Saturday, 29 December 2012

ww2 troop carriers and armoured cars

What was the best ? Well it was easily the Sd.Kfz. 251 - the amount of armour that was put on that chassis is amazing. It was the perfect support vehicle for the tanks and for or all its weakness and outdated nature, the M3 Stewart was OUTSTANDING in its intended role, due to its rugged reliability and excellent performance. Sort of the same principle as the success of the Swordfish. A vehicle that to all appearances seems hopelessly outdate, but still   a stellar job regardless.

Later in the war, the Chaffee was absolutely outstanding in just about every regard as a Recon AFV.

On a related note, I've always thought the Soviet T60/T70 "looked" great for a recon AFV, but I've not heard about it being used much in that regard.   (see this blog)
The M3 was a successful design and it was used in every theatre of the war. It was the first American AFV to see combat when it was sent to the 8th Army in July '41. By Operation Crusader there were 163 M3s in British service. The M3 model was modified in British service with the introduction of British pattern smoke dischargers, extra sand shields and removal of the practically useless sponson machine guns (the machine guns were removed in the M3A1).
The Soviet Union received 1676 M3 Stuarts and while the advantage of gyroscopes was appreciated, the high silhouette was criticised and the hull machine guns were openly mocked. :note: The Soviets' delivery was not all Guiberson diesel engined models as some histories state; as only 500 M3 (Diesel) were made as well as 211 M3A1 (Diesel).

The M3 was obviously a big success as over 14,000 were built. The M3 Light Tank was a tank though so surely it cannot be included in this post, or else we would have to include the M5 Light Tank which was quite clearly a superior design; having many minor improvements as well as better armour protection while maintaining the same speed. Redundant M5s were converted to T8 Reconnaisance Vehicle in '44 by removing the turret and replacing it with a gun ring mounting for a Browning .50 cal. The M24 Light Tank 'Chaffee' was probably the best light tank of the war and was produced in enough numbers to merit a mention (4,415 vehicles by wars end) but it cannot be compared to the Sd.Kfz.251; for the simple reason that it was light tank armed with a 75mm M6 cannon and the Sd.Kfz.251 was a troop carrier half-track.

I don't mean to be annoying but really, half-tracks, recon vehicles and light tanks would have to be kept seperate for comparison.

On the German side, I've heard good things about the PzII Lynx, and a variety of wheeled recon vehicles they used, but dont know the details. File:Humber Mk 4 Armoured Car.jpg

Sunday, 4 November 2012

nelson dies.'

'There were only two Frenchmen left alive in the mizzen-top of the Redoutable at the time of his Lordship's being wounded and by the hands of these he fell… At length one of them was killed by a musket ball; and on the others then attempting to make his escape from the top down the rigging, Mr Pollard (Midshipman) fired his musket at him and shot him in the back when he fell dead from the shrouds on the Redoutable's poop'.
Robert Southey in his Life of Nelson (pub 1813) credited both John Pollard and Midshipman Francis Edward Collingwood as being the 'avenger of Nelson'. However in a letter to The Times 13 May 1863, John Pollard wrote
'It is true my old shipmate Collingwood who has now been dead some years came up on the poop for a short time. I had discovered the men crouching in the top of the Redoutable and pointed them out to him, when he took up his musket and fired once; he then left the poop, I conclude, to return to his station on the quarter deck… I remained firing till there was not a man to be seen in the top; the last one I saw coming down the mizzen rigging and he fell from my fire also… I was ushered into the ward room where Sir Thomas Hardy and other officers were assembled and complimented by them as the person who avenged Lord Nelson's death.'

Friday, 26 October 2012


Lanchester-Armored-Car - $6.95

In 1914, the Lanchester was the second most numerous armoured car in service after the Rolls-Royce. It was originally designed to support air bases and retrieve downed pilots. In 1915, the Lanchester underwent hull remodelling and was formed into armoured car squadrons. This model has a fun Bush/Cheney version included.

Lanchester Armored Car

Lanchester Armored Car
Lanchester AFV Armoured Car developed by George Lanchester had 6 forward and reverse gears
Next to the Rolls Royce Armoured Car, series the Lanchester armored cars were the most common type in use by the British Army in the Great War.
WWI British Officer Twenty of these vehicles also served the Russian Army beginning in 1915. The vehicle had a six-cylinder, 4.8 liter engine which developed 65 b.h.p. at 2200; the gear-box was three-speed epicyclical type and transmission was by worm drive to the rear axle. As an armoured car with about 8mm of armor, it weighed between four and five tons, the top speed was about 50 m.p.h. The crew consisted of three or four men and the armament was one Vickers-Maxim machine gun mounted in the turret, although a Lewis light machine-gun was usually also carried, stowed inside the car.
The Lanchester Armoured Car was manned by a crew of four and armed with a Vickers-Maxim machine gun mounted in the turret, although a Lewis light machine-gun was usually also carried, stowed inside the car. It had a top speed of 80 kmh and a range of 290 km. After 1915 the Lanchester Armoured Car was phased out and replaced by the Rolls-Royce Armoured Car.

What people say...
Chip and All, Noticed this the other day at the FG site. Oh man! Really looking forward to this and can't wait 'till available for purchase. FG's released only some land vehicles as called for or a support for a few of the aircraft models, I was not sure if you wanted to delve into other areas. Hope this one goes well for you and will lead to others. i mainly enjoy the WWII models, but also the early flying machines. Maybe some early or odd wheeled vehicles, be they military, civilian or concepts. Good day! Joe Golden

Lanchester Armored Car

Lanchester Armored Car of 1915
The GB Lanchester Armoured Car of 1915

Lanchester Armored Car in WWI camo
The Lanchester Armored Car in WWI camo
Lanchester Armored WWI Car
Lanchester RNAS Armored Car on exhibit
Lanchester Armoured Car in ditch
Lanchester Armored Car with a curio of gonguzzelers
Lanchester Armored Car in WWI camo
Lanchester Armored Car in spiffy WWI . Note the white-walls on this model. :))
Lanchester Armored Car posing
Lanchester Armored Car posing in Russia with lovely horse
Lanchester Armored Car stuck in WWI mud
Lanchester Armored Car stuck in Great War mud
Lanchester Armored Car in woods
Lanchester Armored Car in woods with GB officers
Lanchester Armored Cars being inspected
Lanchester Armored Cars being inspected
Model of Lanchester Armored Car
Interestingly colored model of the Lanchester Armored Car
Blue-gray Model of Lanchester Armored Car
Nicely colored blue-gray model of R.N.A.S. Lanchester Armored Car.
Two of the crew in a  Lanchester Armored Car
Lanchester Armoured Car from its ugly rear
Lanchester Armoured Car on the scrap heap
Lanchester Armoured Car rear details
Lanchester Armoured Car showing exciting aft details
Lanchester armorewd car fan layout of downloadable card model
Thank you Don Boose




Specifications for the Lanchester 4x2 Armored Car

Lanchester views
Crew: 3-4
Weight: 9400lbs
Length: 16 ft
Width: 6 ft
Height: 7.5
Armour: up to 8 mm
Engine 6-cyl
60 hp
Lanchester petrol engine
Power/weight 12.8 hp/tonne
Suspension 4x2 wheel

Speed: 50 mph

Primary Armament
Vickers machine gun (turret)

Secondary armament
Lewis Gun (stowed inside)
Deutsches Panzermuseum - German Tank Museum
Musée des Blindés - French Tank Museum
Bovington Tank Museum - United Kingdom Tank Museum
Yad La-Shiryon- Israeli Tank Museum
Parola Tank Museum - Finnish Tank Museum
General George C Marshall Museum- Dutch Tank Museum
Tank Museum-Kubinka, Russia
Australian War Memorial- Canberra, Australia
WWI Tanks in the Fiddlersgreen collection (Feb 2011)
Renault FT-17
Mark IV
German A7V

Lanchester model by Bob Martin
Lanchester cardmodel

Friday, 19 October 2012

airfix new

A01317 M3 Lee Grant Medium TankCalled the General Lee if fitted with the American designed taller turret and the General Grant if fitted with the British built smaller turret, the Lee Grant was one of the first American tanks to reach the British during the Second World War.  Also used across the Pacific, the Lee Grant led to the design of the Sherman tank, the Allies' most important and numerically vital tank of the war.  Build either version of this famous tank with our re-released kit with its new illustration.A01318 Matilda Tank

Monday, 3 September 2012

all english sparkling wine

English Sparkling Wines: The A-Z List

Click here to download the table below in PDF format
Last updated: 1st July 2010

Vineyard Wine Vintage Varietal blend Retail
a’Beckett’s Estate Sparkling 2006 Seyval blanc, Auxerrois £16.50
Astley George Eckert Vintage Brut 2006 Kerner £13.50
Avalon Pennard Brut 2006 Seyval blanc £25.00
Avonleigh Organic Avonleigh Quality Sparkling 2008 Pinot noir, Chardonnay £17.50
Beaulieu Beaulieu Bubbly 2006 Bacchus, Müller-Thurgau, Reichensteiner £14.95
Biddenden Gribble Bridge White Sparkling Wine 2003 Reichensteiner 70%, Pinot Noir 20%, Scheurebe, Ortega 10% £15.75
Biddenden Gribble Bridge Pink Sparkling Wine 2007 Gamay, Pinot noir £15.75
(Champion Wines)
Binfield Brut NV Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay, Seyval blanc, Reichensteiner £9.99
(Champion Wines)
Champion Gold NV Pinot Noir, Chardonnay £11.99
(Champion Wines)
Champion Silver NV Pinot Noir, Seyval blanc, Reichensteiner, Müller-Thurgau £9.99
Bluebell Estates Hindleap Blanc de Blancs 2007 Chardonnay £23.00
Bluebell Estates Hindleap Classic 2007 Seyval blanc £17.00
Bluebell Estates Hindleap Classic Cuvée 2007 Pinot noir 70% Chardonnay 30% £20.00
Bookers Sirius Rose 2005 Merlot 80%, Seyval blanc 20% £ 19.45
Bookers Bolney Barts Bubbly 2006 Pinot noir £ 19.45
Bookers Bolney Blanc de Blanc 2006 Chardonnay £ 23.49
Bookers Bolney Antares 2008 Dornfelder £ 23.49
Bookers Bolney Bubbly 2008 Müller-Thurgau 60%, Chardonnay 40% £ 15.00
Bosue Quality Sparkling Wine 2006 Orion £19.50
Bothy Halycon Days 2008 Ortega, Findling, Huxelrebe, Albalonga, Bacchus £12.90
Bow-in-the-Cloud Cloud Nine 2006 Seyval blanc £14.00
Breaky Bottom Cuvée Brian Jordan 2005 Seyval blanc £20.05
Breaky Bottom Cuvée John Inglis Hall 2006 Seyval blanc £20.05
Brightwell Sparkling Chardonnay 2006 Chardonnay £17.00
Broadfield Court Broadfield Quality English Sparkling Wine 2007 Seyval blanc, Reichensteiner £19.99
Broadfield Court Broadfield Quality English Sparkling Wine 2007 Seyval blanc, Reichensteiner £19.99
Camel Valley Pinot Noir Brut Rosé 2007 Pinot noir £24.95
Camel Valley Cornwall Brut 2008 Seyval blanc, Reichensteiner £19.95
Camel Valley Pinot Noir Brut White 2007 Pinot noir £29.95
Camel Valley Pinot Noir Brut Rosé 2008 Pinot noir £24.95
Camel Valley Sparkling Red 2008 Rondo £14.95
Carr Taylor Brut Sparkling Rosé 2006 Pinot noir 75%, Pinot Meunier 25% £18.99
Carr Taylor Vintage Brut 2006 Reichensteiner 75%, Schonburger 25% £19.99
Carr Taylor Brut Sparkling White NV Reichensteiner 50%, Schonburger 50% £14.99
Carters Sparkling Brut NV Orion, Chardonnay £14.95
Carters Sparkling Rosé NV Orion, Chardonnay, Dornfelder £14.95
Castle Brook Chinn-Chinn 2006 Chardonnay 48.4%, Pinot noir 29.0%, Pinot Meunier 22.3% £20.00
Chapel Down Pinot Reserve 2004 Pinot Noir 70%, Pinot Blanc 30% £24.99
Chapel Down Pinot Noir Chardonnay 2006 Pinot noir, Chardonnay NA
Chapel Down Blanc de Blancs 2007 Chardonnay NA
Chapel Down Century (Extra Dry) NV Pinot Noir, Reichensteiner, Müller-Thurgau £16.99
Chapel Down English Rosé NV Pinot Noir, Reichensteiner, Müller-Thurgau £19.99
Chapel Down Rosé Brut (2006) NV Pinot Noir £24.99
Chapel Down Vintage Reserve Brut NV Pinot Noir 40%, Müller-Thurgau 30%, Reichensteiner 30%. £16.99
Chilford Hall Chilford Hundred Rosé 2004 Müller-Thurgau, Reichensteiner, Dornfelder £16.50
Chilford Hall Chilford Hundred White 2004 Müller-Thurgau, Reichensteiner £15.50
Danebury Cossack 2004 Auxerrois 95%, Rulander (Pinot gris) 5% £21.00
Danebury Cossack 2005 Auxerrois 95%, Rulander (Pinot gris) 5% £21.00
Davenport Blanc de blancs 2005 Reichensteiner £16.50
Davenport Limney Estate 2006 Auxerrois 65%, Pinot noir 35% £18.00
Daws Hill Daws Hill Brut 2007 Chardonnay 59%, Auxerrois 35%, Pinot Noir 6% £24.00
Daws Hill Daws Hill Brut 2008 Chardonnay 36%, Auxerrois 30%, Pinot Noir 23%, Pinot Meunier 11% £24.00
Denbies Greenfields 2002 Pinot noir 50%, Chardonnay 35%, Pinot Meunier 15% £21.99
Denbies Cubitt Reserve 2006 Pinot noir £34.99
Denbies Sparkling Rosé 2006 Pinot noir £17.99
Denbies Whitedowns (2004) NV Seyval blanc, Reichensteiner £15.99
Dunkery - Exmoor Exmoor Brut 1995 Pinot noir £15.95
East Sutton Rackham's Sparkling Wine 2005 Pinot noir 60%, Bacchus 40% £19.95
Frome Valley
(Paunton Court)
Paunton Court Sparkling 2006 Seyval blanc £14.25
Furleigh Estate Casterbridge 2007 Chardonnay, Pinot noir £22.95
Glyndŵr Vintage Rosé 2005 Seyval blanc, Rondo £14.90
Glyndŵr Vintage White 2005 Seyval blanc £14.90
Greyfriars Greyfriars Sparkling 2001 Chardonnay, Pinot noir £12.50
Greyfriars Greyfriars Sparkling 2004 Chardonnay, Pinot noir £12.50
Greyfriars Greyfriars Sparkling 2006 Chardonnay £12.50
Gusbourne Estate Gusbourne Brut Blanc de Blancs 2006 Chardonnay £24.99
Gusbourne Estate Gusbourne Brut Classic Blend 2006 Chardonnay 46%, Pinot noir 41%, Pinot Meunier 13% £21.99
Hale Valley Hale Valley Brut 2006 NA NA
Hazel End Three Squirrels 2007 Müller-Thurgau, Huxelrebe, Reichensteiner, Bacchus £14.50
Hush Heath Estate Balfour Brut Rosé 2006 Pinot noir 55%, Chardonnay 40%, Pinot Meunier 5% £36.99
Ickworth Suffolk Pink 2005 Auxerrois 85%, Pinot noir 15% £19.50
Ickworth Suffolk Pink 2006 Auxerrois 85%, Pinot noir 15% £19.50
Jenkyn Place Jenkyn Place Brut 2006 Chardonnay 61%, Pinot noir 23%, Pinot Meunier 16% £25.00
Kenton Vanessa Sparkling 2006 Auxerrois 66%, Ortega 34% £14.50
Leventhorpe Leventhorpe Brut 2006 Seyval blanc £15.00
Llanerch Cariad Blush 2005 Seyval blanc, Reichensteiner, Triomphe £17.95
Meopham Meopham Valley 2004 Chardonnay 55%, Pinot Noir 45% £16.50
Meopham Meopham Valley Rosé 2005 Pinot Noir 55%, Chardonnay 45% £19.50
Meopham Meopham Valley 2007 Reichensteiner £15.00
New Hall Vineyards New Hall Sparkling 2008 Pinot Noir and Chardonnay £14.95
Newnham Park
(Herons Ghyll)
Herons Ghyll Estate 2006 Reichensteiner, Huxelrebe £14.99
Nutbourne Nutty Brut 2006 Reichensteiner, Pinot noir £16.50
Nyetimber Blanc de Blancs 2001 Chardonnay £28.99
Nyetimber Classic Cuvée (Waitrose) 2002 Chardonnay, Pinot noir, Pinot Meunier £25.99
Nyetimber Classic Cuvée 2003 Chardonnay, Pinot noir, Pinot Meunier £25.99
Nyetimber Classic Cuvée 2005 Chardonnay 62%, Pinot noir 19%, Pinot Meunier 19% £25.99
Old Walls Old Walls Brut NV Auxerrois, Pinot noir Précoce £16.75
Old Walls Old Walls Rosé NV Pinot noir Précoce, Auxerrois £16.75
Parva Farm Tintern Parva Dathliad Sparkling 2004 Seyval blanc, Pinot noir £17.50
Parva Farm Tintern Parva Dathliad Sparkling 2005 Seyval blanc, Auxerrois, Regner £17.50
Parva Farm Tintern Parva Dathliad Sparkling Rosé 2006 Seyval blanc, Pinot noir, Regent £19.95
Pebblebed Sparkling Rosé 2006 Seyval blanc, Rondo £25.00
Pebblebed Sparkling White 2008 Seyval blanc, Rondo £22.50
Penarth Penarth Estate Pink Sparkling 2006 Pinot noir 50%, Pinot Meunier 50% £21.50
Penarth Penarth Estate Sparkling Wine 2006 Chardonnay, Pinot noir, Pinot Meunier £18.50
Pheasants Ridge Pheasants Ridge Brut NV Faberrebe £15.00
Plumpton Estate The Dean NV Pinot noir 93%, Chardonnay 7% £20.00
Plumpton Estate The Dean Blush NV Pinot noir 94%, Chardonnay 6% £20.00
Renishaw Renishaw Quality Sparkling Wine 2006 Seyval blanc £15.00
RidgeView Grosvenor Blanc de Blancs Magnum 2001 Chardonnay £63.00
RidgeView Grosvenor Blanc de Blancs 2006 Chardonnay £21.95
RidgeView Knightsbridge Blanc de Noirs 2006 Pinot noir 51%, Pinot Meunier 49% £24.95
RidgeView South Ridge Cuvée Merret 2006 Chardonnay 63%, Pinot Noir 30%, Pinot Meunier 7% £18.49
RidgeView Bloomsbury 2007 Chardonnay 64%, Pinot noir 23%, Pinot Meunier 14% £19.95
RidgeView Cavendish 2007 Chardonnay 25%, Pinot noir 34%, Pinot Meunier 41% £19.95
RidgeView Fitzrovia Rosé 2007 Chardonnay 46%, Pinot noir 32%, Pinot Meunier 22% £21.95
RidgeView Grosvenor Blanc de Blancs 2007 Chardonnay £21.95
Ridgeview Pimlico Rouge de Noirs 2007 Pinot Meunier 76%, Pinot Noir 24% £24.95
RidgeView South Ridge Cuvée Merret 2007 Chardonnay 52%, Pinot Noir 30%, Pinot Meunier 18% £18.49
Ridgeview South Ridge Cuvée Merret Rosé 2008 Chardonnay 33%, Pinot Noir 40%. Pinot Meunir 24% £19.99
Rosemary Rosé Brut 2007 Rondo £14.99
Rosemary Sparkling White (Dry) 2007 Seyval blanc 50%, Orion 50% £14.99
Saint Anne`s Oxenhall Bubbles 2006 Seyval blanc £10.95
Sandyford Sandyford Sparkling 2004 Bacchus 70%, Reichensteiner 30% £15.30
Sedlescombe Bodiam Brut Organic 2008 Seyval blanc £25.00
Sedlescombe Rosé Brut Organic 2008 Pinot noir £35.00
Shardeloes Farm Shardeloes Sparkling Pink Brut 2006 Triomphe, Reichensteiner £19.99
Sharpham Sharpham Sparkling 2007 Pinot gris 70%, Pinot noir 25%, Auxerrois, 2.5%, Meunier 2.5% £21.50
Somborne Valley Mariage Réussi 2006 Pinot blanc, Pinot noir £16.99
Somborne Valley Rosé 2006 Pinot noir £14.99
Stanlake Park Wine Estate Stanlake Brut 2005 Pinot noir 90%, Chardonnay10% £18.99
Stanlake Park Wine Estate Heritage Brut 2006 Reichensteiner 80%, Seyval blanc 20% £14.99
Stanlake Park Wine Estate Rosé Superior 2006 Pinot Noir 70%, Pinot Meunier 30% £19.99
Strawberry Hill Premier Sparkling 2004 Chardonnay 50%, Pinot noir 50% £16.50
Surrenden MQC 2004 Chardonnay, Pinot noir, Pinot Meunier £24.00
Surrenden MQC 2006 Chardonnay, Pinot noir, Pinot Meunier £24.00
Tas Valley English Sparkling 2004 Reichensteiner £26.00
Tas Valley English Sparkling 2006 Reichensteiner £18.00
Terlingham Terlingham Sparkling 2007 Seyval blanc £20.00
Terlingham Terlingham Sparkling 2008 Pinot noir, Chardonnay £20.00
Theale Founder's Reserve Blanc de Blancs 2005 Chardonnay £22.99
Three Choirs Vintage Reserve 2004 Pinot noir 30%, Seyval blanc 70% £16.50
Three Choirs Vintage Reserve Pinot Blanc Du Noir 2005 Pinot noir £16.25
Three Choirs Vintage Reserve Pink 2006 Triomphe £16.50
Three Choirs Classic Cuvée NV Seyval blanc 65%, Reichensteiner 25%, Pinot Noir 10% £10.25
Throwley Throwley Reserve Brut 2003 Chardonnay 50%, Pinot noir 50% £16.50
Throwley Throwley Reserve Brut 2004 Chardonnay 50%, Pinot noir 50% £16.50
Tiltridge Elgar Sparkling 2006 Seyval blanc £13.95
Titchfield Festival NV Seyval Blanc £8.99
Titchfield Southern Shore Brut NV Auxerrois, Pinot Noir £12.50
Titchfield Southern Shore Rosé NV Auxerrois, Pinot Noir £14.99
Valley Farm
(Wissett Wines)
Wissett Brut Reserve 2005 Pinot Meunier, Pinot Gris, Auxerrois £17.99
Warden Abbey Abbot Sparkling Brut 2007 Regner, Reichensteiner, Müller-Thurgau, Bacchus £16.00
Warden Abbey Vineyard Sparkling Extra Dry 2007 Bacchus, Reichensteiner £16.50
Welcombe Hills Blanc de Noir 2006 Pinot noir £14.95
Welcombe Hills Sparkling Bacchus 2006 Bacchus £12.50
Welland Vallley Steeplechase Brut 2006 Reichensteiner 60%, Seyval blanc 40% £15.00
Welland Vallley Tickled Pink Brut 2007 Reichensteiner 50%, Seyval blanc 50% £15.00
Wickham Demi-Sec 2006 Dornfelder £14.99
Wickham Rosé Brut 2006 Dornfelder £14.99
Wroxeter Roman Shropshire Sparkling Rosé 2006 Rondo £24.95
Wroxeter Roman Shropshire Sparkling White 2006 Reichensteiner, Madeleine Angevine £24.95
Wyken Wyken Moonshine NV Auxerrois, Pinot noir £16.50
Yearlstone Vintage Brut 2006 Seyval blanc £16.99
Yearlstone Vintage Brut Pink 2006 Dornfelder 70%, Pinot noir 30% £24.99
Yearlstone Vintage Brut 2008 Seyval blanc £16.99

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

the truth about the alamo finally by Daniel N. White

 heres a review of a new book about the alamo from the blog dandelion wine
We now have a  truthful book about the Alamo. somehow it seems to have escaped critical attention, particularly, to no great surprise, here in Texas. The book isExodus from the Alamo:Click the image to open in full size. The Anatomy of the Last Stand Myth, by Phillip Thomas Tucker. Published in 2010 by second-tier publishers Casemate, this book has not received any reviews by any major national source, nor any attention by any of the Texas newspapers.* Hell I’d have thought that San Antonio, which although by population numbers is the US’ 9th largest city has always really been Mexico’s northernmost city, and is also where the Alamo, or what little is left of it, resides, would have paid some attention, but nothing from those quarters. Dallas, the most insecure, mean-spirited city in the country, sizeable parts of which would throw big parties every November 22nd if they could get away with it**, hasn’t officially denounced this book, and I’d have thought that the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, or the many fulminating reactionary textbook activists there who contribute so much to keeping Texans stupid, would have held press conferences, marches, and bookburnings over this book and its contents.Click the image to open in full size. Nope. Nothing from the East Coast, or the Left Coast, both of which have well-founded grudges against Texas, only in part on account of our most recent ex-president, grudges that could be Click the image to open in full size.readily slaked by the handy and complete demolition of the Texas founding myth done here. Unfortunately for them, they are likely to get a new dose of grudges from the impending Perry presidency, alas. Them and the rest of us, alas squared.
Tucker, a historian for the USAF, brings to the table the essential military knowledge necessary to write about a military event. All previous authors about the Alamo were journalists who knew nothing about military matters and the battlefield, or second-tier academics, who all wereClick the image to open in full size. equally ignorant. Both groups most all lack facility in the Spanish language, and neither group ever did any real research into Mexican archives for the firsthand accounts of participants that Tucker found when he went looking in Mexican archives. Both groups either lazily and uncritically promoted the Alamo myth, or, perhaps worse, saw where the evidence led and shied away from drawing the necessary if unpopular conclusions. Doesn’t say much for eitherClick the image to open in full size. group.
Tucker shows, from contemporaneous Mexican and American accounts, that there was no fight to the last man at the Alamo. Instead, the defenders, who were caught completely flat-footed asleep by a surprisingly well-planned and executed Mexican attack, mostly all bolted and ran from the Alamo and were cut down by Mexican cavalry that Santa Anna had placed in position for that task. A sizeable contingent of defenders were in the ‘hospital’ and were massacred there, and there was a cluster of defenders, led by Dickenson, who fought bravely in the Alamo chapel in an effort to buy time for their comrades’ escape. Even with their bravery, the fight was over inside of twenty minutes, start to finish. No real battle winds up that quick; it was an ignominious rout.Click the image to open in full size.
A sizeable fraction, half or better probably, of Mexican casualties (which totalled around 300) were friendly-fire casualties, from the untrained Mexican infantry firing blindly, from the hip, in the dark, into the backs of their countrymen. Contrary to the Old Joe myth, there were in Click the image to open in full size.fact two escapees from the slaughter, and they were interviewed, and their accounts got circulation at the time. The flight from the Alamo appears to have been the defenders’ plan all along, and Tucker argues that if Santa Anna had postponed his attack for a day or so that the defenders would have sought surrender terms on account of the severe morale, illness, and command dissention problems in the Alamo garrison. The lack of interest in preserving the Alamo, which was mostly demolished before the DRT saved what was left of it 60 years later, shows not just the ordinary extraordinary greed and shortsightness of Texans, but also likely shows that the Alamo myth wasn’t entirely accepted by a fair or better percentage of the people who lived then. The failure of anyone in San Antonio to gather the defenders’ ashes from the burn piles afterwards–they were almost all left untouched for the two or so years it took for the winds to disperse them–also shows that there was no real love lost between San Antonio’s Click the image to open in full size.inhabitants and the persons claiming to be their defenders. That, and a desire of most Texans back then to forget the Alamo, as time enough hadn’t transpired for the myth to displace most people’s back then ordinary doubts about what actually happened. I suspect that theClick the image to open in full size. contemporaneous newspaper storytelling about the Alamo, which all began the fight to the last man myth, wasn’t entirely believed by the readership. People could smell a rat back then, probably better than now.
The defenders did an embarrassingly bad job of reinforcing the fortifications while they had the chance; mostly out of their unwillingness to do manual labor with pick and shovel. Holding the Alamo was a first-class strategic mistake, as it neither barred Santa Anna from San Antonio’s resources nor prevented him, should he have decided to, from bypassing it and attacking instead the Texian center of resistance in East Texas, and thereby quickly and handily defeating the revolt. The Texians own decision to stay in the Alamo was in large part based on the large numbers of cannon they had there, and their unwillingness to abandon them to the Mexicans. The cannon did them no good during the battle, as they lacked the manpower to crew them, the emplacements to use them, and neither the projectiles or powder to fire them. A terrible mistake, holding the Alamo for its cannon, one that was stupefyingly obviously militarily wrong. Houston’s unwillingness to send relief to the Alamo may have been from his chronic drunkenness (and likely opium stupefaction) but a part of it was likely his and other politicians in Washington-on-the-Brazos’ desire to remove from the scene several political rivals, Crockett foremost. That, and there was a considerable class rivalry between the white po-boy drifters holed up in the Alamo and their East Texas planter betters–the Texas Revolution was yet another rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight.
The majority of the book, like most accounts of the Alamo, is a recounting of the events that led to the Texas secession from Mexico in 1835-6. The elephant in Texas history’s living room has always been, of course, slavery, and even my 7th grade Texas History textbook 35 years ago mentioned that the Texas founding fathers were slaveholders. Most historians haven’t done that much better a job of facing that elephant since, but Tucker does the best job to date of pointing out how that issue was the key issue that drove Texas secession. Slaves and cotton equalled wealth and status here in the US back then, and obtaining that combination was unquestionably the best and most accessible ladder up that an ambitious white male back then had. Texas’ white settlers came here from the first, even before Moses Austin’s efforts, with that goal in mind. The conflict between Anglo and Mexican in Texas was most of all a conflict between Anglo slaveholders and wanna-be slaveholders and a Mexico newly freed from European peonage’s deep desire to eliminate slavery in its borders. American historians have over the years danced around, or at best dealt gingerly at a distance, with this fact. Tucker lays it out, plainly and directly, better than I’ve seen elsewhere.
What the textbooks then, and most histories still now, don’t mention is what a lot of scoundrels, greedheads, and sorry hustling-assed lowlifes the Texas Republic leaders were. They were all, every last one of them, dreadfully militarily incompetent and only a few of them were even marginally capable of the political leadership that a successful revolt requires. Fortunately for Anglo Texas, Santa Anna made two fatal mistakes–investing the Alamo and napping at San Jacinto that afternoon. Grant, in his memoirs, talking about his experiences in the Mexican War, said that we the US were lucky to be fighting an enemy like the Mexicans, or else, he said, we’d have been taught some hard lessons. Same was true in 1836, Mexican military incompetence matched by Santa Anna’s political incompetence. Tucker doesn’t preach about this; he just lays out the facts, which speak for themselves.
Tucker has a decent discussion of how the Alamo myth functioned in the 19th Century to provide a rationalization of Anglo racial superiority, the theft of Texas from Mexico, and the subsequent dispossession, exclusion and marginalization of Tejanos from position and property. Where the book fails is bringing the Alamo myth into the 20th century, and for that matter, the 21st. The Disney and John Wayne ’50′s glorification makes some sense in the light of American Cold War insecurities, but why Disney revisited it five years ago needs explanation. Was it a commercial pastiche, or a re-hashing of a myth to serve domestic war politics a second time, for a (series of) war(s) even more fraudulent and unnecessary than the Cold War?
The book has its flaws. It is in dire need of proper editing, and could usefully have been shrunk by a third or better in length. Tucker is no shakes as a prose stylist. There are suppositions about events and motivations in the Alamo that are good suppositions, but lack documentation enough to be presented as facts. But there is hidden within a delightful secret to this book that won’t be obvious to most ahistorical Americans, but one obvious to Clio’s servants and admirers. This book will give social scientists a test case the likes of which has never before happened. A widespread and deeply held founding myth has been destroyed by this book, and this provides a unique opportunity to study the diffusion and struggle of truth versus myth. How many years will it take to change the textbook accounts? How long before Americans acknowledge that the Alamo was a chapter of military ignominy and embarrassment, and not an epic of heroism? Will latinos pick up on this book, and use it for their political and social struggles? How will this story fare in other countries’ histories of us? I am looking forward to how things develop on these fronts–it is a truly rare opportunity to learn about ourselves, how we think, how we come to hold our beliefs. I am pleased to do my bit by publicizing this book, to advance truth against myth, to kill the lies that have been deliberately spread, and to expose the professional incompetence and pusillanimity of the official and influential. My congratulations to the author, for a fine and overdue and much needed book.
*Both the Guardian and the Daily Mail in the UK reviewed it, interestingly enough. They both liked it.
**Shoot I’m being too mean to Dallas here. Contrary to what too many braindead Yankees still like to think, Dallas was then and has always remained embarrassed by its (very limited) responsibility for the death of JFK. On the other hand, this statement is absolutely true about Miami, at least amongst the guisano cubanos.