WWII - German Armour
Design of the Panzer I began in 1932 and mass production proceeded in 1934. Intended only as a training tank to introduce the concept of armoured warfare to the German army, the Panzer I saw combat in Spain during the Spanish Civil War, in Poland, France, the Soviet Union and North Africa during the Second World War.
Experiences with the Panzer I during the Spanish Civil War helped shape the German Panzerwaffe’s invasion of Poland in 1939, and France in 1940.
The Panzer I’s performance in armoured combat was limited by its thin armour and light armament of two machine guns, which were never intended for use against armoured targets, rather , being ideal for infantry suppression, in line with inter-war doctrine. Although lacking in armoured combat as a tank, it formed a large part of Germany’s mechanized forces and was used in all major campaigns between September 1939, and December 1941, where it still performed much useful service against entrenched infantry and other ‘soft’ targets, which were vulnerable to machine gun fire.
Although it was quickly surpassed by more powerful successors, the Panzer I’s contribution to the early victories of Nazi Germany during WW 2 was significant.
Roman Army of the Late Republic
By the first decades of the 1st century, the COHORT had replaced the maniple as the standard tactical unit of the legions.
The three lines of the manipular legion were combined to form the cohort, which generally numbered about 480 to 500 men. Maniples and centuries continued to be used as military and administrative subdivisions for the cohort.
There were six centuries in a cohort, which were now all 80-men strong.
Each Centuria was commanded by a Centurion, and also included an Optio, a Signifer and a Cornicen
The Centurions also appointed the bravest men as standard bearers, or Signifers.
A signifer was a standard bearer of the Roman legions. He carried a signum (standard) for a cohort or century. Each century had a signifer so there were 59 in a legion. Within each cohort, the first century's signifer would be the senior one.
The signum that he carried was the military emblem of that unit. It had a number of phalarae (disks or medallions) along with a number of other elements mounted on a pole. The pole could be topped with a leaf-shaped spear head or later a manus (open human hand) image denoting the oath of loyalty taken by the soldiers. It sometimes included a representation of a wreath, probably denoting an honour or award.
The task of carrying the signum in battle was dangerous, as the soldier had to stand in the first rank and could carry only a small buckler. It was that banner that the men from each individual century would rally around. A soldier could also gain the position of discentes signiferorum, or standard bearer in training. If the signifer was lost in battle, the whole unit was dishonored.
In addition to carrying the signum, the signifer also assumed responsibility for the financial administration of the unit and functioned as the legionaries' banker. He was paid twice the basic wage.
An Optio was an officer appointed by the centurion, and was stationed at the rear of the centuria to keep the troops in order. Their duties would include enforcing the orders of the centurion, taking over the centurion's command in battle should the need arise, supervising his subordinates, and a variety of administration duties. Optio pay was double the standard legionary pay and they were the most likely men to replace the centurion if the position became vacant.
A Centurion at this time can be distinguished from other Legionaries by several methods. He usually wore greaves, and the crest of his helmet was usually turned so it ran transversely across the helmet. His sword was worn on the left and his dagger on the right which is the opposite of a Legionaire.
Each Centuria would also contain a hornblower or Cornicines. A cornicen (plural cornicines) was a junior officer in the Roman Army. The cornicen's job was to signal salutes to officers and sound orders to the legions. The cornicines played the cornu (making him an aeneator). Cornicines always marched at the head of the centuries, with the signifer. The cornicines were also used as assistants to a centurion (like an optio). The cornicen was a duplicary or a soldier who got double the basic pay of the legionary.
The legion was now composed of ten cohorts rather than thirty maniples, and numbered an average of about 5,000 men.
Roman Army of the Late Republic
The backbone of any Carthaginian army and their most reliable troops were the Liby-Phoenician spearmen. The Libyans were not merely mercenaries but could be provided by allied city states or might have been conscripted from a peasant base.
Before Hannibal’s Italian campaign they were presumably armed with long spears, round or oval shields and wore bronze helmets, and wore a linen cuirasses as protective armour.
El Cid and the Reconquista
Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, was born near Burgos around 1043AD, and was the son of a minor Castilian noble. He became a Castilian knight and warlord in medieval Spain. The Moors called him EL CID, which meant the Lord, and the Christians called him EL CAMPEADOR, which means “The Champion”, in modern Spanish, but can also be translated as “The Master Of The Battlefield”.
Vivar became well known for his service in the armies of both Christian and Muslim rulers, and is probably one of the most famous warriors of the middle Ages.
Unlike the shadowy Arthur of Britain, Spain’s national hero has left us with a written history of his exploits, and even his signiture as proof that this great warrior once existed. After his death, El Cid became Spain’s celebrated national hero and the protagonist of the most significant medieval Spanish epic poem, “El Cantar de Mio Cid”.
The Spanish Warlord is probably best known as a slayer of Moors immortalised in the 1961 movie, especially by the compelling final image of Charlton Heston riding through hordes of black clad Almoravids outside the walls of Valencia.
Cid and the Reconquista
Age of Arthur - Vikings
Age of Arthur - Norman Knights
- 12th Massachusetts Regiment
12th Massachusetts Regiment
Whiskey, Scalps and Beaver Pelts
American Civil War
- 11th Regiment New York
11th Regiment New York