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"The Smells of a Battle" Topic


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John Tyson Inactive Member02 Jan 2013 6:48 p.m. PST

We image the visual aspects of a battle and the noise. But sometimes I image the smells of a battle.

Suppose you were a Dragoon. What smells would fill your nostrils?

link

picture

le Grande Quartier General02 Jan 2013 6:56 p.m. PST

Every smell of horse, every smell of men, wool, leather, and if your lucky some brandy or wine on your breath!

Whatisitgood4atwork Supporting Member of TMP02 Jan 2013 7:23 p.m. PST

I have read the British could smell French cavalry from some distance away due to the sores and poor health of the horses. The French cavalry themselves were probably used to it.

How much of that is anti-french propaganda from the Brits I do not know. The British have always been anti-French and pro-horse.

Personal logo Pictors Studio Sponsoring Member of TMP02 Jan 2013 8:22 p.m. PST

I'd imagine if you did any shooting the smell of gun powder would fill your nostrils pretty much more than anything else.

Sundance Supporting Member of TMP02 Jan 2013 9:02 p.m. PST

I love the smell of napalm in the morning. Smells like…victory!

Dan Beattie Supporting Member of TMP02 Jan 2013 9:10 p.m. PST

Nobody loves the smell of horse manure in the morning!

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP02 Jan 2013 10:48 p.m. PST

Lannes used to love the smell of horse sweat in the afternoons…smelled like glory.

Justin Penwith03 Jan 2013 12:07 a.m. PST

Primarily, sweat, excrement (both horse and human), and urine, and probably in that order.

getback03 Jan 2013 1:06 a.m. PST

And a fair bit of blood!

Tomg333 Supporting Member of TMP03 Jan 2013 4:19 a.m. PST

fear

Edwulf03 Jan 2013 5:02 a.m. PST

Sweat, Bleeped text, Gunpowder.. mostly. possibly the hint of leather, polish,oil and alcohol.

Personal logo VonBlucher Supporting Member of TMP03 Jan 2013 5:46 a.m. PST

Time of year and weather would have allot to do with it, and where they were stationed for the battle.

gunpowder, sweat, dung, mildew, with hints of tabacco and alcohol.

John,
Good looking units.

John

nickinsomerset03 Jan 2013 5:47 a.m. PST

Not sure about then but after a few weeks in the field one could clear a stadium and that is with daily strip wash/shave in all weather! Did we notice we smelled, no we just got used to it! A week in full NBC kit, not nice for the untrained nostril!

Tally Ho!

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP03 Jan 2013 6:24 a.m. PST

They might not smell anything at all :) When I became an ACW reenactor I noticed the curious phenomena that when in combat (even make-believe combat) I had this sort of sensory tunnel vision. Sight and sound became extremely prominent and focused. Smell, taste and touch faded. I didn't notice the acrid smell of the smoke or the bitter taste of the gunpowder in my mouth when I tore open cartridges and I'd return to camp with bruises and bleeding cuts I had no memory of where I got. Even today, after 28 years of reenacting I still have to stop and force myself to notice the smell of the powder smoke. I'm sure other people experience things differently, but that was my experience.

reggie8803 Jan 2013 6:59 a.m. PST

Hi John,

Always a treat to see your figures. My eyes are not what they use to be, but the first picture is Russian Dragoons, correct?

When I click on the link, I see a vast array of your cavalry. God, they look so great. I can make out some of the cavalry, but not all. I can see the French Hussars, and the Dragoons. I can see the Bavarian light cavalry, but can't make out what they are.

A question, using the old Fire and Steel rules, shouldn't the French Dragoons be 4 figures to a stand, instead of three, like you have? Wouldn't you be at a disadvantage in melee? Doesn't General de Brigade call for French Dragoons to be based at 4 figures a stand also? 8 figures to a squadron. Wouldn't this hurt you in the GdB rules also?

Your Buddy

Reggie

p.s. Long live Minifigs 2nd gen figures!

Cerdic Supporting Member of TMP03 Jan 2013 7:48 a.m. PST

Horses and powder smoke…….

John Tyson Inactive Member03 Jan 2013 7:53 a.m. PST

Reggie,

Thanks for the comments about my figures.

I based my French Dragoons many years ago using the Fire & Steel origination book which showed for 24 figure dragoons, three to a stand. I don't think having three to a stand is a disadvantage as in F&S we divide the melees into groups of four regardless of how the figures are mounted. No problem with three to a stand in GdB rules.

Here is the slide show link to the battle the photos came from.

link
Photobucket Slide Show

Some time back I added "Battle of Raevsky – battle report" over on the Napoleonic Gallery and Napoleonic Battle Report boards.

TMP link
TMP Topic "Battle of Raevsky battle report."

God bless,
John

Personal logo vtsaogames Supporting Member of TMP03 Jan 2013 9:32 a.m. PST

Reading of the Crusades, one finds Crusader forces being ambushed and wiped out more than once, but I don't recall Saracens being ambushed. I suspect armor, hot weather and the lack of bathing ensured that Crusader forces could be detected by smell if the wind was right. At this time Muslim aristocrats tried to bathe daily, while Christian knights thought bathing weakened one. Now imagine a couple thousand of them in armor, on horseback under a hot sun.

Wrong period I know, but I'm sure the smell of horses and men hasn't changed all that much.

Nasty Canasta Inactive Member03 Jan 2013 9:53 a.m. PST

I agree with Scott Washburn 100%. And for all those that have experienced actual combat conditions I have nothing but respect.

I've been playing reenactor for the past seven years and have been asked the same question.

When someone points a weapon at you, whether unloaded or not (preferably unloaded), your south pole tends to pucker up as ones sense of survival immediately kicks in. And it takes allot of training not to shy away or turn your head. Then when the opposing line erupts in smoke it takes all you can muster just to stand in place.

I have walked back to a mustering area after a "safe reenactment" with cut and bruised fingers and hands, black powder burns, missing eyebrows, and an unsatiable thirst due to eating the powder. Other than the thirst, it is often members of the public point out my stigmata and ask when or how that happened. If one can comprehend any of their five senses beyond their immediate person you may not be wired quite right.

Nasty Canasta Inactive Member03 Jan 2013 9:56 a.m. PST

I agree with Scott Washburn 100%. And for all those that have experienced actual combat conditions I have nothing but respect.

I've been playing reenactor for the past seven years and have been asked the same question.

When someone points a weapon at you, whether unloaded or not (preferably unloaded), your south pole tends to pucker up as ones sense of survival immediately kicks in. And it takes allot of training not to shy away or turn your head. Then when the opposing line erupts in smoke it takes all you can muster just to stand in place.

I have walked back to a mustering area after a "safe reenactment" with cut and bruised fingers and hands, black powder burns, missing eyebrows, and an insatiable thirst due to eating the powder. Other than the thirst, it is often members of the public who first point out my stigmata and ask "when or how that happened." So, if one can actually comprehend any of their five senses in a meaningful manner beyond their immediate person you may not be wired quite right.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP03 Jan 2013 2:40 p.m. PST

The brain is an amazing piece of equipment. While you may not consciously note smells, feelings, hot and cold or even minor scratches, men in battle do remember.

For instance, many report that after an engagement certain smells will immediately call up the emotions and memories of it, while they don't ever remember noticing any smells at the time. Some don't really notice the sounds, except those that have an immediate reference to them. The won't remember hearing a bombardment, but those shells whistling close by, they will hear and remember the sound.

In tense and emotionally-ladened experiences, all the senses will be on high-alert, but the brain won't focus on all of them at the time…but will remember them all.

Clays Russians03 Jan 2013 4:29 p.m. PST

In tense and emotionally-ladened experiences, all the senses will be on high-alert, but the brain won't focus on all of them at the time…but will remember them all.

true, dust, burning rubber, and urine. that and extreme heat. takes me back everytime. the third world has an odor, and it a combo of those three things.

1815Guy Supporting Member of TMP04 Jan 2013 7:50 a.m. PST

dont forget the garlic!

and all that farting from poor diets!

nice pic btw; Minifigs have that nice "ordered" look about them

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