What's Eating Jdavies?

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Battlefield Detectives

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Discovery channel has a new program that I have been very found of. It is called Unsolved History, a show in which the scientists and historians try to answer history's most unsettling questions and misconceptions. They have shown the Turk Front of WWI, Troy, Napoleon's Waterloo, even that of Imhotep as supposedly the real father of medicine instead of Hippocrates. The most recent feature is under a program on Battlefield archaelogists and detectives.

The best one for me is about the Battle of Little Big Horn, a battle that has been predominantly believed to have been about a brave white man's army's last stand last stand against the "savage" Indian's of the Lakota nation, led by Chief Crazy Horse.

The popular version history is that General George Armstrong Custer's 7th Cavalry of five companies faced overwhelming odds and died to the last bullet in a defense of their country. The scientists have proven otherwise... instead they have found unspent and unused bullets, and massacred bodies of soldiers bearing multiple gunshot woods besides the cuts and cracks on bones.

Since (if you watch CSI) any bullet will have a unique ballistic character (or fingerprint, apparent through the marks that the barrel makes on the bullet) They were able to map the bullets and the shells to the position of whoever fired the weapon, and mark specifically how many were fired and where. This way, a full battle account was created not just based on historical accounts - but one accurate to the bullets fired, and from which exact positions. By charting these bullets and giving them ID's they were able to chart movements of each personel, and thus a full 3D and time-specific model of the battle is possible.

The show concludes, (beyond that the last stand was a military disinformation campaign) --- that the Indians were not at all savages at all, they, although being numerically superior, have superior tactics that involve a marauding attack while firing their guns on horses and shooting while running towrd the target in an effert to start melee combat - the main thing that Indians and their hunters are very good at. The big surprise is that Indians having used easily reloadable weapons such as pistols and shorter range guns, does not show an inferiority in technology versus the longer range and hiogh firepower of the 7th Cavalry. Instead, these fast reloading weapons were choosen deliberately to highlight the tactics of stalking, marauding, and the melee tactics that the Indians excel in.

In short, at the end of the day, every bullet that a 7th Cavalry soldier fires - an indian has fired 13 bullets already, and have gone closer and closer with his machete and dagger in hand, while the former stalled to reload and stayed put in their firing positions.

My point is... and my fascination is that having known all these, is it posible as it is shown in the show to recreate a study of battles in the Philippines, such as that in Tirad Pass, among others, but identifying these ballistics ID. Apparently, one just needs a microscope and an expert fire arms historian that can identify each and tag each. Using GPS, or perhaps even old charting techniques it may be very easy to adapt this method as an investigative tool. Or have there been too many things built on top of actual battle fields? (Big example --- 1898's Manila and Katipunan) Or too many roads and monuments have been built upon such possibly rich archaelogical sites?

See, recent-past and it's history can be traced not just by accounts alone - but also through innovative scientific investigations as these. Combining both will be most effective. In fact archaelogical evidence of the sort as spent shells of firearms would not be rotting like wood - or cracking like earthenware. They may still be intact! When I was 13, my dad found a pailful of unfired bullets from possibly WWII in a garden which was part of a Japanese garisson - bullets and shells as small as 3 inches in height to those about a foot.

Oh darn, any body listening? See, give me a very big grant, a good time to finish this and a university team and I'l do this in a heartbeat. Some of our historians have been attacked for credibility (If you remember Glenn Anthony May), even our histories thus uncertain, that we need more resources to find out the truth.
Anybody listening? Oh darn, I forgot that we have a fiscal crisis!!!

Ok snap back to reality.

posted by Jdavies @ 8/24/2004,

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The Author

J.Davies

Jdavies lives in Quezon City, Philippines and has been blogging since 2002. A brand manager in a leading technology company and a freelance new media/web strategy consultant, he has refocused his blogging from personal, political & sociological observations, to marketing-related efforts and Internet trends that are relevant to his career and branding advocacies.


About This Blog

This blog is a depot of thoughts and observations on marketing trends which remain personally relevant to the Author as far as his marketing career is concerned. Having evolved from the personal blog of Jdavies, much of the earlier work contained herein are laced with personal speculation, political views, and similar advocacies. These posts are being kept for posterity's sake and for no other reason. No effort is being made to claim that the author will not contradict himself from his previous positions or that such advocacies are absolute.

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