Author Topic: sometimes more things have happened in our military history  (Read 101507 times)

Croghan27

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7694
    • View Profile
sometimes more things have happened in our military history
« Reply #30 on: March 26, 2007, 01:09:09 AM »
Today, 26 March, 1885 the North West Rebellion began. When I went to school (don't you just love sentences that begin, "When I _____") Louie Riel was one bad dude. he openly opposed the good Queen Victoria, the (near sainted) Sir John A. and entire newly minted Canadian government.

It is all true. The late Donald Creighton described him as:
Quote
"an able but temperamental and dictatorial man, full of delusions of grandeur, quickly infuriated when his will was crossed, and quite without compunction in the use of force." A revolutionary, in other words."


Ain't nothin' wrong with that in my books.

Someone has created a website devoted to some western Canadian history (he never does give his name).

The website gives a pretty balanced view of the rebellion, Riel, Dumont, Poundmaker and the whole rebellion. Enjoy the response to The National Post's editorial or op-ed by Andrew Coyne on Riel.
"It is also a good rule not to put overmuch confidence in the observational results that are put forward until they are confirmed by theory." -- Arthur Stanley Eddington

Croghan27

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7694
    • View Profile
sometimes more things have happened in our military history
« Reply #31 on: March 29, 2007, 12:29:15 AM »
My calender for today (by the time anyone reads this, yesterday) speaks of the Battle of Bourlon in Italy.

Never having heard of it, I did a google and found one link .... the subset says:  
Quote
28 March 1944 - The Battle of Bourlon took place in Italy ..
but there is no detail what so ever. I feel quite badly about that, people died there and we have no way to honour, commemorate and learn how and why they gave their lives in this particular action.
"It is also a good rule not to put overmuch confidence in the observational results that are put forward until they are confirmed by theory." -- Arthur Stanley Eddington

Holly Stick

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6497
    • View Profile
sometimes more things have happened in our military history
« Reply #32 on: March 29, 2007, 01:50:37 AM »
I didn't find the battle of Bourlon specifically; the WWI battle of Bourlon Wood in France shows up more.  But here's a website that might interest you, Croghan; The Cannon's Mouth.  This post is a detailed book review about the First Special Service Force of Canadian and American soldiers; I'm pretty sure that's the one they made a movie about years ago, "The Devil's Brigade".  It was a good movie, as far as I remember.

Anyway the review describes each chapter a bit:
Quote
...The FSSF spent February to May 1944 in the Anzio bridgehead. As chapter 5, “Punch-Drunk: The Anzio Bridgehead”, describes, this type of combat only reinforced the Canadian perception that the Force was not fighting the type of war for which it had originally been designed, equipped and trained. Forced into a corner, Canadian Military Headquarters authorized reinforcements for the Canadian element in the FSSF in March 1944, bringing in personnel from reinforcement pools in Italy. Chapter 6, “Reorganization Under Fire”, describes this process and how the FSSF increasingly came to resemble an American Ranger type unit, fighting convention infantry operations in the bridgehead, during the breakout, and in the advance into Rome....

Maybe it was one of the raids mentioned here, from the Anzio beachhead
Quote
...From March 1st on, the bridgehead was secure. The Force, meanwhile, conducted raids against enemy positions...


One of my uncles fought in Italy, but I don't know any details.
Economics is a human creation, borders are human creations and nature doesn’t give a damn about these things. - David Suzuki

Croghan27

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7694
    • View Profile
sometimes more things have happened in our military history
« Reply #33 on: March 29, 2007, 03:28:30 AM »
Thank you, Holly:

Quote
WWI battle of Bourlon Wood in France shows up more
yes, it certainly does,, it had me confused for a bit as the commander was Lord Byng, the Marshal at Vimy. But he took over the British 3rd Corp after his success with the Canadians. (One one out of five Canadian casulities happened in the last few months of the war.)

Another connection was that this battle was generally a defeat for the Allies. After heavy fighting they reached all their objectives, but the counter attacks drove them back to their origional trenches. When the Aliies did take it, it was the Canadian forces that through some very heavy fighting indeed, acomplished what was done a year before. The crossing of the Canal du Nord was particularily dicy bit of work.

I recall The Devil's Brigade. As part of a publicity stunt a group of ex-Canadian members were invited to a preview (in Winsor, I think). They walked out half way through the showing.

I have squirreled away that military blog you provided - it looks very fruitful.  :D

I am not a historian by any stretch of the word - perhaps a (not so talented) amateur, someone with an appreciation for what they did. That wars tend to by disagreement between the ruling classes (when they are disagreements) only highlights the selfless, principled altruistic reasons that motivates the individual soldier.

One thing I am very aware of, and Steve Harper would dump on me for this, I am very conscious of there are two sides to each conflict, and (particularily now) the fighters in Iraq do not have even the apparently corrupt facilities of the Walter Reid. Yet they go to battle nevertheless.

I am still unhappy that I can find nothing on the Italian Battle - it is mentioned a couple of times in the Legion Magazine, but when you click to the link, it has nothing about it.
"It is also a good rule not to put overmuch confidence in the observational results that are put forward until they are confirmed by theory." -- Arthur Stanley Eddington

lagatta

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13093
    • View Profile
sometimes more things have happened in our military history
« Reply #34 on: March 29, 2007, 09:39:16 AM »
I've googled and checked wikipedia italia, and don't find any Bourlon in Italy - moreover it is not a typical South-Central Italian name of the areas where Canadian troops mostly fought - it sounds very French, but could also be Piemontese or Venetian - I knew partisans who fought in those areas but none of the old guys (who were VERY young guys back then, some just schoolkids) remembered any Canadians, and people do remember things like that,  you know.

It sounds like some kind of transcription area - well, we do know where Canadian troops fought in Italy - CBC archives - Italian campaign
Parks Canada - Canadian Campaign in Italy
Canada-Italy 1943-1945

D-Day Dodgersincluding Canadian versions of the song.
" Eure \'Ordnung\' ist auf Sand gebaut. Die Revolution wird sich morgen schon \'rasselnd wieder in die Höhe richten\' und zu eurem Schrecken mit Posaunenklang verkünden: \'Ich war, ich bin, ich werde sein!\' "
Rosa Luxemburg

Croghan27

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7694
    • View Profile
sometimes more things have happened in our military history
« Reply #35 on: March 30, 2007, 02:20:25 AM »
March 30, 1951: Flight-Lieutenant Omer Levesque shoots down a North Korean MiG-15 fighter aircraft in combat while attached to the United States Air Force, becoming the first Canadian pilot to score a jet-to-jet victory in the Korean War.

March 30, 1957: HMCS Skeena (2nd) is commissioned. Belonging to the St. Laurent-class of destroyer escorts, she and her sister ships were built in response to a NATO request. With the growing size of the Soviet submarine fleet, North Atlantic Treaty Organization desperately needed more anti-submarine vessels. The St-Laurent-class would fill this position for much of the Cold War.
"It is also a good rule not to put overmuch confidence in the observational results that are put forward until they are confirmed by theory." -- Arthur Stanley Eddington

lagatta

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13093
    • View Profile
sometimes more things have happened in our military history
« Reply #36 on: March 30, 2007, 06:35:44 AM »
Croghan, have you solved the mystery of the elusive Italian battle of Bourlon?  From my research above (and that of Holly, obviously), I think it is either a transcription error or a code, or some unit or piece of material bore the name of Bourlon Wood.

I have been to some of the locations in the Italian campaign. When I was there, there was not as much "historical interpretation" (signage, guides etc.) as I'd seen at the Normandy sites (both the landing beaches and Dieppe) and at Vimy, but as you can see from the sites we posted, there is much more now.
" Eure \'Ordnung\' ist auf Sand gebaut. Die Revolution wird sich morgen schon \'rasselnd wieder in die Höhe richten\' und zu eurem Schrecken mit Posaunenklang verkünden: \'Ich war, ich bin, ich werde sein!\' "
Rosa Luxemburg

Croghan27

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7694
    • View Profile
sometimes more things have happened in our military history
« Reply #37 on: March 31, 2007, 03:52:53 AM »
March 31, 1945: The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan is terminated. In total, the BCATP produced 131,553 pilots, navigators, bombardiers, wireless operators, air gunners and flight engineers of which 72,835 were Canadian.

March 31, 1868: Georges Étienne Cartier introduces the first federal Militia Bill. It calls for the creation of an Active Militia of 40,000 volunteers, supplemented by a Reserve Militia that is to include all able-bodied Canadian men between the ages of 16 and 60.
"It is also a good rule not to put overmuch confidence in the observational results that are put forward until they are confirmed by theory." -- Arthur Stanley Eddington

Croghan27

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7694
    • View Profile
sometimes more things have happened in our military history
« Reply #38 on: March 31, 2007, 04:04:57 AM »
Yo lagatta:

Quote
Croghan, have you solved the mystery of the elusive Italian battle of Bourlon? From my research above (and that of Holly, obviously), I think it is either a transcription error or a code, or some unit or piece of material bore the name of Bourlon Wood.


No, there seems to be no documentation on it at all. I am going to write the editors of the Legion Magazine and ask for some direction in this - the simple declaritive statement that it occured in Italy, on 28 March, 1944 is so unique and definite that there must be something to it. "a transcription error or a code" is, I think remote as the reference is pretty specific to be an accident.

Perhaps someone who was involved in a smaller action, unwilling to allow it be skimed over in the larger sheme of things, inserted it - but I, you and Holly am not even sure there is a Bourlon in Italy.
"It is also a good rule not to put overmuch confidence in the observational results that are put forward until they are confirmed by theory." -- Arthur Stanley Eddington

lagatta

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13093
    • View Profile
sometimes more things have happened in our military history
« Reply #39 on: March 31, 2007, 04:14:33 AM »
I'm fairly sure there isn't a Bourlon in Italy, as any wee hamlet I have ever looked for shows up on google, Italian wikipedia or othe search sites - tiny hamlets are frazioni - that is incorporated into something similar to a larger township - and the frazioni would be listed. It could only "exist" in the sense of being some kind of Canadian military code, in reference to the battle in the previous World War.
" Eure \'Ordnung\' ist auf Sand gebaut. Die Revolution wird sich morgen schon \'rasselnd wieder in die Höhe richten\' und zu eurem Schrecken mit Posaunenklang verkünden: \'Ich war, ich bin, ich werde sein!\' "
Rosa Luxemburg

Croghan27

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7694
    • View Profile
sometimes more things have happened in our military history
« Reply #40 on: March 31, 2007, 04:42:50 AM »
Yo lagatta:

I have shipped off a letter to the editors of the Legion Magazine. It is just over in Kanata and I would call were the time not what it is, I may on Monday.

That it might be "some kind of Canadian military code," had not occured to me, and would explain many things. I plan to visit the War Museum next week, it is just down the street from me. I shall, if all else fails, speak to them - perhaps they can supply some reference.
"It is also a good rule not to put overmuch confidence in the observational results that are put forward until they are confirmed by theory." -- Arthur Stanley Eddington

Holly Stick

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6497
    • View Profile
sometimes more things have happened in our military history
« Reply #41 on: March 31, 2007, 09:30:06 PM »
Aha!  I found it!  It looks like it was a name the Canadian forces gave to an enemy outpost or something like that.  Starting at page 73 (thank goodness for highlighted search terms):
Quote
..."BOURLON" (285161), a case in point, exemplified our repeated and unsuccessful attempts to capture an enemy outpost. This position at Casa Colombo, commanding a considerable portion of our own forward positions, was situated on the western edge of the gully running roughly parallel to and east of the Tollo - Torre Muchia road, from which it separated the area known as the Piane di Moregine. On 20 Mar a platoon of Carlt & York R. attacked the position, but they were forced to withdraw in the face of heavy machine gun fire. On 22, 23 and 24 Mar our mortars smoked the far side of the gully with the idea of simulating further infantry attacks. The first of these experiments obtained an immediate and remarkable reaction in that the enemy apparently arose as one man and threw grenades into the smoke area. The presence of the Germans in what now appeared to be platoon strength was dumb-founding since no movement had been seen for some time previously and there was no indication of the means by which this position was supplied. On the third day our mortars mixed H.E. bombs with their smoke in order to catch the grenade throwers while they were up. This apparently discouraged them, for two days later a further invitation to play was disappointing. (Ibid, 3 Apr 44). On the night 27/28 Mar West N.S.R. took their turn at solving the mystery of "BOURLON", approaching it with two sections from the left and right. The left section succeeded in exploding a bangalore torpedo in the position without provoking any reprisal. The right hand party became involved in a maze of trap wires and booby traps. During the day a platoon of West N.S.R. remained on the feature enduring mortar and M.G. fire, and was reinforced at night by an additional platoon. Fierce fighting followed and the force subsequently withdrew, having suffered casualties of three killed, twelve wounded and one missing (Ibid)...

It goes on to say they attacked it a few more times in April, but never took the position.

REPORT NO. 178; HISTORICAL OFFICER; CANADIAN MILITARY HEADQUARTERS; CANADIAN OPERATIONS IN ITALY; 5 JAN - 21 APR 44

It looks like the report date is 22 Jul 47.
At the end it has Colonel C.P. Stacey, Director Historical Section, so it was done under his supervision, I guess.

www.dnd.ca/dhh/downloads/cmhq/cmhq178.pdf+bourlon,+italy&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=44&gl=ca]1 Report No. 178[/url]
Economics is a human creation, borders are human creations and nature doesn’t give a damn about these things. - David Suzuki

Croghan27

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7694
    • View Profile
sometimes more things have happened in our military history
« Reply #42 on: March 31, 2007, 09:40:27 PM »
WOW Holly, such is why I am not a professional historian. Great work ...  :clap:  :canada  :doh:
"It is also a good rule not to put overmuch confidence in the observational results that are put forward until they are confirmed by theory." -- Arthur Stanley Eddington

Holly Stick

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6497
    • View Profile
sometimes more things have happened in our military history
« Reply #43 on: March 31, 2007, 10:15:59 PM »
:D So Croghan was right that it happened, and lagatta was right that it was a code name.

Here's the DHH home, but I can't figure out how to find the official report I quoted above.  Maybe it's not available to the public at the moment, or else it's part of the publications they have listed.

http://www.dnd.ca/hr/dhh/engraph/home_e.asp

Croghan, if you check their "Significant Dates in Canadian Military History" on the upper left, the only entry they have for March 28 is in 1961:
Quote
The first CF-104 Starfighter interceptor aircraft are delivered to the Royal Canadian Air Force from their manufacturer in Montreal
Economics is a human creation, borders are human creations and nature doesn’t give a damn about these things. - David Suzuki

lagatta

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13093
    • View Profile
sometimes more things have happened in our military history
« Reply #44 on: March 31, 2007, 10:46:22 PM »
Holly - and Croghan - we can raise our glasses! I have done a lot of painstaking historical work on Italian emigration, much of it from that very region... I would have known of an actual Bourlon (as I said, a most atypical place name for south-central Italy where the Canadians were fighting). I think I did get the code idea from some of the old guys (and a few grils) I interviewed - thank you for your exquisite research work pinning it down!

Next time they say we lefties pooh pooh fighting men/women!

We can have a historian party. What does one do?
" Eure \'Ordnung\' ist auf Sand gebaut. Die Revolution wird sich morgen schon \'rasselnd wieder in die Höhe richten\' und zu eurem Schrecken mit Posaunenklang verkünden: \'Ich war, ich bin, ich werde sein!\' "
Rosa Luxemburg

 

Return To TAT