Friday, August 23, 2013

Heard: "The Defence of Duffer's Drift (and The Battle of Booby's Bluffs by Major Single List)" by Ernest Dunlop Swinton

Heard: The Defence of Duffer's Drift by Ernest Dunlop Swinton and The Battle of Booby's Bluffs by Major Single List, downloaded from Overdrive, Tantor Audio production.

I was going through Overdrive and looking at books narrated by John Lee.  Most of those books did not look interesting and Defence was one of them.  I decided to try it out.  I've read plenty of military history but those books do not teach tactics and strategy.  They explain the strategy and tactics of specific events and battles.  This was written in 1907 as a training guide and based off events in the Boer War.

A new Lieutenant is left on the veldt with 50 men and told to guard a river crossing.  The concept is that after each failed attempt the Lieutenant awakens in the night from a bad dream (that failed defense) and gets to try again using the lessons he learned from his previous failures.

I did not know that Battle of Booby's Bluffs was included in this, the catalog record on Overdrive did not mention it at all.  I do not recall if a publication date was given during the narration and I have not looked it up.  This story is post-WWI with machine guns, mortars, tanks, and artillery.  Plenty of emphasis on machine gun nests.  The commanding officer is a Major and leading an attacking battalion.

These texts, at least Defence, are still used when teaching infantry tactics.  Heck, all sorts of battles are studied when teaching infantry tactics.  But, I wonder how helpful some of this stuff is to modern warfare.  I suppose using different battles from different eras is great way to teach universal lessons about tactics.

Anyway.  This was short at 4'18".  One thing that stands out compared to modern fighting is long-range rifle fire used during the Boer War.  There have been arguments over the last decade about rifle caliber and Afghanistan but most modern engagements seem to be pretty close.  Duffer's also encourages imprisoning the local population to prevent them from giving information to the enemy.

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