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 (1914-1918) WWI Battles    
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anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/13/2017 9:50:02 AM
In 1915,the burden of the offensive fell on the French-the British Regular Army had been decimated in 1914; and Kitchener's New Armies of civilian volunteers could not be deployed "en masse" until 1916.Both French and British Armies lacked heavy artillery and shells; to fire but 1915 did see the use of poisonous gas as a weapon.

NB.I have not provided a Link to Specific Details plus Map- but will do so if requested.

Regards

Jim
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George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/13/2017 12:24:04 PM
What is the focus of the discussion Jim?

Cheers,

George

anemone
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/13/2017 1:13:32 PM
Hi George-It was not a good year by a long chalk-

so the Battles of Neuve Chapelle,2nd Ypres,Aubers Ridge,Festubert and Loos-there outcomes and aftermaths.The use of poison gas as a weapon.The Engagements of the Canadians and their outcomes. Gallipoli no doubt.To name but a few-OH! and the Shell Shortage Scandal.

I hasten to add that I will not be Master of Ceremonies-so the route taken will be ad hoc I suppose.Sorry I cannot be more helpful.

Regards

Jim
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George
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/13/2017 1:20:43 PM
OK, I'm not sure what you mean by Master of Ceremonies but I take it that you don't want to take the lead on a theme that you have introduced.

Fair enough but you do realize that you have essentially said, "1915", and left it out there?

I am not sure where to begin.

Let us start with the shell shortage then. Had it become clear that artillery was going to be a difference maker in this war and did the British and the French have enough heavy guns to fire the shells? BTW were the French short of shells for their artillery or was this a British problem?


Cheers,

George

Phil andrade
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/13/2017 1:40:50 PM
It might well have been the worst year of the war, in terms of loss of life.

I can't be sure about that, but if I had to bet on it, I would .

On the Western Front, French deaths were approaching 350,000 ( 1.25 million total casualties ) ; the British Empire lost 85,000 dead there ( 315,000 total casualties ) ; and the German deaths in France and Flanders would have been in the order of 225,000 ( 800,000 total casualties ).

Above all there was a colossal death toll on the Eastern Front...far heavier than that in the West : Russians dead alone probably reaching around 600,000, with millions of casualties ; massive Austro Hungarian losses along with severe German casualties. Serbia was ruined and suffered hideously. The Italians took terrible casualties. Bulgarians also shed their blood. And who could forget Gallipoli ? A sideshow, but a bloodbath.

To make the cup run over, this was the year of the Armenian massacres.

I know I bang on about these statistics a bit; hope you don't mind.

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/13/2017 1:45:06 PM
In 1914 we were forced to share the Heavy Artillery of the French. Kitchener had promised a step up in munitions production' but this was followed by a shell shortage. BTW the battles were in chronological order-if that helps


[Read More]

NB.Jump to Early Trench Battles

Regards

Jim
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anemone
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/13/2017 2:23:06 PM
No Phil-I am quite happy for you to do it your way

Regards

Jim
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Lightning
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/13/2017 2:46:03 PM
I think 1915 was the year of chronic want; want of trained soldiers; of shells; of weapons; but, perhaps above all, want of coherent strategy. The Allies argued over where best to beat the Germans. The Central Powers couldn't quite decide which side to attack and elected for all, with indecisive results.

1915 was the year of both sides finding their feet, learning how use these terrible new weapons of war and destruction. If 1914 was the year of innocence, 1915 was the year of adolescence, with a coming of age that was both unpredictably catastrophic to the manhood of the warring nations.

Cheers,

Colin
---------------
"There is no course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end."

George
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/13/2017 3:30:36 PM
Was it true that Germany was willing to negotiate peace with Russia and France individually in 1915, thus hanging the British Empire out to dry?


I think that the events of 1914 ensured that the British could not engage in offensive action, not until the army had been rebuilt and supplied with modern weapons. Only time could cure that. So it was hold until it was possible to do more.

EDIT: Neuve Chapelle was a good effort though a limited success.

Were the Germans in a better position to engage in offensive operations in 1915 after the events of 1914 or were they in need of rest and refit too?

Cheers,

George

anemone
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/13/2017 3:31:51 PM
Lyn Macdonald called 1915 "The Death of Innocence"and how apt that was-as you have put it having to cope with new and such fearful weapons-we were a side show to the French until ihe new armies arrived; but we did have some very good Territorial soldiers from 1st Line 42nd to 56th Divisions arriving during 1915/

Regards

Jim
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anemone
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/14/2017 4:30:30 AM
The Battle of Neuve Chapelle-(10 to 13 March) was the first all British offensive of the year.

Although there was much enthusiasm it demonstrated that a "breakin" did not lead to a "break through"as Jim Cameron tells us.The artillery bombardment was far too light and thus ineffective.There were too few reserves to follow up any success.Communications could only be described as poor.The attack petered out.The gain-a 1000 yds "dent" which included the town; but the Germans still held the high ground behind.

The cost of this debacle was 544 Officer and 11.108 OR British casualties including seven Battalion commanders dead.The German butcher bill was circa 12000. An atrocious waste of manpower-all round.

regards

Jim
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phil andrade
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/14/2017 6:19:28 AM

Quote:
Was it true that Germany was willing to negotiate peace with Russia and France individually in 1915, thus hanging the British Empire out to dry?


I think that the events of 1914 ensured that the British could not engage in offensive action, not until the army had been rebuilt and supplied with modern weapons. Only time could cure that. So it was hold until it was possible to do more.

EDIT: Neuve Chapelle was a good effort though a limited success.

Were the Germans in a better position to engage in offensive operations in 1915 after the events of 1914 or were they in need of rest and refit too?

Cheers,

George
--George


Excellent questions, George, which I'm struggling to answer.

I think that " England " was the most hated enemy ; it strikes me as a plausible suggestion that the isolation and humiliation of this maritime behemoth would have appealed to the Germans as the principal goal.

As to the condition of the Germans after 1914, it's clear that thy had to countenance the impact of enormous manpower losses ( in excess of one million battle casualties in those five months ) and re-calibrate their expectations. In this they were thwarted by court intrigue, which allowed Hindenburg and Ludendorff to trade on their successes against the Russians and undermine Falkenhayn who - IMHO - offered the better prospects for German success.

The dispute between " Easterners" and "Westerners" was as marked in the German high command as it was in its Entente counterparts, and the subsequent conduct of the war in 1915 was to demonstrate how the most intense and unremitting fighting in both East and West left the dilemma unresolved for both sides.

Regards, Phil
---------------
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"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

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MikeMeech
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/14/2017 7:24:56 AM

Quote:

Quote:
Was it true that Germany was willing to negotiate peace with Russia and France individually in 1915, thus hanging the British Empire out to dry?


I think that the events of 1914 ensured that the British could not engage in offensive action, not until the army had been rebuilt and supplied with modern weapons. Only time could cure that. So it was hold until it was possible to do more.

EDIT: Neuve Chapelle was a good effort though a limited success.

Were the Germans in a better position to engage in offensive operations in 1915 after the events of 1914 or were they in need of rest and refit too?

Cheers,

George
--George


Excellent questions, George, which I'm struggling to answer.

I think that " England " was the most hated enemy ; it strikes me as a plausible suggestion that the isolation and humiliation of this maritime behemoth would have appealed to the Germans as the principal goal.

As to the condition of the Germans after 1914, it's clear that thy had to countenance the impact of enormous manpower losses ( in excess of one million battle casualties in those five months ) and re-calibrate their expectations. In this they were thwarted by court intrigue, which allowed Hindenburg and Ludendorff to trade on their successes against the Russians and undermine Falkenhayn who - IMHO - offered the better prospects for German success.

The dispute between " Easterners" and "Westerners" was as marked in the German high command as it was in its Entente counterparts, and the subsequent conduct of the war in 1915 was to demonstrate how the most intense and unremitting fighting in both East and West left the dilemma unresolved for both sides.

Regards, Phil
--phil andrade


Hi

Any separate peace treaty by Germany with France and Russia would have been more 'humiliating' for those countries than for Britain, after all only French, Russian and Belgian territory was occupied not British. The Germans went to war to eliminate France and Russia as a 'threat', Britain only really became an enemy of Germany due to a rather 'inept' German political and military policy leading up to the war.
Any 'peace deal' on German terms with France and Russia would have only led to more resentment in those countries and would have been unlikely to have made Germany 'safer' in the medium term. Germany had not 'defeated' France or Russia in 1915 they were still quite powerful, indeed any treaty would have meant a withdrawal of German troops from those countries, long term occupation of a resentful population would have been a severe drain on Germany.
The Germans would have been better off trying for a separate peace with Britain (although Britain was very unlikely to have agreed to one). But if the Germans ever considered that a 'separate' peace with France or Russia was possible in 1915 would show that the Political/Military establishment were living in 'cloud cuckoo land', why would those countries agree to it?

Mike

anemone
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/14/2017 7:59:58 AM
Falkenhayn at first wanted a strategic reserve in Flanders before the new British armies arrived however the chemists had provided him with a new weapon-poison gas. Chlorine gas released from cylinders might well be the very thing to achieve a breakthrough- given a favourable breeze.

On the other hand his ally in the East- Austria- was proving weak against the Russians-who it must be said he Falkenhayn wanted Russia out of the war at any price.He changed his mind and planned a limited offensive in the west to cover the transfer of the reserve east to bolster the Austrians.

On April 25 after a massive bombardment of Ypres-a yellowish cloud drifted toward the trenches in the Langemarck area of the Salient.The Occupants were Algerian and reserve french troops.Gasping for breath they broke and ran dying in droves, as they ran- leaving a 4 mile gap in their line-the Germans fearing their own gas were slow to follow up.The 1st Canadian Division and some British troops managed to closr the gap; and the 2nd Battle of Ypres degenerated into a murderous struggle which ended in stalemate.

Casualties-Allies 87.223 K,W and M. Germans 35,000 K W and M

NB.Canadians =5506 Casualties


Quote:
In April Smith-Dorrien fell foul of Sir John French, whom he little respected, during the Second Battle of Ypres, when he recommended a strategic withdrawal closer to Ypres, feeling that nothing short of a major counter-offensive was likely to regain the ground taken by the Germans during their offensive.

French disagreed, dismissing Smith-Dorrien home to England upon the pretext of ill-health, and replacing him with Herbert Plumer, who ironically also recommended a withdrawal upon taking up his position; French accepted Plumer's advice.
HSD Biography

Regards

Jim
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Jim Cameron
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/14/2017 10:08:51 AM

Quote:
I think 1915 was the year of chronic want; want of trained soldiers; of shells; of weapons; but, perhaps above all, want of coherent strategy. The Allies argued over where best to beat the Germans. The Central Powers couldn't quite decide which side to attack and elected for all, with indecisive results.

1915 was the year of both sides finding their feet, learning how use these terrible new weapons of war and destruction. If 1914 was the year of innocence, 1915 was the year of adolescence, with a coming of age that was both unpredictably catastrophic to the manhood of the warring nations.

Cheers,

Colin
--Lightning


The shortages of material (the shell shortages being a case in point) were unsurprising. Even the big, conscript and reserves based continental armies were geared towards a relatively quick, "home before the leaves fall", conflict. Equipment and ammunition stocks were sized accordingly. Production would catch up, eventually, but it would take time. All in all, 1915 is a good case study abroad what Winston Churchill said could be expected from wartime production during WW2. "The first year, nothing. The second year, a trickle. The third year, all you want."
---------------
Jim Cameron

Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.

anemone
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/14/2017 10:38:06 AM
I thought 1915 was a year of limited expansion manpower wise-the BEF ten divisions at the start- would by the end of the year- be raised to thirty seven- including Territorial,New Army,two Canadian and one Guards Division.The French on the Western front to 107 and the Germans to 159.

However GB was still handicapped by poor munitions production ie.Heavy Artillery and shells for all guns-this was the time the female population was drafted into the munitions factories.Much of what we had was imported from USA.
Output increased ever so slowly as new workers were trained.

Regards

Jim
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phil andrade
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/14/2017 11:16:27 AM
...the Political/Military establishment were living in ' cloud cuckoo land'..

A rather well tenanted place, it would appear.

I really don't know what to make of 1915. I think it's the hardest of all the war's years to put into perspective.

Look at this, for example, from Falkenhayn's memoir, as he takes stock of the strategic predicament at the end of 1914 :

If the political leaders had at their disposal any practicable method for opening a way to an understanding with the enemy - whether in the East or in the West was all the same from a military point of view - it was advisable to employ it .

What are we to make of that ?

I suspect that my book is a deplorable translation...I've never encountered such obfuscated prose. The sentence I've cited is one of the easier ones to understand.

What he does say with some clarity, though, is that the battles of 1914 had proven that the German soldiers enjoyed a qualitative edge over their opponents, so much so that it was felt expedient to diminish the size of German divisions and create more units that could be deployed where and when circumstances dictated.

He also expresses a visceral resentment of England, with her war of starvation and flouting of standards of humanity.

Regards, Phil
---------------
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"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/14/2017 11:32:21 AM

Quote:
If the political leaders had at their disposal any practicable method for opening a way to an understanding with the enemy - whether in the East or in the West was all the same from a military point of view - it was advisable to employ it .


Looking at the emboldened script-it begs the question Why-in a time of war would a political leader ever want an "understanding" with the enemy-it is pure gobbledegook !!!


Regards

Jim
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Lightning
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/14/2017 12:29:37 PM
Is Falkenhayn arguing for peace? Did Germany have prospect of winning the war outright in 1915? I can't think of a moment throughout that year where I feel that the Allies were truly in peril, compared with the preceding year and the years to follow.

Cheers,

Colin
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"There is no course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end."

anemone
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/14/2017 1:09:47 PM
Falkenhayn's 2nd battle of Ypres failed miserably; and I do not think he raised another offensive in 1915-whereas we kept hitting stone walls-Loos being the biggest blunder.

Regards

Jim
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Phil andrade
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/14/2017 2:07:14 PM
Forgive me, Jim...but the Germans maintained fairly consistent offensive pressure in the Argonne for quite a long time in 1915.

This German defensive posture in the West in 1915 was strategic ; but in purely tactical terms, there were plenty of nasty German attacks that made their tenure of the front an especially harassing one.

Think of their flamethrower attack at Hooge, for example.

The Germans didn't just sit back and await attack.

They were active and aggressive.

Regards, Phil

---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

Phil andrade
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/14/2017 2:07:15 PM
DP

---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

George
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/14/2017 2:16:19 PM

Quote:
Falkenhayn's 2nd battle of Ypres failed miserably; and I do not think he raised another offensive in 1915-whereas we kept hitting stone walls-Loos being the biggest blunder.

Regards

Jim
--anemone


Certainly this was a difficult battle for the British. Three brigades of Canadians participated with 6,000 casualties over 4 days, in their first real battle. They had previously been in a quieter area of the trenches

Names like Gravenstafel Ridge and Kitchener's Wood and the survival of two major gas attacks resonate with Canadians. A rifle that was unreliable in the mud of Flanders cost the Canadians many casualties.

They proved to be resilient and willing but the truth is that were extremely raw and learning on the job.

One Canadian soldier was asked why they didn't run in the face of the chaos and he said and I paraphrase, "we didn't really know what we were doing or where we were supposed to go so we just decided to stay."

Communications broke down. One officer panicked. From memory it seems to me that Arthur Currie, then of the 1st division actually left the front to go to the rear to get reinforcements. He wasn't running away but he was pilloried for that action.

It was a mess, despite the heroics.

EDIT: In May, while the battle continued, John McCrae, disillusioned with what he was witnessing, wrote his famous poem, In Flanders Fields. He had just buried a former student and close friend and was pretty down and angry about that.

Cheers,

George

Phil andrade
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/14/2017 3:38:25 PM
The Canadian action in the 2nd Ypres fighting led to the story of the Crucified Canadian.

This was to be a year replete with atrocities : some imagined, all too many real.

The Armenian massacres top the list : the harbinger of an even bigger genocidal onslaught a generation later.

There was the Lusitania ; the shooting of Nurse Edith Cavell ; the Zeppelin raids on British civilians....how many died in the huge displacements of populations in the Russian Empire we'll never know....those German attacks in 1915 uprooted hundreds of thousands, probably millions, and let no one forget that the age old hostility toward Jews was given free reign in these upheavals .

What Serbia went through was truly catastrophic : not just an army, but an entire people, ravaged by military defeat and decimated by typhus, retreating through the Albanian mountains in the worst of winter.



A truly appalling year.

Edit : On a more personal note : my great uncle, Rifleman William Andrade, London Regiment, Royals Fusiliers, came unstuck at Neuve Chapelle in March 1915, dying of his wounds after being hit by shellfire. Buried at Cabaret Rouge Cemetery, outside Arras, France.

Regards , Phil





---------------
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"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/15/2017 5:15:59 AM
The Battle of Aubers Ridge fought over two days(9-10 May) by Douglas Haig's 1st Army, was unfortunately to be another unmitigated disaster-it was fought over the same ground as Neuve Chapelle- as two pronged attack on either side of this town.

The forces used were a mix of British and Canadian troops.Haig was extremely short on artillery ,particularly heavies; and what he had was past their best-nothing available- as what there was;was still at 2nd Ypres-thus his initial bombardment was limited to 40 minutes to commence on the 9th.

As I said-the attack was a total failure-the Germans had strengthened their lines around Neuve Chapelle and the British bombardment was simply not heavy nor long enough to destroy these new lines.The two prongs of the attack went over the top an the morning of the 9th; but were cut down by German machine gun fire.No real progress was made and early on the 10th Haig called off the attack

Casualties were 11.619 K W & M (Edmonds)


Quote:
/Colonel Charles à Court Repington, sent a telegram to his newspaper highlighting the lack of high explosive shells, using information supplied by Sir John French; The Times headline on 14 May 1915 was: "Need for shells: British attacks checked: Limited supply the cause: A Lesson From France". This precipitated a political scandal known as the Shell Crisis of 1915.


NB.The Gallipoli Campaign had opened on 25th April

Regards

Jim

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anemone
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/15/2017 6:53:07 AM
The so called "Shell Scandal" helped bring down the Asquith Liberal Government and brought in a coalition.In June Lloyd George became head of a new Ministry of Munitions with the task of getting the peacetime industry into a purposeful and highly productive machine.

The servant class whether male or female just melted away into the forces or munitions.Total war was doing more to liberate women than all the efforts of the suffragettes.

There was a war on; and the nation was quickly reminded of that by Zeppelin raids over London and trainloads of wounded soldiers arriving at major railway stations.

Regards

Jim
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Phil andrade
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/15/2017 7:16:17 AM

Quote:
Is Falkenhayn arguing for peace? Did Germany have prospect of winning the war outright in 1915? I can't think of a moment throughout that year where I feel that the Allies were truly in peril, compared with the preceding year and the years to follow.

Cheers,

Colin
--Lightning


He's arguing for peace ; but on terms advantageous to Germany.

His aspirations were, I think, feasible ; maybe even plausible .

It was a better year for the Central Powers than it was for the Allies. A massive blow dealt to the Russians, whose casualties in 1915 might have been as high as three and a quarter million, of whom a million and a quarter were POWs. Turkey triumphant at Gallipoli ; Serbia smashed and Bulgaria joining the German side. OTOH, the Entente gained the Italians. The Western Front, as Jim reminds us, was a dismal experience for the Franco British armies, with dreadful, dreadful casualties and a catalogue of failures.

The Austro Hungarian Empire was in trouble, revealing its own record of failure with catastrophic casualties in the Carpathians. The Germans were truly aware of being shackled to a corpse.

The Germans themselves carried off military succcesses on all fronts. They did not experience, in 1915, the same sense of peril as they were to feel in the summer and autumn of 1916. But - and this is noteworthy - their battle casualties in 1915 were also monstrous - at least a million and a half that year ; every bit as bad as they were to be in 1916 and only to be surpassed in 1918.

So I assess 1915 as a year of the most intense and unremitting battle on all fronts, with both sides left sufficiently intact to contemplate more of the same in the following year. Points win to Germany , I think ; but not sufficiently commanding to dispel the huge strategic disadvantage that faced her.

Regards , Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/15/2017 7:56:11 AM
Gallipoli-1915/16

IMO The Gallipoli Campaign and the overall strategic failure of the whole campaign led directly to new campaigns; and it exposed the limitations of British and Imperial military knowhow in the first years of the war; and showed the distance Britain was from becoming a major military power.

Gallipoli was right at the very beginning of the long, painful journey to the battle-forged professional soldiers of the British Armies in France of 1918.

It showed everyone that neither Britain nor its Empire were ready or prepared to fight a world war in 1915.

Regards

Jim
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George
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/15/2017 7:57:57 AM

Quote:
The so called "Shell Scandal" helped bring down the Asquith Liberal Government and brought in a coalition.In June Lloyd George became head of a new Ministry of Munitions with the task of getting the peacetime industry into a purposeful and highly productive machine.

The servant class whether male or female just melted away into the forces or munitions.Total war was doing more to liberate women than all the efforts of the suffragettes.

There was a war on; and the nation was quickly reminded of that by Zeppelin raids over London and trainloads of wounded soldiers arriving at major railway stations.

Regards

Jim
--anemone


It may not be well known but Canada was asked to produce shells in response to the crisis.

Minister of Defence, Sam Hughes had set up a shell committee and it was a sloppy effort, rife with corruption. The opposition was after the government and accused certain people of profiteering.

The factories proved incapable of fulfilling British contracts and the Brits were upset.

So PM Borden scrapped the shell committee and with Britain, established the Imperial Munitions Board (IMB), in late 1915. It was a British organization but it was headed by a Canadian named Flavelle. He turned things around. The IMB became the purchasing agent for Britain, in Canada.

Canada had no history of munitions manufacture but did respond. The IMB established "national" factories charged with producing all sorts of war materiel.

The IMB produced brass casings, propellants, chemicals and ships and aircraft for the war effort. Eventually, shell production was able to be completed in Canada as factories began to produce the complex fuses required.

By 1917 over 2 million dollars worth of goods per day were produced.

According to the Canadian War Museum, by 1917, nearly 1/3 of all British shells were manufactured in Canada.

Quite a feat considering the industrial capacity of Canada in 1914.


Cheers,

George



anemone
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/15/2017 8:14:07 AM
Many thanks George for reminding me that GB did not get out of the hole it was in- without outside help eg Canada; and 33% of the shells is quite a chunk.

Regards

Jim
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George
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/15/2017 8:29:48 AM

Quote:
Many thanks George for reminding me that GB did not get out of the hole it was in- without outside help eg Canada; and 33% of the shells is quite a chunk.

Regards

Jim
--anemone


That's the figure usually quoted Jim as is something like 24 million shells of all types produced. Probably somewhere between 1/4 and 1/3 but Canadian sources will usually claim the 1/3.

It did take a few months before all the components of a shell could be produced in Canada including fuses, propellants, cotton wadding and whatever else goes into a shell. It put a lot of people to work including women in our country.

As well, Canada was a bread basket for Britain shipping foodstuffs including tonnes of wheat. Canada's west was still in a pioneer stage and a lot of immigrants, many from eastern Europe, had to increase their production of wheat for the war effort.

Hudson Bay Company had a fleet of ships in those days that transported a good deal of the food and munitions to Britain.

So while the manufacturing effort doesn't match that of WW2, most certainly it was significant.

anemone
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/15/2017 8:43:09 AM
George-did your country produce artillery???

Regards

Jim
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George
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/15/2017 9:22:30 AM

Quote:
George-did your country produce artillery???

Regards

Jim
--anemone


Not in WW1, I don't believe. There wasn't too much here in the way of manufacturing in 1914 though the steel industry had expanded.

We relied heavily on Britain for arms though Minister of Defence, Sam Hughes wanted to introduce Canadian designed arms where he could.

The Ross Rifle is the prime example of failure in that regard. It was an excellent rifle and well designed for target shooting and perhaps hunting but it was susceptible to jamming in the mud of Flanders.

During 2nd Ypres, Canadian soldiers were observed crying in frustration as their weapons had jammed. Canadian soldiers were tossing their Ross Rifles and were picking up Lee-Enfields of dead British soldiers.

Canada had ordered a supply of 40,000 Lee-Enfields that had been used during the Boer War. Many of these were still serviceable but Sam Hughes insisted upon using this Canadian made rifle.

Hughes deserves credit for creating an army from nothing but he was a terrible manager of things like arms and equipment production.

He was swayed by inventors with crazy ideas about products that would make the Canadian soldier more effective.

I still laugh when I think of the trench shovel with the hole in it that was supposed to act as a shield that a man could peek through.

And Hughes was the designer of the MacAdam Shield-Shovel and of course, he owned the patent. The Hughes shovel was named after the Minister's personal secretary, Ena MacAdam. It was a heavy shovel that was supposed to stop a bullet.



Sam also adopted an outdated MG at the beginning of the war, the M1895 Colt.

He also insisted that Canada would produce uniforms and boots for its troops. Fair enough but the companies that produced the goods were scam artists. The uniforms were uncomfortable and came apart when wet. That included the boots that fell apart in the mud of the trenches.
The uniforms would shrink excessively and so the story goes, if a soldier had a uniform that no longer fit and if it hadn't tattered and ripped too much, he would give it to a smaller man who needed it and go looking for a larger man whose uniform had also shrunk.

PM Borden had to sack Hughes but even after he was gone, the uniforms that he had procured were still being used.


The Canadians were able to supply some things but certainly artillery weapons wasn't one of them and the Corps did have its own divisional artillery units with guns supplied by the British.


Cheers,

George



anemone
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/15/2017 9:57:35 AM
Thanks George

Just had a look at what the BEF had in the way of Heavy Artillery in 1915 ie. 60pdrs and Siege guns-there was a decided paucity in the first half of the year
but from July onwards-these weapons appeared more and more. DLG must have created quite a stir as Director of Munitions.


Regards

Jim
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anemone
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/15/2017 10:21:08 AM
Battle of Festubert-15 -25 May

This attack was preceded by a 60 hour artillery bombardment in which over 100,000 shells were fired,-a vast difference to the preceding month- but large parts of the German lines survived intact.

This attack started early on on the morning of 15 May.It was more successful than at Aubers Ridge, with some British units capturing large parts the German front line.

During the first few days of the battle, the British were able to capture several sections of the German front lines, and on 17 May the Germans pulled back to their second line, 1,300 yards behind their original front line.


After a number of failed attacks on 18 May- the British eased off and replaced some units in the front line. An attack by two Canadian Brigades on 24 May failed to achieve any success, and on the following day- all further attacks were cancelled.

The battle closed with a number of unsuccessful German counterattacks, aimed at recapturing their former front lines.

British Casualties=16,648 K W & M

Regards

Jim
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Lightning
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/15/2017 1:16:16 PM
Jim,

Was there something you wanted to discuss about Festubert? I'd rather that we discus a topic than follow a narrative. I don't really know what to add to a block of (presumably lifted) descriptive text.

Cheers,

Coin
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anemone
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/15/2017 1:38:14 PM
Colin -if you tell me why you presume that my post is a block of lifted text-I will tell you what to discuss.Historical fact is invariably text.
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George
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/15/2017 2:22:25 PM
Jim, the study of history is much more than historical fact taken from text and I believe that what attracts most of us to this form is not a dry presentation of a timeline but an interesting discussion based upon poster's questions and knowledge and opinions.

We want to understand through analysis of events, the reasons that they happened and the lessons learned and the effect on future events.

We may want to know the primary players in an event and how they impacted on the result.

A short synopsis of Festubert whether an original post on your part, a clear cut and paste, or an amended cut and paste does not provide a basis for discussion.

So if you can tell us why you posted that piece on Festubert, or identify the significance of it, then perhaps we can determine some basis for analysis and formulation of opinions and discussion.

Cheers,

George


Phil andrade
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/15/2017 3:27:53 PM
Let me step in here and suggest that we put the battles of Neuve Chapelle, Aubers Ridge and Festubert, along with Second Ypres, into some kind of wider perspective.

Jim gives us a rendition of facts about those battles.

What intrigues me is how far they were fought in reference to other engagements fought by other armies.

Neuve Chapelle is an " odd" battle, I think : fought by the British, for the British and with what seem to be purely localised objectives. Despite its high cost and notorious reputation, it was the most successful of all British attacks that year, and remained a tantalising example of what might be achieved if enough artillery could be brought to bear on a sufficiently narrow front. It had portents in the form of aerial spotting for the guns.

The other battles do not fit this pattern.

Second Ypres, obviously, because it was a German attack forced on the Allies.

But the disastrous Aubers Ridge attack, and its encore at Festubert, were fought very much at the bequest of the French, who were involved in massive offensives in Artois at the same time. More than that, to a large degree these very French efforts were themselves a response to the desperate pleas of the Russians, who were being hammered at Gorlice Tarnow and were about to be ejected from Poland, losing Warsaw in August.

These dreadful battles in the west - which cost the Franco British armies hundreds of thousands of men - at least demonstrated the degree to which coalition warfare was getting into its stride ; a development that was bound to bode ill for the Central Powers.

I haven't referred to Gallipoli in this regard ; but that, too, was in some measure a response to Russian requests for assistance. And then there was the often overlooked expedition to Salonica : another foray to help bolster up an ally - in this case, Serbia.

It would be interesting to compare this degree of coalition harmony with that displayed by the Central Powers.

Regards , Phil
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George
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/15/2017 4:00:26 PM
Thanks Phil. So was the objective of battles like Aubers Ridge and Festubert just to provide a diversion or to draw off German forces facing the French?

And if the two attacks had been successful, were there follow-up plans to exploit the success or was the anticipated success of the French, the actual objective.

And I am hinting at is the degree of planning for attacks that went on in 1915. That area seemed deficient to me.

There are times when there was less time to prepare than one would have liked. Some of the set pieces in the Last 100 days were like that.

I know that Festubert did not receive sufficient planning time. It just seemed hasty and ill conceived and costly because of it.


Cheers,

George

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