Civil War Diary of Sergeant Henry W. Tisdale 1862-1865


July 13th. 1863

Were divided, four men to a post during the night, two required to be on the watch at a time-thus got four hours sleep during the night. Just as day broke the rebels opened fire quite savagely. At the same time, we were being relieved by the 7th RI. Many of this regiment were wounded, a few killed in getting their position. Has a very narrow escape viz. I was standing behind an orderly Sergeant of the 7th who had relieved me, both of us behind a tree, I giving him some instructions. I had my gun in front of me lengthwise of my body-flat a click upon my gun and at the same moment the Sergeant uttered a faint cry and fell upon his face at my feet. I sprang close to the tree and glancing at the body saw blood gushing from his mouth and that a bullet had passed through his body. He uttered a groan and expired. Looking at my gun I saw that the middle band was partially broken and the woodwork close to it dented upon the barrel, thus showing that the bullet after passing through his body had struck the gun and by it was glanced aside. Thus has God again preserved me in the day of battle. How strange the fortunes of war, all the day before I had been in the same spot and not always careful to keep behind the tree thoughtless of real danger. In fact not five minutes before, the Sergeant was killed, I spread out my blanket in an open spot near the tree and folded it and yet not a shot was fired at me.

Video of the B2 Stealth Bomber Crash

From the Air Force Times:

The most expensive crash in Air Force history — the $1.4 billion loss of a B-2 Spirit bomber Feb. 23 — was caused by water clogging aircraft sensors, according to an Air Combat Command report issued Thursday.

Moisture in three of the 24 sensors that feed information into the bomber’s computer system caused the sensors to send bad information about the plane’s speed and altitude, and how far up or down the bomber’s nose was pointed.

As the jet took off from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, the onboard computer thought the B-2 was pointed downward, causing the nose to jerk suddenly upward.

The two pilots couldn’t regain control of the bomber and as the left wing struck the runway, the pilots safely ejected.

(via Appletree)

Operation Moolah


There are virtually hundreds of cases where warring nations have made cash offers to the enemy. Sometimes the money is for defections or weapons. Other times it is for aid to friendly personnel or to purchase loyalty to a friendly government. We are going to discuss one of the most amazing of the reward campaigns, the attempt to steal a combat-ready Russian MiG-15 Fighter for one hundred thousand dollars. This entire operation is a mystery. There is still a great deal of doubt about who first conceived the idea of stealing a Russian Fighter plane. To make it even more interesting, there is some doubt as to whether anyone ever really expected to get an aircraft.

Why did the United Nations need to study a MiG-15? The Soviets designed the new fighter just after WWII. It was a high-altitude day interceptor able to operate from rough strips, reach almost Mach 1, be maneuverable at high altitude, armed with cannons, and had the ability to stay in the air for over 1 hour. The Soviets powered it with a British Rolls-Royce jet engine. It had serious shortcomings in handling. The high T-shaped tail obscured the rear and could injure a pilot ejecting from the aircraft, and the canopy fogged up during rapid dives. Still, its performance was superior to that of any Western fighter. The MiG-15 totally outclassed the American P-51 Mustangs, F-80 Shooting Stars, and the F-84 Thunder jets. The Americans had to wait until December 1950 for the arrival of the swept-wing F-86 Sabre-jet. Even then the MiG-15 climbed and dived faster, and was every bit as maneuverable.

The name of this mysterious plot is Operation Moolah, the Korean War effort to entice a Communist pilot to fly a MiG-15 fighter to an allied airfield for a reward of $100,000.

Only 15 to 20% of Combat Soldiers in WWII Would Fire at Enemy


Marshall was a U.S. Army historian in the Pacific theater during World War II and later became the official U.S. historian of the European theater of operations. He had a team of historians working for him, and they based their findings on individual and mass interviews with thousands of soldiers in more than 400 infantry companies immediately after they had been in close combat with German or Japanese troops. The results were consistently the same: Only 15 to 20 percent of the American riflemen in combat during World War II would fire at the enemy. Those who would not fire did not run or hide—in many cases they were willing to risk greater danger to rescue comrades, get ammunition, or run messages. They simply would not fire their weapons at the enemy, even when faced with repeated waves of banzai charges.

Why did these men fail to fire? As a historian, psychologist, and soldier, I examined this question and studied the process of killing in combat. I have realized that there was one major factor missing from the common understanding of this process, a factor that answers this question and more: the simple and demonstrable fact that there is, within most men and women, an intense resistance to killing other people. A resistance so strong that, in many circumstances, soldiers on the battlefield will die before they can overcome it.

(via Reddit)

3.5% Military Pay Raise Too Much for Bush

From the Honolulu Advertiser:

Talk about lousy timing. With President Bush’s popularity scraping bottom in opinion polls, with U.S. casualties rising in Iraq in a force surge that has stretched tours to 15 months, the Bush administration has said it “strongly opposes” key military pay and benefit gains tossed into the fiscal 2008 defense bill.

Initiatives the administration opposes include:

# A military pay raise for next January of 3.5 percent versus 3 percent endorsed by the White House.

# Lowering the age-60 start of reserve retirement annuities for reserve component members by the length of their future mobilizations.

# Expanding eligibility for Combat-Related Special Compensation to service members forced by combat disabilities to retire short of 20 years.

# Directing pharmaceutical manufacturers to provide the Department of Defense with same-price discounts for Tricare retail pharmacy network that are provided on medicines dispensed from base pharmacies.

The administration also grumbled that the Senate intends to block for another year Tricare fee increases for under-65 retirees and dependents.

The objections appear in a “Statement of Administration Policy” from the White House’s Office of Management and Budget delivered to Senate leaders as they opened floor debate on the defense authorization bill.

A day later, Senate Republicans, at White House urging, blocked amendments that would have shortened Iraq tours for U.S. ground forces and slowed the frequency of war deployments.

The U.S. Army vs. The Maginot Line

From Military History Online:

Yet the Maginot Line was defeated twice in just four years. The first defeat occurred in May and June of 1940 as a result of the inevitable German invasion. However, on this occasion, the Maginot Line was defeated not by assault but by a massive German mechanized outflanking maneuver which forced the collapse of the French military, the hasty but miraculous extrication of British and French forces at Dunkirk, and the surrender of the French nation. The Germans were able to overrun or capture only a handful of the smaller Maginot forts and none of the large ones. The majority of Maginot Line defenders surrendered only after their nation had done so first. Four years later, the Maginot Line again was defeated. This time, the U.S. Army overran and captured Maginot Line forts from the Germans in a series of operations during the fall of 1944 and the spring of 1945. Though the U.S. Army had little difficulty with the Maginot Line overall, several of the forts posed a quite challenge to capture. Ultimately the U.S. Army was able to overcome stiff German resistance, difficult terrain and poor weather to capture these several still formidable Maginot Line forts.