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Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 6507
Joined: 2004
This day in World History! Continued
11/8/2022 9:14:59 AM
Quote:
General Philip Sheridan secured Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley in October.



Not a sufficiently acknowledged event ? People talk about the Fall of Atlanta rescuing the administration, but I wonder if Sheridan's success in a hard fought and rather precarious victory at Cedar Creek deserves more mention.

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
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 8310
Joined: 2006
This day in World History! Continued
11/8/2022 10:05:45 AM
Quote:
07 Nov 1917 - Capture of Gaza, Palestine by the Australian Mounted Division (soon after they would be ordered out of town so Lawrence and his Arabs could claim victory).

08 Nov 1917 - The battle of El Mughar, Palestine by the Australian Light Horse.

09 Nov 1914 - HMAS Sydney (1) destroys the German Cruiser Emden at the Coco's Islands. This will be the RAN's first ship to ship action at sea.

Regards.



Hi Wazza,

That's what I'm talking about! Great history post on the actions of Australians in WWI! Wouldn't you know that the infamous "Lawrence of Arabia", would get the credit over the Australian Light Horse!? I also really find the destruction of the German Cruiser Emden in the Cocos Islands extremely interesting! Does anyone have a website or article on that famous German Cruiser!?

Thanks " Waz from Oz"!
MD
----------------------------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 8310
Joined: 2006
This day in World History! Continued
11/8/2022 10:15:36 AM
Quote:
Liliefontein, Nov. 7, 1900. Boer War

Royal Canadian Dragoons plus "D" battery of the artillery to cover the withdrawal. The Dragoons were an experienced lot but undermanned with only about 100 horsemen available and they spread out across a wide line and place a Colt MG in the middle of the line. The Boers saw that the British were leaving and attacked. The Canadians put up a great fight and managed to kill both Boer commanders.

As they were slowly withdrawing themselves, it wouldn't be long before the Dragoons reached the rear of the British column. Now leaderless the Boers continued to attack but were no longer well co-ordinated and they caused no harm to the column.

But they did attack the Canadians with men on horseback, outnumbering the Canadians 2:1.

This was not a costly battle for the British and Canadians. Only 3 Dragoons were killed and 11 more wounded. But it is notable that during that stalwart defence, three Dragoons were awarded the Victoria Cross.



The situation was a desperate one. The bravery of the Dragoons and the artillery that nearly lost its guns is heralded in Canada but I doubt that it is well known outside of this country.


Cheers,

George





Hi George,

Thanks for the post on some of the Canadians involved in this action of the Boer War! I always like those Aussie & Commonwealth hats with one side up!. Was there a reason for this? I know as A kid I had one! I thought I was like Christopher George of the Rat Patrol!?

I thought they were really cool hats!
Regards,
MD
----------------------------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 6507
Joined: 2004
This day in World History! Continued
11/8/2022 10:37:24 AM
In the course of listening to a podcast series about the Second World War, I have encountered a new acronym:

DUKE

It stands for Dominion, United Kingdom and Empire, and is useful when alluding to the various contingents that fought with the British in the Boer War and the two world wars.

Here’s to the DUKEs !

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
jahenders
Colorado Springs CO USA
Posts: 684
Joined: 2017
This day in World History! Continued
11/8/2022 12:18:14 PM
Quote:
On November 8, 1864, Northern voters overwhelmingly endorse the leadership and policies of President Abraham Lincoln when they elect him to a second term. With his re-election, any hope for a negotiated settlement with the Confederacy vanished.
Some of the Radical Republicans were unhappy with Lincoln’s conciliatory plan for reconstruction of the South.


All true. Unfortunately, Lincoln's assassination a few months later showed that some concerns about his conciliatory plan for reconstruction of the South did prove to be problematic, especially as implemented by Andrew Johnson (Lincoln's VP who became president). Johnson was far MORE lenient with the South, including politicians who had supported the Confederacy. He also fought any efforts to protect freed slaves in the South and refused to fight the KKK, which had been formed by Democratic Politicians and former Confederates. It attached freed blacks and actually tried to overthrow Republican state governments in the South.

While the problems came from Johnson's horrible decisions and proclivities, had Lincoln's platform been a bit more 'hard core' re the South, it might have been harder for Johnson to go as far as he did when he took over. Then again, he just might have ignored Lincoln's wishes (as he did) and ignore the courts, public opinion, etc.

Jim

NYGiant
home  USA
Posts: 953
Joined: 2021
This day in World History! Continued
11/8/2022 12:48:15 PM
The KKK was formed by Southern Democratic politicians and former Confederates.

Recall that there were 4 candidates for President in 1860...The Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln, The Constitutional Union candidate, John Bell, the Northern Democratic Party candidate Stephen Douglas and the Southern Democratic Party candidate John Breckenridge.

Recall that twice the Southern Democrats got up and left the Democratic Party Conventions in Charleston SC and Baltimore Maryland.
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 13550
Joined: 2009
This day in World History! Continued
11/8/2022 2:28:14 PM



Quote:

Hi George,

Thanks for the post on some of the Canadians involved in this action of the Boer War! I always like those Aussie & Commonwealth hats with one side up!. Was there a reason for this? I know as A kid I had one! I thought I was like Christopher George of the Rat Patrol!?

I thought they were really cool hats!
Regards,
MD


You should recognize them, MD. They're Stetsons. Made of a felt material with that wide brim. So far as I know, the men were allowed to bend one side up so you see the hat used both ways, one side up or both sides down. Perhaps someone knows whether the soldiers were in violation of dress regulations and it was just ignored.

This hat had become quite popular among the people involved in cattle drives in the Canadian west. I don't know whether it was the same in the US.

The Inventory of Stores for the Canadian units listed this item as "Hat-Cowboy".

Stetsons had been worn by the North- West Mounted Police since 1895. The NWMP preferred the Stetson over the white pith helmet that had been issued. (source: Canadian War Museum)

Since the Canadian contingent for the Boer war had many former NWMP members in the ranks, the Stetson became the head dress for the mounted units at least.

In 1903 British Maj. Gen. Robert Baden Powell was in charge of a police force called the South African Constabulary. The Constabulary was supposed to pacify the countryside after the Boers had been defeated. There were about 1200 Canadians serving in the Constabulary. Baden-Powell had been impressed with the Canadians with whom he had served at relief of Mafeking where Canadian gunners had driven the Boer from the road leading into Mafeking. (source: Can. War Museum)

Baden-Powell designed the uniform for his Constabulary. The uniform included the Stetson,and later he would adopt the Stetson as the head dress for the Boy Scout movement.

Some of the Canadians had served during the Boer War but others had been recruited in Canada for service with the constabulary.


According to the Canadian War Museum, the Stetson became the piece of equipment most associated with the Canadians. All Canadian units were issued the Stetson except the first contingent which arrived in British style cork helmets. The Stetson clearly differentiated them from the British soldiers.

I don't know whether the soldiers were supposed to bend the brim up on one side but it is clear from photographs that they did.

The Stetson worn with the brim up looks a lot like the style of the Australians in their slouch hats. But slouch hats are not Stetsons.

When Baden-Powell ordered head dress for the Constabulary, he ordered 10,000 Stetsons directly from the US manufacturer.

Cheers,

George


jahenders
Colorado Springs CO USA
Posts: 684
Joined: 2017
This day in World History! Continued
11/8/2022 5:07:45 PM
Quote:
The KKK was formed by Southern Democratic politicians and former Confederates.

Recall that there were 4 candidates for President in 1860...The Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln, The Constitutional Union candidate, John Bell, the Northern Democratic Party candidate Stephen Douglas and the Southern Democratic Party candidate John Breckenridge.

Recall that twice the Southern Democrats got up and left the Democratic Party Conventions in Charleston SC and Baltimore Maryland.


Right and selecting Johnson as Lincoln's running mate was actually an outgrowth of the Republican Convention's diverse views.
Wazza
Sydney  Australia
Posts: 814
Joined: 2005
This day in World History! Continued
11/9/2022 1:07:52 AM
Quote:
Quote:
07 Nov 1917 - Capture of Gaza, Palestine by the Australian Mounted Division (soon after they would be ordered out of town so Lawrence and his Arabs could claim victory).

08 Nov 1917 - The battle of El Mughar, Palestine by the Australian Light Horse.

09 Nov 1914 - HMAS Sydney (1) destroys the German Cruiser Emden at the Coco's Islands. This will be the RAN's first ship to ship action at sea.

Regards.



Hi Wazza,

That's what I'm talking about! Great history post on the actions of Australians in WWI! Wouldn't you know that the infamous "Lawrence of Arabia", would get the credit over the Australian Light Horse!? I also really find the destruction of the German Cruiser Emden in the Cocos Islands extremely interesting! Does anyone have a website or article on that famous German Cruiser!?

Thanks " Waz from Oz"!
MD

Mate,

theres a television movie about he survivors of the Emden's epic voyage to escape the allies. Not sure what its called but google should bring it up. Plenty of books too.
Wazza
Sydney  Australia
Posts: 814
Joined: 2005
This day in World History! Continued
11/9/2022 1:17:27 AM
The brim is turned up to allow the rifle to be shouldered for drill. Simple as that.
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 13550
Joined: 2009
This day in World History! Continued
11/9/2022 7:49:41 AM
Quote:
The brim is turned up to allow the rifle to be shouldered for drill. Simple as that.


Hello Wazza, was turning up the brim not an option then for the Australian soldiers? Was it described in the regulations for the wearing of headdress?

I ask because it seems that every Australian wore the hat that way. But with the Canadians, the Stetson brim could be up or could be down and I can't find any reference to regulations on the matter.

Once the Canadian made battle dress wore out, they were issued British kit. Once that wore out, the descriptions of the Canadians indicate that they were wearing a hodgepodge of clothing, whatever they could find. One description was that they looked like, "a bunch of cowboys heading out on the range".

Was it the same for the Australians? Were they a tough looking bunch in makeshift uniforms too?

BTW, I was reading that the Australians sent 16,000 troops over throughout the course of the war. In contrast, 7,000 Canadians served. Why did this war capture the imagination of the Australians?

George
NYGiant
home  USA
Posts: 953
Joined: 2021
This day in World History! Continued
11/9/2022 8:22:44 AM
On November 9, 1938, in an event that would foreshadow the Holocaust, German Nazis launch a campaign of terror against Jewish people and their homes and businesses in Germany and Austria. The violence, which continued through November 10 and was later dubbed “Kristallnacht,” or “Night of Broken Glass,” after the countless smashed windows of Jewish-owned establishments, left approximately 100 Jews dead, 7,500 Jewish businesses damaged and hundreds of synagogues, homes, schools and graveyards vandalized. An estimated 30,000 Jewish men were arrested, many of whom were then sent to concentration camps for several months; they were released when they promised to leave Germany. Kristallnacht represented a dramatic escalation of the campaign started by Adolf Hitler in 1933 when he became chancellor to purge Germany of its Jewish population.



The Nazis used the murder of a low-level German diplomat in Paris by a 17-year-old Polish Jew as an excuse to carry out the Kristallnacht attacks. On November 7, 1938, Ernst vom Rath was shot outside the German embassy by Herschel Grynszpan, who wanted revenge for his parents’ sudden deportation from Germany to Poland, along with tens of thousands of other Polish Jews. Following vom Rath’s death, Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels ordered German storm troopers to carry out violent riots disguised as “spontaneous demonstrations” against Jewish citizens. Local police and fire departments were told not to interfere. In the face of all the devastation, some Jews, including entire families, died by suicide.



In the aftermath of Kristallnacht, the Nazis blamed the Jews and fined them 1 billion marks (or $400 million in 1938 dollars) for vom Rath’s death. As repayment, the government seized Jewish property and kept insurance money owed to Jewish people. In its quest to create a master Aryan race, the Nazi government enacted further discriminatory policies that essentially excluded Jews from all aspects of public life.

Over 100,000 Jews fled Germany for other countries after Kristallnacht. The international community was outraged by the violent events of November 9 and 10. Some countries broke off diplomatic relations in protest, but the Nazis suffered no serious consequences, leading them to believe they could get away with the mass murder that was the Holocaust, in which an estimated 6 million European Jews died.
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 8310
Joined: 2006
This day in World History! Continued
11/9/2022 9:19:50 AM
Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
07 Nov 1917 - Capture of Gaza, Palestine by the Australian Mounted Division (soon after they would be ordered out of town so Lawrence and his Arabs could claim victory).

08 Nov 1917 - The battle of El Mughar, Palestine by the Australian Light Horse.

09 Nov 1914 - HMAS Sydney (1) destroys the German Cruiser Emden at the Coco's Islands. This will be the RAN's first ship to ship action at sea.

Regards.



Hi Wazza,

That's what I'm talking about! Great history post on the actions of Australians in WWI! Wouldn't you know that the infamous "Lawrence of Arabia", would get the credit over the Australian Light Horse!? I also really find the destruction of the German Cruiser Emden in the Cocos Islands extremely interesting! Does anyone have a website or article on that famous German Cruiser!?

Thanks " Waz from Oz"!
MD

Mate,

theres a television movie about he survivors of the Emden's epic voyage to escape the allies. Not sure what its called but google should bring it up. Plenty of books too.


Thanks, Wazza, & George,

But does anyone know the name of the movie, & was it based on fact!? Or any good reads on it, or documentaries?? I really have an interest in this German Cruiser? & it's fate!?

MD,

also lets check 11-9 in history! See below, & comment!?

1799 Napoleon siezes power after a coup in Paris! Why was the French military so pro Napoleon!? Anyone??

1888 Jack the Ripper, notorious serial-killer's murder spree comes to an end! How was he stopped!? Comments?

1922 Albert Einstein wins the Nobel peace Prize in Physics! Was All really as A genius as he is made out to be?? What say you??

1923 Hitler's attempts to take over the German Government are stopped,19 Nazis are killed! Adolf is imprisoned! Why wasn't this the end of his power hungry demented ways?? How did Hitler get out of this & still take over German leadership!? Websites, articles, videos, welcome!? Anyone??

Also today in 1938, an event involving the beginning of the end for Jews occurs in Germany!? I believe NYG touched on it!?? Any other takes on it??

1953 Cambodia becomes independent from France! Is this tied into the situation in Vietnam!? Then ultimately pulling the US in later?? What say you about Revolution in this area!? Comments??

1989, the opening of the Berlin Wall! What a great day for freedom loving Germans & Europeans!? The Soviet Union is beginning to falter!? What say you about how this event was achieved, & is Putin trying to revive the Soviet Union by taking the Ukraine!? Anyone??

Thanks, & Regards,
MD

BTW please continue with past discussions, especially the ones leading up to the 11-11 Armistice Day!? How were these final days of WWI!? Good discussion question!? Anyone?
----------------------------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 8310
Joined: 2006
This day in World History! Continued
11/9/2022 7:08:06 PM
BTW Trevor, Are any special celebrations going on in Berlin, on the tearing down of the Berlin Wall on this day in 1989??

Anything to share?
Thanks,
MD
----------------------------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 13550
Joined: 2009
This day in World History! Continued
11/9/2022 9:24:00 PM
Quote:
BTW please continue with past discussions, especially the ones leading up to the 11-11 Armistice Day!? How were these final days of WWI!? Good discussion question!? Anyone?


This is the second time that I have responded to this. Not sure where it went.

Hi MD. Armistice Day dates back to WW1, not WWII. On Nov. 11, 1919, Britain commemorated those who had died in a ceremony at Buckingham palace.

King George V had sent the following message to "all the peoples of the Empire"

Quote:
“To all my people:

Tuesday next, November 11th, is the first anniversary of the armistice which stayed the world-wide carnage of the four proceeding years, and marked the victory of right and freedom. I believe that my people in every part of the Empire fervently wish to perpetuate the memory of that great deliverance and of those who laid down their lives to achieve it.

To afford an opportunity for the universal expression of this feeling it is my desire and hope that at the hour when the Armistice came into force, the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, there may be for the brief space of two minutes, a complete suspension of all our normal activities. During that time, except in rare cases where this may be impractical, all work, all sound and all locomotion should cease, so that in perfect stillness the thoughts of every one may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead.”



In 1931, by an act of the Canadian Parliament, it became law that Armistice Day would always be celebrated on Nov. 11, no matter which day of the week that was. Prior to that Armistice Day was celebrated on the Monday of the week closest to Nov. 11.

The second thing that happened with that legislation was that Armistice Day would be called Remembrance Day. I don't know when other countries of the Commonwealth adopted Remembrance Day to replace Armistice Day.

If you are asking what was going on at the end of this war then I can tell you that soldiers were fighting and dying right to the end.

I know that the Canadian Corps had been ordered to attack and to liberate Mons and they entered the square of that town on Nov. 11 and had advanced 8 km to the NE beyond Mons when the clock struck 11 AM. At 10:58 on Nov. 11, Canadian Private George Price was shot and killed. I believe that he was the last Commonwealth soldier to die in WW1 in combat. Gen. Arthur Currie received much criticism for teeing up this action, both from some of his men and by politicians at home. But Currie felt that the Germans had to be pursued just in case the armistice didn't hold. He didn't want to give the German troops time to consolidate and establish more formidable defences

The US forces (marines I believe) had been ordered by Gen. Pershing to cross the Meuse River and they did so at great cost on Nov. 11.

Nearly 11,000 allied troops became casualties on Nov. 11 and of those 2,738 were killed.

It must have been quite terrible for the soldiers who had heard that the armistice was coming to be ordered into combat on that final day.

Lest We Forget



Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 6507
Joined: 2004
This day in World History! Continued
11/10/2022 4:40:27 AM
George,

The fighting on that day was tentative and had degenerated into affairs of advance parties, outposts and rear guards.

I doubt that more than three hundred British and Dominion soldiers were killed in France and Flanders on 11 November 1918. The CWGC database cited eighteen Canadian soldiers who died, seventeen in France, and one, George Price, in Belgium.

That makes these final deaths in the last moments all the more poignant and futile.

The figures you cite come from a book by Jospeh Persico, who estimates 11,000 casualties - including 2,738 killed - for all belligerents, Allied and German, on the Western Front, on the day of the Armistice.

My belief is that those figures are considerably exaggerated. They imply a higher death rate that day than the daily average throughout the war in France and Belgium.

I won't knock the book - it's a powerful read - but there's a bit of hyperbole.

Persico's Book : 11th Month, 11th Day, 11th hour .

Editing : George, as a retired teacher, I think you would do well to buy Anthony Seldon’s Path of Peace, just published .
Seldon is a noted academic who’s completed a walk along the entire length of the Western Front, reflecting on the experience and indulging the emotions and the intellect along the way. I’ll buy it, and hope that we might use it as a discussion theme for our WW1 sector of the forum. What do you think ?


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
NYGiant
home  USA
Posts: 953
Joined: 2021
This day in World History! Continued
11/10/2022 6:49:35 AM
On November 10, 1928, the first installment of All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque’s acclaimed novel of World War I, appears in the German magazine Vossische Zeitung.

Remarque (born Erich Paul Remark) was born in 1898 in lower Saxony to a family of French ancestry; he enlisted in the German army at the age of 18 and headed to fight on the Western Front, where he was wounded five times, the last time seriously. Returning to Germany after the war, he changed his name back to the French spelling and worked various jobs–teacher, stonecutter, race-car driver, sports journalist–while working on his first novel.

The protagonist of that novel, All Quiet on the Western Front–its German title, Im Westen nichts Neues literally translates as In the West Nothing New–is Paul Baumer, a young German soldier fighting in the trenches of World War I. The story opens in 1917, when half of Baumer’s company—many of them schoolmates from back in Germany—has been killed in battle. Over the course of the book, Paul himself is injured and hospitalized, goes home on leave and returns to the front, only to be killed a week or so before the armistice in 1918.



From November 10 to December 9, 1928, All Quiet on the Western Frontwas published in serial form in Vossische Zeitung magazine. It was released in book form the following year to smashing success, selling a million and a half copies that same year. Although publishers had worried that interest in the Great War had waned more than 10 years after the armistice, Remarque’s realistic depiction of trench warfare from the perspective of young soldiers struck a chord with the war’s survivors—soldiers and civilians alike—and provoked strong reactions, both positive and negative, around the world. Eventually translated into over 20 languages, the novel was adapted into an acclaimed American film in 1930.



With All Quiet on the Western Front, Remarque emerged as an eloquent spokesperson for a generation that had been, in his own words, “destroyed by war, even though it might have escaped its shells.” Remarque’s harshest critics, in turn, were his countrymen, many of whom felt the book denigrated the German war effort, and that Remarque had exaggerated the horrors of war in order to further his pacifist agenda. Not surprisingly, the strongest voices against Remarque came from the emerging National Socialist (Nazi) Party, an ultranationalist group in Germany led by the future fuhrer, Adolf Hitler. In 1933, when the Nazis rose to power, All Quiet on the Western Front became one of the first “degenerate” books to be publicly burnt.

Remarque would go on to publish nine more novels, all dealing with the horror and futility of war and the struggle to understand its purpose. His last novel, The Night in Lisbon, was unsparing in its condemnation of World War II as Adolf Hitler’s attempt to perpetrate the extermination of Jews and other “non-people” on behalf of the “master race.” After his German citizenship was revoked in 1938, Remarque emigrated to the United States, becoming a naturalized citizen in 1947. A frequent participant in New York City nightlife in the 1930s and a companion for several years in Hollywood of the actress Marlene Dietrich, Remarque lived for most of his later life at Porto Ronco, on the shore of Lake Maggiore in Switzerland. He died at Locarno in 1970 with his wife, the actress Paulette Goddard, at his side.


George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 13550
Joined: 2009
This day in World History! Continued
11/10/2022 7:45:52 AM
Hello Phil,

I agree that the fighting was sporadic and perhaps fewer troops committed to action. In the Canadian sector, artillery had destroyed the German defences at Valenciennes. By Nov. 9, the Canadians were on the outskirts of Mons. The Germans would effect a great withdrawal on the night of the 10th, leaving behind some troops to hold up the Canadians. The Germans continued to shell the town and quite a few civilians were killed as they came out of their hiding spots to greet the Canadians.

With the knowledge that the Germans had pulled out, the allies were ordered to spare the town and so artillery was not to be used if possible.

The fighting within the town had become urban style warfare as the Canadians engaged snipers and small groups of German troops. As mentioned, the Canadians pursued to a point about 8 km NE of Mons when it all ended.

The casualty figures are not clear for Canada on the last day. I hope that they are clear for British and other Commonwealth troops, the Americans and indeed, for the Germans entrusted with slowing the advance.

One figure cited indicates that 280 Canadians became casualties on Nov. 11. By the standards of this war, that is a small number.

Still Arthur Currie had planned to excircle Mons with the 2nd and 3rd divisions but when it came time to enter the town, platoons from the 42nd battalion and the Royal Canadian Regiment entered first. Other units crossed from the west.

The only casualty figures that I have are fro the 42nd and the RCR. 14 were killed, 70 wounded and two were MIA. There doesn't seem to be any comparable damage figures for the other division, 2nd CDN.

So not too bad I suppose. Apparently, all the allies received official notice of the Armistice at 6:30 AM on the 11th. By 9 AM the rumour mill had spread this information to most of the soldiers and yet they were expected to fight until the end.

The death of Private George Price is rather sad. He and his mates were holed up in a house on the outskirts of Mons, having passed through the town. For some reason he decided to step outside and was immediately hit by a sniper's bullet. Did he know of the Armistice to be effected in a few minutes? I don't know.

In Mons itself there was a credible threat made by a Canadian soldier on the life of Gen. Currie. The man's brother had been killed on the 11th in Mons and he was extremely angry. He was screaming that when Currie rode in, which he did, he was going to kill him. I believe that it was his CSM who told the boys to get the man as drunk as hell. When Currie arrived a few hours later, that man was sleeping off a serious drunk.

I know that some of the soldiers were proud to have had the honour to liberate Mons where all fighting had begun but many more were happy to just make it out alive.

I wonder whether our US friends have any information on the reaction of the Marines who were ordered to cross the Meuse on Nov. 11.

And there were many more Britons than Canadians still committed as well. How did they feel about watching mates fall especially after learning that the fighting would end in a few hours?

To your new book, Phil: I am interested though I haven't yet begun to read your last recommendation. I did check and Seldon's book does not seem to be available here yet.

Cheers,

George
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 8310
Joined: 2006
This day in World History! Continued
11/10/2022 8:02:43 AM
Quote:
Quote:
BTW please continue with past discussions, especially the ones leading up to the 11-11 Armistice Day!? How were these final days of WWI!? Good discussion question!? Anyone?


This is the second time that I have responded to this. Not sure where it went.

Hi MD. Armistice Day dates back to WW1, not WWII. On Nov. 11, 1919, Britain commemorated those who had died in a ceremony at Buckingham palace.

☺. George, look closer at my post that you quoted It does say WWI, that second I is an exclamation point !
I have to stop using it at the end of a WWI post !!!!!! ☺

The second thing that happened with that legislation was that Armistice Day would be called Remembrance Day. I don't know when other countries of the Commonwealth adopted Remembrance Day to replace Armistice Day.

☺. I know it was Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth Countries, as well !!!!!!?!?

Lest We Forget

☺. I remember WWI, !!!!!!! I didn't forget. !!!!???

Cheers
MD




----------------------------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 13550
Joined: 2009
This day in World History! Continued
11/10/2022 8:11:55 AM
Sorry MD. Misread your exclamation point as a numeral.

George
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 13550
Joined: 2009
This day in World History! Continued
11/10/2022 2:55:21 PM
Battle of Passchendaele. (3rd Battle of Ypres)

The Passchendaele campaign began on July 31, 1917 and chewed up many soldiers of the British forces before it ended with the capture of Passchendaele on Nov. 10.

The two Passchendaele ridges to the south and east of Ypres gave the forces in possession a clear view of operations to the west. So the German forces could see movements of allied troops to the west and could act accordingly.

Initially the British attacked Passchendaele in support of the French forces. Douglas Haig hoped to seize the railways that the Germans were using and perhaps to clear the submarine pens on the coast. German submarines were doing a lot of damage to the merchant fleet.

Among the British forces were the Australians and New Zealanders. The attack began with a barrage and then the rains came. This part of Belgium could not drain and so shell holes filled up with water. Many British, Australian and NZ soldiers would find themselves swimming in these craters. If wounded a man could and did drown.

The well prepared German defences which include MG emplacements in concrete pill boxes sprayed the men as they attacked. Still the British forces made some progress.

On Oct. 9, British and Australian troops had attacked and this was supposed to tee up a successful seizure of Passchendaele by the New Zealanders on Nov. 12.

For the New Zealanders their "blackest day" of the Passchendaele campaign was Oct. 12, 1917. With little preparation, the New Zealanders were ordered to attack. New Zealand had already seen 500 men killed a few days earlier at Gravenstafel Spur which was one of the ridges above the village of Passchendaele. It was a costly though successful attack and that seemed to have convinced the high command that it was time to exploit that success.

The New Zealanders tried but their initial barrage was not very effective as shells often buried in the mud before exploding. German MG's took a heavy toll. The men were forced to seek shelter in the flooded craters. A second attempt was aborted and then the attack was called off. 843 New Zealand soldiers were either dead or lying in the craters, mortally wounded. Many died because stretcher bearers could not get to them.

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Passchendaele has come to symbolize everything that was wrong with the way that war was waged in WW1. This despite the fact that tactics and artillery techniques had improved greatly.

On Oct. 18, the Canadians were ordered to head north from the Vimy Ridge sector which they had seized brilliantly with an attack on April 27.

CDN General Arthur Currie inspected the battlefield and was shocked. He told Haig that this battle was only a waste of lives and that he could not see any strategic purpose in continuing. Currie often spoke up because he knew that he had the support of the Canadian government which was always demanding more say in how their troops would be used. Haig replied that this was an important objective and that he could not explain why to Currie at the time. So Currie was ordered to take the ridge.

Famously, Currie told Haig that to take Passchendaele would cost 16,000 casualties. Currie asked for some preparation time and it was granted. This was a much different battlefield than was Vimy.
It was flat and exposed and success would be determined by brave acts of small units. Men would have to crawl their way through the mud.

The second attack by the Canadians on Oct. 30 would see them reach the outskirts of Passchendaele village. There was a driving rainstorm.

On Nov. 6, Canadian and British forces finally took Passchendaele village with the City of Winnipeg battalion entering the village. The German forces counter attacked a number of times and were beaten back and on Nov. 10 the Canadians seized the last part of the Passchendaele ridge to be occupied by the German forces. There were many, many acts of bravery and nine of the Canadians would receive the VC.

Just as the other troops who had tried to take Passchendaele had been cut down so were the Canadians. With about 4000 KIA and 12,000 wounded, General Currie's prediction of the cost was remarkably accurate.

Later at a meeting of the war council, CDN PM Robert Borden was reported to have yelled at British PM Lloyd George and told him that if there was ever a repeat of the Passchendaele battle, he would not permit any more Canadians to leave Canada to fight in this war.





German pillbox. These are NZ soldiers.



This has been identified in many sites as Australians walking on the duckboards that kept people from drowning.



British soldiers trying to carry a wounded man from the mud



Every country whose troops fought here describes the conditions as hell on earth. And each country has its particular tale to tell about their part in it.
When we think of the horrors of the fighting in WW1, we think of Passchendaele.

Cheers,

George

Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 6507
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This day in World History! Continued
11/10/2022 3:26:17 PM
A great rendition, George, thanks !

It’s good to see that you, a Canadian, who has so much national “skin in the game “ , have given prominence to that awful massacre of the New Zealanders that was the prelude to the culminating attack by the Canadians.

Passchendaele was not the bloodiest battle of that war, but, for British people, and their Dominion comrades, it evokes more sense of outrage than any other.

It would be interesting to speculate as to the reasons why.

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
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This day in World History! Continued
11/10/2022 8:50:51 PM
Quote:
A great rendition, George, thanks !

It’s good to see that you, a Canadian, who has so much national “skin in the game “ , have given prominence to that awful massacre of the New Zealanders that was the prelude to the culminating attack by the Canadians.

Passchendaele was not the bloodiest battle of that war, but, for British people, and their Dominion comrades, it evokes more sense of outrage than any other.

It would be interesting to speculate as to the reasons why.

Regards, Phil




Thanks Phil. As you say, there were bloodier battles but Passchendaele raises the ire of students of this war in any of the participating nations, more so than most.

We know that the cost was high. I have seen estimates that the Passchendaele campaign resulted in 500,000 casualties with 150,000 dead.

I cannot say whether Haig's objectives were critical to the war effort.

But certainly when it could be seen that the cost being paid to wear down the Germans was too high, he should have called the effort off sooner. Blindly pigheaded.

From the perspective of the Dominions, it appeared that the British in command were prepared to sacrifice the colonial troops to achieve victory. It mattered little that the British soldiers suffered just as much. I have already mentioned that CDN Robert Borden was most angry at the use of the Canadian Corps in the manner that they were at Passchendaele.

Phil, was David Lloyd George publicly vocal about the casualties that were being taken at Passchendaele? Did the people realize what was happening at the time that the battle was being fought?

I think that it is the waste of men's lives with so little to show for the sacrifice that makes observers so angry.



Cheers,

George
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 8310
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This day in World History! Continued
11/10/2022 9:31:39 PM
Guys,

11-10- 1975, I would be remiss if I failed to mention the largest ship to sink on the Great Lakes, the Edmond Fitzgerald. The ship sank with all 29 crew members drowning! Canadian folk singer Gordon Light foot paid homage to this tragedy, perhaps someone could post his song? It does a pretty. good job of telling the horrific story of this terrible sinking!? Lake Superior the largest fresh water lake in the world has tremendous gales, with waves as big as any in the ocean!?

The Gales of November, remember!
Regards,
MD
----------------------------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 6507
Joined: 2004
This day in World History! Continued
11/11/2022 1:13:48 AM
Quote:
Quote:
A great rendition, George, thanks !

It’s good to see that you, a Canadian, who has so much national “skin in the game “ , have given prominence to that awful massacre of the New Zealanders that was the prelude to the culminating attack by the Canadians.

Passchendaele was not the bloodiest battle of that war, but, for British people, and their Dominion comrades, it evokes more sense of outrage than any other.

It would be interesting to speculate as to the reasons why.

Regards, Phil




Thanks Phil. As you say, there were bloodier battles but Passchendaele raises the ire of students of this war in any of the participating nations, more so than most.

We know that the cost was high. I have seen estimates that the Passchendaele campaign resulted in 500,000 casualties with 150,000 dead.

I cannot say whether Haig's objectives were critical to the war effort.

But certainly when it could be seen that the cost being paid to wear down the Germans was too high, he should have called the effort off sooner. Blindly pigheaded.

From the perspective of the Dominions, it appeared that the British in command were prepared to sacrifice the colonial troops to achieve victory. It mattered little that the British soldiers suffered just as much. I have already mentioned that CDN Robert Borden was most angry at the use of the Canadian Corps in the manner that they were at Passchendaele.

Phil, was David Lloyd George publicly vocal about the casualties that were being taken at Passchendaele? Did the people realize what was happening at the time that the battle was being fought?

I think that it is the waste of men's lives with so little to show for the sacrifice that makes observers so angry.



Cheers,

George


George,

Tomorrow marks the anniversary of the official end of the battle, which lasted for 105 days: July 31 to November 12 1917.

Today being Armistice Day, it’s fitting to discuss Passchendaele, since it stands as the symbol of all that’s most notorious in the folklore of the Great War.

Viewed without hyperbole, it’s apparent that its reputation exceeds the reality, although, in God’s name, that reality was bad enough.

David Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister, was convinced the battle was a mistake, but lacked the courage of his conviction and allowed the thing to progress, resorting to a venomous and excoriating attack on the British commander after the latter was dead. DLG’s conduct strikes me as unedifying.

As for Haig, he persisted in excessive optimism and seemed to succumb to “ group speak “, with those around him telling him what he wanted to hear.

Does that ring any bells, Mr Putin ?

Tomorrow, being the day that marked the official end of the battle, I’ll get to grips properly with your post, George, and give chapter and verse on my own view of the battle and its toxic reputation in popular memory and historiography.

Today I’ll wear my poppy and reflect.

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
NYGiant
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This day in World History! Continued
11/11/2022 7:26:50 AM
At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the Great War ends. At 5 a.m. that morning, Germany, bereft of manpower and supplies and faced with imminent invasion, signed an armistice agreement with the Allies in a railroad car outside Compiégne, France. The First World War left nine million soldiers dead and 21 million wounded, with Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, France and Great Britain each losing nearly a million or more lives. In addition, at least five million civilians died from disease, starvation, or exposure.

On June 28, 1914, in an event that is widely regarded as sparking the outbreak of World War I, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire, was shot to death with his wife by Bosnian Serb Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Ferdinand had been inspecting his uncle’s imperial armed forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina, despite the threat of Serbian nationalists who wanted these Austro-Hungarian possessions to join newly independent Serbia. Austria-Hungary blamed the Serbian government for the attack and hoped to use the incident as justification for settling the problem of Slavic nationalism once and for all. However, as Russia supported Serbia, an Austro-Hungarian declaration of war was delayed until its leaders received assurances from German leader Kaiser Wilhelm II that Germany would support their cause in the event of a Russian intervention.​



On July 28, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, and the tenuous peace between Europe’s great powers collapsed. On July 29, Austro-Hungarian forces began to shell the Serbian capital, Belgrade, and Russia, Serbia’s ally, ordered a troop mobilization against Austria-Hungary. France, allied with Russia, began to mobilize on August 1. France and Germany declared war against each other on August 3. After crossing through neutral Luxembourg, the German army invaded Belgium on the night of August 3-4, prompting Great Britain, Belgium’s ally, to declare war against Germany.

For the most part, the people of Europe greeted the outbreak of war with jubilation. Most patriotically assumed that their country would be victorious within months. Of the initial belligerents, Germany was most prepared for the outbreak of hostilities, and its military leaders had formatted a sophisticated military strategy known as the “Schlieffen Plan,” which envisioned the conquest of France through a great arcing offensive through Belgium and into northern France. Russia, slow to mobilize, was to be kept occupied by Austro-Hungarian forces while Germany attacked France.

The Schlieffen Plan was nearly successful, but in early September the French rallied and halted the German advance at the bloody Battle of the Marne near Paris. By the end of 1914, well over a million soldiers of various nationalities had been killed on the battlefields of Europe, and neither for the Allies nor the Central Powers was a final victory in sight. On the western front—the battle line that stretched across northern France and Belgium—the combatants settled down in the trenches for a terrible war of attrition.

In 1915, the Allies attempted to break the stalemate with an amphibious invasion of Turkey, which had joined the Central Powers in October 1914, but after heavy bloodshed the Allies were forced to retreat in early 1916. The year 1916 saw great offensives by Germany and Britain along the western front, but neither side accomplished a decisive victory. In the east, Germany was more successful, and the disorganized Russian army suffered terrible losses, spurring the outbreak of the Russian Revolution in 1917. By the end of 1917, the Bolsheviks had seized power in Russia and immediately set about negotiating peace with Germany. In 1918, the infusion of American troops and resources into the western front finally tipped the scale in the Allies’ favor. Germany signed an armistice agreement with the Allies on November 11, 1918.

World War I was known as the “war to end all wars” because of the great slaughter and destruction it caused. Unfortunately, the peace treaty that officially ended the conflict—the Treaty of Versailles of 1919—forced punitive terms on Germany that destabilized Europe and laid the groundwork for World War II.
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"In 1918, the infusion of American troops and resources into the western front finally tipped the scale in the Allies’ favor." In other words, it was the presence of the United States entering the war, adding troops and war material that won the war for the Allies.


OpanaPointer
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This day in World History! Continued
11/11/2022 8:00:13 AM
"To absent friends."
Wazza
Sydney  Australia
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This day in World History! Continued
11/11/2022 1:47:10 PM
Response: "Absent friends"
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
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This day in World History! Continued
11/11/2022 7:20:31 PM
Quote:

Hi guys,



What will these soldiers do if the Germans open up on them with Maxim Machine-guns!?

No place to run to?
MD

----------------------------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 13550
Joined: 2009
This day in World History! Continued
11/11/2022 9:15:49 PM
Quote:
"In 1918, the infusion of American troops and resources into the western front finally tipped the scale in the Allies’ favor." In other words, it was the presence of the United States entering the war, adding troops and war material that won the war for the Allies.


Do you think that you could possibly have picked another day than Remembrance Day to resurrect this stupid assertion, NYG. It is a sacred day for those of us in Britain and the Commonwealth whose countrymen fought for over four years in many terrible battles to attain victory.

The 52,000 Americans that died in this war deserve our respect for their sacrifice. We honour them today too.

I think that they would be appalled at your statement and by making it you discredit the thousands of French, Belgian, British and Commonwealth forces who died in their millions in total to win this war. In so doing, you also discredit those Americans who did make the supreme sacrifice as you claim a greater glory for them that is not warranted.
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 6507
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This day in World History! Continued
11/12/2022 4:11:56 AM
Quote:
Quote:

Hi guys,



What will these soldiers do if the Germans open up on them with Maxim Machine-guns!?

No place to run to?
MD



If only it’d just been machine gun fire ! Most of those poor fellas were slaughtered by the artillery, which caused two thirds of the casualties. I suppose the unspeakable mud smothered the effects of explosions, but shrapnel and shell fragments from air bursts did their deadly work. The quagmire necessitated the use of duckboards, and the enemy only had to focus on those to make havoc.

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
NYGiant
home  USA
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This day in World History! Continued
11/12/2022 6:36:14 AM
On November 12, 1864, Union General William T. Sherman orders the business district of Atlanta, Georgia, destroyed before he embarks on his famous March to the Sea.



When Sherman captured Atlanta in early September 1864, he knew that he could not remain there for long. His tenuous supply line ran from Nashville, Tennessee, through Chattanooga, Tennessee, then one hundred miles through mountainous northern Georgia. The army he had just defeated, the Army of Tennessee, was still in the area and its leader, John Bell Hood, swung around Atlanta to try to damage Sherman’s lifeline. Of even greater concern was the Confederate cavalry of General Nathan Bedford Forrest, a brilliant commander who could strike quickly against the railroads and river transports on which Sherman relied.

During the fall, Sherman conceived of a plan to split his enormous army. He sent part of it, commanded by General George Thomas, back toward Nashville to deal with Hood while he prepared to take the rest of the troops across Georgia. Through October, Sherman built up a massive cache of supplies in Atlanta. He then ordered a systematic destruction of the city to prevent the Confederates from recovering anything once the Yankees had abandoned it. By one estimate, nearly 40 percent of the city was ruined. Sherman would apply to the same policy of destruction to the rest of Georgia as he marched to Savannah. Before leaving on November 15, Sherman’s forces had burned the industrial district of Atlanta and left little but a smoking shell.


George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
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This day in World History! Continued
11/12/2022 7:51:21 AM
Quote:
Guys,

11-10- 1975, I would be remiss if I failed to mention the largest ship to sink on the Great Lakes, the Edmond Fitzgerald. The ship sank with all 29 crew members drowning! Canadian folk singer Gordon Light foot paid homage to this tragedy, perhaps someone could post his song? It does a pretty. good job of telling the horrific story of this terrible sinking!? Lake Superior the largest fresh water lake in the world has tremendous gales, with waves as big as any in the ocean!?

The Gales of November, remember!
Regards,
MD



Many years ago, I was scuba diving near Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario. There are dozens of ship wrecks in this area. The area is now the site of a national underwater park.

Anyway, while there I had occasion to speak with a commercial fisherman and he had sailed all of the Great Lakes and had crewed on merchant ships in the open ocean. He told me that he found the wave action on the Great Lakes to be much more difficult to deal with because the height of the waves was just like the ocean but the frequency between waves was shorter. I have since read that the fetch on Lake Superior is over 500 km on its long axis and that is much shorter than the ocean. So I think that wave heights would be higher on the ocean.

And I have read that waves on Lake Superior may come from different directions because water hits a shoreline and then comes back. These waves are called seiches. Think of it like water sloshing back and forth in a huge bathtub.

But I wouldn't rely on me or the fishermen from accurate scientific data. Both the Canada and the US study the wave action on this lake because of the important shipping lanes that run through it. There are buoys placed in strategic places that gather data on wave action.

The Edmund Fitzgerald was a very large ship. She had sailed through many storms before. There is only speculation as to what may have happened.

1. Another ship in the area reported that it had experienced riding with the ship suspended over two massive peaks of two consecutive waves. The EF communications went down at about that time.

2. The EF sat fairly low in the water and with all of the wave action tons of water would have been sloshing over the deck and entering the hold through loose hatches. This would have reduced free board.

3. As the bow dove into the deep trough after the ship survived the twin peaks of waves, the cargo in the hold shifted forward and she dove deep into the trough and could not recover.

4. Further speculation is that she dove into the trough from such a height and angle that her bow hit the bottom and she snapped in two. She had indeed snapped into two sections.


She sank about 28 km from Whitefish Bay and safety. She sits in Canadian waters and further diving has been prohibited out of respect to the 29 sailors who perished on the ship. The depth of the water was 161 metres (530 feet). It is hard to imagine that a ship could nosedive to that depth with such force that she would hit the bottom but that is the speculation.

There are other theories and here is an article that reviews some of them.



Lake Superior.





And a 4 minute video taken of an October storm on the north shore of Lake Superior. The Great Lakes are often described as inland seas.

[Read More]


Finally, this is Gord Lightfoot singing, "the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald". I think this was filmed in 2010 so Gord would be in his '60's. His voice is starting to get a little reedy. Gord is still at it and he is over 80 now. He is a legendary folk singer in Canada.

Not my favourite Lightfoot song but it is popular in Canada and the US

[Read More]

Cheers,

George
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
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This day in World History! Continued
11/12/2022 7:51:22 AM
double
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 8310
Joined: 2006
This day in World History! Continued
11/12/2022 8:39:28 AM
Hi George,

Thanks for the follow up on the Edmund Fitzgerald & Lightfoot's song! The Great Lakes are no place for the faint of heart, as evidenced by your video! Just Friday I was on the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula, walking the shore, & it was 77 degrees F, & now 1 day later it's in the 20's With forecasts for ice, & high winds! It's easy to see how ships can get caught in storms on the lakes! It's n fact there have been over 7,000 ship wrecks in the Great Lakes, I personally have discovered 3 of them.

Thanks again,
Regards,
MD
----------------------------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 6507
Joined: 2004
This day in World History! Continued
11/12/2022 9:26:00 AM
Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
A great rendition, George, thanks !

It’s good to see that you, a Canadian, who has so much national “skin in the game “ , have given prominence to that awful massacre of the New Zealanders that was the prelude to the culminating attack by the Canadians.

Passchendaele was not the bloodiest battle of that war, but, for British people, and their Dominion comrades, it evokes more sense of outrage than any other.

It would be interesting to speculate as to the reasons why.

Regards, Phil




Thanks Phil. As you say, there were bloodier battles but Passchendaele raises the ire of students of this war in any of the participating nations, more so than most.

We know that the cost was high. I have seen estimates that the Passchendaele campaign resulted in 500,000 casualties with 150,000 dead.

I cannot say whether Haig's objectives were critical to the war effort.

But certainly when it could be seen that the cost being paid to wear down the Germans was too high, he should have called the effort off sooner. Blindly pigheaded.

From the perspective of the Dominions, it appeared that the British in command were prepared to sacrifice the colonial troops to achieve victory. It mattered little that the British soldiers suffered just as much. I have already mentioned that CDN Robert Borden was most angry at the use of the Canadian Corps in the manner that they were at Passchendaele.

Phil, was David Lloyd George publicly vocal about the casualties that were being taken at Passchendaele? Did the people realize what was happening at the time that the battle was being fought?

I think that it is the waste of men's lives with so little to show for the sacrifice that makes observers so angry.



Cheers,

George


George,

Tomorrow marks the anniversary of the official end of the battle, which lasted for 105 days: July 31 to November 12 1917.

Today being Armistice Day, it’s fitting to discuss Passchendaele, since it stands as the symbol of all that’s most notorious in the folklore of the Great War.

Viewed without hyperbole, it’s apparent that its reputation exceeds the reality, although, in God’s name, that reality was bad enough.

David Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister, was convinced the battle was a mistake, but lacked the courage of his conviction and allowed the thing to progress, resorting to a venomous and excoriating attack on the British commander after the latter was dead. DLG’s conduct strikes me as unedifying.

As for Haig, he persisted in excessive optimism and seemed to succumb to “ group speak “, with those around him telling him what he wanted to hear.

Does that ring any bells, Mr Putin ?

Tomorrow, being the day that marked the official end of the battle, I’ll get to grips properly with your post, George, and give chapter and verse on my own view of the battle and its toxic reputation in popular memory and historiography.

Today I’ll wear my poppy and reflect.

Regards, Phil


Following on from yesterday’s post, today’s date marks the 105 th anniversary of the end of the battle : although in the following days, weeks and months that horrific sector remained a malignant and deadly place to be.

The cost of that 105 days of fighting has been variously estimated according to what criteria are used. That high estimate that you cite, George, is based on 448, 000 British and Dominion casualties for the entire Western Front for the entire second half of 1917, including, for example, the Canadians who fought at Hill 70 in August and the 45,000 British casualties in November and December after Passchendaele. It also includes a conservative reckoning of 50, 000 for the French forces that supported the British attacks in Flanders. With the general rate of fatalities among casualties being reckoned at thirty percent, the result is 500, 000 casualties including 150,000 deaths.

The official return of British and Dominion casualties for the period 31July to 12 November 1917, with the remit strictly confined to the sector of attacks in the Third Ypres battles, is 240,000. Of these, only fifteen percent were confirmed as killed in action ; but the actual total of fatalities, allowing for the missing who couldn’t be accounted for, and the wounded and gassed who died after admission to hospital, was at least double the 36,000 who were confirmed KiA. As for the French who attacked alongside on the British left, they only reported 8,000 casualties. The true cost, then, appears to be about half that 500,000 that was cited, including 75,000 dead.

Editing: time runs out so quickly! I have to edit and continue.

Passchendaele then, was clearly not the bloodiest battle, but it’s notoriety transcends. Largely, I suspect, because it was the culminating episode in the attritional warfare that the Allies pursued in their attempt to win . Coming after the Somme, and then Arras - the latter being one of the worst of all killing matches- Passchendaele imparted a sense of despair and futility born of disappointment and disillusionment. The conditions of the battlefield might have been uniquely bad, although the later stages of the Somme in 1916 contend.

The Dominion record stands out : in terms of the ratio of Dominon casualties to those of the Mother Country, Passchendaele exceeds the Somme.

As for Haig’s objectives, the rolling up of the German flank in Flanders and the capture of the submarine ports were clearly defined, and were obviously thwarted. Haig claimed subsequently that he pressed on to save the French at a time when there was mutiny among the poilus.
There is some validity here, but it should be noted that the French fought some astonishingly successful battles in the latter half of 1917, especially at Verdun and Malmaison. To suggest that these were attributable to the British doing the heavy lifting in Flanders is almost an ungracious denial of French prowess. How ironic that Haig, an optimist to a fault, failed in Flanders, while Petain, a noted pessimist, did brilliantly in his limited and carefully choreographed attritional attacks in the later summer and autumn of 1917 !

Haig subsequently insisted that his Flanders offensive inflicted heavier casualties on the Germans than those suffered by his troops. We should give that claim short shrift. The Germans suffered perhaps two thirds of the loss sustained by the British: three quarters at the most.
The most damning indictment of Haig’s strategy is the clear indication that the Germans were able to defeat the Russians, remove Romania and nearly destroy the Italians at a time when Haig thought he might succeed in “ pinning” the enemy in Flanders. It was the other way round. The British were stuck in the mud in the salient while the Germans made havoc elsewhere.

Haig’s assertion that Germany was scraping the bottom of the barrel to man their armies was rudely debunked by the monstrous onslaught made against his own armies in the spring of 1918.

I note, however, that the Germans lost more men killed in sixteen days of attacks against the British in March and early April 1918 than they lost in one hundred and five days defending at Passchendaele.

Haig’s failure in 1917 must not blind us to his success. He had made a good account of himself defending at Ypres in 1914, and his achievements in 1918 were of a high order.

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
Posts: 13550
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This day in World History! Continued
11/12/2022 12:31:46 PM
Great post, Phil. It is sometimes rather too easy to make Haig the whipping boy for all that was wrong about the prosecution of this war. As you say, he was there for the cock-ups and also there for the greatest of victories though Haig was not Supreme Commander when the 100 days campaign took place. How much influence Foch had on British strategy from Aug. 8 onward, I really do not know.

Haig was not just a soldier. He also was compelled to respond to enquiries from the political class. Perhaps that is the curse of all commanding generals as they plan to win a war they must explain to the politicians their strategies and to justify their casualties. We know from Haig's diary and Lloyd-George's memoirs that the men did not trust one another and didn't seem to like one another. Phil, what was the source of this enmity?

Haig is often blamed for the unbelievably high casualty rate for British forces and portrayed as an uncaring man. And yet, from what I have read, he spent the rest of his life as an advocate for better treatment of veterans. Supposedly he worked tirelessly with charities whose focus was care of British veterans. It is hard to know what to make of the man. He seems quite enigmatic to me.

Cheers,

George



Phil Andrade
London  UK
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Joined: 2004
This day in World History! Continued
11/12/2022 1:47:29 PM
Quote:
Great post, Phil. It is sometimes rather too easy to make Haig the whipping boy for all that was wrong about the prosecution of this war. As you say, he was there for the cock-ups and also there for the greatest of victories though Haig was not Supreme Commander when the 100 days campaign took place. How much influence Foch had on British strategy from Aug. 8 onward, I really do not know.

Haig was not just a soldier. He also was compelled to respond to enquiries from the political class. Perhaps that is the curse of all commanding generals as they plan to win a war they must explain to the politicians their strategies and to justify their casualties. We know from Haig's diary and Lloyd-George's memoirs that the men did not trust one another and didn't seem to like one another. Phil, what was the source of this enmity?

Haig is often blamed for the unbelievably high casualty rate for British forces and portrayed as an uncaring man. And yet, from what I have read, he spent the rest of his life as an advocate for better treatment of veterans. Supposedly he worked tirelessly with charities whose focus was care of British veterans. It is hard to know what to make of the man. He seems quite enigmatic to me.

Cheers,

George





George ,

Here’s a teaser :

Someone once described Haig as “ A splendid soldier but a remarkably stupid man .”

Who do you think that person was ?

There was, I think, a profound disdain for soldiers in British society. The Royal Navy was the national pride and joy. Not so the Army. Wellington’s mother, despairing of his deficiencies, blurted out that he was “ fit for powder “. Powder being synonymous with the army. Kipling championed the despised British soldiery in his poetry
:

It’s Tommy this
and Tommy that

and Tommy, ‘ows yer soul ?

but it’s thin red line of ‘eroes

when the drums begin to roll !

Maybe I’ve got the words wrong.

Lloyd George, an aspiring solicitor and social climber, cherished this dismal view of the British army.

Pampered younger sons, pass men from Oxford, brilliant to the tops of their boots …those are sayings of his which indicate how he caricatured the British officer caste.

He probably viewed Haig in that light, and it’s widely agreed that Haig was notoriously inarticulate: his writings, however, are lucid and discerning.

Lloyd George attributed the terrible cost of high intensity warfare on the western front to the deficiencies of military dullards, and he believed that Haig exemplified this.

A brief and unsatisfactory answer to your question.

Regards, Phil




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"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
Posts: 13550
Joined: 2009
This day in World History! Continued
11/12/2022 5:10:11 PM
Not unsatisfactory at all Phil. I had seen references to British army men and how they were sometimes considered the dregs. But I hadn't considered that those opinions would also be held by some for the officer class.

I took the liberty of finding the full text of Kipling's, "Tommy". Kipling wrote it in 1890. I don't know enough about the social structure of that period in England to be able to comment on the relationship between the army and the people and the government for that matter. One wonders what motivated Kipling to write those words.

Quote:
Rudyard Kipling


Tommy

I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o' beer,
The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here."
The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:
O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";
But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, wait outside";
But it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide,
The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
O it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide.

Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.
Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, 'ow's yer soul?"
But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.

We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;
While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind",
But it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind,
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind.

You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!


Cheers,

George
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 6507
Joined: 2004
This day in World History! Continued
11/12/2022 5:57:51 PM
Thanks George !

Pleased to see that I remembered some of that poem.

Incidentally, that caustic comment about Haig’s splendid military bearing and his profound stupidity was uttered by Margot Asquith, wife of the British Prime Minister.

Editing: on reflection, I’m bound to observe that this war was not only an abomination for the British people : it was an aberration. Traditional British warmaking was based on naval might and relatively small land warfare participation.
Effective intervention in continental campaigns had entailed successful generals- Marlborough and Wellington - commanding allied armies with minority British contingents. Even WW2 followed that precedent. But Passchendaele- and other bloodbaths in WW1- entailed a very different role for the British people, with their armies actually assuming the main burden in the second half of the war, and paying a commensurate price. This is unique in military history. Small wonder that the commander who was responsible for that task has been reviled.


Regards, Phil
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"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
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