us infantry

4

The Swingin’ Harlem Hellfighters Band,

The Harlem Hellfighters have taken to the spotlight in modern times thanks to the popularity of the video game “Battlefield 1″, where the African American soldiers are featured in the very opening of the game. The US 369th Infantry Regiment was a unit of African American soldiers who served with incredible distinction during World War I. During the war many white American soldiers refused to serve with blacks, and as a result the 369th was assigned to the French Army, the French having little qualms with serving with African Americans, nor did they have a policy of segregation such as the US Army. They were even issued French weapons and wore French helmets while in combat. During their service in World War I the 369th was nicknamed by the French “The Harlem Hellfighters” because of their tenacious fighting spirit.  They never gave ground in combat, not one soldier was ever captured, and they served the longest continuous deployment of any other Allied unit during the war (191 days of continuous combat). Due to their bravery, they were also among the most decorated Allied units, with two Medals of Honor, 171 French Croix de Guerre’s, and numerous Distinguished Service Crosses.

One of the most unique features of the Harlem Hellfighter’s was their band, perhaps the only unit in the entire war to have a ragtime band.  Unlike pretty much all other military bands which played traditional marches and martial music, the Harlem Hellfighter Band played the music they loved and could perform best, mostly American ragtime music and early forms of Jazz.  The Harlem Hellfighter Band was directed by Lt. James Reese Europe, a man who was certainly fit for the job as he was the band leader of the Clef Club Orchestra, a band popular in New York for their ragtime and proto-jazz music.

On April 8th, 1918 French soldiers turned their heads in wonder as The Harlem Hellfighters marched toward the front to the tunes of hot ragtime and Jazz beats. 

No one in Europe had ever heard such music, in fact Jazz was barely even heard in the United States outside of a few communities in New Orleans, Chicago, and New York.  The new music became an instant hit among both French and British soldiers, and before long the Harlem Hellfighters Band was being called to perform for French and British units all along the line, as well as villages they passed through. Soon, the Harlem Hellfighters swinging sound took Western Europe by storm, and the band was even invited to perform in Paris at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. Among the Hellfighters biggest hits was a ragtime tune called “Memphis Blues”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJPztEjzf6s

Another popular hit was “On Patrol in No Man’s Land”, written by Lt. James Europe himself while recuperating after being wounded in a poison gas attack while on patrol.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpFCuZ-B4j0

And then of course the biggest crowd pleaser given the location and audience was a jazzed up version of “Le Marseillaise”  

After the war the band would make a grand tour of Europe, then return home and make a grand tour of the United States. Stories of the Harlem Hellfighters unique sound had spread across American and people were demanding more.  During their American tour, the band cut 24 records. Everywhere they went, whether in Europe or the United States, they drew huge cheering crowds, they had become the superstars of their day. 

Unfortunately the story of the Harlem Hellfighters Band did not end well for James Europe. On the night of May 9th, 1919 Europe confronted one of his drummers over poor and unprofessional behavior.  The drummer, known as a hothead among the band members, attacked Europe and stabbed him in the throat with a penknife. Europe bled out and died while in the hospital later that night.

The legacy of the Harlem Hellfighters Band is as grand and all encompassing for music as the Great War itself.  Essentially, the band is credited with spreading the popularity of Jazz throughout Europe and America. Before World War I, Jazz was a niche genre of music, common only among African Americans living in certain areas of New York, New Orleans, and Chicago.  After the exploits of the Harlem Hellfighters Band Jazz would spread across the world, becoming the dominant form of popular music up to the 1950′s and serving as the predecessor to popular music styles today such as rock, hip hop, pop, and soul.

9

Line infantry mainly used three formations in its battles: the line, the square and the column.

Line tactics required a strict discipline and simple movements, practiced to the point where they became second-nature. During training, the drill and corporal punishments were widely used.

“It’s their own fault. They should’ve never given us uniforms, if they didn’t want us to be an army.”

requested by anonymous

whiteraven13  asked:

The country in my fantasy novel is mostly inspired by Moorish Spain. I was wondering, would scimitars make sense to give to the basic low-level infantrymen in the army or would only the more wealthy/higher ranked people have those?

The cavalry have those. The scimitar is a blade specifically designed to be used from horseback. It’s the grandfather of most cavalry blades, including those used in Europe down through the centuries. The curved design and single edge meant it could slash enemies with less risk of losing the blade as you traveled past at high speeds. A stabbing weapon that buries itself in an enemy and you’re at risk of it getting stuck as the horse races past, then you lose your weapon. It was so successful a design that it traveled throughout the world. The scimitar is a very visually distinctive weapon which is why you see it everywhere, but it’s not an infantry sidearm. It also wasn’t the only sword in use.

Javelins rather than swords, apparently, were a symbol of rank.

The basic rule of thumb for swords in the (mostly) western world is curved for cavalry and straight for infantry. The curved, single edged sword like a saber is also the weapon of choice for boarding actions in naval combat. The reason being that the single edged blade can’t be forced back into you when in tight quarters. (I know someone out there is crying, but katana. The Japanese thought that too about British/Naval sabers, they were wrong.)

It’s probably worth remembering as you begin your investigation that “Moor” was the European term for Muslim, and that covers a vast variety of different ethnicities and cultures from Persia to North Africa; many of whom practiced distinct variations of their religion. Because these cultures are so different, it’s important that you narrow your search down to specified groups. This will help you when it comes to determining weapons, troop movements, battle strategies, and tactics.

Some things to remember, the Muslim invasion of the Iberian Peninsula was one of the (many) factors that kicked off the Crusades. The Muslims of the period were more scientifically advanced than the Europeans. If you wanted to see a doctor in the Middle Ages, and wanted to live, you went to see a Muslim. It’s one of the many inventions we can thank the Middle East for, including our numerical system and the survival of Aristotle. You know, an interesting period in history.

However, in the beginning, at least, the conquered Spain was part of a larger empire that spanned the Middle East and North Africa. So, if you really want to know what weapons were carried then its important to look to the invaders and their culture. Whether the scimitar was even in use really depends on the period you want to reference. 711 A.D? 1011 A.D? 1212 A.D? Or when the last Muslim foothold on the Iberian Peninsula finally came to an end in 1492, around the same time Columbus sailed the ocean blue?

It’s a huge period in history that covers a lot of ground. Try to remember that military evolution happens very quickly, and is influenced heavily by the enemies engaged.

When it comes to Moorish battle tactics, I know very little about them. I can tell you they tended to favor lighter armaments and light horses/coursers rather than the heavy. Here’s an overview of the Umayyad conquest that includes troop movements.

The answer to your question, though, of what did the infantry use is spears.

Here’s Wikipedia on Medieval Warfare.

Here’s Wikipedia on the Moors.

Wikipedia on the Umayadd conquest.

Wikipedia on Al-Adulus (Andalusia).

The tactics used in La Reconquista in 1347.

Watch some history nerds go at it (with references) on the Historum forums.

Warfare and Firearms in Fifteenth Century, Morrocco 1400-1492.

The Culture and Civilization of the Umayyads.

Swords and Sabers During the Early Islamic Period.

Islamic Arms and Armor.

An Overview of the Umayyad Caliphate.

More nerds discussing Medieval Arab warfare, strategy, and tactics on the Historum forums. (Love your nerds.)

Always remember: Wikipedia is a jumping off point for research, it is not the end. It’s a decent overview that will give you a grounding to start from but, as any good college professor will tell you, you want the citations at the bottom not the article header or the words in the middle.

The subject of warfare is complicated, to say the least, and covers a vast array of cultures across both Europe, the Middle East, Eastern Europe/Byzantine/Ottomans, and, occasionally, Central Asia.

Hopefully though, this gives you a jumping off point for more specified research into the time period and the armor worn/weapons wielded/tactics used.

-Michi

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Pfc. Terry Paul Moore of Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was number one Browning Automatic Rifleman in 2nd Platoon, Company ‘F’, 184th Infantry Regiment of the US 7th Infantry Division and is lighting his first cigarette of the day on the island of Okinawa soon after the dawn attack on the town of Yonabaru. In the early morning of the 22nd of May 1945.

French late WW1 Grenadier uniform

Line infantry uniform featuring the capote et pantalon Mle1914/15 greatcoat and pants cut from horizon blue wool, along with the standard webbing, pouches, M2 gas mask transit tin, haversack and of course the Mle1915 Adrian helmet. The accompanying Lebel rifle is fitted with a tromblon Vivien-Bessiere grenade launcher.
The number of grenadiers per company kept increasing from the initial eight soldiers from 1916 to the end of the war, and were used as indirect fire infantry support either from the trenches or during an assault. The device was usually fired with the rifle resting on the ground at a 60 degrees angle, but could be fired from the shoulder in a pinch.

Pfc Terry P. Moore of the 7th Infantry Division on Okinawa with a BAR, photographed by W. Eugene Smith for his story “24 Hours in the Life of a Soldier”. Pfc Moore, 23, was from Albuquerque, New Mexico. His unit was 2nd Platoon, Company F. 184th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division.