Military History: Medical Services at Waterloo

waterloo

Battlefield Medicine: Wellington’s Medical Service at Waterloo

(click on link above to be re-directed)

Wow, this is just painful to read.

I have read accounts of the horrors of field hospitals in the Civil War before, but this even tops those.

Articles like this Make you thankful for the advancements in Medicine.

Stay Alert, Stay Armed and Stay Dangerous!

Military History: The Waterloo They Remembered

BC

By Bernard Cornwell

Two hundred years ago, in a shallow valley south of Brussels, three armies fought the Battle of Waterloo. Napoleon had returned from exile on Elba to face a coalition of European enemies, who were now determined to oust him a second time. The closest opponents were the Prussian and British-Dutch armies to his north, so he launched a campaign to destroy them both. At Waterloo, on June 18, 1815, he failed.

Two hundred thousand men fought in that shallow valley. By nightfall, a quarter of them were casualties. In Belgium, thousands of re-enactors, dignitaries and soldiers are commemorating the event, while in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London there is a service of remembrance.

But what are we remembering? Few today can say why the battle was fought or what it achieved. The old arguments that drove Europe to a century of war are forgotten, yet there will still be prayers spoken and anthems sung and military bands playing.

No one, at least in the official events, will be so tactless as to suggest that Waterloo was a great victory for the allies and a shocking defeat for Napoleon. Instead the tone will echo the mood of the men and women who survived the day’s carnage, and that tone was somber. Maj. Harry Smith, a vastly experienced British officer who had fought at New Orleans and through some of the hardest battles of the Peninsular War, wrote, “I had never seen anything to compare. At Waterloo the whole field from right to left was a mass of bodies… The sight was sickening.”

The men and women who endured the battle knew they had been present at a turning point in history and, because of that, wrote down their recollections. We have witness accounts of many battles, but nothing matches the sheer volume of writing about Waterloo, and that huge archive gives us privileged glimpses of the day.

John Lewis, a British rifleman, was standing next to a man who was struck by a French musket ball: “He just said, ‘Lewis, I’m done!’ and died.” A half mile away, a French cavalryman, seeing a prostrate British officer stir, exclaimed in surprise, “Tu n’est pas mort, coquin!” and stabbed him with a lance.

Read the Remainder at NY Times

STRATFOR Founder Warns: “Be Ready for War”

waterloo

Interstate warfare is a thankfully unusual occurrence in the present day.

State-assisted nonstate groups frequently fight governments, a scenario currently unfolding in Syria, Eastern Ukraine, and a host of other places.

But you’d have to go back to the US-led invasion of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in 2003, or the Eritrea-Ethiopia conflict of the late 1990s for an example of two nations fighting a full-scale ground war against one another.

The two world wars were catastrophic proof of the inherent instability of an international system that allowed for frequent interstate conflicts and that considered warfare to be a legitimate foreign policy option, rather than an absolute last resort.

Since World War II, many of the world’s political and legal systems have been built around preventing states from going to war with one another — with a fairly impressive record of success.

But could that ever change? Last month, Business Insider sat down with George Friedman, the founder of Geopolitical Futures, which is the only place where it’s possible to read Friedman’s latest original work. Friedman is also the author of “The Next 100 Years” and founder of STRATFOR, the influential geopolitical forecasting firm.

He warned that destructive interstate warfare has been a recurring characteristic of global politics and he said it could make a comeback.

Friedman noted that there have been earlier periods in which international observers have been deluded into believing nations would no longer go to war.

“From 1815 to 1871 there was not an interstate war of any substance in Europe,” said Friedman. “Then came World War I, a biggie.”

Friedman warned that in the modern era, every period of peace has been a built-up towards a violent reckoning. “There has never been a century that has not had a systemic war — a systemic war, meaning when the entire system convulses,” Friedman continued, citing the Seven Years War, the Napoleonic Wars, and the world wars. “Do you want to bet this will be the only century that doesn’t have one? I’ll take that bet.”

Friedman’s analysis assumes that any international system, whether it’s the alliance of conservative forces in Europe that kept the peace after the Napoleonic Wars or the US-led post-Cold War order, has inherently fatal weaknesses. In his mind, the current international system contains the seeds of its own destruction.

At the very least, the current world order still allows for crises that the system itself is incapable of solving.

Friedman thinks that the decline of certain global powers could create just such a crisis.

“When you have the countries like Germany, China, and Russia decline, and be replaced by others, that’s when systemic wars start,” Friedman explains. “That’s when it gets dangerous, because they haven’t yet reached a balance. So Germany united in 1871 and all hell broke loose. Japan rose in the early 20th century, and then you had chaos. So we’re looking at a systemic shift. Be ready for war.”

Here’s Friedman’s entire answer when asked about the possibility of a return of interstate warfare, edited for length and clarity:

BI: In this day and age it’s relatively unusual for nations to go to war against one another.  Do you see that changing? Do you see interstate warfare making a comeback?

GF: From 1815 to 1871 there was not an interstate war of any substance in Europe. Then came World War I, a biggie.

I’ll give you another statistic. There has never been a century that has not had a systemic war — a systemic war, meaning when the entire system convulses. From the Seven Years’ War in Europe to the Napoleonic Wars of the 19th century to the World Wars, every century has one.

Do you want to bet this will be the only century that doesn’t have one? I’ll take that bet …

When you have the countries like Germany, China, and Russia decline, and be replaced by others, that’s when systemic wars start. That’s when it gets dangerous, because they haven’t yet reached a balance. So Germany united in 1871 and all hell broke loose. Japan rose in the early 20th century, and then you had chaos. So we’re looking at a systemic shift. Be ready for war.

BI: Any predictions on where it could be?

GF: Well the most likely emerging countries are Japan, Turkey, and Poland. So I would say Eastern Europe, the Middle East and a maritime war by Japan with the United States enjoying its own pleasures.

But every time new powers emerge they have to find their balance. New powers are emerging, old powers are declining. It’s not that process that’s dangerous, it’s the emerging position that’s dangerous.

Read the Original Article at Business Insider

%d bloggers like this: