"eclectic and free-ranging"
The military blog of Bert, "eclectic and free-ranging". Entries the material of which chosen from a wide variety of sources.
TO INCLUDE A COOKING SHOW!
I am watching just the other day on public broadcast television the cooking show of Andreas Viestad: "New Scandanavian Cooking". Andreas, Norwegian cook who specializes in regional recipes using locally obtained foods, meats such as cod and wild goose.
During this particular episode, Andreas is visiting the island of Svalbard land. Arctic wasteland of the far north, an island almost totally uninhabited, a population of only several thousand full time residents at most, an island barren and desolate.
Andreas travels inland, doing so ONLY WHEN ARMED WITH A HIGH POWER RIFLE! Anyone traveling AWAY from the areas of human habitation on Svalbard land MUST be armed in such a fashion. A military-style rifle of high-power [7.62 mm NATO or equivalent] to be carried anywhere and at ALL TIMES!
A rifle carried as protection against attack from polar bears.
The arctic north dangerous terrain to the human, and not just from the cold weather and treacherous conditions from the elements. Danger also to soldiers operating in the far north, the threat from wild animals as much a danger as the threat from an attacking enemy force.
There are few examples left of such danger as posed by wild animals to the soldier [sailor] on active military operations? [I am not thinking of insect bites causing disease such as yellow fever] I am thinking of wild animals stalking you, killing you, eating you!!
Modern day instances of predator attack obviously to include:
* The great white bear of the north. The polar bear. Voracious and perhaps most dangerous land predator that there is. Will attack with intent to kill and eat a human in an instant.
* The salt-water crocodile of southeast Asia, Indonesia, northern Australia. Again, a vicious and very capable predator, a known man-eater.
* Sharks! The World War Two [WW2] incident involving the USS Indianapolis instantly coming to mind. Sailors in the water, blood-flowing from wounds, sharks drawn from a distance - - men killed and eaten! Efforts to stave off shark attack only EXACERBATING THE SITUATION, MEN FLAILING IN THE WATER MIMICKING THE MOTIONS OF A DYING FISH!!
[the Greenland shark, normally a denizen of deeper waters of the Arctic, was observed feasting on the floating bodies of dead sailors, their ship sunk, during WW2, during the various Murmansk convoys. A shark taking advantage of a situation, an abundance of food at the surface!]
* Any of the traditional big-five game animals of Africa. Lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, cape buffalo. Large and very dangerous animals, easily provoked, attacking almost at whim, often stalking and killing humans.
* "Predator control" is an essential element of Arctic operations? A mission carried out by the Canadian Rangers, armed with the .303 British SMLE rifle, most recently during Nanook 09!
[incidentally - - nanook in the language of the Eskimo means polar bear!]
* The jury is still out on the World War Two era Ramree crocodile massacre? 1,000 or so Japanese troops killed and devoured by salt-water crocodiles in a single night! See too my previous blog entry on Sobek, the Nile crocodile-god!
* African big-game predators such as the lion and leopard can become accustomed to human flesh, scavenging the bodies of dead soldiers and developing a "taste" for people that places everyone in great danger. Such was the case of tigers in Vietnam devouring the bodies of North Vietnamese troops killed by B-52 strikes. Predators that normally flee a human now seek them [humans] out!