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  • Zampano's ------> French Foreign Legion

    There has been some speculation about Zampano's past, cause of blindness, martial imagery and references etc.

    I think references in the text make it clear that Zampano was a French Foreign Legionnaire, and present at the Dien Bien Phu military catastrophe which compeelled the French to pull out of Vietnam back in the Fifties. Consider the names of the Franch bunkers (Beatrice, Gabrielle, Isabelle, Anne-Marie etc - named after the FCommanding French general's former mistresses apparently) - these names are all mentioned in connection with Zampano - I believe one of the volountary readers informs Truant of this - apologies - I am unable to provide a page reference at present)

    Also his blindness; a combat injury?

    Now - is the in some fashion a metaphor for Zampano's presence in Indochina - is this what fascinates Zampano? An incursion into place where he/Navy has no right to be?

    Another question - one can't help but link an individual's service in the Foreign Legion with a desire to atone for, evade, or forget the past. Did Zampano perhaps commit a crime so terrible that he felt compelled to seek his own destruction in the Foreign Legion? Did he flee justice and the corpses of his wife and/or children and join the Legion?

  • #2
    Zampano's ------> French Foreign Legion

    Good work fella

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    • #3
      Zampano's ------> French Foreign Legion

      wow! of course! i don't know how i missed that!

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      • #4
        Zampano's ------> French Foreign Legion

        page xxii:

        "Zampano had seven names he would occasionally mention: Beatrice, Gabrielle, Anne-Marie, Dominique, Eliane, Isabelle and Claudine. He apparently only brought them up when he was disconsolate and for whatever reason dragged back into some dark tangled time."

        I guess I always assumed they were lovers, or his readers! Duh!

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        • #5
          Zampano's ------> French Foreign Legion

          thank you for that really smart observation

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          • #6
            Zampano's ------> French Foreign Legion

            Another thing to mention, that I thought of while reading the post "Purely Arbitrary," was something bluebaby mentioned about the initials RLB on the shotgun under Zampano's bed. While eion is probably completely correct about where Zampano's military career likely ended, I don't think that's where it started. First of all, that was only about fifty years before Zampano's death, putting him around the age of 30 at that time. You don't get too many privates-or whatever they'd be called in the French Foreign Legion-that are 30 years old. Most likely, Zampano, by that time, was one of the officers that would have been at least partially responsible for the Dien Bien Phu military catastrophe that eion brings up.

            The reason I say this isn't the beginning of Zampano's military history is not just his age, but the letter in Appendix D, "Letter to the Editor," in which the RLB on the shotgun found under Zampano's bed is explained. The initials "RLB" were explained as a distinguishing characteristic on the WWII Ithaca Model 37 Trench gun. He says only 1,420 were produced. Meaning most likely, to have not only owned one, but known it so well from the time it was first produced to the time he lost his sight, and thus his ability to learn the intricacies of the weapon, he most likely was issued one. Any similar weapon made after WWII would not have had the RLB on it. So most likely, Zampano started off in WWII, in his early twenties, and continued his military career until the mid-fifties, when he lost his sight.

            Now, it's late, and I'm tired, but one last thing to think about that I can't really think clearly enough to get into is the idea that, rather than a metaphor for his own failure as a father, perhaps the Navidson Record uses one person's failure as a father as a metaphor for his failure to his men. Because as crushing as it would be to have witnessed and lived through something like that on the front lines, it's almost more of a terrible, life-wrenching thought to know that he was in some way responsible for it, as any good leader would feel was the case.

            But anyway, I'm rambling. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe I'm right, but I'm interested to see what people think.

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            • #7
              Zampano's ------> French Foreign Legion

              I've been searching all over the internet, and I can't find what those seven names have to do with the French Foreign Legion, or with the fall of Dien Bien Phu. Can someone please elaborate this? or at least post a link with more info about this topic?

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              • #8
                Zampano's ------> French Foreign Legion

                Yeah (I posted this topic under my old log in - nice to see it back again) - Dien Bien Phu was a remote airfield the French were using in the Central Highlands area of Vietnam to counter-insurge the Viet Minh supply lines. The commanding French General named each of the defensive bunkers located around the airfield after a female, apparently all former mistresses of his. Check out this site for a short history:
                http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/cold.war.../11/spotlight/

                and this one for a military science point of view:
                http://www.globalsecurity.org/milita...t/1991/BHD.htm

                From a HoL perspective, the seven names are mentioned by Zampano, given his military metaphors etc I think it's fair to assume that Zampano was present at Dien bien Phu, probably a French Foreign legionnaire.

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                • #9
                  Zampano's ------> French Foreign Legion

                  Thanks delirium. Knowing this stuff, it seems obvious that Zampano was there. HoL doesn't give up clues about Zampano easily, does it?

                  Do you know where to find the names of any of the other defensive bunkers? I'm curious if some of the other names from HoL match up, like Tatiana, Kyrie, or Pelafina even. Everyones' names seem important, but many are difficult to figure out how they would be.

                  [ June 25, 2002: Message edited by: Rubble ]

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                  • #10
                    Zampano's ------> French Foreign Legion

                    Only 7 bunkers were named apparently (I guess because there were only 7 principle defensive positions as opposed to the General not having had more than 7 mistresses).
                    http://members.tripod.com/~vet4/foreignlegion.html

                    They were called Beatrice, Gabrielle, Anne-Marie, Dominique, Eliane, Isabelle and Claudine.

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                    • #11
                      Zampano's ------> French Foreign Legion

                      k, this might be a stupid question too but i am totally unmilitarily educated...

                      how many people would know the bunker's names? would everyone in the entire army, or everyone that was posted around them, or only generals, or was it ultra-top secret?

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                      • #12
                        Zampano's ------> French Foreign Legion

                        I an certain the names were common parlance at the time amongst the French soldiers of all ranks. Usually locations are technically described by military forces using coordinates, grid references, or height in the case of hills/mountains. However, those same locations will be given codenames for two reasons, A) ease of use (Elaine is far easier to say than G265/U713, and B) communications security reasons.

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                        • #13
                          Zampano's ------> French Foreign Legion

                          do you think Z's stint in the French Foreign Legion has anything to do with the "Captain Kittinger" thing in the Appendix? Or, for that matter, "this terror that hunts," or "tirer comme des lapins?"

                          And what's the deal with "Kutch dekta?"

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                          • #14
                            Zampano's ------> French Foreign Legion

                            Not at all sure about Appendix B, the cobwebs of references and possible links are just so huge.

                            As for Captain Kittinger, I'm not sure. Presuming that Zampano is not French, he would not have been an officer in the French Foreign Legion. Also, as Zampano boasts to one of his readers, he did not even finish High School, therefore a commission would have been unlikely. Perhaps Zampano served under a Captain Kittinger, but that's merely speculation.

                            The are an awful lot of captains mentioned in HoL, which is testiminy to the number of maritime, as opposed to military, references within the book. So perhaps Capt Kittinger was of the maritime variety.

                            As for "Kutch Dekta? Kutch Nahin, Sahib." Well, the 'Sahib' for me implies arabic or a subcontinental language (doesn't it mean 'master' or somesuch)? But I really don't have a clue. Would welcome some guidance.

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                            • #15
                              Zampano's ------> French Foreign Legion

                              quote
                              The are an awful lot of captains mentioned in HoL, which is testiminy to the number of maritime, as opposed to military, references within the book.
                              I don't know about other countries (likes yours, delirium) but the US has the rank of 'captain' in all branches of the military. It's a higher rank in the navy, but the other others have captains, also. (I think a coast gaurd captain is the same rank as a navy captain, actually. But the rest are like O-3 as opposed to O-6). I think even NASA has captains.

                              So maybe it's navy, maybe not. It would be useful (maybe) to find out if the forces involved in the battle of Dien Bien Phu had 'captains' in their infrastructure, or if they did things differently.

                              Each countries' services have different names for their ranks. If I remember my naval history properly (and I probably don't), the US navy didn't have the rank of captain until the late 1800's, when they got rid of the rank of commadore.

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