Historia militar - [PDF Document] (2024)


    BOEINGS B-17



    Alexander the GreatWORLD WAR II



    SEPTEMBER 2014


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    olume 16, N

    o. 2


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    Military Heritage (ISSN 1524-8666) is published bimonthly bySovereign Media, 6731 Whittier Ave., Suite A-100, McLean VA22101-4554 (703) 964-0361. Periodical postage PAID at McLean, VA,and additional mailing offices. Military Heritage, Volume 16,Number 2 2014 by Sovereign MediaCompany, Inc., all rights reserved.Copyrights to stories and illustrations are the property of theircreators. The contents of this publication may not bereproduced inwhole or in part without consent of the copyright owner.Subscription Services, back issues, and Information: 1(800)219-1187 or writeto Military Heritage Circulation, MilitaryHeritage, P.O. Box 1644, Williamsport, PA 17703. Single copies:$5.99, plus $3 for postage. Yearly subscrip-tion in U.S.A.: $18.95;Canada and Overseas: $30.95 (U.S.). Editorial Office: Sendeditorial mail to Military Heritage, 6731 Whittier Ave., SuiteA-100,McLean VA 22101-4554. Military Heritage welcomes editorialsubmissions but assumes no responsibility for the loss or damage ofunsolicited material.Material to be returned should be accompaniedby a self-addressed, stamped envelope. We suggest that you send aself-addressed, stamped envelope for acopy of our authorsguidelines. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Military Heritage,P.O. Box 1644, Williamsport, PA 17703.



    COVER: WWII era B-17 bomber Aluminum Overcast, restored andflown by the Experimental Aircraft Association, is a popularattraction at air shows across the U.S. See story page 12. Photo:Buddy Mays; www.buddymays.com


    f e a t u r e s24 UNSTOPPABLE GOD OF WAR: ALEXANDER AT ISSUSByCharles HilbertA vast Persian host arrayed on the banks of theRiver Pinarus in 333 BC stood astride Alexander the Greats supplyline. Anything short of a complete victory for the Macedoniansmeant certain annihilation.

    32 SHOWDOWN IN THE ALEUTIANSBy Phil ZimmerWhen Japanese forcesgained a foothold in the Aleutian Islands in June 1942, a majorcommitment of U.S. forces was needed to oust the invaders.

    40 MANY GALLANT MEN WERE LOSTBy Kelly BellGeneral Richard Ewellstroops tried repeatedly to drive resilient Yankees from thehighground at Culps Hill on the Union right flank at Gettysburg,but failed each time.

    48 CANNONBALLS, GRAPESHOT, AND PROFANITYBy David A. NorrisIn1745, a rowdy army of New England militia set its sights on theFrench-held Louisbourg, the most forbidding stone fortress in NorthAmerica.

    56 VICTORY AT A DREADFUL COSTBy William E. WelshOn August 18,1870, the Prussians fought a savage battle with the French atGravelotte-Saint-Privat. Despite a series of blunders, thePrussians superior numbersand artillery enabled them to carry theday.

    c o l u m n s6 EDITORIAL


    12 WEAPONS



    64 BOOKS

    70 GAMES



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    6 Military Heritage September 2014

    The French sought revenge after the fall of Louisbourg.


    colonists over the French at Louisbourg in June 1745 duringKing

    Georges War (1744-1748), the Province of Massachusetts Baybraced

    for the inevitable raids by the French and their Native Americanallies

    on two fronts. The western front was northwest Massachusetts,and the

    eastern front was the coast of present-day Maine.In a campaignlasting one and a half months,

    a force composed entirely of Americancolonists had, through acombination of goodluck and strong wits, successfully besiegedtheGibraltar of the New World located on CapeBreton Island.

    In the wake of the victory, MassachusettsGovernor WilliamShirley ordered the con-struction of three new forts on the westernbor-der and arranged for additional troops to beassigned togarrisons at existing forts in Maine,such as Forts St. Georges andFrederick.

    The Iroquois descended on English settle-ments in New York andwestern Massachu-setts, and the Abaneki attacked the Englishset-tlements on the seaweed-laced coastal watersof Maine. TheAbaneki were one of the fivenations of the Wabanaki Confederacy.Theirancestral lands lay between the Merrimack andthe PenobscotRivers, but by the 1740s theyhad been driven east of the PenobscotRiver.

    The French and the Wabanaki nations hadforged bonds ofbrotherhood during the morethan half a century of wars conductedagainstthe English. The English settlements werelocated onpeninsulas shaped like osprey talonsalong the wide bays andestuaries of mid-coastMaine.

    The French and Abaneki attacks began inJuly 1745. Armed withhatchets, bows, andmuskets, the Abanekis excelled atguerrillawarfare. Attacking in bands as small as six, andon someoccasions in groups as large as 100,the warriors conductedhit-and-run attacksagainst the English. They assaulted frontierfor-tifications, burned houses, ambushed farmers,and slaughteredcattle. If an English settler wasnot slain and scalped on the spot,he or she wasdragged off to the attackers village.

    On the whole, the attacks against English set-tlements in Mainedid not occur on the scalethey did in New York, where aFrench-led

    attack in November 1745 against undefendedSaratoga resulted inthe death of 30 settlers andthe capture of 60 others.

    In Massachusetts, Shirley continued to sendcolonial troops toMaine. The additional man-power enabled the garrisons to send outregu-lar patrols designed to disrupt enemy attacks.In September1747, a force of 60 French andAbanekis launched a major attack onFortFrederick at Pemaquid. Even though the garri-son of Americancolonists was only half thenumber of the attacking force, it wasable torepulse the attack mainly because the fort wasmade of stoneand therefore difficult to burn.

    The loss of lives in the frontier war was notgreat when comparedto the naval and marineactions of King Georges War. Nevertheless,thenumber of soldiers and settlers taken prisonerby both sides wassubstantial as shown by thenumber of prisoners exchanged. Forexample,French ships sailed into Boston in August 1747with 270freed prisoners, and Massachusettsvessels arrived at Ile auxBasques in October ofthe same year to free 63 prisoners.

    King Georges War was part of the longer Warof the AustrianSuccession, which pitted Britainagainst France and her Europeanallies. Follow-ing the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle on October18,1748, an Abaneki delegation was granted safepassage to Bostonwhere its members on June23, 1748, agreed to cease hostilities.

    A key point worth noting in the aftermathof the war is that inreturning Cape BretonIsland (and hence Louisbourg) to the Frenchinexchange for Madras in India, the Britishdeeply antagonized theAmerican colonists.Indeed, the Americans were so incensed thatinthe subsequent French and Indian War(1754-1763) they let theBritish take Louis-bourg themselves. That expedition requiredthreetimes the number of troops to achievethe same goal.

    William E. Welsh

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    Growler had departed Brisbane,Australia, on January 1, 1943,topatrol shipping lanes between Trukand Rabaul in the BismarckIslands,off the northeastern coast of NewGuinea, an area that wasbristlingwith Japanese aircraft and arma-ment. During the month ofJanuary,

    Growler sank a number of Japanesecargo ships. Then, there wastrouble.

    On the night of February 4,Growler spotted a Japanese convoyofmerchant ships with two patrolboats escorting it. Because oftheweather conditions and resultingpoor visibility, Gilmore optedfor a

    surface attack. Growler slippedthrough the darkness to get aheadofthe Japanese ships. As the Gato-classsubmarine was closing in,the leadJapanese ship spotted her andopened fire. Gilmore quicklytookthe boat down and rigged her for adepth charge attack.

    For what seemed like hours butwas actually only about 40minutes,depth charges shook the submarine,eventually rupturing amanhole gas-ket in the forward main ballast tank.Seawater pouredinto the forwardtorpedo room until a damage con-trol party was ableto staunch theflow with a rubber sheet stretchedover the manholesecured with jacks.

    Meanwhile, the Japanese attackhad finally ended, and Gilmorecameup to periscope depth where he sawthree of the Japanese shipspullingaway while one patrol boat remainedin the area. Growlerspumps werekeeping up with the seawater stillseeping into theforward part of theboat, and Gilmore kept Growler sub-merged andquietly slipped away.

    When darkness came, Gilmoretook the vessel to the surfaceandmade the necessary repairs. After-ward, Growler continued itsmission.

    When the Japanese attacked PearlHarbor on December 7, 1941,theNavy had 55 submarines in thePacific Ocean with the speed,range,and endurance to operate as part ofthe Navys battle fleet. Inaddition, theNavy had 18 medium (or S-boat) sub-


    Pacific Ocean, U.S. Navy Commander Howard W. Gilmore, commanderof

    the USS Growler (SS-215), and his crew carved out a place forthemselves in

    Navy legend and set a standard of duty that is remembered in thesubmarine

    service today. For his actions that day, Gilmore received theMedal of Honor.

    s ol d i e r s

    USS Growler Commander Howard W. Gilmoresacrificed his life tosave his crew and vessel inFebruary 1943 while on patrol in thePacific.

    B y C h u c k L y o n s

    s ol d i e r s



    . Nav


    U.S. Navy Commander

    Howard W. Gilmore

    (above), wounded during a

    surface attack by the USS

    Growler, made a heroic

    sacrifice (right) on

    February 7, 1943, by

    ordering an immediate dive

    even though he knew he

    would be left in the water.

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    marines, slower and of more limited range. TheNavy withdrew theS-boats from service in mid-1943 as new fleet submarines wereproduced.The S-boats were then relegated to training.

    A short six hours after the Japanese attack,the Navy chief ofstaff ordered U.S. forces inthe Pacific to execute unrestricted airand sub-marine warfare against Japan. That orderauthorized all U.S.submarines in the Pacific toattack and sink without warning anywarship,commercial vessel, or civilian passenger shipflying theJapanese flag.

    When I took command of the Pacific fleeton December 31, 1941,our submarines werealready operating against the enemy, theonlyunits of the fleet that could come to grips withthe Japanesefor months to come. It was to thesubmarine force that I looked tocarry theload, wrote U.S. Pacific Fleet CommanderAdmiral ChesterNimitz.

    The four U.S. submarines in Pearl Harbor atthe time of theJapanese attackUSS Narwhal,Dolphin, Tautog, and Cachalot, in theNavyYard for repairshad escaped the attack with-out damage. Theyand other U.S. submarineshad gone on patrol as early as December11,1941, in the waters around the Philippines andIndochina.

    The United States unabating submarineattacks on Japaneseshipping during the nextthree years were to prove a decisive factorin thecollapse of the Japanese economy. Over thecourse of the war,U.S. submarines, though theyaccounted for only about two percent ofthe U.S.Navy, destroyed more than 30 percent of theJapanese Navy,including eight aircraft carriers,one battleship, and 11 cruisers.U.S. submarinesalso destroyed more than 60 percent of theJapanesemerchant fleet, crippling Japans abil-ity to supply its militaryforces and industry.

    Howard Gilmore was born in Selma,Alabama, on September 29, 1902.He joinedthe Navy on November 15, 1920, serving as asimple enlistedman. Two years later, he passedthe examination to enter the U.S.Naval Acad-emy and won an appointment. Gilmore grad-uated from theacademy in June 1926, stand-ing 34 in a class of 436 men. Hereceived acommission and was assigned to serve on thebattleship USSMississippi and later on thedestroyer USS Perry.

    In 1931, Gilmore attended the Navy subma-rine school at NewLondon, Connecticut, andfrom 1932 until 1935 received additionaltrain-ing at the Naval Postgraduate School and theWashington NavyYard. He was then assignedto the newly built submarine USS Shark(SS-

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    174), a Porpoise-class submarine, becoming herexecutive officerand navigator when she wascommissioned in January 1936.

    While with the Shark on her shakedowncruise, Gilmore went ashorein Panama andwas attacked by a group of men who beat himand cut histhroat. Luckily, he survived the nearfatal attack and waseventually able to returnto duty.

    In 1941, Gilmore took command of theShark but was transferredthe day after theJapanese attack on Pearl Harbor to commandofGrowler, still under construction at the Elec-tric Boat Companyyard in Groton, Connecti-cut. Growler was commissioned on March20,1942. After her shakedown cruise, Growlerbegan operating out ofPearl Harbor and wasone of seven submarines assigned picketdutynorth and west of the islands as part of theHawaiian defenseduring the early phases of theBattle of Midway in June 1942. Thenshe wenton patrol.

    In June 1942, on the first of her four warpatrols under Gilmorescommand, Growlerwas assigned to patrol around Dutch Harbor,inAlaskas Aleutian Islands, one of the fewplaces on U.S. territory tobe bombed by theJapanese during the war. That attack had cometheprevious May. Earlier in June, the Japanesewere also successful inseizing and occupyingthe two Aleutian islands of Attu andKiska.

    Five days into that patrol, Gilmore saw hisfirst action whenthree enemy destroyers weresighted lying at anchor. He fired threetorpe-does, one of which hit the Japanese destroyerArare amidships.As Growler surfaced, shecould see the Arare burst into flames asherboilers exploded. Meanwhile, Gilmores secondtorpedo hit the bowof the destroyer Kasumi. Athird Japanese destroyer, the Shiranuhi,firedtwo torpedoes at Growler before she in turnwas hit in the bowby Gilmores third torpedo.The two Japanese torpedoes passed toeachside, missing Growler as Gilmore took his sub-marine down.

    The destroyer Arare was sunk, and the othertwo Japanesedestroyers were severely damagedbut were able to limp back to Japanfor repairs.The official Navy report of the action erro-neouslycredits Growler with sinking two of theJapanese destroyers.

    It was an auspicious beginning, and thereport of the actionpraises Gilmore and hiscrew. The first war patrol of the Growlerwasextremely well conducted and the results weremost gratifying,states the report. The attackon three anchored destroyers meritsthe highestpraise. For his actions, Gilmore was awardeda NavyCross.

    On Growlers next two patrols, Gilmoreadded to his record bysinking four Japanesemerchantmen in the East China Sea andbeingawarded a Gold Star in lieu of a secondNavy Cross.

    It is Growlers fourth patrol that is remem-bered today.

    The Japanese had overrun Rabaul in 1942and converted it intotheir main base in theSouth Pacific. By 1943, there wereabout110,000 Japanese troops based there. Truk, asecond majorJapanese base in the SouthPacific, is located in the CarolineIslands and isabout 1,800 miles northeast of Rabaul.

    Growler had been in its patrol area only fivedays beforesighting an enemy convoy. Maneu-vering inside the convoy escorts,Gilmore firedtwo torpedoes that hit one of the Japanese cargoships.As the stricken ship, the Chif*cku Maru, apassenger and cargo shipof 6,000 tons, wassinking, Growler was spotted and forced todiveand ride out a depth charge attack.

    Eight days later, she sank another 6,000-tonpassenger and cargoship, the Miyadono Maru.Gilmore then shifted his patrol area westtoattack shipping between Truk and Palau in theCaroline Islands.Growler attacked and dam-aged a freighter and again sufferedthrough asevere depth charge attack.

    On February 4, Growler suffered the rup-tured manhole covergasket during the 40-minute depth charge attack against thefour-ship Japanese convoy before slipping quietlyaway. After therepairs to damage from thatattack had been made, Growler continuedherpatrol with Gilmores submarine making twomore torpedo attacksbut failing to sink anyenemy shipping.

    Shortly after 1 AM on February 7, Growlerwas on the surfacecharging her batteries whena lookout spotted a Japanese gunboat,lateridentified as the Hayasaki, and began anapproach. The Hayasakiwas a 2,500-ton ship

    made especially to combat submarines. At thetime, weatherconditions, as well as the night-time darkness, had reducedvisibility consider-ably. As Growler approached, Hayasaki spot-tedher and quickly turned, intending to ramthe American boat. Gilmore,who was on thebridge, sounded the collision alarm andsharplyordered left full rudder and all ahead flankin an attempt toavoid the impending collision.Instead, the sharp turn broughtGrowler into aramming course of her own, and she struck theenemyship amidships at 11 knots, ripping openHayasakis side plating.

    Hayasaki responded with murderousmachine-gun fire from several.50-caliber guns atwhat was almost point-blank range, sweepingthesubmarines bridge and killing Officer of theDeck Ensign W. Williamsand lookout FiremanW.F. Kelley. Two other crewmen on the bridgealsowere severely wounded, one having a legblown off and the othersuffering severe woundsto his arm. Gilmore was also severelywoundedand was forced to clutch the bridge rail to remainupright.Growler was heeled over to 50 degreesand had bent 18 feet of herbow to the side. Herforward torpedo tubes were disabled.

    Fearing his boat was about to be lost alto-gether if it did notsubmerge immediately,Gilmore ordered the bridge cleared. Theexec-utive officer and the quartermaster descendedand pulled thetwo wounded men into the con-ning tower after them, but Gilmore wastoobadly wounded to make his way to the hatchand back intoGrowler.

    Still clutching the rail, he ordered, Take herdown.

    Executive Officer Lt. Cmdr. Arnold Schade,who had sufferedsevere bruising and wasdazed after falling down the ladder intothecontrol room, waited below. Hearing the order,he hesitatedbriefly and then obeyed. Somesources indicate that Schade acted toclose thehatch only after Gilmore had given the same

    The Growler, with a 3-inch gun mounted on the forward section,gets underway on May 5, 1943.

    Both:U.S. Navy

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    order a second time. Curiously, the officialreport of theincident, presumably written bySchade, does not mention the takeher downorder at all. The report reads that after the exec-utiveofficer, the quartermaster, and twowounded men were inside theconning towerabout 30 seconds passed. No one elseappeared at thehatch. Sounded diving alarm,closed the hatch. Submerged.

    Growler blew out its ballast tanks andslipped away from Hayasakiand below thewaves as Hayasaki continued spraying the boatwithmachine-gun fire. Schade took commandof Growler, which now hadwater in its controlroom from leaks in the conning tower and inthepump room, but was able to level the boatat a depth of 150 feetwhile crew membersstruggled to control the flooding. Threedepthcharges were noted but at a considerable dis-tance fromGrowler.

    We had bullet holes in the conning towerwhich nearly flooded usout, Schade reported.It caused us to lose all auxiliary powerandstarted an electrical fire. We stayed down fortwentyminutes.

    By then the crew had stabilized the situation,and Schade hadrecovered his full senses. Hebrought Growler to the surface againseekingto reengage the enemy, but the Hayasaki wasgone. Schadereported that she had been sunk,but the Japanese ship had been ableto steamaway under her own power. A search of thearea failed tolocate the bodies of Williams,Kelley, and Gilmore. Their bodieshave neverbeen found.

    Schade took Growler back to Brisbane withher surface speedreduced by about 30 percentand her diving control extremelydifficult.The boat arrived there on February 17. Thesubmarine wasimmediately taken into drydock and repaired. She fought again, atfirstunder the command of Schade, who was at thetime the youngestU.S. submarine commanderin the service. Growler had also been givenanew nickname.

    When the Australians replaced our dam-aged bow they put twolittle kangaroos there asa sort of figure-head, wrote Schade. It[was]our most prized distinctive marking. Themarkings led toGrowler being called the Kan-garoo Express.

    After the repairs, she continued operating inthe Pacific.Growler was lost on her 11th warpatrol in November 1944. OnNovember 8, asubmarine pack led by Growler, then under thecommandof Captain T.B. Ben Oakley, hadclosed on a Japanese convoy south ofMindoroin the Philippine Islands with Growler on theopposite sideof the convoy from two other U.S.

    submarines. Growler ordered the attack tobegin and then fellsilent. After the attack wasunderway, the other U.S. submarines,Hake andHardhead, reported hearing what sounded likea torpedoexplosion and then a series of depthcharge explosions on Growlersside of the con-voy, perhaps as many as three of the latter.

    She had disappeared, and all efforts to con-tact Growler for thenext three days provedfutile. She was finally listed as lost. Itwas pos-sible that she was hit by one of Hakes or Hard-headstorpedoes that had slipped past theJapanese ships, that she was hitby one of herown torpedoes that detonated early or thatturned onher in a circular run, or she may havebeen simply sunk by theconvoys escort ves-sels. She took 85 men down with her.

    By the time of her loss, Growler had receivedeight battle starsfor her role in the Pacific War,had sunk 17 enemy ships and 74,900tons ofenemy shipping, and had damaged seven addi-tional enemyships.

    Gilmore remains her most decorated crewmember. He received theMedal of Honor fordistinguished gallantry and valor above andbeyondthe call of duty, according to the cita-tion. The U.S. Navy calledwhat happened dur-ing the encounter on February 7 one of themostgallant actions in naval history and themost famous act ofself-sacrifice known to theU.S. submarine service.

    He was the first of six submariners to receivethe Medal of Honorduring World War II andonly the second submariner in the serviceshis-tory to be so honored. (The first submariner toreceive theMedal of Honor was torpedomanHenry Breault, who returned to asinking sub-marine to rescue a shipmate after a peacetimeaccidentin 1926.)

    Gilmore additionally was honored in Sep-tember 1943 when the newsubmarine tender,USS Howard W. Gilmore (AS-16), waslaunched at theU.S. Navy Yard at MareIsland, California. nn

    Navy personnel atop the Growler at Brisbane, Australia.Thedamage to a 25-foot section of the submarines bow,which occurredwhen it was rammed by the 900-tonJapanese cargo ship Hayasaki, canbe clearly seen.

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    His plane was a veteran of almost 60missions and had gonethrough all ofthem relatively undamaged. SnakeHips and her crewwere about to beput to the ultimate test.

    As the 92nd Bomb Group made itsrun over the target, the flakburstsbegan to rattle Snake Hips until aloud explosion shook theaircraft.Smoke filled the co*ckpit, and fuelsloshed around in thebomb bay.Bosko was shocked to learn from theco-pilot that threebombs had just

    rolled off the starboard wing. Therewas a gaping hole in theright side ofthe fuselage extending from thebomb bay through theradio com-partment. Also, a large section ofskin had been rippedoff the top ofthe starboard wing. The ball turretgunner had beenmortally wounded.

    Snake Hips was dropping out offormation and losing altitude.Con-trol cables to the ailerons had beencut. Despite this, Boskomanaged tofly his battered bomber back to Eng-

    land and make an emergency land-ing not far from the coast. Withtheexception of the ball turret gunner,all the crew had survived.Boskosmachine had been ripped apart andreduced to scrap metal buthad stillflown home. Few Army Air Forcespilots would have beensurprised,for B-17 Flying Fortresses such asSnake Hips had beenflying back totheir bases with multiple enginesinoperable or largesections of theaircraft blown away on a regularbasis after 21/2years of combataround the world.

    One of the most recognizable andiconic aircraft of World War II,theB-17 was neither the most modernnor the most produced aircraftof itsclass during the war. However, theB-17 was flown in combatfromalmost the beginning of the war toits end, often on longmissions deepin the heart of enemy territory andinto the teeth ofthick enemydefenses. Brought forth in a gambleto meet a 1930sbomber competi-tion, Seattle-based Boeing created aflying legend,an icon in the historyof military aviation.

    Boeing had furnished the bulk ofthe U.S. Navy and the U.S.Armybiplane fighters for much of the1920s and early 1930s, and in1930the company flew the first all-metalairliner, the twin-engined247Dmonoplane.

    In 1935, the Army Air Corps sentCircular 35-26 to variousaircraft


    on August 24, 1944. He was reasonably seasoned as far as bombercommanders

    went but was unaware of his targets macabre reputation. His crewand machine

    from the 327th Bomb Squadron, 92nd Bomb Group, were en route tothe well-

    defended Merseburg oil refineries in Germanys heartland fromtheir base in East Anglia.

    The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress flew deepinto enemy territory tocarry out its strategicbombing missions during World War II.

    B y J o h n E m m e r t

    Keith Ferriss painting,

    Fortresses Engaged, shows

    two German fighters attack-

    ing head-on through a

    formation of B-17s of the

    100th Bomb Group. The

    B-17s were used in

    dangerous daylight raids

    on German targets from

    1942 to the end of the war.

    w e a p o n sw e a p o n s

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    manufacturers outlining its requirements for apossiblereplacement for the Martin B-10 twin-engined bomber. The circularsrequirementsleft a great deal of flexibility. The maximumspeedrequirement was anywhere from 200 to250 miles per hour at analtitude of 10,000 feet,with a cruising speed of 170 to 220 milesperhour at the same altitude. Endurance could beanywhere from sixto 10 hours, and a maxi-mum service altitude was looselyspecifiedbetween 20,000 and 25,000 feet. The contractrequiredmultiple engines, most companiesassuming that this meant twoengines.

    The Army Air Corps had long been convertsto the doctrine ofstrategic bombing, the inten-tional targeting of an enemys industryto crip-ple its ability to wage war. Officially, the con-cept wasadopted in 1935 as the Army AirCorps primary mission in the eventof a war.Martin and Douglas both entered aircraft can-didates inthe competition, but their prototypeswere more suited for tacticalrather than strate-gic bombing.

    Boeing chose to take the lead, both in termsof size andengineering, by building more thana mere twin-engined aircraft.Borrowing fromengineering studies done on their jumbobomber, theXB-15, Boeing created the model299. The entry from Seattle boastedfour Prattand Whitney R-1690 radial engines (laterupgraded to themore powerful Wright R-1280Cyclone engine), with a wingspan of 103feetand was just short of 68 feet long. The nosewas a combinedcompartment for the bom-bardier and navigator. The pilots sat in anele-vated co*ckpit aft of the nose compartment,with the enginesabreast. The bomb bay sepa-rated the co*ckpit from the radiocompartment,with the aft section of the fuselage being usedtoprovide space for three gun blisters: one ven-tral and twoside.

    On its rollout at the Seattle plant at the endof July 1935, the299 quickly received namesfrom the press, such as Aerial BattleCruiser,but the one that stuck was Flying Fortress. Itsdeliveryflight to the Army Air Forces at WrightField, Ohio, proved that thecompetition onlyexisted on paper. During the August 20 flight,theFlying Fortress clocked an average cruisingspeed of 230 miles perhour. The bomber alsomet the endurance requirements by makingthenine-hour flight nonstop.

    The planes advanced features nearly provedits undoing. OnOctober 30, a test crewattempted to take off with the controlsstillsecured, resulting in a crash that claimed thelives of the twopilots. Although the accident

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    was ruled as human error, it was the first of sev-eral technicalchallenges Boeing faced before itfinally vanquished its primarycompetition, theDouglas B-18.

    In September 1939, Europe was engulfed inwar as Germany marchedinto Poland. For twoyears already, the Japanese had been on theram-page in China, using their own bombers asweapons of terror onChinese cities. It wouldonly be a matter of time before the UnitedStatesjoined in the conflict, and Congress began to pre-pare, ifbelatedly. The B-17B, C, and D modelsintroduced from 1937 to 1940featured minorimprovements, but they would be found want-ing as theFlying Fortress went to war.

    In 1941, the British received 20 B-17Cs forevaluation and tosupplement their own supplyof bombers. Royal Air Force (RAF)Bomber

    Command was hoping that the bombers couldoperate from 35,000feet, making them far lessvulnerable to German air defenses.Unfortu-nately, it was not only the plane that was limitedto 30,000feet, but the crews as well. At loweraltitudes, the lack ofarmament made the aircraftvulnerable to fighters. None of the gunsthatcame on the C model were fitted in pairs or inpower-driventurrets. A lack of spare parts andbattle damage often kept as manyas half theforce grounded. Ultimately, the miniscule num-ber ofB-17s being used by the RAF, together

    with Bomber Commands chosen tactic of nightsaturation missions,rendered the FlyingFortresses ineffective as combat assets.

    The shortcomings outlined by the RAF wereaddressed by Boeing andthe Army Air Forceswith the B-17E, brought out inthe fall of 1941.The E modelfeatured a new rear fuselage.Now 73 feet long, the E hadaredesigned vertical stabilizer, tailturret, revised waist gunmount-ings, a powered Bendix top tur-ret, and a mannedelectricallydriven belly turret, bringing thearmament installed onthe plane to eight .50-calibermachine guns and one .30-cal-ibermachine gun. More guns

    would be added after American pilots cameunder fire. On December7, 1941, a group ofeight B-17Es en route to Hawaii arrived overOahuduring the middle of the surprise attackon Pearl Harbor. Low onfuel and with the arma-ment removed for the transit, the crewswereforced to dodge both Japanese Zero fighters andfriendly fire toland wherever they could.

    The Japanese tide in the Pacific seemedunstoppable. Americanplanes sought desper-ately to blunt the advances.High-altitudebombing proved to be a waste of munitions. At

    more than 20,000 feet, ships maneuveringabout the ocean makehits impossible. Older,less capable B-17Cs and B-17Ds werepressedinto service due to a lack of aircraft, often withdisastrousresults. However, due to their size

    and armament, the Japanese came to revereboth the B-17s and themen who flew them.The B-17s would range wide over the SouthPacificfrom bases in Northern Australia andFrench New Caledonia, both tohit fixed Japan-ese bases and to act as long-range reconnais-sanceaircraft. A group of B-17s that took partin the Battle of Midway isgiven more creditthan was really its due out of necessity thatthecarrier force be protected from enemy intelli-gence assets.B-17Es and the improved B-17Fmodel with better propellers andsingle-piecenose cones served well into 1943 when theywere largelyphased out and replaced with Con-solidated B-24 Liberator bombers,which pos-sessed greater range and payload capacity.

    It was not until August 1942 that the UnitedStates actuallybegan to field its own combatunits and squadrons in England as partof theembryonic U.S. Eighth Air Force. When theyfirst beganoperations on August 17, 12 B-17Eswere dispatched to attack therailroad yardsnear Rouen, France, with an additional six air-craftordered to probe the coast at two differ-ent spots as decoys. Themission was success-ful, but it was yet to be seen if the B-17 andthe10-plus machine guns it carried were enoughto make U.S. daylightbombing practical. OnSeptember 6, German fighters shot downtwoB-17s during a mission to hit an aircraft fac-tory in northernFrance. Worse was to come.

    With units and replacement aircraft siphonedoff to support theNorth African campaignbegun in November 1942, the U.S. EighthAirForce found itself unable to carry the war intoGermany until1943, limited by a lack of planes

    ABOVE: On August 17, 1943, several hundred B-17s participated inthe double raid on Schweinfurt-Regensburg. Thelosses werestaggering, with 60 B-17s downed or damaged beyond repair. RIGHT: AB-17 from the 379th Bomb Groupmade it home even with the co*ckpitshredded. The B-17s natural handling characteristics enabled pilotsto fly it back tobase even with heavy damage.

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  • September 2014 Military Heritage 15

    and encumbered by the need to bomb U-boatbases in France.Beginning with the January 27raid on Wilhelmshaven, Germany, theEighthAir Forces B-17s began to face stiffer and stifferresistance.The missions into Germany werebeing made without fighter escort,because theEighth Air Forces Republic P-47 Thunderboltsand RAFSupermarine Spitfires simply lackedthe range to do so. Flak wasbecoming anincreasing nuisance, combated by flying athigheraltitudes and in larger formations, butthe fighters were a greatermenace. Flying a B-17 out of England became a hazardousenter-prise. A tour of duty consisted of 25 missions,a difficultquota when mission loss rates weresometimes higher than 10percent.

    The Memphis Belle was the most famous ofthose first B-17s, andits crew was one of thefirst to complete 25 missions. Assigned tothe91st Bomb Group, the Memphis Belle was theprimary machine flownby Captain RobertMorgan and his crew. A Hollywood cameracrew, ledby future Ben Hur director WilliamWyler, captured multiple missionson color filmto produce a 1944 feature documentary.Although Morganscrew had spent much of itstour flying on different aircraft and asparts ofdifferent crews, the mystique of the MemphisBelle, her 1943war bond tour, and the publicrecognition she received from the filmare likelywhat preserved her, even as other bombers thatcompletedmuch longer tours of duty were con-signed to the scrap heap.

    Even though the Germans were beginning tofeel increasedpressure, the Eighth Air Forceloss rate began to steepen. TheSchweinfurt andRegensburg raids on August 17 pit B-17s fromtwodifferent divisions against a violent Ger-man reception committee.The 4th Bombard-ment Division struck the Regensburg Messer-schmittplant just before noon after flying overmost of southern Germanythrough a swarmof angry fighters. As planned, the groups flewon toAfrica to avoid the deadly interceptorswaiting for their returntrip. The 1st Bombard-ment Division was delayed for several hoursbyweather, hitting Schweinfurt at roughly 3 PM.They were exposed tothe full fury of the Ger-man defenses as they flew back to England.NoB-24s took part in the raid. Sixty B-17s wereshot down or damagedbeyond repair, a stag-gering loss of nearly 25 percent of thetotalattacking force. The introduction of the B-17Gwith a two-gunchin turret did nothing to lowerthe loss rate. Another 60 B-17swere lost on anattack by both units on Schweinfurt on Octo-ber 14,with groups of B-17s fighting their waythrough and nailing thetarget regardless of thelosses.

    It was not until 1944, with the arrival of theNorth AmericanP-51 Mustang, that fighterescort could be provided all the way tothe tar-get and back. This close escort, coupled withthe dramaticlosses the P-51s inflicted on theLuftwaffe, made it safer forbombers to crossEurope in daylight. Flak still downed bombers,andGerman fighters showed themselves fromtime to time to shoot down afew bombers. TheEighth Air Force flew its last mission on April25,1945, ending the combat career of the B-17as a bomber.

    Despite all that could be thrown at them,some B-17s and theircrews often refused to die.It was from these battles that the B-17wasmade the stuff of legend. A B-17F flying withthe 384th BombGroup received heavy damageon a mission to Antwerp in the summerof1943. The co*ckpit and tail were shredded bycannon shells, killingthe tail gunner. It took amonth to ready this plane for anothermission.Patches, as the plane was called, was pepperedby flak overthe target on July 30, only to getshot up by Fw-190s on the wayback. More

    crew members were wounded, and Patches wasforced out offormation. For more than 20 min-utes, the machine and her crewbattled it outwith Fw-190s until, out of either ammunitionor fuel,the bandits turned for home. When shelanded in England, Patchesground crew is saidto have counted more than 1,000 holes.

    It was said that the B-17s natural handlingcharacteristics madefor a pleasant aircraft to fly.Unlike the contemporary B-24, mostB-17s wereeasy to fly on trim tab, where minute adjustmentto thecontrol system would allow the pilot to flyalmost hands free. Italso meant that the machinecould still be flown in a controllablemanner withmultiple engines shot out and controls damaged.OnFebruary 9, 1943, a B-17 crew operating inthe Solomon Islands gotinto a running gun bat-tle with multiple Zeros. The plane, badlydam-aged, began to descend toward the ocean. Threeengines weredead. The pilot was able to ditchsafely and all 10 crew memberssurvived.

    It was not uncommon for a blessed B-17 torack up impressivemission tallies. Among themwas Knock-Out Dropper, a 303rd BombGroupmachine that survived 75 missions withthe Eighth Air Force beforereturning home tothe United States. At the end of the conflict,therecord stood with the 91st Bomb Groups Nine-O-Nine, with astaggering 140 missions to hercredit. Still more impressive, thatB-17 sufferedno loss of crew members or an abort duringthat entirespan.

    Perhaps more than any other weapon, the B-17 will forever beremembered as helpingdestroy the military and industrial mightofNazi Germany. That achievement alone is oneof which the UnitedStates can be proud. nn

    ABOVE: Knock-Out Dropper from the 303rd Bomb Group survived 75missions over Germany before returning to theUnited States. BELOW:A B-17 formation attacks a Focke-Wulf plant at Marienburg, Germany,on October 9, 1943.

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  • 16 Military Heritage September 2014

    Hess had served as the deputy toAdolf Hitler and was the thirdmostimportant member of the Nazi Party.By the time word of hisclandestinearrival in Scotland reached London,the top members ofPrime MinisterWinston Churchills government, aswell as theirsecurity services, beganworking overtime to piece togetherthereasons for his sudden appear-ance. However, the answer tothatquestion proved as elusive as theman himself.

    Rudolf Hess served in the 7thBavarian Field Artillery RegimentinWorld War I and received the Iron

    Cross. Later in the war, he served inthe Imperial Air Corps.After thewar, he married 27-year-old IlseProhl with whom he had oneson,Wolf.

    Hess later attended the Universityof Munich, where he studiedbothpolitical science and history. WhenAdolf Hitler came on thescene inGermany, Hess was immediatelytaken by his charisma andbelievedwholeheartedly in the NationalSocialist cause. He joinedthe move-ment and was arrested with Hitlerand others in theinfamous Beer HallPutsch in November 1923, and was

    given a 71/2-year prison term. Heworked as Hitlers privatesecretaryand played a major role in the edit-ing of Hitlers book,Mein Kampf.After Hitler became chancellor ofGermany in 1933, hepicked Hess tobe his deputy Fhrer, and they soonworked to bringGermany undertheir iron fist. However, as time wenton Hess believedhe was beingassigned a secondary role in the gov-ernment and soontook a back seatto Hitlers two newest advisers:Joseph Goebbels andHermanGring, both of whom would playprominent roles in HitlersFinalSolution.

    Hess was not anti-British in hispolitical leanings and did notagreewith Hitlers decision to go to warwith that country afterGermanysinvasion of Poland in September1939. He hoped that somehowtheBritish would come to their sensesand make a peace deal withGer-many before their country wasdrawn into a war. Hess begantomake covert contact with like-minded people in Britain whosharedhis political ideas, not necessarilythose in governmentcircles.

    One of these influential peoplewas Albrecht Haushofer, aGermanwho happened to be directly con-nected to anti-Hitlergroups.Haushofer broke with the Nazisafter the persecution of hisfamilybecause of his half-Jewish mother.He also had ties to a largeRussian


    the previous year had seemed a distant concern. But the warreturned in an

    idiosyncratic manner when top-ranking Nazi official Rudolf Hesssplane landed

    in their country on May 10, 1941. The strange event hadramifications that

    would last throughout the war and would prove controversial foryears to come.

    The mysterious flight of Nazi officialRudolf Hess to Scotland onMay 10,1941, remains shrouded in secrecy.

    B y P e t e r K r o s s

    Deputy Fhrer Rudolf Hess

    (below) speaks at a Nazi

    Party rally in 1937. Hess

    (below right), who served on

    Hitlers cabinet and oversaw

    several departments, stands

    at far left beside Adolf

    Hitlers Mercedes-Benz

    during the 1938 Nuremburg


    i n t e l l i g e n c ei n t e l l i g e n c e




    l Arc



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  • September 2014 Military Heritage 17

    spy network in Europe called the Red Orches-tra. AlbrechtHaushofers father, Karl, had beenHesss teacher and was one of themost influ-ential German political theorists of the day.Hess toldKarl Haushofer he believed that ifGermany made a deal with Englandan inva-sion of Britain could be avoided.

    Another person whom Hess counted on inhis secret machinationswas a Briton of royalupbringing named David Douglas-Hamiltonwhoseroyal title was the Duke of Hamilton.At the time of Hesss flight toEngland, theDuke of Hamilton was 37 years old, a gradu-ate of Etonand Balliol College, Oxford, and aformer boxing champion.Douglas-Hamiltonwas the first man to fly over Mount Everest andaconservative member of the British Parlia-ment. He was known forhis conciliatory atti-tude toward the German government.

    Haushofer told his son about his meetingwith Hess and urged himto lend his name toHesss plan. Haushofer gave Hess the namesofBritish politicians who might be able to workout a deal withlike-minded Germans if Hitlerwas willing. Along with the Duke ofHamilton,Haushofer suggested Sir Samuel Hoare, theUnited Kingdomsambassador to Spain.

    Two days after Hesss flight to England, theGestapo arrestedAlbert Haushofer for resis-tance activities. Many high-rankingGermanmilitary and intelligence officers,includingSicherheitsdienst (secret police) ChiefWalterSchellenberg, believed Hess was influenced byagents of theBritish Secret Service and theirGerman collaborators and that theyplayed alarge part in his decision to fly to Scotland.

    The theory that the British government, viaits intelligenceservices, might have lured Hessto make his flight to Scotlandgained attentionfrom many conspiracy theorists after the war.Thatparticular conjecture was presented to thepublic as early as July1943 in an article in theAmerican Mercury magazine. TheAmericanMercury was a well-established publicationthat had beenfounded by H.L. Mencken yearsbefore. The article, called The InsideStory ofthe Hess Flight, authored by Anonymous,was vouched for bythe magazines editor andcontained information that could not havebeenmade up by the writer, who seemed to have per-fect sources.

    The article stirred up a hornets nest of pub-licity, coming whenthe outcome of the war wasstill very much in doubt. The writer saidthatHess came to Scotland not only with AdolfHitlers blessing, butupon Hitlers explicitorders. Far from being a surprise, the arrivalofHess was expected by a limited number ofBritishers, the outlinesof his mission wereknown in advance, and the Nazi leaderactuallyhad a Royal Air Force escort in the final stageof his airjourney.

    The article in the American Mercury stated

    Imperial War Museum

    Hess stands in the co*ckpit of the ME-110 he flew toScotland in1941 on his unsanctioned peace mission. Whenthe German governmentlearned that Hess had taken offfor England, it went into overdriveto put the best spin onthe event.

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  • 18 Military Heritage September 2014

    that in 1941 Hitler wanted to turn his atten-tion to defeatingRussia despite the nonaggres-sion pact he made with Stalin. Inorder for himto do that, Great Britain had to be taken out ofthewar, and a separate peace with that nationhad to be consummated. IfBritain was nolonger a combatant against Germany, Hitlercouldinvade Russia to improve Germanyschances of winning the war.According to thestory, in January 1941, Hitler made covert con-tactwith certain pro-German individuals inEngland, including the Dukeof Hamilton, whobelonged to a pro-German organization calledtheAnglo-German Fellowship Association.Hitlers personal representativeto Hamiltonand his allies was Hess.

    Hitler, the story continues, personallyordered Hess to fly toEngland to make a sep-arate deal with the British government. Inthemonths before Hess actually arrived, the Britishdeveloped asting operation headed by the intel-ligence services to lure Hessto England andthen renege on their deal with Hitler. TheAmericanMercury story says that Hitlers mes-sage to Hamilton and hisfriends was inter-cepted by the British Secret Service andthatBritish agents handled the entire affair.

    When the German government learned thatHess had taken off forEngland, it went intooverdrive to put the best spin on what hadjusttaken place. At 8 PM, a radio broadcast fromGermany gave thefirst official explanation ofwhy Hess had left for England. Thebroadcastsaid, Party member Hess had left on Saturdayon a flightfrom which he had not yetreturned. The government further saidthatHess had suffered a mental disturbance and hadleft a letterthat unfortunately ... justifies thefear that he was a victim ofmental hallucina-tions. The broadcast also said that a numberofHesss confederates had been arrested. Whydid the German governmentsay that Hess suf-fered from a mental condition? Is it possiblethatcertain members of the high commandknew in advance about Hesssflight to Englandand were trying to put the onus on Hess alone?

    Interestingly, the German government putout an officialannouncement dismissing Hesssalleged peace mission to England justone dayafter he left Germany.

    In the end, Hess bailed out of the aircraft andlanded safely onthe farm owned by DavidMcLean near the town of Paisley. WhenHesslanded, he told the astonished farmer that hewas a friend ofBritain. McLean took the air-man to the local constabulary. Whilein cus-tody, the pilot identified himself as AlfredHorn and askedto see the Duke of Hamilton.

    In his meetings with the Duke of Hamilton

    and members of the British military, Hessinsisted that Hitlerknew nothing of his trip,that he had made it on his own. He toldhisastonished listeners that Hitler did not want tocontinue the waragainst Britain and that ifEngland made a separate peace withGermanyit would be given lenient treatment after thewar was over.Hamilton said that he could notmake any such agreements and turnedHessover to British intelligence. But did the Britishgovernmentknow all about this in advance?

    Just days after Hesss departure, his valet,Karlheinz Pintsch,arrived at Hitlers mountainretreat at Berchtesgaden. Pintsch gaveHitlerthe letter written by Hess before his departure.According toPintsch, Hitler commented thatHesss trip was an extremelydangerousescapade. Hitler then invited Pintsch to lunchwith him,and after the meal was over he hadhim arrested. General KarlBodenschatz, whowas Reichsmarschal Herman Grings adjunct,said thatHitler seemed shocked after readingHesss letter. He also said hebelieved thatHitlers shock and surprise on hearing ofHesss flightwas an example of superb acting.

    Hesss secretary, Ingeborg Speer, said that herboss never toldthe Fhrer about his upcomingflight and that Hess did it in hisfantastic lovefor the Fatherland. He wanted to make thegreatestsacrifice of which he was capable forAdolf Hitler, to leave nothingundone to bringthe German people the desired peace with Eng-land.That statement flies directly in the faceof the Atlantic Mercurysaccount of Hitlersknowledge about Hesss flight. Chief ofStaffGeneral Franz Halder said that the Fhrer wastaken completelyby surprise by Hesss flight.Walter Schellenberg, a leading figurein the Ger-man espionage establishment, said Hitler wasin such astate of shock upon hearing aboutwhat Hess had done that he couldnot speak.

    The Hess matter immediately caught theattention of MI5 (BritishIntelligence) in theperson of Major T.A. Robertson, who heldanimportant post in the counterintelligence divi-sion. In a letterabout the Hess case, Robertsonsaid he had met with Air ViceMarshall CharlesMedhurst, who filled him in on their knowl-edge ofAlbert Haushofer and the Duke ofHamilton. In time, Prime MinisterChurchillwas given a wide-ranging briefing on Hess, andhe took anactive interest in the case. Medhurstordered Robertson to makefurther inquiries atthe military base where Hess was stayingtoglean all information he could about why Hesshad landed inScotland.

    Soviet officials learned much about Hessfrom one of their mostproductive spies ofWorld War II. Kim Philby was then working

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  • September 2014 Military Heritage 19

    for British intelligence and would becomeknown as one of theCambridge Five (Russ-ian spies who infiltrated the Britishgovernmentin World War II). Philby, according to a formerBritishdiplomat named Tom Dupree, told hisSoviet controllers that Hess hadsent a letter toLord Hamilton a few weeks before his flightand thatit was intercepted by British intelli-gence. Philby said that Hessbelieved that hecould influence the anti-Churchill party inEng-land, which really did not exist, and make acase for a separatepeace with England.

    Soviet leader Josef Stalin believed Hesssflight was a planconcocted by the Germansand the British intelligence services attheexpense of the Soviet Union.

    Following the war, Hess was incarcerated atSpandau Prison inBerlin. On August 17, 1987,his body was found hanging in his cell,theresult of an apparent suicide. At the time of hissuicide, he wasthe last prisoner at Spandau,which was run jointly by the SovietUnion andthe three Western wartime Allies.

    In September 2013, Hesss personal files wereput up for auctionin the United States. The filesshed new light on the complicatedstory of whatreally motivated Hess to make his secret flighttoEngland. The company that auctioned offthe Hess papers wasAlexander Historical Auc-

    tions, and it placed the value of the papers at$750,000. Thepapers included Hesss personalnotes, copies of letters, andtranscripts of inter-views regarding his flight to England.Amongthe papers allegedly in the files was a hand-written proposalof peace terms that Hesshanded over to former British ForeignSecre-

    tary Lord Simon. An Alexander Historical Auc-tions spokesmansaid they got copies of Hesssfile through one of their consignorsinEurope. The unnamed consigner said thatdecades ago he received ananonymous phonecall from a man who knew his work. He wastold tomeet this person the next day, when theHess file would be given tohim for his histori-cal research.

    One of the papers in the collection states:The offer by theFhrer is genuine ... theBritish cannot continue the war withoutcom-ing to terms with Germany. By my coming toEngland, the Britishgovernment can nowdeclare that they are able to have talks ...con-vinced that the offer by the Fhrer is genuine ...the Britishgovernment has no reason for fur-ther bloodshed ... the Britishwill agree to thesuggestions made.

    The facts surrounding the mysterious flightof Rudolf Hess toScotland on May 10, 1941,are still shrouded in secrecy more than 70yearsafter the fact. The last of the Hess files are stillunder lockand key in the British Archives andare not slated to be openeduntil 2017.

    U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt mayhave summed up the Hessaffair succinctly. Hesaid, I wonder what is really behindthisstory.nn

    National Archives

    Hess, seated second from left next to ReichsmarschalHermannGring, is shown at the Nuremberg Trials. Hewas sentenced to life inprison in 1946.

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  • 20 Military Heritage September 2014

    Perhaps they even led some of us tolearn about reenacting abattle ortwo. Certainly, many militaria col-lectors includemilitary toys in theinventory of their collections.

    Many varieties of toy soldierswere available during thattimeperiod, including composition sol-diers from Germany alongwiththeir solid lead Heyde brothers (seeMilitary Heritage, November2013),as well as Lucotte and Mignot leadsoldiers made in France.Sold world-

    wide for more than 100 years werethe highly popular,gloss-painted,hollow-cast figures from Englandaptly named for theirfounderWilliam Britain. The institutionalhistory of BritainsLimited is similarto that of many other 19th-centurybusinesses.Common elementsinclude family ownership, new ideasfor productionand marketing, wisebusiness moves, and good luck.

    William Britain Sr. (1831-1907)was born in Birmingham. Inthe

    1871 census he identifies himself asa toy maker, whereas beforehe waslisted as a brass finisher. By 1874, hehad moved his familyto NugentHouse at 28 Lambton Road in theNorth London suburb ofHornseyRise. William Britain Sr., as well ashis eldest son, WilliamBritain Jr.(1859-1933), possessed great inge-nuity and an aptitudefor designingclever mechanical toys. Among thesedevices were asailor who tipped anddonned his cap when a coin wasplaced in acollecting plate, anequestrienne who could jump overa bar and landagain upon herhorses back with the aid of inter-connecting gears,the popular Lon-don Road Roller model powered bya flywheelarrangement, and a tea-

    drinking, clock-work Chinese Mandarin

    patented in 1884. By the 1891 cen-sus, William Britain Sr., hiswife, andtheir five sons and two daughters nolonger resided at theLambton Roadhouse, having been successfulenough to move to newerNorthLondon residences. The house at 28Lambton Road and its entireblockbecame a toy factory that was in useuntil 1968.


    their hobby to their childhood encounters with toy soldiers. ForAmerican

    kids in the 1930s and 1940s, this may have been withthree-inch-tall Amer-

    ican-made Manoils or Barclays from the local dime store. Alongwith

    Marx tanks, they could do a lot of imaginary damage fromtrenches dug in the backyard.

    Britains hollow-cast toy soldiers continue to attract collectorsdecades after their manufacture.

    B y J o e W a l l i s

    Britains Somerset Light

    Infantry (top) and Royal

    Horse Artillery (bottom).

    The company consulted

    illustrations by Richard

    Simkin that appeared in the

    Army and Navy Gazette to

    ensure the details of British

    regiments were accurate.

    m ili t a r i am il i t a r i a

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  • M-Treefrog FP Sep14_Layout 1 6/30/14 3:36 PM Page 2

  • 22 Military Heritage September 2014

    However well made their clever mechanicalcontrivances were,their intricacy and cost lim-ited their sales, and this largefamily had toexplore means of expanding its customer base.WilliamBritain Jr. introduced the process ofhollow casting toy leadsoldiers to broaden thefirms clientele. The company issued itsfirstmodel of this kind, a mounted English LifeGuard, in 1893.

    When the firm began manufacturing toy sol-diers, German-madeflats and solid, full, orsemi-round toy soldiers dominatedEnglishstores. Britains was able to supplant these for-eign figuresby cutting production expense,maintaining a uniformity of scale,continuallyintroducing a variety of new items comple-mentary toprevious issues, devoting carefulattention to authenticity, andupholding a stan-dard of quality and excellence that wasrecog-nizable and reliable. As a result, Britainsbecame the mostprolific and accepted toy sol-dier maker in the world. In contrastto the fig-ures produced by the Germans, Britainsmethod of hollowcasting allowed enhanceddetail and more realistic anatomy. Themethodnot only saved metal, but also reduced shippingcosts becausethe weight of the hollow-cast sol-dier was less than that of asolid figure. Theseadvantages enabled Britains to undercuttheprices of its competitors imported goods.

    The entire enterprise was very Victorian.From the time it wasestablished to the 1940s,each payday involved counting out cashintoeach employees hand, and the work weekincluded a half day onSaturday. If a workerwas 15 minutes late, he was docked anhourspay; if more than 15 minutes late, he was senthome withoutpay. The company fired workerswho were repeatedly tardy. However,as docu-mented by an article in The North LondonPress titledBritains soldiers are ready for 1955call-up, many employees workedat Britainsfor 45 to 50 years, and a common means ofbeing hired byBritains was to have relatives

    already employed there.Britains made most of its pieces in1/32nd

    scale so that a six-foot-tall man was representedby a toy figurejust over two inches or 54 mmhigh. The utility of this consistentsize was thatcompatible additions to a childs army, or to anadultscollection, could be made readily.Britains carefully researched thecorrect uni-forms, drill positions, and historical back-grounds ofthe models to be produced. Incred-ible detail was present on theearly figures; forexample, trouser stripes and medals wereoftenincorporated into the mold itself. Facings,plumes, and otheruniform details were almostalways represented by Britains morefully thanby other companies. Valise packs and Slade-Wallaceequipment were depicted on Britainsmodels of the 1890s, and thenupdated over theyears with first webbing equipment andservicedress, then battledress, and finally No. 1 dressuniforms.This inventory of correctly costumedBritish regiments wasdefinitely a factor in suc-cessfully competing with foreign-madetroopsto capture the English toy market. The empha-

    sis on accuracy also benefited Britains byappealing to militaryhistory enthusiasts andadult collectors. Not only were the initialfig-ures based on extensive research, but the firmcontinually triedto refine its products.

    Typically, Britains came five or eight to anillustrated box; ofcourse, there were larger,more elaborate Britains sets available,such asan 83-piece display box depicting the ceremonyof theChanging of the Guard at BuckinghamPalace. These were the toys ofboys dreams,but they also embodied history. It was neces-sary forthe firm to continually conceive of newposes and to representregiments and types notpreviously offered. If they had not beenable tointroduce new lines on a consistent basis overa long periodof time, the public would havelost interest or turned tocompetitors products.

    In the late 19th century and early 20th cen-tury, dailynewspapers read by an increasinglywell-educated public, as well asthe early news-reels shown at the new cinemas, focused atten-tionupon current events, including colonialcampaigns and clashes inforeign lands. Suchnews stories were often reflected in thefirmscatalog in very short order; examples that cometo mind are toysoldiers of Kitcheners recon-quest of the Sudan, theSpanish-American War,the Second Boer War, the Russo-JapaneseWar,the Balkan Wars, and much later Mussolinisinvasion of Ethiopia.It was necessary forBritains to research the uniform and todecideon an appropriate pose before designing themolds. For thisreason, the company main-tained a reference library of books andprints togo to for ideas when designing a new figure.

    A frequent source of inspiration for Britainswas the work ofRichard Simkin, a prolific mil-itary artist. Between January 7,1888, and Sep-tember 6, 1902, he drew 178 chromolitho-graph printsdepicting every regiment of theBritish Army along with Yeomanryregimentsand many colonial units. They were publishedmonthly in TheArmy and Navy Gazette.Britains based many early figures, such asa12th Lancer officer turned in the saddle fromSet 2169, on theSimkin print of a 5th Lancerofficer that inspired it. SimilarSimkin printinspirations appeared for the Household Cav-alry,Hussar, Dragoon, and Dragoon GuardsOfficer on a Rearing Horse.

    Britains clearly used Simkins prints as thebasis for theSomerset Light Infantry of Set 17,which were standing on guard orkneeling toreceive cavalry with fixed bayonets in the clas-sicBritish square formation. Britains rangeextended well beyond theBritish Empire; itsstock included dozens of foreign troops suchasArgentine Military Cadets, Danish Guard Hus-

    TOP: Britains range extended well beyond the BritishEmpire, andtheir stock included dozens of troops fromother nations, such asthe Danish Gardehussars. ABOVE: Britains method of hollow castingallowed forenhanced detail as demonstrated by its U.S. Marine CorpsColor Guard set.

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  • September 2014 Military Heritage 23

    sars, Montenegrin Infantry, and Zulu Warriors.Britains soldierscarried accurately modeledrifles and served correctly modeledartillery.

    The firm also enhanced the appeal of its sol-dier figures withthe artwork done by Fred Whis-stock for the box lids of its sets.Battle honors forthe British regiment contained in that boxwereoften included as part of a Whisstock label. Hedesigned 150 boxlabels between 1908 and1930. Some of his labels were used byBritainsas late as 1959 (for example, Set 163, BoyScoutSignallers), but most were replaced by stan-dardized labelssuch as Armies of the World circa1933, and then Regiments of AllNations in1949. This saved the cost of designing an indi-viduallabel for each set.

    Following the death of William Britain Sr. in1907, the firm wastransformed from a propri-etorship (William Britain and Sons) to alimitedliability corporation whose stock was controlledprimarily bymembers of the family. A Parisoffice was established from 1905 to1923 (whenit was closed for failure to run properly).Exports toEurope, the British Colonies andDominions, and the United Statesincreasedgreatly. World War I diverted most of the firmsefforts tomaking shrapnel, but Britains onlycompletely shut down toyproduction for a littleover a year from late 1917 to 1918. A few ofthemechanical toys that had been the initial focus ofthe firm stillappeared in the 1915 Britains cata-log but ceased to be madeshortly thereafter.

    A second factory on Sutherland Road inWalthamstow in East Londonwas built in thelate 1920s, and a 1929 article titled A RecordofAchievement in the Toy Trader magazinereported that more than 20million models ayear were being produced by a trained staff of450persons. In July 1941, the British govern-ment ordered the companyto suspend the pro-duction of toys and concentrate solely onmak-

    ing munitions parts, such as grenade pins. The companydistributed its first postwar

    catalog in December 1945. Limited numbers ofsets that had allbeen available prewar weresold on an export basis as Great Britaindes-perately needed foreign exchange to pay itsdebts and to importfood.

    Rationing ended as the economy improvedby the early 1950s. QueenElizabeth IIs coro-nation in 1953 was the occasion for newBritainssets in No. 1 dress uniform. While pro-duction increased anduniforms were modern-ized, the colors and types of manyhistoricaluniforms were maintained; modern artilleryand vehiclessuch as a magnificent model of aCenturion tank were added to thehorse-drawnvehicles that continued unchanged in the cata-log. Therising cost of lead and the old-fash-ioned, piecework labor (e.g.,hand painting andcasting) required to produce the traditionalleadfigures prompted the firm to turn to plasticinstead of lead andto again restrict the sale oflead soldiers to export markets.

    The final year for the traditional lead soldierswas 1966, whenonly 95 sets were listed in thecatalog. In 1968 the firm moved thelastremaining operations out of Lambton Roadafter 94 yearsconnected with that location. Inthe 1970s and later, Britainsrestarted produc-tion of less detailed lead soldiers withoutthetraditional hand painting and casting that hadbeen the hallmarkof its earlier years. The firmwas sold to a mining conglomerate in1984 (91years after making its first toy soldier). It hasbeen soldand resold since, and Britains aremanufactured in China today.

    Britains models manifest military history andan attention todetail and accuracy that con-tinue to attract collectors decadesafter theirmanufacture. These same traits will also appealto manycollectors of militaria. nn

    A Gordon Highland Officer (left) and a 12th Lancer Officer.

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    THOSE RARE QUALITIES that set the extraordinarymilitarycommanders apart from the average ones were presentinAlexander the Great, wrote the Greek historian Arrian, whodrew onthe account of Alexanders general, Ptolemy.

    Alexander was most masterly in marshalling an army and inarmingand equipping it; and in uplifting his soldiers spirits andfillingthem with good hopes, and brushing away anything fear-ful indangers by his own want of fear, noted Arrian. And allthat had tobe done in uncertainty he did with the utmost dar-ing; he was mostskilled in swift anticipation and gripping of hisenemy beforeanyone had time to fear the event.

    Alexander III became King of Macedon at the age of 20 in336 BCupon the assassination of his father, Philip II. In the springof334, having spent the last two years settling things in Mace-doniaand Greece, Alexander set out for the Hellespont to fulfillhisfathers plan to bring war to the Persians. The undertakingwas madepossible by the standing army Alexander had inher-ited fromPhilip.

    The young Macedonian king made sure to include troops fromtheGreek city-states in his campaign against the sprawling Per-sianEmpire. The patriotic fervor of the Greeks would go a longwaytoward sustaining them in battles far from their homeland.

    Alexanders infantry consisted of 9,000 Pezhetairoi, orFootCompanions, divided into six taxeis of 1,500 men each. Theywerearmed with the small, round shield and sarisa, a pike 12to14 feetlong, and were supported by 3,000 hypaspists, mostlikely armed ashoplites and divided into three chiliarchies of1,000 men each.

    The Greek states of the League of Corinth sent 7,000hoplites.They were accompanied by 5,000 mercenaries, probablyarmedas hoplites; 7,000 light-armed Odrysians, Triballians, andIllyr-ians; 1,000 Agrianian javelin men; and 1,000 MacedonianandCretan archers for a total of approximately 32,000 men.

    Alexanders cavalry included 1,800 Hetairoi or Companions, aRoyalile, or squadron, of 300, and seven other ilai of 200 or so.Theywere armed with the traditional cavalry lance, the xyston.Thelongest cavalry lance was 11.5 feet, and the shortest about 8.5

    feet. As a secondary weapon, the horsem*n of Alexanders time,both Persian and Greek, favoredthe kopis, a curved sword, sharpenedon the concave edge of the blade, a deadly, cleaver-like cut-tingweapon.

    Thessaly had always been known for its formidable mountedwarriors, and Alexander, whoseown mount, Bucephalus, came fromThessaly, employed 1,800 Thessalians in eight ilai, proba-blycorresponding to the Hetairoi with respect to organization andarms. From the allied Greekstates came 600 heavy cavalry. Diodorusadds 900 Thracian and Paeonian prodromoi, or scouts,used as lightcavalry. In all, Alexander led some 5,100 horsem*n to Asia.

    While Parmenion ferried the army across the Hellespont fromSestos to Abydos in 160 League



    Greeks and Persians arelocked in mounted hand-to-hand combat in16th-centuryartist Jan Brueghel theElders painting of the BattleofIssus. Although unrealisticto a certain degree becausetheparticipants are shownin medieval armor ratherthan period dress,the rendering nevertheless captures the fury and chaos of ancientwarfare.

    triremes, Alexander took a ship and his lifelongcompanion,Hephaestion, to Troy, where theyvisited the graves of variousheroes.

    Alexander met the army at Arisbe, marchedeast to defeat thePersians in bloody hand-to-hand combat at the Granicus River, thenturnedsouth and followed the coastline, taking thecoastal cities byforce or accepting their sur-render. The captured cities furnishedhis army

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  • September 2014 Military Heritage 25Muse du Louvre

    A vast Persian host arrayed on the banks of the River Pinarus in333 BC stood astride Alexander the Greats supply line. Anythingshort of a complete victory for the Macedonians meant certainannihilation.


    an intricate knot, the legend being that whoever could loosenthe knot would become the rulerof Asia. Alexander looked at theknot for a minute or two, and then brutally hacked it to piecesin ashow of controlled savagery calculated to impress his onlookersthat he had indeed fulfilledthe legend, that he was indeed the manfor the job of ruling Asia, and that anyone who thoughtotherwisewould end up like the knot.

    Alexander left Gordion in late July, having waited until theharvest so that the cities along theirroute, having surrendered orbeen taken by units sent ahead, would be able to provide themwithsupply depots. Sometime in August, Alexander reached theCilician Gates, a pass over the Tau-rus Mountains into Cilicia. Hisadvance was so rapid and unexpected that upon learning of his

    with the necessary supplies and denied the Per-sian fleet aplace to land and resupply. Alexan-der spent the winter of 334subjugating the var-ious cities of Lycia and Phamphylia andthenturned northeast toward Gordion, which hereached in March333.

    The Macedonian king wanted to visit thetemple of Jove and seethe famous chariot ofGordion. The yoke of this vehicle was tiedwith


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    proximity, the Persian forces, which in fact held a strongposition guarding the gates, retreated,as Curtius says, not braveenough to endure the sight of the enemy. Alexanders reputationhadpreceded him.

    Alexander entered Tarsus in the first week of September 333, andimmediately after bathing inthe River Cydnus, fell deathly ill,probably a victim of malaria. Around the same time, DariusIIImarched out of Babylon leading his army in person, his Greekmercenary commander Memnonhaving died of an illness. While thePersian king headed west to confront the man who hadalreadydetached a good part of his empire, Alexander spent the nexttwo months recovering. By the thirdweek of October, after a marchof 577 miles, Darius had reached Sochoi on the east side oftheAmanus Mountains. A week later Alexander was out of bed andsending Parmenion, with theallied infantry, Greek mercenaries,Thracians, and Thessalian cavalry, to take the town of Issusandcontinue south along the coast to secure the Beilan Pass, which ledinto Syria.

    Alexander spent the first week of November pacifying westernCilicia. He then returned to Soliand held musical and athleticcompetitions. His delay was intentional. With winter coming on,Dar-ius could not remain at Sochoi because his army would soon runout of supplies, and resupply wasdifficult in a region far from thecoast with no navigable rivers. He would have to movesoon.Alexander knew that Darius had four choices: to attempt theBeilan Pass, which debouches ontothe coastal plain 35 miles or sosouth of Issus where Parmenion was waiting in ambush; hold thepassin the face of Alexanders advance; withdraw eastward; or await theMacedonians in the plainsof Syria as long as their supplies heldout. Darius, however, was aware of Parmenion and was notabout toattempt the Beilan Pass, nor was he about to march back the way hehad just come. Alexan-der advanced to Mallus. He left there on thefirst day of the second week of November, headingtoward Issus,which he reached two days later. There he established a fieldhospital for the sick andwounded. This seems to indicate that thelast thing he expected from Darius was an offensive move-mentwestward. Darius decided to do the last thing his opponentexpected.

    The ancient accounts suggest that while Alexander took the coastroad south, Darius, per-suaded by his courtiers that theMacedonians delayed in Cilicia only out of fear of the Persiankingand his huge army, left Sochoi and marched north by an inland routethrough passes in theAmanus Mountains, both armies passing eachother in a single night. It is most probable thatAlexander did notexpect Darius to leave Sochoi in the plains of Syria, a locationmuch more suitedto the Persian way of warfare, which relied heavilyon cavalry, and was unaware of Dariuss

    northward movement. Surely the Persian king,already hesitatingto attempt the Beilan Pass inthe face of Parmenions force, wouldnot haveblindly crossed the passes above Issus withoutcertainknowledge of Alexanders whereabouts.

    Upon learning of Alexanders position at Issus,Darius left Sochoiheading northwest, intendingto come upon the Macedonian rear. Hesent hiswar chest to Damascus with what the Romanhistorian Curtiuscalls a modest guard. Allancient accounts of the Persian army,whichnumbered as many as 600,000 men, are greatlyexaggerated, andthis mention of a modestguard is our first indication that the armyofDarius was probably not much bigger than theMacedonian force. IfDarius had had the hugearmy attributed to him by the ancients, hemighthave sent his valuables to Damascus with morethan a modestguard. As it was, he did nothave the numbers to spare.

    On the fourth day of the second week ofNovember, Alexanderreached the mile-highpass of the Pillars of Jonah, while at thesametime the Persians began crossing the AmanicGates. The next dayAlexander reached Myr-iandrus, where it rained all night, and thePer-sians entered Issus, where Alexander had lefthis sick andwounded. According to Curtius,All whom by the instigation of thefurious Per-sian nobles with barbarous cruelty having theirhandscut off and [their wounds] cauterized, he[Darius] ordered to be ledaround, so that theyshould see his troops, and with all havingbeenseen fully, to report to their own king what they

    At the Battle of Granicus in 334 BC, Alexander defeated theforces of the Persian satraps of Asia Minor. Afterward,Alexandercaptured the coastal cities, which supplied his army while denyingthe Persian fleet a place to land and resupply.

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    from the sea till to the foothills of the mountain [about 2,800yards]. Through this extends theaforementioned river at anangle.

    From the mouth of the Pinarus upstream for about 500 meters theriver bed is bordered by lowbanks ranging from 1 to 2 meters inheight, according to a 20th-century geological survey. Forthe next1,000 meters the river is only five to 15 meters wide with steepbanks. Farther inland,the banks are extremely steep, but about2,740 meters from the mouth of the river is a narrowford. Cavalrycould have crossed the Pinarus near its mouth. Where the banks weresteep, infantrycould have crossed but not cavalry. Where the bankswere extremely steep, neither cavalry norinfantry could havecrossed, except at the ford.

    By midnight, Alexander had reached the Pillars of Jonah, sixmiles north of Myriandrus. Hehalted there while the advance guardof cavalry and archers went on to secure the northern end,eightmiles south of the Pinarus. Darius had probably spent the dayforming his camp, much likethe camp of Cyrus the Great as describedin Xenophons Cyropadeia: All the officers had ban-ners over theirtents, [the aides] were acquainted with the location of the variousofficers and werefamiliar with the banner of each one ... he dug atrench 60 feet wide and 10 deep and encircled

    the camp with the baggage-wagons of his trainlike a wall.

    At dawn on the seventh day of the third weekof November, 333 BC,the first units of Alexan-ders army came down the road leading outofthe northern end of the pass. As the Pillars ofJonah Pass isalmost a mile high and in places sonarrow that only fourinfantrymen or twohorsem*n can march abreast, the processofnegotiating the entire army through these nar-rows must havetaken half a day, while Alexan-ders advance scouts ranged farahead. It was, atfirst, necessary to march in column for hours.Asthe northern end of the pass finally fell awaybehind them and theground widened, Alexan-der slowly brought his column into line, onetax-eis after another, between the mountain to hisright and sea tohis left. This must have necessi-tated many halts and dressing oflines, occupy-ing much of the day. While the Macedoniansmarched incolumn, their cavalry followed theinfantry. According toCallisthenes eyewitnessaccount, As soon as Alexander came intotheopen fields he set [the army] in order, orderingall of thephalanx to form line, and to make thedepth of the phalanx 32 [men],after this in turnto 16, and last, being near the enemy, to 8.Itappears that he thinned and lengthened his lineof battle, asPlutarch says, to prohibit the Per-sians from executing anenvelopment.

    Arrian furnishes more detail: As into the openspace theyadvanced, he now drew up the army for battle, those first

    on the right wing toward the mountain, the agema of the foot.Thiswas the Royal Agema of the hypaspists, 1,000 strong, posted onthe extreme

    right, the position of honor. To their left were the rest of thehypaspists, a force of 2,000 led byNikanor, son of Parmenion. Thusfollowed, toward the sea, the taxeis of the Pezhetairoi,eachbristling with 1,500 sarisai, first that of Koinos, then thoseof Perdikkos, Amytas, Ptolemy, Melea-ger, and, on the extreme left,Craterus, in command of the infantry of the left, the position hehadoccupied at the River Granicus and would once again hold atGaugamela. Parmenion was in over-all command of the left wing andhad been ordered to keep his flank against the sea so that thePer-sians could not get around it. It is clear that Alexander wasvery concerned that Darius wouldattempt a double envelopment, andhe took every measure to prevent this.

    When Alexanders approach was reported to Darius by some of thelocals, he sent some of hiscavalry and light-armed troops south ofthe Pinarus to screen the deployment of his infantry pha-

    had seen. The next day these pitiable survivorsof the Macedonianfield hospital arrived inAlexanders camp at Myriandrus, andDariusmarched south.

    Darius had cut Alexanders line of commu-nication; theMacedonians could not retreat.Since the Persian fleet stilldominated the east-ern Mediterranean, they could notresupply.Darius had but to hold the line of the Pinarusto ensurevictory; he did not have to win thecoming battle. He just had tomake sure that hedid not lose. For the Macedonians and theiralliesit was a matter of victory or death.

    Alexander, finding it hard to believe that Dar-ius was nowastride his communications withhis whole army, for it might havebeen just araid or diversion, sent off some of his Hetairoiin asmall ship to reconnoiter the gulf of Issus.It must have taken afew hours for them to sailnorth and then back to Myriandrus, forwhenthey returned and reported the presence of thePersians,Alexander called his officers togetherfor a pep talk. Alexanderreminded the Mace-donians how the Persians on multiple occasionshadundertaken to conquer their lands, destroytheir cities, and violatesacred laws and rightsof men and gods, reported Curtius. Thistime,the tables were turned on the Persians, and theMacedoniansshould exchange their infertilemountain lands for the rich fieldsand pasturesof the Persians.

    It must have been late in the day by then, soAlexander orderedthe men to have dinnerwhile he sent ahead some cavalry andarchersto secure the southern end of the Pillars ofJonah. When itwas dark, he followed withmost of the army. It is probable that heleft inMyriandrus, to guard the Beilan Pass, the alliedGreeks, whoare not mentioned in the sourcesregarding the actual battle, andsome cavalryjust in case Darius had left a corps behind toattackAlexanders rear. The fact that Dariusdid not is a furtherindication of the small sizeof the Persian army.

    At this point, Alexander was probably leadingnorth about 25,000infantry: 12,000 in the pha-lanx, 5,000 heavy-armed mercenaries,7,000light-armed infantry, and 5,000 cavalry. Dariusprobably didoutnumber Alexander in cavalryand light troops, but the armies wereroughlyequal in professional heavy infantry, or whatArrian callshoplites. Both sides were headed fora fateful rendezvous at theRiver Pinarus; Dar-ius got there first, probably around the timetheMacedonians were eating dinner.

    The Pinarus is the modern Payas River inTurkey, and Callisthenesdescribes its course asit bisects the battlefield: There is at thisplacean interval not more than four and ten stadia

    TOP: Macedonian General Ptolemy (left) and Alexander IIIofMacedon. BELOW: In a war council, Alexander told hisgenerals thatthey would soon possess the fertile lands ofthe Persians.

    Muse du Louvre Library of Congress

    Library of Congress

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    lanx along the banks of the river. It seems that Darius plannedto cover the first500 yards or so from the river mouth inland withthese troops once he had positioned hisinfantry. Arrian reports:First of the hoplites the Greeks, the mercenaries, he drew up...opposite the phalanx of the Macedonians.

    Perhaps Darius could see the Macedonians off in the distance,and, surveying theground south of the Pinarus, drew up hismercenaries in the only place where theMacedonians would be able toattack in a phalanx formation across the dry, rockybed of theriver. Darius might have had about 15,000 Greek mercenaries.Toaugment this force he added perhaps another 15,000 PersianKardakes, youngnobles, who, according to Arrian, were probablyarmed as Greek hoplites, butlacking their traditions, training, anddiscipline. They were stationed on eitherside of the Greekmercenaries, and a similar formation would be adoptedonce again atGaugamela. Arrian says: The ground received in that place somanymen, they drew up in order of battle in a double phalanx. Becauseof thenarrowness of the battlefield, both units of the Persianphalanx must have been 16 ranks deep,twice as deep as Alexanderseight ranks and so equal to Arrians double phalanx.

    To their left, stretching toward the mountains, Curtius tellsus, Aristomedes, the Thessalian,had 20,000 barbarian foot. Arrianmentions 20,000 men to the left of the Persian phalanx. Poly-biuscalls them peltasts [light-infantry] ... bordering on themountains. Dariuss soldiers cov-ered the north bank of the Pinarusfrom sea to mountain; however, most of these were lightinfantry andarchers, and of his hoplites only the Greek mercenaries were theequals of the Mace-donians. Darius took up his own position,conspicuous in his high, ornate chariot, behind theGreekmercenaries, surrounded by his bodyguard of 3,000 noble Persianknights. To threatenAlexanders right he moved some peltasts,probably across the ford, 3,000 yards from the sea ontothe highground south of the Pinarus.

    With his infantry in place, Darius recalled the cavalry andlight troops that he had sent acrossthe river to screen hisdispositions. He seems to have divided his cavalry equally on bothwings

    but then realized that the rising ground to hisleft wasunsuitable for heavy cavalry. As Cur-tius tells us, The horses andhorsem*n of thePersians were equally heavy, covered as far astheirknees with rows of plates. They werearmed with two short spears anda sword. Dar-ius then sent most of his cavalry over to hisrightunder the command of Nabarzanes, prob-ably leaving only some lighthorse somewherenear the narrow ford. Along any part of thenorthernbank that looked a little too accessi-ble he fixed pointedstakes.

    Alexander moved his line forward slowlyand methodically,screened by his advancedguard of light cavalry, bowmen, and sli

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