Sunday, January 10, 2010

Infernal Machine

An old merchant barque is stuffed with 20 000 lbs of gunpowder in the lower level of barrels, plus an upper level of 50 iron-bound barrels "filled with all sorts of explosives", separated by a chewy layer of Brazil nuts and wasabi peas, with a frosting of liquorice sticks. Used by Admiral Benbow in an assault on the sea-wall at Saint-Malo, behind which a small French flotilla were sheltering.
...but it struck a rock and the engineers were forced to light the fuses and row for their lives. The vessel burned for some time but eventually blew up.
There was collateral damage to the roofs of 300 houses but the sea-wall remained intact. In the face of total failure, not to mention the huge cost over-runs, the Admiralty had no choice but to promote Benbow and double the research budget for his engineers.

8 comments:

mikey said...

Benbow was still dissatisfied with the overall result and initiated a court-martial against Captain Henry Tourville, accusing him of cowardice for not bringing his ship in closer. There was no conviction though, as the mortars were proved to be defective.

Original random non-sequitor excuse. Worked once for Tourville, do not expect the same result today.

To explain your failure to close with and destroy the enemy today, defective mortars will earn you derisive snorts. In fact, you would do better just to claim derisive snorts in the first place.

Useful modern excuses include weapons of mass destruction, Iranian IEDs, faulty intel and improper coordination with multinational forces. UK forces continue to stick to the tried and true tactic of blaming everything on the SA-80.

But ultimately, you can't go wrong blaming the airdales (admittedly, this option was not available in 1694, but it it must be seen as a major advance in military blame technology) as they are universally understood to be a little light in their flightsuits, if you know what I'm saying...

Jennifer said...

That looks like the cross section of a brandy snifter...

Also... a chewy layer of Brazil nuts and wasabi peas, with a frosting of liquorice sticks

this sounds like Snaps... which also tasted a smidge like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prell.

Jennifer said...

Oops... bad link.

Smut Clyde said...

To explain your failure to close with and destroy the enemy today,

Tourville had originally intended to plead that he was scared of the animated spiders, but his legal representation talked him out of that excuse.

Another Kiwi said...

Tourville has also been quoted as saying that "When dealing with the Frenchies, nothing less than Fruit Bon Bons will loosen them"

M. Bouffant said...

The problem here was that Cap't. Tourville was obviously a FRENCHY himself.

If they'd only profiled, it would have worked.

Tastes like Prell? Eesh.

ckc (not kc) said...

...not enough underwear

wv: guestrat - WTF?

fish said...

I believe the top level consists of the "remnants" of male Vikings taken to nursing young infants.