Blog/America's Economic History
Posted Nov 21, 2015 by Martin Armstrong
According to various sources, ISIS is using the drug Captagon to create superhuman warriors. Perhaps this is true. However, it is by no means the first encounter with a warrior culture and it would be a mistake to assume it is simply drugs.
The modern legend of warrior cults came from the island of Mindanao, where the U.S. Army had to invent the .45 automatic to stop the fanatical Moros from cutting down American soldiers in the Philippine Islands. The legend is not entirely wrong. It is very true that fighting the Moros was indeed the primary motivator for the “invention” of the .45 automatic. It is true that from 1911 until 1985, the Colt Model 1911 .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol was the official sidearm of the U.S. military and became the most famous pistol in military history.
In the late 19th century, the U.S. adopted the Colt Model 1894 .38 caliber double-action (DA) revolver as the standard sidearm for officers. The six-shot Colt .38 DA represented advanced technology, replacing the famous Colt .45 “Peacemaker” which was a single-action that had to be cocked by hand each shot. The Colt .38 was used during the Spanish-American War, which was actually only two days of actual ground combat. The Philippine-American War (called at the time the “Philippine Insurrection”) was nearly as long as World War II itself from February 1899 to July 4, 1902, because it was really a guerrilla war that they saw as a national liberation battle.
The Filipino Army of Liberation had to make their own bullets and had perhaps one rifle for every three soldiers. Over 4,000 Americans were killed out of 126,468 troops, so the death rate was actually higher than the Vietnam War. The Filipino troops used the bolo, which was a fearsome, short, 16 to 18-inch razor sharp weapon used to in harvesting crops and hacking through trails in the jungle. American troops with a single shot weapon did not stand a chance, and often against a charge of several hundred bolo armed men.
As the war came to an end in the north, suddenly the south island of Mindanao erupted with the first battle taking place between the Americans and the Muslim Moros on May 2, 1902; the Battle of Bayan. Yes, they were Muslim and the fieriest warriors of all. The Americans killed about half of the 600 Moros warriors. About 10% of the American troops were severely wounded in a matter of minutes. American troops ran out of ammo and fixed their bayonets. A wave of Moro warriors were hiding in nearby trenches and charged, swinging their terrifying bolo short swords and some with the double-handled kampilan, while others had the double-edged wavy kris that was considered to be the most deadly of all. One survivor of that battle, Capt. C.C. Smith, recounted that “in hand-to-hand combat our soldiers are no match for the Moro. If our first shot misses the target, we rarely have time to get off another.” In the end, all the officers were killed and about half of the American troops were cut down. Only a torrential rainfall saved the rest.
The battle against the Moro lasted more than a decade from 1903-1913. The most famous of the Moros warriors was Panglima Hassan who was a Tausug war leader. He refused to surrender and by himself he rushed the American line with only his sword. They opened fired but he cut up one American soldier and two officers before being brought down. His body was inspected and thirty-two bullets hit him before a last bullet from a sergeant’s revolver shot him square between the eyes.
The newspapers asserted that the Moros were “hopped up” on drugs. They wore bamboo armor and old Spanish helmets for protection during these charges. This was just propaganda. The Moros were a warrior culture much like the Spartans of ancient Greece or the Celts who would charge at the Romans in a sure death charge. There was never any possibility of surrender in any of these cultures for it was considered dishonorable and highly shameful in both society and their religious values. So there was no possibility of returning after the war. All of these cultures embraced death as honorable where they would gain instant entry to heaven if they died in battle. The Celts believed they would simply be reincarnated. This type of mental state did not require chemicals.
The first Colt .45 M1911 semi-automatic pistols were finally shipped to Moro land thirty years later in 1944-1945. No doubt, the experience with the Moro Muslim warriors inspired the semi-automatic .45 to become a standard issue when they faced another hard to stop warrior type society – the Japanese.