A Deadly Legacy
“A World War I veteran once remarked in his wartime journal about witnessing horse cavalry armed with lances. For those unfamiliar with the lance, it is a 2-meter-long pole weapon tipped with a sharpened blade more associated with medieval warfare than the 20th century battlefields of France.
The Veteran wrote, “I have just been watching a … Cavalry Division go by, riding at a trot. A long and endless line of men going by four at a time. I wonder when these European nations will find out that Lancers, like bustles, are things of the past. I thought that went out with the [American] Civil War. … My Dad, who was a lancer in the [American] Civil War, could tell them something about lances. How, for instance, they are continually getting entangled with the horses feet or caught in the branches of a tree … [and his unit quickly abandoned the lance out of impracticality]. They are picturesque, but so are the catapults of the ancient Greeks.”1
The utility, effectiveness, doctrinal use and integration of the lance into early 20th century tactics, specifically WW I, foreshadow the near universal philosophy concerning chemical weapons today...”
Excerpt from Jeffrey P. Lee, “A Deadly Legacy,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues 2, No. 1, 2011: 24-27.
Col. Jeffrey P. Lee is a career U.S. Army engineer. The veteran referred to in Col. Lee’s article is Pvt. Russell M. Lee, his grandfather. Coincidentally, Col. Lee assisted with the removal of American chemical munitions from Europe by upgrading a railway depot in Miesau, Germany, from 1989 to 1990. Today, he serves as the Defense Threat Reduction Agency chair at the Marshall Center and educates hundreds of future leaders from Europe, Eurasia and around the globe on WMD threats and programs to counter those threats.
This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.