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The Men That Fought At Minden

Rating: 2.8

A Song of Instruction

The men that fought at Minden, they was rookies in their time --
So was them that fought at Waterloo!
All the 'ole command, yuss, from Minden to Maiwand,
They was once dam' sweeps like you!

Then do not be discouraged, 'Eaven is your 'elper,
We'll learn you not to forget;
An' you mustn't swear an' curse, or you'll only catch it worse,

For we'll make you soldiers yet!
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COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Gajanan Mishra 29 June 2014

good writing, I like it, thanks.

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The poem titled 'The Men That Fought At Minden' by Rudyard Kipling, contains absolutely no details of this battle. Not even the armies involved nor the location. Why? The theme of the poem is that soldiers were all once ‘rookies in their time’, who became soldiers because of the famous battles they fought in. The veterans earned their privileges and ‘Johnny Raw’ must do most of the donkey work, until he has proven himself. Kipling stresses this theme with the line ‘from Minden to Maiwand’. Minden was a battle fought in August 1759 in Germany, against two French armies that threatened Western Germany; while the Battle of Maiwand was fought over a hundred years later in 1880 during the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Two interesting events in British military history, are remembered because of The Battle of Minden. The order sent to the British infantry “advance on the beat of drum” was misinterpreted as “advance to the beat of drum”. Thus mistakenly Waldegrave’s brigade, then Kingsley’s advanced and attacked the French line. The French army would have been totally defeated, if Sackville commanding the cavalry, had not disobeyed four separate orders from Prince Ferdinand, to attack during critical phases of the battle. “Sackville’s deputy commander, the Earl of Granby attempted to lead the force forward but was ordered to halt by Sackville.” At Minden four British infantry regiments, achieved eternal fame, and French Marshal Contades lamented bitterly after the battle, “I never thought to see a single line of infantry break through three lines of cavalry ranked in order of battle and tumble them to ruin.” Major General Waldegrave was promoted to Lieutenant General. Sackville was convicted by general court martial for disobeying Prince Ferdinand’s orders. Dismissed from the army by King George II and sentenced never to serve His Majesty in any capacity again. Lucky for the Americans, “in the next reign Sackville, under the name of Lord Germaine, became Secretary for War and directed the operations of the British Army during the American War of Independence.

3 1 Reply
Joseph Poewhit 29 June 2010

Kipling, just has a way of capturing the flavors and odors.

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Ramesh T A 29 June 2010

The men fought at Minden are men fought at Minden!

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James Mclain 29 June 2009

It is saddened.. .. that history.. such it is like this..was as once was then now nevers.. is only good.. extra credit now.. Could you even.. ever understand the ways of speach now.. never then. can you.. would you.. find the time.. to make them do it..? ..iip

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