Monthly Archive for February, 2011

Why We Have A Union

More delicacies from the Oxford Book of Military Anecdotes:

I am reminded of the anecdote told by Wellington to his confidante, Mrs. Arbuthnot, on the methods Napoleon wished to employ in order to distract the Parisian public’s attention from the appalling losses in the Russian campaign then in progress. He ordered that the ballet dancers at the Opéra were to appear sans culotte [without underwear]. The order was given, but the dancers flatly refused to comply. ‘Wellington added’, says Mrs. Arbuthnot in her journal, ‘that if the women had consented he did not doubt but that it would have obliterated all recollection of the Russian losses. Wellington was categoric. “This anecdote,” he said, “he knew for a fact.” ’

Sylvester & Tweety, Meet Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan besieges the Tangut Chinese city of Volohai in 1207, but can’t break through the city’s heavily-defended fortifications. From the Oxford Book of Military Anecdotes, attributed to Gabriel Ronay:

He offered to withdraw if he was given by way of tribute one thousand cats and one thousand swallows. The startled Tangut complied. But instead of withdrawing Genghis set them alight and released them in one great rush of living fire. The hapless cats and birds set the city on fire in hundreds of places and, while the garrison fought the flames, the Mongols breached the walls.