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

Saturday, January 05, 2008


This is coolbert:

"till death do us part!!"

Traditionally, in warfare, the biggest killers have been water and feet. NOT DEATHS IN COMBAT!!

With regard to feet, having bad feet and not being able to keep up the march, falling out and being killed by irregulars or marauders.

In the case of water, either not having enough water to drink [dehydration], or drinking bad, fouled, polluted, diseased water. Death in the short term from cholera, dysentery, diarrhea, and during modern times, death in the long run from hepatitis [the Soviet Army in Afghanistan suffered 300,000 non-combat injuries, presumably hepatitis from drinking bad water!!!].

Consider these entries from CIC concerning disease and the effect it has had on armies through the ages. Thanks in all cases to Al Nofi, through StrategyPage.


"In the eighteenth century the average ratio of deaths-from-disease to deaths-from-combat in a European Army was 3-to-1, save for the British Army, which, due to extensive campaigning in tropical climes had an average of 8-to-1." [CIC # 167]

"During the American Revolution, the Patriot forces lost about 25,000 dead, of whom only about 7,000 seem to have been the result of combat." [CIC # 166]

"During the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763), the Royal Navy lost 1,512 men killed in action, and 133,708 to disease, two-thirds of whom perished from scurvy." [CIC # 147]

"During the Seven Years' War (1754-1763) seven of every nine British infantrymen contracted smallpox, and one in four of the victims died." [CIC # 165]

"Some 500 of the 2,500 English seamen on an expedition to the West Indies in 1595 died of dysentery, including the fleet’s commanders, two of Queen Elizabeth’s greatest sea dogs, Sir Francis Drake and Sir John Hawkins." [CIC # 158]

"Diseases had taken such a toll of the 800 troops of the 78th Highlanders stationed at Karachi, India, in 1844, that 'scarcely one hundred men were able to march . . . and every one had suffered more or less from fever.'” [CIC # 135]

"Of 960 men assigned to Dalzell’s Regiment (later the 1st Battalion, Staffordshire Regiment) in the West Indies between 1739 and 1745, all but 492 had perished from disease by the latter date." [CIC # 143]

"During a campaign against the Turks in southern Greece in 1694, the death rate from disease among the Venetian forces ran about 20-percent per year." [CIC # 141]

"The winter campaign in the Carpathians in 1914-1915 seems to have cost the Austro-Hungarian Army c. 6,600 casualties a day for nearly 100 days, mostly from illness, notably cholera and frostbite." [CIC # 164]

And not just soldiers are subject to the rigors of a campaign and death from disease. Animals historically have also died in enormous numbers from illness and just plain privation. Almost exclusively horses?!

"During a campaign in Bohemia in A.D. 791, a Frankish army lost 90-percent of its horses to disease." [CIC # 154]

[this may have been glanders. Kills horses, makes men "ONLY" sick!!]

"During the Campaign of 1914 a quarter of all the horses in the French Army died, 90-percent of them from disease or fatigue rather than combat." [CIC # 154]

It is no wonder then that it is against the American military legal code to REFUSE medical treatment. Prophylactics work wonders in preventing deaths. You not only want to be able to "cure" and "make better" those that are ill, BUT PREVENT sickness in all forms to begin with. Disease kills! Can destroy entire armies if proper measures are not taken.

"pro·phy·lac·tic - - adj. Acting to defend against or prevent something, especially disease; protective."

Always has been, always will be.




Blogger John S. Bolton said...

Those epidemics of smallpox in the F&I War, and 12 years later, in the Rev. War probably were the main events opening hundreds of millions of acres to the settlers. Our national anthem used to refer also to the 'foul pollution' supposedly deliberately released by Lord Dunmore and his Chesapeake Fleet and Ethiopian Regiment in 1775 and thereafter. The second smallpox epidemic traveled all the way to the Indians in today's British Columbia, which was just then having its channels mapped for the first time. The explorers found death and deserted Indian villages everywhere, empty houses made of bark on wood frames, with abandoned posessions still in them, as the survivors fled into the forests in small groups.

5:47 AM


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