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Michael Parker




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PostPosted: Wed 12 Apr, 2017 10:40 pm    Post subject: Child Soldiers before 1800 - Morality and Practicality         Reply with quote

It seems to me like it's natural for us to spend most of our time discussing the equipment and routines of "proper soldiers", the kind who met the usual requirements for recruitment in terms of age, health, physical fitness, etc. Today, however, I would like to ask the community about the place of children and teenagers younger than 18; why they might be recruited, what sort of jobs they could do. I have read about young boys being messengers, valets, drummer boys, powder monkeys, etc., and am interested to know how they got roped into doing those jobs in the first place. I am sure that definitions of legal adulthood and children's rights fluctuated quite a lot from Classical Antiquity to the French Revolution, but I would expect that they'd be quite different from our own. What did chroniclers and military writers have to say about taking kids on campaign and exposing them to danger? What was considered okay, what crossed the line, and under what kind of desperate circumstances were they willing to bend the rules?

I'm particularly interested in what kind of circumstances it would take for younger teenagers or children to be employed not just as support troops, but as combatants. At what age was a youth considered a match for an adult man in the push of pike, or able to bend a warbow? For that matter, at what age ballpark was someone considered ready to handle the stress of combat, or able to be disciplined to follow orders? What kind of weapons could you give someone of less than adult strength to make them useful? And at what point was forcing a minor into combat just not worth it from a practical standpoint, because they weren't capable enough either physically or mentally?

I wonder also how the improvement of firearms changed the ways you could use a child in combat. Guns have become more efficient, accurate, and deadly over the past 200 years, and that makes it so that these days a 12-year old armed with an assault rifle or carbine can do some real damage. There are also grenades and, on the dark side of things, suicide vests. When I think of the old match- and flintlock muskets I imagine they might have been more difficult for a child to use; perhaps I'm overestimating how hard it would be? Before firearms, though, I think of most weapons as requiring some degree of strength and stature to use well in close quarters. Did this technological change bring any meaningful difference in how desperate you would have to be to put a child in mainline combat?

I realize that this is really too broad, and I have been using the word "child" very vaguely, so I'm just going to see what people know about within their particular area of expertise, and follow up on those with more specific inquiries. All replies appreciated!

"This is a sharp medicine, but it is a physician for all diseases and miseries."
-Sir Walter Raleigh, upon being allowed to see the ax that would behead him, 29 October 1618
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Thu 13 Apr, 2017 9:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I know I don't answer your question precisely, but i can give a perspective to what we call children today was not what people in former times understood as children. They off course knew that adults of different ages had different physical capabilities, so you were assigned rolls you were able to handle.

I can give a perspective from Denmark on what was seen as adults and children:
It is my understanding that at least in Denmark your were a child until the age of ~12 and then you were regarded as a "young adult" until fairly recent times.
As you weren't fully physically and mentally developed, it off course set some limits of what you could demand from them, but they were treated as adults and expected to have responsibilities as adults (yet they didn't have legal age).

Confirmation in Denmark (as in Christianity in general) is a "rite de passage" from childhood to adulthood, where you as an adult confirm you are a Christian, since at Baptism you parents spoke for you when you were an infant.
We still say in Danish that "man træder ind i de voksnes rækker" (you step into the ranks of the adults).

In Denmark you are still confirmed in Church at age 12-13, yet the modern perspective of "childhood" has changed from 1-12 years of age to 1-18 years of age.

The election age was totally different than the age of adulthood!
In 1834 you had to be a man of min. 25 years of age (beside other requirements)
in 1849 it was actually increased to min 30 years of age (beside other requirements)
in 1915 both men and women over 25 years of age (beside other requirements).

Myndighedsalder (legal age) was not at all corresponding to the perceived age of adulthood, before 1976!
In 1834 it was 25 years of age.
So adults younger than 25 years of age needed a family member of a guardian (værge) to sign legal papers and contracts.
In 1922 it was 22 years of age.
In 1976 it became 18 years of age.

Denmark got General Conscription in 1849 by law.
Source: http://danmarkshistorien.dk/leksikon-og-kilde...ruar-1849/
§9: "Enhver Mandsperson bliver, saasnart han er confirmeret, at indføre i Lægdsrullen".
Translation: "Every male person becomes - as soon as he is confirmed - registered in the Lægdsrulle".

§14: "Med 22 Aars Alderen indtræder den almindelige Forpligtelse til Landskrigstjenesten...."
Translation: With 22 years of age the general commitment to Land-War-Service commences.

§19: "Det tillades Enhver, som ei har opnaaet Udskrivningsalderen, men er 18 Aar eller derover, at indtræde i den staaende Hær som Menig paa de sædvanlige Vilkaar...."
Translation: It is permissible for anyone - who has not yet to reach the drafting-age, but is 18 years or older - to enter into the standing army as a private on the usual conditions...

§32: "I Almindelighed er det udskrevne Mandskabs Tjenestepligt indskrænket til 16 Aar, saa at Enhver, der med 22 Aars Alderen er behandlet til Udskrivningen, med det 38te Aar udslettes af Rullen og meddeles Afskedspas....."
Translation: Normally the obligation of the drafted servicemen is restricted to 16 years, so that anyone, who is drafted at 22 years of age, will at the 38th years of age be deleted from the roll and given pass of discharge.

So the army wanted men in their prime preferably age 22-38 and adult men age 12-18 and older than 38 were free of service.
Men older than 38 were obligated to join if Denmark came under attack -> medical examination whether they were deemed fit or not.
Conclusion:
The age of conscription was not the same as age of acquiring adulthood as it has become in Denmark today, where you can join the army as 18 years of age.
So interestingly enough the modern armies today want younger men, than the Danish state ideally wanted in 1849 with 22 years of drafting age. That is probably because in the 1850 Denmark reached the all-time low in average height because of generally bad nourishment. People were perhaps first generally physically developed at 22 years of age. The min. draft height was 1.60 and in some areas of Denmark most men had to be discarded because they were below that.

The navy could actually have personnel younger than 18 (and up to 50 years of age), and it actually doesn't state any minimum age!
You had three rolls:
1) Below 18 years of age
2) Age 18-38
3) Age 38-50
Young boys clearly had certain advantages on ships compared to land warfare.

So the modern Danish post-1976 conception of adulthood is when you can be drafted, vote and having legal age, all correspond to 18 years of age. We are so used to that today, that it is surprising that it's actually a very new phenomenon.
The Danish criminal age and sexual age (age of consent) are both 15 years, though.
In 1866 the age of consent was 12 years for girls (none for boys). In 1930 it became 15.

Still just a bit over 100 years ago, it was normal to be regarded as an adult when you left the 7th grade public school and having been confirmed as 12 years old. Then you could leave home and become your "own man", for instance as a craftsman apprentice, taken a job on a boat etc. The master-craftsman or the captain of the boat would then serve as your legal guardian.
The hardship on child-labour in the factories meant that a law in 1873 prohibited children under the age of 10 to work in factories. In 1903 it was increased to 12 years of age for factory work.
I 1913 it was increased to 14 years of age for factory and craftsman work.
In 1919 most work for children under 12 years of age became illegal, exceptions were cleaning in private homes.
The schooling period became fixed between 8.00-16.00 as it still is in Denmark today.

My grandfather became his own man as 12 years of age (in 1909) and left Jutland and travelled to Copenhagen where he became a factory worker and later a craftsman apprentice.

The point is that until ~1900 the vast majority of people saw +12 years olds as "young adults" and then you have a fairly fast change, that increased the protection of children and thus ending up "expanding" the public perception of childhood-age.
The idea of a "Teenager" as more child than adult is a modern one.


Last edited by Niels Just Rasmussen on Fri 14 Apr, 2017 1:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Daniel Staberg




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PostPosted: Thu 13 Apr, 2017 1:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A very rough rule is that in the early modern period men were considered to be adults at the age of 16 if you look at laws for various forms of military service but in general militaries prefered to recruit more mature men.

I have a document from 1612 which in great detail lays down how troops were to be recruited, equiped and trained in the Habsburg ancestral lands. It does include a section of the age of recruits and which roles were suitable for a man of a certain age.
Cavalrymen were to be at least 20 years old but no more than 30 or possibly 35 years of age.
Infantry recruits aged 16 to 24 were to be calivermen and arquebusiers
Infantry recruits aged 20 to 25 years old were suited to be musketeers
Infantry recruits aged 25 to 32 were suited to be pikemen
Those older than 32 up to an age of about 45 were to be armed with halberds

Of course age was not the only requirement that the recruiters looked at when assigning the would be soldier to a position but the list gives an idea of what kind of men they valued for certain roles.

Older and more mature men were selected to be pikemen and halberdiers as those roles not only required strenght (to carry the polearm and armour) but also a strenght of mind as the pikemen and the halberdiers formed the solid core of a combat unit. If they shrank back or routed all was lost.

Drummer boys were a rather modern invention, in the 16th and 17th centuries military drummers were mature and experienced men whose office involved not only playing military music but also acting as a form of "town crier" in camp and as messengers to enemy forces or positions. (The later role they shared with the trumpeters of the cavalry and both were considered to have a special protected status while carrying out that task. Killing a drummer during a parley could have serious consequences, for example garrisons who killed drummers were several times denied quarter and massacred as they tried to surrender.)

"There is nothing more hazardous than to venture a battle. One can lose it
by a thousand unforseen circumstances, even when one has thorougly taken all
precautions that the most perfect military skill allows for."
-Fieldmarshal Lennart Torstensson.
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Thu 13 Apr, 2017 2:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As your question was pre-1800 I found here the danish infantry laws of 1747:

A minimum age of 15 for being accepted as a recruit, but they could only be enlisted from 18 years of age.
They should be beautiful in stature without defects -> the soldiers reflected the honour of the Danish Monarch.
Couldn't have lost honour (ærestab) previously.
Should be european and either lutheran, reformed or catholic.
Should speak either danish or german.

In 1764 the recruiting age was changed to 18-34 years with a minimum height of 1.70 m (from 1765 lowered to 1.65 m).

In 1761 Claude Louis, Comte de Saint Germain arrived in Denmark as he was appointed Field Marshall of the Danish army by King Frederik V.
He was shocked to find the extreme high mortality in children of the enlisted professional soldiers in Denmark.

He and the General War Directorate launched a program in 1764 that every child should get 1 skilling pr. day, but that they then were obligated to enlist in the regiment of their fathers, when they came of age!
From the age of 6 the boys carried a red scarf - these boys could then enlist after their confirmation (so age 12).
Those boys not deemed fit for military service (and girls) would be taught skills, so they could work in the military factories. Some boys could be an officer's orderly.
They would get free schooling in garrison-schools, where they would have no contact with civilian children.

You had reading schools focusing on christianity, calculation, reading and writing in german and danish, and working schools in the afternoon - especially textile work. Whatever produced there was extra income for the kids - it average 1 skilling pr. day.

Military widows and their fatherless children were provided for by "Christians Plejehus".
They also had free schooling as described above.
When they were 6 the boys was put in special "korporalskaber" where they practiced military drills every day.

Order of 1765, translated from German:
"They should under no circumstances be spoiled, since all leniency in the military upbringing would be extremely damaging.
The boy must already as a child become prepared for a soldier's hardship and be toughened, so much as his age allows and without a diminishing of his growth occurs
".
From 1775 these boys wore blue-gray uniforms in a cut like the army uniform (presumingly still red scarfs?)

Army recruiters could "skillings-enlist" boys (from 1740) without their parents consent (!)
The recruiter just needed two witnesses and whatever coin or promises given to the boy before convincing him to join.
He was then legally obligated to enlist at age 15-17 and to show his engagement carrying the red scarf.
As it was remarked: "Such a child thus walked around marked, as a sheep to the butchery, stamped to misery.
From 1764 these boys was also entitled to 1 skilling pr. day.
The couldn't enlist country-boys to the professional army as they were already registered in the Land-Militia between age 4-40.

So it seems that during the 1700's the age were men were expected to fight gradually rose from minimum 15 years (1747) in special cases, towards a general minimum of 18 years of age (1764), but a soldiers life could be started at 6 years of age.
Boys down to 10-12 years of age were engaged in the music corps and they could be at risk during combat, but was not expected to fight.
It was probably the same in the navy. Boys could be tending rigging (even during combat) or sweeping the decks, but not expected to fight in hand-to-hand combat before they were min. 18 years of age.
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Michael Parker




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PostPosted: Fri 14 Apr, 2017 9:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Really super replies, thank you everybody! I guess this kind of confirms the hunch I had before I learned all this that the age of legal responsibility was not necessarily the age of physical maturity or military effectivenes. In an age where each member of the rank and file had to depend on the strength and steely nerves of the man to their right, an immature person would have been a weak link that put everybody else in danger.

It's clear from what you all have written that it was not only the change in weaponry and tactics, but also in education and nutrition which determined the demographic that recruiters were aiming for. The Vietnam-era U.S. Military policy of recruiting kids right out of high school--when their personalities and bodies could be molded into shape more easily--surely depended on the assumption that they had been raised in conditions of First World abundance which caused their bodies and brains to grow faster than people did in the Early Modern period.

"This is a sharp medicine, but it is a physician for all diseases and miseries."
-Sir Walter Raleigh, upon being allowed to see the ax that would behead him, 29 October 1618


Last edited by Michael Parker on Fri 14 Apr, 2017 3:42 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Fri 14 Apr, 2017 10:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Parker wrote:
Really super replies, thank you everybody! I guess this kind of confirms the hunch I had before I learned all this that the age of legal responsibility was not necessarily the age of physical maturity or military effectivenes. In an age where each member of the rank and file had to depend on the strength and steely nerves of the man to their right, an immature person would have been a weak link that put everybody else in danger.

It's clear from what you all have written that it was not only the change in weaponry and tactics, but also in education and nutrition which determined the demographic that recruiters were aiming for. The Vietnam-era U.S. Military policy of recruiting kids right out of high school--when their personalities and bodies could be molded into shape more easily--surely depended on the assumption that they had been raised in conditions of First World abundance which caused their bodies and brains to grow faster.


In older times when you already hired adult men into a professional army, you did know that the main reason most of these men even enlisted was likely because they were running away from a criminal charge (often economic troubles or abuse lead them to it) or were deserters from other armies!
So you kept them in line with severe disciplining and draconian punishments.
In fact in the danish professional infantry actually 47% of the recruits came from German States outside the Monarchy (Denmark, Norway, Slesvig-Holsten) as Denmark only had enlisting officers in Germany outside the Monarchy.

To avoid huge numbers deserting, draconian punishment were not enough, you also needed some kind of carrot. So you had the possibility of being pardoned to a lower sentence, if the gave an acceptable reason for your desertion attempt. Each soldier was an investment and just executing men "en masse" was not economically viable.
It means that during the trials we have the official reason for why the individual soldiers wanted to escape -> smart soldiers said what the officers wanted to hear. The really un-smart thing was to say you wanted to enlist in another army - like the Swedish - as it would be regarded as most severe (an investment running away to the archenemy).

A way to keep the soldiers from deserting was to keep them locked in the garrison cities (for instance Copenhagen).
It meant that actually 20% of Copenhagen's entire population were professional soldiers (read hardened criminals on the run from something).
You had constant visitations in the streets, patrol-ships searching ships leaving the harbour and ice-postings (patrolling men on the ice) in wintertime if professional soldiers tried to walk over Øresund to Sweden. The Swedes actually has a professional spy-ring of recruiters inside Copenhagen, that was the cause of a huge numbers of deserters!

All recruits had their personal documents confiscated (passports, craftsman letters etc).
Civilian Copenhageners had the duty to report suspicious behavior from the professional soldiers and to arrest potential deserters themselves if they spotted them! Not doing so would give civilians huge fines, but a caught deserter would give the civilian a good finders fee and any transport of the deserter refunded.
So the street tension and in bars between the professional soldiers and the civilians must have been beyond explosive. The professional soldiers could only be tried by military laws, so if they went out into town and committed crime, they were safe if they could escape back into the garrison.
Another scourge of copenhagen were the guilds (laug). Especially the bakers were truly feared. With their bakers pole they often "en masse" went through the streets beating all they met to a pulp (especially if they met soldiers).

We have the list of the 1484 new recruits to Kronprinsens Livregiment (one of the infantry regiment in Copenhagen) between 1774-1803 and that is a truly multinational bunch:

Within the Monarchy:
Denmark 410
Danish West-Indies: 3
Slesvig-Holsten: 38
Iceland: 1
Norway 123

Foreigners:
Baltic States: 9
Belgium: 5
Böhmen/Mähren: 33
England: 7
Finland: 3
France: 22
Netherlands: 22
Ireland: 1
Italy: 2
Colonies (North America, Africa, Caribbean, India and Dutch East Indies): 14
Croatia: 1
Luxemburg: 1
Poland: 11
Russia: 2
Silesia: 13
Switzerland: 9
Sweden: 4
Germany (Danzig, Prussia & Holy Roman Empire): 614
Hungary: 11
Austria: 38
Unknown/ Not reported: 73

Source (p. 111): Petersen, Karsten Skjold (2002). Geworbne krigskarle. Hvervede soldater i Danmark 1774-1803.

Age of newly enlisted recruits:
10-14 years: 22
15-19 years: 319
20-24 years: 527
25-29 years: 391
30-34 years: 158
35-39 years: 66
40-44 years: 11
45-50 years: 2
Age not given: 76

Source: Petersen (2002), page 113.

So you took the rules with a pinch of salt at the Regiment, that newly enlisted men had to be between 18-34 years old.
Of the 22 10-14 years old: Three of them were enlisted as future NCO's when the spot became available, 7 as privates, 12 as musicians. For six of the privates/musician group it is stated that the enlistment first should start after their confirmation.
So it is possible that a few 12 year old privates could have ended up fighting in the case of war.

Even though it stated that only Lutheran, Reformed and Catholics could be enlisted, you officially have 3 enlisted Orthodox Christians and 1 Muslim in the documents of the Regiment!
70% of the new recruits were Lutheran.
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Tue 18 Apr, 2017 3:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Child Soldiers before 1800 - Morality and Practicality         Reply with quote

Michael Parker wrote:
I wonder also how the improvement of firearms changed the ways you could use a child in combat. Guns have become more efficient, accurate, and deadly over the past 200 years, and that makes it so that these days a 12-year old armed with an assault rifle or carbine can do some real damage.


Note that most such child soldiers are used against civilians or similar child soldiers, and tend to die like flies when facing properly trained adult soldiers. A 12-year-old might be strong enough to tote a gun around and pull the trigger but they don't necessarily have the strength and kinesthetic control to hold their aim effectively, let alone perform movement techniques competently while carrying a weapon (and under fire, at night, in driving rain, going uphill both ways).
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Karl G




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PostPosted: Sat 06 May, 2017 4:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't know much of the history but have contracted in Africa where unfortunately child soldiers exist. Not personally experienced but generally for certain roles they are considered combat effective, if not highly proficient. Checkpoints, static guarding duties, some raids- usually vehicle mounted, anything where they are not required to lug full military kit or keep up with adults. The travel advice by the UN is if encountered, treat them as adult soldiers, do not condescend to them or talk to them as children. Address them as if they were an adult of equivalent rank and status at all times.

As a former soldier and fitness trainer my opinion is 'kids' would become effective shortly after puberty. Whatever age that was occurring historically and whether you still call them kids is up to historians. Some 13-14 year old boys are into the category where while not as strong as they are going to become, the stronger and fitter examples will keep up with full grown men a lot of time. Certainly when you consider men may be 45years+ carrying injuries, not in the best physical condition, there is going to be some overlap in physical output between fit kids that age and poor physique adults. In other words while on average they may not present as formiddable a fighting force as a purely adult army, I think a majority of them would certainly be to function in some part of it. Again I am not a historian and am using modern anecdotes for physical development whereas things may have been different for 13-14 year olds during eras of poorer nutrition.
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Sun 07 May, 2017 8:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Karl G wrote:
I don't know much of the history but have contracted in Africa where unfortunately child soldiers exist. Not personally experienced but generally for certain roles they are considered combat effective, if not highly proficient. Checkpoints, static guarding duties, some raids- usually vehicle mounted, anything where they are not required to lug full military kit or keep up with adults. The travel advice by the UN is if encountered, treat them as adult soldiers, do not condescend to them or talk to them as children. Address them as if they were an adult of equivalent rank and status at all times.

As a former soldier and fitness trainer my opinion is 'kids' would become effective shortly after puberty. Whatever age that was occurring historically and whether you still call them kids is up to historians. Some 13-14 year old boys are into the category where while not as strong as they are going to become, the stronger and fitter examples will keep up with full grown men a lot of time. Certainly when you consider men may be 45years+ carrying injuries, not in the best physical condition, there is going to be some overlap in physical output between fit kids that age and poor physique adults. In other words while on average they may not present as formiddable a fighting force as a purely adult army, I think a majority of them would certainly be to function in some part of it. Again I am not a historian and am using modern anecdotes for physical development whereas things may have been different for 13-14 year olds during eras of poorer nutrition.


All this is basically only made possible with modern lightweight firearms and mobile guerrilla style warfare.
As you say children can't carry much gear and wouldn't be able to carry, aim and reload of 1700's musket.

About kids becoming efficient shortly after puberty:
Even in Europe you could see especially grown and strong children being enrolled at 15 years of age (as I shown in an above post for late 1700's), and especially many west africans grow quite fast, so 13-14 year old kids can already be quite muscular compared with undernourished Europeans in the 1700-1800's.

Puberty came quite late in Europe because of undernourishment:
In ~1800 it was at 17-18 years of age, whereas in the middle ages it was 14 (sadly not stated when in the middle ages).
Source: humupd.oxfordjournals.org/content/7/3/287.full.pdf

But as I stated above it seems it was common in the navies to have kids 10-12 years of age. Maybe keen young eyes used as spotters from high up in the rigging can be compared with the static guard duties you mentioned above.
Kids taking supporting rolls both then and now.

But if we talk conventional armies children are less good soldiers for the reasons you listed, but in guerrilla fighting (especially in urban warfare), where you can get close to the enemy dressed as a civilian and then suddenly pull out weapons and shoot first; then size doesn't matter anymore. A 6 year old girl can take out elite soldiers by surprise either with a firearm or suicide bomb.

But most of the time these kids are probably actual "insurgents" or in crime gangs, rather than child "soldiers" engaged in conventional warfare (though they can be held back and having guard duties you can also assign old men to).
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Mark Moore




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PostPosted: Sun 07 May, 2017 8:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just FWIW....My ex-brother-in-law had to shoot a tiny little girl in Vietnam. They had strapped a 5 pound bomb to her back and sent her walking into their camp. He is still terribly traumatized by it to this day. The atrocities of war are absolutely sickening. I cannot fathom how anyone could do such a horrendous act...with a CHILD. True...He did save his entire platoon. But I'm sure he left part of his soul there in that jungle in '68. Terrible. Cry ........McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Tue 09 May, 2017 9:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark C. Moore wrote:
Just FWIW....My ex-brother-in-law had to shoot a tiny little girl in Vietnam. They had strapped a 5 pound bomb to her back and sent her walking into their camp. He is still terribly traumatized by it to this day. The atrocities of war are absolutely sickening. I cannot fathom how anyone could do such a horrendous act...with a CHILD. True...He did save his entire platoon. But I'm sure he left part of his soul there in that jungle in '68. Terrible. Cry ........McM


It is a natural outcome of asymmetric warfare. We might not like it, but it is reality and not something new.

The US army were (and still are) superior in conventional warfare, so the Vietnamese had to exploit certain specific cultural "weaknesses" in the US army to have a chance at all. [It's probably either use them or not fighting at all. Denmark chose in WW2 not to fight at all at the political level, just sacrificing a few Danish soldiers for show.]

1) US not willing to sacrifice men "en masse", like the communists were. US as risk-averse to plans that could give heavy loses. The Vietnamese were on the contrary willing to take great risks.
This lead to the Tet-offensive, which was a military defeat with huge losses for the vietnamese, but a political victory for them. It send the international signal that such sacrifices definitely pays off.
[It wouldn't have worked against the Roman Army and people and the Vietnamese might not even have attempted it, if they had fought such an enemy].

2) "Never leave a man behind".
This causes the US army to be extremely predictable in its responses.
You can lay traps for soldiers by having snipers deliberately injuring soldiers and then killing those coming to save him.
Also taking prisoners that the americans will try to liberate.

3) Aversion of killing women and children.
Using them as human shields will cause many westerners to not fire or delay their actions long enough to get an advantage.
If westerners wouldn't shoot on people carrying for instance shields with a rose emblem, they would carry those instead.
Also getting women and children in very close with weapons or bombs, as the delaying in shooting them makes it possible to inflict damage.

So it is because western soldiers wont fire on them, that they are being used! Again this wouldn't have worked against the Roman Army. When Vercingetorix send out women and children from his camp at Alesia, Caesar just coldly let them remain in "no mans land" starving to death. Thus no one to my knowledge used women or children as shields against the romans.

The Vietnamese were fighting "to win", where the US were more and more fighting to "look good" internationally and "feel good" domestically. It was still a contest between cold war hawks and doves at the time with the doves winning politically at home (again thanks to the Tet-offensive). So the length you are willing to go in warfare to secure victory depends of what you are fighting for. For the US Vietnam was 1 domino piece in a global game of 2 players (US & Soviet), for the Vietnamese their homeland.
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PostPosted: Tue 09 May, 2017 9:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Edward Woodstock (Black Prince) was 16 at the battle of Crecy (yet to be knighted). Henry V was 17 at Shrewsbury and sustained a near mortal wound. Henry Percy (Hotspur) was knighted at 13.

Teenagers have been warriors throughout history and modern war shows even tweeners capable of pulling a trigger. For definitive analysis, one needs to start with specific contexts and timelines. Minors in the US military can enlist at 16 with consent of a parent or gaurdian. Younger boys than that worked the American Civil War with lots of work to do aside from carrying a firearm. Uniformed musicians with swords as young as ten, as well as midshipmen and powder monkeys of the navy.

Then again, none of this is really a mystery and the internet shares all this without having to type it all out again.

Cheers

GC


Last edited by Glen A Cleeton on Tue 09 May, 2017 9:54 am; edited 2 times in total
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Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
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PostPosted: Tue 09 May, 2017 9:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Niels--Thank you for the reply. I will NOT start a conversation about Vietnam. I relayed the story as just that...a FWIW story. My feelings on the Vietnam Conflict are my own. The whole subject is far too touchy, and best left alone in this forum. Good day. Wink ....McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
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PostPosted: Tue 09 May, 2017 10:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A seargeants sword of 1864 and a US Marines musician boys sword of the same ACW period.


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