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Old February 11th, 2013, 10:28 PM
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Default Some Interesting Military Data

Generally, I would not post historical accounts here, but I thought that this account might have relevance to the Forum at large, as it would pertain to Skills chosen or acquired. The information comes from the book by Winston Churchill, The Story of the Malakand Field Force. The book was written at the close of 1897, and the events occurred in the summer of 1897.

Then suddenly, as matters were approaching a crisis, the cavalry of the relieving column appeared over the Amandara ridge. The strong horsemen mercilessly pursued and cut down all who opposed them. When they reached the Bridgehead on the side of the river remote from the fort, the enemy began to turn and run. The garrison had held out stubbornly and desperately throughout the siege. Now that relief was at hand, Lieutenant Rattray flung open the gate, and followed by half a dozen men charged the Civil Hospital. Captain Baker and Lieutenant Wheatley followed with a few more. The hospital was recaptured. The enemy occupying it, some thirty in number, were bayoneted. It was a finish in style. Returning, the sallying party found the cavalry—the 11th Bengal Lancers—checked by a sungar full of tribesmen. This they charged in flank, killing most of its occupants, and driving the rest after their comrades in rout and ruin. The last man to leave the sungar shot Lieutenant Rattray in the neck, but that officer, as distinguished for physical prowess as for military conduct, cut him down. This ended the fighting. It is not possible to think of a more fitting conclusion.
I have highlighted the comment on the use of the bayonet, as throughout the account so far, the use of the bayonet has shown up repeatedly, along with the use of the lance by the 11th Bengal Lancers on routed infantry. As generally, the use of the bayonet is viewed as extremely rare, that does not appear to be the case so far here. The same thing shows up in the account of the British intervention in Egypt in 1882, leading up to the Battle of Tel-el-Kebir. Also, in his account of the fighting on Guadalcanal, which appears in Shots Fired in Anger, Lt. Col. John George, then a First Lieutenant, continually mentions the important of the knife or bayonet for use against Japanese night infiltrators. This does tend to fly in the face of conventional wisdom, so I thought it of interest.
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