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 (1914-1918) WWI Battles    
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Phil andrade
London, UK
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/22/2017 1:41:28 PM
That place - Ctesiphon - was so hard to pronounce that the British soldiers got over the problem by calling it pissed upon which is about as good an indicator as any as to the reputation of the locality.

Townsend virtually put himself into a jar at Kut : all the Turks had to do was put the lid on it....so redolent of Benjamin Butler at Bermuda Hundred half a century earlier.

The attempts to relieve Kut failed, and in the process cost twenty three thousand casualties : many more than the number of men beseiged.

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
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/22/2017 2:18:17 PM
This disaster was lambasted as the most disgraceful defeat to tarnish British Arms(Shades of Singapore) and Townshend's reputation was utterly besmirched by his conduct-he thought it was "amusing" -holed up for 147 days without a fight.I believe that two other Generals were also sacked in the wake of this dismal business- the situation was ultimately recovered by a General Maude.

Regards

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

Phil andrade
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/22/2017 3:00:01 PM
A good deal more needs to be said about the Eastern Front, which I reckon might fairly be described as '" the main event" of the year.

Those huge battles are too easily forgotten.

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

scoucer
Berlin, Germany
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E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 1924

Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/22/2017 4:14:28 PM

Quote:
A good deal more needs to be said about the Eastern Front, which I reckon might fairly be described as '" the main event" of the year.

Those huge battles are too easily forgotten.

Regards, Phil
--Phil andrade


Indeed Phil. There has been very much an emphasis on the British Army. Will add when I can.

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.

Jim Cameron
North Bellmore, NY, USA
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Posts: 669

Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/22/2017 6:57:01 PM
One reason the eastern front tends to be largely ignored in the West is the relative lack of English language literature on the conflict. That, and the fact there wasn't a lot in terms of written accounts from the Russian side, and the army in particular, at all. Compared to the Western nations, the level of literacy was low. Add to the war itself the disruption of revolution, and the lack of access during the Soviet era, and available material on which to base scholarship is scarce. I would also suppose that destruction of German and Austro-Hungarian source material during WW2 doesn't help the situation.

When you figure that even the vastly more accessible French side of the war tends to receive short shrift amongst English speaking students of the war, the fact the Eastern front fares even worse hardly seems surprising.
---------------
Jim Cameron

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

Phil andrade
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/23/2017 4:14:41 AM
How right you are, Jim !

All the more reason for us to address that theatre in our discussion about 1915.

This is going to be the big year for Russian commemorative events : the Centennial of the Revolution.

Now that Vadimir's on a roller he's bound to want to make some comments.....and the background of the war that Russia fought 1914-17 is going to be given a bit more prominence, I hope.

Come to think of it, when you think of the mighty whack that Russia took in 1915, the resilience and resources that enabled it to come back so strongly in the summer of '16 challenge the perception of a state that was so fragile and inept that it was bound to collapse.

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

Lightning
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Posts: 444

Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/23/2017 5:35:32 AM
Certainly, the Germans were worried about giving the Russian army time to organise and modernise. I understand that certain elements felt that the Russian army would become unbeatable once it had modernised and had access to new railroads that could shuttle their endless millions of men westward at a frightening speed, therefore nullifying the main German war strategy.

In this context, it seems surprising that the Germans launched any offensives at all on the Western Front in 1915; would those men and shells frittered away in the mud of Flanders and France have been better put to use striking the fatal blow to the Russians, forcing them into an early compromise peace?

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."

anemone
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/23/2017 6:52:12 AM
Well said Colin-Schlieffen's Plan however- was to take France out of the war at the very start; and before the Russians had got their Armies organised and ready for war.As it so happened Russia "stole a march" on Germany and struck first in East Prussia and so upset that articular "apple cart".

Regards

Jim
---------------
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Phil andrade
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/23/2017 7:30:15 AM
Colin,

That phrase you use the fatal blow is so crucial to the things we're discussing.

Huge blows could be delivered ; terrible damage inflicted : but the fatal blow was something else, that proved beyond the means of even the mighty Germans.

Perhaps Falkenhayn advocated threatening death by a thousand cuts, rather than relying on the fall of the axe.

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: 1/23/2017 9:17:17 AM
The failure of the Dardanelles Expedition-meant that Russia could not expect to be supplied through the Straits; on which she relied heavily-particularly the export of wheat

This fact and it's effect was fully realised by Russia's opponent-Germany.They would ensure that the Dardanelles remained closed.For if Russia saw that there was no chance of exporting their wheat or importing war materiel-there would be a gradual collapse in Russian morale and effort.

Regards

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

Lightning
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/23/2017 10:09:47 AM
Jim,

Yet despite the semi-blockade that was imposed by the closing of the Straits, the Russian army was still able to reform and regroup and almost knock the Austro-Hungarians out of the war in 1916. The collapse in Russian morale and the war effort was a much more complicated affair than simply lacking the means to export wheat.

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."

anemone
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/23/2017 10:24:30 AM
In 1915 the Russian for 1915 plan included many of the lessons from previous experiences- that being said-the means were lacking and the instrumentation faulty.However their high command decreed that both flanks be solid,before attempting a fresh assault on Silesia.

From January to April their winter had been extremely severe-despite this the Russian forces on the southern flank of the Polish salient had made certain gains and strove to take possession of the Carpathians.

Source-Liddell Hart's History of the First World War

Regards

Jim
---------------
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Phil andrade
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/23/2017 11:08:47 AM

Quote:
Jim,

Yet despite the semi-blockade that was imposed by the closing of the Straits, the Russian army was still able to reform and regroup and almost knock the Austro-Hungarians out of the war in 1916. The collapse in Russian morale and the war effort was a much more complicated affair than simply lacking the means to export wheat.

Cheers,

Colin
--Lightning


Agreed, Colin.

At the start of 1917 the Russian army was formidable ; well equipped with plenty of guns and shells. They even meted out a severe blow to the Germans - note, the Germans, not the Austrians - in the Baltic sector in February , if memory serves me.

Morale was crucial. I still feel tempted to pitch my argument that forcing the Dardanelles and taking Constantinople might have kept Russia in the war : not by dint of supplies - although I admit the importance of that aspect - but more because of the inestimable matter of religion to the Russian people, and the infinite boost that the reversion of Constantinople to the Orthodox Church was bound to bring to popular support for 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
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/23/2017 11:18:48 AM

Quote:
This fact and it's effect was fully realised by Russia's opponent-Germany.They would ensure that the Dardanelles remained closed.For if Russia saw that there was no chance of exporting their wheat or importing war materiel-there would be a gradual collapse in Russian morale and effort.




Colin-you seemed to have construed my "gradual collapse" into something more grave and rapid-I did not say it was the end of the war for them- as you imply.
Indeed it was a German supposition- not mine at all

Regards

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

Lightning
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/23/2017 11:39:27 AM
I hear both arguments. I accept Phil's posit that taking Constantinople might have helped keep the Russians in the war, as a boost to cultural prestige. The Russian peasantry was, if nothing else, bound by its Orthodox religion.

However, I don't accept that failure to take it worsened the Russian position in any meaningful way. The Russian armies were worn down by an aristocracy and monarchy that cared little for their well-being and also by a military regime that used their weight of numbers as a means to an end; 3 years of slaughter and the Germans were still at the gates. It was certainly time for a change, although few could imagine that what eventually took control of the remnants of the Russian Empire would be even more horrifying than the tyranny it replaced.

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."

anemone
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/23/2017 12:05:29 PM
Vis a vis the naval blockades cutting off imports, this was not a too serious problem by 1916, due in part to the expansion of the Russian industry, plus the fact that more supplies were brought in through Murmansk, Archangel and Vladivostok.

The real problem turned out to be difficulties in exporting Russian grain via the Dardanelles - exports which were vital for a healthy trade balance.

By 1917 Russia had a huge trade deficit, causing the government to run short of cash. The regime tried to finance the war effort by the almost unlimited printing of banknotes, but this only produced serious inflation and ultimately financial ruin.

Regards

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

scoucer
Berlin, Germany
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/23/2017 3:03:55 PM

Quote:
One reason the eastern front tends to be largely ignored in the West is the relative lack of English language literature on the conflict. That, and the fact there wasn't a lot in terms of written accounts from the Russian side, and the army in particular, at all. Compared to the Western nations, the level of literacy was low. Add to the war itself the disruption of revolution, and the lack of access during the Soviet era, and available material on which to base scholarship is scarce. I would also suppose that destruction of German and Austro-Hungarian source material during WW2 doesn't help the situation.

When you figure that even the vastly more accessible French side of the war tends to receive short shrift amongst English speaking students of the war, the fact the Eastern front fares even worse hardly seems surprising.
--Jim Cameron


Yes Jim. Even further, from the german side, the Ludendorff Lost Cause/stab-in-the-back mythology prevented a closer look at the East Front while all focus was on the Kaiserschlacht. Critics of Ludendorff like Leopold von Bavaria, Hoffmann, Groener, Crown Prince Rüpprecht who considered the Spring Offensive and simultaneous occupation of the Ukraine an absolute disaster were postwar ostracised and lumped together as November criminals.

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.

Lightning
Glasgow, UK
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Posts: 444

Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/24/2017 5:34:34 AM
Would the manpower employed in occupying Ukraine have been decisive in the Spring Offensive?

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
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Posts: 669

Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/24/2017 10:30:23 AM

Quote:


Yes Jim. Even further, from the german side, the Ludendorff Lost Cause/stab-in-the-back mythology prevented a closer look at the East Front while all focus was on the Kaiserschlacht. Critics of Ludendorff like Leopold von Bavaria, Hoffmann, Groener, Crown Prince Rüpprecht who considered the Spring Offensive and simultaneous occupation of the Ukraine an absolute disaster were postwar ostracised and lumped together as November criminals.

Trevor
--scoucer


The saying is that the victors write the history. But it's the losers who have more explaining to do and excuses to make.
Somewhat similar to the "lost cause" mythology after the American Civil War.
---------------
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
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/24/2017 11:38:15 AM
The Tsar assumed direct command of the Russian army in September 1915.

This is something we might discuss : it would certainly synthesise the specific theme of the year 1915 with a more generalised theme about the war on the Eastern Front.

The influence of Rasputin : that's another aspect....more especially since we've just had the centennial of his assassination and a new book has been published about him.

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

Lightning
Glasgow, UK
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Posts: 444

Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/24/2017 11:48:48 AM
Phil,

Did not Lincoln temporarily take command of the armies of the Republic during his quarrels with McClellan? The Head of State of any nation reserves the right to lead its armies; whether it is wise to do so is another matter.

What is clear is that the Russian army took a hell of a beating in 1915, to the extent where Germany felt able to launch offensives on the West as well. Was there a misguided feeling that Russia was effectively beaten, the same false notion of victory that led Hitler, a generation later, to pursue war with the United States whilst the Soviet Union was still in the fight? We're back again to that idea of a fatal blow against Russia, that no opponent has ever really seemed capable of delivering.

The Russian response in 1916 was emphatic, but not decisive. A more cohesive and open society Russia in the pre-war years might have built up the same civil resolve that existed in Britain and France and possibly kept the ever-improving Russian army in the field a fair bit longer, possibly with far-reaching results.

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."

scoucer
Berlin, Germany
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Posts: 1924

Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/24/2017 1:16:58 PM

Quote:

Quote:


Yes Jim. Even further, from the german side, the Ludendorff Lost Cause/stab-in-the-back mythology prevented a closer look at the East Front while all focus was on the Kaiserschlacht. Critics of Ludendorff like Leopold von Bavaria, Hoffmann, Groener, Crown Prince Rüpprecht who considered the Spring Offensive and simultaneous occupation of the Ukraine an absolute disaster were postwar ostracised and lumped together as November criminals.

Trevor
--scoucer


The saying is that the victors write the history. But it's the losers who have more explaining to do and excuses to make.
Somewhat similar to the "lost cause" mythology after the American Civil War.

--Jim Cameron


Very much so. The Treaty of Versailles demanded the dissolution of the General Staff. Hindenburg had the idea of putting the General Staff officiers in charge of the new Reichsarchiv. So the commission of writing the official history of the war was trusted to the H-L inner circle that had effectively lost it.

Imagine Congress appointing Jubal Early & Co. to write the official history of the Civil War.

That's why the discovery of new original sources over the last 20 years are so important. Unfortunately, that the new information is not being translated into English means that Anglo-centric history hangs behind and even maintains some of it's myths.

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.

phil andrade
London, UK
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/24/2017 2:06:16 PM
Colin,

The German offensives in the West in 1915 were strictly limited, local affairs involving a handful of divisions.

They were surprisingly effective.

British people will think straight away of Second Ypres.

Very few of them will be aware that, at the same time, a fierce German attack was launched against the French at a place called Les Eparges. Three divisions, supported by a lavish amount of artillery and minnenwerfer, hit hard at the very same time as the Canadians were struggling against the gas at Ypres.

There were repeated German attacks in the Argonne as well.


The use of gas and flamethrowers made these German forays all the more frightening.

So the Germans settled for strategic offensive against the Russians, but confined their operations in the West to holding their gains, and improving them by dint of local attacks which inflicted disproportionate loss.

It seems that the Germans succeeded in inflicting twice the casualties that they suffered on the Western Front in 1915, despite - or maybe even because of - these limited attacks.

No wonder Falkenhayn decided to use similar methods - albeit on a larger scale - against the French at Verdun the following year.

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
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Posts: 669

Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/24/2017 7:12:25 PM

Quote:


That's why the discovery of new original sources over the last 20 years are so important. Unfortunately, that the new information is not being translated into English means that Anglo-centric history hangs behind and even maintains some of it's myths.

Trevor

--scoucer


Too bad also that there isn't more from the French side. In the Anglo-centric view of the war, it can be almost as if they are not even there.
---------------
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: 1/25/2017 4:28:25 AM
The French in Champagne and Artois had lost 197,787 all ranks (British Casualties were 60,393-Germany barely 20.000) and had inflicted 129,000 German casualties-oddly enough this ratio would suggest that their handling of attacks was better than the British-but they were greatly assisted by more powerful artillery.Both Allies had gained useful experience; but sadly not as much as the Germans had learned in defence.


Regards

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

Phil andrade
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/25/2017 5:43:00 AM
German success in containing these huge attacks in September 1915 was largely attributable to the genius of Colonel Fritz Von Lossberg, a staff officer who was nicknamed the Fireman of the Western Front .

He quickly galvanised the German defences in Champagne, making a virtue out of necessity and using the ridges to best defensive advantage in the position that the troops had been forced back to.

It's important to remember that the French scored an initial success, and there was a real crisis for the Germans. It was suggested by the local commander that the army withdraw and abandon the position ; but Lossberg repudiated that and hastily deployed guns and artillery observers in the most effective manner.

Sometimes one man can make a big difference.

The Allied offensive was a failure : but the Germans had been given a nasty scare.

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: 1/25/2017 6:20:46 AM
Loos,in strategic terms was pointless;other than the British following the French dictat. Also the French 2nd and 4th Armies offensive in Chamoagne-twenty divisions attacked on a twenty mile front,supported by a thousand heavy guns and aided by a gas cloud.

Again sadly it was all to no avail-The German defence was just too strong-the German second line wasn't touched-thanks probably to von Lossberg; and the fighting finished with the Germans holding a very strong hand.It was a bitter lesson for the French-despite their very best efforts-the Germans seemingly could not be dislodged.

In December there was a major conference at Joffre's HQ to try and find a solution in 1916.What happened was that the Germans went over to the attack-at Verdun.

Regards

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

Lightning
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/25/2017 6:27:28 AM

Quote:
Loos,in strategic terms was pointless;other than the British following the French dictat. Also the French 2nd and 4th Armies offensive in Chamoagne-twenty divisions attacked on a twenty mile front,supported by a thousand heavy guns and aided by a gas cloud.

Again sadly it was all to no avail-The German defence was just too strong-the German second line wasn't touched-thanks probably to von Lossberg; and the fighting finished with the Germans holding a very strong hand.It was a bitter lesson for the French-despite their very best efforts-the Germans seemingly could not be dislodged.

In December there was a major conference at Joffre's HQ to try and find a solution in 1916.What happened was that the Germans went over to the attack-at Verdun.

Regards

Jim
--anemone


Jim,

I get the feeling from your posts that any and all attempts by the Allies to go on the offensive during the war are considered by you to have been pointless. Are you an advocate that the Allies should have dug in and let the blockade do its work?

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."

anemone
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/25/2017 7:00:59 AM
Not at all Colin-the Allies bravely struggled and failed in 1915; and that is a fact.We continued to struggle in 1916 and 1917 and that too- is a fact.

It was not until we had learned how to attack successfully- that we got the better of the Germans and won the war.That is how I perceive the Great War as a whole.

Sure the naval blockade was hugely significant in weakening German resolve via deprivation; but that said the Allied armies still had to learn when and how to attack and win and hold ground-1915 was but a segment of the learning curve.I wrote the title of this thread and believed what I wrote.

Regards

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

George
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/25/2017 7:35:09 AM
Jim, to be fair the title of the thread is "1915- A Year of Battles, Disappointments and some Newcomers".

The doesn't reveal anything of where you stand with respect to Colin's point.

So do you feel that the allies mismanaged this year and if so, how?

I am not sure what the alternatives were. The Germans were in Belgium and France and the goal was to remove them.

It sounds simplistic but that wasn't going to happen unless someone took the battle to them.

I wonder what the consequences would have been had the British elected to strengthen trench systems and not attempt to break out.

We could argue that they should have waited until their assets in artillery had improved and battle tactics had been altered and improved but I think that it would be difficult to make those changes without determining just what you were doing incorrectly.

Is there another way to do that without committing troops to battle?


Cheers,

George


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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/25/2017 7:52:27 AM

Quote:
Jim, to be fair the title of the thread is "1915- A Year of Battles, Disappointments and some Newcomers".

The doesn't reveal anything of where you stand with respect to Colin's point.


George- I am sure that I have made my position "perfectly clear" in my last post-I hope you read it-I have even gone back through this thread to see how those who commented at the start- felt about 1915-not a dissenter among them-this thread as far as I am concerned has been talked out; and there little to be gained by habitually skewing options-excluding mine of course- which was made up to start with; and I have not changed one whit.This must be the 190th post.

Regards

Jim
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Lightning
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/25/2017 8:00:41 AM
Jim,

George made a perfectly reasonable point about the need for the Allies to endure mistakes in order for them to know how to improve. In my view, the disasters of 1915/16/17 had to happen in order for the armies of all sides to perfect their respective arts of war.


Quote:
which was made up to start with; and I have not changed one whit.This must be the 190th post


Then why enter into discussion at all if you're completely unshakeable in your beliefs, despite any efforts to the contrary? That doesn't make for fair discussion if one side is completely unmovable.

If you believe that the Allied attacks were disastrous, tell us, please, how you would have evicted the Germans in 1915 without the hindsight you now enjoy? Remember that this hindsight was obviously not afforded to any of the Allied commanders in 1915. Simply put, they had to endure failure to learn success.

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."

anemone
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/25/2017 8:27:57 AM
Colin-why shouldn't there be discussion about 1915- being other than a disappointing year-the discussion could have been concentrated on Why it was disappointing and what-if anything -could have been done to reverse the trend towards failure.

One can post- till one is blue in the face-to show mitigation or find something that was good about 1915- but all the reputable historians said emphatically that 1915 was lamentable-how can I sensibly argue against that weight of opinion.???

As far as my opinion (without hindsight)as to how might the Allies have evicted the Germans-I would have had to be there- to give you an answer to that question; and that of course is impossible.As you are trying to change history,as it were-you are in the realm of what if.I do not subscribe to the What If syndrome-I accept a concensus of history and run with that.I cannot say more/

Regards

Jim
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George
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/25/2017 8:36:41 AM

Quote:

Quote:
Jim, to be fair the title of the thread is "1915- A Year of Battles, Disappointments and some Newcomers".

The doesn't reveal anything of where you stand with respect to Colin's point.


George- I am sure that I have made my position "perfectly clear" in my last post-I hope you read it-I have even gone back through this thread to see how those who commented at the start- felt about 1915-not a dissenter among them-this thread as far as I am concerned has been talked out; and there little to be gained by habitually skewing options-excluding mine of course- which was made up to start with; and I have not changed one whit.This must be the 190th post.

Regards

Jim

--anemone


I read all of the posts that are your own creation Jim.

It's all part of discussion Jim. Strength of convictions is all well and good but I don't think that anyone is attempting to make you look foolish. I am just looking for clarification.

I think that British high command was in a tough spot and were seeking ways to defeat their enemy. And that hoary old accusation that the British officers didn't give a damn about the men that they committed to battle needs examination.

Events of 1914/15 shocked them too and it took more than two years to experience a learning curve that put them into position to succeed.

As to whether the thread is played out, it's not your call to make is it?

The thread has moved into parts of the war of which I have little knowledge and so I am reading with interest if not making contributions.

So if you, rather than the thread, are played out, then there is no compulsion to comment. Others however, may have more to say.

Perhaps 190 posts is indicative of the interest that people have in the thread.

Relax Jim. Folks are just trying to talk with you. It doesn't have to get heated.

Cheers,

George

Phil andrade
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/25/2017 8:39:08 AM
There is considerable appetite to keep this thread alive.

Far from demonstrating the law of diminishing returns, it offers rewards and incites further research and discussion .

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

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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/25/2017 12:01:42 PM
A necessarily brief survey of casualties that throws light on how the French and Germans were faring. This is for the total for 1914-15.

As of 31 December 1915, official tabulations :

French army, all fronts : confirmed dead - 590,407. Missing and POWs - 410,864. Wounded - 960,416. Total : 1,961,327.

German army : confirmed dead - 628,445. Missing and POWs - 320,154. Wounded - 1,595,406. Total - 2,544,005.

Many of the missing were dead.

Note the much larger number of German wounded.

Maybe the French only included the serious wounds.

Or were their medical facilities so dire that too many of their wounded died ?

I note that the French casualties in the Champagne Artois battles of September October 1915 equate to almost exactly one tenth of the total for the entire war up to the end of 1915. That's a shocking toll for two weeks of fighting.

Russian casualties were returned as 3.4 million for the first ten months ...an appalling figure, since it implies that this was only up until the end of May, 1915 !

If that's true, then we might assume five million Russian casualties by the end of the year. It's a wonder that they didn't quit the war earlier .

Austro Hungarian casuaties were enormous, perhaps exceeding those of Germany.

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: 1/25/2017 12:03:24 PM
First Battle of Champagne in many ways set the precedent for the shape of offensives in 1915.

The French managed an acceptable initial advance and then spent a month relentlessly hammering against a solid German line to no avail.

In all, close to 200,000 French soldiers were killed or wounded for a miserly advance (no more than three kilometres in the most successful sectors); the Germans suffered only 80,000 casualties in defence.

Undaunted, the French continued to launch and maintain such attacks throughout the year, making 1915 the deadliest year for French forces (349,000 deaths).

Regards

Jim
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Lightning
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/25/2017 12:37:23 PM

Quote:
Russian casualties were returned as 3.4 million for the first ten months ...an appalling figure, since it implies that this was only up until the end of May, 1915 !

If that's true, then we might assume five million Russian casualties by the end of the year. It's a wonder that they didn't quit the war earlier .

Austro Hungarian casuaties were enormous, perhaps exceeding those of Germany.--Phil andrade


Phil,

As the fighting in the East was (generally) a bit more fluid than the static combat on the Western Front, might we then assume that the open style of warfare was even more ruinous on human lives than its trench/siege counterpart? After all, it is surely easier to mow down men with machine guns and shells when they are in the open, rather than sheltering in trenches. Did the more available space actually increase mortality?

If so, one wonders what would have happened had the Allies (or the Germans) successfully broken the stalemate in 1915 in the West?

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
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Re: 1915-A Year of Battles. Disappointments and some Newcomers
Posted on: 1/25/2017 6:38:22 PM
Colin,

You ask a damned good question , and it's difficult to do justice to it.

I would invite circumspection. That immense figure of Russian ( and Austrian ) casualties for the Eastern Front contains a high proportion of POWs, so it must not be conflated with actual loss of life. But even if we take into account the fact that five million casualties entailed two million take prisoner , it still remains the case that three million were killed or wounded ....a bloodbath.

On the Western Front, too, the periods of open or mobile warfare brought the highest numbers of casualties ; although here again the captures of large hauls of prisoners inflated the totals.

In terms of actual killing, the positional battles of 1915, 16 and 17 produced the most awful hetacombs, made all the more gruesome by their concentration into small areas. Look no further than those memorials to the missing at Thiepval, Tyne Cot and Arras to guage the appalling nature of those static battles.

But I must take your point, and acknowledge it.

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: 1/26/2017 4:26:30 AM
Regarding breaking the stalemate-the Germans at Verdun and the British on the Somme-both marathon encounters "in the open",for the want of a better words; were unable to break the stalemate-just more blood shed.

Regards

Jim
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