(ANSA) – FILOTTRANO, JUNE 28 – He kills his wife, who has been suffering from a serious illness for years, and then takes his life with the gun he kept at home. It happened yesterday afternoon Filottrano (Ancona). To shoot Antonio Pireddu, 60 years old, former officer of the carabinieri at the Norm of Osimo, weakened and probably fell into depression due to the long battle fought next to his wife, Ida Creopolo, 59 years old, with a pathology that had forced her to bed with oxygen donuts. Two shots were fired, according to a first reconstruction: the corpses were found in the same room at the foot of the other. The discovery was made by one of the children who had entered the house in Sant’Ignazio di Filottrano, on the road leading to San Faustino di Cingoli, with another bunch of keys because the parents did not answer the phone. Desperate and unbelieving family members and acquaintances of an esteemed family. On the spot the carabinieri of Osimo, of the operational department of Ancona, of the scientific and health of the Potes of Osimo.
Placing a patient on a ventilator is not a trivial act. The faster the treatment, the less the physical consequences will be significant. After the illness, it’s another battle that begins.
“For Covid patients, the resuscitation stay is long,” explains a resuscitation doctor. “It often lasts more than two weeks. During this period, the body is immobilized and all the muscles gradually lose their strength. It loses its muscle mass and its physiological reserves. Once saved and released, the patient can no longer perform all the innate acts and all the tasks he used to do such as breathing, urinating, washing, using a glass of water, swallowing food , stand up, grab an object on a table, change the chain with a remote control… Rehabilitation is therefore always necessary and, if this work is not carried out, the patient could suffer from lifelong sequelae Continues the doctor.
A short time later, the officer ordered a subordinate to fly a white flag. It was time to parley with the determined enemies who, for hours, had managed to stop the advance of a column made up of more than a thousand men, several armored vehicles and many other heavy weapons. From the skill they had shown they must have been special commands. We can only imagine the expression on Nietzsche’s face when he learned that the men who had prevented him from completing his mission were thirty Spanish guerrilla exiles that they had been involved in the Second World War almost by chance.
The chronicles of the survivors of that forgotten battle say that Nietzsche, a mature colonel of the Luftwaffe, could not bear that. The most widespread version tells that he took his Luger pistol from his belt, aimed it at his head and fired. A sort of western “seppuku” to clean up his lost honor. The most exaggerated sources narrate that before hitting the fateful shot, he got rid of all the documentation he had on him, took off his uniform, sprayed gasoline and, angrily, set himself on fire. Whatever happened, what is clear is that, as the researcher correctly points out to ABC Evelyn MesquidaThat day 36 Spanish guerrillas crushed Adolf Hitler’s forces at La Madeleine.
The feat of these forgotten Spanish heroes, ultimately decorated in the recently liberated France by the general Olleris, is one of the many that Mesquida collects in And now go back to your houses. Spanish Republicans in the French Resistance ». A work as revealing as it is bitter since, as the author confirms in statements to this newspaper, most of the soldiers in our country who faced Adolf Hitler during the Second World War were so much overlooked by Francisco Franco like for a Charles de Gaulle eager to exalt the mythical «Resistance». It was unfair. They ended their lives driving taxis or selling ice cream, forgotten by the same government they had helped, “he says.
But let’s go by parts. The origin of this story dates back to 1939, during the end of the Civil war. It was then that more than a million and a half Republicans (among them, 300,000 veterans of the race) crossed the border to escape the National side. Although, unfortunately for them, they were not received with open arms, but interned in Gallic concentration camps. From there, the authorities sent part of them to different regions of the country to work as cheap labor. Thus, until the Nazi invasion came like a gale and crossed the country from one side to another in 1940.
It was then that, in Mesquida’s words, a considerable number of our compatriots organized the first nuclei of resistance against Adolf Hitler. Or, rather, they “jumped into the bush” as their ancestors did in the War of independence. In fact, they began their fight even before the famous (but reduced) local Resistance. “The reality is that, when the French began to organize, many of these small groups of Spaniards were already trained and ready. They were pioneers, for example, in removing dynamite from the mines where they worked to blow up trains and steal weapons from the Nazis, “the author tells this newspaper.
Among the Civil War veterans who organized to confront the Third Reich there was a personage today forgotten, but key to the future of France: Cristino García Granda. Asturian by birth, after escaping from the concentration camp in which he was confined, he enrolled in the National Unit Spain (UNE), a guerrilla group created by the Communist Party of Spain in the French country. It must have gone well since, back in 1942, he was given command of one of the newly created brigades XIV Guerrilla Corps (in practice, the UNE armed wing).
Thereafter, his deeds included the release of three departments in the country or the attack on a Nimes prison to free several of his companions.
Suffice it to say this to understand why, just two years later, the Normandy’s landing and that of Provence (forgotten, but just as important to the Second World War), he considered moving a tile with his men on the chessboard that supposed the liberation of France. This is confirmed Alfonso Domingo in «History of the Spanish in the IIGM»: “He decided to block the possible route of transfer of the German forces to the Anduze area, 17 kilometers southwest of Alés, which represented a threat to the communications of the French First Army.” In this context he received the tip that a German column from Touluse (and bound for Paris) was going to pass through the crossing of the town of La Madeleine, a few kilometers from its headquarters.
In practice, it was crazy to try to attack that convoy, since it consisted of sixty trucks, cfour light armored, more than a thousand soldiers and a huge amount of heavy weapons. In Cristrino’s group, in exchange, there were barely 36 guerrillas. However, the terrain was favorable to them. «At the intersection the road narrowed, it wound through a dense forest and, before going out into a more open landscape, it crossed the Lézan-Anduze railway bridge. That is the place he chose for combat, “adds the expert. However, and despite what has been narrated so far, the reality is that an injury prevented him from taking the lead of the attack on the front line. As Mesquida reveals in his work, he gave the command to Miguel Arcas and Gabriel Pérez.
A bloody battle
The battle is described in detail in Mesquida’s work. The August 23, 1944, a group of 36 Spaniards and between 4 and 8 French arrived at the Madeleine and took as headquarters an old castle located near the crossing. “They were strategically organized in an arch with a length of 700 meters,” says Mesquida in his work. The plan was simple, but effective. This was explained by one of the participants in the operation, Joaquín Arasanz, in his memoirs:
We decided to block the road and blow up the bridge. We didn’t totally make it, but the girders that had fallen were stuck on the road.
Then they set up some traps “like simulating cannons with cannon wheels and telephone poles” so that the enemies believed they were attacked by a huge contingent. “Our men had to move at full speed so that their shots came from different places,” adds Arasanz.
The next day the German column arrived. «It came from Touluse and of Saint-Hippolyte-du-Fort, where he had already suffered an attack ”, adds the expert. The first vehicle to make an appearance was an exploration sidecar that the guerrillas were able to eliminate without firing. No one could sound the alarm anymore. A few minutes later the main column arrived. They could have fired, but Arcas’s orders were precise: “Not a shot before the first machine gun burst.” It made sense for the trap to work. Everything went as the 36 Spaniards wanted. Before long, the leading truck stopped in front of the beams that cut the road. After him, the rest gradually stopped. Then the party started.
After the first machine gun burst, hell broke loose for the Wehrmacht. Among an infinity of rifle shots, our compatriots launched dynamite against the transport trucks and destroyed the vehicles that were at the tail of the convoy. Thus, the Germans were blocked: they could neither advance nor retreat. “The fighting lasted many hours. From their hiding places, the guerrillas moved quickly, pulling from various angles, as they had planned, “completes Mesquida. The trick was effective and confused the soldiers of the Third Reich. All in all, their gunshots were just as deadly and forced the Spaniards located in the castle (a total of four) to abandon their position.
The combat lasted until four in the afternoon, at which time the Germans requested a ceasefire and offered the guerrillas the possibility of stopping the war in exchange for being allowed to pass. The Spaniards refused. No German would pass through that death trap alive if not as a prisoner. Fortunately, his decision was supported by unforeseen reinforcements from the air some time later: two British planes that had been warned of the confrontation and who wanted to contribute their bit.
When they made the second pass, the commanding officer, our acquaintance Nietzsche, established that 180 wounded and countless deaths were too many setbacks and that he would parliament again.
Despite this, the haughty military still had enough arrogance for one last demand: to surrender to a uniformed French or English command, and not to the guerrillas. The pact was signed, but when Nietzsche approached to give in to the enemy, he realized that the gigantic army that he believed to be deployed in La Madeleine was actually made up of 36 Spanish guerrillas.
The rest of what happened (the officer’s suicide) is history and spread confusion between both sides until the Germans confirmed, by means of a white flare, that they abandoned their weapons. The war was over and all that remained was to arrest the enemies, take away their weapons and, why not, wait for the regulatory pat on the back of their superiors. And this came in the form of medals soon after. Unfortunately, the distinction did not serve to go down in history. At least, until now.
The Italian historian Alessandro Barbero defends this same theory in his book “The battle. Waterloo History » (Destiny, 2004): Without the reinforcement of the Marshal’s more than 117,000 soldiers at a crucial moment in combat, Wellington’s 100,000 men would never have been able to defeat Napoleon’s 124,000 alone. English would never have changed the world balance without the miraculous and saving appearance of Blücher on horseback, cheering on his soldiers in the front line of combat, with no less than 73 years. Proud Wellington knew this and expressed it once in private, but British historiography insisted from that moment on burying the figure of the brave and eccentric old man who, at this point in his life, abused alcohol, had shown signs of deterioration of his mental health and he had even experienced episodes of schizophrenia.
When the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo was celebrated five years ago, both Britain and France – with less pride – plunged into countless tributes, exhibitions and retrospectives. Thousands of publications and reports focused on the apocalyptic confrontation between Napoleon and Wellington. All kinds of portraits were made of them, they analyzed their personalities and valued the role that both had played in the birth of contemporary Europe … as if Blücher had little to do with it.
Preparations began at that time for the Prussian army to be reborn from its ashes and take revenge, but the marshal entered a phase of deep depression facilitated by alcohol abuse and the increasingly frequent episodes of schizophrenia. That deterioration further his mental faculties, a problem that dragged much of his life. In the following years, he even came to believe that he was pregnant with an elephant thanks to a French soldier. He even mentioned it to Wellington in one of his meetings, which he could not believe his ears. While on other occasions he seemed convinced that his servants conspired against him in support of the French, to the point of heating the floor of his rooms under the orders of Napoleon himself, with the aim of burning his feet. And not infrequently they saw him fight against imaginary enemies, destroying the furniture of his own house, as if it were Don Quixote against the mills.
The marshal also lived worried about his son Franz, who also suffered from mental illness. That did not help the quarterback recover, while the problems were increasing. During the campaign of 1814, these psychological setbacks left him incapacitated for combat, which caused the Prussian general Yorck refuse to comply with your orders. They had come through him too General Gneisenau, but this argued that they were signed backwards. “You see that the old man is crazy again, so it is Gneisenau who is in charge again, something that we cannot tolerate,” he argued.
Many high-ranking Prussian government officials doubted whether Blücher was the proper military man to lead his Army at Waterloo. Firstly, because of his advanced age, and, secondly, because of that eccentric behavior bordering on madness. Finally they agreed for the support shown by the General ScharnhorstBut the criticism did not stop: they saw him as a wild and erratic military man. He Earl Louis Langeron, one of Napoleon’s leading generals, described him this way: «His energy was prodigious. His eye for the terrain was excellent, his heroic courage inspired the troops, but his talent as a general was limited by these qualities. He had little knowledge of the strategy, was unable to locate where he was on the map, and was unable to elaborate a campaign plan or the disposition of his troops.
Born in Rostock, a city on the Baltic coast, he had joined a Hussar regiment recruited by the Swedish Army in 1758 as a young man. Two years later he was captured in a skirmish with Prussian hussars, and his commander convinced him to join them. That was the beginning of a stormy career that, after extremely harsh experiences, clearly affected his mental health, despite being one of the most gifted soldiers in Europe.
“He was abrupt, uneducated, honest and honest”, as the historian describes him Peter Hofschröer in “Waterloo” (Ariel, 2015). His feelings were so intense that they sometimes upset his emotional balance. He felt great anguish when his country was humiliated and looted by the neighbors. Then Napoleon’s afflicted defeat of Prussia was taken in 1806 as a personal matter, and when the latter escaped his exile on the island of Elba years later, the marshal was eager to again wield the sword against him. He defended tooth and nail the idea that, since his homeland had been robbed and impoverished by Bonaparte, the war had to be brought to France and everything that was within its reach was razed. His hatred bordered on the psychotic, to the point that many historians believe that Wellington would not have obtained the support of the Prussians if it were not for that sentiment, since General Gneisenau, who accompanied him in 1815, detested the English as much as he did the French emperor and he would not have collaborated with them if he were alone.
The moment of truth
Despite criticism, it was the “old fool” who decided on Waterloo’s historic victory on June 18, 1815. He ended Bonaparte’s imperial dream, having spent his years at home in Europe for many years. Since then, everything that surrounded that day has awakened an enormous fascination that transcends fans of military history: 217,000 soldiers of the alliance formed by the English, Prussians, Dutch, Belgians and Germans, against the 124,000 French. A kind of small world war fought in a single day, which ended the myth of Napoleon and established another, that of Wellington, unfairly leaving Blücher as a kind of secondary actor.
What would have happened without him? Throughout the morning, the battle tilted on Bonaparte’s side, to the point that his impetuous Marshal Michel Ney he was convinced that the English were going to withdraw. Then he threw himself on horseback, directing another charge against Wellington, whose men had to shield themselves in box formation and shoot the Gallic horsemen as best they could. Napoleon then called the old guard, the most senior and veteran of his Imperial Guard, to deliver the coup de grace.
Everything was hanging by a thread, when, at 2:00 pm, the French heard on their right flank, amidst the smoke, the sound of gunshots and drums. Such was the turmoil and turmoil that Bonaparte was thought to be Marshal Emmanuel de Grouchy’s own troops returning to his aid. But no, it was the 30,000 soldiers with Blücher in front. There is the old marshal, with his gray hair and his thick mustache, dressed in black, appearing at the exact moment. He knew that if he did not arrive in time to help Wellington, Napoleon would subjugate Europe once again. So he sped up the march from Wavre, traversing all sorts of muddy, battered roads after the storms the night before.
France, 30,000 dead
Confusion and fear spread among the French when they saw Blücher’s men appear attacking from the flanks. Bonaparte was quick to back off, something they had never done in their history. For the first time in the day the British took the initiative and advanced with the help of the fresher Prussians. The sign of the battle changed, the Gauls began their flight and our protagonists chased them until nightfall. All this, with land strewn with thousands of corpses.
Bonaparte abdicated four days later. He had lost 30,000 men. Wellington, 15,000, and Blücher, 6,700. Despite this, he was never worthy of as many tributes as his comrades-in-arms, as if he had little to do with the collapse of the French empire and the change of leadership in the world order in favor of Great Britain. As of today, in fact, we do not find any biography of the marshal in Spanish, unlike the large number of novels and movies that have been published and released by the other two. He is an excellent soldier, a good saber. It is like a bull that closes its eyes and rushes forward without seeing any danger. He is stubborn, tireless and fear nothing, “wrote Napoelón from his exile Santa Elena, before dying.
The chronicles of the classical historians tell that the origin of the battle is found in the campaign starring Hannibal Barca against Helmantics (located in present-day Salamanca) and Arbucala back in the year 220 a. C. Although it was not easy due to the determination of both cities, the Carthaginian general managed to bend the knee and plundered as much as possible of those cities. The cost, yes, was high enough to make the determination to return with his men to his headquarters in Qart Hadasht (Cartago Nova, today Cartagena) to rearm and count the loot.
The return home meant traveling no less than 600 kilometers and facing some local towns hungry for revenge: the olcades, the vetones, the carpenos and the vacceos. Almost nothing.
“He was already retiring, when he was suddenly exposed to the most serious dangers: the folder us, that perhaps is the most powerful people of those places; They were accompanied by their neighbors, who joined them excited mainly by the olcades that they had managed to flee; They were also attacked, excited, helmantinos they had been saved, “says Polibio. In the words of both authors, the resulting contingent touched the 100,000 men while, for his part, Aníbal Barca barely added 25,000 (and among them, about 40 pachyderms). The enemy of Rome knew that “to engage in a pitched battle” he would be defeated. For this reason, he preferred to devise a curious plan to emerge victorious.
None of the authors specifies at what point it crossed the stream. Polybius merely states that “Hannibal, who was withdrawing with skill and prudence, took as defense the river called Tagus». For his part, Tito Livio hardly points out that the confrontation took place “upon his return from the territory empty, not far from the Tagus river ”, and that the main purpose of the local tribes was“ to thwart the march of their army loaded with the booty ”. The same happens with the exact date on which the contest took place: none specifies it. The first confirms only that the Carthaginians left their barracks in Qart Hadasht in summer, while the second marks this date in spring (at the beginning of it, to be more specific).
Always according to these two authors, everything indicates that Hannibal planned a strategy similar to that of the king Leonidas in the mythical Thermopylae: take advantage of the river to suppress the numerical superiority of the Hispanic peoples. To begin with, he positioned his troops on the shore, after the few and narrow fords that his opponents could cross. In this way, his men could not be surrounded and would always fight against a small number of adversaries. This is confirmed by Livio: «Once calm reigned and silence forded the river […] He left them a place to go through and decided to attack them when they were crossing.
He raised a defense on several lines. The first, closest to the fords of the Tagus, was formed by its veterans riders. All of them, with orders to attack the enemies when the water covered them and prevented them from moving. And it is that, according to Polibio, “the horses dominated the current better, and the riders fought against the men on foot in a higher position.” Behind them, Aníbal Barca raised a palisade along the entire shoreline to give protection to his infantry and to prevent the current from being crossed by any place other than the paths he desired.
Elephants, a secret weapon against Hispanics, were placed behind the jamelgos to finish off the few soldiers who overcame the current. The board was ready and it only remained to know what the other player would do.
The local tribes, buoyed by their greater numbers, decided to strike headlong into the Carthaginian army through the steps. «Intrepid by nature, also trusting in the number and believing that the enemy had retreated out of fear, convinced that what delayed victory was the fact that the river was in the middle, launching a battle cry, they rushed into the river of any way, without command, where each one was caught closer », reveals Tito Livio. Most of the assailants were foot soldiers and the local cavalry was conspicuous by its absence. Two factors that, in the long run, were going to cost them dearly.
The first attack was a disaster for the inhabitants of Hispania, as the same historian explains:
«From the other bank a huge contingent of horsemen is thrown into the river, and in the middle of the river there is an absolutely unequal crash, since while the foot soldier, lacking stability and not trusting the ford, could be shot down by a Even an unarmed rider who threw his horse at random, the soldier on horseback, with freedom of movement for himself and his weapons, operated near and far with a stable horse even in the midst of whirlpools. In large part they perished in the river; some, dragged in the direction of the enemy by the rushing stream, were crushed by the elephants. ‘
Shortly thereafter, when confusion arose among the tribes, Aníbal Barca went on the offensive and, according to Tito Livio, crossed the Tagus with his personal guard in “cadre formation” to finish them off before they “recovered their spirits from such tremendous scare”. It was a full-blown debacle that ended the Hispanic alliance and made, in the words of Plutarch, that “no one beyond the Ebro dared easily face it, except for Sagunto». The rest is history: the Carthaginians returned victorious to their winter camp and this confrontation, despite being a military miracle that occurred in our lands, fell into absolute oblivion.
This was the case until, more than two centuries ago, the experts set out to find the specific point at which the conflict took place. A task more than arduous due to the scarce information that the two classical historians offer in their respective works. The locations that have been considered have been as many as experts have delved into the subject. The eighteenth-century historian, Juan Antonio Álvarez de QuindósFor example, he placed it at the height of Aranjuez after having studied a series of findings of the time in the area. Others, like the archaeologist Adolf Schulten, they took her to Toledo and concluded that Hannibal had withdrawn through Guadarrama. Thus, up to a dozen more.
However, the authors of this new study are in favor of the fact that, taking into account both the descriptions offered by the classical texts and the characteristics of the terrain and archaeological remains, the battle must have taken place somewhere near Driebes (a municipality located in Guadalajara).
The first strong argument to support his theory is found in that, following logic, Hannibal would have chosen the shortest route to reach his destination. And this corresponded «with the road Complutum–Carthago Nova», Which existed since pre-Roman times and which crossed the Tagus next to the city of Caraca. Close to Driebes, “it was a safe, frequented and well-known path for the Carthaginians that allowed, in principle, a comfortable retreat with the booty obtained in the lands of the vacceos”.
This location also coincides with the theory, rather than established, that the war was fought in territory carpetan and that it was this faction that decided the point at which they would attack the Carthaginians. As if that were not enough, the analyzes carried out in the area have confirmed the existence of a «quadrangular structure»Of probably human origin that, in the authors´ words, could correspond« to a possible palisade ». The same one that the general used in 220 a. C. “If it were a palisade, it would force the crossing of the Carpenos to the left bank of the river through two of the current fords, which would also be active during the battle, which gives it strategic sense,” they complete.
They have also analyzed the possibility that the fords of the Tagus present today near Driebes are the same ones that the general used to organize his defense against the Hispanic tribes. Something, in his words, unlikely. “The fluvial dynamics itself can make fords appear and disappear in a short time, even in days after a period of floods, for example. For this reason it is important to be able to ensure that the fords of the Tagus that are next to Caraca were also active in this historical period, “they point out in their dossier.
However, what they are sure of is that the section in which they believe that the conflict took place has been one of the more ford it has treasured over the millennia. «Among all the sections of the Middle Tagus channel, the sector between Almoguera and Villamanrique de Tajo is the one that seems to have the highest probability of having maintained a considerable number of fordable sections throughout history; since in it, in addition to the fluvial characteristics of a meandering river, other tectonic and geomorphological determining factors (karstification) come together, which interfere with the fluvial dynamics ». For them, one more example that it was in this region that Hannibal defeated his enemies.
It was the culmination of a long and brutal nine-year war for control of Northern Europe, which left more than 65,000 dead in combat. During the Modern Age, several empires of the old continent, such as Spain, Portugal, Great Britain or France, had dominated a large part of the world, but the Swedish had gone unnoticed among them. Something that was strange, if we consider that it was one of the greatest military and political powers of the 17th century, until at the beginning of the 18th century it began to suffer a series of economic difficulties that led it to curb its expansionism. And in the end there was the final catastrophe in the battle of Poltava that concerns us here.
This was characterized by the massacre of prisoners by both sides, in a symptom of cruelty rarely seen in those years. And, in addition, by the disturbing parallels that many historians see with the “rat war” (Rattenkrieg) developed by the Nazis during the Second World War. See, for example, the Battle of Stalingrad, but this time wreaking havoc with artillery of various calibers, musket balls, and sharp sabers and bayonets.
To give you an idea, of the almost 25,000 men that the almighty Charles XII of Sweden launched into the fight, some 5,000 died in combat and practically all of the other 20,000 were taken prisoner and put to work in the construction of the new imperial city of St. Petersburg. To these were added 1,700 slaves, wives, servants and children. Of all these, only 4,000 returned to the homeland, some after more than thirty years of captivity. The rest were executed.
In the past week there had been constant skirmishes between the two armies, most at the initiative of the Russians. June 27 was no exception, and a pair of cavalry squadrons overcame the posts of the first outpost and killed some Swedish soldiers. In the following hours, everything returned to tranquility awaiting the devastating outcome, after which, Charles XII hoped to continue on his way to carry out his long-awaited final attack on Moscow, the heart of Russia. But there was Pedro I, who wanted to end once and for all the empire that had dominated northern Europe throughout the 17th century and take the reins.
Even knowing that he had fewer soldiers and worse weapons, Carlos XII decided to attack first, confident that he could regain the initiative. The Swedes had full faith in their king, in their generals, and in their military capabilities, despite their inferiority. And at 3:45, they began to advance silently towards enemy positions to carry out their surprise attack. The Russian camp was on a small hill, only more or less effectively accessible by a passageway between two forests. On the flanks was a ravine overlooking a river and a quagmire that served as natural protection for Pedro I.
With the first rays of sun
Things did not start well for the northern Alexander the Great, as six of his battalions went astray in the middle of the night, being unable to follow their companions due to lack of light. When the order to attack was given, many of them did not know where they really were. It took them a long time to return to the battlefield, and when they finally succeeded, at around 5 in the morning, the fierce attack by the Swedes began. The first rays of sun were already on the horizon.
The Russians managed to resist the first challenge, both with the redoubts that were entrenched in the corridor and with the artillery stationed in the camp. Charles XII doubted if what he had to do next was to destroy these redoubts or to cross them to face the bulk of Pedro I’s army as soon as possible. The confusion was increasing and the hours passed, with some battalions trying in vain to assault the Russian fortifications and others, moving away so as not to fall into the Russian trap. That caused the casualties to be minimized, but the initial advantage of the surprise had already been lost.
When the sun began to shine, the situation of the King of Sweden was desperate. The casualties had grown and were already considerable, although at their expense they had managed to penetrate the camp. But the forces were faltering and the spirits were already on the ground, which made the Swedes not attack with much decision when they faced the enemy. They were isolated and, furthermore, they had no news of the infantry. And after five hours of combat, at exactly 9 in the morning, Pedro I ordered his powerful army to leave the camp and train in front of Carlos XII and what remained of his troops.
Wounded, demoralized by the casualties, tired and lacking in supplies, the defeat of the Swedes was a matter of time. Carlos XII tried to reorganize the situation from his stretcher, but all the attacks failed and at 11.00 he called for a retreat. The battle ended at noon, since the Russian cavalry did not immediately put the lace on, but tortured the Swedes from their own lines for an additional hour. Meanwhile, the defeated monarch gathered his few surviving troops and began the hasty flight to the south, carried on his stretcher in flight by his men. A totally pathetic image for who had been the Alexander the Great of the North.
Russia lost less than 1,500 men and went on to carry the dominant voice in eastern and northern Europe for the following centuries. So much so that the vast empire that the Romanovs built from then on was the one that was taken from them by the Communists, after assassinating the Tsar’s entire family, to create the USSR in 1918. A giant that remained on top of world power until its dismemberment in 1991. Sweden, on the other hand, ceased to be a power and its King managed to cross the Prut River by boat, accompanied simply by his personal guard, some officers and a small treasure that he had managed to preserve. He abandoned his men in Perevolochna, a town near Poltava, and then went to the city of Bender, in the Ottoman Empire. There he took refuge until 1714, when he returned to Sweden … incognito.
The Russians called it the «battle of the dead»Just over a decade ago. And with this picturesque nickname it has remained to this day. The truth is that it deserves the nickname because, according to the myth, the August 6, 1915 a hundred Russians (the few who were still alive in the fortress of Osowiec after suffering a chemical attack with chlorine) they charged, full of pustules and coughing up blood, against a German contingent of …7,000 men! The story, already striking in itself, is finished off with an ending at the height of the Kremlin: the flight of the Teutons in the face of the fear inspired by those ghosts taken from the same hell of the First World War.
The story that has endured in the collective memory of the so-called «burden of dead men », the myth that has been established in society, forces us to go back to a time when young people fought and died throughout Europe for their nations. In 1915 the contest took a sharp turn. After a first phase in which the armies made their way through the battlefields, the front stagnated, the trenches became home to hundreds of thousands of men and chemical weapons were born, some new and shocking devices to destroy with the enemy without resorting to bullets.
This was the way things were when the German army decided, in January of that same year, to launch an offensive against the small Russian fortress of Osowiec, on the current northwestern border of Poland and located behind the river Biebrza. The scarce forces located there, as well as the huge number of cannons carried by the Germans (among them, the gigantic howitzers “Great Berta”, capable of firing projectiles of more than 800 kilograms) made any resistance seem impossible. Unfortunately for the Teutons, and according to myth, they ran into the determination of the half thousand men of the 226th Zemlyansk Infantry Regiment.
Ready for defense and determined to prevent the enemy from advancing to the city of Białystok (an important communications hub located about 70 kilometers), the soldiers of the Zemlyansk They repelled, over and over, the German assaults. In their favor they had the swampy terrain surrounding the fortress, which prevented massive infantry advancements, and the paucity of passable roads in the vicinity. It is worth proving the report that the People’s Commissariat for the Defense of the USSR He presented about this region in 1939: «In this area there are hardly any roads and there are very few villages. In addition, they only communicate with each other thanks to rivers and narrow roads. The enemy will not find here homes or positions to locate their artillery in a suitable way.
The hand hit was planned for the 6th August. That day the Germans took advantage of the fact that the wind was favorable to them and released, at around four in the morning, a wave of gas that generated a toxic cloud between 12 and 15 meters long. This is stated Juan Francisco Morón in his dossier “Chemical warfare, an invisible war”: “It covered a front about 8 kilometers long, penetrating Russian positions about 20 kilometers.” It took about ten minutes for the fog of death to reach its destination and it caught the defenders without gas masks. Something that the soldier confirmed Sergey Aleksandrovich Khmelkov, present in the action, in “The struggle of Osovets”.
The myth affirms that the Russians took refuge as they could among the remains of the fortress of Osowiec. But, even so, only a hundred of the 13th Company of the 226th Infantry Regiment survived. In view of the havoc they had wreaked, the Germans stormed the position (always, in the words of myth) with 7,000 men. However, the few defenders still swirling in the ruins opened fire from the heart of the rubble with nine heavy and two light batteries about the assailants. As if that were not enough, when the Teutons stopped, the barely 60 soldiers who still remained standing charged at them bayonet in hand.
The journalist’s description Vladimir Voronov of this attack last 2009, during the 95th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War, has gone around the world:
“As the Germans approached the trenches, a thick chlorine-colored fog hit them […]. A Russian infantry counterattack. The sight was terrifying: the soldiers charged at bayonets with their faces wrapped in rags, with a terrible cough, literally spitting out bloody pieces of lungs. They were the remains of the 13th Company […], just over 60 people. But they caused such horror to the enemy that the German infantry retreated underfoot. The battle would become known as the “attack of the dead.”
According to the myth, spread throughout the network, the German infantry refused to attack the position again for fear of the Russians. The victory, however, was short-lived, as the defenders had to withdraw from Osowiec when the high command reported that it was impossible to send reinforcements to them. Still, his departure from the area generated a new legend of heroism. And it is believed that the soldiers took the wounded and all the military equipment to the rear in just one night and under the constant pressure of the bombings.
The truth of a witness
The reality of what happened in the Osowiec fortress was narrated by himself Aleksandrovich Khmelkov (present in battle and, in the end, a great student of Russian fortifications) in “The struggle of Osovets”, now digitized in Russian and English. In this book, the military specifies that, in effect, the Germans “began to organize the gas attack in late July” and that, “for more than 10 days, they expected the wind to be”tail”(Towards the fortress)» to initiate hostilities. In turn, it corroborates that that terrifying day began at 4:00 in the morning, as has been well evident in the myth.
Khmelkov specifies, one by one, the German units that were part of the attack. In his words, “between 13 and 14 infantry battalions, 1 sapper battalion, between 24 and 30 heavy siege guns and 30 poisonous gas batteries.” Up to this point, everything agrees with the legend. In his words, the Germans released a gas «dark green“, probably “chlorine mixed with bromine», Which« spread at full speed »across the front with horrible consequences.
“All living things were poisoned and the Russian artillery suffered serious losses. Those who did not participate in the battle escaped from the shelters, buildings and houses. They closed the doors and windows tightly, soaking them with plenty of water. 12 km from the gas production site […] 18 people were seriously poisoned. There were cases of poisoning of animals: horses and cows ».
«The gas stagnated in the forest and near the water ditches […]. All vegetation in the fortress and in the vicinity along the path that the gas traveled was destroyed, the leaves of the trees turned yellow, curled and fell, the grass turned black and the flower petals flew. All the copper objects on the fortress bridge (parts of tools and projectiles, sinks, tanks, etc.) were covered with a thick green layer of chlorine oxide. Food stored without airtight seal: meat, oil, lard, vegetables … were poisoned and unsuitable for consumption. Gas proved to be a powerful weapon of destruction and could compete freely with high-powered bombs. “
The forgotten units
What is often overlooked is that, as the officer explains, the defenders had divided their forces into a considerable front in the vicinity of the fortress. To be more specific, in three positions: that of Bialogronda (on its right flank), that of the Rudsky channel (in the center) and that of Pine (on the left). In his words, it is true that they all suffered severe damage due to the toxic chlorine cloud.
The number of survivors of 226th RegimentIn fact, they do coincide with those wielded in the myth:
“The gases inflicted huge losses on the defenders of the Sosnenskaya position: the ninth, tenth and eleventh companies of the Zemlyansky regiment died as a whole, approximately 40 people were left of the twelfth company with a machine gun. Of the three companies defending Bialogronda, about 60 people survived with two machine guns. “
However, what the obvious legend is that, in addition to 226th RegimentThere were also other units in the region that fought rudely to stop the German advance on all fronts. Among them, the 225th Osovets Regiment or different groups of local militias that, although they proved ineffective, did manage to delay the Teutonic advance and allowed the defenses to reorganize.
7,000 men to the assault?
The second lie that can be extracted after reading Khmelkov’s work is the one that claims that the 7,000 Germans stormed, together, the fortress on August 6, 1915. Nothing is further from reality. The Germans, on the contrary, divided to attack the different positions in which the Russians found themselves and, in each of them, they had a mixed fate.
In the Right sideThe 76th Landver Regiment hit the toxic cloud they had released themselves and suffered huge losses. Although he captured several opposing trenches, he had to stop dead in the face of indirect fire from the firing batteries, again and again, from the opposite rear.
In the left flank, the 5th Landver Regiment was also blocked and suffered heavy fire from the opposing artillery. In fact, it was so intense that, after suffering several shocks, the officers ran into retreat when the 225th Russian Osovets Regiment (the other great forgotten of the day).
The Russian militia, decimated to half its troops, also actively participated in the defense of the center and the left flank, although, in the end, and according to the officer, “the company, wounded and demoralized by the fire and the attack gas, could not stop the enemy »and fled. His work, ignored by myth, was also decisive in reducing the number of assailants.
From the text it is inferred that, when the Russians prepared the counterattack from the fortress (the last forceful position they hoarded), the number of Germans was considerably less than 7,000. That does not mean, however, that the charge was a heroic fact.
The last lie relates to the last Russian attack. It has been generalized that the defenders loaded covered with bandages and (in the words of the Russian journalist) coughing up blood and expelling pieces of lung due to the injuries that the toxic cloud had caused them. However, this is nothing more than literature put on target almost a century later. And is that, Khmelkov he simply described it as follows:
“The head of the Second Defense Department sent from the Zarechnaya position for a counterattack to the 8th, 13th and 14th companies of the 226th Zemstvo regiment. The 13th and 8th companies, having lost up to 50% of their troops to poisoning, deployed on both sides of the railroad and launched an offensive. The 13th company […], with a shout of “Hooray!” He launched into the charge. This attack by the “dead”, according to an eyewitness to the battle, so impressed the Germans that they withdrew. Many died in the barbed wire and concentrated fire from the fort’s artillery. The 14th Company, combined with the remains of the 12th, knocked out the Germans from Pine’s trenches and took prisoners. The Germans quickly withdrew, dropping the captured pistols and machine guns.
Massachusetts child care centers will close on Monday amid the coronavirus epidemic, but some exempt centers will open to take care of the children of critical workers, Governor Charlie Baker said Wednesday during a briefing.
Over 2,000 Massachusetts residents have been quarantined because of the coronavirus, according to the latest numbers released on Wednesday by state health officials.
The new figures show that 2,054 residents have been quarantined, with 1,168 still in quarantine and 886 that are no longer in quarantine. This is almost double the 1,083 total of a week ago.
As the number of COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts rises steadily, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh – who reported 45 cases in Boston on Wednesday afternoon – exposed his thought process about what would be needed to issue a shelter order. on site.
Baker said Tuesday that he had no intention of ordering residents to take refuge on the spot. However, more than a dozen state and local Democrats are urging the Republican to reconsider in an open letter.
Governor Charlie Baker says Massachusetts has no plans for its residents to take refuge on the spot, but said “difficult days are coming.”
In the letter, released Tuesday afternoon, the 17 Democrats asked Baker to seek shelter by Tuesday after other cities such as San Francisco.
“Doctors tell us that COVID-19 is about 10 times more contagious than the flu and that 1 in 5 infected people will contract severe pneumonia that will require hospitalization,” they said.
“Suppressing the spread of the virus is essential to protect the ability of healthcare professionals to manage the influx of new patients and to safeguard public health and safety. Epidemiologists have suggested that Massachusetts could see up to 10,000 cases by the end of this month.”
As of Tuesday, the total number of coronavirus cases in Massachusetts has risen to 218, according to public health officials.
The Motor Vehicle Registry was reopened on Wednesday, which attracted large crowds of people lined up, despite Governor Baker and Mayor Walsh’s call for social expulsion in Massachusetts.
Baker said Tuesday that while there were “difficult days ahead”, there were no plans to implement an ongoing refuge.
“We will probably have some very difficult days ahead of us, as we are still at the start of the battle against this virus,” said Baker. “Faith and trust. We will succeed by putting together, taking care of each other.”
Baker plans to provide an update on the coronavirus pandemic at 15:00. at the State House with Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, sect. of health and human services Marylou Sudders and DPH Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel.
In a Tuesday night television speech, Walsh called on the audience to distance social to flatten the coronavirus curve.
“We simply need everyone’s help, and that’s how we will get past this,” said Walsh. “This is not the time for home parties, dating or visiting friends. We need everyone to limit their contacts right now.”
NEW DELHI: Now officially designated a pandemic, control of Covid-19 has reached a tipping point. Experts say containment measures are indeed unnecessary in many countries; attention must now shift to stop the spread or “flatten the curve”. Governments must now ensure that the number of cases does not increase so rapidly that our health systems are unable to cope. A look at some countries that have managed to flatten their curves and others that are struggling.
The spread rate is more important than the number of cases On March 10, a group of experts met at the University of California, San Francisco, to assess the Covid-19 threat. The conclusions were sad: containment measures are unlikely to be more effective in many countries. The only option is to “flatten the curve” or slow down the rate of spread so that healthcare systems aren’t overloaded. Otherwise, many countries will have more patients than the available test kits, hospital beds and intensive care units. Doctors and nurses run the greatest risk of contracting the virus unless the spread rate is controlled. Flattening the curve will also save time for researchers to develop a vaccine. Read also: Which countries are fighting Covid-19 better than others? What the “doubling time” says about disease management The doubling time, in the context of the coronavirus, is the time needed to double the number of cases. It gives an idea of how quickly the infection is spreading. A longer doubling period means more time to test and treat people with the limited resources available. Many countries have managed to flatten their curves. China, South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong have increased their doubling times to a week or more, making the disease much easier to manage. The flattening of the curve was achieved by blocking public spaces, closing schools, canceling conferences and sporting events and, on an individual level, washing hands with soap regularly and avoiding meetings, among other measures. Source: Datawrapper, our world of data
Since the brand new Stories of Spain that were born in the 19th century illuminated the concept of «Immortal Numantia», Talk about the wars that the Republic and the Roman empire They maintained in these parts irrevocably evokes the episode of the bonfire in the city of Soria. Who does not know his fight to the death against the revolutionary Scipio? The problem is that in the shadow of this heroic episode there have been many others starring neighboring towns such as the faltering.
The Roman historian Appian, in his chronicles, he explained in detail how the war that Lucullus carried out against the empty towns. The chronicler, from the beginning, charged the consul for having thrown himself face down into the heart of Hispania without the approval of the Senate. “He was desirous of glory and in need of money because of his hardship. He made the raid against the vacceos, another tribe celtiberian, who were neighbors of the arévacos, without having received any order from Rome and without them having made war on the Romans ».
In his words, in fact, these Hispanics had not committed any affront against the politician. Their only sin was having food to spare thanks to the opulence of their fields; a true wealth for the time.
Greedy for battle, Lucullus crossed the Block in 151 B.C. in direction to Cauca (in Segovia). Treacherous to exhaustion, the consul wanted to convince them that he was coming “to the aid of the folder us, who had been mistreated by them ». A fallacy like any other to justify itself. The Hispanics withdrew at times to the safety of their walls, but, in Apiano’s words, “they attacked him when he was looking for wood and fodder” and “they killed many of his men.” Thus he lit the wick of the contest. The historian already emphasizes in this first part of the contest that the vacceos towns stood out for their «light infantry»And that« they were winners »in a multitude of contests thanks to their hand punches and its “darts».
Apiano implies that the vacceos repeatedly asked Lúculo for peace. Apparently because they believed there was no reason to fight. “The next day, the elderly, crowned and carrying olive branches of supplicants, asked again what they would have to do to be friends.” The Consul agreed, since he was not seeking the death of his men, but money. Therefore, in exchange, he requested «one hundred talents of silver», A multitude of hostages and demanded that 2,000 of his men cross the walls of the city to ensure surrender.
Unfortunately for Hispanics, it was all part of a macabre plan. When his legionaries were inside, they opened the doors and chaos broke out. “At the sound of a trumpet, Lucullus ordered that all those of Cauca who were in adulthood be killed.”
The citizens died while flying the agreement they believed they had reached with the general. “They perished cruelly invoking the guarantees given, to the gods protecting the oaths, and cursing the Romans for their lack of words,” adds Apiano. In the end, the thirst for blood of the Romans was such that they killed most of the population, some 20,000 people. Only a few of them managed to escape through doors that were difficult to access. “Lucullus devastated the city and covered the name of Rome with infamy.” Those who were able to flee burned the fields so that their enemies could not use them. This is how Lucullus overcame the first stumbling block.
Death on Intercatia
The next city in the sight of Lucullus was the neighbor Intercatia, in which, according to the classical historian, some 20,000 soldiers and 2,000 horsemen had gathered. Once again, he tried to trick them. “The Consul, following a stupid criterion, invited them to sign a treaty, but they reproached him for their shameful attitude in the events of Cauca and asked him if he invited them with the same guarantees that he gave to those.” The general did not take the reproaches well and, “instead of being critical of himself,” he encircled the city and “just his fields»To get them to starve. The Hispanics, aware of the power of the Roman legions, preferred to place themselves behind the safety of the walls and respond with arrows to the insults of their opponents.
During these tense moments, and when food began to run out, the vacceos were saved thanks to traditional Hispanic ingenuity. Apiano says that one night some “barbarian horsemen who had gone out to forage” days before returned and ran into the encirclement of the legions. Since they could not enter the city, they decided to put on «to run around the camp screaming»To provoke« the uproar ». The plan could not have had a better result. Maybe it was the dark, maybe the fear of being surrounded. It may also be that hunger and lack of rations took their toll on their spirits. But the truth is that “a strange fear invaded the Romans” and condemned his spirit. According to Apiano, that made them not fight the same in the long run.
In the following days the Roman spirit suffered and the vacceos, with the blow of a dart, managed to defend the walls of Intercatia and even expelled the legionaries from inside when they managed to cross them.
The coup de grace was that, during one of the many withdrawals after failing in the dozens of offensives, Lucullus’ men fell “into a water cistern where most of them perished.” In the end, the consul had no choice but to assume his defeat before that irreducible Hispanic village. It all ended with a peace treaty in which defenders were required to hand over money, livestock and hostages to guarantee their safety. “Lucullus did not obtain the gold and silver he had asked for and for which he had made war, believing that all of Iberia was rich in gold and silver,” adds Apiano.
It could not fall into a greater error … At least, according to the classic historian. And, in fact, they did not have them and not even those Celtiberians gave value to these metals». All in all, it seems that the treacherous Lucullus was not yet content and, in a last display of gallantry, headed towards the nearby Palantia to loot it. In need of victory and the touch of precious metal, their legionaries were frustrated when the cavalry vaccinated from this city harassed them again and again. Everything ended as expected: the armies of the senateWithout food or support from Rome, they retired to their winter quarters to humiliate the consul. Another great (and forgotten) victory of a town obscured by the mythical Numancia.