Two weeks from today - after that blighted family affair we call Thanksgiving, when the hearth has cleared away and you're thoroughly sick of all relations - the Naval Heritage Society will assemble in Chesapeake VA for the 2010 reenactment of the 1775 Battle of Great Bridge. The most foreign aspect of our participation - if you've not done it before - is that we're dressing up as the British. Yes, the bad guys in red coats (well, about half of us will be in red anyway). And as inherritors of the "evil empire" as we Americans are so often viewed abroad, it would do well for us to examine the roots 'from wence we came'.
Of course the early American naval and marine forces took their first military examples from the British land and sea services. Of course, they added their own distinctly American touches, many of which were brought on by the necessity of building a fighting force from scratch and directly under the noses of a vastly superior and infinitely better organized enemy. Needless to say, their organization, tactics and methods are well worth studying to get a better understanding of what our early naval and marine forces faced, what they adapted from them and what they changed.
That said, for the next two weeks until the conclusion of Great Bridge, I am reverting BACK from wence NHS came, to the enthusiastic LOBSTERBACK - loyal to the rightful soverign of this land, King George the Third. So break out your corniest British accent, we have a rebellion to crush and populace to oppress!
As the first installment of propaganda - I mean encouragement - for you, I'm going to use my semi-regular and moderately obligatory Friday movie-link post to get you all enthused about being royal subjects again.
The navy to which you now belong is one of the largest sea-going fighting forces in the world, equipped with dozens and dozens of great hulking wooden star-destroyers known as Ships of the Line. These powerhouses, although quite nearly useless for any effective inshore work in the colonies, were still quite intimidating. The navy, and the army for that matter are highly efficient fighting forces, quickly adaptable to many forms of irregular combat. They are both highly competitive but work together closely when called upon to do their nation's bidding.
And as if your military might were not enough to get excited about, there is always your elevated status as a crown subject and citizen of the empire. It is definately something to be proud of, that sets you above the rest of the world - including your own colonies - that is worthy of note.
The downside, sadly, is that you'll never seem to get the girl. But come on, really? That's not too bad. As a Brit, even if you're not wearing a smashing red coat, you can still cut one damnably fine image.
Take a few moments to drink it all in. After all, it's already done, and you don't really have a choice in the matter.