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Old 17th November 2017, 03:35 PM   #321
Rincewind
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
It's not just pilots. Germans never rotated their infantry either, with the net result that by the end of for example Verdun, for everyone it looked like death is just a matter of time, and morale was predictably hitting rock bottom.
Hi Hans,
I have no argument with your assessment regarding the morale of the German Infantry, but do have a minor comment:
The Germans did actually rotate their infantry.
If we take, for instance, the 6th Division (that took Fort Douaumont) in late 1915-1916:
In September 1915 it was sent to Serbia, suffering losses, until returning to the Western Front in December for rest and reorganization.
At the end of January it was sent to just north of Verdun.
From Feb 22nd it attacked, taking the Fort, but was stopped from advancing further.
March 2nd it was withdrawn from the front to be reinforced.
On March 8th it made an unsuccessful attack on the village of Douaumont, being withdrawn again on 15th and sent to Mulhouse to recover and be reorganized.
From April 25th it was engaged – again in the Douaumont area – and suffered more than 60% casualties.
At the end of May it was relieved and sent for rest to Ville au Montois.
Between June and September it was in Champagne in quiet sectors.
At the beginning of October it was sent to the Somme and spent much the month fighting in the region of Gueudecourt, again suffering heavy casualties.
When relieved, it was sent to another quiet sector in the Argonne until the start of April 1917.

So – they certainly did use up their divisions before taking them out of the line.

Data from: Histories of two Hundred and Fifty-one Division of the German Army which participated in the war (1914-1918) [Naval & Military Press Ltd]
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Old 18th November 2017, 04:25 AM   #322
Henri McPhee
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There is a bit about First World War tactics and strategy on You Tube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rblfKREj50o
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Old 18th November 2017, 05:28 AM   #323
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Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
There is a bit about First World War tactics and strategy on You Tube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rblfKREj50o
Do tell. What new insights have you gleaned from this shot of Blackadder?
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Old 18th November 2017, 06:11 AM   #324
HansMustermann
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How about the fact that Blackadder is almost a documentary, save for some comedic hyperbole?

I mean, historically, the average life expectancy of a British pilot wasn't 20 minutes like in Black Adder, it was 11 hours at one point. Getting most men slaughtered didn't happen in the first 10 seconds, it happened in the first 15 minutes. Doing the same waddling slowly towards the enemy machineguns didn't just happen 18 times verbatim, it actually took more repeats of throwing good mens' lives thrown down ye olde crapper before anyone learned anything.

Etc.

You HAVE to put some unbelievable hyperbole on it to be funny. It HAS to be so over the top that people think it's a joke. If you gave some actual credible numbers, it wouldn't be funny any more. It would be a horror show.

But it gets worse, because some things aren't even hyperbole. Battles not being directed... well, that's not even an exaggeration: the whole first half of Somme was a case of uncoordinated regiments going over the top at different times, and getting slaughtered piecemeal. That you'd get executed if you're insane is also no hyperbole: the UK actually executed even a bunch of people with extreme PTSD for "cowardice." Etc.

Yeah, it's not funny any more. It's horror.

And I don't mean just as in the carnage. What horrified me into writing this thread in the first place was actually the realization that WW1 was the live-action enactment of a classic horror movie scenario: a bunch of people are trapped somewhere with a lunatic that will get most of them killed one way or the other. You follow the rest of the gang, you'll most probably die; you don't, you'll definitely die by firing squad.

Except unlike the average horror show, there is no happy ending. There's no defeating the lunatic and getting out of there.
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Which part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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Old 18th November 2017, 06:24 AM   #325
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Cool story, bro.

I especially liked the part where Blackadder is was a documentary.
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Old 18th November 2017, 06:56 AM   #326
HansMustermann
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Yay, it's the return of the cheerleader. Have any actual information to share this time, or do you think the same dumb browbeating based on apparent comprehension problems will surely work this time. You know what they say, the definition of insanity is trying the same thing 10 times and expecting different results
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Which part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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Old 18th November 2017, 09:00 AM   #327
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
That you'd get executed if you're insane is also no hyperbole: the UK actually executed even a bunch of people with extreme PTSD for "cowardice."
Nope.
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Old 18th November 2017, 10:18 AM   #328
HansMustermann
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Yep.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british..._dawn_01.shtml
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Which part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?
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Old 18th November 2017, 10:32 AM   #329
Henri McPhee
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There is a rather bitter song from the First World War about all this battle conditions, rather like the D day dodgers song from the Second World War at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_K1BdDVvV9Q
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Old 19th November 2017, 04:19 AM   #330
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One of my grandfathers was in a reserved occupation making war planes. My father had a step father who lost a leg when he was 17 in France or Belgium. My other grandfather was in the RAMC. He became some sort of stretcher bearer in France in 1917, after working in a military hospital in the UK from the commencement of the war.

Many of the letters my grandfather sent to his wife at the time have survived, though for some reason none when he was in France. I remember him discussing the case of an Irishman in a letter, who was an only child, and who was severely injured in a military hospital. My grandfather was originally intended to go with his colleagues to fight the Bulgarians, but there was some kind of mix up with the supply of his glasses. He was left behind and sent to a military tented camp, I think at Chelmsford, to await embarkation to France.

He did have some grumbles which he thought were stonking stupid then. There was some fusspot officer who only seemed interested in the puttees of the soldiers. He remarked that he couldn't quite see how the war would be won with puttees. He also remarked on the poor quality of the conscripted recruits in 1917, many of whom had health problems.

There are a couple of letters which have survived from his cousin:

Quote:
Nov 5th 1914 - 1st Life Guards, Composite Regiment, 4th Cavalry Brigade, Expeditionary Force:

Thanks for the postcard received a week or two ago. Since when we have all been in an engagement. Now we are taking a few days rest, away from the firing line, after a very trying time, the report of which I expect you have seen in the English papers.

Such awful times I went through. I cannot tell you everything that happened at the line of action. The regiment suffered rather badly but the Germans much worse.. But two Colonels were wounded - Colonel Cooke and Colonel Trotter. Captain Astor and Captain Wyndham and Lieuts Smith and Leigh were also wounded.

Of our officers, none are left except Captain Mundy and the Earl of Caledon. Lord John Cavendish, as you no doubt hear was killed. Other officers of the 2nd L.G. + R.H.G. were also put out of action. Major Lord Crichton was captured or killed.

The Household Cavalry had 36 casualties. But of the 1st Life Guards eight were killed and several wounded. I cannot state the names. I shall never forget it. To be alive at the present time I have to thank God.

The people of France and Belgium are very pleased to see us over here. Well I shall be pleased to hear from you soon, so that you can tell me a little news.

9th Oct. 1918

I left France later part of May and since I have been in England, I have been home for six weeks. This was , of course, to help with the hay making and harvest. Needless to say I am very glad to be over here, after spending three years and nine months in France. My younger brother Victor is over in France, in the Devons. My brother David was badly hit in August and he is in hospital at Orpington, not far away from here. On Sunday I saw him for a while and he is going on fairly well. He had a large piece of shell in his thigh and was badly wounded in his penis, so has consequently suffered much pain.

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Old 19th November 2017, 04:49 AM   #331
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More letters about the stonking stupid war from my grandmother who was a primary school teacher in London at the time 1914-18:

Quote:
23rd March 1918: Chris tells us that Bert's twin brother Gordon has to join up unexpectedly. They won't let him stop to take his BA degree.

20th June 1918: My cousin Gordon will probably undergo his training at Bath in an airship squadron.

1st July 1918: Horace, my cousin, who also applied for a commission has been sent to Hampstead. He hopes to be appointed to an airship squadron.

15th Aug. 1918: I hear from Mother that my cousin Arthur has been badly gassed and he is in hospital in Southampton. Poor boy, he lost his sight for five days, but mercifully it has been restored. Bert, my cousin in the Royal Naval Air Service has had an accident but have not heard particulars.

18th Aug. 1918: My cousin Bert's accident with his aeroplane was serious. He had only been up alone five minutes when his engine went wrong and he fell into the sea, losing consciousness as he fell. The water brought him to and he tried to swim ashore, but finding that he could not, he clung to some wreckage until he was saved by a boat. He is now in hospital in Portman Square. They don't think he will be able to fly again. That makes three of my cousins in hospital now.

1918 : We had the worst time of all last night, and I really thought our house would be next. They were fighting just overhead, and dropped nineteen bombs nearby. I counted each one, and the house shook and the door knocker knocked at each explosion. am ashamed to write this scrawl but we expect them again tonight, it is bright and moonlit, and I don't fell very strong...... We did not get a warning in time. You can imagine sixty-four pairs of eyes watching my every movement with the awful droning overhead, and the guns banging, quite uselessly, for they could not reach the height.
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Old 19th November 2017, 06:06 AM   #332
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Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
More letters about the stonking stupid war from my grandmother who was a primary school teacher in London at the time 1914-18:
1918 : We had the worst time of all last night, and I really thought our house would be next. They were fighting just overhead, and dropped nineteen bombs nearby. I counted each one, and the house shook and the door knocker knocked at each explosion. am ashamed to write this scrawl but we expect them again tonight, it is bright and moonlit, and I don't fell very strong...... We did not get a warning in time. You can imagine sixty-four pairs of eyes watching my every movement with the awful droning overhead, and the guns banging, quite uselessly, for they could not reach the height.
Very relevant to the WWII thread about bombing of cities.
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Old 19th November 2017, 08:54 AM   #333
Henri McPhee
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There was another interesting part to that letter to my grandfather from his cousin on 9th Oct, 1918:

Quote:
Well how are you now? I hope you like the life and the French people. Needless to mention that you must have seen some sights and especially if you have taken part in any of these recent engagements. I found the mud and the wet the most trying to the constitution.
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Old 19th November 2017, 10:43 AM   #334
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Cool story, bro.

I especially liked the part where Blackadder is was a documentary.
Yeah I think the OP had descended into pure trolling at this point.

Oh and tomorrow is the 100th anniversary of Cambrai, the battle where for the first time the British were able to apply the lessons learned from the Somme and Ypres on a large scale and mount a major combined arms assault. In the end it failed not because of stupidity but because of the same problems that afflicted both sides throughout the war, poor communications and the inability to exploit a breakthrough. Cambrai did lay a lot of the ground work for the successes of 1918 and the 100 days.
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Old 19th November 2017, 11:08 AM   #335
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Really? Do you see any fault with the facts I presented, or...?

Or is picking on a strawman version of the opening line the best "counter-argument" that can be made?
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Old 20th November 2017, 03:59 AM   #336
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Blackadder Goes Forth draws much of its inspiration from the likes of The Donkeys which at the time was the start of the "WW1 generals were ****" revisionsim, by Clarke. Including the entirely made up Falkenhayn quote that gives the book its title.

At the point B4 came out things had shifted back towards a far more balanced view of the war, and the generalship during it. The end result is that it is simply not looked on favourably by historians of WW1.

So calling it a documentary is stretching it somewhat...
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Old 20th November 2017, 04:37 AM   #337
HansMustermann
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You're missing the key word "almost" and the rest of the message where I say the actual numbers have been massively exaggerated for comedic effect. (Well, that and the fact that it was a bit of hyperbole on my part too, but let's ignore that.) Furthermore it was only about the clip linked to, not about the parts where he eats the general's pigeon and whatnot. Nobody said it was an ACTUAL documentary. I'm not going to start writing seriously about the life and exploits of General Melchett, you know?

You'll also note that all the numbers I've presented there are actually very mainstream history nowadays, and none depends on stuff like the Donkeys.

All I'm saying is that a lot of the stuff they're taking the piss out of, is actually not entirely fiction, and is simply a comedic exaggeration of actual WW1 stuff. E.g., to give a new example, sure, nobody proclaimed it a victory that they gained 17 square feet like in Blackadder Goes Forth, but after Haig proclaimed his victory at the Somme after gaining 5 miles, someone did calculate that at that rate they'd only need 180 years to reach Berlin.
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Old 20th November 2017, 07:22 AM   #338
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
You're missing the key word "almost" and the rest of the message where I say the actual numbers have been massively exaggerated for comedic effect. (Well, that and the fact that it was a bit of hyperbole on my part too, but let's ignore that.) Furthermore it was only about the clip linked to, not about the parts where he eats the general's pigeon and whatnot. Nobody said it was an ACTUAL documentary. I'm not going to start writing seriously about the life and exploits of General Melchett, you know?

You'll also note that all the numbers I've presented there are actually very mainstream history nowadays, and none depends on stuff like the Donkeys.

All I'm saying is that a lot of the stuff they're taking the piss out of, is actually not entirely fiction, and is simply a comedic exaggeration of actual WW1 stuff. E.g., to give a new example, sure, nobody proclaimed it a victory that they gained 17 square feet like in Blackadder Goes Forth, but after Haig proclaimed his victory at the Somme after gaining 5 miles, someone did calculate that at that rate they'd only need 180 years to reach Berlin.
They did.

They also did the calculations (on a more serious note) that at the casualty rates then being experienced that the Germans would run out of men in 1919, while the Western Allies could keep going until 1920 (once the Americans got involved).

The question was whether the political desire to seek peace was there - France wasn't ready to quit as their country was being occupied, and the region that was occupied was their region with a large part of their industry. The British could have left, but then there would have been the political fallout of abandoning their allies and those countries really not trusting them again for a good long while. The Germans only bargaining chip was that their army was the one occupying these other countries - otherwise they were screwed three ways from Sunday with diminishing resources and manpower and no realistic way better their position.

Politically, the Western Allies had to attack - all the Germans had to do was hold onto what they'd taken in 1914, while keeping the albatrosses they'd tied around their necks in the form of the AH and Ottoman Empires from pulling them down too fast.
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Old 20th November 2017, 07:40 AM   #339
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It's not the invalid stats.
It's the interpretation of the stats given.

Yes, executing someone with PTSD is not a great look...however, PTSD did not exist until that war. That is, this was a new thing. Even then, very few were actually executed (we're talking a teeny number), or charged in any way.

We were not going to break through, so yes...the Somme could be looked on as a victory. It stopped the Germans at Verdun, and took pressure off the French.

As I said earlier, if you look at WW1 from a WW2 perspective then you are, quite simply, doing it wrong.
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