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Order of the day issued to columns as they crossed the Chindwin, February 13th, 1943.

Today we stand on the threshold of battle. The time of preparation is over, and we are moving on the enemy to prove ourselves and our methods. At this moment we stand beside the soldiers of the United Nations in the front line trenches throughout the world. It is always a minority that occupies the front line. It is still a smaller minority that accepts with a good heart tasks like this that we have chosen to carry out. We need not, therefore, as we go forward into the conflict, suspect ourselves of selfish or interested motives. We have all had opportunity of withdrawing and we are here because we have chosen to be here; that is, we have chosen to bear the burden and heat of the day. Men who make this choice are above the average in courage. We need therefore have no fear for the staunchness and guts of our comrades.

The motive which had led each and all of us to devote ourselves to what lies ahead cannot conceivably have been a bad motive. Comfort and security are not sacrificed voluntarily for the sake of others by ill-disposed people. Our motive, therefore, may be taken to be the desire to serve our day and generation in the way that seems nearest to our hand. The battle is not always to the strong nor the race to the swift. Victory in war cannot be counted upon, but what can be counted upon is that we shall go forward determined to do what we can to bring this war to the end which we believe best for our friends and comrades in arms, without boastfulness or forgetting our duty, resolved to do the right so far as we can see the right.

Our aim is to make possible a government of the world in which all men can live at peace and with equal opportunity of service.

Finally, knowing the vanity of man's effort and the confusion of his purpose, let us pray that God may accept our services and direct our endeavours, so that when we shall have done all we shall see the fruit of our labours and be satisfied.

- O.C. Wingate, Commander, 77th Indian Infantry Brigade.

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Military Word Of The Day
coll trg
:
collective training


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Today in Military History

February 27



1814:

Whilst British troops under Lieutenant-General Hope beseiged Bayonne, Wellington led his main force against the main French field forces in the south of France, commanded by Marshal Soult. Wellington launched his attack with 44,000 men against Soult's 36,000 men drawn up on a ridgeline at Orthes. Sir Rowland Hill led the right wing in a diversionary attack, whilst Sir William Beresford and Sir Thomas Picton led the main assaults on the left and in the centre. After initial successes, both Beresford and Picton's attacks stalled, but Wellington spotted an opening in the disjointed French lines, and himself led three battalions to exploit the weakness. The French defeat was completed by Hill, who had managed to get behind Soult and force him to run for a bridge before his escape route was totally cut. Wellington's victory secured the British presence on French soil, and opened up routes to Bordeaux, which promptly surrendered, and Toulouse.


1881:

During an action with Boers, Lance Corporal Farmer, a medical orderly, stood exposed to enemy fire, holding a white flag over a group of wounded men, in an effort to spare them further attack. The Boers kept up their fire, and Farmer was badly wounded in the arm holding in the flag. However, he rose again to his feet, and continued to hold high the flag with his other arm, until he was shot in that limb as well. His efforts to protect the men, at great personal risk, was recognised with the award of the Victoria Cross.


1900:

Nineteen years later, during the Boer War, troops from the West Yorkshire Regiment attacked up the northern slope of Terrace Hill, near Tugela in Natal. Their advance was met with a barrage of fire, and faltered. Captain Mansel-Jones braved the enemy fire to remuster his men, and, despite suffering a very serious wound, led them once more up the hill in a charge which took the Boer position. He received the Victoria Cross.


1900:

Surrender of Cronje at Paardeburg


1942:

OPERATION BITING - BRUNEVAL - No. 12 Commando


1942:

Start of the Battle of the Java Sea; 13 US warships sunk, 2 Japanese.


1943:

British commandos raid heavy-water plant in Norway


1951:

Canada posts army officer to staff of Supreme Allied Commander; first step in providing Canadian ground troops in Europe for NATO




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