Saturday, May 12, 2012


Commander Kelly's Football team!

The American Conservative tour on London resumes with a tour of Arsenal Football Club's home in London.  Emirates stadium in Holloway is now where you will find the legendary Arsenal Football Club playing its home games (  Arsenal was founded in 1886.  The team was created by fifteen workingmen employed at the Royal Arsenal in Woolich that supplied weapons and munitions to the British military.  Each of the workingmen / partners put up sixpence for their interest in the team (then called "Dial Square") and a another bloke kicked in three shillings to buy the ball for a team's first game!

Go Gunners!  (Photo: Lari Abraham)
Arsenal holds the record for the longest uninterrupted period in the English top flight (Premier league) and would be placed first in an aggregated league of the entire 20th century.  The Gunners have won 10 FA cups.  They have been coached since 1996 by the aptly-named Arsene Wenger, a French player and one of the best coaches in the game.  Controlling interest in "The Gunners" is now owned by Stan Kroenke -- an American sports tycoon who also has interests in the St Louis Rams NFL, Denver Nuggets NBA, Denver Avalanche NHL and the Denver Rapids Major League Soccer and other sports franchises.

Commander Kelly at Emirates Stadium (Photo: Lari Abraham)

Emirates stadium was completed in 2006 and features a pair of historic brass cannon at the front.  Arsenal is not bashful about celebrating its military roots.  Consider how very different this is from the names of professional sports franchises in the USA.  Our most violent and aggressive national sport, NFL football, features only three vaguely combative historical team names -- the Patriots, Raiders and Buccaneers.  The US Constitution has at the Second amendment and millions of Americans support the NRA, but what US professional team would dare to put a gun on its uniform?   The Cowboys of Dallas, for example, may have had six-shooters, but you won't find any on Tony Romo!  The British, however, are fiercely proud of their island heritage and the role that their armed forces have played in building an Empire that, in general, advanced the cause of liberty around the world.

Soviet Philately

If you want to learn more about historical Gunners and the history of artillery Commander Kelly suggests that you also visit Woolich (the original home of Arsenal) and tour the Firepower museum -- The Royal Artillery Museum.   This museum first opened in 1820 and is one of the oldest military history museums in the world.  It features a host of interactive elements and is very child-friendly.  Here is the link...

Napoleon and his guns
Artillery is by far the deadliest and most effective form of land-based armament; in the Napoleonic Wars, World War I and World War II the vast majority of combat deaths were caused by artillery (source: Wikipedia).  The father of the creator of James Bond, Valentine Fleming, was killed by an artillery shell in World War I.

Any list of world-famous artillerymen must begin with Napoleon, who commanded the French Republican guns that drove the British from Toulon in 1793.  He was promoted to Brigadier General at the age of 24 after this feat.  He defeated a royalist insurrection on October 5, 1795 (13 Vendemiaire) with a famous "whiff of grapeshot" advancing himself further.  Other great artillerymen include the German philosopher Friedrich Nietszche who once wrote, "had God thought of 'heavy artillery' he would never have created the world".  The American President who dropped two atomic bombs on Japan, Harry Truman, was a proud veteran of battery "B" in World War I.

It was Friedrich the Great, the Prussian warrior-King, who said, "Artillery adds dignity, to what would otherwise be an ugly brawl." He recognised the care, precision and science which distinguish the role of artillery on the battlefield.

The etymology of the word "artillery" is both controversial and suggestive.  The English word "artillery" dates back to the Middle ages.  One version holds that the word is derived  from the French verb "atelier" or "to arrange."  Another theory holds that "artillery" comes from the Italian expression "arte de tirare" or the "art of shooting."  Both derivations, however, suit "The Gunners" of Holloway very well.


You can now purchase Commander Kelly's 
first book, America Invades or on

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