Military History: Origins. A trip down memory lane

Sometimes, it’s useful to revisit the past. You can find some interesting things, and remember connections and roots that you’d forgotten. Anyway, I was sorting papers in my office, and came across an old box filled with papers going back to ye olde grade school days. Apparently most of my current scholarly interests began around 1991, as these pics below indicate–Brandy Station dates from 1990, and most of the rest date from 1992 and 1993. I’d forgotten that I had been interested in the crusades from that early an age.  So, if anyone wonders why I seem to know so much random martial trivia, I guess the answer is that I’ve been studying this stuff for nearly 25 years. Some of the first attempts *are* worth a chuckle, of course.

Brandy Station. An early one. I think I was fascinated by the story of the Union cavalry actually testing the great JEB Stuart (I was much greater admirer of the Confederate Army back then than I am now). I especially like how I tried to capture those 1860s facial hair fashions.Brandy Station

Timeline of notes on the First Crusade. Apparently I lost interest after Antioch?? I remember being puzzled by the crusades, as the accounts I was reading had a lot of culture and society, but none of those good knights’ stories that I had read in The Young Folks’ Shelf of Books. First Crusade timeline

This one was inspired by Mort Kuenstler’s picture of Barksdale’s charge on July 2 at Gettysburg. Took me years to figure out exactly why it was described as “the grandest charge ever seen”–the near-perfect execution of an infantry assault, nearly unhinging Meade’s line (though I think Barksdale’s death was not the reason the Confederate attack on July 2 failed).Barksdale's Charge, July 2

A couple of King Tiger tanks looking more like Soviet T-72s. My “Battle of the Bulge” phase…Battle of the Bulge, King Tigers

A whimsical fantasy sketch of King Richard going off on the Third Crusade…wearing plate armor. Very Victorian, in a sense. Youthful fantasy of what the medievals must have been like. All heroic and heraldic…Richard the Lion-Heart

A brief WW1 foray. Apparently Sopwith Camels had machine guns that could pivot AND still shoot through the propeller blades. Or I just realized that I’d drawn Richtofen’s plane too large…Red Baron

And I had a Napoleonic phase too: the cavalry charges at Waterloo. Not sure where those cuirassiers obtained the lances from…hmmm.Waterloo, 1815

Ah, this brings back memories. The big old Battle of the Bulge Map, with  attachments for the Lorraine Campaign (even then I was vaguely interested in the Arracourt Battles), and subsequent operations. I have a similar map for Normandy, too.Battle of the Bulge Map

France during the Wars of Religion, 1500s. I vaguely recall being underwhelmed by this project. French Wars of Religion

Same goes for the War of 1812, which I suppose mirrors how most people think of that conflict, for instance the College Humor people. War of 1812 map

Again, I’m surprised at how closely my current interests match what I was interested in 23 years ago…