[JenBurdoo] Surrounded by Incompetents! [Not their fault]

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[JenBurdoo] Surrounded by Incompetents! [Not their fault]

Postby JenBurdoo » Sat Mar 28, 2020 11:46 pm

The story goes that Frederick the Great once ordered some Cossacks to go out and capture some of the enemy. The Cossacks eagerly went out and duly returned... with the wrong prisoners. What happened?
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Re: [JenBurdoo] Surrounded by Incompetents!

Postby klondike mary » Tue Mar 31, 2020 2:02 am

Language differences relevant?
I can't help myself: Cats relevant? Dogs? Any other critters?
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Re: [JenBurdoo] Surrounded by Incompetents!

Postby JenBurdoo » Tue Mar 31, 2020 9:40 am

Language differences relevant? Yes.
I can't help myself: Cats relevant? No. Dogs? No. Any other critters? Yes.
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Re: [JenBurdoo] Surrounded by Incompetents!

Postby gregoryuconn » Wed Apr 01, 2020 10:13 pm

Did they literally capture some of the enemy? Perhaps cutting off their limbs and returning with just the limbs?
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Re: [JenBurdoo] Surrounded by Incompetents!

Postby JenBurdoo » Wed Apr 01, 2020 10:25 pm

Did they literally capture some of the enemy? SVV. Perhaps cutting off their limbs and returning with just the limbs? Not in this sense. You are thinking along the right lines, though.
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Re: [JenBurdoo] Surrounded by Incompetents!

Postby gregoryuconn » Wed Apr 01, 2020 10:53 pm

Were the prisoners they brought back alive? Dead? Is it safe to say they were supposed to be alive? Were they supposed to kill others and bring back the living? But then maybe they brought back the dead instead? Were there multiple opposing armies in an alliance and they brought back prisoners from the wrong one?
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Re: [JenBurdoo] Surrounded by Incompetents!

Postby JenBurdoo » Wed Apr 01, 2020 11:02 pm

Were the prisoners they brought back alive? Yes. Dead? Is it safe to say they were supposed to be alive? Yes. Were they supposed to kill others and bring back the living? Presumably. But then maybe they brought back the dead instead? No. Were there multiple opposing armies in an alliance and they brought back prisoners from the wrong one? Irr.
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Re: [JenBurdoo] Surrounded by Incompetents!

Postby klondike mary » Fri Apr 03, 2020 12:27 am

Horses relevant? other equines? other mammal?
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Re: [JenBurdoo] Surrounded by Incompetents!

Postby JenBurdoo » Fri Apr 03, 2020 12:59 am

Horses relevant? This. other equines? other mammal?
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Re: [JenBurdoo] Surrounded by Incompetents!

Postby klondike mary » Tue Apr 07, 2020 3:08 am

Did he order them to capture men & they interpreted it as horses? or vice versa?
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Re: [JenBurdoo] Surrounded by Incompetents!

Postby JenBurdoo » Tue Apr 07, 2020 4:00 am

Did he order them to capture men & they interpreted it as horses? This. How did that happen? or vice versa?
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Re: [JenBurdoo] Surrounded by Incompetents!

Postby klondike mary » Thu Apr 09, 2020 6:43 pm

Is the mid-commucation due to language? I think Frederick spoke German and/or French. Did the Cossacks speak only Russian? Did a word in one language sound like a word in the other language, and so was mis-interpreted?
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Re: [JenBurdoo] Surrounded by Incompetents!

Postby JenBurdoo » Fri Apr 10, 2020 3:30 am

Is the mid-commucation due to language? I think Frederick spoke German and/or French. Did the Cossacks speak only Russian? Did a word in one language sound like a word in the other language, and so was mis-interpreted? The Cossacks understood Frederick's language correctly, but....
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Re: [JenBurdoo] Surrounded by Incompetents!

Postby gregoryuconn » Fri Apr 10, 2020 7:07 pm

Pronouns relevant? Did they misunderstand what a pronoun referred to? Like maybe he said something like "Knock the men off their horses and bring them back as prisoners" and they thought "them" meant the horses, not the men?
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Re: [JenBurdoo] Surrounded by Incompetents!

Postby JenBurdoo » Fri Apr 10, 2020 8:27 pm

Pronouns relevant? Did they misunderstand what a pronoun referred to? Like maybe he said something like "Knock the men off their horses and bring them back as prisoners" and they thought "them" meant the horses, not the men? No pronouns were relevant, or in the instructions.
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Re: [JenBurdoo] Surrounded by Incompetents!

Postby Hobbsicle » Sun May 17, 2020 10:30 pm

Did he refer to the men as horses as an insult (like some might call the enemy dogs)? Did he directly say horses? Or something else that could be interpreted multiple ways? (I could imagine something like "capture their asses")
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Re: [JenBurdoo] Surrounded by Incompetents!

Postby JenBurdoo » Tue May 19, 2020 7:47 pm

Did he refer to the men as horses as an insult (like some might call the enemy dogs)? No. Did he directly say horses? He did use the word. Or something else that could be interpreted multiple ways? (I could imagine something like "capture their asses") He was not pejorative, but you have the right idea.
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Re: [JenBurdoo] Surrounded by Incompetents!

Postby Hobbsicle » Fri May 22, 2020 1:43 am

Did he use the word "horses" in reference to the men? Was he using a particular metaphor? Or idiom? Literary reference?
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Re: [JenBurdoo] Surrounded by Incompetents!

Postby JenBurdoo » Fri May 22, 2020 4:56 am

Did he use the word "horses" in reference to the men? Yes. Was he using a particular metaphor? Or idiom? This. Literary reference?




SPOILER



"Horse" is a general term for cavalry, seen in literature up to the 20th century, and clearest in the phrase "horse, foot and guns" to refer to the three parts of an army. The other two terms - "foot" for foot soldiers or infantry, and "guns" for artillery or cannon, are also easily confusing to the uninitiated.

Frederick, using this idiom, ordered the Cossacks to capture the enemy horse, meaning a unit of cavalrymen; the Cossacks, taking him literally, surrounded the enemy cavalrymen, turned them off their mounts, then left with the captured horses, leaving their confused riders standing in the road.
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