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  #1  
Old 01-18-2010, 08:11 PM
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Disappointing Military Channel show on Pickett's Charge

Very disappointing show on Pickett's charge.
From what I have read and seen of the battlefield, this show was full of misconceptions and errors.
It follows the popular opinion that it was the pivotal moment of Gettysburg, while ignoring that the previous day's fight was the more significant one.--and closer to a confederate victory.
The show makes the point that the fences along the Emmitsburg Rd were too formidable of a barrier. That part might be true, based on what I've read.
That begs the question of why didn't Lee use his art'y to demolish the fences prior to the attack.
They ignore well-known data to make points of "new" information to solve the "mystery".

I guess the ruse worked; they got me to watch.
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Old 01-18-2010, 09:12 PM
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the re write of american history is also one of sauls rules

keep doing it so nothing can be trusted than tell them what you want them to believe
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Old 01-18-2010, 09:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnjzjz View Post
the re write of american history is also one of sauls rules

keep doing it so nothing can be trusted than tell them what you want them to believe
Although that may be a motivation, I doubt that is the motivation, in this case.
I think its as simple as trying to attract an audience so advertisers will pay.
I see more and more of what I call "false drama" where the film crew adds tension for dramatic effect.
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Old 01-18-2010, 11:34 PM
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It's just TV, I wouldn't really expect it to include any actual correct information. BTW, since when is there a "Military Channel"?
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Old 01-19-2010, 06:49 AM
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It's just TV, I wouldn't really expect it to include any actual correct information. BTW, since when is there a "Military Channel"?
I don't know when it was started, but it is included in my satellite TV package.
Lots of interesting shows. Seems to have a lot in common with History Channel, but w/o as much padding. The History Channel shows seems to have about 35 minutes of content for each hour of programming--they tell you what is coming in the next segment, what was in the last segment, and then a little of what is in this segment.

They have a "top Ten" series that includes top tens of tanks, fighters, bombers etc.
I don't know how any top ten list of fighters can ignore the Bf/ Me 109. It had some flaws, but had a long service life, and was still competitve at the end of the war with aircraft that were 10 years newer in design.
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:05 AM
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The WWI and WW2 series has tons of uncut stuff that never made the history books go figure

and the dogfights are just unreal to see -- the top 10 tanks, fighter plains, snipers, ect ect is one of the best shows on the goonie box -- jz
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:23 AM
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Part of the Discovery channel "network"
Website link:
http://military.discovery.com/

"General, I have no Division"
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  #8  
Old 01-19-2010, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by MS Fowler View Post
They have a "top Ten" series that includes top tens of tanks, fighters, bombers etc.
I don't know how any top ten list of fighters can ignore the Bf/ Me 109. It had some flaws, but had a long service life, and was still competitve at the end of the war with aircraft that were 10 years newer in design.
But don't they rate them based on results of opinion polls? Any way I agee. Any such list leaving out the 109 is clearly ignorance personified.

I also agree about the irritating increase in false drama/hype they load these shows with. Really seem to be dumbing them down to a lowest common denominator.

- Peter.
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by pj67coll View Post
But don't they rate them based on results of opinion polls? Any way I agee. Any such list leaving out the 109 is clearly ignorance personified.

I also agree about the irritating increase in false drama/hype they load these shows with. Really seem to be dumbing them down to a lowest common denominator.

- Peter.
Don't they rate them based on 4 or 5 criteria "Fear Factor", "Longevity", and a couple of other things. "Innovation", etc. It's not a mere popularity poll.

The McDonnell Douglass F-4 PhantomII is rated numbe 4. in their Top 10. First missle only designed fighter ( but cannons added later), Flew forever in many countries' air forces,, etc. Just one example.

The link I posted above has the top 10 videos there. "Video" tab.
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:27 AM
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Don't they rate them based on 4 or 5 criteria "Fear Factor", "Longevity", and a couple of other things. "Innovation", etc. It's not a mere popularity poll.

The McDonnell Douglass F-4 PhantomII is rated numbe 4. in their Top 10. First missle only designed fighter ( but cannons added later), Flew forever in many countries' air forces,, etc. Just one example.

The link I posted above has the top 10 videos there. "Video" tab.
Yes, they have a range of odd criteria for judging them. I don't think much of them or their choices. I'd venture to say that if it were a brit program rather than an American one the choices would be quite different.

- Peter.
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  #11  
Old 01-19-2010, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by pj67coll View Post
Yes, they have a range of odd criteria for judging them. I don't think much of them or their choices. I'd venture to say that if it were a brit program rather than an American one the choices would be quite different.

- Peter.
This is a real TV show, seriously?

What's next, the 10 most popular types of toaster ovens?
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  #12  
Old 01-19-2010, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by MS Fowler View Post
Very disappointing show on Pickett's charge.
From what I have read and seen of the battlefield, this show was full of misconceptions and errors.
It follows the popular opinion that it was the pivotal moment of Gettysburg, while ignoring that the previous day's fight was the more significant one.--and closer to a confederate victory.
The show makes the point that the fences along the Emmitsburg Rd were too formidable of a barrier. That part might be true, based on what I've read.
That begs the question of why didn't Lee use his art'y to demolish the fences prior to the attack.
They ignore well-known data to make points of "new" information to solve the "mystery".

I guess the ruse worked; they got me to watch.
I would agree with you that the second day's battles on Little Round Top were significant to the battle itself and that is where one opportunity for victory was lost to the Confederates, but I must agree that Pickett's charge was the pivotal moment not only for the battle, but for the Confederacy itself.

If the show described the fence as "formidable", they are guilty of mischaracterizing it. It was only three feet high. The problem was, it slowed the infantry down just about the amount of time a trained man with a rifle takes to get a bead on a target, as they placed themselves up three feet higher as they scaled the fence. Being a stone fence, the low-explosive artillery shells of the day would have had little effect. But Civil War musket/rifles were not that accurate at 200 yards, so while the losses at the fence were severe, this was not the break point. As this study shows,

http://www.gdg.org/Gettysburg%20Magazine/measure.html

due to the topography of the land and the flanking maneuvers of the Yankees "the point of attack was reduced to just 20% of its original length" as the study demonstrates, this compressed the Confederate line, putting this compressed mass of men within range of canister, as told by artillery Lt Tully McCrea:

Quote:


"On the 3rd [of July, 1863], during the forenoon, we could see the [Confederate] artillery going into position opposite us, and occasionally a battery would open on us to get the range, but two or three of our batteries would reply and stop it. It was, I think, about two o’clock, when they opened fire upon our corps, the 2d, with, it is estimated, two hundred guns. How they did put the shot in!

"We returned the fire for a short time, when we received an order to cease firing and shelter ourselves as well as we could. By drawing back the guns behind a slight knoll we could shelter the men and guns, but the horses were exposed, and it was by this artillery fire that we lost so many.

"If their artillery had been as good as their infantry, our loss would have been very much greater; but as it was, a large majority of their projectiles were too high. They kept this up for a time which seemed to us an age, but which was in fact between one and two hours. Their plan was to demoralize that part of our line; and as our artillery had not replied for a long time, I suppose they thought they had succeeded.

"As soon as their artillery fire ceased we were on the qui vive to see what they were then going to do. We felt sure that all this was to cover an attack at our point or at some other. Our curiosity was soon gratified, for out of the woods opposed to us a long line of "grey-backs," a brigade of them, advanced. They were halted and aligned. Then another brigade appeared behind the first, and a third behind the second; in all, as we now know from rebel sources, twelve thousand men, the flower of Lee’s army. Soon they advanced, and the famous charge of Pickett’s division began.

"We had, beside our artillery, but one thin line of infantry to resist this, and I thought that our chances for kingdom come or Libby prison were very good. But they had undertaken a very desperate thing. They had to cross an open plain and march twelve hundred yards to gain our position. There was no shelter for them other than a small orchard. A house and barn near the orchard had been burned the day before, and the skirmishers had thrown down the fences.

"A slight depression or valley was between their position and ours. Could a finer target for artillery practice be imagined? Three lines of infantry, two deep, advancing over such ground in the very face of our artillery.

"As soon as it was seen what was coming, a look of stern determination settled upon every man’s face, artillery and infantry alike. This was, it must be remembered, the afternoon of the third day, and every sneak and coward had found safe shelter in the rear long before. There were now there none but men determined to do or die.

"As soon as the rebel line advanced, all of our artillery, to the right, left, and front of them, that could be brought to bear, opened upon them. They soon discovered that we were not badly demoralized. Battery I, having smooth-bores, loaded with canister and waited for them to get nearer. When we opened on them one could see great gaps swept down. There were three lines, remember; it was impossible to miss. We had forty rounds of canister to each gun and they got the most of it. They marched bravely up in face of it all and part of them penetrated our line on the left of our position. But their number had then been so reduced that they could make no fight and were taken prisoners. Directly in front of where we were, when not fifty yards off, they hesitated and wavered. Then our infantry charged and captured the greater part of what was left. Gettysburgh [sic] – the greatest battle of the war – was there won. Lee had lost his Virginians, the flower of his army, and gave it up."

http://gfisher.org/Tully%20McCrea.htm
While everyone envisons Pickett's Charge as some sort of massive collision of infantry, which it was, it was primarily an action decided by artillery. The artillery barrage meant to soften up the Yankess was at the heart of their disaster. The fuses were defective, and the artillery spotters reported erroneous results. The Confederate shells were overshooting the Yankee lines, exploding harmlessly in the rear. The Yankee artillery, low on ammo and seeing no need for suppressing fire due the Confederate's poor aim, stopped firing, and it was this that would have horrible consequences for Pickett - the Rebs thought the Yankees had stopped firing because their batteries had been destroyed by the Reb's massive barrage, and it was in this mistaken belief that Lee based his decision to go ahead with the charge. As Tully's statements above report, and as shown by the measurement study I cited earlier, the result of that was a mass of crowded together Confederate infantry rising out of the Plum Creek depression into point-blank canister fire. They were shot to pieces.

But it is the long term effect that leads me to the opinion it was the central action of the battle. At the fore-front of the charge were the best captains, majors, colonels and mid-tier generals that the South could not afford to lose. Casualties among them were massive. The South never recovered from that.

Last edited by JollyRoger; 01-19-2010 at 10:47 AM.
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Old 01-19-2010, 02:00 PM
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I would agree with you that the second day's battles on Little Round Top were significant to the battle itself and that is where one opportunity for victory was lost to the Confederates, but I must agree that Pickett's charge was the pivotal moment not only for the battle, but for the Confederacy itself.

If the show described the fence as "formidable", they are guilty of mischaracterizing it. It was only three feet high. The problem was, it slowed the infantry down just about the amount of time a trained man with a rifle takes to get a bead on a target, as they placed themselves up three feet higher as they scaled the fence. Being a stone fence, the low-explosive artillery shells of the day would have had little effect. But Civil War musket/rifles were not that accurate at 200 yards, so while the losses at the fence were severe, this was not the break point. As this study shows,



While everyone envisons Pickett's Charge as some sort of massive collision of infantry, which it was, it was primarily an action decided by artillery. The artillery barrage meant to soften up the Yankess was at the heart of their disaster. The fuses were defective, and the artillery spotters reported erroneous results. The Confederate shells were overshooting the Yankee lines, exploding harmlessly in the rear. The Yankee artillery, low on ammo and seeing no need for suppressing fire due the Confederate's poor aim, stopped firing, and it was this that would have horrible consequences for Pickett - the Rebs thought the Yankees had stopped firing because their batteries had been destroyed by the Reb's massive barrage, and it was in this mistaken belief that Lee based his decision to go ahead with the charge. As Tully's statements above report, and as shown by the measurement study I cited earlier, the result of that was a mass of crowded together Confederate infantry rising out of the Plum Creek depression into point-blank canister fire. They were shot to pieces.

But it is the long term effect that leads me to the opinion it was the central action of the battle. At the fore-front of the charge were the best captains, majors, colonels and mid-tier generals that the South could not afford to lose. Casualties among them were massive. The South never recovered from that.
Its nice to get away from politics and find something upon which we generally agree.

The fence they were crediting with being the root of the disaster was the 5 or 6 rail wooden fence that ran along both sides of the Emmitsburg Rd. It was between 4 and 5 1/2 feet tall if the current reconstructions are authentic.
The artillery barrage was significant. Union Lt. Haskell in what has been called "the longest letter ever written", makes they comment that the union did not greatly fear the use of Artillery by the confederate as they generally cut their fuzes too long. He also records an impromtu luncheon on the backside of Cemetery Ridge near meade's HQ, just before the cannoade began. He says they were all just laying around resting after eating and there were 2 sharp canon shots and then the whole landscape erupted. The damage on the backside of the ridge was awesome. There are some reports that Lee believed that was where the Union reserves were massed. Haskell, along with General Gibbon went to the crest, and down the forward slope to get under the smoke and apparently had quite a good view of the proceedings. ( Haskell's account is a great read by someone who was right in the center of the point of attack. He was, in fact, for a time, the ONLY mounted Union officer at that point, and his work in rallying the troops was noted even by the Confederate officers. Haskell could write. His passion for the Union clearly apparent-he considered the confederates his misguided brothers. He never demeans the men of the Confederacy, but he has quite the scorn for the cause, itself. A very interesting first person account if anyone is looking for one.)

Totally ignored in the Military Channel's presentation was the defeat of JEB Stuart by Custer. Stuart's calvary was to cut the Union line from the rear as Pickett's pierced it from the front. They also failed to explain that Lee had tried both Union flanks, and Lee believed that Meade had weakened his center to provide those reinforcements ( partially true), and that would have left the center weak and assailable. ( Well, not quite.)
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Old 01-19-2010, 03:19 PM
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I saw another program on Gettysburg. I think it was about apply Sun Tzu to battle philosopies. From what I remember, the Confederates original goal was a suppply depot near Harrisburg. For some ereason one of the Confederate generals or leaders what a new pair of boots. So, that part of the confederate army went to Gettysburg. Once there Lee kept trying to take the hill instead of just going around. So they got slaughtered. I'm not as well versed in the Civil war though.

As for the Me/Bf-109, it was essentially a pivatol design. It actually served in the Spanish Civil war. Its nemisis there was the Russian I-16. The I-16 was also a pivotal design as all metal and retractable landing gear. The Military Channel did include the Spitfire. Ithink they should have done a split, like they did on the F-86, Mig 15. Still, I'd give a nod to the Me-109. Also, the Camel might have some competition from the Dr-7.
I also disagree with the selection of bombers. I think the B-17 and / B-24 should be rated higher. If not #1. Although I think the contribution of Brittish bombers are probably underrated.
As for the rifles, the Mauser m-98 should be rated a lot higher. The SMLE rated righer than the M-98. I don't think so.
I do see some slant towards an American and Allied selection. In sports, there was a selection of 100 greatest atheletes. I don't even remember Pele making the list. Even American kids knew who he was. I'd rate him up there with Micheal Jordan, Ali, and a few others who had global recognition. He was a phanominal athele. I think 10.6 in the 100 meters, 6 ft vertical jump and could see 270 degree.
Tom
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Old 01-19-2010, 04:34 PM
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I also disagree with the selection of bombers. I think the B-17 and / B-24 should be rated higher. If not #1. Although I think the contribution of Brittish bombers are probably underrated.
Tom
I don't know how the top bomber could go to any other aircraft than the B-52. In service for 55 years and counting. 55 years. Think about that. IIRC, there have been fathers and sons pilot the B-52. It's service life will likely approach 70 years before it's retired. A remarkable legacy. Top Dog, in my opinion.
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