Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Things That Caught My Eye

I have been doing a little painting but mainly I have been watching historical videos on utube and reading Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson.

Both of these have raised a number of questions with me.

In 1860 the capital worth of the slave population in the US was equivalent to the total GDP of the country. Which explains why 'slave power' was reluctant to yield to the abolitionists demands.

What I don't understand is that given the average cost of a slave was somewhere over $1000, and the average wage of a labourer was about $13 a month (only payable when they are working), with board and lodgings - why people didn't sell the slaves, hire the labour and invest the capital.

Maybe there was a Dead Souls thing going on...

The other thing comes out of the lecture I highlighted yesterday by David M. Glantz.

It is widely said that Kursk was the biggest tank battle in history. Yet Glantz highlights an action in the Kiev campaign in which the Soviets lost 5000 tanks, and committed 3 Tank Armies. I found this helpful as looking at the order's of battle for the period the tank strength of a Soviet platoon was 17 tanks, and a year later a platoon is 10 tanks, which did leave me wondering what happened to the excess.

This forgotten battle reminds me of a snippet I heard on the World Service some years ago about a battle that had occurred in Ethiopia involved some two million men, tanks and aircraft. No details were given, nor did it say who had won. And it didn't make the next bulletin or any other news report.

Oh and I was also intrigued that during the debates to elect a speaker following the Buchanan election, every member of the Congress was armed, as were all the spectators in the gallery and the journalists.


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