By James Bingham

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Extra info for French Infantry Tanks. Part II (including R 35 and FCM 36)

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State militias had over three million to protect settlers from Indians and Mexicans skirmishing for local control. Aging generals clung to their command billets since there were no provisions for retirement or disability. Armies historically prepare to fight the last war better, unable to imagine how the first battle of the next one will unfold. So when civil war erupted the army was organized and prepared for frontier patrolling, not their first modern war. Texas aligned with the Confederacy, leaving 16 percent of the federal army stationed there within enemy territory.

Regular infantry came straight from the Indian frontier. One battalion of artillery was converted to infantry and others were pulled from coastal defenses to replace the artillerymen. Units were poorly disposed for their missions making rapid adjustments necessary. Fortunately, they were well trained and disciplined because Mexicans outnumbered them by 35,000 men. Still, the cocky Americans expected an easy victory; but it took longer and was more difficult than they had imagined. Perceptions from the front disillusioned the public, softening support and making recruiting of fresh volunteers more difficult as the war stretched out.

He took his case to the Fifteenth Congress in December 1817, and it was warmly received there and in the media. But others, such as Senator William Smith of Virginia, disagreed with all government support to any group of citizens and argued a military pension system was a curse on the nation, a debt on the backs of their children. The debate over the veteran problem heated up but pensions were considered by most as the first payment for debts paid in blood. After all, the country might be at risk again and need to call for people to sacrifice once more.

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