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Guns and Bows and Arrows by Brian E. Tubbs

Author says: we're very pleased to present a new story from Brian Tubbs' excellent blog American Revolution and Foundation Era. Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).

In February 1776,

Benjamin Franklin sent a letter to General Charles Lee, expressing his wish that "pikes could be introduced" along with "bows and arrows", which, Franklin added, "were good weapons, not wisely laid aside".

What if the Continental Congress and the American army had taken up Franklin's suggestion?

Franklin's reasons for recommending the longbow over the musket are difficult to refute in an eighteenth century context.

Those reasons were essentially the following:

  • The bow was often more accurate
  • A man could shoot four arrows in the time it takes to fire and reload a musket.
  • A man could shoot four arrows in the time it takes to fire and reload a musket.
  • No gunsmoke, thus no problems in field vision.
  • No gunsmoke, thus no problems in field vision.
  • No gunsmoke, thus no problems in field vision.
  • An incoming flight of arrows is rather disconcerting to the enemy.
  • An arrow stuck to a man essentially immobilizes him, until extracted.
  • Bows and arrows are more easily provided than muskets and ammunition.

Please click the icon to follow us on Facebook.After retiring on grounds of ill health, Marshall was again brought to duty on the call of President Truman to be Secretary of Defense. The Korean War had shown how poorly the post-war American armed forces had been organized, and no one organized better than Marshall. Marshall effectively prepared the military for demobilization in less than a year and retired again. Meanwhile, fellow Five Star General Omar Bradley would be instrumental in Truman's decision to relieve MacArthur of command before he sparked a war with China.

"Ironically, it is the emblem of the United States of America in which the eagle is grasping an olive branch in one claw and 13 arrows, not muskets, in the other" - reader's commentBy afternoon of December 7, the USS Saratoga was the only American carrier in the Pacific. It raced into action to reinforce Wake Island, stopping at the devastated Pearl Harbor along the way only long enough to refuel, but was forced to turn back when the Japanese conquered Wake with the remainder of its attacking fleet on its return from Hawaii. Running patrols and hoping to recoup, the States soon launched the USS Hornet, which had been laid down in 1939 and commissioned only two months before. In a strike that would be tactically negligible but key to American propaganda, the Hornet would serve and the launching platform for the Doolittle Raid against Tokyo on April 18, 1942,, showing the American and Japanese public alike that the US could strike wherever it wished.

"Precisely, it took more than 10 years to become expert with the long bow. Interestingly though a contingent of archers of the kind seen circa the hundred years war would have demolished a revolution era army, imagine, on foot, with no armour, grouped together and moving slowly. These guys used to destroy heavily armoured, fast moving cavalry they would have laughed to see infantry so exposed. But no one had the skills." - reader's commentIn 1952, Marshall would be called up again, this time by the Democratic Party. General Bradley was running on the Republican ticket for president, and the Democrats sought a president that could surpass his military clout. Marshall declined, saying, "I'll stick with retirement. When men like Joe McCarthy are running around, Washington is no place for me.

While the Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson would lose out against President Bradley, Marshall's famous statement would cause a surge of unpopularity for McCarthy, costing him his reelection to the Senate. Bradley's two terms would be famed for their time of prosperity, forward development with projects such as the Bradley Continental Highway, and his liberal leanings, continuing New Deal programs and combating segregation, as well as his openness in international policy with Communism.

The Bradley Doctrine would prevent America from becoming something of a policeman, instead working to ensure that proper popular elections were held, preventing another Korea and MacArthur.

Through the course of the latter half of the twentieth century, Communism would grow throughout the world, taking over many nations in Southeast Asia, North Africa, and Central and South America. By the 1980s, however, the Stalinist nations would begin to fall apart after defeat in Iran and Afghanistan, leading to Germany reunifying and the Soviet bloc disappearing. The other "communist" nations of the world turned either into militaristic dictators or revolutionized themselves as seen in Red China, conflict with which Bradley had said would be "The wrong war, at the wrong place, at the wrong time, and with the wrong enemy".

Author says to view guest historian's comments on this post please visit the Today in Alternate History web site.

Brian E. Tubbs, Guest Historian of Today in Alternate History, a Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today. Follow us on Facebook, Myspace and Twitter.

Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting fictional blog.


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