Thursday, September 10, 2020

Popski's Private Army -- Warning Order

Keen-eyed readers of this rarely read mind blog may remember the Compound's all about the Chindits. Fair play, but what about Popski's Private Army?

Good question. We'll get into this later, as the day unfolds. Watch the tracer.

I'll take it,



Anonymous said...

A great man, a great adventurer and a great soldier, pioneered desert navigation and overshadowed by the better connected Stirling and Jellicoe.

Anonymous said...

Aha, you checked.

The story of No. 1 Demolition Squadron, PPA (Popski’s Private Army) and Major (later Lt.-Col.) Peniakoff is a stirring tale of derring do the likes of which ‘corrupted’ a small boys imagination and caused him to make some ‘questionable’ choices later in life. (I also lay some blame on Paul Brickhill and his (Escape from Danger) the Great Escape, The Dam Busters and Reach For the Sky – another fascinating man, with a fascinating life). [I have a signed first edition, but Barnes and Noble still produce a paperback copy if you’re interested].

It, like Bagnolds ‘Long Range Desert Group’, Stirlings ‘Special Air Service’, Orde Wingate’s ‘Chindits’ and Courtney’s ‘Special Boat Section’ (and The Royal Marines Boom Patrol Detachment) leading to Jellicoe's 2nd SBS are an almost exclusively (maybe even archetypally) British concept of ‘Special Forces’.

[I have a particular affinity for Vladimir and Roger Courtney, perhaps because of my experiences, but also as, Anon above indicates, the fact that the very unconventional thinking and flair that led them to conceive of and lead such effective units did not necessarily translate into the skill. or even desire, to play the political game].

Oh, other countries had similar ideas but none so common, accepted or executed with such ‘Boys Own’ flair (honestly, what we now consider special forces is a British concept). What other country would not only allow an officer to ‘borrow’ 23 soldiers (plus sundry desperately needed equipment and weapons), disappear for months causing mayhem behind enemy lines, and then promote him and officially give him the unit when he eventually returned?

The US (unfortunately typically) also tends to forget the British basis of much of its own Special Forces. ‘We’ gave you the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), Merrils Marauders and even (sacrilegious to consider, I know) The Rangers – no, seriously look at the history. (Imitation, the sincerest form of flattery, although the 'Hollywood' tradition of usurping all 'our' war stories as theirs is a bit 'annoying')

You’re welcome (ducking and covering).

LL said...

We need people of his stripe to be turned loose against anarchists (who are an odd mixture of freaks, misfits, angry negroes and white elite trust fund babies) in the US.

Jim said...

I recall reading about Popski back when I was a teen. Interesting guy.

SgtBob said...

I read about Popski's derring-do's at age 15. Watched a couple of TV's Rat Patrol, called BS. Worked with M-151-mounted scouts as intelligence sergeant. They had a tendency to "get lost" at Fort Hood. Not difficult doing in jeeps, harder when they switched to M-113s. A good read.

LSP said...

He definitely seems to have been, Anonymous. And I'll return to the theme after 9/11.

LSP said...

Anon -- for "seems to have been" read "was."

LSP said...

Anon, you're very wise to duck and cover! I'm amazed no one's come after you. And, to be honest, I haven't read up on PPA for years, which is remiss. He was an inspiration when I was a kid, along with the others, and is today.

Now we all need Jeeps with mounted .50s. Hmmmm.

Thanks for that.

LSP said...

Don't we just, LL. Will it come to that? They won't like it if it does.

LSP said...

He was, Jim. I'll post on him at greater length tomorrow.

LSP said...

Sgt -- get a Jeep, put a massive machine gun on it and roll, or something like that. LL feels it might be the answer to some of our current "turbulence." He has a point.