers must enter service and four boats of a new class be designed and built to replace the aging Vanguard fleet. Unlike the government, as far as we know, the Royal Navy also sees it’s amphibious assault assets as essentials to be retained; remembering 1982.
The two Queen Elizabeth-class carriers, though not CATOBAR configured, will boost capability exponentially. Their design offers increased sortie rate and operability in poor weather conditions. Procurement of F-35B STOVL aircraft is initially expensive, hence just 64 currently to be purchased. However, with BAE Systems building components, the programme will, after a time, make money for the United Kingdom - the whole ‘UK’ unless Scotland fuck off before then. To protect said carriers, six Type 45 Destroyers exist, currently unparalleled in airspace control. However, four still require Harpoon launchers to provide a credible anti-ship capability when operating solo. Thirteen new Type 26 Frigates are also on order which shall carry 48 Sea Ceptor SAMs, eight TLAM cruise missiles and eight Harpoon anti-shipping missiles. There is also an opportunity here for individual ships to specialise in specific tasks, e.g. ASW. Seven Astute-class hunter-killer nuclear stealth submarines shall also provide crucial protection to the carrier groups - plural as both carriers will be available for deployment,
if required, in times of heightened tensions, with full air wings.
All of the above should be relatively safe, within the small budget, along with Trident and it’s replacement home beyond Vanguard (pic 9). However, the amphibious assault fleet may be in shallow water. HMS Ocean (pic 4) is indispensable and with RFA Argus to reach the end of her lifespan in the early 2020s she will likely inherit the role of primary casualty ship. Bulwark and Albion (pic 5) are also vital to the Royal Marines, along with the three ships of the Bay-class (pic 6). Sadly they may prove targets for cuts however. Ultimately, the Royal Navy is currently running on minimum wages. Cuts from 2010 will even have to be undone with the two carriers requiring far more sailors than now available.
The equipment is there, the research and development is done, and it is world beating; quantity however, is not. More missiles, more men, more ships and Britannia could again rule when required. The Royal Navy is in a good spot to defend it’s share of the budget, for once.
Ambushed, outnumbered, and under fire, the first thing British soldier Cpl. Sean Jones did was fire a rocket at the enemy.
Then he gave the order: “Fix bayonets.”
The British Ministry of Defence just released an award citation which describes how Jones led a bayonet charge across 80 meters of open ground in the face of withering enemy fire.
“I asked [the men] if they were happy. They were all quite young lads and the adrenalin was racing. I shouted ‘follow me!’ and we went for it,” said Jones.
Jones said the ambush was “well-planned,” and came from three separate points of contact. He fired a rocket at one, and then they charged the two others.
The Taliban did not expect the “aggression and audacity” of the move, and they scattered, fleeing the fight.
From the citation:
“Fighting a determined enemy force, on ground of their own choosing, he epitomized the best qualities of the British infantry – gritty determination, controlled aggression, tactical cunning and complete disregard for his own safety.”