Lord Venturi's Heavy Infantry: Difference between revisions
m (1 revision: Discworld import)
Revision as of 22:04, 23 September 2012
It was favoured by Willikins and several members of the Ramkin family staff because of its very natty uniform of a sturdy red frock-coat, buttons and braiding in eye-catching gold, with crossing facing straps in white.
When asked by Samuel Vimes if he saw anything wrong with the picture of men dressed in red and white going to war in a sand-coloured desert and sand-coloured you up against a sand-coloured army whose archers were reputed to be so quick of reflex as to be able to shoot a man lighting a cigarette at night from two hundred yards away, Willikins went blank and was unable to see where Vimes was heading. Therefore Vimes gave up and told him the household would miss him (although the enemy might not)..
Vimes has summed up exactly why the British Army was the first in Europe to relegate its scarlet uniform tunics and white cross-banding to ceremonial use only, and why as early as 1870 it adopted khaki for use in desert or semi-desert fighting. Afghans in particular have always had a reputation for being crack shots, and presenting them with what amounted to a series of big white crosses on a red background was thought - eventually - as making it a little too easy for them.
Other Europeans were slow to grasp the idea that modern rifles and machine-guns made colourful uniforms a thing of the past. Even in 1914, French soldiers still lined up in bright red trousers and glorious blue tunics against grey-clad Germans. Who had good rifles and lots of machine-guns. Even then the French didn't quite get it: the eventual compromise uniform, introduced against protest from generals of a Rust inclination who insisted losing the traditional dark blue would sap the mens' fighting spirit, became a sort of bright cheerful sky-blue, designed to enable the French soldier to blend in with the horizon and the skyline...