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Template:Film cover fur DVD cover for the film First Man into Space (Criterion #367). Artwork by Darwyn Cooke.
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First Man into Space (also known as Satellite of Blood) is a 1959 science fiction horror film directed by Robert Day and distributed by Amalgamated films.
Commander Charles "Chuck" Prescott [Marshall Thompson] is not so sure that his brother, Lieutenant Dan Prescott [Bill Edwards], is the correct choice for piloting the Y-13 into outer space. Although Captain Ben Richards [Robert Ayres] of the Air Force Space Command says that Dan is the best pilot they have, he bucked the rules when flying Y-12, went into the ionosphere, had problems landing his ship, and then promptly ran to see his girlfriend, Tia Francesca [Marla Landi], before bothering to even make out his report. Still, Capt Richards wants Dan to pilot the Y-13, after he has been throughly checked out and briefed by Doctor Paul von Essen Carl Jaffe.
Y-13 takes off with Dan at the controls. He climbs and climbs. At 600,000 feet, when he is supposed to level off and begin his descent, he continues to climb, even firing his emergency boost. He climbs to 1,320,000 feet (250 miles) and suddenly loses control of the ship and passes through some meteorite dust, so he is forced to catapult.
The next that is heard about Y-13 is a report to the New Mexico State Police that some Mexican farmer saw a parachute attached to some sort of plane land near his farm on Route 17 about 10 miles south of Alvarado. Chief Wilson [Bill Nagy] has the presence to notify the military in case it has something to do with their recent rocket firing. Wilson meets with Commander Chuck and shows him the wreckage. No way could the pilot have survived the crash. Tests on the recovered aircraft show that the automatic escape mechanism as well as the breaking chute operated perfectly. Tests also reveal some sort of unknown encrustation on the hull, unusual because not x-rays nor infrared photography nor ultraviolet will pass through it.
Later that night, a wheezing creature breaks into the New Mexico State Blood Bank in Alameda and drinks up a lot of the blood. The next day, the headline in the Santa Fe Daily News reads "Terror Roams State" and tells of brutal and inhuman slaughtering of cows on a farm right next door to where the Y-13 fell. Both the cows and the blood bank nurse show similar wounds -- jagged tears across the throat. When Chuck and Chief Wilson examine the body of the nurse, Chuck notices some shiny specks around the wound as well as on the blood bank door. They see the same specks on the necks of the dead cattle. They also find a piece of what looks like a "high-altitude oxygen lead" lying under the dead cow's body. The oxygen lead appears to be the one from Y-13.
Chuck is beginning to suspect that the killings may have something to do with the crashed spaceship and requests that Wilson send samples of the shiny specks to Dr von Essen at Aviation Medicine. The next day, Chuck stops at Aviation Medicine where Tia, who just happens to work there, has the test results sent down to them while they break for coffee. The results show that the shiny specks are particles of meteorite dust "that show no signs of structural damage such as would be expected from passage through atmosphere." Later, Dr von Essen demonstrates for Chuck the results of metallurgical tests on the encrustation. Oddly, wherever the encrustation occurs on the hull of Y-13, the metal is intact, but in places not encrusted, the metal has transformed into a brittle substance, like crumbling carbon, that can easily be reduced to a powder. Chuck theorizes that the encrustation may be some sort of "cosmic protection", like the primeval creatures that crawled out of the sea and grew skin to protect themselves from the sun.
Meanwhile, Capt Richards is paid a visit by Senor Ramon DeGareara Roger Delgado, consul for Mexico at Santa Fe. DeGareara tells them that the tail section of Y-13 fell from the sky into a new bullring in San Pedro. It scared the bull, which jumped from the ring and almost killed His Excellency, the Minister for Social Services. After taking care of formalities and arranging compensation for damages, a crew is sent to San Pedro to salvage the rest of Y-13.
Three more killings are reported, and Chuck is beginning to put the pieces together. He suspects that the same encrustation that formed to protect the hull of Y-13 also coated everything inside the cockpit, including Dan, and that the creature doing the killing is Dan himself, killing because he needs blood for some reason. Chuck further theorizes that, when the canopy burst, Dan's blood absorbed a high content of nitrogen while the protective encrustation quickly formed on his body, allowing him to survive in the rarified atmosphere of space. In addition, Dan's metabolism could have altered to a state that starved his body and brain of oxygen so that he now needs to replace that oxygen by drinking blood. That's Chuck's guess anyway.
When Dan's encrusted helmut is found in a car with his latest victim, Chuck's theory is proven right. But how are they to go about stopping him, since bullets cannot penetrate the crust? Capt Richards and Chief Wilson put in a call to Washington while Chuck and Tia stay behind to chat about the wisdom of sending a person into space. Suddenly, Tia screams. The hulking, wheezing, encrusted creature that is now Dan enters the room by crashing through a sliding window.
Chuck realizes by the wheezing that Dan is finding it difficult to breathe. He instructs Tia to get Dr von Essen to open a high-altitude chamber and then goes after his brother, who is running, wheezing and grunting, down the hall. Chuck taps into the P.A. system and warns everyone in the building to stay out of the corridors. Chuck then instructs Dr von Essen to get on the P.A. and relay to Dan, who appears to have intelligence under the encrustation, the directions to the high-altitude chamber. Dan follows the directions while Chuck follows behind him.
Into the chamber Dan goes, but Chuck realizes that Dan won't be able to operate the controls with his encrusted fingers, so he hops into the chamber with Dan. While Dan lumbers around, taking potshots at Chuck, the chamber technician quickly increases the simulated altitude to 38,000 feet, enabling Dan to feel more comfortable. While Chuck breathes oxygen through a mask, Dan sits down and tries to describe what happened. Unfortunately, he has no memory of the events. All he can remember is darkness, feeling suffocated, and trying to stay alive until he could find Dr von Essen. As Tia takes metabolism and blood pressure readings on Dan, he apologizes to Tia for the way things ended. I just had to be the first man into space, he says, then keels over dead. ` Capt Richards and Dr von Essen open the door into the high-altitude chamber and let Chuck out. While they concern themselves with the risks of space travel ("There will always be men willing to take the risk"), Chuck walks down the hall with Tia following him.
Plot Analysis and Synosis
Filmed not long after the launch of Russia's Sputnik satellite, First Man Into Space benefited from a surface realism made possible by enhanced public knowledge of space-travel jargon and paraphernalia. Dashing ,but arrogant,headstrong astronaut Lt. Dan Prescott (Bill Edwards) disappears from view when his experimental spacecraft vanishes in a mysterious cloud of cosmic dust. The space capsule returns to Earth, covered in a bizarre extraterrestrial coating. Shortly thereafter, a hulking, half-human creature raids a blood bank, killing the nurse on duty and gulping down the supplies. More bizarre, unexplained events occur before Prescott's older brother Cmdr. C.E. Prescott,who like too much (Marshall Thompson) concludes that the monster is actually his missing brother, transformed by his experiences in space into a mutant, vampiric beast.
This is a cautionary tale astronuate,accidently travel to far beyond the earth's upper atmosphere,in an experimental rocket and covered by cosmic dust like substance.He crashed to earth,with head and spacesuite encased in outerspace armor,not being able to breath or think,goes a killing spree,until he find his brother Capt Richards and the other scientist Dr von Essen of the project to help him breath against normally and remember who he really is.A weak premise to explain why Prescott's turned a monster and needs blood to survive by ripping victums throat with meteor dust cover glove.In the end he dies,uttering to his brother,I was the first man in space.This is supposed to give a poinient ending about mankinds sacrifices and atchivements has a high cost,but it seems tacked to give the movie and ending ,plus a title.Clearly inspired Stan Lee and Jack Kirby to create the Thing of theFantastic Four a year or so later in 1961.
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Skirmishers are infantry or cavalry soldiers stationed ahead or alongside of a larger body of friendly troops. They are usually placed in a skirmish line to either harass enemy troops or to protect their own troops from similar attacks by the enemy. Skirmishers are generally lightly armoured for increased battlefield mobility and are usually armed with ranged weapons to attack the enemy from a distance.
== History ==
In ancient and medieval warfare, skirmishers typically carried bows, javelins, slings, and sometimes carried light shields. Acting as light infantry with their light arms and minimal armor, they could run ahead of the main battle line, release a volley of arrows, slingshots or javelins, and retreat behind their main battle line before the clash of the opposing main forces. The aims of skirmishing were to disrupt enemy formations by causing casualties before the main battle, and to tempt the opposing infantry into attacking prematurely, throwing their organization into disarray. Skirmishers could also be effectively used to surround opposing soldiers in the absence of friendly cavalry.
Once preliminary skirmishing was over, skirmishers participated in the main battle by shooting into the enemy formation, or joined in melée combat with daggers or short swords. Alternatively, they could act as ammunition bearers or stretcher-bearers.
Due to their mobility, skirmishers were also valuable for reconnaissance, especially in wooded or urban areas. During the gunpowder era, a skirmish line could discover the extent of the enemy front line.
In classical Greece, skirmishers had low status. For example, Herodotus, in his account of the Battle of Plataea of 479 BC, mentions that the Spartans fielded 35000 light armed helots to 5000 hoplites yet there is no mention of them in his account of the fighting.<ref name="Greek Warfare p61">Greek Warfare, Myths and Realities, Hans van Wees p61</ref> Often Greek historians ignored them altogether.<ref name="Greek Warfare p61"/> It was far cheaper to equip oneself as light armed as opposed to a fully armed hoplite - indeed it was not uncommon for light armed to go into battle equipped with stones.<ref>Greek Warfare, Myths and Realities, Hans van Wees p64p</ref> Hence the low status of skirmishers reflected the low status of the poorer sections of society who made up skirmishers.<ref name="Greek Warfare p65">Greek Warfare, Myths and Realities, Hans van Wees p65</ref> Additionally, "hit and run" contradicted the Greek ideal of heroism. Plato gives the skirmisher a voice to advocate "flight without shame," but only to denounce it as an inversion of decent values.<ref>Greek Warfare, Myths and Realities, Hans van Wees p65, Laws 706c</ref>
Nevertheless, skirmishers chalked up significant, victories such as the Athenian defeat at the hands of the Aetolian javelin men in 426 BC and, in the same war, the Athenian victory of Sphacteria.<ref name="Greek Warfare p65"/>
Celts did not, in general, favor ranged weapons. The exceptions tended not to include the use of skirmishers. The Britons used the sling extensively, but for siege warfare, not skirmishing.<ref>The Ancient Celts, Barry Cunliffe pp 94-95</ref> Among the Gauls likewise, the bow was employed when defending a fixed position.<ref>Caesar, De Bello Gallico , Book 7, XLI</ref> The Celtic lack of skirmishers cost them dearly during the Gallic Invasion of Greece of 279 BC, where they found themselves helpless in the face of Aetolian skirmishing tactics.<ref>Peter Green, Alexander to Actium, p 133</ref>
In the Punic Wars, despite the Roman and Carthaginian armies' different organizations, skimishers had the same role in both: to screen the main armies<ref>Hannibal's Last Battle: Zama and the Fall of Carthage, Brian Todd Carey p12 (Carthage) and p18 (Rome)</ref>
The Seven Years War and American War for Independence were two early conflicts in which the modern rifle began to make a significant contribution to warfare due to its advantage in range and accuracy over the smoothbore musket common among professional armies of the mid-18th century. Many of the men provided by the American colonists in both wars were frontiersmen serving in the militia--the Continental Army itself during the latter conflict was comprised largely of such irregular troops--participating in skirmishing tactics by firing from cover rather than the open field engagements of the day, largely influenced by Colonial experiences fighting natives. The character of Natty Bumpo in James Fennimore Cooper's novel The Last of the Mohicans was notably called La Longue Carabine by the French due to his skill with the long rifle common among the Colonials.
During the Napoleonic Wars, skirmishers played a key role in battles, attempting to disrupt the main enemy force by firing into their close-packed ranks, and by preventing enemy skirmishers from doing the same to friendly troops. As the skirmishers generally were spread out and were able to take cover behind trees, houses, towers and other obstacles, they were harder targets to hit with small arms and artillery fire. While muskets were the predominant weapon at the time, the British Army experimented with rifles, which previously during the wars in the Americas proved their far greater range and accuracy to deadly effect, increasing the effectiveness of the skirmisher in disrupting enemy movements and communication. In the American theater, American riflemen firing from cover once again contributed to heavy British casualties.
A feature of these wars was a trend to training line troops to adopt tactics that until then had been used only by skirmishers.<ref>History of the Art of War, Vol IV Hans Delbrück p449-51</ref>
===American Civil War===
The treatise, New American Tactics, by General John Watts de Peyster advocated making the skirmish line the new line of battle, a revolutionary idea at the time.<ref>Randolph, pp.82-88</ref> During the American Civil War, it was common for cavalrymen to dismount and form a skirmish line to delay enemy troops advancing towards an objective (for example, the actions of the Federal cavalrymen on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg.)
By the late 19th century, the concept of fighting in formation was on the wane, and the distinctions between skirmishers and heavy infantry has now disappeared.
*List of military tactics
==References and notes==
* Randolph, Lewis Hamersly, Biographical Sketches of Distinguished Officers of the Army and Navy, Henry E. Huntington Library: New York, 1905.
* "Light Infantry", special issue of Ancient Warfare, 2/1 (2008)
* Skirmish tactics during the Napoleonic wars: skirmishing, skirmishers
fr:Chasseur à pied