A chrome Leica III in Wolfgang Petersen’s Das Boot, 1981. The actor Herbert Grönemeyer shoots with it in a couple of scenes and also has the lens off in one scene, wiping down the body.
Stumbled across, and almost into, a group of young men in Mehfiz, somewhat near Khamlia in the Sahara. These guys were at an open crevasse, mining for coal and quartz by hand. They did have some heavy machinery near by but almost all of their work was performed manually. Parts of the opening in the ground led to a pitch black emptiness.
This part of the Sahara was covered with hardscrabble consisting of sharp black obsidian and even sea shells, carpeting the desert floor. Nearby were the ruins of a fort and barracks for the French army from the turn of the century. This area as is true of a good part of Morocco is rich in minerals. The King of Morocco has been patient and careful in exploiting these resources.
All the rigging was cut to pieces, the masts damaged by a number of shot, the guns in the upper decks dismounted. I was wounded by a splinter….the Admiral [Villeneuve] ordered the few men remaining on the upper decks—they were now useless, having no guns left and no rigging to work, all being cut to pieces—to go below to the 24-pounder gundeck. The enemy ships appeared to leeeward of us; they were followed by the rest of the line…two 74s were on our beam, very close to windward, into whom we fired as vigorously as possible; the main and mizen masts fell, shot through and masked the starboard side, the colours were secured to the stump of the mainmast; the 24-pounder battery was totally dismounted and the 36-pounder battery had lost very many men, all the hands still able to serve were sent there; worked to clear away the masts from the ship so as to be able to make use of the 36-pounder battery…The ship, having only the foremast standing, fell away and broke her jib-boom against the Santissima Trinidad, they being very close together…an instant later our foremast fell…Our rigging completely dismanteld, totally mismasted, having lost all our men in the upper works, the 24-pounder battery entirely dismounted and abandoned…the starboard side masked by the masts; unable to defend ourselves, having nearly 450 men killed and wounded; not being supported by any ship…not even having a boat in which [the admiral] might put off [to shift his flag], all of them having been riddled with shot as well as the one which we had kept, covered before the battle, we were cut off in the midst of 5 enemy ships which were pouring a very hot fire into us. I went on deck again at the moment when Admiral Villeneuve was constrained to strike [surrender], to prevent the further slaughter of brave men without the power of retaliating, which was done after three and a quarter hours of the most furious action, nearly always at pistol range. The relics of the Eagle were thrown into the sea, as were also all the signals.
– Captain Jean-Jacques Magendie of the Bucentaure
From John Keegan’s seminal, masterful The Price of Admiralty.
Stonewall Jackson, one of the great and almost mythical military genius’ of the Civil War, was mistakenly shot by his own men on the night of May 2, 1863 at the The Battle of Chancellorsville.
Dr. McGuire, present at his deathbed, captured Jackson’s last words:
A few moments before he died he cried out in his delirium, “Order A.P. Hill to prepare for action! Pass the infantry to the front rapidly! Tell Major Hawks”—then stopped, leaving the sentence unfinished. Presently a smile of ineffable sweetness spread itself over his pale face, and he said quietly, and with an expression, as if of relief, “Let us cross over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees.”
Though it is worthy of complaint that Patton is too often quoted, I still enjoy his ostentatious style and absolute mastery of logistics. Here are some favorites:
“Audacity, audacity, always audacity.”
“A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”
“A piece of spaghetti or a military unit can only be led from the front end.”
“All very successful commanders are prima donnas and must be so treated.”
“I don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs but how high he bounces when he hits bottom.”
“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.”
“Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.”
On instructions to reconnaissance troops, “Just drive down the road, until you get blown up.”