In the summer of 1644, the Royalist forces were threatening London in the English Civil War with the Parliamentarians. The Royalists confidently blocked a Parliamentarian force near Winchester and forced a battle. They would regret it. The battle was a turning point in the southern campaign and suddenly stopped the Royalist pincer strategy on London by destroying the lower jaw of it.
This is one of my favourite local rides. The battlefield is highly accessible by bike and foot with multiple farm tracks and lanes. Additionally, this part of Hampshire is beautiful and the lanes and good "A" roads around here make it a great Sunday morning ride.
I haven't often written about my own military experience on this site, but the next version of the Military History Carnival gives me good reason to do so. MHC edition 14 is about contested boundaries, so I thought I would brush off the memories and write a post about my time on the old east/west German/Czech border during the Cold War. Fittingly, 14 May is the anniversary of the signing of the Warsaw pact in 1955.
In mid January 1944, the slow, hard slog up the Italian peninsula was into its fourth month already and the Allies were looking for innovative ways to break the formidable German defenses. With the plan for an amphibious operation at Anzio, US Fifth Army Commander Mark Clark feared the landing force being forced back into the sea by the German reserve forces around Rome. In an attempt to draw the Germans away from the Rome and Anzio area and further south, he ordered an attack by the 36th Infantry Division from Texas across the Rapido River to the south of Cassino. Secondarily, there was even some hope that the attack might succeed with an armored follow up by the 1st Armored Division that would storm up the Liri River valley and beyond. Clark met his first objective, but failed miserably with the secondary objective. The Battle of of the Rapido River, or "Bloody River" as its participants called it, was a disaster on the scale of Omaha Beach, but without the merit of a final success.
Campaign, Theatre or War?
The war involving the United States of America (USA) and the Creek Indians of 1813-1814 has its fingers in many historical pies. Does one consider the fighting a mere theatre or campaign of the War of 1812 or a separate war on its own? Were the Creeks part of an American Indian confederation or acting out a long festering civil war? If part of a confederation, were they allied with the British like their northern confederates? If so, should the British have forced the Americans to honour the Treaty of Ghent’s provisions on restoring land after the cessation of the War of 1812 as they did in the north? These are all legitimate questions, but the subtleties of the causes and effects of the War of 1812 make them almost indiscernible definitively.
On 22 December 1944, the German Army was near their zenith in the
Battle of the Bulge and had surrounded the town of Bastogne, a key road
hub of the area. The USA 101st Airborne had control of the town, but
had no support. The German Army sent 2 officers and 2 NCOs to deliver
the ulimatum to surrender, but were met with the reply of 101st acting
commander General Anthony McAuliffe of "NUTS!"
A source of great pride in the 101st forever more, McAuliffe's response
has gone down in history as possibly the 2nd best defiance of a
surrender request. Molon Labe being the undisputed best.
Once again, England is brought low by snow (or a few inches of rain, or wind, or leaves on the line, geesh)
Here in North Hampshire, we received the better part of an inch. I
wonder how places that get snow more frequently deal with these
problems? Judicious use of salt? England can't even buy that stuff without creating a market shamble of it.