Tag Archives: Military History

WORLD WAR ONE: SOME INTRIGUING BOOKS

With today’s marking of the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War here are some books on that often neglected topic. (I will omit Barbara Tuchman’s Guns of August because of how well-known it is.) 

Hat in the Ring GangTHE HAT IN THE RING GANG: THE COMBAT HISTORY OF THE 94th AERO SQUADRON IN WORLD WAR ONE – Written by Charles Woolley, this excellent book covers America’s 94th Aero Squadron aka The Hat in the Ring Gang.

When it comes to Flying Aces of World War One the Americans in the Lafayette Escadrille get the lion’s share of the attention. That’s ironic since Eddie Rickenbacker, America’s greatest ace of the war, served in the Hat in the Ring Gang along with many other famous paladins of the skies. To buy it click HERE 

Doughboy WarDOUGHBOY WAR: THE AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE IN WORLD WAR I – Written/ edited by James H Hallas. I feel this book is perfect for people who are just diving into World War One and don’t want inundated with all of the overwhelming details of more involved works. Doughboy War covers every aspect of American soldiers’ experiences in the Great War, often in their own words.

Follow them from enlistment, training and crossing the Atlantic to facing action in Europe, including accounts of the ordeals faced by wounded Doughboys. To buy it click HERE    Continue reading

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FOUR AMERICAN SERVICEMEN WHO WERE KILLED IN WORLD WAR ONE

This Veterans Day, November 11th, will be the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One. Here is a look at four Americans who met their death during that conflict.

Navy CrossCHARLES AUSBURNE

Ausburne joined the United States Navy February 25th, 1908 and had risen to the rank of Electrician First Class by the time of his death on October 17th, 1917. Charles was serving on the Antilles, which was sunk by torpedoes fired by the German U-Boat U-105.

Ausburne stayed at his post manning the vessel’s emergency wireless station while the ship slipped beneath the waves. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross. Two naval craft were named after the 29 year old. 

Albert BaeselALBERT E BAESEL

Baesel got his first military experience in peacetime, serving in the Ohio National Guard beginning in 1912 when he was 22. In 1918 he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

Albert was killed on September 27th, 1918 during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. For the details of his death here is the citation for his Medal of Honor: Continue reading

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FORT GRISWOLD: THE ALAMO OF THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR

With the 4th of July fast approaching here’s another seasonal post from Balladeer’s Blog. This action was also called the Battle of Groton Heights.  

William LedyardFORT GRISWOLD – Fort Griswold was an American fortess on Groton Heights in Connecticut overlooking the Thames River. On September 6th, 1781 the American traitor General Benedict Arnold and his British troops raided Groton and burned New London while battling the massively outnumbered Rebel troops in the fort. 

Lieutenant General Sir Henry Clinton had sent General Arnold to raid and seize ships in Connecticut and to determine if the former colony was ripe for occupation by British forces. The spirited defense of Fort Griswold permitted multiple American ships to escape the attacking Red Coats and nipped in the bud Clinton’s plans for occupying Connecticut. 

Benedict Arnold led at least 1,700 British regulars in the battle. Fort Griswold was defended by a mere 150 American Militiamen under the command of Lieutenant Colonel William Ledyard.  Continue reading

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MEDALS OF HONOR FOR THE 1871 KOREAN EXPEDITION

Medal of HonorHAPPY MEMORIAL DAY! As always Balladeer’s Blog marks the event with a few looks at neglected conflicts from America’s past. The servicemen who fought in those actions are just as deserving of being memorialized as those who fought in more familiar wars.  

KOREAN EXPEDITION OF 1871 – A Diplomatic Mission was sent to Korea that year, with the time period’s usual military escort of war ships on such ventures. The U.S. expedition was snubbed on the diplomatic side and then Korean shore batteries opened fire upon the military escort. The Americans launched reprisal raids for a few days then departed, leaving U.S. – Korean relations somewhat cold for years afterward. Medal of Honor Winners:

William F LukesWILLIAM F LUKES

Navy Rank: Landsman 

Citation: June 9th – 10th, 1871 – During the assault on the Han River Forts on Ganghwa Island, Lukes came to the assistance of injured Lieutenant Hugh McKee. The Landsman fought his way through heavy resistance to the fallen McKee’s location and refused to abandon his comrade.

Through swordplay, bayonet charges and hand-to-hand combat William received a severe sword cut to the head, a wound which would cause him to suffer convulsions for the rest of his life from the brain damage. When American reinforcements arrived they found the unconscious Lukes had suffered 18 bayonet wounds in the fighting.   

JOHN ANDREWS Continue reading

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MORE MEDAL OF HONOR WINNERS FROM THE PHILIPPINE WAR (1899-1902)

Medals of HonorMemorial Day is fast approaching! In keeping with my blog’s theme of addressing items that slip through the cultural cracks I’m showcasing a few of the Congressional Medal of Honor winners from the neglected war the U.S. fought in the Philippines from 1899 to 1902.

Arthur M Ferguson

Arthur M Ferguson

ARTHUR M FERGUSON – Lieutenant Ferguson won the Medal for his actions on September 28th, 1899 near Porac on Luzon. Back in April of the same year Ferguson had won the Distinguished Service Cross for dangerous recon work he did against some Philippine forces at Calumpit. For the Medal of Honor Arthur had charged a body of the enemy, inflicting injuries and possible deaths all while capturing a Philippine Captain and returning with the prisoner to American lines.

WILLIS H DOWNS – Yet another member of Young’s Scouts, one of the most famous units of the Philippine War! Private Downs won the Medal for his actions on May 13th, 1899 at San Miguel de Mayumo on Luzon. Continue reading

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SOME MEDAL OF HONOR WINNERS FROM THE PHILIPPINE WAR (1899-1902)

Medal of HonorMemorial Day Weekend is just a week away.

In keeping with my blog’s theme of addressing items that slip through the cultural cracks I’m showcasing a few of the Congressional Medal of Honor winners from the neglected war fought in the Philippines from 1899 to 1902.

Hiram BearssHIRAM BEARSS (Correct spelling) – This Captain won the Medal for his actions on November 17th,1901 during a battle at the confluence of the Sohotan and Cadacan Rivers in Samar. Bearss led his men in a surprise attack on the enemy positions in the fortified cliffs. Relying mostly on bamboo ladders the Captain and his troops drove their opposition from their entrenched positions, literally “charging uphill” against enemy fire.

They also had to contend with the countless booby-traps lining the hills, many of which had been in place since the Spanish- American War of 1898. Those deadly traps took the form of pits, poison- tipped spears, trip-sprung vine nets loaded down with literally tons of stones and many others. The opposition in the caves honeymooning the cliffs needed rooting out as well with various forms of death lurking around every twist and turn in the caverns.

Following that Bearss and his men kept up their advance, seizing gunpowder and arms in addition to food and other supplies before driving the enemy forces out of their secondary positions in the cliffs. The U.S. forces had never penetrated so far before. Bearss went on to serve in World War One.

FRANK L ANDERS – Corporal Anders served in the storied unit remembered as Young’s Scouts. He was decorated for actions taken on May 13th, 1899 in Luzon. The Corporal and ten other Americans stormed 300 – yes – THREE HUNDRED – of the enemy and, in a case of truth REALLY being stranger than fiction, they attacked so ferociously they drove their hundreds of foemen into retreat. Continue reading

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ELEVEN MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENTS OF WORLD WAR ONE

Medal of HonorBalladeer’s Blog wrings down the curtain on Veterans Day of 2017 with this item. In keeping with the whole “Eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” tradition here are eleven World War One figures who were awarded the Medal of Honor.

J HUNTER WICKERSHAM

Rank: 2nd Lieutenant, US Army

Site: Limey, France on September 12th, 1918

Citation: Advancing with his platoon during the St. Mihiel offensive, he was severely wounded in 4 places by the bursting of a high-explosive shell. Before receiving any aid for himself he dressed the wounds of his orderly, who was wounded at the same time.

He then ordered and accompanied the further advance of his platoon, although weakened by the loss of blood. His right hand and arm being disabled by wounds, he continued to fire his revolver with his left hand until, exhausted by loss of blood, he fell and died from his wounds before aid could be administered.

Jake AllexJAKE ALLEX

Rank: Corporal, US Army

Site: Chipilly Ridge, France on August 9th, 1918

Citation: At a critical point in the action, when all the officers with his platoon had become casualties, Cpl. Allex took command of the platoon and led it forward until the advance was stopped by fire from a machinegun nest.

He then advanced alone for about 30 yards in the face of intense fire and attacked the nest. With his bayonet he killed 5 of the enemy, and when it was broken, used the butt of his rifle, capturing 15 prisoners.

FRANK MONROE UPTON

Rank: Quartermaster – US Navy

Site: The USS Florence H on April 17th, 1918 Continue reading

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