This off from his regiment, the Ninety-Fifth

This novel is written by award winning writer C.S. Forester. It is a timeless narrative that depicts the actions of a British rifleman named Mathew Dodd. Cut off from his regiment, the Ninety-Fifth Foot, by enemy forces pursuing his British comrades in retreat, Rifleman Matthew Dodd commits himself to fighting his way back to friendly lines. Along the way he organizes a band of guerrillas to disrupt the French army’s pursuit. The events take place in the 1800’s during the Napoleonic Wars.

Ultimately, Rifleman Dodd is a remarkable story of one man’s willingness to serve his country and carry out his duties despite the odds. The author’s mission in writing this novel is to recount the events of the British soldier Mathew Dodd. The author tries to encapsulate and inspire the readers by retelling the stories of Dodd’s heroics. She does this by depicting the actions and heroics of the British rifleman in a very detailed manner. The readers of this book are drawn into the selfless devotion to the mission that Dodd displays. The author attempts to display the courage and dedication that the soldier shows throughout the entire novel. The novel provides a great example of how one person can make a difference. It underscores the importance of never quitting on oneself through the story of an infantryman separated from his unit in a combat zone.

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Dodd is one man caught in a clash between two large armies in Portugal and is lost in the shuffle as the armies move and maneuver against each other. He was a soldier of his time, with very little education or knowledge of the world outside other than what he had learned on the farm where he grew up in Sussex England, and as a rifleman in his regiment. But he is very practical, humble, and resourceful, and when during a battle he became separated and then left behind as either a casualty or missing in action, he had to fend for himself. Rifleman Dodd was left behind during the retreat of the British back to the Lines of Torres Vedras. Once he knew this he simply realized his situation and, most importantly, carried on with his mission which was solely to kill Frenchmen.

Dodd used his English rifle which was superior to the French musket to pick off Frenchmen from over a hundred yards and was untouched by the poor marksmanship and inferior technology of the French. He was solely devoted to his fellow English soldiers and the mission that they fought to accomplish. He knew that even though he had been left behind, that he must continue his mission at all cost. This was one of the things that his regiment had drilled into him. He met up with other men along the way who had a shared goal. Together they work to stop the French, using impeccable guerrilla tactics.

They would pick off the Frenchmen one at a time as well as destroy their food in an attempt to starve them out. Throughout his entire time separated from his unit he fights starvation, fear, and many other impacting factors. Every day is one where he wonders if he will be able to eat.

When he does find food it is often the most unpalatable sort imaginable, such as a portion of raw liver taken from a dead cart horse. Every day is another where he risks capture and a brutal death as his continued exploits infuriate the French. One of the men he meets is a slightly strange man who follows his every move.

However during a long march, while being frozen, wet, and starved he catches a fever and Dodd is forced to leave him to die on a hillside. Later a group of Portuguese guerrilla fighters join him but are all slaughtered by the French. On top of all of these horrifying setbacks his last two friends are hung before his eyes. Even after seeing all of these atrocities Dodd continues on, because in his mind he knows he has no choice but to carry on. This goes to prove that Dodd’s success is ultimately due to his sheer will, determination, and his dedication to his country. This book relates to what we do in many ways. This book is a commonly read book by men and women in the military because of its common threads to what we do and go through.

Being that the Marines are a fighting force and the book is about war, there are many relatable things between the book and what we do. Dodd’s actions highlight how strength, mental agility and determination are just as important to winning battles as weapons and brute strength. In the book Dodd’s knows that he cannot defeat his enemy with brute force, because he is devastatingly outnumbered. Knowing this he relies on tactics and his knowledge of guerrilla warfare.

This relates to the Marine Corps well because we rely highly on our small unit tactics when it comes to fighting the enemy. Also even though Dodd faces extreme odds and devastating circumstances he keeps a calm head and proceeds with his mission and eventually succeeds. This is very relatable to what we do as a fighting force because no matter what happens we remain focused on the mission at hand and continue on.

One of the other ways this book relates to what we do is, in the book its Dodd’s dedication and leadership that allow him to carry on and eventually succeed.


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