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usmcsgt65 11-02-2003 06:41 PM

PysOps during the Revolution
Presently reading Jeff Sahara 2nd vol. about the Revolution. He writes that Cornwallis told his Hessian allies that the Americans liked to scalp their enemy dead and eat their flesh. Cornwallis then leaked to the Americans that the Hessians not only killed the men they faced, but would kill the women and children, they found around the battlefield. It seems he was attempting to make the Hessians more efficient killers.

BLUEHAWK 11-02-2003 08:41 PM

Sarge -
One wonders, thinking about how word got around in those olden times, so slowly, face to face or newspapers I suppose. Must've been pretty effective psyops when a man heard some of that from his buddy across the field plow!

usmcsgt65 11-04-2003 06:19 PM

Bluehawk, remember the civilains were largely left alone in those days. So, a conservation hear here or there always seems to reach the targeted group. Also, the British bought from American farmers much of their food (paid in gold of course, not that paper money crap).

BLUEHAWK 11-04-2003 07:54 PM

Yes, right you are... one imagines, from experiences of my own on remote ranches, how word DOES travel rather quickly, even when it is little more than cynical propaganda I should guess?

So, a psyops effort would tend to have easy access in a way at lesser scale but equally as effective as anything done today, no? All it would take is one willing or amiable listener for an errant or well-formed message to get repeated many times and become THE word.

revwardoc 11-05-2003 11:35 AM

PsysOps was used quite extensively during the Rev War by all the combatants. When George Rogers Clark took Cahokia, Kaskaskia and Vincennes with an undermanned force, he marched them back and forth in front of the stockades carrying different flags making it look like he had a much larger force. The ruse worked quite well as he captured all three with nary a shot being fired, though he had to re-capture Vincennes by force a few months after he intially took it.

Cornwallis didn't have to make up stories about Hessian ferocity. During the fighting in New York, the Hessians, some of the best professional soldiers in the world, looked down upon American troops as so much rabble, unworthy of an even chance in a fight. Subsequently they went out of their way to avoid taking prisoners and bayoneted many surrendering and wounded men to death. It was because of incidents like that, the men of the New Hampshire regiments decided it was time for some payback during the battle of Bennington.

While the regular soldiers of the British army, for the most part, left civilians alone, the same couldn't be said for the American Legions commanded by Banastre Tarleton, Patrick Ferguson, and Benedict Arnold. Those American Loyalists used the excuse of a red (or green) coat to loot, rape, and plunder their patriot neighbors. Of course the same can be said for the patriots themselves. While the war was fought primarily by the armies, there was quite an active querilla campaign primarily in the south and out west (west, as in, the Illinois/Kentucky/Ohio territories). Out there it can be debated that the white Americans were just as savage as the Indians and were more than willing to answer "an eye for an eye". Also, they did pay loyalists for supplies but simply confiscated what they wanted from suspected or known patriots.

There's a great story about how Washington, during the siege of Boston, found out through his very extensive spy network that "Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne" had written a comedy about Washington that was to be performed on a night in February, 1776. Shortly after the play started, Washington sent a regiment to attack Dorchester Heights with nothing more in mind than harrassing the Brits. When the firing started, a British grenadier sergeant on guard outside the theater, rushed down the center ailse, jumped up on the stage and shouted, "Washington is attacking the Heights!" The audience roared in laughter thinking it was part of the play, so the frustrated sergeant ran back, threw open the doors so that everyone could hear the guns. Now alarmed, the drummers were ordered to sound assembly and the soldiers were startled to see their officers running up to them still wearing their costumes from the play, some of them in ladies' dresses! The attack was short-lived and its said that Washington just sat in his chair with a wry smile on his face.

MORTARDUDE 11-05-2003 12:39 PM

Was anything in the Mel Gibson movie "The Patriot" based on actual events ? Particularly the part where the colonists were burned alive in the locked church. The actor who played Tarleton was one of the meanest SOBs I have seen in a movie. Thanks.


BLUEHAWK 11-05-2003 06:06 PM

Yeah Dan & Sarge!

What Larry said...

Whaddya think?

revwardoc 11-06-2003 10:04 AM

MD & Bluehawk
<LABEL id=HbSession SessionId="2104371070">No, there were no intentional church burnings by either side during the Rev War, though there were plenty of atrocities to go around.</LABEL>

<LABEL SessionId="2104371070">As for the historical accuracy of "The Patriot", you've got to be kidding! My wife and I saw it at the theater and laughed at the inaccuracies throughout the movie. A guy sitting next to me said, "Excuse me. This isn't a comedy!" To a re-enactor, it was. For example, the artillery used in the final battle scene (which was VERY loosely based on the Battle of Cowpens) were 12 pounder siege pieces; field artillery were 1-3 pounders, 6 pounders at max. The Frenchman's uniform in the final battle, well, I portray an ex-grenadier/now-surgeonin the 85eme Regiment de Saintonge andnone of my fellowregiment members could figure out which regiment he was representing. I believe Mel calledit the "something-or-other Regiment of Foot" but they didn't use that designation in the French army. Again in the final battle, there's no way either army would allow the other to march so close without firing at it. Theywere, at best, 30 yards apart. Back then they started firing at 100 yards. If you were to let them get that close, they'd rush you with bayonets and save their powder. Another scene that shocked us was when he left the slave village after his son's wedding; his sister-in-law was virtually naked by 18th century standards and no self-respecting, slave-owning white woman at that period would live with even escaped slaves. And did you hear the music from the wedding? It was played on steel drums!! I could go on andon but I think you get the idea.</LABEL>

<LABEL SessionId="2104371070">The guy who played Tarleton did a good job, except that Tarleton was only about 25 at the end of the war. He was a vicious SOB who bragged that he killed more men and ravaged more women than any officer in the British army. Quite the claim to fame. Unlike "Tavington", he survived the war, was knighted and eventually promoted to general and served as an MP (Member of Parliament). His uniform coat during the Rev War was NOT red and green, but solid green. He was, after all, a dragoon and lead American loyalists, not British troops. I've attached a portrait of him painted during the war, note the plumed leather helmet.</LABEL>

<LABEL SessionId="2104371070"></LABEL>

<LABEL SessionId="2104371070">As a melodramatic Hollywood movie, it was pretty good. There was an inspirational story line, a heroic, sypathetic main figure, a love interest, some light comedy and a good-guys-beat-the-bad-guys theme. As history, fuhgedaboutit!!</LABEL>

Keith_Hixson 11-06-2003 10:07 AM

A True Crazy (Sociopath) in a military uniform. If he had more power, he'd done more damage. Even the Britished feared him.
A real sicko.


MORTARDUDE 11-06-2003 10:09 AM

Dan G :

Thanks for the info ! Super !! Was there anything about the movie you gentle..LOL.


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