West Point Looks Back

Were you aware that the United States Military Academy's Department of History teaches students to fire 1500s matchlock muskets?  Conduct WWI-style trench warfare?

These are some interesting videos.  The old lessons become relevant again surprisingly regularly:  think of the SF guys in the early days of Afghanistan having not only to ride but to pack horses.  Rigging a pack horse is an entirely separate skill set, once well known to the American cavalry.

The lessons of trench warfare can become relevant again quickly, if only for an afternoon:  but if it does, remembering the old ways is the difference between surviving the afternoon and not.


bthun said...

I'm reading this post, and browsing the field manual, just as the Coggins/ELISA test results on the hosses arrived in the snail-mail.

Negative! Yippie-kai-yay. Not that we expected any other result.

Thanks for a link to the pack animal field manual. Very spiffy.

Eric Blair said...

Those videos are a demonstration of principles, not really teaching somebody the manual exercise.

(Trust me on this)

And *none* of the exercises I've ever read or performed tell you to bit the bullet off the cartridge.

You don't do that because then you'd have to use another motion to get the bullet from your mouth to to your hand to the barrel--and your hand is already at the barrel because you've just dumped the charge down it.

Geez, you'd think he'd have read the bleeping blue-book.

Texan99 said...

We used to vacation by going with a guide into the remoter parts of Yellowstone. The guests were on horseback, while the guide led a string of mules packed with the tents, food, and other gear. We'd stop one day and travel the next. On travel days, the guide was in charge of repacking the mules, a lengthy and exacting process. The huge packs needed to be balanced, comfortable on the mules, unclanky, and unlikely to slip when the mules were struggling on mountain paths. He was very good at it.

raven said...

I watched the clip on the Garand- the guys weapons handling truly sucked.
Pick up a rifle, work the bolt and pull the trigger without checking the chamber? Insert a full stripper clip, chamber a round and set the rifle down without the safe on?
Pointing the rifle at the camera. and by inference at the "student?"
He may know the chamber is empty, the cartridges are dummy, and it is "just a camera", but the message it sends to the student is that all these things are acceptable practice.