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"Last Battle on the Great Wall" Topic


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480 hits since 23 Jun 2018
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Tango0123 Jun 2018 4:15 p.m. PST

"Beneath the heatless winter sun, soldiers sprint across hastily constructed pontoon bridges spanning a 55-foot-wide moat, their war cries drowned out by a deafening artillery barrage. Raising improvised bamboo ladders against the walls of the enemy fort, the attackers scramble up even as defenders on the battlements above unleash a shower of hand grenades. The explosives detonate in midair, snapping ladders in half and sending dozens of screaming men to their deaths 45 feet below.

As surviving attackers clamber over the rim of the forbidding wall, the fight degenerates into a series of brutal hand-to-hand melees, with steel broadswords and shorter but no less lethal bayonets drawn for the close-quarters slaughter, as commanders astride Mongolian warhorses ride from section to section, desperately trying to organize their scattered forces atop China's fabled Great Wall.

Though such images might seem representative of one of the many ancient battles that swirled around China's most famous fortification, the fight described above actually took place on the chilly morning of Jan. 3, 1933, at the outpost of Shanhaiguan. Long abandoned and left in a state of disrepair since the 1644 Manchu invasion, the obsolescent Great Wall was granted a new lease on life in the 20th century—only this time from the north came not nomadic tribal warriors but the industrialized juggernaut of Japan's elite Kwantung army…."
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robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP24 Jun 2018 3:30 a.m. PST

I've got a book on "the last Anglo-French War" on my shelves, too.

Why do people keep saying "last" when they mean "most recent?"

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