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November 26, 2014

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Al Nofi's CIC
  Issue #15, December 27, 2000  
  This Issue...
  • Infinite Wisdom
  • la Triviata
  • Short Round - Mule Power vs. Air Power
  • Briefing - Motorization in World War I

 

Infinite Wisdom

The concentration of troops can be done fast and easy, on paper.

-- Radomir Putnik, Voivode,
Serbian Army, 1912-1917

 

La Triviata

  • Organized in November of 1861, the Unionist 2nd Virginia Volunteers became the 2nd West Virginia the following year, then the 2nd West Virginia Mounted Infantry in June of 1863, and in January of 1864 the 5th West Virginia Cavalry, thus becoming what was probably the most renamed unit in the Civil War.
  • Nearly 98% of all military cargo landed in support of American operations in Viet Nam arrived by sea.
  • During the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714) the French Army annually lost about 25% of its manpower through desertion.
  • By the end of World War II the U.S. Army had 663 battalions of field artillery, enough for over 165 divisions, though there actually were never more than 90 divisions.
  • The United States, which by March of 1943 was providing 22-percent of the Royal Navy's torpedo bombers and 58 percent of its fighters, was by World War II's end providing over half the aircraft being used by the Fleet Air Arm.
  • During the Battle of the Nile (August 1, 1798), a British gunner was about fire his gun when his right arm was taken off by a French cannonball, whereupon he snatched the match from the deck with his left hand, fired the gun, and then reported to sick bay.
  • The Allied drive across France and Belgium in the late Summer and Autumn of 1944 was accomplished through the expenditure of about 27 million gallons of gasoline each day.

 

Short Round- Mule Power vs. Air Power

The Japanese 1944 offensive from Burma into India soon had the British Imperial forces at Imphal isolated. But if the Japanese controlled the land approaches to the city, they did not control the air. As a result, a massive airlift was undertaken to sustain the garrison.

During the airlift a curious - indeed unique - crisis developed. The 5th Indian Division was being flown into the city. It was a light division, especially equipped to operate in the extremely mountainous, jungle covered terrain along the Indo-Burmese frontier. Instead of motor vehicles it had a lot of mules. These were loaded onto C-47s just like everything else. Unfortunately, the experience of flight proved unsettling to many of the beasts. On several aircraft the animals panicked. In their panic some of the mules voided. Now, although the solid material was at worst an annoyance, the liquid portion proved surprisingly dangerous.

Some of the mule urine leaked through the cabin floors, to drip on the electrical wiring that ran below. This caused short circuits in several aircraft. On a number of airplanes the shorts caused small fires, which caused several of aircraft to suffer some loss of control. Though none actually crashed, several of the aircraft were in some danger before their crews were able to bring the fires under control. Which was just as well, since it would have been very difficult to explain to the folks back home.

 

 


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