Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Would you survive?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Would you survive?

    Just watched a documentry about Waterloo, one of them that gives a potted history of the battle, some nice shots of the field and a bit of stuff about the weaponry used. What impressed me the most was the mess a fettling from a Light Cavalry sabre could make of you. after seeing it used I can well believe that suff about cleaving a bloke's melon from forehead to teeth, lopping off hands, arms and wotnot.
    They had a pig carcass dangling from a gibbet and the presenter took a whack with a sabre that opened a massive wound. Then a bloke who knew wot he was about took a slash at said pig going full gallop... he very nearly chopped it in two.
    Never mind battlefield surgeons doing the amputations... I'd leave that job to the Light Cavalry!

    The long toll of the brave
    Is not lost in darkness
    Over the fruitful earth
    And athwart the seas
    Hath passed the light of noble deeds
    Unquenchable forever.

  • #2
    Yeah... get wounded in the foot or arm and ask your cavalry guys to whomp it off for you. Clean and neat.

    Battle axes do some nasty things to pigs carcases on those shows too.

    I've have seen them try Roman short swords and mongol weapons also. Very interesting and eye opening .
    SPORTS FREAK/ PANZERBLITZ COMMANDER/ CC2 COMMANDER

    Comment


    • #3
      Battlefield surgery

      Originally posted by dgfred View Post
      Yeah... get wounded in the foot or arm and ask your cavalry guys to whomp it off for you. Clean and neat.

      Battle axes do some nasty things to pigs carcases on those shows too.

      I've have seen them try Roman short swords and mongol weapons also. Very interesting and eye opening .
      If & when you received it, was mainly amputation & cauterization. Battlefield stitches had a 90 % chance oif infection...
      The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

      Comment


      • #4
        Best weapon on close combat was the medieval mace. It would crush any sword and simply blungeon anything in its path. Best of all, you could use a shield with it.
        Last edited by Nickuru; 23 Dec 12, 04:53. Reason: spelling
        When looking for the reason why things go wrong, never rule out stupidity, Murphy's Law N 8
        Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it. George Santayana
        "Ach du schwein" a German parrot captured at Bukoba GEA the only prisoner taken

        Comment


        • #5
          Best weapon were fast legs...
          "Give me 100 000 croatian soldiers and I will conqure all world" - Napoleon Bonaparte

          Soldiers are coming and leaving while war will never end.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by marktwain View Post
            If & when you received it, was mainly amputation & cauterization. Battlefield stitches had a 90 % chance oif infection...
            So much so that the surgeons of the time thought it was a routine part of healing and called it "laudable pus." They had a separate name for a wound that healed without infection "by first intention."
            Will no one tell me what she sings?--
            Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
            For old, unhappy, far-off things,
            And battles long ago:
            -William Wordsworth, "The Solitary Reaper"

            Comment


            • #7
              They did say in the documentry, that if you made it as far as the surgeons, chances of surviving an amputation was about 70%... them Napoleonic Sowjers muat have been tough buggers!

              The long toll of the brave
              Is not lost in darkness
              Over the fruitful earth
              And athwart the seas
              Hath passed the light of noble deeds
              Unquenchable forever.

              Comment


              • #8
                I don't believe we have any idea how tough. Can you imagine fighting almost every year for twenty-three years and that was all you knew?

                Oudinot survived thirty-four wounds, everything from a bayonet thrust, to a spent round in the mouth that knocked out some of his teeth, to being grazed by an artillery round.

                Rapp was referred to as a 'piece of old lace' because of his many wounds, and Lannes had ten wounds, not counting the final one that eventually killed him.

                Elzear Blaze summed it up quite nicely, I think (as well as being relevant to the veterans of any era, including our own):

                'In the career of glory one gains many things; the gout and medals, a pension and rheumatism...And also frozen feet, an arm or leg the less, a bullet lodged between two bones which the surgeon cannot extract...All of those bivouacs in the rain and snow, all the privations, all those fatigues experienced in your youth, you pay for when you grow old. Because one has suffered in years gone by, it is necessary to suffer more, which does not seem exactly fair.'

                And we tend to forget the women, the vivandieres and cantinieres, who were as tough as the men. Again, by Blaze:

                'Many cantinieres were as brave as veteran grenadiers...Therese brought brandy to the soldiers amidst balls and bullets; she was twice wounded. Don't think that she did this to make money...when we were fighting she never asked for payment...With all of these generous feelings [Therese] was horribly ugly, but few women from what I have seen (evil be unto him who evil thinks) had such shapely legs.'

                Sincerely,
                M
                We are not now that strength which in old days
                Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
                Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
                To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

                Comment


                • #9
                  An interesting YouTube on Napoleonic battlefield surgery.

                  Never Fear the Event

                  Admiral Lord Nelson

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Ney also survived from a serious wound on his arm when he was in Mayence which many though he would lose his arm and so end his military career

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The loss of a limb would not necessarily end a military career. Officers could be assigned to a fortress or a school to continue their service.

                      One of the French gun company commanders at the Berezina in 1812 had a wooden leg. Seems to me he did pretty well. His name was Captain Brechtel.

                      Sincerely,
                      M
                      We are not now that strength which in old days
                      Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
                      Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
                      To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Lt. George Simmons of the 95th Rifles ordeal During and after Waterloo. His wound 'a gunshot wound' that broke two ribs on entering near his spine which damaged his liver and lung, the ball coming to rest in his breast, a wound which even with today's care would be hard to prevent it being fatal.

                        What we must remember though, is that Simmons studied medicine and was given a commission as Assistant-Surgeon in the Royal South Lincolnshire Militia before he enrolled in the 95th in 1809, so his recovery must have been in no small part down to his own knowledge and also, because of that knowledge, he left just about one of the best Napoleonic accounts of battlefield first aid and post battle convalescence.

                        About I o'clock the enemy's guns were moved nearer. We knew the attack must soon commence, and under cover of their guns, four columns now made their appearance, amounting to 20,000 men. They moved steadily towards us. We formed a sort of line and commenced a terrible fire upon them, which was returned very spiritedly, they advancing at the same time within a few yards. I had an impression I should not be touched, and was laughing and joking with a young officer about half-past four in the afternoon. At this time I was a little in front of our line, and hearing the word charge, I looked back at our line, and received a ball, which broke two of my ribs near the backbone, went through my liver, and lodged in my breast. I fell senseless in the mud, and some minutes after found our fellows and the enemy hotly engaged near me. Their skirmishers were beaten back and the column stopped. Two men dragged me away to the farm of Mont St. Jean, a little to the rear, where Mr. Robson extracted a musket-ball from my breast.

                        [Waterloo Journal ends. The preceding was
                        apparently written in Brussels between 1st and 3rd
                        July 1815.]

                        Letter No. XXV

                        [Undated but bearing post-mark of 1st July.]

                        Bruxelles, 1815.

                        My dear Parents,
                        Through the blessings of Almighty God I am at last able to give you some account of myself, which I never expected to be able to do in this world. On the 16th of June, after passing a long tranquillity at this place, our Division marched at 4 o'clock in the morning. We moved forward 20 miles and gave the French battle. A more bloody or obstinately contested thing had seldom or never been seen. This convinced me that the French would fight for Buonaparte. The darkness of the night only separated us.

                        The following day was passed principally in reconnoitring and squibbing at one another ; nothing done of consequence. Towards noon retired to a position. Our cavalry and the French had some charging and sabring each other. The rain fell in torrents, and continued raining all the night.

                        On the 18th the French seemed to be very busy moving immense columns opposite us preparatory to an attack. About noon they commenced a cannonade, from, I daresay, 150 pieces of cannon, which was very soon answered by us. Immense columns in imposing masses now moved towards us. If you could have seen the proud and fierce appearance of the British at that tremendous moment, there was not one eye but gleamed with joy. The onset was terrible. After four hours' exposure to it I received the dangerous wound which laid me amongst many others in the mud. Most of the men with me were killed, so it was some time before any officer noticed me, and not until I had been trampled over many times. The next place I found myself in was where the men and officers had been collected for the surgeon. A good surgeon, a friend of mine, instantly came to examine my wound. My breast was dreadfully swelled. He made a deep cut under the right pap, and dislodged from the breast-bone a musket-ball. I was suffocating with the injury my lungs had sustained. He took a quart of blood from my arm. I now began to feel my miseries. Sergeant Fairfoot was also here wounded in the arm. He got me everything he could, and said he would go and knock some French prisoner off his horse for me in order to get me off. The balls were riddling the house we were in. He got me a horse. They tried to lift me upon it, but I fainted; some other officer took it.
                        In consequence of a movement the French made with all their forces, our people were obliged to retire. If I stayed I must be a prisoner, and being a prisoner was the same as being lost. Poor Fairfoot was in great agitation. He came with another horse. I remember some Life Guardsmen helped me on. Oh what I suffered ! I had to ride twelve miles. I forgot to tell you the ball went through my ribs, and also through my body. The motion of the horse made the blood pump out, and the bones cut the flesh to a jelly. I made my way to the house I had been billeted on very respectable people. I arrived about 10 o'clock on that doleful night. The whole family came out to receive me. The good man and his wife were extremely grieved. I had everything possible got for me, a surgeon sent for, a quart of blood taken from me, wrapped up in poultices, and a most excellent nurse. In four days I had six quarts of blood taken from me, the inflammation ran so high in my lungs. At present everything is going on well. I am so weak, if I lift my head from the pillow I faint. I have sent you a five-pound note. This business has bothered me, but I shall get a year's pay, and most likely a pension, which will enable me to make you comfortable.
                        My love to you all. Remember me kindly to my uncle. It distresses me that I cannot send Ann the sum she wants. She shall have it soon. A number of our officers are wounded in the town. Poor Lister was killed the first day. He was wounded in the stomach, and died a few hours after. We have so many applications for commissions in this regiment that it would be impossible to do anything in the way that Ann wishes. The only plan I can advise is,should there be a turning out into the line, to volunteer into any regiment the colonel may wish.

                        I am not allowed any person to help me, so I know nothing, and for God's sake do not talk about me or show this.

                        [The above bears no signature.]


                        Letter No. XXVI

                        Bruxelles, 21st July 1815.

                        Dear Parents,
                        I wrote you on the 1st of July 1815. Enclosed in the letter was a 5 Bank of England note, which at the time I could ill spare, but was afraid you were much in want of money. If you directed your letter to me, 1st Battalion, 95th Regiment, wounded, Bruxelles, Netherlands, the letter would have come to hand. I am afraid you directed it some other way.
                        On the 3rd I was attacked with convulsions, and at night with vomiting. Afterwards I lay in a state of insensibility until the morning, when a violent
                        inflammation had taken place in my body. I was bled three times, which gave me temporary ease. In this way I went on for seven days, bled regularly two or three times a day. I felt better, but continued in a stupor for four days, when the inflammation recommenced with far more violence than ever.
                        The lancet was the only thing to save me, so I was bled again very largely. My liver now was much swollen, and consequently my body was a good deal enlarged. I had always an intolerable burning pain in the liver. I never slept often in dread of suffocation. Bleeding was the only remedy for it. In this way I went on for seven days more, when one evening, the pain being very violent, I sent for my surgeon to bleed me. He took two large basins from my arm. The pain abated much. I requested a little more might be taken, but I suddenly fainted. It was about half an hour before I could be brought to life. This alarmed my friend so much that he did not like to try bleeding again. He went and brought an eminent physician to see me, who recommended leeches. I had thirty immediately provided and applied to my sides.
                        The next day, I had twenty-five more on the same spot, and the day after, twenty-five more. The last application of them was horrible. My side was inflamed and nearly raw from the biting of the others. I got fresh leeches every time ; they bit directly. I was in the greatest state of debility when the last were put on the raw part ; all taking hold at once made me entirely mad with anguish. I kicked, roared, and swore, and tried to drag them off, but my hands were held. Such torture I never experienced. As soon as they came off I ordered my servant to kill them, as well as about fifty more I had in the house. My dear friend who had attended me so kindly through this doleful scene came to see me. It was then one o'clock in the morning. " I am sorry they have tormented you with leeches, as they are of no use. Are you resigned ? You can-not live," this, poor fellow, with tears trickling down his cheeks; on seeing which my poor little nurse, knowing so well the meaning, sobbed aloud. I answered, " Death has no pangs for me," but, alas! at that moment my poor family appeared before my eyes. I thought you would have no provision. My heart seemed fit to break. I told Robson (James Robson, the regimental Assistant-Surgeon) the only uneasiness I felt was for my family. He endeavoured to console me. He went away, not expecting to see me again. In the morning he found me in a state of stupor, in which state I continued for three days, to the astonishment of all. I suddenly found my body very wet, and called my nurse, who was astonished to find me speak. The bed-clothes being turned down, there I was deluged in matter. The plaster was taken off the wound, when the matter flowed forth as from a fountain. I was immediately rational and my body began to decrease. I knew in a moment my life was saved. My surgeon came and jumped for joy at my good fortune. The whole family in my house came too.
                        The kindness and delight which Mr. Overman showed was beyond everything. Every night before he went to bed he came to me ; sometimes I was insensible. He regularly went into his study and prayed for me every night. He is a very good man, a Protestant, and speaks English well. My dear little nurse has never been ten minutes from me since I came to the house. When I was in that dangerous state I often fainted in the night. She had in a moment a strong spirit at my nose to revive me.For ten nights together she never went to bed, but laid her head on my pillow. I now must finish with observing that I am with the best people in the world. The ball passed through my liver. I am dreadfully emaciated, but I am sound at heart eat roast meat daily. In consequence of this discharge, I am obliged to eat very largely. I daresay in three weeks I shall be able to get out of bed. My spine is cut through at the hips. My backbone hurts me sadly. I was afraid of my shoulders, but I feed so well and drink such good wine that I must put flesh on my bones, I bless Almighty God for His mercy to me, for restoring me as it were to life in so wonderful a manner. I wish the Frenchman had not hit me quite so hard. I am afraid it will take many years off my life and make an old man of me. I have got the ball, and shall make Ann a present of it. Joe passed by the place, but did not come. I suppose he has not heard I was worse. However it is as well, as he would be hurt to see me in this emaciated state after writing and telling him I was out of danger. Ann must be much in want of money to pay for schooling. Now the only thing I can advise you to do is to draw the 20 out of Mr. Boyse's hands and pay it. I shall not be fit to travel for two months to come, and I can get no money until I arrive at my regiment. After I have been a little time at the regiment I shall go to London and get a year's pay. I shall send you 100, and the 1 will pay my expenses back to France. It is likely that we may stay in France a long time, which will be very lucky, as I shall get wine good and cheap in fact, everything else in proportion. One year from the day I was wounded being passed, I mean again to go to London and apply for the pension, which, if I am lucky enough to procure, you will never again be in want of money.
                        My dear Ann I hope continues diligently her pursuit after knowledge; Betsy also. Charles I expect delights in his studies. If he means me to be his friend, it is the only way to acquire my friendship.
                        My uncle will, I am sure, be very happy to hear that I am in the land of the living. My best regards to him. You will think me a strange fellow to write so much, but I write perfectly at my ease. I have plenty of books, and amuse myself all day very agreeably, and knowing the danger of offering to stir, I am quite happy. Adieu.

                        God preserve you all in His holy keeping,

                        G. Simmons.

                        The next letter I hope will be from Paris. Write
                        soon.

                        Letter No. XXVII

                        Brussels, 12th September 1815.

                        My dear Parents,
                        I am now, thank God, able to enjoy myself once more. My health is nearly as good as ever. I increase in strength daily. The felicity I feel at being capable to walk about is hardly to be described. My legs swelled very much when I first arose out of bed. For some days I was often obliged to be carried back and rubbed with hot flannel for hours together. I was afraid of becoming dropsical, but these bad symptoms have entirely left me. On Sunday, being the birthday of my worthy landlord, we were very gay. After a splendid dinner I was gallant enough to walk with the ladies into the country nearly a mile, where we had cakes, etc., at a house, and then returned back. Two young ladies supported me, which amused the people that passed. I have invitations to dine out almost every day, but as I must live very steadily, I often refuse. The more I know of the good family I live with the better I like them. If I happen to mention my thoughts of returning to England, they are all melancholy, and request me not to think of it. Their fine children, as soon as they get up, come into my bedroom to kiss me and wish me good morning. A little girl often puts me in mind of my dear Betsy; she always calls me her uncle.
                        I shall be able to return to England in a month if I continue going on well. The violent spasms that often seized me have entirely disappeared ; sometimes they came on when eating or drinking, and obstructed my throat in such a manner that I could not swallow. At first when I got into the garden I was so delighted with the scenery that I fancied I could walk in the presence of several ladies who came to pay an afternoon visit. I attempted it, and fell to the ground in fits. I certainly was out of my senses at the time. I alarmed the good folks, so that they all went home. I continued in convulsions all the night. This circumstance made me keep my bed a fortnight longer. I forgot to mention a circumstance which deserved my notice. Sergeant Fairfoot was wounded through the arm, and also through the hand, on the 16th. When I was carried off the field of battle and deposited in a stable upon straw, he came near me and expressed much concern. He supported me while the surgeon cut into my breast and dislodged the ball, which, being flat and terribly jagged, required some time. Every five minutes the cannon-shot from the enemy and shells were passing through this house, which made it a very dangerous place. Fairfoot was very anxious to get me away. He went in search of a horse, and returned with a Frenchman's, and tried to put me on it, but I fainted, and was carried back to my straw. When I came to myself, I heard the surgeons say, " What is the use of torturing him ? he cannot live the night ; he is better where he is than to die on horseback." This admonition made Fairfoot desist, but he got me water and behaved very kind. The enemy made a very desperate attack, and it was thought this place would in a few minutes be between the fire of the parties ; under such circumstances we should be either burnt or shot. Everybody that could crawl left the place. I asked the hospital sergeant, who was the last man there, if we were to be left ? He durst not answer me. A gallant young friend of mine, who was badly wounded and dying, crawled near me and said, " George, do not swear at the fellow ; we shall soon be happy ; we have behaved like Englishmen." At this moment Fairfoot entered, and a Rifle Man who gallantly exposed himself to carry me off the field. Fairfoot said, " We must not, nor shall not be murdered, but there is no time to spare." A Life Guardsman and he put me on the horse. I was held on by the legs. Fairfoot also got my friend away, but he died the same night, being a delicate young man. 'I stated this affair to my Colonel,and all the officers know how much Sergeant Fairfoot merits my praise. If I can do him a service he may always command me; his character as a brave soldier stands with the first in the regiment. You may tell this to his father. I hear from Joe frequently. He is well. Never mention me in conversation anywhere,
                        Be aware that Gareth Glover gives a much more detailed account in his The Waterloo Archive volume IV. The extract above is taken from Verrner's A British Rifle Man (1899)

                        Paul
                        Last edited by Dibble201Bty; 04 Jan 13, 05:19.
                        ‘Tis said his form is tiny, yet
                        All human ills he can subdue,
                        Or with a bauble or medal
                        Can win mans heart for you;
                        And many a blessing know to stew
                        To make a megloamaniac bright;
                        Give honour to the dainty Corse,
                        The Pixie is a little shite.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thanks Paul!
                          SPORTS FREAK/ PANZERBLITZ COMMANDER/ CC2 COMMANDER

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Von Richter View Post
                            Just watched a documentry about Waterloo, one of them that gives a potted history of the battle, some nice shots of the field and a bit of stuff about the weaponry used. What impressed me the most was the mess a fettling from a Light Cavalry sabre could make of you. after seeing it used I can well believe that suff about cleaving a bloke's melon from forehead to teeth, lopping off hands, arms and wotnot.
                            They had a pig carcass dangling from a gibbet and the presenter took a whack with a sabre that opened a massive wound. Then a bloke who knew wot he was about took a slash at said pig going full gallop... he very nearly chopped it in two.
                            Never mind battlefield surgeons doing the amputations... I'd leave that job to the Light Cavalry!

                            Why, Vonny, I believe you are positively in awe at the power of Curryasses!!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I've read about cavalryman who suffered 4 wounds in one battle and still lived to see a ripe old age.

                              I guess it's all about WHERE you get slashed.

                              Comment

                              Latest Topics

                              Collapse

                              Working...
                              X