Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Mad Mike!

This is coolbert:

There have been a number of successful military commanders who have been known by the appellation of "Mad Mike".

Military commanders [first name Michael of course] renowned for taking personal risks on the battlefield. Often in support of their own men.

"The degree to which he led very risky attacks in person, led to him becoming widely known as 'Mad Mike'."

Men of superior soldiering ability who recognized as being so by their peers.

Men who dared and won on a number of battlefields. Men NOT always loved, but at least highly respected.

Unconventional officers whose appellation of "Mad" is a tribute rather than a curse.

One such man was "Mad Mike" Calvert.

Promising young officer in the years prior to World War Two [WW2]. A boxing champion, an educated man, a man of vigor and elan'. [that term elan' again. Means spirited action!!]

Was a Chindit commander in WW2. Served and studied under the famous General Orde Wingate.

Consider this incident involving "Mad Mike":

"He learned that a friend (Major Ian MacPherson) had been killed and his body left in the Japanese positions, and his Brigade Major had to threaten him with a revolver to prevent him returning alone to retrieve it."

Was a senior commander of the British counter-insurgency forces in Malaya in the 1950's. Was instrumental in devising successful counter-guerilla tactics particular to that conflict.

Left the military with a cloud hanging over his head however. Was not redeemed until recently. Such persons DO develop enemies.

Another "Mad Mike" of military fame was Mike Hoare.

Colonel Thomas Michael Hoare, alias-"MAD MIKE"

A British officer who led white mercenary commando units during the 1960's in the Congo. A man who leadership style is exemplified by his comment that, "commanders must eschew the fleshpots". A strict disciplinarian who personally meted out punishment to recalcitrant soldiers under his command.

"Colonel Hoare was always keen to promote good discipline in the men under his command. On finding out that a mercenary in a unit fighting alongside his own unit had raped and killed a young girl, he had the man tried. The sentence was for the criminal's big toes to be removed, as he had enjoyed playing professional football. Hoare personally shot off the man's toes with an automatic pistol."

The career of Mike Hoare did also not end on a happy note. Participated in an abortive coup d'etat, and a hijacking of an airplane, for which he received a prison sentence.

Lastly, here is also an American military officer who received the nickname of "Mad Mike":

From the battlefields of the war in Rhodesia [1970's], comes the name of Major "Mad Mike" Williams. American officer who joined the fight as a CAVALRY officer. Executive officer of Grey's Scouts.

"Whilst mainly Rhodesian (black and white), it also had a substantial number
of foreign enlistee's, one being a Major Mike Williams an American who was
Stephens 2IC."

A Rhodesian cavalry unit that specialized in scouting and man-tracking. As strange as it may sound, this unit of cavalry was successful. Performed in an admirable fashion. [if used as intended, for scouting and man-tracking, the unit worked fine. To employ them in other roles would not have been a good idea.] Major "Mad Mike" was a "romantic" [a persons who yearns for a bygone era]. But an excellent soldier and man who commanded with stature. Later returned to the U.S. and ran for Congress unsuccessfully. I am sure his biography of this period would be most interesting.

"Mad", but not in a bad way. A GOOD way. Maybe at some time in war, "mad" is what is needed.




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