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Tyler Weaver




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PostPosted: Wed 07 Sep, 2005 9:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
In addition, the use of espada y rodela figures into one of the early instances of WMA vs. AMA, when the Portugeuse Andrea Pessoa used his sword and target to good effect against samurai who were boarding his carrack, the Nossa Senhora de Graca, in 1609. Pessoa's ship finally succumbed to fire, but he killed several samurai in that action.


I wonder how well the rest of the crew did. Wink

That said, seriously, I would like to hear more about this engagement. If he was in action long enough to kill several samurai in the fighting (assuming it's not exaggerated), that must have been one hell of a battle on the decks. It also brings up the interesting question of a katana vs. sword-and-target fight - speed, power and leverage versus reach and solid defense.

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Wed 07 Sep, 2005 9:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

HMMMMMM: Something reality based about the old Knight against Samurai that everybody seems to agree is a " Newbee " question and supposed to be a waste of time discussing Eek! Cool

This would seem like a real fight between competent European style and Japanese styles of weapons and martial arts.

What I wouldn't give for a time machine and be able to video that fight.

So maybe a discussion of Knight vs. Samurai is not necessarily silly, only that they usually end up that way.

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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Wed 07 Sep, 2005 9:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've split this of from the original thread so that it can be discussed without derailing the original thread.
"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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George Hill




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PostPosted: Thu 08 Sep, 2005 1:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What are the sources on this?
To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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David Black Mastro




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PostPosted: Fri 09 Sep, 2005 7:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tyler,

Tyler Weaver wrote:
Quote:
In addition, the use of espada y rodela figures into one of the early instances of WMA vs. AMA, when the Portugeuse Andrea Pessoa used his sword and target to good effect against samurai who were boarding his carrack, the Nossa Senhora de Graca, in 1609. Pessoa's ship finally succumbed to fire, but he killed several samurai in that action.


I wonder how well the rest of the crew did. Wink


Pretty good, actually, until fire became an issue. Wink

Quote:
That said, seriously, I would like to hear more about this engagement. If he was in action long enough to kill several samurai in the fighting (assuming it's not exaggerated), that must have been one hell of a battle on the decks. It also brings up the interesting question of a katana vs. sword-and-target fight - speed, power and leverage versus reach and solid defense.


The incident took place in Nagasaki (in Jan. of 1610--my mistake), and started with difficulties between Pessoa and the local governor. This became more heated when it was learned that Pessoa--when he was governor of Macau--had killed a group of Japanese sailors there, only a few months before. Ieyasu then responded with an order to kill Pessoa and take his ship.

The first attack involved 1,200 samurai in thirty boats, that attempted to board the Portuguese carrack in a night assault. The Japanese were overconfident, and shouted insults at their enemy, thus giving away the surprise. Pessoa's gunners cut loose with 2 broadsides, and that ended the first attempt.

The Japanese tried the same thing for 3 nights in a row.

The final assault made use of a sort of naval siege tower mounted on two larger vessels, as tall as the mastheads of the Nossa Senhora de Graca. A further 1,800 samurai were hired for this attack. Some warriors managed to board the carrack, but they were cut down by the Portuguese. It was at this phase of the fight that Pessoa is said to have killed a couple of samurai himself. Unfortunately, an accident involving a Portuguese grenade hit by Japanese musketry caused the mizzen sail and surrounding works to go up in flames, and soon the rest of the ship was burning. Realizing that all was now lost, Pessoa set fire to the powder magazine, and blew up the Nossa Senhora de Graca.

Again, check out Giles Milton's Samurai William, which chronicles the story of William Adams, the first Englishman in Japan (and the inspiration for the Blackthorne character in Shogun).


It should be pointed out that the action between Pessoa and the Japanese at Nagasaki was not the first one between European and Japanese fighting men.

In 1574, a group of wako (Sino-Japanese pirates) under the Chinese leader Lim-Ah-Hong and his Japanese partner, Sioco, attacked Spanish-held Manilla with 62 armed junks and about 4,000 warriors. They were ultimately defeated by a combined force of Spanish regulars and Pampangan mercenaries (there were usually comparatively few Spanish troops in the Philippines at any given time), under the command of Juan de Salzedo, the so-called "Cortez of the Philippines". Keep in mind that this was hardly a one-sided affair; the wako were well equipped with both arquebuses and even artillery for their ships (the Spanish initially thought they were under attack by a Portuguese squadron). There was plenty of HTH action too. A basic account of this action can be found in Mark Wiley's Filipino Martial Culture. Detailed period Spanish accounts can be found in the 55-volume series, The Philippine Islands 1493-1898, edited by Emma Helen Blair and James Alexander Robinson.

In the 1580s, the wako attacked again, but were again driven off.


In 1604, a group of English "Sea Dogs" in a small galleon, the Tiger (commanded by Sir Edward Michelbourne), encountered a wako junk ("a junk of the Japons", as Michelbourne put it). Ostensibly it was a friendly meeting, between pirates from East and West. The wako we allowed to board the Tiger, drinks were exchanged, etc. Suddenly, the Japanese turned on the English, and killed many of them with their swords. It looked as if the Japanese might have taken the Tiger, but Michelbourne rallied his men, and they used pikes with which they "killed three or four of their leaders", while the rest of the Japanese on board were driven into a cabin. The English then turned two 32-pound culverins on the cabin, and blasted the Japanese at point-blank range. Michelbourne commented, "Their legs, armes, and bodies were so torne, as it was strange to see how the shot had massacred them".

Consult Giles Milton's Nathaniel's Nutmeg, or, The True and Incredible Adventures of the Spice Trader Who Changed the Course of History, for more on this incident.

Best,

David

P.S. I wouldn't categorize a theoretical "katana vs. sword-and-target fight" as one of "speed, power and leverage versus reach and solid defense", since the single-handed espada certainly possess "speed" too.

"Why meddle with us--you are not strong enough to break us--you know that you have won the battle and slaughtered our army--be content with your honor, and leave us alone, for by God's good will only have we escaped from this business" --unknown Spanish captain to the Chevalier Bayard, at the Battle of Ravenna, 1512
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George Hill




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Sep, 2005 1:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Black Mastro wrote:

The final assault made use of a sort of naval siege tower mounted on two larger vessels, as tall as the mastheads of the Nossa Senhora de Graca. A further 1,800 samurai were hired for this attack. Some warriors managed to board the carrack, but they were cut down by the Portuguese. It was at this phase of the fight that Pessoa is said to have killed a couple of samurai himself. Unfortunately, an accident involving a Portuguese grenade hit by Japanese musketry caused the mizzen sail and surrounding works to go up in flames, and soon the rest of the ship was burning. Realizing that all was now lost, Pessoa set fire to the powder magazine, and blew up the Nossa Senhora de Graca.


So... Much the same question with the Goonies... If he blew up the ship, how did the story get out? Japanese sources?

To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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Daniel Staberg




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Sep, 2005 1:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David,
Many thanks for the write-up, very interestign reading. The English use of those culverines certainly brigns a new meanign to "point-blank range".

/Daniel
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David Black Mastro




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Sep, 2005 1:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

George Hill wrote:
David Black Mastro wrote:

The final assault made use of a sort of naval siege tower mounted on two larger vessels, as tall as the mastheads of the Nossa Senhora de Graca. A further 1,800 samurai were hired for this attack. Some warriors managed to board the carrack, but they were cut down by the Portuguese. It was at this phase of the fight that Pessoa is said to have killed a couple of samurai himself. Unfortunately, an accident involving a Portuguese grenade hit by Japanese musketry caused the mizzen sail and surrounding works to go up in flames, and soon the rest of the ship was burning. Realizing that all was now lost, Pessoa set fire to the powder magazine, and blew up the Nossa Senhora de Graca.


So... Much the same question with the Goonies... If he blew up the ship, how did the story get out? Japanese sources?


Milton's notes:

"The tale of the Nossa Senhora de Graca (also known as the Madre de Deus) is covered in great detail by C.R. Boxer in his "The Affair of the Madre de Deus," in Transactions and Proceedings of the Japan Society, 26, 1929. There is a good description of the sea battle in Leon Page's Histoire de la Religion Chretienne au Japon, 1598-1651, published by Charles Douniol in Paris, 1867-70."

"Why meddle with us--you are not strong enough to break us--you know that you have won the battle and slaughtered our army--be content with your honor, and leave us alone, for by God's good will only have we escaped from this business" --unknown Spanish captain to the Chevalier Bayard, at the Battle of Ravenna, 1512
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David Black Mastro




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Sep, 2005 1:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Daniel Staberg wrote:
David,
Many thanks for the write-up, very interestign reading.


Thanks, Daniel. I'm always happy to share stuff like this with interested parties. Happy

Quote:
The English use of those culverines certainly brigns a new meanign to "point-blank range".

/Daniel


Yeah, Michelbourne's men didn't fool around.

It also reminds one of the Mediterranean practice of loading the galley's centerline gun (a 30 or 50-pdr culverin or cannon) with scrap metal, and holding fire until just before boarding the enemy vessel--basically like a giant shotgun. Eek!

Best,

David

"Why meddle with us--you are not strong enough to break us--you know that you have won the battle and slaughtered our army--be content with your honor, and leave us alone, for by God's good will only have we escaped from this business" --unknown Spanish captain to the Chevalier Bayard, at the Battle of Ravenna, 1512
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David Black Mastro




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Sep, 2005 2:16 pm    Post subject: That's the history--now here's the rumors         Reply with quote

So, we've covered the history of early European-Japanese conflict; now it's time to address some of the rumors.

The most noteworthy one I can currently think of appeared in the March 2005 issue of Black Belt magazine, in a knife fighting article/interview with Cold Steel founder Lynn Thompson. Thompson claimed:

A lot of people think that swordsmanship is all Oriental. What they forget is that when the Portuguese showed up in Japan, there were a number of duels where Portuguese swordsmen equaled or bested Japanese swordsmen.

This is a notion which has floated around the internet for at least the past several years. Thompson unfortunately didn't give any sources for his statement, and I have been unable to veryify such claims. We know quite a bit about the various battles which took place--battles which of course included the use of hand weapons like swords--but, as for individual duelling situations, the picture isn't nearly so clear. I'd love to find out more about all of this.

One thing that Mark Wiley noted in Filipino Martial Culture is that the wako attack in 1574 was the first time that the Filipinos had seen kenjutsu--the Japanese method of swordsmanship. It was also the first time in which the Filipinos had engaged in HTH combat with the Chinese (2/3 of wako manpower at this time was Chinese). What was new for the Filipinos was obviously new for the Spanish as well, at this time. Period Spanish accounts describe both the Japanese and Chinese with respect (in terms of their fighting ability), but it's also worth noting that they weren't regarded as any sort of supermen, either. Certainly, the Spanish didn't change their tactical methods to any appreciable degree--we read of Spanish galleys attacking Asian pirate ships, with plenty of HTH boarding action, in the old Spanish style.

In more modern times, maestro Ramon Martinez noted that, in the early 20th century, the great fencer Julio Castello used a saber to defeat a nameless kendoka in a friendly match, but, aside from that, I have no details as to the rules that the bout was fought under, etc.

"Why meddle with us--you are not strong enough to break us--you know that you have won the battle and slaughtered our army--be content with your honor, and leave us alone, for by God's good will only have we escaped from this business" --unknown Spanish captain to the Chevalier Bayard, at the Battle of Ravenna, 1512
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Jonathon Janusz





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PostPosted: Sat 10 Sep, 2005 5:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't have anything to add. I just wanted to chime in with "interesting", and a thank you. It is great to see thoughtful threads like this. Thanks again Happy .
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David Black Mastro




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Sep, 2005 5:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathon Janusz wrote:
I don't have anything to add. I just wanted to chime in with "interesting", and a thank you. It is great to see thoughtful threads like this. Thanks again Happy .


Much obliged, sir. Happy

Thanks for taking the time to read this thread.

"Why meddle with us--you are not strong enough to break us--you know that you have won the battle and slaughtered our army--be content with your honor, and leave us alone, for by God's good will only have we escaped from this business" --unknown Spanish captain to the Chevalier Bayard, at the Battle of Ravenna, 1512
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George Hill




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PostPosted: Sun 11 Sep, 2005 12:38 pm    Post subject: Re: That's the history--now here's the rumors         Reply with quote

David Black Mastro wrote:

The most noteworthy one I can currently think of appeared in the March 2005 issue of Black Belt magazine, in a knife fighting article/interview with Cold Steel founder Lynn Thompson. Thompson claimed:

A lot of people think that swordsmanship is all Oriental. What they forget is that when the Portuguese showed up in Japan, there were a number of duels where Portuguese swordsmen equaled or bested Japanese swordsmen.


The way I encountered this rumor was that there were 9-12 official duels fought between the Portuguese and Samurai. The Portuguese won all except one, which was believed lost on account of 'excessive drunkenness.' According to the story, the dead fellow's superior officer engaged the Samurai in a duel on the following day, and defeated him out of hand.

Now, this has never been proven or disproven.

The story goes that this information is all in the Portuguese national archive, (which is huge) and was stumbled on by some student, who tells his friend.

His friend posts about it on the net, and asks the student to go get official copies from wherever in the archive he found it, and the student, (who isn't all that interested) promises to go back and get it eventually, but never does.

Legendary needle in a haystack stuff, but it could be true. Or it could be an urban legend.

To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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Antonio Cejunior




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PostPosted: Sun 11 Sep, 2005 5:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tyler Weaver wrote:

I wonder how well the rest of the crew did. Wink



Hi Tyler,

Since I'm Portuguese and living in the Macau, the base for the Portuguese to go to Japan, and the city which developped the Black Ship silk trade, may I provide you with this link as translated from Rainer Daehnhardt, the foremost Portuguese Authority and owner of a more than 500.000 collection of swords.

The Portuguese were always in very small numbers. During the time of the Discoveries, the whole population of Portugal was only 1 million. So they developped a few fundamental infra-structures.

They had bronze canons with breeches that would allow for 7 rounds of fire per minute/ per canon.



They established foundries both in Goa and in Macau, the later being run by the Italian foundryman Bocarro. This allowed them to renew their canons without having to sail back to Portugal.

The men were very few but very skilled. It was the law of compensation. Since no country has the monopoly for bravery Happy, I do think that their weapons were very fast, and being in a ship which was to their advantage, I would generally suppose the overall crew didn't fare badly. Happy

Just my two cents

Antonio
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David Black Mastro




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PostPosted: Mon 12 Sep, 2005 6:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Antonio,

Thanks for posting the link to that article.

There's lots of interesting stuff there, though I have to question some of the figures claimed for artillery--eg., nobody was firing off their guns at 1,800 meters back in those days. Also, breechloading cannon were not unique to the Portuguese.

What the Portuguese did do, however, was mount heavy "ship killing" guns on their vessels (stone-firing camelos), and they were the first naval power that made use of standoff gunnery, in the early 16th century. By using this long-range tactics, they were able to compensate for their chronic lack of manpower.

Nevertheless, it is still interesting to note that many Portuguese troops in Asia were still armed and equipped as close combat troops (halberdiers and targetiers), even in the early 17th century.

Best,

David

"Why meddle with us--you are not strong enough to break us--you know that you have won the battle and slaughtered our army--be content with your honor, and leave us alone, for by God's good will only have we escaped from this business" --unknown Spanish captain to the Chevalier Bayard, at the Battle of Ravenna, 1512
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David Black Mastro




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PostPosted: Mon 12 Sep, 2005 6:53 am    Post subject: Re: That's the history--now here's the rumors         Reply with quote

George Hill wrote:

The way I encountered this rumor was that there were 9-12 official duels fought between the Portuguese and Samurai. The Portuguese won all except one, which was believed lost on account of 'excessive drunkenness.' According to the story, the dead fellow's superior officer engaged the Samurai in a duel on the following day, and defeated him out of hand.

Now, this has never been proven or disproven.

The story goes that this information is all in the Portuguese national archive, (which is huge) and was stumbled on by some student, who tells his friend.

His friend posts about it on the net, and asks the student to go get official copies from wherever in the archive he found it, and the student, (who isn't all that interested) promises to go back and get it eventually, but never does.

Legendary needle in a haystack stuff, but it could be true. Or it could be an urban legend.


Interesting story, George. I did not know about the Portuguese national archive and the uninterested student!

What's also interesting is that a Japanese member on MMA.tv stated a couple of years ago that one of his relatives claimed the same thing--that the Portuguese had fought several duels with samurai, and had won most of them. He insisted upon it. Again, I'd love to know more...

Best,

David

"Why meddle with us--you are not strong enough to break us--you know that you have won the battle and slaughtered our army--be content with your honor, and leave us alone, for by God's good will only have we escaped from this business" --unknown Spanish captain to the Chevalier Bayard, at the Battle of Ravenna, 1512
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Antonio Cejunior




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PostPosted: Mon 12 Sep, 2005 7:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Black Mastro wrote:
Antonio,

Thanks for posting the link to that article.

There's lots of interesting stuff there, though I have to question some of the figures claimed for artillery--eg., nobody was firing off their guns at 1,800 meters back in those days. Also, breechloading cannon were not unique to the Portuguese.

Best,

David


David,

You're welcome.
Actually I spent two days in different occasions with Prof. Daenhardt, and when the taxi entered his Qhinta (you could call it in English his farm) in Queluz, it took about 15 minutes drive before reaching the house.

Later Rainer told me he had personally fired the canon and measured the distance before making any statement.
So I am quoting and I have no reason to believe he was lying.

He further told me that in the battle between Afonso de Albuquerque and his six ships in Ormuz, (see Portuguese Man at War in the link above) the Portuguese not only had longer firepower but fired not into the ships but at a low angle to the water in front so the projectile would gain more speed and impulsion and would go through the first ship and the one behind. It was interesting because I recall very well that he asked me what I thought of Albuquerque, if he was crazy.

The main thing is breaking the traditional rules of engagement. Remember Trafalgar and how the maneuver was totally unorthodox. Happy

Cheers

Antonio
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Antonio Cejunior




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PostPosted: Mon 12 Sep, 2005 7:50 am    Post subject: Re: That's the history--now here's the rumors         Reply with quote

David Black Mastro wrote:


Interesting story, George. I did not know about the Portuguese national archive and the uninterested student!

What's also interesting is that a Japanese member on MMA.tv stated a couple of years ago that one of his relatives claimed the same thing--that the Portuguese had fought several duels with samurai, and had won most of them. He insisted upon it. Again, I'd love to know more...

Best,

David


Pardon me for intruding again.
Yes, the Portuguese archives are huge. It is the Torre do Tombo located in Lisbon.

Unfortunately the Torre do Tombo website is only in Portuguese but I guess you can get a web translation.

I can finally see a mature discussion about WSA and JSA with the katana cutting gun barrels Happy

I handled this set at Rainer's Daenhardt

and the cup hilt sword (it was not a rapier was very light.

I tried to explain to Glen Parrell that it didn't weight more than 900 grms and by the looks of what I heard of my design it was [b]not the same blade lenght and it looked huge and heavy...



I'm not that well informed about WSA but I don't think they are inferior to the JSA at any rate. Much faster as you will all agree.

Cheers

Antonio
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David Black Mastro




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PostPosted: Mon 12 Sep, 2005 10:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Antonio Cejunior wrote:

Actually I spent two days in different occasions with Prof. Daenhardt, and when the taxi entered his Qhinta (you could call it in English his farm) in Queluz, it took about 15 minutes drive before reaching the house.

Later Rainer told me he had personally fired the canon and measured the distance before making any statement.
So I am quoting and I have no reason to believe he was lying.


Antonio, there's a big difference between maximum range, and effective range (especially in terms of firing a gun from a ship). A 30-pdr culverin might have a maximum range upwards of 4,000 yards, but you wouldn't be hitting anything at that distance, due to the fact that these weapons weren't particularly accurate.

I will therefore repeat that nobody was firing guns off at sea at 1,800 meters/yards/paces in the 16th century.

Now, there were a few instances of really long-range shooting--the supporting fire of Fort St Angelo to Fort St Elmo in 1565 (1,200 yards) and the cannonade from Famagusta against Ottoman troops in 1570-71 (estimated at 3 miles)--but these were not the norm. At sea, the more usual range for heavy ordnance was only 200-500 yards (and only the Venetians seem to have been able to consistently hit enemy targets at the latter range).

Best,

David

"Why meddle with us--you are not strong enough to break us--you know that you have won the battle and slaughtered our army--be content with your honor, and leave us alone, for by God's good will only have we escaped from this business" --unknown Spanish captain to the Chevalier Bayard, at the Battle of Ravenna, 1512
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Antonio Cejunior




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PostPosted: Mon 12 Sep, 2005 5:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David,

I will be the last person to argue with you. Happy

Cheers.

Antonio
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and one race: the human race.
our collective task is to do the best we can for this nation and this race
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