Day of Infamy

uss_arizona_memorialWe often talk of World War II, it was a major series of events in American and world history, as long as those survivors were in charge, things were better than ever, as they leave the stage, we are seeming to come face-to-face with the fact that they went too easy on us, and the discipline to succeed in the real world appears to be lacking. We need to look back and take the lesson that America was taught starting today, 75 years ago.

76 years ago today, America was attacked at Pearl Harbor. We were thus thrust onto center stage of the 20th Century’s biggest conflict and the most clear-cut war for liberty in the history of the world. It’s a day to remember the sacrifices made by that generation, who are now leaving us at a very rapid pace. They saved the world for freedom, this would be a very good day to thank them. In this video, I want you to listen to the resolve of Franklin Roosevelt, in it, you will learn much about leadership in a free country.

This is how an American President responds to an attack on the homeland.

The forward magazines of the U.S. Navy battles...

The Arizona at Pearl Harbor: Image via Wikipedia

We all know (or should) that behind them the Japanese attackers left 2,403 dead, 188 destroyed planes and a crippled Pacific Fleet that included 8 damaged or destroyed battleships. One of them the USS Arizona is still there, minus her hull, still to this day leaking oil and designated as both an American Military Cemetery and the Pearl Harbor Memorial.

My old friend Mr. Mac over at The Leansubmariner has published the after action report of the Commander Battle Force, Pacific. It is both horrific and fascinating reading about brave men suddenly thrust into the fight of their lives. Here’s some, read it all.

On the occasion of the treacherous surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, battleship ready guns opened fire at once. They were progressively augmented as the rest of the antiaircraft battery was manned as all battleships went to General Quarters with commendable promptness. This resulted in an early and great volume of antiaircraft fire. Considering all the circumstances, including the necessity for local control in the early stages of the attack, the control of fire was gratifyingly good as attested by the fifteen to seventeen enemy planes which were brought down. That such an antiaircraft fire could be inaugurated and sustained in spite of the difficulties resulting from early damage by torpedoes and bombs and great and menacing oil fires is a tribute to the courage, constancy, efficiency and resourcefulness of the officers and men. not only were they maintaining a sustained and aggressive fire whenever the enemy threatened, but they were engaged in valiant efforts to save the ships, prevent their capsizing and fighting large and menacing oil fires, enveloped in dense clouds of smoke. Severe structural damage and flooded magazines made replenishment of ammunition a serious problem, in overcoming which great courage and ingenuity was exhibited.

Great courage and ingenuity indeed. What could be done, was. Here is part of what happened.

    1. Personnel losses. (a) The following is a personnel table indicating the total officers and men attached to the ship prior to the attack, the number of casualties, the number of survivors, and the name of the senior surviving officer on each ship. The reports on which these figures are based are being corrected daily.
On Board 1 Dec. Killed Injured Missing Survivors Senior surviving officer
Ship Off Men Off Men Off Men Off Men Off Men
Maryland* 108 1496 2 1 0 14 0 1 106 1480 Capt. Godwin
W. Virginia 87 1454 2 25 0 52 0 130 85 1247 Cdr. Hillendoetter
Tennessee* 94 1372 0 4 1 20 0 2 93 1337 Capt. Reordan
California* 120 1546 3 45 3 58 2 56 112 1382 Capt. Bunkley
Pennsylvania 81 1395 2 17 0 30 0 6 79 1340 Capt. Cooke
Arizona* 100 1411 2 54 5 39 47 1059 54 259 Cdr. Geiselman
Oklahoma 82 1270 0 20 2 30 21 415 59 805 Capt. Bode
Total 766 11334  14  200  16  347  70 1685  674  9086
* Includes Flag personnel attached.
  • (b) The following named Division Commanders and Commanding Officers were killed:
  • Rear Admiral I.C. Kidd, U.S. Navy, Commander Battleship Division One.
    Captain F. Van Valkenburgh, U.S. Navy, Commanding Officer, U.S.S. Arizona.
    Captain M.S. Bennion, U.S. Navy, Commanding Officer, U.S.S. West Virginia
  • Conduct of personnel. In separate correspondence Commander Battleships has submitted to the Commander-in-Chief a report of the distinguished conduct of various individuals, as well as the ships’ companies in general. Commander Battleships cannot, however, conclude this report without paying homage to the universal exhibition of courage and magnificent fighting spirit by absolutely all the personnel of the battleships. Their conduct was in accord with the highest traditions of the Service.

And remember that only includes the Battleships at Pearl Harbor.

The Japanese fleet also left behind it the most implacable foe there is: the determined and united people of the United States. ADM Halsey’s comment is an indicator: “When this war is over, Japanese will be spoken only in Hell”. It nearly came to that. The casualty projections for the invasion of Japan ran to over 1 Million American casualties only, the only other alternatives were for the Navy to starve the entire country while the Air Force burned it down. Every American (and Japanese) should thank their God for the Atom Bomb for this was the future it prevented. And as the Confederate Air Force has said: “There would have been no Hiroshima without Pearl Harbor”.

It probably should be noted that nearly the entire Royal Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, and Royal Australian Navy, as well as the US Atlantic Fleet, were in the process of joining the US Pacific fleet, which had long since become (by far) the most powerful fleet in the history of the world. Also transhipping were the Allied armies that had defeated Nazi Germany. Götterdämmerung had come for the Japanese as it had for the Germans before them. Every memoir of those men I have read states more or less explicitly that none (repeat none) of them expected to survive. The implacable free people of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, China, the Philippine Islands, and even Soviet Russia had made the world (mostly) free, again.

We live in a world shaped by tragedies inflicted on the United States, 9/11 has been very influential in our lives but, Pearl Harbor is even more so. It taught us again that freedom is never free, if we don’t defend it, it will pass as it did, for a time, for many of our allies. It also taught us that when America leads anything is possible.

English: General Douglas MacArthur signs as Su...

The Surrender in Tokyo Bay: Image via Wikipedia

The Pacific Campaign was marked by a series of terrible battles in some of the most inhospitable of climates. Who can forget the battles that followed Pearl Harbor: Guadalcanal, the Coral Sea, The Mitchell raid, Corregidor and the Bataan Death march, Midway, the Marianas, Tarawa, the Liberation of the Philippines, Iwo Jima and the flag, Okinawa, and that final scene in Tokyo Bay, where MacArthur and Wainwright accepted the Japanese surrender on the deck of one of the most powerful battleships ever built: The USS Missouri.  All of this happened in only 44 Months.

English: "Remember December 7th" US ...

Image via Wikipedia

People my age knew the men who fought all those battles, they were our heroes. Combat may not have been realistic but it fired our admiration. Ensign George Gay, the sole survivor of Torpron 8 at Midway, grew up about 10 miles from where I did. They deserve our memories today because 76 years ago they started the counterattack that built the free (and mostly peaceful) world we have known all our life. We seldom remember that the Pax Americana has mostly held since 1945, we owe a debt to those men (and women), our parents (and mostly grandparents now) that we will never be able to repay except by keeping the peace and freedom they won.

As we sit here in the world that these men and women bequeathed us, we need to remember that while those enemies of freedom were defeated utterly and at great cost, freedom still has enemies. North Korea and Iran have once again put us in the position that America (and the world) faces a nuclear Pearl Harbor. While we might survive such a thing, it is far from a given that we will, that is why we must prevent it. The survival of humanity itself depends on us this time.

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Trolling Londonistan

BBC

James Delingpole has an article up at Breitbart. It’s an outstanding one, not unusually for Delingpole, He’s one of the few Brits who get published who understand us, and understands Trump, and why he’s president. Yes, there are others, and we’ll try to introduce you to a few of them going forward. But Delingpole is special.

President Trump has offended pretty much the entirety of Britain’s political and media establishment up to and including the Prime Minister, the Mayor of London and the Archbishop of Canterbury.[…]

In a moment I shall explain why the president is right and his critics are wrong. But first a brief recap of what the fuss is all about. […] [Three tweets. Neo]

One depicted a bearded Muslim destroying a statue of the Virgin Mary.

One showed an Islamist mob pushing a teenage boy off a roof and then beating him to death.

One showed a white Dutch boy on crutches being gratuitously beaten up by a man described in the video caption as a “Muslim migrant”.

Prime Minister Theresa May; Mayor of London Sadiq Khan; and many other politicians professed themselves to be appalled by this. As was BBC news, which made this horror its lead story.

But it wasn’t the sadistic brutality on any of the videos that bothered them. It was the fact that the person whose tweets the President had retweeted, Jayda Fransen, is the deputy of a nationalistic, anti-immigration political party highly critical of Islam called Britain First.

According to Prime Minister Theresa May this was a grave mistake.

She said:

I am very clear that retweeting from Britain First was the wrong thing to do.

“Britain First is a hateful organisation. It seeks to spread division and mistrust in our communities. It stands in fundamental opposition to the values that we share as a nation – values of respect, tolerance and, dare I say it, common decency.”

Some politicians went further.

London’s Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, sought to use Trump’s tweet as an excuse to promote his ongoing campaign to prevent the President being granted a State Visit to London.

Chris Bryant – a Labour MP better known as “Captain Underpants” because he posted “sexy” photographs of himself on a gay dating site wearing nothing but his white briefs – accused the president of “supporting and condoning fascism”.

Every time I read crap like this, I think it must be very uncomfortable living with your head where the sun don’t shine. But that’s Britain’s ‘ruling class’ these days. If you had the impression they really got their knickers in a twist, well you would be correct. Funny how the truth works, ain’t it? And by the way, whenever I read ‘right wing extremist’ in a European context, I laugh and say, “Oh, somebody who tells the truth.”

Virtually none of my colleagues, even in the conservative media, has a good word to say about him. They think of him in all the usual leftist cliches: that he’s crass, vulgar, dumb, brash and so on. They think that those few of us who defend him – like me, Katie Hopkins, Nigel Farage, Jacob Rees-Mogg, David Pryce-Jones, Daniel Johnson and a handful of others – only do so because we are attention-seeking loons.

What they misunderstand about Trump is the scale of his ambitions and the true nature of his mission.

As I argue in this week’s Spectatorhe represents the same revolt of the masses against the liberal elite we saw with Brexit. His mission is vital:

That mission, domestically, is to Make America Great Again. But his ambitions, I believe, are even greater than that. As he outlined in his brilliant Warsaw speech, he sees himself as the defender of not just the free world, but of western civilisation itself.

‘We write symphonies. We pursue innovation. We celebrate our ancient heroes, embrace our timeless traditions and customs, and always seek to explore and discover brand-new frontiers. We reward brilliance. We strive for excellence, and cherish inspiring works of art that honour God. We treasure the rule of law and protect the right to free speech and free expression. We empower women as pillars of our society and of our success. We put faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, at the centre of our lives. And we debate everything. We challenge everything.’

I think he does, too. Remember what America is, where the entire world, came together in freedom. This is where a black Eskimo is possible. When our people came here, they left behind the ancient quarrels, and signed on to an experiment, in freedom and justice. And we rarely forget the justice part.

It might seem a stretch to argue that Trump’s recent trio of trolling retweets of Muslims-behaving-badly videos have much to do with this noble mission.

But cometh the man, cometh the hour. President Trump is no ordinary leader and he most certainly does not play by the conventional rules.

A key facet of his modus operandi is the way he manages to bypass a generally hostile media and speak directly to his constituency – essentially ordinary people who’ve had just about enough of politically correct nonsense – using social media.

Yep, exactly. Hey, British guy (or gal) in the street, especially outside the M25 (not to mention Germans, Poles, Frenchmen, Czechs, and all the rest) our President is talking directly to you, just as he does us. And his message, is your message, and it is our message, as well, our elites simply don’t understand (or don’t care, take your choice) about us, understand us, or share our values, but our president does. Think about that, that is another gift of the American people to the world. An American leadership that will push back for our values. Yes, we will MAGA, but Delingpole is correct, more than that America hasn’t given up and will defend Western Civilization.

Read Mr. Delingpole’s article. Good stuff!

 

Katie Hopkins

My British friends tell me things, as I do them, most of them pseudonymously, for good and sufficient reason. Some Brits have heroically said these things under their own name in public and a few write them. Katie Hopkins is one. And she has paid the price and no doubt will in the future. That is what happens to truth-tellers in countries that are becoming less free.

But this is what almost all my friends say, it is the truth as a lot of the cousins see it, and like Katie, they see America as the great hope, the keeper of the flame, for she is right, all across Europe the reaction is building,

This is from the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s 2017 Restoration Weekend. The event was held Nov. 16th-19th at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida. This speech cost her her job with The Daily Mail, truth-telling has a high price sometimes. Unusually for here, the transcript follows the video. It’s important guys, this is the central issue of the day.


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/243803644″>Katie Hopkins: Get Furious and Fight Back</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user15333690″>DHFC</a&gt; on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Katie Hopkins: Hello. Thank you very much for having me here. It’s such a pleasure to be – I don’t know – amongst people that are prepared to fight for their country, and I really appreciate the opportunity to be here. A couple things I should clear up, really, before I start. First up, I’m not Milo, and neither, slightly more offensively, am I Milo’s mother, and also, for the record, some people on the Democratic side of things say that I’m a crap Ellen DeGeneres. I’m not her either. Actually, I’m not even gay. I just have short hair. Those are two different things. I am a straight, white, conservative female with one husband and three children under 13, and where I come from, back in Blighty, that virtually makes me an endangered species. I’m on the extinctions list, the list of animals that are due for extinction. I’m up there with the black rhino, and he has an advantage because he’s black. Black lives matter, people.

In fact the threat against me has become a little bit more real of late. I’ve been kind of under attack myself, I suppose, as so many of us have. Only last week a lovely lady called Madihah; if I got that wrong, I don’t apologize, and her partner – they’re British, of course; they were in court and they were found guilty of conspiring to commit acts of terror against citizens of the UK, one of which was to decapitate me. Yes. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Miss Islamic Extremist 2017 had been romancing a jihadi, and as her wedding gift, she wanted my head on a plate. I was at the top of her list because I am the biggest bitch in Britain. Yes, I am. She bought him a hunting knife. She bought him a plastic dummy to practice his stabbing skills on, and they chatted about the glorious day on WhatsApp, and in a rare example of the British police actually doing the job they’ve been paid for, instead of placating the Muslim mafia or police in my Twitter, she has been found guilty and sent down. All right. She is going down and she better get used to that in the slammer that she’s been sent to.

And I live to fight another day, and so here I am, and my message to you resonates with what the boys were saying. I was thinking they’re a bit like the three wise monkeys, those guys, aren’t they? Except they do hear it, they do see it, and they do say it, so thank God for them; but my message is simple. Do not let this great country become the United Kingdom. Do not allow America to fall as Europe has fallen. Look at us, let us be a warning; be better than us. I’ve watched my country fall apart and I want to warn others before they let their country do the same, and believe me, I love my country. I’m not quick to talk it down. I was sponsored through university by the Intelligence Corps. I passed out of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst to serve my country as an army officer. We went in as a troop of 32 girls; we came out as 8 more-or-less men. Oh yeah. It’s still there, but doesn’t work that much. And I wanted to become the first female general, but my epilepsy put paid to that. It’s why I have short hair too, actually, but it brought me to the media, and so my fight goes on, and this fight is real.

The UK today is a place few of us recognize. I get letters and emails – really upsetting ones – from 60- and 70-year-olds struggling to make sense of the country they love. Like my mom and dad; they ask me, “Has the world gone mad? How is this all going to end up? Where does this stop?” Some of them email me to say that they’re glad they’re old because they will be gone soon, and they won’t have to wait for the time they see their country fall. These are hard messages to read, and they’re really hard messages to respond to, and believe me, I am wary of painting too depressing a picture. I have not come here to be part of the fear. I have not come here to talk my country down or to fail to see the good in Britain, but there are some blunt truths I believe it is my duty to tell. You are more likely to be raped in London than in New York. You are more likely to be attacked with acid from a guy on a moped in East London than in Islamabad, and when it comes to terror, the head of the UK MI5 said the risk is now impossible to contain or to control.

Seven police officers in Muslim-controlled areas of the UK email me and alleged that the local imam at the mosque is in charge of selecting the police officers he will allow to police his neighborhood. In a relentless program of appeasement by the establishment, they continually seem to put the lives of jihadi and the Muslim mafia ahead of the lives of our own daughters, and in the latest recruitment round for the police, white British males were excluded from the day’s coaching in how to pass the recruitment day. If you were white and male, you could not go. If you were gay or ethnic or black or any other minority, then you could apply, and I have nothing against those people, but in the UK, discrimination against whites is institutionalized and systemic. I applied for a place for my husband just to see if he could get through. He’s a male, vaguely, and he’s white, and they said no; but without a minority card to play or a race card, you have no grounds for redress anymore in our country.

The UK is now formed of two distinct territories. There is Londonistan and there is the rest of the UK, London and the rest of the UK. If you took Britain and stand it on its side, it is very much a baby America. London is Clinton. London is California, the bad bits, and all the good bits I see are here today. London is Bill de Blasio’s New York, and he’s an utter cockwomble if ever I met one. He may be tall, but he is the smallest man I know. And then there is a better place; there is a place called the rest of the UK. There is a place where hard-working Brits want to do a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay. They want to look after their families. They want to love their country. They’ll fight for their country. They support Trump. They voted Brexit. Occasionally we want to have a barbeque with our families, but we can’t because it never stops bloody raining. That is a good place and it’s the place where I come from. It’s the place where I put my lovely husband, it’s the place I put my children, and it’s the place that I live in. I live in a place called the rest of the UK, and here people have grown weary about speaking out because it’s just not worth the hassle.

There is mass silencing of the thoughts of Brexiteers, of us deplorables, considered racist or stupid or wrong. We’re browbeaten into shutting up, but they’re still there, and there’s a quiet rumble of discontent at the state of Londonistan, and that quiet rumble is getting louder. Our win for Brexit was just like your win for Trump, which I went on CNN and called a week before it happened, and that went really well; and when we stand together, our voices are a low rumble that becomes an almighty thunder and our voices are heard. The quiet rumblings turn into a roar, and we’re not alone. Across Poland, Italy, Austria, Germany, the voices of the discontented are rising up to reject the globalist agenda of the people that are managing the decline of Europe and letting us fall.

Sebastian Kurz’s People’s Party, he is also better-looking than the Canadian Justin Trudeau, so take that, you lame-ass piece of crap. The German AFD, the huge parade of patriots in Poland recently in support of national pride; you can feel the determination of the people that I talk to. I can feel the possibilities. There is hope. We do not have to watch our country fall and there is action we can all take. There’s three things I’d quickly like to run through, if I may.

Firstly, most importantly, the same as the guys were saying, we must reject the narrative, resist the narrative. Just become someone said it and they’re wearing a uniform or a badge does not make it true. When we’re scared, a strong narrative can be reassuring, like when we’re little and bad things happen and you run and you tell your teacher, and so, too, after terror. We look around for someone in a uniform to tell us what to do. These days in the UK, they say run, hide, tell. My grandad fought in the war. These were not orders that he would recognize, and in the quiet calm of our streets, when the threat is neutralized and yet another terrorist is taken down, the media machine goes into action, and it’s terrifying to observe. We stand united; we are not cowed; the terrorists will never win – repeated over and over by the Muslim mayor, by the Prime Minister, by the chief of police – the mantra of multicultural acceptance, the same script, everything the same time every time. We stand united; we are not cowed; we stand shoulder-to-shoulder, and the media run around with their cameras showing people drinking cups of tea like that’s going to solve the problem.

The real truth is not this fabrication. We do not stand united. Our daughters were left crumpled on the sidewalk. Some lost limbs, some under a truck, like the images you had of those bikes strewn on the cycle path in New York of the Argentinians. We do not carry on as normal. Mothers and fathers are burying their daughters. A boy I know wrote to me – he’s learning to use his legs again after they were blown apart at the Manchester attack. He does not carry on as normal. Others seem to carry on as normal because what’s the alternative? What – hiding in your home? Is that defeat? It’s not normal to build walls on bridges of rings of steel around Christmas markets. If this is terror losing, I would hate to see terror win. Enough of the candle lights. Enough of your hashtags. Enough of your heart-shaped gestures at the sky. Enough of turning the Eiffel Tower lights on and off. I’m epileptic; flashing lights don’t do me any favor whatsoever. I wrote all this, you know, in a column of mine online. I write for dailymail.com and I went on Tucker Carlson. He did his best confused face, and I’m like Tucker quit that. Tucker, you’re my mate; you do not have to put on a confused face just because we’re on telly; and for the crime of this column, I was reported to the British Metropolitan Police for a hate crime and inciting violence against Muslims. We can reject the narrative.

Two, we can commit to arm ourselves, not just with the help of the NRA. Sadly, in the UK, we don’t have that luxury of the Second Amendment. Our police on our streets are armed with the equivalent of a Clorox spray and a Band-Aid. Some even have a letter from their mum excusing them from games. But we can arm ourselves with information, information that we find closest to the source – not information fed through the liberal filters of Google or the California fruit loops at Facebook. We must look for our own truths. I spent 48 hours in the migrant camp at Calais in France – it’s called the jungle; quite appropriate, seems to me – where African migrants masquerading as children and asylum seekers fought their way through teargas and steel fencing to break into the trucks crossing over from France to Dover, to sneak into the UK. My photographer was lynched. His camera was stolen, his wallet taken. He was beaten up and he went home because he was badly beaten, actually. I had my arm dislocated. They came for us with steel bars. We were put in the back of a van and taken out of the camp to safety.

I went back in the next day. I was told to cover up by the charity workers there, the do-gooders, the Democrats, those types. They told me to cover up my shoulders because it was offensive to the Muslim men. So I stripped off, and they didn’t like my tiny tits much better either. I met a lady with a little boy, and I was trying to find this quieter story, real women, real problems, and so her little boy – it was the first child I’d seen in camp, and she invited me into her little caravan thing, and it turns out her little boy was in fact a little girl, except she dressed him as a boy so that at night the migrant men wouldn’t come and try and steal him from her, and I learned a big lesson as well. I was naive. Migrants don’t come for a new life and leave their old life behind; they bring them with them. All the old conflicts from back home; the Eritreans hate the Somalis, who hate the Afghanis, who don’t speak to the Libyans, and they’re still fighting. They come. They do not start a new life. They bring the conflicts from back home.

I spent 48 hours in the cab of a large haulage truck because I wanted to understand the dangers of this crossing people were making. I always said one day someone will die making this crossing because our truckers are at risk. British truckers’ lives are at risk, and indeed one has since died, and I had my eyes opened once more. These entire truck stops run by the mafia, movements of migrants ticketed, organized, controlled, lucrative. Officers at the port pay to turn a blind eye to the migrants crossing. It is much more systematic than we imagine. I traveled to Libya to the coast of Southern Italy to join the migrants crossing over from the Med. You’ll know that there’s charity boats, Save the Children; just because they call themselves Save the Children, it doesn’t mean that they are. It is virtually a ferry service, and to be completely honest with you for transparency, I would rather it was a ferry service. Hundreds of thousands of migrant men, fully aware of their rights, given places in local hotels to stay, given 35 euros a day, a sum that locals themselves don’t earn, and when I carried on my journey and talked to these men in these hotels, they were blockading the road in the local village in Southern Italy because their Wi-Fi was too slow. The rice that they were served was too soft, and they were protesting their rights. These are the people that come.

I met with a woman on the tarmac at the side of the road in the heat, and she looked ill. She said she was poorly. She was there to service the drivers as they passed. She was trafficked for this life, and these do-gooders, remember, think they are saving lives. They are not saving lives. They are destroying lives while they are pretending to do good, and I walked the suburbs of no-go Sweden because Trump said Sweden has fallen, and the media crucified him for that. They mocked him relentlessly. I can confirm, firsthand, Sweden has fallen. An elderly woman grabbed me. She had only Arabic for language. She grabbed me by both arms; wrong hair, wrong face, wrong face, wrong place; she was worried for me. She’s a kind lady. I was the only white woman, the only woman, the only white in the whole of the area of Sweden that I was in, where people no longer go, and she was worried for my safety. No‑go Sweden has fallen to the migrants, and the Somalis still battle the Eritreans, who still battle the Afghanis, just like they did in the camp at Calais, and once I was there, two hand grenades were found just in a bin outside the police station, and a week later a Muslim took a truck and rammed it into pedestrians in the shopping arcade, as you will recall. One was an 11-year-old girl. It’s a curious thing, you know, how the bodies of our daughters slain by Islamist terror never make the front pages of any of the press.

I interviewed a girl who lived in the forgotten suburbs because it was all she could afford. She can’t go out at night. She dare not leave her home. She was burgled, but the police couldn’t come because their cars were looted and torched. She said she’s no longer allowed to carry pepper spray to defend herself because a girl that was attacked by a gang of Muslim men accidentally pepper sprayed the wrong guy and was prosecuted for GBH. Sat in the darkness of her home; she wouldn’t even allow me to take a picture of her face for the camera for fear of reprisals by Swedish feminists, who support the migrant men at all costs. In the game of Top Trumps, the victim edition, if you are a migrant, you win every time.

Swedish feminists – in fact, feminists as a whole – have never been more disappointing. I fail to see how they support women, and I met the head of the toughest fire station in Sweden, who was exceptionally good-looking – I’m just going to say that – but once I moved over on that point, he was now putting a bigger fence around the station to stop migrants vandalizing the engine, the fire engines, and to stop them coming in and stealing the cutting equipment which they like to steal. I asked him whether walls like this were our future, and he looked at me really strangely. He was surprised. He said no, it’s too late for that. We no longer build walls to keep people out. Going forward, we will build walls to keep the people that we love in, and that – it still gives me the shivers now, actually – and these are my truths. These come straight from the mouths of men and women who live this stuff every day, no filter, no lens, no censorship, no Google ranking, no New York Times, and the next stop for me, I want to go and join the white farmers of South Africa who are being systematically cleansed from the country by blacks there, and this way, we find our own truths.

If we can resist the narrative, if we can, just by speaking to people we know, doctors, nurses, teachers, people in the street, people that have got problems, we can find our own truths. We will have the story of the people who will have the power, and then finally, the third arm of this thing is that we have to have the moral courage to fight. We have to somehow find the strength to withstand the constant attacks that we face, and Trump is the Jedi master at this game. I love him. I know what it’s like to be ostracized by friends who don’t like our opinions. People can be unkind. The media can be merciless, but we all need to find the moral courage to stand strong.

I have battles of my own, of course. I’ve got the pocket-size Muslim mayor of Londonistan, who’s about as useful as a chocolate teapot. There is a ruder version, which involves a penis-favored lollipop, but I thought that wasn’t correct for today. I have a Muslim mayor that I cannot stand. He spent 1.7 million pounds on an online hate police force to police my Twitter feed. I’ve been arrested for my writing. I was interviewed under caution by the major crime and homicide command for a column in a newspaper, and I was referred to the Crown Prosecution Service for my commentary on life because a complaint was made by the Society for Black Lawyers. I look forward to meeting the “Society for White Lawyers” one day.

My family are reported to Social Services on a fairly regular basis. People hope that they can take my children from me and that will silence me. The last time Social Services rang and said they’d had a complaint, I said but my children are at home and my husband just made them a prawn salad because prawns are quite posh in my family, and the guy said that doesn’t really help. No, it doesn’t, and vexatious litigation, of course, is never far from my door, but I’m not complaining. There is no self-pity. I’ve put myself out there; I have to suck it up. If I don’t like it, I can get home, sit on my sofa, shut up and become a vegan, and that is not going to happen.

But resistance is key, and when we come under attack, we need to make like an arrowhead and feel the criticism falling from your sides. You know I get a lot of emails from 16, 17-year-olds who feel like they have no voice in school anymore. They can’t say if they’re a Brexit supporter or if they’re one of the members of Gays for Trump. They can’t speak out, and I say to them, make like you’re diving into a swimming pool. Feel the water coming off your sides. Imagine that’s the criticism falling off you, and keep moving forward. We can keep moving forward. The liberals who reject Brexit or try to discredit Trump, they gave birth to our determination to succeed. They are Frankenstein and we are their monster, and we are big and we are bad and we are coming for them. They are right to be afraid.

We can do this. Yes, we can. If only I was black, that would work so much better. We can commit to refuse the narrative. We can commit to arm ourselves with our truths, with no liberal filter, and we can commit to have the moral courage under attack to keep moving forward. This is our time. Do not become like Britain. Get furious and fight back. Thank you very much.

Remembrance Sunday

English: John McCrae Français : John McCrae

English: John McCrae Français : John McCrae (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Friday we celebrated Veterans’ Day which I wrote about yesterday. In the rest of the English-speaking world, it is called Remembrance Day. And is commonly marked on Sunday, hence Remembrance Sunday. In truth, it is more akin to the American Memorial Day for it marks the losses of Britain and the Commonwealth.

At eleven o’clock yesterday, 99 years ago,  the Great War ended. Truly at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month. It was (and is) also the feast day of St Michael, the patron saint of the Infantry, which surely seems appropriate. It had been a horrendous experience for everyone. In truth, Europe lost an entire generation in the war, it ended the optimism of the Victorian age and ushered in the defeatist Europe (and even America) we see now. We will talk more about this in the coming days but, today is a day to remember.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead: Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved: and now we lie
In Flanders fields!

Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you, from failing hands, we throw
The torch: be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

That poem was written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae of the Canadian Army at the battlefront at Ypres in 1915, and it has come to symbolize the day. You see while some credit the United States with winning the war, which may be true, we got there very late, not going into battle until 1918. Remember the war started in 1914. Others suffered much worse than we did. Since we joined the winning side, with which we had historic ties we joined in their commemoration.

If you happen to see the commemorations today across the Anglosphere you will notice nearly everyone wearing red paper poppies, that comes from the poem. I can still remember when I was in elementary school, members of the American Legion Auxiliary distributing poppies to us and explaining what they meant. Do they still do that? I hope so but, I doubt it, America has changed.

In any case, I think we would be wise to join our cousins as they remember the dead from the wars of Freedom today. We would be in good company…

FROM THE LONDON TIMES of OCT. 18, 1921

Yesterday morning General Pershing laid the Congressional Medal of Honour on the grave of the Unknown British Warrior in Westminster Abbey. The simple and beautiful ceremony seemed full of the promise of new and happier times. And what we call Nature appeared to have laid her approval on the hopes that it aroused.

That the United States should confer on an unknown British Warrior the highest military honour that can be bestowed by its Government, that jealously guarded and rarely granted Medal of Honour, which can only be won “at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of duty”; that Congress should pass a special Act enabling this honour to be paid to one who was not a citizen of the United States; that by the request and in the presence of the American Ambassador the medal should be laid upon the tomb by the hand of the great soldier who is now the successor of Washington, Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan as General of the Armies of the United States, and that the ceremony should take place while the eyes of all the world are turned to the coming Congress at Washington.

Here is great matter for pride and hope; and it seemed to be by something more than mere accident or the working of unalterable law that, just at the beginning of the ceremony, the sun should stream down, in its natural gold, through a window not yet painted, upon the Union Jack that was spread at the foot of the Unknown Warrior‘s grave. The ancient mystery of the great Abbey is never wholly dispelled by the light of day. Yesterday, as ever, she preserved her immemorial secrets and her ever brooding silence; yet brightness, colour, confidence were the notes of the ceremony; and, contrasting the sunshine of yesterday with the tragic gloom remembered on other occasions since August, 1914, one could not but believe that the externals matched the inner truth of the act, and that the modern history which, as the Dean of Westminster reminded us, began with the war in which the Unknown Warrior gave his life was about, through him and his like, to bring joy and peace to the world.

With the Union Jack at its foot and the wreaths bestowed about its edge, the stone that temporarily covers the Unknown Warrior’s grave near the west end of the Abbey was bare, save for a little case full of rosaries and sacred emblems that lies at its head. The space about it was shut off from the rest of the Nave by a barrier, through which passed only those who had been specially invited to seats of honour round the grave. The Nave was packed with people facing north and south, and lined with soldiers and sailors of the United States Army and Navy, among them some of General Pershing’s picked battalion, strapping fellows in khaki or blue, who seemed to have all the smartness and the immobility to which we are accustomed in British troops on such occasions.

[…]

Backed by a row of Abbey dignitaries were the Dean of Westminster, the American Ambassador, and General Pershing, standing at the gravehead, and facing up the great church.

At the invitation of the Dean, the American Ambassador then spoke as follows:

“By an Act of the Congress of the United States, approved on March 4 of the present year, the President was authorized “to bestow, with appropriate ceremonies, military and civil, a Medal of Honour upon the unknown unidentified British soldier buried in Westmister Abbey.” The purpose of Congress was declared by the Act itself, in these words: “Animated by the same spirit of comradeship in which we of the American forces fought alongside of our Allies, we desire to add whatever we can to the imperishable glory won by the deeds of our Allies and commemorated in part by this tribute to their unknown dead.”

The Congressional Medal, as it is commonly termed because it is the only medal presented “in the name of Congress,” symbolizes the highest military honour that can be bestowed by the Government of the United States. It corresponds to the Victoria Cross and can be awarded only to an American warrior who achieves distinction “at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of duty.”

A special Act of Congress was required to permit the placing of it upon the tomb of a British soldier. The significance of this presentation, therefore, is twofold. It comprises, in addition to the highest military tribute, a message of fraternity direct from the American people, through their chosen representatives in Congress, to the people of the British Empire.

There were two soldiers. One was British. The other was American. They fought under different flags, but upon the same vast battlefield. Their incentives and ideals were identical. They were patriot warriors sworn to the defence and preservation of the countries which they loved beyond their own lives. Each realized that the downfall of his own free land would presage the destruction of all liberty. Both were conscious of the blessings that had flowed from the English Magna Charta and the American Constitution. Well they knew that the obliteration of either would involve the extinguishment of the other. So with consciences as clear as their eyes and with hearts as clean as their hands they could stand and did stand shoulder to shoulder in common battle for their common race and common cause.There was nothing singular, nothing peculiar, about them. They typified millions so like to themselves as to constitute a mighty host of undistinguishable fighting men of hardy stock. A tribute to either is a tribute to all.

Though different in rank, these two soldiers were as one in patriotism, in fidelity, in honour,and in courage. They were comrades in the roar of battle. They are comrades in the peace of this sacred place.

One, the soldier of the Empire, made the supreme sacrifice, and, to the glory of the country whose faith he kept, he lies at rest in this hallowed ground enshrined in grateful memory. The other, equally noble and equally beloved, is by my side. Both live and will ever live in the hearts of their countrymen.

What more fitting than that this soldier of the great Republic should place this rare and precious token of appreciation and affection of a hundred millions of kinsmen upon the tomb of his comrade, the soldier of the mighty Empire! Proudly and reverently, by authority of the Congress and the President, I call upon the General of the Armies of the United States, fifth only in line as the successor of Washington, Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan, to bestow the Medal of Honour upon this typical British soldier who, though, alas! in common with thousands of others, “unknown and unidentified,” shall never be “unwept, unhonoured, and unsung.”

Then General Pershing said:

One cannot enter here and not feel an overpowering emotion in recalling the important events in the history of Great Britain that have shaped the progress of the nations. Distinguished men and women are here enshrined who, through the centuries, have unselfishly given their services and their lives to make that record glorious. As they pass in memory before us there is none whose deeds are more worthy, and none whose devotion inspires our admiration more, than this Unknown Warrior. He will always remain the symbol of the tremendous sacrifice by his people in the world’s greatest conflict.

It was he who, without hesitation, bared his breast against tyranny and injustice. It was he who suffered in the dark days of misfortune and disaster, but always with admirable loyalty and fortitude. Gathering new strength from the very force of his determination, he felt the flush of success without unseemly arrogance. In the moment of his victory, alas! we saw him fall in making the supreme gift to humanity. His was ever the courage of right, the confidence of justice. Mankind will continue to share his triumph, and with the passing years will come to strew fresh laurels over his grave.

As we solemnly gather about this sepulchre, the hearts of the American people join in this tribute to their English-speaking kinsman. Let us profit by the occasion, and under its inspiration pledge anew our trust in the God of our fathers, that He may guide and direct our faltering footsteps into paths of permanent peace. Let us resolve together, in friendship and in confidence, to maintain toward all peoples that Christian spirit that underlies the character of both nations.
And now, in this holy sanctuary, in the name of the President and the people of the United States, I place upon his tomb. the Medal of Honour conferred upon him by special Act of the American Congress, in commemoration of the sacrifices of our British comrade and his fellow-countrymen,and as a slight token of our gratitude and affection toward this people.

On the conclusion of his speech the Congressional Medal of Honour was handed by Admiral Niblack to General Pershing, who, stooping down, laid it on the grave, above the breast of the unknown hero beneath. Shining there, with its long ribbon of watered blue silk, it lay, a symbol of the past, a pledge for the future.

And General Pershing stood at the salute to his fallen comrade.

Which is entirely appropriate as well. As most of my American readers will be aware, the recipient of the Medal of Honor is entitled to be saluted first by all American service members.

[It should also be noted that on Armistice Day that year, by order of the King, the American Unknown Soldier was awarded the Victoria Cross. ]

There is considerably more, here is the link to the entire article from the Times, it is very moving.

After all the speeches and the award, the congregation joined in singing

All across the English Speaking World, people today will be remembering those incredibly brave soldiers of Freedom, from all over the world, who fought that war. In Canada and the United Kingdom especially there is a hymn associated with it.

Take a moment today to thank God for our gallant allies in that greatest alliance of the free ever seen, the British Commonwealth and the United States.

That service in Westminster Abbey ended with this

For The Fallen
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Laurence Binyon

The Reformation at 500

So, five hundred years ago today, a young monk nailed 95 points of contention on the door of a church in Germany. Or maybe he didn’t. Current research indicates that he (yes, his name was indeed Martin Luther) actually mailed two copies, both with personal cover letters to Albrecht the archbishop of Mainz and to Jerome [Scultetus] the Bishop of Brandenburg. Both were in his line of command.

The main complaint was indeed Johann Tetzel, the overzealous seller of indulgences (and Grand Inquisitor of Heresy to Poland). That he didn’t detonate this bomb with a hammer on the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, doesn’t change the fact that it was a bomb.

Tetzell left us a memorable phrase, “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul out of purgatory springs“. Although, again, he may never have said it. But somebody did in early 16th century Germany. In Theses 27, Luther wrote,

27. They preach only human doctrines who say that as soon as the money clinks into the money chest, the soul flies out of purgatory. 28. It is certain that when money clinks in the money chest, greed and avarice can be increased; but when the church intercedes, the result is in the hands of God alone (LW 31:27).

Part of the reason it became so heated is that the money from the sale of indulgences was being used to build St Peters Basilica in Rome, as Luther put it, on the backs of poor German peasants. There were other things as well.

Luther also departed radically from medieval perceptions of human righteousness, single-faceted as they were. Righteousness meant for the spectrum of theological voices from Augustine, Anselm, and Aquinas to Ockham and Biel that human beings in some way met the demands for perfect performance of God’s law in one way or another. That might be possible, as Augustine taught, only through the aid of God’s grace and with his gracious forgiveness. Aquinas, too, taught the prevenient grace had to come before good works but that good works constituted that which makes God take pleasure in his human creatures.

Despite the admission that God’s grace is necessary for becoming righteous, this one-dimensional understanding of human identity or righteousness placed Luther continuously under God’s judgment until he discovered that human righteousness in God’s sight comes alone from God and that there are two facets to human identity. […]

A simple theological parable may clarify the distinction. Although by the definition of his own theology Thomas Aquinas had sufficient merit to proceed directly to heaven, without having to work off temporal punishment in purgatory, the Dominican saint dallied along the way, visiting old friends and doing research among those who still had purgatorial satisfactions to discharge there. He arrived at Saint Peter’s gate some 272 years after his death, on February 18, 1546. After ascertaining his name, Saint Peter asked Thomas, “Why should I let you into my heaven?” “Because of the grace of God,” Thomas answered, ready to explain the concept of prevenient grace should it be necessary. Peter asked instead, “How do I know you have God’s grace?” Thomas, who had brought a sack of his good deeds with him, was ready with the proof. “Here are the good works of a lifetime,” he explained. “I could have done none of them without God’s grace, but in my worship and observation of monastic rules, in my obedience to parents, governors, and superiors, in my concern for the physical well-being and property of others, in my chastity and continence, you can see my righteousness – grace-assisted as it may be.” Since a line was forming behind Thomas, Peter waved him in, certain that Thomas would soon receive a clearer understanding of his own righteousness. The next person in line stepped up. “Name?” “Martin Luther.” “Why should I let you into my heaven?” “Because of the grace of God.” Peter was in a playful mood, so he went on, “How do I know you have God’s grace? Thomas had his works to prove his righteousness, but I don’t see that you have brought any proof along that you are righteous.” “Works?” Luther exclaimed. “Works? I didn’t know I was supposed to bring my works with me! I thought they belonged on earth, with my neighbors. I left them down there.” “Well,” said Gatekeeper Peter, “how then am I supposed to know that you really have God’s grace?” Luther pulled a little, well-worn, oft-read scrap of paper out of his pocket and showed it to Peter. On it were the words, “Martin Luther, baptized, November 11, in the year of our Lord 1483.” “You check with Jesus,” Luther said. “He will tell you that I have been born again as a member of the family. He will tell you that he has given me the gift of righteousness through his own blood and his own resurrection.”

This is a superb article if one wants to understand what the Reformation was about. You can find it here, Luther’s Truths, Then and Now. Mind, it is long.

But I want to highlight four things which are different in how we Lutherans view the Reformation, even from other Protestants, according to Gene Veith, whom many of you know I have found a reliable guide to Lutheran thought. They are very truncated from what Dr Veith wrote, do follow the link.

I.  Reforming the church is not the same as starting a new church.  There is a difference between fixing up a house that has fallen into disrepair and tearing down the house and building a new one.  […]

Thus, Lutheran worship took the liturgy and removed prayers to the saints, references to Purgatory, and other elements that pointed away from Christ.  But most of the liturgy remained.

II.  Luther didn’t split the church.  The pope did.  Luther is credited or blamed for splitting what was once a unified Christian church.  When Luther posted his 95 theses, he was drawing attention to clear abuses, financial corruption, and theological confusion.  That his complaints were valid is demonstrated by the Roman Catholic church eventually changing the specific practices to which Luther was originally objecting.

III.  The Bible wasn’t translated so that individuals could interpret it for themselves.  I once heard the Lutheran theologian David Jay Webber comment that “Lutherans resist interpretation.”  You don’t read the Bible so that you can make up your own theology.  You read the Bible for a confrontation with God.

IV.  The Reformation did not replace Sacramental Christianity.  Luther’s Reformation was about strengthening sacramental Christianity.  Baptism does not just wash away original sin and the sins committed before Baptism, after which you must resort to the rite of penitence ; rather, in the words of George Herbert, Baptism “measures all my time.”  Lutherans retained confession and absolution, not as a separate sacrament, but as a function of Baptism, since sins are forgiven using the Baptismal formula, “in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”  Furthermore, sins that have been forgiven do not require “temporal punishment” in Purgatory.  To Lutheran Reformers, Holy Communion is not a new sacrifice of Christ, to be received only by those who have been shriven of their sins and are in a state of purity; rather, it is Christ giving His Body and His blood “for you,” to the sinner, for remission of sins.

So there you go, 500 years ago today, a simple German (or was he?) monk and priest, in fact, a Doctor of the Church, set out to see things that were visibly wrong in the Church of his day. As usual with the things of man, it did not go quite as he planned. but he did succeed in reforming that Church, and established another as a counterweight, which if we pay attention can help both churches to stay on track.

Along the way, he established the way the German language is used to this day, maybe not on Shakespeare’s level, but on Tyndale’s, and he gave us concepts in Christianity that have served us well, all over the world.

Let’s end by going back to Robert Kolb for a bit, shall we? For truly, here lies one of the root stems of the modern world, in all its glory, and in its evil as well.

Luther recognized both the promise and the ambiguity of new technology and new modes of communication. In a world in which God’s material blessings flow richly with gifts that can aid our thinking and our communicating, new modes of communicating can also be hijacked by Satan. Further complicating matters, disciplines always carry ideological baggage and need Christ critique. In such a world, Luther’s ability to marshal technology as well as an array of colleagues and their teaching across the spectrum of the curriculum of the time should serve as a model for us. Luther’s emphasis on literacy endowed us sociologically with a kind of upward social mobility. […]

St. Crispin/Crispinians Day

It’s St Crispin’s Day again, and that makes it a day to talk of the bravery of English and American armed forces, not that there is ever a bad day for that. St. Crispin’s Day is a pretty good encapsulation of our military histories though, always brave, sometimes badly led and more often than not, victorious.

From Wikipedia: “Saint Crispin’s Day falls on 25 October and is the feast day of the Christian Saints Crispin and Crispinian, twins who were martyred c. 286.” That’s where the day gets its name. What it’s famous for is the battles of the English-speaking peoples that have been fought on it.

The first we will look at took place during the “Hundred Years War”. Henry V of England with a small army was on his way to Calais, getting chased all over northern France by Constable Charles d’Albret of France. The French King (Charles VI) was mentally incapacitated. Henry was heavily outnumbered and decided to arouse his exhausted army before the battle by giving a speech.

The English won the battle with ridiculously low casualties while wreaking havoc on the French forces. The reason for this was the English (and Welsh) longbowmen, making this the first battle since Roman times when infantry was anything but a rabble for the knights to ride down.

For this reason, Agincourt is often cited as a victory for the freemen of England over the aristocracy.

Battle number two for the day wasn’t so kind to the British.

This one was a cavalry charge against Russian Artillery. It was commanded by Lord Raglan (Yes, the sleeves are named for him). The orders he issued were vague and Lord Cardigan (Yes, he designed the sweater) executed the worst possible interpretation of them. The charge was carried out by the British light cavalry brigade which consisted of the 4th and 13th Light Dragoons, 17th Lancers, and the 8th and 11th Hussars, whose bravery we have never forgotten. It was too well immortalized.

Charge of the Light Brigade

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
‘Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns’ he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

—Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Here’s a visual version.

It should be added that Great Britain didn’t do a great job of taking care of their veterans (neither did the U.S.) in those days.  Rudyard Kipling had this to say:

The Last of the Light Brigade

There were thirty million English who talked of England’s might,
There were twenty broken troopers who lacked a bed for the night.
They had neither food nor money, they had neither service nor trade;
They were only shiftless soldiers, the last of the Light Brigade.

They felt that life was fleeting; they knew not that art was long,
That though they were dying of famine, they lived in deathless song.
They asked for a little money to keep the wolf from the door;
And the thirty million English sent twenty pounds and four !

They laid their heads together that were scarred and lined and grey;
Keen were the Russian sabres, but want was keener than they;
And an old Troop-Sergeant muttered, “Let us go to the man who writes
The things on Balaclava the kiddies at school recites.”

They went without bands or colours, a regiment ten-file strong,
To look for the Master-singer who had crowned them all in his song;
And, waiting his servant’s order, by the garden gate they stayed,
A desolate little cluster, the last of the Light Brigade.

They strove to stand to attention, to straighten the toil-bowed back;
They drilled on an empty stomach, the loose-knit files fell slack;
With stooping of weary shoulders, in garments tattered and frayed,
They shambled into his presence, the last of the Light Brigade.

The old Troop-Sergeant was spokesman, and “Beggin’ your pardon,” he said,
“You wrote o’ the Light Brigade, sir. Here’s all that isn’t dead.
An’ it’s all come true what you wrote, sir, regardin’ the mouth of hell;
For we’re all of us nigh to the workhouse, an’ we thought we’d call an’ tell.

“No, thank you, we don’t want food, sir; but couldn’t you take an’ write
A sort of ‘to be continued’ and ‘see next page’ o’ the fight?
We think that someone has blundered, an’ couldn’t you tell ’em how?
You wrote we were heroes once, sir. Please, write we are starving now.”

The poor little army departed, limping and lean and forlorn.
And the heart of the Master-singer grew hot with “the scorn of scorn.”
And he wrote for them wonderful verses that swept the land like flame,
Till the fatted souls of the English were scourged with the thing called Shame.

They sent a cheque to the felon that sprang from an Irish bog;
They healed the spavined cab-horse; they housed the homeless dog;
And they sent (you may call me a liar), when felon and beast were paid,
A cheque, for enough to live on, to the last of the Light Brigade.

O thirty million English that babble of England’s might,
Behold there are twenty heroes who lack their food to-night;
Our children’s children are lisping to “honour the charge they made – ”
And we leave to the streets and the workhouse the charge of the Light Brigade!

OK, that’s two, only one more to go, 90 years later, to the day, halfway around the world

The Battle of Leyte Gulf

This time it’s the US Navy and the Imperial Japanese Navy.

The Japanese realized that losing the Philippine Islands meant losing the war put everything they had left into this battle. Here a chart that shows the relative strengths.

Navy Large carriers Small Carriers Aircraft Embarked Battleships Cruisers Destroyers
United States 8 24  1712 12  24 141 
Japan 1 117 9  20 34

from: http://www.angelfire.com/fm/odyssey/LEYTE_GULF_Summary_of_the_Battle_.htm

From the chart, you can see how amazingly the USN had recovered from Pearl Harbor and the early battles of the war. You should also note that if the ship is not engaged in the battle it doesn’t count for much, so here we go.

The Japanese had a complicated plan depending on close timing between forces coming from various ports and operating under what we call EMCOM now. Essentially radio silence; meaning they couldn’t coordinate their attacks.

The Japanese carriers which had essentially no planes or pilots were used as a decoy force to try to pull Halsey’s 3d fleet away to the north. This worked, although it took them a long time to attract the Americans attention. When they were finally spotted Halsey went charging off after them until he was almost in gunshot and then turned around to help 7th fleet (which we are coming to). This also ended up being too late, so America’s premier naval force mostly sailed around burning oil and accomplishing not much of anything.

The Japanese Centre Force was first spotted in the Palawan Passage by the submarines Darter and Dace. Darter sank the Heavy Cruiser Atago which was Admiral Kurita’s flagship and Dace sank the Takao and severely damaged the Maya, which was forced to withdraw.

Halsey’s force made 259 sorties against the Centre Force eventually sinking the battleship Musashi with her 18.1-inch guns. They also did damage to some other ships. But Kurita made for the San Bernadino Strait at night with 4 battleships and 6 heavy and 3 light cruisers all fully operational.

Meanwhile, the Japanese Southern force including two elderly battleships under Admirals Nishimura and Shima were spotted on the morning of the 24th and Admiral Kincaid who realized they would attempt to attack the landing through the Surigao Strait was preparing to meet them. Kincaid’s 7th fleet had plenty of power for this.

The Battle of Surigao Strait

Rear Admiral Jesse Oldendorf had 6 old battleships (5 of which had been sunk at Pearl Harbor), 4 Heavy and 4 Light Cruisers, 26 destroyers and 39 PT Boats. He deployed his lighter ships along the side of the strait and formed his battle line. PT 131 made first contact and for 3 and a half hours the squadron attacked the Japanese force without a hit but, providing contact reports to the force. As Nishimura’s forces entered the strait the American destroyers attacked; hitting both battleships, the Yamishira was able to continue but, Fuso blew up and sank. Admiral Shima with the 2d Striking Force was much discouraged when he came upon the burning halves and other wreckage of the destroyer attack and decided to withdraw. So as Admiral Nishimura emerged from the strait to engage Oldendorf’s battle line, he had 1 Battleship, 1 Cruiser and 1 Destroyer. Oldendorf crossed his “T”. Parenthetically this is what Lord Nelson risked with his battle plan at Trafalgar that we talked about a few days ago. The American Battle line started firing as they got range information (some had radar rangefinders and some didn’t) at about 30,000 yards. The Battleship was sunk, the Cruiser wrecked and somehow the Destroyer escaped. This was the last surface gun action in history.

The battle off Samar

USS Hoel

USS Hoel, from Wikipedia

The 7th fleet had 18 escort carriers divided into thee task units. They were equipped for fighting submarines and providing air cover to the landing, not for full-on naval battle. These are usually referred to by their radio call signs Taffy 1, Taffy 2, and the most northerly, Taffy 3 under Rear Admiral Clifton Sprague. It was a routine morning until at 0647 Ensign Jensen from the Kadashan Bay sighted (and attacked) a force that he accurately reported as 4 Battleships and 8 Cruisers. The surprise was complete. A few minutes later heavy shells began falling around the carriers.

Admiral Sprague was in trouble. He was being chased by heavily armed warships which were considerably faster than his escort carriers and were already in range. He also had very few weapons that could hurt them. He started chasing shell splashes, making smoke, running away, and yelling for help, from 3d fleet, 7th fleet, a merciful God, or somewhere. At 0716 he also ordered his three destroyers, the Hoel, the Herrmann, and the Johnston, to counterattack the Japanese which they did with incredible bravery. At 0750 the Destroyer escorts also attacked. Remember these are anti-submarine ships with 5 inch and 3-inch guns going on the attack against Battleships and Heavy Cruisers. Not terribly different from charging the Russian guns 90 years before. They attacked with torpedoes and guns and managed to disrupt the Japanese formation enough to give Sprague a chance to get away. All the available aircraft also attacked even though they weren’t carrying the proper (if any) ordnance for this work, they strafed and buzzed and annoyed the Japanese though.

By 0945 the Johnston, the Hoel and destroyer escort the Samuel B. Roberts had been sunk. and the escort carrier Gambier Bay was hit repeatedly by 8 inch shells and sank at 0907.

But Kurita had lost control of his formation (and was probably worrying about when 3d fleet would turn up) and broke off the action at 0911.

While Taffy 3 was doing all this, Taffy 1 was subjected to the first organized use of that new weapon: the Kamikaze, Taffy three would be so attacked in the afternoon.

And so we have St Crispan’s Day, a day of mostly victorious battle for the English-speaking peoples. The English win one with a “Band of Brothers”; the British lose one heroically and gloriously, and the Americans win one part easily, live through a terrible nightmare, while the American varsity is off hunting empty carriers.

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