Tuesday, 26 April 2011

It's his rock

That’s worth bearing in mind when you hear some smart alec holding forth about our imperial wars being one-sided massacres of poor club-waving heathen mown down by Gatlings. Oh, it happened, at Ulundi and Washita and Omdurman — but more often than not the Snider and Martini and Brown Bess were facing odds of ten to one against in country where shrapnel and rapid fire doesn’t count for much; your savage with his blowpipe or bow or jezzail* behind a rock has a deuce of an advantage: it’s his rock, you see.

*Afghan musket

Flashman and the Mountain of Light, p.58, Fontana Paperback edition, 1991.

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