Battle Cry? -Just What Is A Battle Cry?

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

November 5th, 2002, 4:52 pm #1

To most Marines, the term, Battle Cry, immediately brings to mind thoughts of Leon Uris' classic book by that title, and, of course, the movie. But most Marines, if asked, could not tell you just what that Battle Cry was. Of course, Battle Cry (both book and movie) was about WW II Marines, and deals with a spontaneous battle cry as opposed to a taught battle cry as was the case in WW I. But, by using "Battle Cry" as a model, perhaps we can gain a better insight as to what we are considering here as it provides an example not readily available otherwise.

Here is an excerpt from the book, Battle Cry.... Page 468...

(Note: Red Beach One, Saipan--the beloved "Highpockets" Huxley, 2nd Battalion CO has been killed, casualties are high and the enemy is counterattacking, and now Captain Max Shappiro, Fox Company commander lies dying also....)

"As the stunned Marines braced for the death they knew must come, Two Gun Shapiro stepped in front of them, his two pistols smoking, He turned to his Marines and over the din they heard a gristly shriek from his lips. 'Blood!' he cried. Max Shapiro sank to his knees, his pistols empty. He threw them at the enemy, 'Blood' he screamed, 'Blood!'

The men of Huxley's Whores were petrified. A legend was broken. The invincible captain, the man bullets could not touch, the man they believed was almost divine, lay there writhing in agony the same as any human being. The blood gushed from his mouth and ears and nose and he rolled over defiantly, trying to crawl to his enemy to kill them with bare hands, the same ghastly word on his lips.

Was he human after all? Did he not realize that something must be done to elevate his men to a task beyond human capabilities? Was it his God who sent him forward to sacrifice himself? Or was Max Shapiro merely a mad dog, full of a glorious madness?

Huxley's Whores rose to the heights of their dead captain. They no longer resembled human beings. Savage beyond all savagery, murderous beyond murder, they shrieked, 'BLOOD!' 'BLOOD!' ...'BLOOD!'

The enemy," who were mere mortals, fell back."

Although fiction, the scene as depicted above serves to generally define, for purposes of this webpage, something of just what is meant by the term "Battle Cry."