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Old May 10th, 2012, 05:31 PM   #1

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Self Sacrifice In Wartime


I was doing some research on navy stuff and stumbled across this:

Quote:
The destroyer Whitshead left harbour at 11 am. On board was Keeble, then a captain, in command of 19 men of a demolition party. Their mission, code-named XD Operation, was to destroy the oil installations at Amsterdam.
Near the Dutch coast, Whitshead was attacked by a German bomber but opened fire and drove it off. Further high-level attacks followed. One of them hit the destroyer on the port side, killing and wounding several ratings and blowing others into the sea. The bomb ignited some cordite next to the ammunition boxes. One sailor grabbed an armful and threw it overboard; another grabbed the rest and jumped with it into the sea..
Click the image to open in full size.

HMS Whithed, an old V&W.

Major Peter Keeble - Telegraph

The rest of the story is quite interesting too.

I'd never heard of Operation XD and I've never heard of the mad and unnamed sailor who jumped overboard (presumably to his death) clutching a load of burning high explosives. I wonder if he got the VC and why the story isn't generally well known?

You hear a lot of stories about soldiers and marines jumping on grenades to save their buddies, it's happened quite a lot in recent conflicts too. What causes this sudden reaction for self sacrifice? Bravery or madness?

I like to think if I was mortally wounded I'd hang back and sell my life dearly by taking at least two or three armies of commies with me before I died, but jumping purposefully on a grenade when you're fit and healthy is quite another thing. I don't think I'd be inclined to do that if I wasn't wounded.

I suppose it sort of puts the whole medal malarkey in perspective too, a lot of people do the bravest things without even getting any recognition. Does anyone else know of any obscure and heroic self sacrifice stuff in wartime?

~EoR
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Old May 10th, 2012, 05:47 PM   #2

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl_of_Rochester View Post
You hear a lot of stories about soldiers and marines jumping on grenades to save their buddies, it's happened quite a lot in recent conflicts too. What causes this sudden reaction for self sacrifice? Bravery or madness?
ask any soldier who has seen combat and they will answer. for them, seeing their friends getting killed can be worse then dieing as these are men who have all fought and bled together, as an old saying gos "he who sheds his blood with me is my brother"

we do things in wartime that we never thought possible and in it men form greater comradeship then you would ever see in normal life, two men who may have hated each other in civilian life may each be willing to sacrifice there lives for the other in wartime. i guess its something only soldiers can fully explain.
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Old May 11th, 2012, 12:16 AM   #3

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Didn't Temujin's (Ghangis Khan) wife give herself to the Merkits so that he could escape after being wounded? This resulted in his oldest son's paternity always being questioned. This type of self sacrifice might be worse than falling on a granade.
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Old May 11th, 2012, 12:42 AM   #4

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Whilst serving in a combat unit,I served with a lot of Vietnam vets. I am not a vet.

I was actually surprised at the stories of self sacrifice. I heard no claims of 'for Queen and country' nor for the Regiment,whose motto is 'DUTY FIRST". The motives asserted were without exception,to protect and save one's brothers.

There were only two soldiers in my battalion decorated for bravery,a major and a private. Major Felix Fazekas, (MC military cross) was awarded his gong for retrieving the body of WO (Warrant Officerer,a senior nco) Kevin 'Dasher' Wheatley VC (post) (Victoria Cross) under heavy fire.

Private Frank Fitch MM (Military Medal) was a stretcher bearer (medic) he won his for carrying a wounded comrade to safety on his back,under fire although wounded himself.
I knew both men.

Below is a link to Frank's citation,I can't find major Fazekas'

Military Medal to Pte Frank Fitch
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Old May 11th, 2012, 02:07 AM   #5

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Why jump into the ocean with the ordenance???

Surely its easier to throw it over the side.
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Old May 12th, 2012, 02:58 AM   #6

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I don't think self sacrifice is unique to the military, i am sure these civvies out there who, if put in that situation, would do the same. But clearly military men are put in that situation more often.

But i guess they are more lilkely to do something like this, and it is hard to explain. The military life is hard to explain. But we build up a comradeship that i don't think exists in any other walk of life. Even firemen, at the end of the day they clock off and go home. In the forces you don't just work together, you live together as well. Even when you are not on Ops, if you live in barracks or even in married quaters you are surrounded by the guys you work with. And when your away, whether on excersise or on operations, you are with the guys 24/7. And in the forces, looking after your buddies is something thats drumed into you from the start.

When someone does something brave, i don't think they think about it, its just a reaction. We are so used to looking after each other, helping each other out, that when the crap hits the fan, i guess instinct just takes over.
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Old May 12th, 2012, 05:41 AM   #7

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I recall an incident of an Israeli soldier jumping on a grenade whilst shouting the Sh'ma, his body absorbing an explosion that otherwise may have killed his immediate comrades.
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Old May 12th, 2012, 05:51 AM   #8
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That is because in military life, the exercise of self interests and choice to favor thyself is taboo, and is highly unacceptable demeanor, in contrast to a civil life in a free society. Life isn't supreme over the obligation or mission, which is the paramount objective to be done by members of armed forces like an army. A society that behaves like a military organization may succeed to have a socialist system, but such is not in keeping with the normal way of living, because in military exercise like war, life is abnormal. Military way of life if shall be applied to all people, is a Utopian society, and such is also correct about socialism.
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Old May 12th, 2012, 06:04 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dagul View Post
That is because in military life, the exercise of self interests and choice to favor thyself is taboo, and is highly unacceptable demeanor, in contrast to a civil life in a free society. Life isn't supreme over the obligation or mission, which is the paramount objective to be done by members of armed forces like an army. A society that behaves like a military organization may succeed to have a socialist system, but such is not in keeping with the normal way of living, because in military exercise like war, life is abnormal. Military way of life if shall be applied to all people, is a Utopian society, and such is also correct about socialism.
Note that vast numbers of aparently normal male young men want nothing better than to serve in the armed forces. Capitalism is wholly contrary to the nature of humans, and all-out competition is equivalent to Cancer.
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Old May 12th, 2012, 06:50 AM   #10

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a girl i work with found out on the day that her baby was born that her fiance had been killed in afghanistan. he and 5 other soldiers were walking and her fiance stepped on some type of mine. he fell on it to save his friends and he was blown to bits. all of his friends survived..
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