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 (1914-1918) WWI Battles    
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Lightning
Glasgow, UK
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E-7 Sgt First Class


Posts: 442

Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/17/2017 11:46:56 AM
Am I alone in feeling that we rather rushed through 1915? What's the hurry? There's lots to talk about yet and I'm not convinced by Jim's assertion that Gallipoli was a complete waste of time from the outset.

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
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5286

Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/17/2017 11:55:48 AM

Quote:
Am I alone in feeling that we rather rushed through 1915? What's the hurry? There's lots to talk about yet and I'm not convinced by Jim's assertion that Gallipoli was a complete waste of time from the outset.

Cheers,

Colin
--Lightning


Well I am still thinking about this year of combat because it was a terrible one for the Canadians so if others wish to continue, indeed, yes.

I haven't much to contribute on the Gallipoli part of it but I am interested.

Cheers,

George

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2475

Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/17/2017 12:15:38 PM
Churchill could sell sand in the desert.

Poor Jackie Fisher had a nervous breakdown : he was convinced that Churchill was wrong, but then was seduced....he couldn't cope with the persuasive skills that Churchill deployed.

Churchill was wrong about a lot of things : but he was right about some.

When you contemplate the dire results of those attacks in France and Flanders, it's legitimate to ask yourself what might have been achieved if some of the guns and shells used at Loos had been diverted to the Dardanelles.....but I recognise a dead horse when I see it.

Incidentally, George, there was a contingent of Newfoundlanders at Gallipoli.

Please, folks, let's dwell awhile longer on the story of this horrific year.

Colin : I agree.

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

Jim Cameron
North Bellmore, NY, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant


Posts: 669

Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/17/2017 12:41:54 PM

Quote:
Am I alone in feeling that we rather rushed through 1915? What's the hurry? There's lots to talk about yet and I'm not convinced by Jim's assertion that Gallipoli was a complete waste of time from the outset.

Cheers,

Colin
--Lightning


1915 strikes me as the overlooked year. It lacked the excitement and 0pening battles of 1914, and the big Verdun and Somme battles of 1916. It ends up rather overshadowed.
---------------
Jim Cameron

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

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 5939
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/17/2017 1:01:20 PM
I do think for one minute that 1915 is being rushed through-unless it is thought that this account of Dardanelles/Gallipoli Campaign is the closure to this particular Annus Horribilis-No-not at all.

We can look forward to discussing the Armenian Genocide,Kut al Mara and Ctesiphon,the Fokker Scourge,the Battle of Dogger Bank and that most unfortunate of battles -Loos; and changes in British Army command- to name but a few.

Regards

Jim

---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

scoucer
Berlin, Germany
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 1923

Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/17/2017 2:01:57 PM

Quote:
Although quite unprepared to go to war- on May 23, 1915, Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary.

The Italian declaration opened up a new front in World War I, stretching 600 kilometers—most of them mountainous—along Italy’s border with Austria-Hungary.

One has to ask why they did so -I found no tangible reason- other than perhaps pressure from the Triple Alliance ????

Regards

Jim
--anemone


Greed. They were promised large parts of Dalmatia.

Trevor
---------------
`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie

Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 5939
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/17/2017 2:23:57 PM
Many thanks Trevor-that did allude me I must confess.

Best Wishes Old Pal

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5286

Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/17/2017 2:36:34 PM
The Italians were incensed that they were not rewarded to their liking during negotiations for the Treaty of Versailles.

And they stomped out in anger and then returned to Paris, 11 days later.

The Italians claimed that the Treaty of London assured them of approval of their claims.

And they wanted a lot of land:

Sections of the A-H Empire:
South Tyrol to Trieste (still a bone of contention in WW2. Ask the New Zealanders who had to keep the Yugoslavian and Italian partisans apart)

The Italians wanted parts of Dalmatia as Trevor says.

They wanted an Albanian port city of Vlore (sp. ?)

And some areas in the old Ottoman Empire.


The Brits and French and Americans didn't think that the Italians deserved much and they didn't get much. The Italians lost a lot of men but they needed help and kept asking for it during their time in combat. They had become an annoyance during the war.

It led to considerable resentment within Italy even though they shared in some of the German reparation money and got some territory that had Italians living in the area, like the South Tyrol area. I think the US gave them some money too.

The Italian delegation was angry with Wilson of the US because he felt that the Italians were asking for territory where there just weren't many Italians and that didn't jive with his belief in "self determination".

The Italians warned that the settlement could lead to unrest and perhaps civil war in Italy.

I'm not sure just how much the Treaty of Versailles contributed to the rise of Mussolini.

Cheers,

George


anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/17/2017 2:48:44 PM
Could not find anything in Mussolini's biographical details- to indicate that he used the Treaty o Versailles as a platform- in his rise to power in Italy.

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5286

Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/17/2017 3:14:32 PM

Quote:
Could not find anything in Mussolini's biographical details- to indicate that he used the Treaty o Versailles as a platform- in his rise to power in Italy.

Regards

Jim
--anemone


Well Mussolini founded a group made up of former veterans (who were polarized in Italy, some were monarchists, some were socialists).

They were called the Fasci di Combattimento and Mussolini's pitch to them was that Italy and they, the brave veterans had been cheated out of their recognition and reward of the lands that they deserved, because of the failed negotiations in 1919.

He railed against those who had negotiated on behalf of Italy and had sold them out and set about gathering allies in his fractious country.

So he used the Treaty to gather some allies but he did have other concerns and other elements within the country who had to be put down and forcefully at that. But I don't think that the Treaty or rather the lack of rewards was the only reason that he was able to gain control.


Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2475

Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/17/2017 5:30:56 PM

Quote:

Quote:
Am I alone in feeling that we rather rushed through 1915? What's the hurry? There's lots to talk about yet and I'm not convinced by Jim's assertion that Gallipoli was a complete waste of time from the outset.

Cheers,

Colin
--Lightning


1915 strikes me as the overlooked year. It lacked the excitement and 0pening battles of 1914, and the big Verdun and Somme battles of 1916. It ends up rather overshadowed.
--Jim Cameron


Nothing the French underwent at Verdun approached the experience of 1915 when it came to the sheer slaughter of their troops.

That perhaps explains why Verdun was so difficult for the French to endure.....it was more of a shock to lose a quarter of a million men in a battle that had been forced on you, than it was to lose a million in a series of battles that you had planned to undertake.

It was the stupefying loss of life that France suffered in 1915 ( and, of course, in those five months of 1914 ) that made the nation so susceptible to the effects of Verdun - even though the toll of Verdun itself was significantly lower than that of the 1915 battles.

Editing : French parliamentary figures placed the losses of their armies in the period of February to June 1915 at 689,000 ; the same months in 1916 ( highest intensity at Verdun ) cost them 442,000 : the consternation was greater in the latter period, even though the earlier year had cost them fifty per cent more men.
It's more frightening when the enemy sets the pace.

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

Jim Cameron
North Bellmore, NY, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant


Posts: 669

Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/17/2017 6:40:27 PM
All too true. Yet 1915 still comes across as something of a blurr. I wonder how many people could, just off the top of their head, name a specific French battle from that year.

Perhaps another example of the Anglophone view of the war, in which the French can seem oddly absent?
---------------
Jim Cameron

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

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2475

Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/18/2017 12:57:33 AM
Yes, the French effort in 1915 is either overlooked, or taken for granted.

Earlier on, I ventured a guess that French casualties in the month of May that year were probably close to three times that of the British on the Western Front.

I was wrong.

They were at least four times as great.

It has to be said that the French themselves have not done justice to their Great War. The Marne ; Verdun ; the Nivelle Offensive and the Armistice get prominence in their folklore : the rest is subsumed into that blurr you mentioned.

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
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 5939
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/18/2017 3:22:01 AM
The Armenian Genocide

NB.I do appreciate that this subject is outside this Forum's scope; but it it was an enormous issue in 1915-and it may not be to everyone's liking.

In 1915, leaders of the Turkish government set in motion a “concocted” plot to expel and massacre Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire. Though reports vary, most sources agree that there were about 2 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire at the time of the massacre. By the early 1920s, when the massacres and deportations finally ended, some 1.5 million of Turkey’s Armenians were dead, with many more forcibly removed from the country.

What was the concocted plan.????

Today, most historians call this event a genocide–a premeditated and systematic campaign to exterminate an entire people.

How was this enormity carried out.????

However, the Turkish government does not acknowledge the enormity or scope of these events.

Why-do they say nothing or just dismiss it.????

Despite pressure from Armenians and social justice advocates throughout the world, it is still illegal in Turkey to talk about what happened to Armenians during this era.

Why-is it because they now wish to become part of the civilised world.????

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Lightning
Glasgow, UK
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class


Posts: 442

Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/18/2017 4:00:41 AM
1915, for the Allies at least, seems to be a story of relentless slaughter and casualties for no discernable gain. At least in 1916, the Somme and Verdun could be called Allied victories, despite the human cost. If France was suffering nearly 700,000 casualties in the first half of 1915 for absolutely no tangible progress, it's easy to understand the resentment amongst the troops that would build later in the war.

Yet, for all that, what were the options on the table for the Allies in 1915? Russia was being pulverised. Turkey had thrown its lot in with the Central Powers. Italy had joined the Allies, but this seemed to add to the burdens of the Allies, rather than ease them. The telegraph wires were hot with endless messages from the politicians, demanding action to defeat the Germans. You can see why planning sometimes fell by the wayside, although even the decently planned operations still incurred heinous casualties. Nobody had quite got to grips with the new methods of warfare.

An awful year, in an awful war.

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."

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2475

Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/18/2017 4:46:08 AM
Jim,

Why do you state that the Armenian Genocide is outside this forum's scope ?

It's already been alluded to : I mentioned it early on in the thread.

Discussing the year 1915 without citing it would be an outrageous omission .

Were those Armenians destined to be massacred anyway ; or was their fate directly attributable to the war ?

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
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 5939
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/18/2017 5:42:47 AM
In response to the Young Turks organisation fomenting about the Armenians being disloyal to the country which cared for them-they agitated the general Turkish populace into hatred.

On 25 February 1915, the Ottoman General Staff released the War Minister Enver Pasha's Directive 8682 on "Increased security and precautions" to all military units calling for the removal of all ethnic Armenians serving in the Ottoman forces from their posts and for their demobilization.

They were to be assigned to the unarmed Labour battalions-ie. they were no longer allowed to bear arms.This form of segregation was the start of their ultimate alienation.


Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 5939
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/18/2017 7:06:38 AM
The Fokker Scourge

In July 1915, RFC pilots and observers flying pusher type aircraft- began reporting encounters with a strange new German monoplane that seemed engineered specifically to destroy aircraft: The Fokker Eindecker E.1.

Fokker pilots- such as Immelmann and Boelke- soon dominated the skies. Worse for Britain and France, the propeller-synching technology was a closely guarded German secret.To cut to the chase- after losing so many aircraft to the Eindecker-what did the British /French come up with to combat this scourge and how long did it take ????


[Read More]

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
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Posts: 5939
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/18/2017 7:35:12 AM
On April 24, 1915, the Armenian genocide began.


[Read More]

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2475

Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/18/2017 7:55:42 AM
Gallipoli landings April 25th 1915, commencement of the Genocide, April 24th : coincidence ?

The Ottoman Empire seemed to veer from tolerance and enlightened acceptance on the one hand, to atrocious cruelty on the other.

The Turks were under enormous pressure in 1915 : principally at Gallipoli , of course ; but they were fighting against the Russians at the same time, and trying to hold things together in Mesopotamia , Palestine and Egypt. Huge numbers of their troops perished from disease. One only has to glance through a history of the Gallipoli fighting to appreciate how they were killed in tens of thousands in battle, too.

Falkenhayn was keenly aware of the importance of keeping Turkey in the war, and predicated strategy in the Balkans on the need to keep rail communication with Turkey open.

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

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5286

Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/18/2017 8:10:22 AM
Is there any evidence that the Germans were aware of the treatment of the Armenians by the Turks and protested against the Turkish actions.

I am trying to come at this from a religious perspective. The Armenians were mostly Christian, were they not? I was wondering whether the harsh treatment of fellow Christians was enough to raise German consciousness.

Cheers,

George

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Posts: 5939
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/18/2017 8:24:29 AM
I too suspect that the great strains of the war-coupled with the patriotic zeal of the Young Turks Organisation-caused a sort of aberration in the Turkish Leadership-which manifested itself in taking revenge on a people- who they suddenly saw as enemies; and were therefore put to the sword.There is no way one can offer any form of mitigation for such a ghastly atrocity.

What with Concentration camps ut in deserts with little or no amenities supporting life-many thousands died of starvation and disease.Death Marches with no end but Death. Bands of killers slaughtering all and sundry everywhere-it was a nightmarish scenario.They put to death men,women and children in every conceivable manner-some too awful to describe

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Posts: 5939
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/18/2017 8:46:24 AM

Quote:
Is there any evidence that the Germans were aware of the treatment of the Armenians by the Turks and protested against the Turkish actions.

I am trying to come at this from a religious perspective. The Armenians were mostly Christian, were they not? I was wondering whether the harsh treatment of fellow Christians was enough to raise German consciousness.

Cheers,

George
--George


No George they did not-indeed they assisted in this atrocity


[Read More]

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2475

Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/18/2017 10:01:33 AM
Interestingly, and - in view of subsequent German history - one might say ironically, Falkenhayn himself became a proponent of the rights and welfare of the jewish minority in Palestine when he was sent out there to manage affairs on behalf of Germany in the later phase of the war.

I would imagine that many Germans expressed the same horror at the atrocities committed against the Armenians by the Turks as that expressed by some Germans at the behaviour of the Japanese in the Rape of Nanking twenty odd years later.

Who remembers the Armenians now ? Hitler is supposed to have said as he countenanced the Holocaust.

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
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2475

Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/18/2017 10:14:54 AM
Colin,

You allude to the nearly seven hundred thousand casualties suffered by the French in the first half of 1915.

It's apparent from the same source that I used to cite that figure, that their losses in the second half of the year rivalled those of the first.

This despite some forward thinking French tactical methods - first used in Artois in the spring - entailing infiltration tactics that might be likened to the storm trooper methods associated with the Germans three years later.

Falkenhayn, in his controversial Christmas Memorandum of 1915 - claimed by some historians to be a post war fabrication - stated that the strain on France had reached breaking point ; although he did comment that this had been born with great devotion.

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
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 5939
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/18/2017 10:44:45 AM
1922 saw the end of the systematic cleansing of the Armenians by the Nationalist Turks,at which time only 388,000 remained-which I confess surprises me.


Quote:
Hundreds of eyewitnesses, including the neutral United States and the Ottoman Empire's own allies, Germany and Austria-Hungary, recorded and documented numerous acts of state-sponsored massacres. Many foreign officials offered to intervene on behalf of the Armenians, including Pope Benedict XV, only to be turned away by Ottoman government officials who claimed they were retaliating against a pro-Russian insurrection.

On 24 May 1915, the Triple Entente warned the Ottoman Empire that "In view of these new crimes of Turkey against humanity and civilization, the Allied Governments announce publicly to the Sublime Porte that they will hold personally responsible for these crimes all members of the Ottoman Government, as well as those of their agents who are implicated in such massacres"

Wikipedia

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5286

Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/18/2017 11:55:10 AM

Quote:

Quote:
Is there any evidence that the Germans were aware of the treatment of the Armenians by the Turks and protested against the Turkish actions.

I am trying to come at this from a religious perspective. The Armenians were mostly Christian, were they not? I was wondering whether the harsh treatment of fellow Christians was enough to raise German consciousness.

Cheers,

George
--George


No George they did not-indeed they assisted in this atrocity


[Read More]

Regards

Jim

--anemone




You posted from a web site that is devoted to the exploration of civil rights abuses. Nothing wrong with that but there may be another side to the story.

Further research would reveal to you that historians are polarized and the site that you provided doesn't give the other side.

There are many German writers who decry German complicity in the genocide.

There are also many others who cite instances of protest from German officials, both military and civilian over the conduct of the Turks.

There is a political aspect of course. The Germans needed to keep the Turks in the war and did not want civil unrest to distract the Turks.

I am no expert on the Armenian genocide but what I do know is that finding one article that supports one point of view and posting it as the absolute truth is not the way to go about things, Jim.

May I ask Jim whether you googled something like, "German protests in 1915 against the Armenian genocide".

I did but just to find out whether there was a different point of view and a counter point to a site that you provided but whose frame of reference gave me pause to reconsider.

Perhaps you should take more time to research Jim, before hastily posting the first thing that you find.

Jim you posted this response 30 minutes after my query. Why not read it yourself and discuss what you have read? Give some sort of opinion or discussion point.

Lightning
Glasgow, UK
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class


Posts: 442

Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/18/2017 4:18:55 PM

Quote:
Falkenhayn, in his controversial Christmas Memorandum of 1915 - claimed by some historians to be a post war fabrication - stated that the strain on France had reached breaking point ; although he did comment that this had been born with great devotion.--Phil andrade


Phil,

Haig made similar and repeated statements about the Germans; they were on their last legs; their reserves were gone; they were starving; and so n. "One more push", I believe is the name of the mentality. In truth, the "one more push" idea completely disregarded how the war was going to be won. It would not be by one or two heroic breakthroughs and rapid encirclement, but by continual, merciless and relentless assault upon the enemy, along various parts of the line to avoid giving the enemy the chance to bring up overwhelming reserves or counter-attack in force.

The problem with the idea of infiltration tactics is that neither side possessed the mobile forces of, say, the German panzers of 1940. The Allies or the Germans might smash into the enemy's line, but even with (or because of) the combat zones so densely packed, neither side could bring up attacking reserves quickly enough to completely pour through the crack they had created. As Jim alluded to in a earlier post either on this thread or the "1914" one, the creation of defence in depth and interior lines of supply meant that a non-mechanised force could not reasonably hope to mass enough force to breakthrough without leaving their other sectors dangerously undermanned. Obviously there were exceptions, particularly on the Eastern Front, but no real potentially war-winning breakthrough ever occurred on the Western Front.

Anyway, I've waffled a bit much here, please accept my apologies, but I suppose that my point is that casualties amongst all sides would be high regardless of the method of attack, but the pursuit of the "big breakthrough" by a "big push" often meant that gains achieved were either untenable or quickly nullified as the defenders consolidated their retrenched position. The Allies eventually cracked it in mid-to-late 1918, but only after horrific cost of life.

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."

Jim Cameron
North Bellmore, NY, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant


Posts: 669

Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/18/2017 4:28:40 PM
The other problem with infiltration tactics was that they would get you in, but not through. And the guys doing the infiltration tended to end up dead. They were also increasingly hard to replace. All reasons why breakthroughs gave way to lateral exploitation geared towards a gradual "pushing back" of the enemy front.
---------------
Jim Cameron

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

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2475

Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/19/2017 4:10:54 AM
Falkenhayn's comments about the strain on France becoming unbearable by the end of 1915 prompt me to reflect on the enormity of the German casualty figures, too.

I wonder if he was sensing a danger in this sense.

Germany's population of 65 million was two thirds greater than that of Metropolitan France ; and, in the sense of birth rate per capita, had been more robust.

But there was no room for complacency,

As of 31 December 1915, the Central Satistical Office of the government had already tabulated in excess of two and a half million German casualties - an average of 150,000 per month for the seventeen months of war. That is a terrifying number to deal with....roughly five thousand per day.

The British Empire had not yet got into its full stride, but Falkenhayn knew that before long the new armies would be deployed on the grand scale.

Russia had been frightfully mauled, but was still intact and had demonstrated an ability to recover and deal out heavy blows : in this regard, I note that German casualties on the Eastern Front in August 1915 exceeded those of the worst month in the West that year.

Austro Hungarian fragility was all too apparent : made worse by the intervention of the Italians.

The accession of Bulgaria and the triumph of Turkey at Gallipoli were encouraging....but the overall strategic predicament was challenging at best.

Small wonder that Falkenhayn sought a strategy for 1916 that was predicated on the husbandry of German manpower.

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

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anemone
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/19/2017 4:12:08 AM
Talking about breakthroughs-the Germans had the very best of chances taken away from them at 2nd Ypres-but have to admit it is purely speculative


Quote:
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 too slow to follow up.The 1st Canadian Division and some British troops managed to close the gap; and the 2nd Battle of Ypres degenerated into a murderous struggle which ended in stalemate.


The chemist who had produced the chlorine gas was also looking to perfect protective equipment for the German soldiers using and following up the gas cloud, but Falknhayn was too impatient to wait; and thus a very real chance of a breakthrough this enormous four mile gap was lost.

Regards

Jim
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anemone
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/19/2017 5:55:48 AM
The French Battering Ram in Action

On the Western Front in the autumn-there was preparation in Champagne to support a major offensive; including the construction of a new light railway line into the rear area. The attack went in on 25 September. The Germans thus hsd time to improve their defences.

The attack was launched by French Second and Fourth Army,. The attack was preceded by a lengthy bombardment. Chlorine Gas was released before the infantry assault. The German front line was overrun in several places, and French troops advanced towards the second line. The second line was almost entirely intact, and the French attack got bogged down ,during which time- the Germans pushed reinforcements to that area. Assaults continued until the end of September, and broke off until 6 October, but without any success. At the end of October the Germans launched a counterattack that recovered much of the ground they had lost on 25 September.

The battle was abandoned on 6 November,and the French had lost 143,567 men. In some places they had advanced two and a half miles, but they had never been able to capture the German second line.

German casualties were much lower,but maybe as many as 85,000 men, including 25,000 captured by the French.

Regards

Jim
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Phil andrade
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/19/2017 6:21:49 AM
Jim,

Here's a quibble from me, but I think it's pertinent : that figure of French casualties that you cite ( 143,567 ) is correct, but it appertains to a much shorter time period : IIRC to the 6th October- that date you mention -more or less ten days.

The subsequent fighting that ground on until 6 November would have swelled that total greatly. I mention this because I want to draw attention to the intensity and scale of the business.

The sheer prodigality of this fightng is stupefying : it makes the worst period at Verdun look modest in its toll. And, at the same time, there were another 48,000 French casualties fighting in Artois, close to the British efforts at Loos.

Putting it in rough and ready terms, the French, in two simultaneous offensives, suffered - in ten days - half the number of casualties that they were to sustain in ten months at Verdun the following year.

Forgive my tendency to calibrate perceptions though casualty statistics, but I hope I make a convincing demonstration here about how dreadful this 1915 fighting was. More so when we taken into account the even beaver losses that were being incurred in the huge battles on the Eastern Front.

Regards, Phil

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Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/19/2017 6:36:39 AM
Thanks Phil-perhaps this extract from Wikipedia will offer an explanation for what you see as an omission.However I cannot do other than groan at Joffre's profligacy


Quote:
The offensive had been disappointing for the French. Despite their new 'attack in echelon' they had only made quick progress during the time it took for the Germans to strip reserves from elsewhere and rush them up. They had lost 145,000 men, while the Germans had 72,500 casualties, (Foley gave 97,000 casualties based on Der Weltkrieg the German Official History.) The French had taken 25,000 prisoners and captured 150 guns.

In Der Weltkrieg, French casualties in the Fourth, Second and Third armies from 25 September – 7 October were recorded as 143,567 men, with 48,230 more casualties in the Tenth Army from 25 September – 15 October and 56,812 casualties in the British First Army from 25 September – 16 October, a total of c. 250,000 casualties against c. 150,000 losses in the German armies, of which 81,000 casualties were suffered in the Champagne battle from 22 September – 14 October.

The French Official History recorded 191,795 casualties in the fighting in Champagne and Artois.
Wikipedia-I note with a sigh of relief you do not seem to mind Wikipedia's "variety" of Casualty Returns

Regards

Jim
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Lightning
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/19/2017 8:18:56 AM

Quote:
However I cannot do other than groan at Joffre's profligacy. --anemone


Profligacy, Jim? Casualties were obviously extremely high, but Joffre was given the unenviable task of evicting the invading Germans with an army roughly the same size as the dyg-in Germans, plus was laboured with British allies still finding their feet. I'm interested to know what you think he should have done differently.

It there was profligacy, it was because the clock was ticking. France had no other option other than to attack and attempt to drive off the invaders of their homelands.

Cheers,

Colin
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/19/2017 8:45:11 AM
Cease using battering ram tactics

Reviews of the experiences of the 1915 offensives led to a new formulation, Instruction "Sur le combat offensif des grandes unités" on 26 January 1916.

Continuous battle to be replaced by step-by-step advances-advance and sieze , through successive German defence lines.

Sudden but methodical attacks were to be made each time; and this should consume German infantry reserves. The German defences would then be more likely to eventually collapse and make a breakthrough attack feasible but not certain.

The slower, more deliberate methods, would economise on French infantry, instead of battering through the deep defences which had been built by the Germans since 1914.

Regards

Jim
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Lightning
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/19/2017 9:28:53 AM
Not unreasonable suggestions, but both you and the 26/01/1916 instruction benefit from hindsight, Jim. In the case of the French amending their tactics, this was in response to the heinous losses suffered. Without losses being incurred, there would be no need to amend the tactical deployments. Joffre, in 1915, was doing his very best using the methods of contemporary military doctrine.

Cheers,

Colin
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/19/2017 9:43:50 AM
Well Colin -you did ask.I am sure you are right- that Joffre was indeed doing his best; but despite loss piled on loss- he did not change his tactics and his soldiers suffered accordingly.In 1916 his position as General of the Armies became untenable-his 1915 performance did not help

Regards

Jim
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phil andrade
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/19/2017 1:22:27 PM
At the risk of maddening you all with repetition, let's not forget that Joffre and, by extension, French, were duty bound to help the Russians.

The attacks were called for by the dictates of coalition warfare.

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: 1/19/2017 2:02:27 PM

Quote:
The attacks were called for by the dictates of coalition warfare.
Quote:


I have no quarrel whatsoever with the above Phil-what has been discussed was the manner in which such attacks were carried out-they were all bloodbaths and if that helped the "dictates of coalition warfare"so be it- but why then was he removed; but I for one do not believe that in 1915- that Elan or En Avant or Toujours L'Attaque- did much good for the coalition or the poor bloody Poilu carrying out repeated battering ram tactics ad nauseam.

Regards

Jim
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