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hello I'm Staff Sergeant read and today I'm going to go with you how to fill out the DD Form 108 which is simply your retirement points account cover sheet or our Pam this is your 108 the first block block number one should be filled out as such attention pay h RC - PDP - t our next line 1600 spearhead Division Avenue Dept 482 next line Fort Knox comma KY for Kentucky 4 0 1 - 2 - 5 4 0 2 moving to the right you will see block - date of birth that is simply your date of birth in year-month-day format block 3 date retire paid to begin this date will be your birthday at age 60 in year-month-day format or if you have an RPD date retirement pay eligibility date then you will put that date in there the next block is block for highest military pay grade held this will be in rank grade form Staff Sergeant for myself SSG backslash e6 the next line is number 5 applicant name that will be your last name first name middle initial black 6 alpha is obsolete block 6 Bravo to the far right is Social S
Who would win in a ground war, Scotland or England?
Extremely hypothetical.This article from September 2018 provides an up to date possible answer to what a military force in an independent Scotland would look like.Of the many forms an independent Scottish military could take, should Scotland ever become independent, this appears to be the most credible.Expert outlines potential form of an independent Scottish militaryStuart Crawford, who was also a British Army officer in addition to being an SNP defence spokesman, has said the Scottish Government should focus on specialising in certain areas.Stuart Crawford was a regular officer in the Royal Tank Regiment for twenty years, retiring in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1999. Crawford was also an SNP defence spokesman. He now works as a political, media, and defence and security consultant in Edinburgh and is a regular commentator and contributor on military and defence topics in online and other media, including the UK Defence Journal.Crawford said that the military of an independent Scotland shouldn’t feature fast jets, big surface ships, tanks or nuclear weapons. Instead, it should exploit international alliances and specialise in areas that would benefit NATO, to make it a more attractive member despite lower spending.It is understood that the annual share of defence spending in Scotland is £3.2bn, but under Crawfords post-independence plans, this would be £1.1bn. While defence spending below the requisite level for NATO membership could cause a headache if Scotland decided to join the alliance, Mr Crawford advises that the strategically-placed RAF Lossiemouth could be used in negotiations.“This would fall short of the NATO spending target. However, Scotland’s strategic location and military assets could be also offered, including the development of a NATO or European base at Lossiemouth or leasing Faslane.”The report also states that an independent Scotland could shift its defence and military emphasis away from the army-focused model proposed in 2012 by Stuart Crawford and Richard Marsh.The report advises that most, if not all, of the defence inventory would still come from Scotland’s inherited share of the UK current assets. Whether or not this will happen however is somewhat unclear as the Scottish Government 2014 white paper on independence said an independent Scotland would “inherit a share of existing UK defence assets, giving us most of the equipment we need to establish Scotland’s defence forces”.However in March last year, Brendan O’Hara, the party’s former defence spokesman at Westminster, called the document “absolutely first class given the circumstances” but added it was now “out of date” because there has since been a UK Government Strategic Defence and Security Review. The MP for Argyll and Bute claimed that the country would now start from scratch and not inherit any assets.“One of the big debates we want to have is what do we do with the military assets? Do we start from scratch, do we take an eight per cent share or a nine per cent share of them? If we do take a nine per cent share, what do we take? What about the maintenance contracts?I’m personally very much of the opinion that if we adopt a nine per cent share of the hardware then you are pushed down a road from which it’s sometimes very difficult to come back. I don’t think you can have a bespoke independent Scottish defence policy if you’re immediately saddled with taking eight or nine per cent of military assets.”Despite the lack of official clarity on current SNP defence policy regarding whether or not an independent Scotland would in fact inherit UK military assets, Crawford points out that the inheritance of assets “would be subject to negotiation” should Scotland ever vote to leave.“There are many items which independent Scotland would either not want or not be able to afford. There would be no utility for high-end weaponry, and aircraft carriers, submarines, tanks, army attack helicopters, heavy artillery and fast jet attack aircraft can be discounted. And, of course, no nuclear weapons.”The report also advises that a Scottish Defence Force could comprise a navy of some 20 hulls, including two frigates, Mine Counter Measure Vessels (MCMVs) and Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) and approximately 2500 personnel.Crawford believes that an independent Scotland would require an army able to produce one deployable brigade (with details of units and equipment to be the subject of further study) of some 6000 personnel, and an air force with approximately 50 aircraft and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) with some 2000 personnel.“With an allowance for HQ and support staff, this gives a total of 11000 personnel, about a third less than the 2012 RUSI report. A ratio of 70:30 in terms of regular and reserve personnel might be appropriate, subject to further examination.”In conclusion, Crawford writes that geopolitical developments over the past six years require an update to the model for how an independent Scotland might defend itself.“A full spectrum military capability is neither necessary nor easily affordable, and specialisation and exploitation of potential military alliances to cover capability gaps, particularly with European partners, are the way forward. The updated model summarised here shows a possible Scottish Defence Force model which is smaller by a third and considerably less costly than our previous one. It is also approximately half the costings identified for defence in the Growth Commission Report.”It should be noted that the Sustainable Growth Commission prospectus proposed a defence budget of around £2.7bn.Andrew Bowie, the Scottish Conservative MP, branded the plan “very worrying”, he said: “To propose a plan so substantially short of the 2% of GDP minimum demanded by the alliance (NATO) is frankly irresponsible and short sighted.”A spokesman for the SNP said: “The positive debate about Scotland’s future as an independent country includes the wide range of views held across Scottish society. The SNP is absolutely clear that we should get rid of costly nuclear weapons and instead invest in conventional defence.”Of the many forms an independent Scottish military could take, should Scotland ever become independent, this appears to be the most credible.As Susan Lindgren's answer to Does Scotland have a president? rightly points outApologies if I am labouring the point about Scotland being part of the United Kingdom but there has been an insidious move over recent years to create the impression of Scotland as being separate and very different from other parts of the UK. As I say, I am quite sure this is deliberate on the part of the Scottish Nationalists because if people perceive Scotland as being very different from say England, then it is a smaller step to move for complete independence. We are not completely different. We have far more in common with the rest of the UK than we do with any other nation. This is not the picture portrayed by the Scottish Nationalists. This makes me very sad as it will likely take years to erase the damage wrought by attempts to eradicate the British identity from Scotland.In 2014 we chose to remain part of a country that stands for freedom, justice and upholding the United Nations Charter. The people for example in the Falklands had freedom and justice and self-determination. They now have it once again. We stand for upholding international law, that means that you must honour the borders of other people's countries, otherwise there is no international law, there is only international anarchy. We stand for self-determination. There was a referendum in 2014 and of course it was won overwhelmingly by those who wished to stay with the United Kingdom. The fact is that the majority of the people in Scotland wish to stay a part of the United Kingdom—that is our right to self-determination. It is a right under the United Nations Charter, it is a right which we enjoy as part of the UK, it is a right which is enjoyed in all democratic countries.Polling indicates that this is still the case.Compared with the following (would essentially be mostly the same).I believe that the UK (or rUK) if you prefer) is “a top military power” but of course not “the top military power”, meaning it is amongst the top military powers of the world.One reason for this is the ability to project power globally helped by having a Blue Water navy.Blue-water navy - WikipediaA blue-water navy is a maritime force capable of operating globally, essentially across the deep waters of open oceans. While definitions of what actually constitutes such a force vary, there is a requirement for the ability to exercise sea control at wide ranges.The term "blue-water navy" is a maritime geographical-term in contrast with "brown-water navy" and "green-water navy".Note that the UK is considered to be a “Rank 2” Blue Water Navy meaning “Limited global-reach power projection meaning At least one major power projection operation globally”, a rank shared with France.The US Navy is of course Rank 1 - “Global-reach power projection - Multiple and sustained power projection missions globally”.For comparison Russia is considered to be Rank 3 - “Multi-regional power projection - Power projection to regions adjacent its own”and China as Rank 4 “Regional power projection - Limited range power projection beyond exclusive economic zone (EEZ)”Experience, the UK military has had centuries of experience, but has also had relevant modern experience.Falklands War - WikipediaMilitarily, the Falklands conflict remains the largest air-naval combat operation between modern forces since the end of the Second World War.As such, it has been the subject of intense study by military analysts and historians. The most significant "lessons learned" include: the vulnerability of surface ships to anti-ship missiles and submarines, the challenges of co-ordinating logistical support for a long-distance projection of power, and reconfirmation of the role of tactical air power, including the use of helicopters.Conqueror is the only nuclear-powered submarine to have engaged an enemy ship with torpedoes, sinking the cruiser General Belgrano during the 1982 Falklands WarandDuring the 1982 Falklands War, Operations Black Buck 1 to Black Buck 7were a series of seven extremely long-range ground attack missions by Royal Air Force(RAF) Vulcan bombers of the RAF Waddington Wing, comprising aircraft from Nos 44, 50 and 101 Squadrons against Argentine positions in the Falkland Islands, of which five missions completed attacks. The objectives of all missions were to attack Port Stanley Airport and its associated defences. The raids, at almost 6,600 nautical miles (12,200 km) and 16 hours for the return journey, were the longest-ranged bombing raids in history at that time.Our Special Forces capability is so good that it has been influential on many other’s special forces.Special Air Service - WikipediaFollowing the post-war reconstitution of the Special Air Service, other countries in the Commonwealth recognised their need for similar units. The Canadian Special Air Service Company was formed in 1947, being disbanded in 1949. The New Zealand Special Air Service squadron was formed in June 1955 to serve with the British SAS in Malaya, which became a full regiment in 2011. Australia formed the 1st SAS Company in July 1957, which became a full regiment of the Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) in 1964.On its return from Malaya, the C (Rhodesian) Squadron formed the basis for creation of the Rhodesian Special Air Service in 1961. It retained the name "C Squadron (Rhodesian) Special Air Service" within the Rhodesian Security Forcesuntil 1978, when it became 1 (Rhodesian) Special Air Service Regiment.Non-Commonwealth countries have also formed units based on the SAS. The Belgian Army's Special Forces Group, which wears the same capbadge as the British SAS, traces its ancestry partly from the 5th Special Air Service of the Second World War. The French 1st Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment(1er RPIMa) can trace its origins to the Second World War 3rd and 4th SAS, adopting its "who dares wins" motto.The American unit, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, was formed by Colonel Charles Alvin Beckwith, who served with 22 SAS as an exchange officer, and recognised the need for a similar type of unit in the United States Army. The Israeli Sayeret Matkal has also been modelled after the SAS, sharing its motto. Ireland's Army Ranger Wing (ARW) has also modelled its training on that of the SAS. The Philippine National Police's Special Action Force was formed along the lines of the SAS.With the Iran Embassy Siege meaning that the expertise of our special forces became in greater demand from foreign governments. Iranian Embassy siege - WikipediaNonetheless, the operation brought the SAS to the public eye for the first time and bolstered the reputation of Thatcher. The SAS was quickly overwhelmed by the number of applications it received from people inspired by the operation and experienced greater demand for its expertise from foreign governments.The UK military has unfortunately been underfunded by all governments for a number of years now, though despite that, it is still a top military power but it does need to be properly funded to maintain that level of capability.Our Navy is still a capable one.The Type 26 Frigate could be the most capable Royal Navy warship in decades if funded properlyThe Type 26 Frigate, or ‘City class’, represents one of the most capable warships the Royal Navy has owned in decades, albeit one of the most costly.It’s no secret that the Type 26 is designed with modularity and flexibility in mind to enhance versatility across a wide range of operations ranging from counter piracy and disaster relief operations to high intensity combat. The final BAE design had a large amidships mission bay instead of the stern well deck featured in previous designs. BAE have commented regarding the mission bay:“A key feature is the flexible mission space, which can accommodate up to four 12 metre sea boats, a range of manned and unmanned air, surface or underwater vehicles or up to 11 20ft containers or ‘capability modules’, and the most advanced sensors available to the fleet.”Once integrated with the Type 26, the MK 41 VLS will offer the Royal Navy “unparalleled flexibility and capability” say BAE, but only if money is made available to fill it.“Lockheed Martin has a long and successful partnership with the Royal Navy, and we look forward to working with BAE Systems to integrate the MK 41 VLS with the Type 26,” said Paul Livingston, Group Managing Director of Lockheed Martin UK Rotary and Mission Systems.“The MK 41 VLS will provide the Royal Navy’s Type 26 Global Combat Ships with a proven and cost-effective vertical launching solution.”Each Type 26 will be equipped with three 8-cell MK 41 VLS modules. BAE Systems initial order includes nine MK 41 VLS modules, enough for the first three ships of the class.A capable air force (again requires proper funding)What's so good about the F-35 anyway?It’s no secret that the F-35 has had severe cost and schedule issues but as the programme matures, it’s shaping up to be a very capable platform.Where the strength of these aircraft really exists is in a key element of 21st century air power, enabling coalition operations. The F-35 provides a (currently) unique integrated air combat capability whereby coalitions of joint or allied F-35s can be supported in common, with information being shared prolifically. The F-35 was designed from the outset to bring information sharing capabilities to any force with which they’re deployed.Two networks are core to this: the Link-16 and the new Multi-Function Advanced Datalink (MADL). These systems allow the F-35 to communicate with nearly all current and future NATO assets.The jet is a quantum leap in capability, able to give the pilot as much information as only theatre commanders have previously had. While the primary value of the jet is in its sensor and networking capabilities, it is also valuable in that it’s able to perform many tasks designed to increase the lethality of not only itself but other assets, such tasks include the ability to co-ordinate small fleets of unmanned combat aircraft, guide weapons launched from other platforms (even warships as detailed above), launch a wide-range of its own weapons and use it’s own radar to conduct electronic attacks.What is the purpose of Tempest?Tempest’s purpose is to explore the technologies and systems that could form a future combat air system. It is not yet at the stage of building a demonstrator aircraft, it may never end up being in any way similar to the mock-up.According to a Commons Library briefing paper which provides a brief overview of the Strategy, the process is still at very early stages and is focused more on exploring and developing potential technologies. It states that:“Tempest was a fighter aircraft in World War Two, although the Strategy only uses this term in the context of ‘Team Tempest’ – it does not confirm this will be the name of whatever aircraft or system emerges.”The companies involved have given some indications of the technologies and techniques they are looking at. The Strategy itself discusses ‘Pyramid’: the project to develop open mission systems architecture. This should make upgrades simpler and more cost effective and allow partners/export customers to easily integrate their own mission systems.Rolls Royce has talked of developing a future power system that drives not just the aircraft but provides a “step-change levels of electrical power (for the future systems on board)”.BAE say that a future combat air system must be able to survive the most challenging combat environments meaning that payload-range, speed and manoeuvrability will be key.“We expect that the system will be equipped with a range of sensors including radio frequency, active and passive electro-optical sensors and advanced electronic support measures to detect and intercept threats.”The aircraft, say the defence giant, is likely to operate with kinetic and non-kinetic weapons.A capable army, although again proper funding is required.The Government must stop twisting the numbers – it’s time to properly fund the British Armed ForcesThrough almost four hundred years of service, the British Armed Forces have proven their outstanding merit time and time again. Whether intervening against genocide in the Balkans, breaking the seemingly invincible powers of Napoleon or Hitler, or defending British sovereignty in the Falklands.Our armed services have always gone above and beyond the call of duty in their defence of this nation and its interests. Yet in recent years there has been a worrying decline in the Government’s willingness to invest in our armed forces.Despite the Royal Navy requesting thirteen of the new Type 26 Global Combat Ship, only eight are to be ordered, with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) now filling the gap with 5 smaller, less capable Type 31e frigates. More worryingly the size of the army has been greatly reduced with fewer soldiers available now than at any time in the past century. Yet, despite continuous cuts since 2010 it was only last December that Phillip Hammond suggested that the British Army ‘only needs 50,000 troops’. If this were to happen it would make the army smaller than it has even been. Stern opposition from Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson and the threat of a major rebellion in the Commons caused the Government to abandon any plans for further cuts. But nevertheless, for the party that is supposedly the “most patriotic”, it is hard to defend the willingness to slash defensive spending to save money.Vikings in Norway as Royal Marines train Americans on their vehiclesThe Royal Marine commandos of Viking Squadron are teaching their American counterparts how to operate their all-terrain vehicle.According to a Royal Navy press release:“Viking is similar to the long-serving BV tracked vehicle – except it’s armed and armoured, providing both firepower and protection for the ten Royal Marines transported in the rear cab. It also keeps them warm and spares them exhausting marches, especially in the Arctic.For the past few weeks, the Viking Squadron have been teaching the US Marine Corps how to operate their armour under Project Odin, as the ‘Semper Fi guys’ look for a vehicle suited to such extremes as they expand their cold weather warfare capability.”Part of that expansion has involved the commandos teaching the Americans the art of Arctic survival and combat a part of Exercise Cold Enabler according to a release. For 2nd Battalion 2nd Marines, that’s also included driver training on the Viking say the Royal Navy.BAE unveils 'Black Night' - the first fully-upgraded Challenger 2 tankBAE systems say that Black Night comprises cutting-edge technologies and capabilities, which are being offered to the Ministry of Defence as part of the Challenger 2 Life Extension Programme.Simon Jackson, Campaign leader for Team Challenger 2 at BAE Systems said:“The UK is home to some of the world’s finest engineering companies, who have pushed the boundaries of combat vehicle design with Black Night.We are providing the bulk of this upgrade from home soil, however, we have chosen the best defence companies from around the world to collaborate with also, including names from Canada, France and Germany who bring unique skills and proven technology.The British Army has our commitment that we will deliver the most capable upgrade possible, and the best value for money.”And is the home country to BAE systems - BAE Systems - WikipediaBAE Systems plc is a British multinational defence, security, and aerospace company. Its headquarters are in London in the United Kingdom with operations worldwide. It is the largest defence contractor in Europe and among the world's largest defence companies; it was ranked as the third-largest based on applicable 2017 revenues.BAE Systems wins US Marine Corps Amphibious Combat Vehicle competitionThe US Marine Corps has awarded BAE Systems a $198 million contract to deliver an initial 30 Amphibious Combat Vehicles (ACV), with options for a total of 204 vehicles which could be worth up to $1.2 billion.BAE Systems, along with teammate Iveco Defence Vehicles, prevailed in the Marine Corps’ robust competition for the next generation of vehicles to get the Marines from ship to shore to engage in land combat operations.“We are well positioned and ready to build the future of amphibious fighting vehicles for the Marine Corps, having already produced 16 prototypes,” said Dean Medland, vice president and general manager of Combat Vehicles Amphibious and International at BAE Systems.“Through this award, we are proud to continue our partnership with the Marine Corps by providing a best-in-class vehicle to support its mission through mobility, survivability and lethality.”So hopefully, for the moment at least, it is not difficult to see why the UK is considered a top military power.So rUK would have air superiority allowing for an easier ground war victory.
How much wealth did Alexander the Great bring to his empire?
How much wealth did Alexander the Great bring to his empire?(Remember to click on the images as they are much bigger than posted)Above: “The Man”(Here’s my slightly irreverent view of Alexander’s money cause it’s 3 am and I can’t sleep. I may be joking around a bit here, but the information I’m sharing here isn’t a joke.)Even a casual student of history knows that the most profitable economic activity in the ancient world was war. Conquering, looting, stealing, extorting. That was the quickest way to change economic balances.Even in modern times we see it happening: in 1990 Saddam Huessein invaded Kuwait, not for any political reasons despite his protestations. He did it for economic reasons. He had borrowed billions of dollars from Kuwait to help fund Iraq’s war with Iran, 1980–88, and he decided he didn’t want to pay them back. Also the fact that Kuwait had some 40+billion in gold reserves and lots of personal swag didn’t hurt either. He figured on a quick snatch-and-grab, a military excursion/version of the traditional “B&E,” (Breaking & Entering.). It didn’t exactly work out for him, but he was a mere amateur.Above: Not “The Man”In almost the same exact piece of real estate, 2300 years before, the ultimate professional, the par excellence “snatch-and-grabber,” of all time, Alexander the Great, took away THE greatest treasure in history. Like Robbin’ Hood he took it from the rich Persians and gave it to the poor Macedonians and through them to Greece, itself. And in a strange way he also revitalized the economies of most of the lands of Central Asia he conquered/marched/fought through along the way.Above: Alexander. “Mr. Great” to you, pal.We can only guess how much wealth Alexander won in his “tour” of Central Asia, but in modern terms it must be many, many, many, many…(fingers getting tired)…many billions, in current currencies.Above: Gold from Fort Knox. NOT.The best guess is 2500 tons! of gold just from Persepolis, the Persian capital, alone. That’s not counting Babylon, Baghdad, Egypt, Asia Minor, India, about a dozen of Central Asian countries, and every town, village and hamlet along the way. Or Greece itself when he sacked and burned Thebes.When the Macedonians headed for Asia Minor they had perhaps 80 Talents of gold in their entire war chest. They were in for a pleasant shock when they got to Asia.I missed an important fact: the Macedonians actually made far ,ore than I first reported.Alexander’s personal wealth through the campaign was said to be 90,000 Talents of gold, about 50% of the entire take.A Talent being 56 lbs of gold. 56 x 90,000 = 5,040,000 lbs of gold. Ok, and on the current gold rates 1 lb of gold is worth $17,793. So 5,040,000 lbs of gold x $17,793. = $89,676,720,000. !!!!!And the 2500 tons of gold taken from just the Persian capital’s treasure vaults was another $90,000,000,000, 90 billion dollars!Quick edit. My new go-to-guy on Alexander is my friend, Alfredo. He added this important piece of info:“The 90 billion dollars in gold would have been distributed to about 100,000 soldiers and camp “associates”. So, if fairly distributed (and certainly it was NOT), then they each got about 1 million dollars worth. As much as that sounds to us, it would have been MUCH MUCH more before the miracles of the industrial revolution and capitalism made most of us, comparatively wealthy. One more reason that these Macedonians were willing to follow Alexander to the ends of the earth (for awhile). I wonder how much loot made it back to Macedonia, and how much got spent “on the road”.Above: With the current rate of inflation: About enough to pay my cable bill.Basically Ninety Billion dollars, $90,000,000,000!. About what LeBron James makes per game.Above: “I was born my papa's son, when I hit the ground I was on the run.I had one glad hand and the other behind. You can have yours, just give me mine.” -ZZ Top-”Just Got Paid.”Which would make Alexander, on today’s terms, the richest man on earth with probably only the entire House of Saud as a distant second. I don’t have at my fingertips the gold rates for 320 BC right now but give me a minute…ahh…here they are and they say that, why, yes indeed, Alexander DID have a lot of money!Above: The House of Saud. Or some of them. How many Saud’s make up a “House?”And Persia and the rest of Central Asia still had much, much, much, much…(fingers getting tired)…much left.(A story I’ve read is after Alexander captured the Persian capital of Persepolis he sent a large detachment of some of his toughest boys to capture and secure the big Royal Treasure Vault. Guarding the vault was one ancient old man leaning on a staff and a little boy assisting him. The vault wasn’t even locked. It was absolutely huge, filled to the rafters with the wealth of the Persian empire, collected from centuries, the largest treasure on the planet earth.)Above: Jeeez! Give me a break. Do you know how hard it is to find an “Old-Man-With-A-Stick-Persian-Treasure-Vault-Image”? Just look at the picture above and pretend the dragon is an old man with a stick…and a little boy to assist him.(There were no guards because they weren’t needed. There was very little crime in Persia. There were no jails, no prisons, no courts of law. The system had been set up with some very simple rules, rules that everybody could remember. If you murdered: death. If you raped: death. If you assaulted: death. If you stole a camel: death. If you stole an apple: death. If you spat on the sidewalk, littered, loitered or sang off key: death. It made it very simple. There was no crime because the consequences were simply too severe.)Above: Vice President Pence on learning there might be some LGBTQ folks coming to visit the White House.(These Persian offenders, the ones that committed any crime, (Middle Easterners, of course, people of “color” some might say, and technically “Iranians,”) were offered a choice of punishment: “Ok, let’s see: I’m a Middle Easterner, a person of “color,” and an Iranian…and I have a choice to… have the executioner rip off my genitals with red-hot pinchers…or…attend a Trump rally… Hmm…?” To a man they all went whistling to the executioner.)Above: “WHAT???!!!! THERE!! THERE!! LOOK!! SEE, SEE HIM??? A MOOSLEM!!! SOMEBODY WHO”S…..HE’S A MOOSLEM!!!!! HE’S NOT WHITE!!!!!! GET HIM!!!!!!! BEFORE HE GETS AWAY!!! GET HIM!!!!!!! WHO EVER GET’S HIM DON’T WORRY I’LL PAY YOUR LEGAL FEES!!!!!!!!Alexander was a pretty lenient conqueror, and did very little razing of cites. With two exceptions.The first thing Phillip and Alexander did with there new army was to go directly to Thebes, challenge their army which was the toughest in Greece since they had beat up the Spartans at the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BC. They fought and the Macedonian’s destroyed them including their legendary “Sacred Band.” They put the rest of the city-states basically under military control.Above: Death on foot. THE last thing you would ever want to see if you were facing Alexander’s army. The last thing you WOULD ever see.When Phillip was assassinated Thebes, Athens and Sparta used that confusion to rebel against Macedonia. They thought they could overwhelm the young Alexander. They couldn’t. He slapped them down again and burned Thebes right to the ground. When he left for Persia he left behind a full third of his army to occupy Greece to make sure she wouldn’t rise against him again.The other was while in a drunken rage, he burned the Persian capitol, Persepolis to the ground. (The further east he went, he became more dependent on alcohol, more affected by his many serious wounds, affected by PTSD, by stress and by what I personally believe was bipolar disorder, something I personally battle.)Above: The burning of Persepolis.I am personally a huge historical fan of Alexander, he is probably my favorite figure from antiquity. He’s definitely my go-to-guy as the best of the “Great Captains of History,” and I have studied his campaigns for 50 years. I acknowledge that the creation of his empire was, of course, probably pretty savage. But his looting of the Persian treasures was an economic boon for much of the world. Sometimes “economic redistribution” is necessary.Above: Amateur “economic redistributors”: “Uh…Hi…We’re…uh… investment bankers and…uh… we’re here to “economically redistribute” your wealth…so…uh...give us your wealth…”And Alexander became quite skilled at that “economic redistribution” thing. He had a lot of practice on his “tour” through Central Asia.Above: Quite skilled “economic redistributors:” “Uh…hi…give us your wealth…”The original accounts by the Big Five, Arrian, Plutarch, Diodorus, Curtius and Justin, talk about almost constant treasure caravans, some as long as 70 miles, of donkeys and camels all packed with bullion. And that’s just the regular ‘ol, day to day caravans! They would crawl back to Macedon at about 13 mph, guarded by thousands of Macedonian soldiers, administrators, muleteers, etc. Some of Alexander’s troop rotations acted as guards and went home with the caravans. When heading to the “front” they, of course, moved much faster.Above: A donkey caravan on, I believe… the Upper East Side of Manhattan.And they weren’t just moving gold, there was silver, amber, jewels, gold plates and goblets, fancy or be-jeweled weapons, furniture, ebony, the proverbial “gold, frankincense and myrrh.” Plus food and people, especially women. Not necessarily but sometimes slaves but also local girls sent back to Macedonia to the families of soldiers they had married while on the march or beautiful Persian girls to be matched up with Macedonian husbands.Above: A beautiful traditional Persian.Above: Another beautiful traditional Persian.Above: Yet another beautiful traditional Persian.Above: A perhaps somewhat less traditional Persian. Beautiful, though. Her name is Sara Shahi, a genuine Persian/Iranian princess, (and a very nice person,) connected by blood to the former Shah of Iran, (check out her last name), former beauty queen, Dallas Cowboy’s cheerleader, swimsuit and lingerie model, and now a movie and TV star. If you haven’t seen her yet in anything, do not pass go…Above: A short video of Sara Shahi discussing the throwing technics of Alexander’s Thracian javelin men.Above: By using The Force I could tell you were secretly needing yet one more image of Sara Shahi, (a fine woman,) to completely grasp the image of a beautiful Persian. These are not the droids you’re looking for. This is not “click bait.” You will forever hold the date of my birth in reverence for this act of generosity I have done you, Jedi.One of my favorite movies is the John Houston classic, “The Man Who Would Be King.” (No, not Trump!) It starred Sean Connery and his real life mate, Michael Caine. If you haven’t seen it, do not pass go…It’ based on Kipling’s book of the same name. It follows two rouges, two retired non-com British gunnery sergeants, Peachy and Danny, in 1883, who scam their way around India and hatch a scheme to go deep into Afghanistan, the most dangerous place on earth for an Englishman, to reach a far off, isolated kingdom, subvert it’s leaders, take over the country, loot it four-ways from Sunday and become richer than they can imagine…and they can imagine a LOT!It’s an incredible and dangerous journey but their plan works. They are taken to these peoples most sacred temple…and it’s a miniature of the Greek parthenon. They talk of a king who was once there, who had to leave but would return someday. They were talking about Alexander from 320 BC! They are led to a treasure vault, containing a few baubles Alexander left with them. It’s a huge treasure house filled to the bursting with fabulous riches of all kinds. AND A FREAKIN” DRAGON!!!!!!Danny picks up a ruby the size of a hen’s egg and shows it to Peachy. Peachy holds up another ruby as big as his fist. Peachy licks a solid gold platter, looks at Danny and gasps: “Danny…it’ ain’t brass!” This fabulous wealth was a tiny, tiny portion of the treasure Alexander had taken from Persia. It is a must see movie!One large source of revenue for the Macedonians, and all armies, actually, was extortion: we’ll do THIS for you or NOT do this TO you and you can give us a small retainer for our trouble. Like the Mob when they were in the office-funiture racket: “Sure, you can get the water cooler. But ya gotta take the jukebox, too.”Above: An actual early photograph of Alexander’s main treasure caravan taking a detour through Great Falls, Montana.The BIG caravan, the one carrying the bulk of the Persian loot from the grand treasury of Persepolis are reported as having tens of thousands of pack animals, hundreds of miles long. The logistics of getting this loot back to Macedonia must have rivaled the work necessary for the army itself to move. This treasure had been collected from the entire Persian Empire, the largest in the world up to that time, from Egypt to the Hindu Kush Mountains, from Asia Minor (Turkey) to Arabia. And much of it had been collecting for many years.Above: Alexander’s main treasure caravan falling down the falls at Great Falls, Montana.The Persians were beyond “rich,” they were “wealthy,” the proverbial “Fat Cats,”and they let everybody know it, and I’m sure Alexander was thinking, they are only getting what they deserve. And he may have been right.(I think it was Chris Rock who talked about the difference between “rich” and “wealthy.” “…now Shaq, he’s “RICH,” he gets about 65 kazillion dollars a year. But the white man who writes Shaq’s checks, now he’s ”WEALTHY!!”Above: Shaq can’t end his messages with “Love, Shaq,” because the B-52s ruined that for him.Alexander was the most generous general/king in history. It was one of the reasons his soldiers loved him so much, why they put up with him trying to reach the Pacific ocean for a decade. (Really. The Pacific was called “The Great Eastern Sea,” and Alexander wanted to see it. Badly.)Above: Frank’s a fountain of the Milk of Human Kindness.He paid them huge wages, bonuses, a kind of Macedonian “weekend passes,” tremendous re-up money to convince them to re-enlist. Many who were desperate to return home simply couldn’t refuse the money Alexander was offering. It’s part of how he kept the core of his hardened veterans, year after year, battle after battle. Plus, they stayed mainly, of course,because of their personal love and fidelity to Alexander which was probably unmatched in history. No army ever loved their General so.Above: Alexander is a river to his people.Alexander also let his troops do their share of looting, as was the standard custom then and even now. The soldiers were so loaded down with heavy loot and money that there are stories of some of it, entire fortunes, being left behind on the trail. Accumulated plunder was divided up to each soldier by his rank.Above: There was much booty to be taken in Persia.The division of booty and property also included women. Many of the women who were taken as loot were often then perceived as the common-law wives of the soldiers. The punishments were very harsh for seducing or forcing these women (and thus property) of other soldiers – sometimes even resulting in death sentences.Above: Alexander’s famous general, Ptolemy I Soter, saving a flat-screen from it’s rightful owner. After Alexander’s death, Ptolemy went to Egypt, founded a dynasty which ruled for three hundred years. Perhaps his most famous relative was the Egyptian queen, Cleopatra, who inherited the TV.Above: Cleopatra, played by Monica Bellucci, (A fine woman.)These are not the droids you’re looking for. This is not “click bait,” Jedi .Above: Considered to be Alexander’s toughest general, Craterus drills soldiers of the phalanx.I’ve run into some that take offense that I would even hint that their beloved Alexander would be accused of ever having even a whif of impropriety connected with his glorious campaigns. Those who think Alexander ran his campaigns like a Sunday school class, clean and good and honest and pure…are naive at best and empty-headed…at almost best. Folks, if you think that of Alexander or of any general with any other army/war in history, you got another think coming.Above: Alexander’s empire. For the time allowed and the enemies and the terrain, it’s almost beyond belief what he accomplished.Above: The Persian scythed chariots, at the decisive battle of Gaugamela, the “super weapon” Darius counted on to break Alexander’s phalanx. Alexander had never faced them before but knew exactly what to do to neutralize them: Alexander had “allowed” the Persians to chose the battlefield at Gaugamela because, secretly, it suited his calvary tactics more than it suited the Persian’s war chariot’s.Above: The front line.The Persians choose it for it’s size and amazingly flat surface, something very rare in battle. Movie always show ancient battles taking place on football fields. The reality was quite different as anyone who has hiked in the wilderness knows. It’s usually pretty rough. Much is made about Alexander’s phalanx being able to move as one, to turn, to stop and go like clockwork, and it should be admired. But you barely hear it mentioned that equally important was that they were able to do these complex maneuvers on very rough, uneven ground.The Persians had arrived before Alexander and had measured out and put up wooden stakes to help guide their chariots to where Darius believed the Macedonian infantry would be. He also salted the battlefield with caltrop-like weapon, designed to destroy Alexander’s horse’s hoofs. Alexander neutralized this tricks by, surprise, sending men onto the battle field to tear down the stakes. He offered cash money to anyone in the, by now, huge baggage train for every one of the caltrops they retrieved.Above: Alexander’s tough victory over Porus at The Battle of the Hydaspes, 326 BC. I’ll tell you about that doozy another time!(Philloip had designed the army to rely less on servants for the soldiers. By eliminating them, and forcing th soldiers to be more self reliant cut the size of the army by half. It could move and fight with less restrictions. However as the army rolled along deeper into Persia, it picked up camp followers of every conceivable kind, and besides the prostitutes, the lonesome soldiers often kept women, sometimes as common-law “wives.” Alexander hated it, but gave into his troops desires and by Gaugamela, the army had almost doubled in size from when it first landing in Asia Minor.)In movies chariots are always coming in all directions, with no seeming control, or pattern. In reality chariot charges were very closely choreographed to hit the enemy without running your own troops down, They have to be situated and run in parallel lines, and must keep to that measured course to not collide with each other. Hence the reason for the measured stakes.Above: Javelins.When the battle commenced Alexander had positioned his crack javelin throwers to the front. They could hit a board the width of a man’s hand at 20 feet. Their orders were to not try and hit the charioteers, as they were too small a target and moving too fast. Darius’ chariots were pulled by a pair of horses in parallel harness. The javelin men were ordered to kill the horses, and just one of a team would do. The weight of a dead or disabled horse was enough to stop the chariot dead. And dead is what the charioteer would be without the speed of the charge. Some chariots did make it through the gauntlet of the missiles, but Alexander just did what they had trained a thousand times to do: they simply stepped out of the way.(A quick note about the phalanx’s armor or lack of it. Greek armies had traditionally worn an unwieldy bronze cuirass, but Phillip’s Macedonian armies completely abandoned them. Instead, most of their military forces adopted the much lighter linothorax, an evolved armor system made from glued layers of linen. Their infantry was exceedingly well trained, in essence actually “engineered” for warfare and survival, and having the additional mobility of the lighter armor made their formational maneuvers that much more quick and responsive. Phillip would train them so hard that he often made them march in full kit up to 300 stades (30 miles) in a single day.)(Another reason the Macedonian army was so superior to any of the Greek armies is because of sheep. The average Greek was a farmer, tied to a farm for much of the year and ub=nable to train or fight. The Macedonians in their rougher, hillier terrain where farmers, too, but more often shepherds and their flocks could be tended easier by older folks or even youngsters. That left them significantly more timer to train and fight)(The tactics developed by Phillip put more emphasis on group/unit/formation performance rather than individual prowess. The focus is on the “soldier” rather than the “warrior.” Soldiers are professionals, which is what the Macedonian’s were. And professionals/soldiers almost always win over warriors. This concept put into action by Phillip is, in my humble opinion, the very birth of what would later be the Roman legion.)The phalanx was Alexander’s “anvil,” his rock to stabilize the field, to engage the enemy and hold it fast. His “Companion Calvary” was his “hammer,” his fist to move and strike at the enemies vulnerable flanks, With this combination, combined with his unmatchable genius,Alexander never lost a battle. Fighting different tough foes, with different weapon systems, over different terrains, always outnumbered, always outgunned, always deep in hostile territory far from his own supply bases. It’s almost beyond belief.Back to Gaugamela.I’m not going to go into a detailed examination of the battle, but will just say that it was a tactical masterpiece right up with Cannae and Austerlitz. Alexander was outnumbered between three and four to one. Imagine by yourself having to fight 4 tough guys. Unless you were Bruce Lee, you’ld be in trouble. But Alexander was almost always outnumbered, and the odds didn’t phase him. He knew that numbers only tell in time and that it was ok if he was outnumbered everywhere on the battlefield..except one tiny, crucial spot where he needed to get numerical superiority at the one, crucial second. A spot in the enemy’s line where he could break through, flank them, panic them and rout them.Above: Alexander at the Battle of the Granicus River. Another brilliant battle! I’ll tell you about that one some other time.Part of Alexander’s genius was in finding those battle-winning spots and moments. He knew if you could flank or get into the enemies rear, their troops would become afraid, they’d start to turn, they’d start to retreat and then they’d panic and run. And once that happens that’s where the real killing begins. When you read the casualty figures of most ancient battles, there is usually a huge discrepancy between the winning and losing sides. In battle, whether in Persia in the 4th century BC or in Afghanistan in 2018, the key to winning a battle, any battle, is to be able to continue to fight, no matter the odds, death toll, wounds or pain, to be able to fight and hold on, to stand, just one single second longer than your enemy.Above: The 300 Spartans. Persians: “Surrender and give us your weapons.” Spartans: “Come and get ‘em.” They stood.THAT’S what wins battles. Once the enemy turned and ran, showing their vulnerable backs to you, and with their weapons facing away from you, that’s when the slaughter and chase started and it usually continued until only night or exhaustion stopped it. That’s the reason for the huge differences in casualties.Above: The Macedonian phalanx at Gaugamela. Armed with their 18 ft long sarrisa’s (spears) doing the work that they did best, killing their enemies. I use the word “work” because that’s what battle is, if you know what you’re doing: hard, physical, terrible, murderous work. And the Macedonians knew what they were doing, they knew how to work.Above: Ship of the Line.Remember the American Revolution? John Paul Jones, the Scots-American, on his ship, the ‘Bon Homme Richard,’ got into a scrap just off the Yorkshire coast with a couple of British ships, especially the much larger and more powerful (more cannon) British warship ‘Serapis.” The battle went on for four hours, both ships lost half their crews. The ‘Serapis’ raked ‘Richard’ over and over with it’s superior guns and the British captain called for Jones’ surrender. He (may have) shouted back, “Sir, I have not yet begun to fight.”Above: ‘Bon Homme Richard’ and Serapis” rake each other.The ‘Richard’ was terribly damaged and was beginning to sink. Jones would not surrender and keep his crew fighting. Imagine the balls of that crew: you are in a fight with a much larger and more powerful ship, just off the coast of their country, half your crew is dead around you, and your ship is sinking under your feet. And few if any could swim as if there was someplace to swim to. And yet they loaded and fired their guns with precision and accuracy, over and over again. And shooting cannon like that was a back-breaking, limb shattering experience if you moved an inch the wrong way when those monsters “jumped.” And black powder exploding by the ton, choking them, blinding them, making them vomit.Above: British Frigate.Jones was able to grapple the ‘Serapis,’ and he and the British captain took turns trying o board each other. Another American ship entered the fray and the Britih captain threw in the towel. The ‘Bon Homme Richard’ sank and John Paul Jones and the surviving crew boarded the captured ‘Serapis’ to friendly Holland for repairs. They were by most factors, beat, But they didn’t think they were beat and convinced the stronger ship to think THEY were beat.To win you have to stand, and fight with all your might. Now many armies can fight with all their might. But the real question is…can they stand….Above: Hoplite warfare.Alexander was a soldier, first and foremost, the greatest in history, and the greatest pure military genius of all time. All of the other “Great Captains” of history stand on his shoulders interms of both strategy and tactics, whether they know it or not.Above: Tactical diagram of Alexander’s win at Gaugamela. If your “eye” is new to these drawings, you will see some squiggles and some names. If you become accustomed to understanding them then they will reveal a genius as pure as if you were looking at the original sheet music of one of Mozart’s operas, written music without one alteration or mistake, as if Mozart were taking dictation from God. Pure genius. Both Mozart and Alexander can still send shivers down my spine after almost 50 years of studying them both.Alexander’s battle tactics are as equally amazing as Mozart’s operas, but, of course in a different way. They are diagrams, blue prints for pure killing, but so perfect and even, I hate to say it… beautiful, it’s drawn me for half a century. Murder made poetry.Tactics that are taken for granted, but had to come from somewhere, didn’t fly already completed from out of the ground. Many of those basic, yes-I-see-it-now-of-course-it-makes-sense-Wow! tactics show the clear evidence of Alexander’s creation/inventing.Above: Relief of Gaugamela.Alexander, like every other general in history, ran his wars as they were, brutal, nasty, bloody and filthy, as all wars are. His men were not schoolboys. They were trained killers that had fought for years, first with his father, Phillip, and now with Alexander, a tough bunch of boys that may have been, along with Genghis Khan’s Mongols, the greatest, toughest, meanest army that ever marched. They were THE last guys on the planet you wanrted to fu…mess with. They fought hard and they played hard, and the games they played were rough.Above: You can’t take it with you.Back to Alexander’s money:The army spent money like water, for his generals, for the men, for new men, for new and better weapons, for better horses, for bribes to local governments, for advanced recon/intelligence, for provisions, for booze. (Don’t believe what Napoleon said about “an army marches on it’s stomach.” He was, in historical and military terms, quite frankly, a loser, so who gives a sh…damn what he said. Check out my thoughts about Napoleon at my answer at Why was Napoleon such a brilliant military strategist? What did he do differently?)Above: Our yet another beautiful traditional Persian yet again has had a bit too much catnip.What an army of antiquity marched on was it’s liver, as in it’s liquor. There had to be a constant supply for the men. With the incredible strain of fighting and marching without a let up for over a decade the men needed their booze, their release. Without their booze, in a couple of days they started getting in knife fights with each other. This practice of supplying booze to soldiers goes back in history all the back to..well, Alexander the Great, at least. This practice has been observed in more recent times, too.The British navy, for example, gave their sailors a daily ration of a half pint of grog (water-rum ratio of 4–1) for two centuries. For many decades there wasn’t a rule against drinking, even being drunk in the British navy. There were, however, very strict penalties for being “unfit for duty.” Many alcoholic men joined the navy just to be certain they’d get their daily booze.Alexander’s recon forces weren’t just scouting out enemy forces, potential battlefields or places for possible ambush, they also were looking for new crops/food/water sources and local booze distillers.Above: Alexander’s soldiers were, understandably, big boozers. Here Alexander’s mate Hephaestin, the most intellectual of Alexander’s generals, contemplates the complexities of the philosophy of war… after 8 pitchers of beer and his head in a urinal.There was tremendous graft and corruption. How could there not be, especially when almost everything was in “cash.” But even that found its way into the purses of locals, stimulating their economies.Above: Babylon. At least how we dream it.Alexander’s soldiers had massive expenditures. While in Babylon, for one example, the men had a pretty free rein and they purchased necessaries and not-so necessaries. They hired the local…ah…“flute girls,” barbers, shoe makers, tailors, cooks, they rented villas, had lavish meals and in general blew all their money. “What did you do with the million dollars?” “Well, I spent about $300,000 on booze and women and the rest I just blew.”Above: A nice girl, but down on her luck, selling Girl Scout Cookies. “How many boxes of “Thin Mints” this time, boys?”They’d go to Alexander with somber, bowed heads, and Alexander would hear their sad tales, sigh, and give them all huge new bonuses, and they, cheerful again, would skip off, back to the city to make some more friends, “nice girls, but down on their luck.”Above: The Hindu Kush. The “Killer of Hindus.” Alexander moved and fought through these mountains, mountains right next to the Himalayas themselves. To out flank the Bactrians/Afghans he took his army through it’s passes in early spring before the thaw, when the locals and everybody knew no one could ever get through. Alexander did get through and surprised them in an incredible tactical victory taking them in the rear. In 2018 with modern technology, clothing and equipment, everybody knows that no one could ever get through.So the Macedonian army/circus moved through central Asia into Bactria and Aria, Drangiana and Arachosia, (modern Afghanistan.) Things got tough there, and it became Alexander’s toughest war, lasting three years. But even then wealth was spread to the locals, the ones still alive.Above: Afghanistan, the “Boneyard of Empires.” Where empires go to die. The British, the Russians, the Soviets, the Americans all got bogged down in this terrain/logistics/tactical hell. Got bogged down and defeated. Only two generals and their armies “won” here, in my humble opinion the two greatest armies that ever marched. Alexander the Great and his Macedonians and Genghis Khan and his Mongols.Edit: My friend Taj reminded me that The Sikhs did make some, although limited, still incredible forays into Afghanistan by conquering the Khyber pass and Peshawar.While the money sat in vaults across Persia it did no one any good. It was in economical terms, stagnant. (Actually, I don’t know any “economical terms” so I just made that up.) By Alexander plundering it and then sending some back home, giving some to his army and then spending/spreading it around the local economies, this vast fortune actually came to a good use.Above: Either priceless South African Krugerrand's or else stale chocolate wrapped in gold foil.So where is all this gold now? Who can say? Gold’s something nobody throws away so it’s all in private accounts, invested in weapon systems, funding political movements, taking us to Mars, letting somebody visit a Turkish bath, I don’t know.But this was one case where war actually benefited the people who suffered the most, the plain old men and women of Central Asia. The greatest treasure in the history of the world was taken from some greedy bastards and then, almost by accident, got spread across Europe and Central Asia, and used for a million million different things. Life, of course, stayed pretty much as it always had, though. Nasty, brutish and short. But still, it stagers the imagination. Amazing story.Thanks for taking the time to follow my convoluted path.All opinions are, of course, my own, and I am as full of crap as the next one. -PeteAbove: Alexander the Great as the world will always picture him: mounted on his superhorse, Bucephalus, and charging, sword in hand, to eternal victory.
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