The Life and Adventures of Charles ‘Moth’ Eaton Soldier – Pioneer Aviator – Pathfinder for Global Peacekeeping.
by Charles Stuart Eaton
Foreword by Dick Smith AO
In Retrospect Air Commodore Dr Mark Lax OAM, CSM
The Cross in the Sky is the remarkable story of Charles ‘Moth’ Eaton. As a soldier, pioneer aviator and pathfinder for global peacekeeping, Charles emerges as a trail-blazer in many realms. His story is intertwined with tectonic world events and a 65-year romance with Beatrice Rose Godfrey.
Eaton served every day of both world wars, starting with the Royal West Surreys and finishing with the Royal Australian Air Force. He was a prisoner of war and twice court-martialled by the German Army. After the Armistice, he ferried delegates to the Paris Peace Conference. In 1920 he flew in the first aerial survey of India, after which he lived amongst the Khond people of Orissa.
In Central Australia, following the disappearances of Kingsford Smith’s Southern Cross and Lasseter’s Golden Quest, he led rescue missions into the Tanami and Great Sandy deserts before establishing and then participating in the air defences of north-west Australia and West Papua during World War Two. As the Australian Consul in East Timor, he assisted the post-war reconstruction of that war-torn land.
In the midst of the Indonesian War of Independence, his life-long experience culminated in initiatives that led to the first United Nations venture to monitor conflict resolution. As Australia’s first diplomatic representative to the new nation of Indonesia, Charles Eaton laid the foundations of Australian–Indonesian bi-lateral relations.
The Cross in the Sky is the story of an extraordinary man, told by his younger son—and witness to some of these events—Charles Stuart Eaton.
Originally the basis of the Mongols’ military power and later almost driven to extinction by the advent of firearms, archery has been revived in Mongolia as a purely recreational sport.
Mongolian archery in the Middle Ages had great military significance. The earliest surviving piece of Mongolian writing is a stone inscription set up in 1226, which records a 335-fathom (about 575 yards) bow shot made by CHINGGIS KHAN’s nephew Yisüngge. The Franciscan friar JOHN OF PLANO CARPINI observed that Mongols began shooting from their second year and that from child to adult they were all excellent marksmen. Mongolian men spent most of their time making their own arrows, which had a number of different heads made with bone or iron.
Under the QING DYNASTY (1636–1912) training in archery was required of all bannermen. The military compound bow used was only about 1 1/4 meters (four feet) long, although ones more than two meters (six feet) long were also used for hunting. Bows were composed of a goat horn or deer antler core covered by wood (larch, elm, or bamboo) and wrapped in animal tendons. The bow’s powerful tension made it spring back when unstrung, and Mongolian EPICS frequently cite the difficult task of stringing a powerful bow as the distinguishing test of the hero. The bowstrings were made of silk threads or leather wrapped in tendons, the arrows of pine, birch, or willow fletched with feathers of a lammergeier, eagle, or falcon, and fitted with heads of deer antler, bone, or iron. Well-constructed compound bows and arrows were highly prized and fetched high prices. Hunters used this powerful war bow for large game, but small game was also taken with a simpler bow made of strips of fir or larch cut from the stems and wrapped with tendon. The bowstring was a length of hide, preferably horsehide.
Mongolian traditional bow technique involved putting the arrow on the right, or outer, side of the bow. The arrow was held with the thumb and forefinger and the bowstring drawn with the thumb, which was protected by heavy leather or a polished stone ring. The string was released by rolling it off the ring. Under the Qing the ability to handle a pull weight of about 37 kilograms (80 pounds) was considered the minimum for a grown man, and one of about 60 kilograms (133 pounds) was necessary for men who wished to participate in the imperial hunt. Training encompassed not only shooting from a standing position but also shooting while galloping on horseback, when the reins were taken up in the left hand or mouth while the right hand pulled back the bow. The targets for these military competitions were made of sheepskin stretched over wooden frames or wooden balls placed on poles about 1.7 meters (5.5 feet) high. Since the Mongols found it disturbing for target shooters to target a person or animal, even in their imagination, the target was sometimes called a mangas, or monster.
In the NAADAM “games” that accompanied religious rituals, archery was practiced with large, blunt ivory heads. The most common target was a pyramid or line of sur, made of leather straps rolled into a cylinder and filled with oak bark or leather, which was to be knocked over. At the beginning of the competition, the umpires (uukhaichin, or “uukhai sayers”) gave a cry of uukhai, accompanied by a circular motion of their arms with the hands pointed up to the sky to summon good fortune. The same cry accompanied each striking of the target and the final tallying of the score. The victorious archer received the title mergen (sharpshooter, but also wise man).
By the late 19th century, however, firearms were clearly more useful in hunting and warfare, and the archery competitions became desultory. Among the lamas of Khüriye (modern ULAANBAATAR), who were forbidden by the letter of the vinaya (monastic discipline) from even being in the presence of weapons of war, shooting astragali (shagai) became a widespread sport. In it lamas shot lined-up astragali (shagai) at a distance of 3 meters (9 feet) with horn or ivory bullets flicked by the middle finger from a wooden plank.
In 1922 the army Naadam in Mongolia (later the National Holiday Nadaam) and in 1924 the Sur-Kharbaan (Archery) games in the BURIAT REPUBLIC became annual events, beginning the revival of archery as a sport. In the National Holiday Naadam rules, each man fires 40 arrows at a distance of 75 meters (246 feet). In the 1960s women began to compete in the event, shooting 20 arrows at a distance of 60 meters (197 feet). This innovation had been adopted first among the BURIATS and in the 1950s in Inner Mongolia. While traditional bows are still used in Mongolia with the traditional fingering, Buriat and Inner Mongolian archers use European- style professional model bows and have adopted the Western shooting style.
The Battle of Blenheim, 1704 – Original Painting by Graham Turner Ref: GT133
Battles usually start when both sides agree to fight. Sometimes there can be a ritual to them. The Battle of the Spurs (1513) resembled the fights of the New Guinea Stone Age tribesmen, where many insults are exchanged, and perhaps a few spears and arrows are thrown, until someone gets hurt and the proceedings end. If one side withdrew there could be no battle. For instance, on the morning of 4 May 1704 at Dursburg Hill, Sergeant Millner remembered that the French advanced, but after coming within allied cannon range pulled back. The two sides stood staring at each other until four o’clock, when the enemy withdrew, ‘leaving us the Honour of the day,’ the sergeant bragged.
As both sides approached each other they would send out scouts, usually cavalry, to discover the other’s position and strength, and a good site for engaging him. Once the sides had implicitly agreed on a place, they had to draw up their forces in what was known as the ‘close order battlefield’. This compact area, usually a mile wide and a mile deep, revealed itself slowly, as each side deliberately arranged their positions. The process could be agonizingly slow. At Ramillies on 11 May 1706 the allied scouts were sent out at one in the morning. Two hours later the main body marched off in a heavy fog, which cleared at about ten to reveal the enemy. At noon cannon opened sporadic fire, which by two in the afternoon had become fairly sustained. At three the infantry advanced, pausing frequently to dress their lines, to ensure they were straight. Fighting continued until just before sunset (9.19 p.m.), when the enemy was routed. It took twenty hours to arrange the forces for Malplaquet (11 September 1709). The night before that engagement the English and French camped so close to each other that they had many frequent and friendly communications. ‘But at last each man being called to his respective post,’ remembered Sergeant Millner, ‘our commerce was turned to and swallowed up and drowned in Blood.’ George Hamilton, earl of Orkney, thought that ‘it really was a noble sight to see so many different bodies marching’ into battle at Malplaquet. Colonel Blackadder thought Malplaquet ‘the most deliberate, solemn and well-ordered battle I ever saw’. Every man was in his place and boldly advanced with speed, resolution and a cheerfulness that showed confidence in victory. ‘I never had such a pleasant day in all my life,’ concluded Blackadder about an action in which 35 per cent of the participants died or were wounded.
Few soldiers possessed such sangfroid. As they waited for battle to begin, men would have to relieve themselves as they remained within their positions, because it was too risky to let them break ranks to nip behind a convenient bush. Officers might try to steel their men with a pep-talk. ‘Gentlemen you are come this day to fight … for … your king, your religion, your country,’ Viscount Dundee told his troops before Killiecrankie (1689), adding that he expected them to behave ‘like true Scotsmen’. Waiting men might smoke or talk, tell jokes, or sleep or eat—all good means of calming nerves. Alcohol was another way of doing so. Donald MacBane greatly appreciated the dram he was served before Malplaquet. Most were very tired. Before the Battle of Roundway Down (1643), Captain Edward Harley had not slept in a bed for twelve days. Before the fighting began at Culloden fifteen hundred Highlanders were reported ‘nodding with sleep in the ranks’. Often men had no food. Henry Fowler had not eaten for forty-eight hours before the Battle of Selby (1644), while the London Trained Bands were so hungry that halfway through the assault on Basing House they paused to loot a barn containing vittles: as they stuffed and drank themselves silly, they were massacred. Before Malplaquet the Cameronians had had nothing to eat for five days. Nonetheless they went into action cheerfully singing psalms.
Infantry were the key: they were the ‘Queen of Battles’, not just because before mass artillery and air power they tended to decide battles, but because there were so many of them. Foot soldiers were easier to recruit and draft, and cheaper to equip and train than were cavalry or artillery.
During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the normal practice was to line up the infantry, several ranks deep in the centre of the formation, with cavalry on the flanks and artillery scattered throughout between infantry battalions. Infantry consisted of pikemen and musketeers. Heavily armoured pikemen would hold their sixteen-foot iron-tipped weapons out, with the end clamped to the earth by a boot. The pikemen’s job was to protect the musketeers from cavalry as they reloaded their slow-firing weapons. Matchlock muskets, which used a glowing match cord to light the charge, were especially dangerous, since the cord could ignite the bandoleers of gunpowder charges that musketeers hung around their chests, burning them alive. In the early seventeenth century the musket, or harquebus, was so heavy that it required a forked stand on which to rest the barrel as it was pointed at the enemy. As muskets got lighter, and cheaper, the proportion of musketeers to pikemen increased from a third to two thirds.
Once lined up facing each other, the infantry opened fire, supported by slow-firing light cannon, whose balls were lucky to kill a man or two. Infantry fire was ponderous (and the pikemen could not fire at all), so first volleys produced few casualties, even though the wound that a heavy, slow-moving musket ball inflicted was appalling, with an exit hole perhaps a foot in diameter. After a few desultory rounds, one or, rarely, both lines would advance. As they came into contact, in what was known as a ‘push of pike’, the pikemen did not impale each other like suicidal hedgehogs, but lifted their weapons up, and drew their swords. Musketmen reversed their weapons, turning them into clubs. Matchlocks were so slow and inaccurate that it has been suggested they were far more lethal as cudgels than as muskets.
In a huge heaving, screaming, smoke-filled, acrid, broiling, bloody scrum the two ranks of infantry hacked and slammed each other. They did not break into small groups independent of each other (as films often suggest), but remained within their ranks. In this ghastly experience they were helped by a disposition common to many animals who, when frightened, tend to ‘incline much to crowd in upon another’, as the earl of Castlehaven, a veteran of the Irish and French wars, noted in 1680. In the Arte of Warre (1591) William Garrard reported that in combat ranks of infantry could press so hard upon each other that it was impossible for a wounded or dead soldier to fall down. Today bunching together is dangerous, for it allows a single shell to kill many. In the early modern period this tendency to keep together was used so men would stay in ranks and lines, supporting each other as a unit. To survive units had to remain united: they must not become a mob. The purpose of hand to hand combat was to disintegrate an enemy formation, turning it into a mob of individuals to be killed at will. ‘Whatsoever may cause fear in your enemy, ought not to be omitted by you,’ advised Roger Boyle in his Treatise on the Art of War (1677). ‘Fear is truly said to be a Betrayer of that Succor which reason also might afford.’ In other words, Boyle urged creating ‘a panic fear’.
The OKW was given the responsibility under the Barbarossa Directive to make the necessary arrangements to put Romanian and Finnish contingents under German command. There is no evidence that this was seriously tried with respect to Finland. Command and command relationships were discussed during the Finnish delegation’s visit to Germany in May 1941. The Germans wanted General Falkenhorst to command the forces in north and central Finland while Mannerheim would command in the south.
German planners had previously assumed that Mannerheim would be given overall command in Finland. This is reflected in the OKW directive on April 7, 1941. That idea was now dropped, and their chance of bringing Mannerheim, a rather independent individual, under their control was lost as well. In doing so the Germans disregarded another well-known warning of their military philosopher and theorist Clausewitz that the worst situation is where two independent commanders find themselves operating in the same theater of war.
Ziemke and Erfurth speculate that this change came about because of an OKW desire to command in an active theater of operations. There was probably another and more practical reason. Hitler became exceedingly worried about the security of northern Norway and the iron and nickel mines in Sweden and Finland after the British raid on the Lofoten Islands in March 1941, and began a major force build-up. Mountain Corps Norway was an integral part of the defense of north Norway and Hitler and the OKW may well have been reluctant to place a good part of this area under Finnish command. Falkenhorst was still the German armed forces commander in Norway and it made some sense to also have him as commander in central and northern Finland.
Mannerheim wrote after the war that he received indirect feelers—from General Erfurth to General Heinrichs—about assuming overall command in Finland. There is some confusion in the sources as to when these feelers were made. Mannerheim gives the time of the offer as June 1941 while Erfurth places it in June 1944. Mannerheim writes about the 1941 offer that he was not attracted by the idea and gives as his reason a reluctance to become too dependent on the German High Command. Mannerheim does not mention the 1944 offer in his memoirs but Erfurth writes that Mannerheim replied to it on June 29, 1944, with the statement that he was too old to take over the additional responsibilities that the position of commander in chief of all forces in Finland would entail. The 1944 offer, if made, was probably an attempt to tie Finland firmly to Germany at a time when it was beginning to go its own way.
In addition to failing to settle on an overall commander, operations in Finland came under two separate German headquarters. The German commander in chief in northern and central Finland, whose main focus was on isolating Murmansk, reported to the OKW after Hitler’s changes to the command structure following the Lofoten raid in March 1941. OKH—responsible for operations on the Eastern Front—was left to deal with operations in southern Finland. The axiomatic belief in both Germany and Finland that the looming war would be short was probably the greatest contributing factor to this deficient command arrangement. This short-war scenario undoubtedly made many feel that no elaborate command structure or long-range plans were necessary.
There was no joint German–Finnish campaign plan much beyond the initial attacks. The loose and informal nature of the coalition, the lack of long-range planning, and an ineffective command structure posed increasing problems as the war dragged on. These massive violations of long-standing military principles could have been rectified by Hitler and the OKW, but they failed to act.
The development of a staff study by Group XXI (Army of Norway) for operations in Finland based on Directive 21. The study was expanded by Marshal von Brauchitsch on January 16 to include examining the feasibility of a German–Finnish southeast drive in the area of Lake Ladoga, Lake Onega, and the White Sea. The Army of Norway was asked to make recommendations for supply operations and command relationships. This study, begun in late December, was completed on January 27, 1941, and given the code name Silberfuchs (Silver Fox).
The Finnish Army would carry the main burden of the attack. The bulk of their forces would be concentrated in the southeast for an attack east of Lake Ladoga towards the Svir River. The Finnish Army was to defend the frontier north of Lake Ladoga with relatively weak forces, and additionally was responsible for the security of the coast and the Åland Islands. The staff study assumed that the overall command in Finland would be given to the Finns because they were providing the preponderance of forces.
The planning and preparation for Renntier was not wasted, but expanded by making it part of the operations assigned to Mountain Corps Norway. The main German attack was a drive from Rovaniemi through Salla to Kandalaksha on the White Sea. This drive would cut the Murmansk Railroad and sever lines of communication between Soviet forces in Murmansk and on the Kola Peninsula from the rest of the Soviet Union.
The forces allocated to the main drive consisted of one German and one Finnish corps. The German corps—XXXVI Corps—consisted of two infantry divisions and SS Kampfgruppe Nord reinforced by a tank battalion, a machinegun battalion, an antitank battalion, an artillery battalion, and engineers. Kampfgruppe Nord would provide security for the assembly of the two infantry divisions. Part of the German forces would turn north when they reached Kandalaksha. In conjunction with one reinforced mountain division advancing from Pechenga towards Murmansk, the forces that turned north would destroy the Soviet forces on the Kola Peninsula and capture Murmansk.
The Finnish corps—III Corps—consisted of two divisions (3rd and 6th) plus border guards. Its main mission was to launch a secondary attack on the German right flank against Ukhta (Uhtua) and then on towards Kem (Kemi) on the White Sea. This drive, if successful, would also cut the Murmansk Railroad. The bulk of the German forces advancing on Kandalaksha would turn south after reaching that town and link up with the Finns in the Kem area for a joint drive southward behind the left wing of the main Finnish Army.
The operations proposed in the Silberfuchs staff study assumed that Sweden would allow German troops and supplies to cross its territory from Norway to Finland. It was planned that five divisions (later increased to seven) would be left in Norway for its defense and that the Army of Norway would supply all German units. This would involve large supply, construction, and transportation assets and many of these would have to come from Germany.
The OKH Operation Order
The German Army issued an operation order at the end of January for operations in Finland using the Army of Norway staff study as its basis. Hitler approved the order on February 3, 1941.
The OKH order assigned the defense of Norway as the highest priority of the Army of Norway. Only forces over and above the requirement for the priority mission would be used in Finland where the mission of German forces was limited to the defense of the Pechanga area until Finland entered the war. At that time the order laid out two possible courses of action. The first was that proposed in the Army of Norway staff study, while the second would come into being if Sweden refused transit of troops. If this materialized, the Germans would launch an attack through Pechenga with the mission of capturing Murmansk.
As far as the mission of the Finnish Army, some disagreements had developed and certain things remained unresolved. Finnish participation in the planning had been indirect and remained so because Hitler’s order on February 3, 1941 specified that all potential allies should be brought into the planning process only when German intentions could no longer be disguised. The Army order gave the Finnish Army the mission of covering German deployments in central Finland and the capturing of Hanko. The Germans wanted the bulk of the Finnish Army to undertake offensive operations towards the southeast when German Army Group North crossed the Dvina River. The Germans accepted offensives on both sides of Lake Ladoga as long as the main effort was made on the east side of that lake. The Finnish Army was expected to make a sweep around the eastern shore of the lake and isolate Leningrad by affecting a junction with Army Group North in the Tikhvin area.
The Xiang Army recapturing Jinling, a suburb of the Taiping capital, July 19, 1864.
The Taiping Rebellion devastated the landscape of southern China, causing widespread bloodshed and famine.
Detail from The suppression of the Taiping Rebellion.
Imperial troops during the Taiping Rebellion, China the wounded musketman is a Taiping rebel.
One of the primary goals of the Taipings was to create a Christian kingdom in China. Clearly, this was an ideology that originated from the West. Therefore, like the British, the Taipings had first to face and defeat the Manchu Dynasty. Unlike the British, the Taipings’ goal was not treaty revision but was political in nature—taking control of China. The military overthrow of the Manchus, and the establishment of a new Han Chinese Dynasty to take its place, soon became the single most important ideology uniting the Taipings.
To carry out this goal, Hong Xiuquan and his cousin Feng Yushan soon realized the need for a strong military. In 1844, the two men traveled to Guangxi Province to look for a suitable base for the future Taiping Army. Feng is also given credit for devising a military system, supposedly based on the military administration of China’s founding Qin Dynasty, in which fixed armies of 13,155 men were subdivided into divisions, brigades, companies, platoons, and squads. In addition to the military command, which had administrative and training responsibilities, there was a separate strategic “army inspector” who could issue orders to the army commander. When several armies were gathered, a commander-in-chief gave the orders and reported to his superiors, who in turn went up the chain of command to the Heavenly King, Hong Xiuquan. Discipline was strictly enforced by corporal punishment, public shaming, beating, or loss of rank, and the Taiping troops were regulated by a strict code composed of sixty-two rules, most of which emphasized loyalty to the movement and its leaders.
Even the Taipings’ enemies, such as the Imperial commander Zeng Guofan, came to admire the Taipings’ military structure and determination. According to Jen Yu-wen, the secret of the Taipings’ military success was their common religious beliefs:
The whole army kept up the religious practices of their early days as God-Worshipers, assembling to worship God in the morning and evening, saying prayers before meals, gathering to listen to sermons on Sundays, kneeling in prayer before going to battle, etc. This was the real secret of their strength—a secret known to the Imperialists but dismissed as a kind of witchcraft.
In the beginning, the very weakness of the Taipings also forced them to be innovative, such as allowing Hakka women to fight with the men. They appealed to patriotic Han Chinese to join them in overthrowing the Manchus, and the Taiping army quickly grew to 50,000. In battle, the Taipings also made use of a wide variety of military technology. For example, when they attacked Guilin, the Taipings used towering siege equipment, ladders, and rockets. When besieging Chuanzhou, they tunneled beneath the city wall and blew it up with gunpowder.
The Taipings employed diverse offensive strategies. For example, in taking the small town of Yung’an Zhou on 25 September 1851—the first walled town to be controlled by the Taipings—the Taiping commander, Lo Dagang, ordered his troops to light firecrackers and throw them over the city wall as if they were explosives. In the midst of the ensuing panic, the Taipings scaled the city wall and occupied the town virtually unopposed. Eighteen months later, while advancing down the Yangzi River on Nanjing, the Taipings filled empty ships with mud and rocks and sent them downstream past the Imperial garrisons. Only after the Imperial troops exhausted their ammunition on the decoys did the real Taiping ships appear. In traditional Chinese fashion, based on Sunzi’s Art of War, the Taipings also took care to use the terrain to their advantage. Once they were forced to evacuate, the Taipings ambushed the Imperial forces along narrow mountain paths, where their superior weapons and horses did them little good.
Although the Taipings did not carry out their original strategic goal of moving quickly against Changsha, the capital of Hunan, they did settle temporarily in southern Hunan in the smaller city of Daozhou, from where they reorganized and strengthened their army to include about 70,000 troops. After failing to take Changsha, they marched south and west, eventually taking the city of Hankou by the end of December 1852. Linking boats to form a bridge across the Yangzi River, the Taipings laid siege to Wuchang for twenty days, finally conquering it on 12 January 1853. From this position, the Taipings virtually controlled the upper Yangzi River and its trade, thus cutting off China’s interior from the coastal regions.
Although they considered heading straight for Beijing, reports of a large Imperial force blocking the way persuaded the Taipings to turn to the east. Since Wuchang was a good strategic base from which to attack down river, the Taipings decided to attack and consolidate their control in Nanjing, the heart of the Yangzi River valley. This decision has been criticized by one military historian as “one of the greatest strategic errors in the history of the movement,” since the Taipings threw away their first, and best, chance of marching on Beijing and overthrowing the Manchus. It is important to note that seventy years later, during the Nationalists’ (Guomindang or GMD) Northern Expedition to oust the Beijing warlords, the GMD leaders copied this strategy almost step for step, and also based their new capital in Nanjing. Some of the significant differences between the Taipings and the Nationalists included the GMD’s adoption of a nationalist ideology, as versus religious ideology, its willingness to make and break political alliances with western powers—especially the USSR—and, most importantly, its more highly modernized military structure.
On 8 February 1853, the Taipings’ estimated 500,000-strong force left Wuchang, crossed the Yangzi River, and burned their floating bridges after them. This action was not merely symbolic, but delayed an advancing Imperial army under the commander-in-chief of Hubei Province, Xiang Rong. Splitting into two groups, a small land-based force on the northern shore forged ahead to clear the river of obstacles, while the majority of the Taiping Army floated down river in the 20,000 boats they had requisitioned and provisioned in Wuchang. Virtually unopposed, the Taipings easily took Jiujiang, in western Jiangxi Province, and Anqing, the capital of Anhui. After reprovisioning from the abandoned Imperial storehouses, the Taipings moved on to Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu Province.
By the time the Taiping Army reached Nanjing on 6 March 1853, their numbers had swelled to three-quarters of a million. Although poorly defended, the enormous city wall kept the Taipings at bay for thirteen days, during which time tunnels were dug. By 19 March, with explosives prepared in three tunnels under the wall, hundreds of Taiping paper effigies carrying torches appeared riding by the western end of the city. Not until it was too late did the defending troops realize that this was merely another Taiping ruse to draw as many opponents on to the wall as possible. Two massive explosions soon breached the city gates, while a third tunnel exploded late, killing many advancing Taipings.
Although there were sufficient defenders to stop the Taipings’ attack, the chance death of the Imperial commander, Lu Jianying, demoralized his troops and they fled in panic. After taking the outer walls of the city, the Taipings advanced on the inner Imperial City—also known as the Manchu City—on 20 March. Refusing to surrender, the 40,000 Manchu Bannermen and regular troops inside the Imperial City fought desperately, but quickly fell before the human waves that the Taipings were able to send against the inner city’s walls. This offensive ended in massacre, with about 30,000 Manchu deaths.
The battle for Nanjing was over quickly, and resulted in a major Taiping victory after a relatively short siege. One possible reason for this rapid victory may have been the Taipings’ use of spies, since about 3,000 Taiping troops successfully entered Nanjing disguised as Buddhist monks. This tactic closely followed Sunzi’s advice to use spies and unorthodox methods: during the city’s siege, these Taiping supporters set fires and signaled to the outside forces where the weak points were along the city walls.
Soon after the Taipings took Nanjing, the cities of Zhenjiang and Yangzhou fell without opposition. This gave the Taipings control over the Grand Canal, “the great medium of communication between the southern provinces and the capital, and the route by which all of the grain supplies were conveyed to the north.” Although the Taipings quickly organized and dispatched expeditions to the north and west, Nanjing itself was soon surrounded and besieged by Imperial troops. However, by incorporating elaborate defensives, and a military communication system based on flags and drums, the Taipings survived three Imperial sieges and held Nanjing for the next eleven years.
The Xiang Army recapturing Jinling, a suburb of the Taiping capital, July 19, 1864
Taiping soldiers, male and female, outside Shanghai
The Taiping “Rebellion” (1851–64), or “Revolution,” was a religious-based domestic uprising with ethnic—Han versus Manchu—overtones. Fought mainly with traditional Chinese weapons and tactics, it corresponded and overlapped with the Arrow War (1856–60), or second Opium War, which was China’s second anti-foreign trade war. The Manchus lost the Arrow War, but in the interim created China’s first modernized armies—the “Ever-Victorious Army” and the Xiang Army—in order to defeat the Taipings.
Although the military aspects of the Taiping and Arrow conflicts differ greatly, they will be treated together for several reasons. First, both conflicts owed their origins to the first Opium War. Second, both involved the use of military forces to oppose the Manchus’ Qing Dynasty in Beijing. Third, the Manchu Dynasty succeeded in using trade—in this case, the opium trade—to convince the foreign powers to oppose the Taipings, and in so doing retained their political domination over China.
The origins of the Taiping Rebellion can be traced to Britain’s victory over the Manchus in the Opium War, which revealed the Qing Dynasty’s internal weakness. The British victory gave Han Chinese hope that the Manchus had finally lost the “Mandate of Heaven” and that a new Han Dynasty might soon take its place. The effect of the Opium War on the Han Chinese leader of the Taipings, Hong Xiuquan, was especially profound: while Hong appears to have blamed himself for failing the Imperial Examinations three times during the 1820s and 1830s, after failing for the fourth time, in 1843, he angrily vowed to overthrow the Manchu government. Hong’s subsequent conversion to Christianity and the Taipings’ adoption of a unique mixture of Christianity and Confucianism also suggests the important impact of the Opium War on the Han Chinese people’s perception of westernization—in this case Christianity as the symbol of European culture—as a means of obtaining their political and cultural liberty from the Manchus.
The Arrow War similarly owed its origins to the Opium War. Unlike the Taiping conflict, the underlying issue in the Arrow War was the defense of foreign trade in China by insuring the safety of foreign ships from Taiping pirates. To guarantee free trade required treaty revision, prompting Great Britain and France to launch a military campaign, their main goal being to obtain greater trade privileges from the Manchus. In a marked departure from the Opium War, the Manchu Dynasty proved willing for the first time to adopt western military methods. During the Arrow War, the major military engagement—and one of the few in which the Chinese were victorious—was called the “Dagu Repulse.” However, in the long run the foreign forces outmaneuvered and defeated the Manchu military, even sacking and burning the Summer Palace during the fall of 1860.
Faced with international and domestic foes, the Manchus adopted a policy of playing the western nations against the Taipings by making major trade concessions—including legalizing opium in 1858. This was in marked contrast to the Han Chinese leaders of the Taipings, who, for religious reasons, adamantly opposed the importation and sale of opium. In return for trade concessions, therefore, the foreign powers sided with the Manchus and used their superior military might to oppose the Taipings.
By pitting the two sides against each other, the Manchus were able to defeat the Taipings while granting to the western nations only nominally greater trade advantages than they had held before. From a purely military viewpoint, the Manchu Dynasty in China was far too weak to oppose effectively any alliance between the Taipings and the western nations; but by exploiting the opium trade as its key negotiating point, Beijing not only kept the two groups apart, it eventually pitted them against each other. This policy ultimately led to the total defeat of the Taipings and to the formation of a new modus vivendi based on free trade with the western nations. The trading system that was put in force following the Arrow War would continue unchallenged for the next half-century. China’s diplomatic victory also gave new life to an Imperial dynasty that had seemed to be on the verge of collapse.
With no reliable census at the time, estimates are necessarily based on projections, but the most widely cited sources put the total number of deaths during the 15 years of the rebellion at about 20–30 million civilians and soldiers. Most of the deaths were attributed to plague and famine. At the Third Battle of Nanking in 1864, more than 100,000 were killed in three days.
The rebellion happened at roughly the same time as the American Civil War. Although almost certainly the largest civil war of the 19th century (in terms of numbers under arms), it is debatable whether the Taiping Rebellion involved more soldiers than the Napoleonic Wars earlier in the century.
A typical 12th century Genoese trader, at this time merchant ships relied on sails rather than oars. Such vessels displaced between 10-30 tons and were crewed by 40-60 men.
The principal route followed by the First Crusade bypassed the Mediterranean and took the army overland through the Balkans and Anatolia; many crusaders never saw more of the sea than the Bosphorus at Constantinople until, much reduced in numbers through war, disease and exhaustion, they reached Syria. And even in the East their target was not a maritime city but Jerusalem, so that its conquest in 1099 created an enclave cut off from the sea, a problem which, as will be seen, only Italian navies could resolve. Another force left from Apulia, where Robert Guiscard’s son Bohemond brought together an army. The Byzantines wondered whether he was really planning to revive his father’s schemes for the conquest of Byzantine territory, and so, when he reached Constantinople, he was pressed to acknowledge the emperor’s authority, becoming his lizios, or liegeman, a western feudal term that was used because Bohemond was more likely to feel bound by oaths made according to his native customs than by promises made under Byzantine law. When in 1098 he established himself as prince of Antioch, a city only recently lost by the Byzantines to the Turks, the imperial court made every effort to insist that his principality lay under Byzantine suzerainty. It was amazing that a vast rabble of men, often poorly armed, proved capable of seizing Antioch in 1098 and Jerusalem in 1099, though the Byzantines were more inclined to regard this as a typical barbarian stroke of fortune than as a victory masterminded by Christ. Seen from Constantinople, the outcome of the crusade was not entirely negative. Western knights had installed themselves in sensitive borderlands between Byzantine territory and lands over which the Seljuk Turks and the Fatimid caliphs were squabbling Bohemond’s religious motives in joining the crusade should not be underestimated, but he was a pragmatist: he saw clearly that the crusader armies would be able to retain nothing without access to the Mediterranean, and without naval support from Christian fleets capable of keeping open the supply-lines to the West. He would therefore need to build ties with the Italian navies. He could count on the enthusiasm that had been generated in Genoa and Pisa by the news of Pope Urban’s speech, conveyed to the Genoese by the bishops of Grenoble and of Orange. The citizens of Genoa decided that the time had come to bury their differences and to unite in a compagna under the direction of six consuls; the aim of the compagna was primarily to build and arm ships for the crusade. Historians have long argued that the Genoese saw the crusade as a business opportunity, and that they were hoping to secure trade privileges in whatever lands the crusaders conquered comparable to those the Venetians had recently acquired in the Byzantine Empire. Yet they could not foresee the outcome of the crusade; they were willing to suspend their trading activities and pump all their energy into the building of fleets that were very likely to be lost far away in battles and storms. What moved them was holy fervour. According to a Genoese participant in the First Crusade, the chronicler Caffaro, even before it, in 1083, a Genoese ship named the Pomella had carried Robert, count of Flanders, and Godfrey of Bouillon, the first Latin ruler of Jerusalem, to Alexandria; from there they had made their way with difficulty to the Holy Sepulchre, and had begun to dream of recovering it for Christendom. The story was pure fancy, but it expresses the sense among the Genoese elite that their city was destined to play a major role in the war for the conquest of Jerusalem.
Twelve galleys and one smaller vessel set out from Genoa in July 1097. The crew consisted of about 1,200 men, a sizeable proportion of its male population, for the overall population of the city of Genoa may have been only 10,000. Somehow the fleet knew where the crusaders were, and made contact off the northern coast of Syria. Antioch was still under siege, and the Genoese fleet stood off Port St Symeon, the outport of the city that had functioned as a gateway to the Mediterranean since the Bronze Age. After the fall of Antioch in June 1098, Bohemond rewarded the Genoese crusaders with a church in Antioch, thirty houses nearby, a warehouse and a well, creating the nucleus of a merchant colony. This grant was the first of many that the Genoese were to receive in the states created by the crusaders. In the early summer of 1099 members of a prominent Genoese family, the Embriachi, anchored off Jaffa, bringing aid to the crusader army besieging Jerusalem – they dismantled their own ships, carrying the wood from which they were built to Jerusalem for use in the construction of siege engines. And then in August 1100 twenty-six galleys and four supply ships set out from Genoa, carrying about 3,000 men. They made contact with the northern French ruler of the newly established kingdom of Jerusalem, Baldwin I, and began the slow process of conquering a coastal strip, since it was essential to maintain supply-lines from western Europe to the embattled kingdom. They sacked the ancient coastal city of Caesarea in May 1101. When the Genoese leaders divided up their loot, they gave each sailor two pounds of pepper, which demonstrates how rich in spices even a minor Levantine port was likely to be. They also carried away a large green bowl that had been hanging in the Great Mosque of Caesarea, convinced that it was the bowl used at the Last Supper and that it was made of emerald (a mistake rectified several centuries later when someone dropped it, and it was found to be made of glass). Since the bowl is almost certainly a fine piece of Roman workmanship from the first century AD, their intuitions about its origins were not entirely wrong. It was carried in triumph to the cathedral in Genoa, where it is still displayed, attracting attention as one of several candidates for the title Holy Grail.
The green bowl was, for the Genoese, probably as great a prize as any of their commercial privileges, all of which were celebrated in the city annals as signs of divine bounty. The Genoese made friends with the rulers of each of the crusader states (Jerusalem, Tripoli, Antioch) that needed help in gaining control of the seaports of Syria and Palestine. In 1104 their fortunes were further boosted by the capture of the port city of Acre, with an adequate harbour and good access into the interior. For most of the next two centuries, Acre functioned as the main base of the Italian merchants trading to the Holy Land. The Genoese produced documents to show that the rulers of Jerusalem promised them one-third of the cities they helped conquer all the way down the coast of Palestine, though not everyone is convinced all these documents were genuine; if not, they are still evidence for their vast ambitions. They were even promised a third of ‘Babylonia’, the current European name for Cairo, for there were constant plans to invade Fatimid Egypt as well. To all this were added legal exemptions, extending from criminal law to property rights, that separated the Genoese from the day-to-day exercise of justice by the king’s courts. The Genoese insisted that they were permitted to erect an inscription in gilded letters recording their special privileges inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Whether or not this inscription was ever put in place, the demand for such a public record indicates how determined the Genoese were to maintain their special extra-territorial status in the kingdom of Jerusalem, which never developed a significant navy of its own.
Arguably, the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 evolved into wartime Germany’s most effective fighter, offering the Luftwaffe the benefit of manoeuvrability combined with stability as a formidable gun platform and the flexibility to perform as an air superiority fighter, a heavily armed and armoured interceptor and as an ordnance-carrying ground attack aircraft. However, this superlative machine had its Achilles’ heel, for when the first Fw 190A-2s entered operational service with Stab/JG 26 and I./JG 26 on the Channel Front in July 1941, it became apparent quite quickly that the type’s performance at high-altitude was weak.
The Fw 190A-2 was powered by the 1,500hp BMW 801C-1 and 1,600 hp C-2 radial engines. From the start, and during initial testing in 1940 and early 1941, this engine was plagued with faults. Crews and technicians of the Luftwaffe’s dedicated test unit Erprobungsstaffel 190 at Rechlin, therefore, were forced to undertake considerable trouble-shooting. Finally, by August 1941, the engine was deemed safe enough to allow the first Fw 190A-1 production machines to be handed over to 6./JG 26, which at the time was based in Belgium. Unfortunately, the problems persisted, with nine Fw 190s crashing in August–September 1941. The finger of blame was pointed at BMW, whose engines continued to be plagued by overheating and compressor damage.
There were also delays in deliveries associated with failings afflicting the anticipated 1,700hp BMW 801D. This engine, fitted in the Fw 190A-3 (in production from late 1941), benefited from uprated power achieved by increasing the compression ratio in the cylinders and refinements to the two-speed supercharger. Nevertheless, it was found to suffer from a fall in performance above 19,750ft.
Despite this worrying scenario, since early 1941 Kurt Tank had been working on a re-design of the Fw 190 that would incorporate a different powerplant capable of functioning effectively at altitudes higher than those then achievable. In his post-war memoirs, Tank summarises succinctly the prevailing situation at the time:
Hardly was the Fw 190 flying at the beginning of the war before it had to be extensively redesigned, enlarged and made more powerful still. In no time at all, the requirements of very many pieces of auxiliary equipment connected with the armament and communications of the plane forced up its weight, and at the same time new and more powerful engines were becoming available.
In November 1941, under the project designation ‘Ra-8’, Focke-Wulf decided to install a Junkers Jumo 213A inverted V12 engine into the airframe of an Fw 190, while tests also proceeded with a Daimler-Benz DB 603 inline inverted V12 – this option was ultimately dropped in favour of the Jumo unit. The Jumo 213’s edge came in the form of a pressurised cooling system and, with high boost settings, was designed to produce 1,750hp at 3,250rpm. In a clever move, the Junkers design team placed the mounting points in exactly the same locations as those for the DB 603. Although this meant easy interchange, the supercharger intake was to be found on the left side of the DB 603, while in the case of the Jumo it was on the right. The Jumo 213 also had a strengthened crankshaft and engine block, with smaller external dimensions than the Daimler-Benz motor, although it did retain the same bore and stroke.
The first aircraft to be fitted with a Jumo 213A was Wk-Nr. 0039 CF+OX, which was prototype V17. This Fw 190, with its ‘Langnase’ (‘long nose’) as a result of the engine installation, also featured a tail unit that was similar in shape to what would appear in the later Ta 152 high-altitude interceptor. It took to the air for the first time on 26 September 1942 from Hannover-Langenhagen, flown by Focke-Wulf chief test pilot Flugkapitän Hans Sander. There were some initial teething problems with the installation, and after Kurt Melhorn had made the eighth test flight in V17 on 4 December 1942, he reported that ‘the engine is still running very roughly so that proper testing cannot be carried out.’ In January 1943 the aircraft was returned to the workshops for fitting with a pre-production Jumo 213A-0.
Focke-Wulf persisted with the trials throughout 1943, Sander completing three test flights in V17 on 27 February, for example. The aircraft had its radio equipment removed and replaced by a ballast load of 290lb, with 26lb in the tail fin and 33lb in the jacking tube. Unfortunately, extreme vibration made the machine impossible to fly, casting heavy doubts over any chance of it becoming a combat-ready fighter since, primarily, such vibration would greatly hamper use of a reflector gunsight. More flights were undertaken in March by Sander, his fellow test-pilot Bernhard Märschel and Hauptmann Otto Behrens, a Luftwaffe fighter technician from Rechlin. Still the Jumo was viewed as unfavourable compared to the earlier BMW engine, despite the fitting of new bearings. Beside long-running coolant leaks, oil was now found to be routinely seeping onto the floor of the cockpit when the aircraft was aloft.
On 30 April V17 was transferred to Rechlin for further assessment in the hope of solving these problems. It was discovered that the vibration was caused by crankshaft resonance in the continuous speed range, and a solution was soon found in the form of a spoke wheel inserted between the crankshaft and the propeller. This duly shifted the resonance into an rpm range that was not disruptive. A change in the cylinder firing sequence reduced vibration levels even further, although this in turn reduced the engine’s performance by a full eight per cent because the exhaust and intake lines had been optimised for the original firing sequence. Nevertheless, by June 1943, the 185 engines thus far completed at Junkers’ Dessau plant had been modified accordingly.
During the summer V17 returned from Rechlin to Focke-Wulf, where it was fitted with a Jumo 213A-1 and a streamlined cowling but still lacked armament.
The technical issues surrounding the Jumo powerplant persisted for more than a year, prompting General-Ingenieur Wolfram Eisenlohr, head of the engine department in the RLM, to lament:
The neglect under which matters of engine development have long suffered have now led to a critical lack of developmental capacity. A glance at other countries shows that research into powerplant matters abroad have been handled much more favourably than here.
In May 1944 V17 was refitted with a Jumo 213A-2 that drove a wooden VS 9 propeller. The Junkers engine was some 24 inches longer than the BMW 801, which meant the aircraft had to be modified at the Focke-Wulf plant at Adelheide in late April. Its fuselage was extended by 20 inches just ahead of the tail assembly to offset this. In this configuration, the machine became V17/U1 – the first true Fw 190D-9 prototype. Testing went reasonably well, with Märschel completing the inaugural flight on 17 May when he flew it back to Hannover-Langenhagen. Here, it underwent extensive trials, with test pilots generally reporting that the Jumo 213A offered a great improvement at altitude over the BMW 801D. Furthermore, thanks to the D-9’s reduced drag as a result of its a narrower radiator profile, it was faster than the radial-engined Fw 190 in a dive.
In a further stage of development, in June–July 1944, because of ‘difficulties with existing prototypes’, the airframes of two early Fw 190A-8s were reconfigured under the suffix D-9 (‘D’ being given the moniker ‘Dora’) – a designation that seems to have first been used in a Focke-Wulf drawing dating from January 1944. These aircraft were to be made available ‘immediately’ at Adelheide under the prototype numbers V53 and V54. The Fw 190A-8 variant was by far the most numerous and most potent Focke-Wulf heavy fighter to be built, and it became the Luftwaffe’s main close-range interceptor for operations against USAAF heavy bombers throughout 1944–45.
The January 1944 drawing incorporated an extended fuselage and tail assembly, along with strengthening of the forward fuselage and wing centre section and provision for a Jumo 213A engine.
The first to be converted was Wk-Nr. 170003, the third A-8 to be built, which became V53 (coded DU+JC) in the D-9 programme. However, this prototype was fitted with a Jumo 213C at the Focke-Wulf plant at Sorau, in Silesia. Essentially an A-model Jumo engine with rearranged secondary equipment (such as supercharger and oil pump), it was capable of, and designed from the outset for, the fitment of a centreline cannon firing through an opening for a blast tube in the propeller hub. This had the advantage of a gun being more along a pilot’s line of sight, as well as offering less impact on speed and manoeuvrability. A disadvantage, however, was the recoil associated with a centrally-mounted weapon and the impact it had on the engine, leading to potential mechanical problems and possible damage.
When the aircraft made its first flight on 12 June 1944, it retained the original A-8 wing armament comprising four 20mm MG 151/20E cannon and a pair of 13mm MG 131 machine guns mounted over the engine. Testing of V53 was rigorous, with no fewer than 100 flights being made before it was eventually reassigned as an armaments test aircraft for the new Ta 152B-5, at which point it became V68.
Fw 190A-8 Wk-Nr. 174024, coded BH+RX, was an aircraft that had suffered some damage on 29 May. Reconfigured as D-9 V54, its maiden flight took place on 26 July 1944 and its last on 4 August at Focke-Wulf’s Langenhagen plant when it was flown by Flugkapitän Sander. The main task of V54 was to trial the MW 50 methanol-water power-boosting system, for which a 115-litre tank was installed. There is some documentary evidence to suggest that the original plan was for V54 to test the GM-1 nitrous oxide-based injection power-boosting system developed by Otto Lutz in 1940.
MW 50 was a solution of 50 per cent methanol, 49.5 per cent water and 0.5 per cent anti-corrosive fluid, the liquid being injected directly into the supercharger for limited periods not exceeding ten minutes. In air combat, the boost increased the power of a Jumo 213 engine by at least 300hp to 2,000hp for short periods. Such a system came with the added benefit of needing only the installation of purpose-made spark plugs to modify the engine. However, its one side-effect was that the corrosive nature of methanol reduced engine life.
Production of the Fw 190D-9 was planned to commence in August, but on the 5th there was a setback when both the A-8 conversions were damaged as a result of an American bombing raid on Langenhagen. V53 escaped with light damage rated at five per cent, but V54 suffered 80 per cent damage and was written off. Nevertheless, series production did start at Focke-Wulf’s Cottbus and Sorau plants later in the month, as well as at the Gerhard Fieseler Werke at Kassel-Waldau and at the Ago Oschersleben and Arbeitsgemeinschaft Roland plants. The first production machines rolled out of the assembly halls at Sorau towards the end of August, with Sander taking Wk-Nr. 210001 TR+SA up on the 31st, while Hauptmann Schmitz flew the second example, Wk-Nr. 210002 TR+SB, on 15 September. Both aircraft did suffer from minor teething problems, but series production was now underway.
Having been repaired after the August attack on Langenhagen, V53 had had its outboard wing MG 151s removed and the two inboard weapons replaced by 30mm MK 103 cannon by late 1944. In such a configuration the aircraft was redesignated V68. V17 was still available for testing, despite its ‘official’ testing life having ended on 6 July at the Erprobungsstelle at Rechlin. Wk-Nr. 210001 was fitted with two MG 131 machine guns above the engine and two MG 151 cannon in the wing roots. Problems were still being experienced with the Jumo 213A-1, however. The second machine to be turned out, Wk-Nr. 210002, had the same armament and took to the air on 15 September flown by Hauptmann Schmitz. It was found during subsequent tests in this aircraft that ‘while climbing at combat power, with all flaps set to flush at 9,000m [29,500ft], an increase of over 2m [6.5ft]/sec in the rate of climb, as well as an increase of the service ceiling to 10,500m [34,500ft], could be obtained.’
In one test to measure engine temperature during a climb in Wk-Nr. 210001 at Langenhagen on 20 October, it was noted that:
The radiator coolant inlet and outlet temperatures, as well as the lubricant and supercharger air temperatures at the engine entrance, were taken using combat power climb with 20 degrees angle radiator flap opening. Since the last flight had to be broken off because of weather and engine breakdown, the height of peak temperature was just reached at 6000m [19,685ft] altitude.
Teething problems persisted, however, as illustrated by a report prepared at Langenhagen on 24 October:
As delivered, substantial gaps were present in the engine, in particular in the connection from the cowl to the wing. In order to check for their influence on level speeds, performance comparison flights were carried out in the low supercharger range, before and after sealing of all existing gaps. After conclusion of the trials in the initial condition, an even gap width at the transition from the cowl to the wing had to be ensured, first by shifting of the lower engine cover against the propeller direction of rotation, since substantial differences arose by the engine torque in flight. Then the sealing of the fairing was made by means of rubber gaskets and metal strips.
Nevertheless, as production stepped up at Cottbus and Sorau, plans were made to manufacture four D-9s per day, but such a scale of output would not be reached until November, when, in addition to the Focke-Wulf, Fieseler and Roland plants (Ago was eventually dropped from the programme), Mimetall at Erfurt-Nord was added. The first Fw 190D-9 to be delivered to an operational Luftwaffe unit was Wk-Nr. 210003.
It was not until December 1944 that this aircraft saw operational service. The Junkers Jumbo 213A-1 engines produced an amazing 2242hp at sea level and had a methanol injection system as well. The speed at 20,000 ft was 426mph and at sea level it was 327mph. The climb rate was quite impressive from sea level to 32,000-ft it took only 7.1 minutes.
Even though the FW190D-9 “Langnasen-Dora” shared parity with many allied fighters, it also suffered heavy losses, both in the air and on the ground. Many inexperienced and poorly trained pilots, were no match and were at the mercy of the allied pilots with a great deal of flying time and combat experience.
Kurt Tank had designed this model to operate as a high-altitude fighter but the cabin design was unable to provide adequate pressurization. The aircraft was used to replace The FW 190A at lower altitudes and coincidentally was sometimes humorously referred to as “Downstairs Dora” or “Maid”.
Pilots that flew the FW 190A were somewhat distrustful and apprehensive to switch over to the new FW 190D-9 with its liquid cooled engine. Once these seasoned and operational pilots became accustomed to this new breed of fighter, they soon regarded it to be the best piston-engine fighter to serve with the Luftwaffe in World War II.