Al Nofi's CIC
|| Issue #34, May 10, 2001
- Infinite Wisdom
- la Triviata
- Short Rounds
- Did George V Invent "Purple"?
- German-Americans and American Military Success in the Twentieth Century
- Old Soldier's Story - The Assault on Zutphen
"No one is driven into war by ignorance, and no one who thinks that he will gain anything from it is deterred by fear."
-- Hermocrates of Syracuse
- At the onset of the Campaign of 1864, U.S. Grant was asked how long it would take him to get to Richmond, to which he replied "I will agree to be there in about four days, that is, if General Lee becomes a party to the agreement, but if he objects, the trip will undoubtedly be prolonged."
- Despite loudly proclaimed pledges of "no first use," during the 1970s and 1980s Soviet plans for offensive operations against NATO forces in Germany envisioned the first use of 2,874 nuclear warheads.
- Although reputed to be devoted to luxurious living, the citizens of the ancient Greek city of Sybaris, in southern Italy, were capable of "roughing it" in defense of their freedom, so that, for example, military regulations stipulated that a man on sentry duty was limited to one mattress, one sheet, one blanket, and no more than two pillows.
- Hitler's Atlantic Wall, on which construction began in May of 1942, necessitated the movement of some 1.7 million cubic meters of earth and rock.
- In 1774 the Sultan of Morocco declared war on the Spanish Army, but carefully excempted the Spanish Navy from the hostilities.
- At the first National Rifle Matches held under federal auspices, in Sea Girt, New Jersey, September 8-9, 1903, a team from the New York National Guard came in first, followed by National Guard teams from three other states, followed by a Regular Army team and a Marine Corps team.
- At ceremonies in honor of the second inauguration of Pres. Ronald Reagan in 1985, it was discovered that 97 members of the Salvadorian Army's Batallon Ronald Reagan had deserted.
- Field Marshal Lord John Ligonier never received a scratch in battle during 61 years in the British Army in the eighteenth century, although bullets pierced his garments 23 times.
Did George V Invent "Purple"?
In recent years it has become common to refer to "joint" military activities as "purple," implying that personnel assigned to joint operations are wearing a different uniform than the various versions of green and blue sported by the army, navy, marines, and air force. But just how this term come about seems a bit obscure.
The earliest use of "purple" to describe something not associated with a particular service seems to come from Britain.
When the Victoria Cross was instituted in the mid-nineteenth century, the metallic portion of the decoration, made from captured Russian cannon, was identical for both the British Army and the Royal Navy. But the ribbon from which the medal was suspended was red for the army and, appropriately, navy blue for the navy. This worked fine until 1917. In that year the Royal Air Force was created. Insisting on total equality with the other services, the RAF demanded than an "air force blue" version of the Victoria Cross be instituted for award to airmen.
Now at the time, King George V was becoming concerned about the proliferation of awards and decorations engendered by World War I. So in 1918 he put his foot down. By royal decree he abolished the different army and navy versions of the Victoria Cross, establishing a single version for all services, with a purple ribbon.
Can this be the origin of the contemporary use of purple?
German-Americans and American Military Success in the Twentieth Century