Monday, October 04, 2004

Weekend activities & The Battle of Gettysburg

This does make a little sense, honestly.

I spent this weekend doing basically four things (apart from sleeping). Firstly housework. Which is just a pain. Once I've ensured things are basically hygenic it takes real effort to conver that into those mysterious qualities of neat and tidy. This weekend was fairly average on this front, and so went various parts of Saturday and Sunday. NB: The only part of housework which is not a real chore however is the ironing. Ironing is easy. I do it while I'm watching something on the telly.

Secondly was playing a game called Dungeon Siege, which I bought for a fiver on Friday after work. My brother had it when it was new, and I liked it then. A pleasurable monster-bash. Relatively mindless, which after last week was just what I needed.

Thirdly, watching sport. In the end I only watched the first half of LSU v Georgia. The reason was simple enough. Immediately before that they were showing the Giants vs the Dodgers, and this run over by a considerable amount of time (45mins I think), which meant the delayed coverage of the football game would have had be staying awake to at least 4am, which really just wan't on the cards. Still, a great baseball game. Dodgers went into the 9th 3-0 down, and pull of the win. Great game.

Finally, in counterpoint to my monster-bashing in too I was playing Battleground: Gettysburg, an old Talonsoft game. It's the sort of game that I would describe as a computer board-game, with hexes and everything! Playing as the Union. There are but two problems: 1) the AI isn't that great, and 2) even a cursory knowledge of the battle like I have allows you to anticipate likely moves. Thus I was able to hold the line of McPherson's Ridge throughout the first day, and keep the Rebels out of Gettysburg (albeit things got a dicey on the ridge about 4pm). Much fun was had.

However, while I was playing it occurred to me that one thing that is quite special about Gettysburg is how utterly unplanned a battle it was. Elements of the two armies more or less blundered into each other, and then pulled the rest of the armies into the clash. I started trying to think of how many other major battles were so unplanned.

I mean, quite often you get battles where one side has a plan and the other is just desperately trying to hold on - Shiloh springs to mind, or in another age Tuetonbergerwald, or in the modern era Barbarossa, or the Normandy beaches. Mostly though I seem to think both sides have plans for the battle, even if it just a defensive one to the other's offence. The examples are really too numerous - Cannae, Zama, Cynoscephalae, Hastings, Agincourt, Bosworth Field, Austerlitz, Wagram, Waterloo, Fredericksburg, Verdun, El Alamein, and so on.

Just thinking I can't actually recall anything quite as unplanned as Gettysburg, as unintended as Gettysburg. If anyone has any ideas please air them, cause I'm pretty certain that Gettysburg can't be unique in this regard. Cheers.

See, it does make sense, sort of.

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