Guest Post: Muddy – Military History Snippets I.

The word “Picquet” is a reminder of the days of the pike. When these weapons were being superseded by firearms [particularly once socket bayonets had been widely adopted] a few were still kept in the centre of the battalion. This handful of men was known as the “picquette”, or little body of pikemen. Later the word was applied to any small military force.”

The chevrons worn by non-commissioned officers were introduced in 1803 by the Horse Guards. Prior to this NCO rank was indicated by shoulder knots and epaulettes. In 1871 the badge of the sergeant-major was changed from four chevrons to a crown.”


The Ottoman Janissary Corps was officially disbanded on the 14th of June, 1826, after the wily Sultan Mahmud II engineered those Janissaries in Constantinople to rebel – symbolised by turning their food kettles upside down on parade. With the assistance of a new, more loyal armed force, the eshkenji, some 6,000 Janissaries were slaughtered, with the help of modern weapons such as artillery.

First formed, according to legend, in the mid 14th Century as bodyguards to the Sultan Orhan, the Janissaries were originally composed entirely of Christian slaves who were converted to Islam. In time, they became a formidable force in both a military, and later, a political, sense. Eventually, however, their quality declined and they became a significant threat to internal security, leading to their downfall.



U.S. Navy Regulations 1852: “The hair of all persons belonging to the Navy, when in actual service, is to be kept short. No part of the beard is to be worn long, and the whiskers shall not descend more than two inches below the tip of the ear, except at sea, in high latitudes, when the Regulation may, for the time, be dispensed with by order of the Commander of a Squadron, or of any vessel acting under separate orders. Mustaches and imperials are not to be worn by officers or men on any pretence whatever.

Sword and Scabbard. For all officers – shall be cut and thrust blade, not less than twenty-six nor more than twenty-nine inches long, half basket hilt, grip white: Scabbards of black leather. Mountings of gilt; and all as per pattern.”


The War Establishment of “A” Battery of the Colony of New South Wales’s Brigade Division Field Artillery in early 1899 consisted of 1 major, 1 captain, and 3 lieutenants; a medical officer and a veterinary officer attached; 1 battery sergeant-major, 1 battery quartermaster sergeant, 1 farrier-sergeant, and 6 sergeants; 4 shoeing-smith artificers, 2 collar-maker artificers, and 2 wheeler artificers; 2 trumpeters, 6 corporals, 6 bombardiers, 76 gunners, and 61 drivers; 28 riding horses and 110 draught horses.

Note: “B” and “C” Batteries [which were slightly smaller in terms of personnel] of the same Brigade Division Field Artillery were each armed with 4 x 16-pounder R.M.L. [Rifled, Muzzle-Loading] guns. It does not seem to be stated what guns “A” Battery was armed with.


Eight scarves personally knitted by British Queen Victoria, were awarded to soldiers of British and Imperial units “who performed, in the eyes of their superiors, deeds which were above the accepted standards of gallantry” during the war in South Africa at the turn of the 19th and 20th Centuries. While the Victoria Cross already existed and was [and still is now] the pinnacle award for bravery, the Queen’s Scarf of Honour was awarded to those who were thought had “in most cases been recommended for a VC at least twice and possibly more,” though whether the Scarf was additional to the V.C. or in lieu, is not known. Four of the eight Scarf of Honour recipients were ‘dominion’ [Commonwealth] troops, with one each from Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa.


French Riverine Losses in The First Indo-Chinese War: In one six week period during the first two months of 1954, in Indochina (later Vietnam) where they were fighting the communist Viet Minh, and whilst the famous siege of Dien Bien Phu was underway, the French lost 5 riverine vessels sunk, 8 damaged, and 27 killed or missing in action, and 68 wounded, in Viet Minh ambushes, frequently while the rivercraft – which included LCTs, LCMs, barges and launches – were berthed. Mines, bazooka rockets, and automatic firearms were the weapons commonly used in such attacks by the Viet Minh. The French operated riverine assault flotillas of 12-18 craft of various types, in the Red River and Mekong Deltas in the north and south respectively, because the state and security of the existing roads was often poor in wartime.


The Soviet Kh-22MA anti-ship missile weighed almost 6 tons when combat-ready, was 11 metres long, and could travel at Mach 3 for 400 kilometres. It could carry either a nuclear or non-nuclear warhead.


During Operation Desert Storm in 1991, against Iraqi forces armed with 16,000 surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), 7,000 anti-aircraft guns, and 750 combat aircraft, the United States Air Force lost just 14 aircraft during 29,300 combat sorties. Coalition aircraft shot down 37 Iraqi aircraft in the air and destroyed 200 on the ground.


Mothballed Comanche – A Lazy Six Billion: On the 4th of January, 1996, the Boeing-Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche helicopter prototype made its maiden flight in Florida, the U.S. of A. Eight years later and after an estimated $US6 Billion had been spent in the research, development and testing stages, the Comanche project was cancelled.

According to the official Boeing website, the RAH-66 was a twin-seat, twin-turbine, armed reconnaissance helicopter. The project began in 1991, the engineering and manufacturing development phase started in 2000, and 13 prototypes were initially planned for use in testing. The full production of 1,213 aircraft was to begin in 2010, however the two prototypes were installed in an army aviation museum after the cancellation of the project in February, 2004.

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3 Responses to Guest Post: Muddy – Military History Snippets I.

  1. jo says:

    Thanks Muddy, I like military history, specially from different perspectives. Been good ones on SBS. I think we’re not too far off having a Tranny in charge of the ADF. Can you imagine the history. Life of Brian, stoning scene.

  2. Hi Muddy,

    thanks for that post; I especially enjoyed the story of Queen Victoria knitting the scarves for gallantry for service during the Boer War.  A great uncle of the other half served there as a member of the Victorian Rangers – and died there of fever in June 1900.  A plaque was erected in his home town.

  3. FlyingPigs says:

    Maybe the French elite are absolute filth????

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