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Old 24th February 2012, 02:16 PM   #31
katana
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Hi Chris,
thanks for adding this facinating.

This recently was listed on eBay ..... would have loved to have got it ...but at that price

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/140697746...984.m1438.l2649

All the best
David
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Old 24th February 2012, 04:48 PM   #32
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Hi David,

My pleasure! And while I consulted with the Professor extensively on both the suite of items and the gentleman to whom they originally belonged, I just realized something of note:

While the artwork for the book cover illustrates the aforementioned charge in '29/'30, the lances shown have bamboo shafts...

Which raises the question about the continued use of older patterns in colonial regiments long after the migration to ash shafts as per Jim's research.

Cheers,

Chris
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Old 24th February 2012, 05:40 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laEspadaAncha
Hi David,

My pleasure! And while I consulted with the Professor extensively on both the suite of items and the gentleman to whom they originally belonged, I just realized something of note:

While the artwork for the book cover illustrates the aforementioned charge in '29/'30, the lances shown have bamboo shafts...

Which raises the question about the continued use of older patterns in colonial regiments long after the migration to ash shafts as per Jim's research.

Cheers,

Chris




Hi Chris,
I believe regulations in the 'colonies' tended to be more relaxed and , probably even more so for the native units.

As to the pennon, I believe they were attached to the lance during battle. One of its functions was to absorb blood .....preventing it running down the shaft and making it slippery

All the best
David
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Old 24th February 2012, 06:21 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katana
Hi Chris,
I believe regulations in the 'colonies' tended to be more relaxed and , probably even more so for the native units.

As to the pennon, I believe they were attached to the lance during battle. One of its functions was to absorb blood .....preventing it running down the shaft and making it slippery

All the best
David



With that in mind, IMO they don't - nor did - pay the dhobis enough!

Then again, my non-frosted side cringes at all the clothes I've had laundered in India over the years that over time the dhobis turned into the same, washed-out shade of grey...

Cheers,

Chris
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Old 24th February 2012, 08:21 PM   #35
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Thank you so much Chris for posting the cover of this wonderful book by the Brigadier!!! it brings back many fond memories (it seems I still owe you a photo, which I will get to in due course . As I have mentioned, I have handled the M1912 British officers sword he carried in that charge, which seems accurately represented in the painting though the bowl is not visible, but the scabbard mounts are correct. This leads me to believe that accuracy was keenly observed, and knowing the stickler the Brigadier was, I have no doubt such a detail as lance pennons would have been noted had they been present and incorrect, in our conversations.
While pennons did seem to be 'parade' oriented in the images I have seen of these Indian cavalry in WWI and of that period, I do believe they were indeed mounted on lances in combat. I had never heard the item about them serving the purpose of collecting blood, and would presume this idea may present along with the purpose of fullers in blades being 'blood gutters'. While sounding feasible perhaps in limited degree, these observations seem more contrived in my thinking.

I do know that pennons were indeed attached in combat with lances as per accounts of Polish lancers in the Napoleonic period, and that these pennons added dramatically to the sepsis of wounds by carrying this obviously contaminated material into them. The morbid agony of this typically mortal penetration was heightened by this factor as described in accounts I have seen, and as a result , lancers when captured were summarily killed rather than being held prisoner.
In the dramatic charge of the British 16th Lancers at Aliwal in India during the Sikh wars, after the battle the pennons of the troopers were so encrusted with blood in the aftermath, that it became a long held tradition for these lancers to 'crimp' thier pennons in remembrance. While the blood on the pennons was clearly of thier opponents, the observance was for the decimated ranks and men they lost in that charge.

As with many, if not most, colonial circumstances, yes often obsolete and surplus weapons and materials did continue almost anachronistically in these settings long beyond the period of familiar use in original context.
It seems most of the issues regarding the British lances was availability of male bamboo, and presumably in India there were more ready sources.
The durability of the lance pennons however, may not have been sufficient to keep them servicable in these frontier regions, and having them mounted in the case of this time period may have been considered superfluous. I think more concern was to the actual purpose of the lance rather than the traditional presence of these probably unreplaced items.

As to the materials used, as far as I know most pennons are made of the kind of bunting used in flags, however one lance I had in blue and yellow (3rd Skinners Horse) was made of a dyed almost burlap material.

All the best,
Jim
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Old 24th February 2012, 09:43 PM   #36
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Hi Jim,

It is of course my pleasure - I am happy to have been provided a context to share this book in the thread, and only wish I had seen it sooner... Of course, your invaluable input, information, and feedback went a long way towards helping me better appreciate this tangental 'brush' with the career of the Brigadier, and reading his book heightened my appreciation for the various regimental Lancers to such a degree that I would jump all over the opportunity to acquire a couple of these sharp and pointy 'history sticks.'

Speaking of which, David, I don't think I made explicit mention of the fact I am envious!
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Old 28th February 2012, 03:44 PM   #37
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Hi Jim ,
thank you for your observations and info. It is mentioned on various sites including the official Canadian Mounties site that the pennon absorbed blood .....I personally feel that this action was one of its function.
I believe that the pennon added several advantages....

The 'fluttering' pennon would be a distraction to the 'target' ....I'm reminded of the Chinese long spear which had ribbons attached to the shaft just below the head for this purpose. Although after some 'action' I would assume that the blood soaked material would cling to the shaft and render it 'useless' in this case

A very interesting point about infection, archers used to stick their arrows into the ground to promote tetanus infection in the wounds of their targets. Often clothing fragments were forced into the wounds created by musket balls, due to poor hygiene these fragments caused 'deep' infection. This effect was known and a few realised that fresh, clean clothing at the start of battle could lessen this problem. A contaminated pennon could indeed act as a biological 'delivery device'

I still feel that absorption of blood was important, the lance, during battle, would not always be carried horizontally, in the melee with horses and men tightly 'bunched', to gain manoeuvrability the lance would have to be raised vertically thus allowing blood to run down to the handle/hand. The slippery nature of fresh blood would be a problem.

Hi Chris ,
I am very lucky to have got these......they were advertised as African and the poor pictures only showed the upper bamboo shaft and the head. I immediately recognised these as British Lances ....others didn't...which was advantageous to me as few bid. It was only on collection that I even knew the lances were totally complete .....this grin does not adequately show my face, as I was returning home after collecting them.

Kind Regards David
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Old 7th March 2012, 02:54 PM   #38
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A recent documentary "War Horse", shed more light on the use of the lance during WW1. Early engagements tended to be suicidial due to the muddy terrain and the machine gun. A battle near the end of the war saw Canadian lancers/cavalry charge over open fields to attack a small wood, entrenched with Germans. This action was successful and was seen as many as a turning point in the war.

As the Germans tactically retreated towards Germany, the Lancer/Cavalry units became invalueable. As the retreating soldiers were now in open country as to opposed to the muddy, bomb shelled landscape of 'no mans land', the use of the horse allowed quick attacks ( hit and run) on the German units. The Lancers and Cavalry units became greatly feared, to the point that the infantry were quick to surrender when they were seen on the horizon.

David
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Old 21st March 2012, 02:56 PM   #39
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This just finished on eBay, earlier pattern British lance, extremely surprised at the final price.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Fine-1846...=item231af493b1
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Old 21st October 2017, 01:25 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katana

It seems that during the Victorian era there were only 4 lancer regiments ...

The 5th Royal Irish
The 12th (Prince of Wales's Royal )
The 17th
The 21st

All saw action in Africa ....and most of these units saw action in India.



My guess is that they were deployed against poorly-armed and poorly-trained opponents for a reason. Why waste expensive ammunition and wear and tear of the firearms, when a lancer can pick as many running natives as he wishes?

I just bought a lot of three lances myself, haven't looked at them properly yet. This is a a useful thread.
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Old 22nd October 2017, 12:10 AM   #41
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This is a fascinating topic and glad to see it back up!
Actually seeing the bit about the pennons purpose being for soaking up blood seems kind of like so many other 'explanations' for features on weapons in the eventual 'lore' that evolves.

Interesting that the source for this is said to come from RCMP history. I recall many years ago seeing one of their music parade events with laces drill...it was spectacular. These forces are in themselves most impressive and quite historically profound.
However it seems that they really never used the lance but for performances from c. 1870s and to notably impress American Indian tribes etc. They may have had some use in WWI, but while the unit was certainly there, unclear on how much use the lance had.

In my opinion, the 'blood' element may well have come from the long tradition of the British 16th Lancers, who fought Sikh forces at Aliwal in 1846. Apparently after the battle the pennons of the lances were so blood soaked and encrusted, that the regiment traditionally crimped their pennons 16 times, in remembrance of that terrible battle.

It seems that the Canadians adopted the crimping of the pennons as they took to use of the lance in 1870s and later Queen Victoria took exception to their use of that feature in the pennons. Perhaps there had been some earlier connection between the 16th and the 5th who later formed part of the Canadian brigade in WWI as they were amalgamated together in 1922.
Whatever the case, the blood soaked pennons of Aliwal may be the source of this notion.

In actuality, the pennon has been suggested as more regimentally symbolic and for parade type purposes than such matters. In WWI, the German lancers left their pennons off during battle.
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Old 22nd October 2017, 03:00 AM   #42
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Continuing:
On the practical and physiological aspects of the lance.

These weapons, while psychologically terrifying in an advance formation of cavalry, their impact was quickly ended once in the melee. These were useless in the ensuing combat, and even to drop them and draw swords would put the rider in immediate vulnerability.
Because of the horrific wounding potential of the lance, these horsemen were despised and vehemently attacked, never receiving quarter.

They were cumbersome even in normal maneuvers, and could be dangerous to other riders in formation. During the Civil War, an attempt was made to duplicate European lancer regiments, I believe it was a Pennsylvania regt.
The results were horrendous, and the troopers were their own worst enemy.
I believe the idea was abandoned and the troops back to regular cavalry.

The idea of lances ended up with blood hampering their grip is no more likely than from a sword or any edged weapon. Lances had their grips about half way down the shaft, suggesting that their use was not as much a full length penetration thrust, but more of a jabbing action. The idea was not to impale a victim on the lance, obviously rendering the rider weaponless or unhorsing him....but to inflict lacerating wounds at key locations.

At San Pascual, in California during the Mexican-American war, the dragoon forces attacked by Mexican lancers often had as many as 13 or more wounds. Actually they were unable to load their guns in the darkness and place the caps, while the Mexican lancers simply chose their targets . They used jabbing thrusts so as not to lose their weapons.

The notion of the pennon causing mortal sepsis by its entry into the wound is a valid observation, but penetration of that depth and with that pennon now an obstruction in retraction from the wound, something that probably led to some cavalry removing them prior to combat.

I think one of the most notable instances of lore about lances is the one about Polish lancer units attacking German tanks with these in WWII. This was pure propaganda, and while the unit was a lancer named unit, and they did have swords, they did not attack the tanks, especially not with lances.
They did use swords as German's exited disabled or stopped tanks though.
German Wehrmacht also had cavalry using sabres.
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Old 23rd October 2017, 09:35 PM   #43
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Lancers were somewhat despised by their enemies since the wounds inflicted by the lance were so horrific...thus falling off ones horse in a melee was a very bad place to be...as no quarter was given.
Here is some artwork ~The black and white is Elandslaagt in the Boer War..and the other is Omdurman. The lance head and base are of the style made by Wilkinson.
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Old 23rd October 2017, 11:02 PM   #44
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the pennants were there not only to identify the regiment, but to prevent the over-penetration of the point, much like the cross bar on a boar spear. why they didn't just put a cross bar on them i do not know.

one of the last true cavalry charges, in early ww1, a group of british cavalry drew sabres & charged a group from a german uhlan, brits has swords, the germans had the steel lance. they were a new unit and apparently not well trained, they broke and ran, only being saved when the survivors managed to get behind a farmer's barbed wire fence that stopped the pursuing brits as the horses refused to jump it.

and the poles never charged tanks with their lances in ww2 as german propaganda suggested...they did successfully charge a complacent german encampment that hadn't posted proper sentries and did great damage to it, and retreated in good order when some armour turned up. their lances were back in HQ for parades, they used firearms (and sabres) and were used more as mounted infantry. there were just not enough of them, especially with no air cover, and the russians attacking from the other side to aid their german allies.
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Old 24th October 2017, 04:22 AM   #45
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Wayne, your description of the myth about Polish lancers in WWII was much better described than mine!
The idea of the pennon serving as a deterrent for over penetration sounds plausible, but it is notable that the German uhlan units typically removed them from their lances.
Certainly there would seem to be a certain plausibility for unit recognition, however there were not that many lancer regiments so as to be confused in action. At Balaclava (1854), there was only one, in front as in battle order, the 17th Lancers.
Actually lancer units usually had more of a 'national' pennon color combination. The British used red and white (taken from the Napoleonic Polish lancers that inspired them); while others had different colors (Germany black & white). Lance pennons were not regimentally specific, while guidons were.

There were lances with the cross bars in the Spanish cavalry, 18th c.
The lance became the primary weapon used by horsemen in colonial New Spain in the frontiers of northern Mexico and the Spanish southwest. The reason for this was often described as because of the unreliability of the firearms and lack of powder. The Spaniards were adept in the use of the lance (with American Indians quickly adopting same).

The cross bar on boar spears and such hunting weapons was to prevent the animal from 'riding up' the shaft to its attacker in wounded fury, not to restrict penetration.
However over penetration is a notable problem with the lance as the lancer becomes instantly disarmed. This is why lances have the lanyard straps at center, as the lance is used at that stance in jabbing thrusts, rather than full tilt full penetration . At San Pascual in the Mexican American war, the Californio lancers destroyed an American dragoon column with lances, but the dragoons were essentially unarmed. Their paper cartridges had been dampened by rain, it was dark night, unfamiliar terrain, the mounts were spent, and they could not effectively place the caps in their guns in the dark.
Most received many shallow wounds, with many fatal, but gruesomely lingering deaths.

As has been noted, for these reasons, lancers were much despised, and never received quarter as in many cavalry cases others were.
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Old 25th October 2017, 11:41 PM   #46
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Wilkinson made these lances..This is a copy of the inscription.
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Old 26th October 2017, 05:01 AM   #47
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Very Nice Items!
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Old 26th October 2017, 06:18 AM   #48
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just a tidbit: 'male bamboo' used for lances is a thicker stronger species than normal bamboo, comes from india/south east asia, and will not grow in the UK climate. (i know someone who has tried ). it's fairly rare in its native area as well. hence the occasional shortages and substitution of ash, the traditional european pole arm wood of choice.
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Old 26th October 2017, 01:44 PM   #49
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I understand lancers were also unpopular because of the ease with which they could wander among the dead and fallen and by simply leaning on their lance from horseback kill those too injured ti fight back. I think this cold-blooded killing from a relatively safe distance was regarded as verging on the cowardly. Snipers suffer from a similar prejudice.
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Old 26th October 2017, 04:00 PM   #50
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Going back to lances themselves .
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Old 26th October 2017, 04:34 PM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Going back to lances themselves .

Good idea Fernando.....pretty unpleasant thinking about what these weapons were used for.
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Old 1st November 2017, 01:20 PM   #52
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I show a website video of how they practiced in Victorian times...Please see

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Fcp_4rQPlU
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Old 1st November 2017, 05:19 PM   #53
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Thank you Ibrahiim,
It really is interesting to see how 'tent pegging' was used to increase skills with these weapons. While it seems that all manner of study of martial arts, fencing and exercise with swords is readily acceptable in discussions on those and various other edged weapons...the lance was apparently so disdained that it is deemed a reprehensible topic.

Yet lancer regiments were typically regarded in elite status, and the British cavalry after Waterloo chose to fashion select cavalry units to lancers, in honor and admiration of the Polish lancers in those campaigns. The red and white pennons on British lances were chosen in commemoration of the Polish national colors, also on their lances.

I recently watched the wonderful 1930s classic movie "Lives of a Bengal Lancer" with Gary Cooper starring. It is situated in the Northwest Frontier about a British lancers unit, and shows the elite status of these units and the pride they took in their skills with the lance. There were some great scenes of this tent pegging exercise. It is notable that these units were actually still in service in India at the time this movie was made.

British cavalrymen also hunted with lances after wild pigs, and these were somewhat shorter with heavy lead bulbs at the base.

It is interesting to note these kinds of variations which reveal the actual use intended, and how to identify which units might have carried the lances discussed. Sometimes the history associated with weapons may not be entirely P.C. however it remains just what it is, history.
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Old 1st November 2017, 05:36 PM   #54
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not PC, but i always like watching 'gunga din - 1939', especially the final battle scene at the temple. they do show in a a relatively non-gory way, the use of the lance in pursuit of a fleeing enemy (as well as the two gatlings carried on elephant back. my favourite part ). sam jaffee as gunga din is not acceptable in these days...
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Old 2nd November 2017, 09:14 PM   #55
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Right on Wayne!!
"Gunga Din" was always one of my favorites too! and I cannot even count the times I watched it since I was a kid (was???).
One time (pre DVDs etc) and it was on late one night on TV and I wanted my wife to watch it with me...she said OK, but this time NO PITH HELMET!! Youre scarin' the cats!!!

Definitely no PCin those days, but the movies were fun.
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Old 3rd November 2017, 08:22 AM   #56
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a remake might be cool, if they didn't us cgi. the PC luvvies would likely mess it all up tho. especially reading the poem at the end. they'd rewrite kipling and add a few dance scenes. and using real extras would drive up the costs...hard to find a trio that would match, let alone a good ugly gunga din.

(wear your pith helmet next time. the cats will get used to it.)
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Old 3rd November 2017, 12:43 PM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
the pennants were there not only to identify the regiment, but to prevent the over-penetration of the point, much like the cross bar on a boar spear. why they didn't just put a cross bar on them i do not know.



I don't buy that. Going at 20mph, and encountering someone's rib cage is a stop enough. If pennons were of any use as an additional stop, the working life of a lancer would be quite brief, with dislocated shoulders and dismounted riders. I'll abstain from commenting on the cross bar for the same reasons.
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Old 3rd November 2017, 12:47 PM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Lancers were somewhat despised by their enemies since the wounds inflicted by the lance were so horrific...thus falling off ones horse in a melee was a very bad place to be...as no quarter was given.

If this were the case, then the artillerymen would probably be drawn and quartered, when captured. I think you are repeating a myth.
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Old 3rd November 2017, 03:06 PM   #59
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May i admit that i tend to fully agree with the essence of Dmitry's last posts.

In a another perspecive, i find it amazing to see how wide the amplex of discussions on any determined weapon may reach; as close to discuss Gunga Din (that his name ?) underwear colour ... if you guys know what i mean .

BTW ... does it pass through your minds, english speaking guys, how many meanings there are for the PC initials ? .
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Old 3rd November 2017, 03:24 PM   #60
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No. Its a known fact that cavalry were despised for their lance tactics..How many references repeat this..Flopping off ones horse was very bad..in a melee...it was the end!! Not a myth for what its worth..but fair comment...
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