July 1.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader reads on Robbo’s blog a wonderful little piece on Gen. John Buford and the opening of the Battle of Gettysburg. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t think much of the US Civil War, and thus didn’t think about yesterday being the annivesary of the beginning of the famous American battle.

On the other hand…

Your Maximum Leader did think about, and was reminded by his good friend the Air Marshal, that yesterday was also the first day of the Battle of the Somme in the Great War. Your Maximum Leader, when he thinks about the opening day of the Battle of the Somme, remembers the number 57,000. Fifty-seven thousand. He should remember the number 57,470. That huge number is number of British casualties on the first day of the battle. Of the 57,470 who became casualties, 19,240 were killed or died of wounds suffered that day.

Think about that for a moment.

19,240 British soliders killed in one day.

Let us compare that number to some others for a moment.

The number of American dead in Iraq: 4,323 (according to an anti-war group, your Maximum Leader didn’t find the Pentagon number).

The number of American dead in attack on September 11, 2001: 2,974.

The American dead from attack on Pearl Harbor: 2,350.

The dead from the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1864) on both sides: 7,863. (3,155 Union, 4,708 Confederate)

The dead from the Battle of Antietam (September 17, 1862) on both sides: 3,654. (2,108 Union, 1,546 Confederate)

The population of Mineola, NY (2008): 19,216.

The population of East Lyme, CT (2008): 19,022.

The population of Vero Beach, FL (2008): 16,982.

The population of Princeton, NJ (2008): 13,391.

The population of Vienna, VA (2008): 14,903.

The population of Lexington, VA (2008): 7,003.

Contemplating the number of British dead makes your Maximum Leader shudder. The thought is made the more difficult in the knowledge that many of the units suffering so badly were part of Kitchener’s New Army. Many regiments of the New Army were recruited locally, so small towns often learned of whole generations of young men being killed at once. It is terrible to contemplate.

Your Maximum Leader thinks he’s going to have to stop contemplating this and get himself a drink pretty soon…

Carry on.

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