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Old 29th January 2013, 12:08 PM   #81
Hubert Cumberdale
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Originally Posted by Giz View Post


I can think of some "command" stupidity though... some of Lloyd George's machinations spring to mind.
No surprise he tried to blame everything on Haig......

And Churchill.... what a bell end.
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Old 29th January 2013, 12:09 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by Hubert Cumberdale View Post
Jellicoe did exactly the right thing. His treatment thereafter was shameful.
A hundred years of hearing about Nelson meant that any result short of a brilliant victory was going to leave Jellicoe open to abuse. Unfair but I'm not sure if it was avoidable.

As the RN couldn't win the war but could definitely lose it... he achieved what was needed.
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Old 29th January 2013, 12:11 PM   #83
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Originally Posted by Paul W View Post
(Also posted on "What book are you reading!" forum)

If you are interested in WW1 I can recommend Ashworth "Trench Warfare 1914-1918: The Live and Let Live System".

Basically he argues that for long stretches in the of the war - except when the higher echelons (who were not in the front line and therefore safe) sent men into battle - there was deliberate collusion between the opposing forces to avoid casualties. Well worth reading.

I got a lot of stick from my (late) mother-in-law about it. She only read the main title and not the subtitle!
Why would she complain about book called "Trench Warfare 1914-1918"?
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Old 29th January 2013, 12:12 PM   #84
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Originally Posted by FenerFan View Post
This reminded me of a documentary I watched in which they spoke about how the Germans and French constantly attempted to dig underneath enemy trenches in an attempt to blow them up. Over time, the competing groups of diggers communicated with each other. As the war drew to a close they actually would tell each other when and where the charges would be detonated. They had developed some odd brand of camaraderie.
Some of the German soldiers were disgusted by this sharing of information with the enemy, including a young Adolph Hitler.

(It has been a bit of time since I watched the documentary. I think have the basic info right, please correct me if I am wrong.)
The Christmas truce is another, earlier manifestation of that odd brand of camaraderie. I don't think Adolf approved of that one either. It is rather surreal when you think about it.
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Old 29th January 2013, 12:12 PM   #85
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Originally Posted by Border Reiver View Post
Taylor's work on WWI is pretty good.

Although more of a popular history Pierre Burton's Vimy is well researched.
http://www.amazon.com/Vimy-Pierre-Berton/dp/0385658427


Vimy Ridge put the clever Canadian military on the world map, it did!
With "only" 10,000 Canadians lost!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Vimy_Ridge

Brit: "Those plucky colonists, what were they ...yes, Ca Ca-nadians, yes, harump ... I mean honestly ... well, they put on a good show!"

Last edited by JDC; 29th January 2013 at 12:30 PM.
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Old 29th January 2013, 12:30 PM   #86
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Originally Posted by Mark6 View Post
Why would she complain about book called "Trench Warfare 1914-1918"?
She rather objected to anyone wanting to read about warfare, particularly trench warfare, on the grounds that she "had seen lots of wounded men coming back from it" (WW1). As I said, she didn't read the subtitle.

She was also influenced by the fact that her husband (my father in law) had a rough time as a POW of the Japanese in WW2. She was also in London during the Blitz.

As a matter of interest, I was working with the UK military establishment during the Vietnam affair, and we heard a number of reports (from reliable sources) that both sides tended to make a lot of noise when on patrol because neither wanted to encounter the other and be forced to fight and sustain casualties.

Generally, it seems, it's the politicians and Generals who want to fight - as long as it's not them getting killed. At least war in the Middle Ages meant that the king and his entourage ran the same risks as the PBI. Actually, probably more risk since they were easily identifiable and there was the principle of hit the leaders and the rest will run away.

Last edited by Anerystos; 29th January 2013 at 12:43 PM. Reason: Clarity and extension
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Old 29th January 2013, 12:34 PM   #87
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Anybody else read Castles of Steel?
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Old 29th January 2013, 12:45 PM   #88
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Originally Posted by Gawdzilla View Post
Anybody else read Castles of Steel?
Got halfway through and then distracted by something else. I like the way he builds the tension.... you can feel the exhilaration as one squadron smashes through the waves catching its prey, guns trained to their highest elevation, massive clouds of black smoke belching into the grey skies....

Great stuff.
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Old 29th January 2013, 12:48 PM   #89
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Originally Posted by StankApe View Post
We talk about D-Day casualties and what a horrible experience it was. 10,000 casualties includig 2,500 killed. But the British lost 60,000 alone on the first day of Somme , and during the Hundred Days Offensive nearly 2 MILLION casualties!!! over 95 days which is over 21,000 PER DAY!!

it's mind boggling how terrible that war was.


You've got to take into account the numbers though. The opening assault of the Somme involved about 300,000 men, compared with a total of 160,000 who crossed the beaches on D-day, only a tiny fraction of whom were in the initial waves which actually met resistance.
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Old 29th January 2013, 12:53 PM   #90
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Originally Posted by Gawdzilla View Post
Jutland, victory or draw? And for whom?
Technical Tactical victory for the Germans....they sank more tonnage then the Brits..but strategic victory for the British, since the German never again made a major sally with the Battle Fleet outside of German Coastal waters.

Kind of like the Coral Sea in 1942, where the Japanese won a tactical victory but suffered a strategic loss because they abandoned the amphibious assault on Port Moresby.
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Old 29th January 2013, 12:54 PM   #91
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Originally Posted by gumboot View Post
You've got to take into account the numbers though. The opening assault of the Somme involved about 300,000 men, compared with a total of 160,000 who crossed the beaches on D-day, only a tiny fraction of whom were in the initial waves which actually met resistance.
But the first day of the Somme was highly atypical of the battle (out of a four month battle costing 400,000 casualties, 60,000 fell on the first day.... 15% of the loss in less than 1% of the duration). (Of course the first day is all the "man in the street knows about").
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Old 29th January 2013, 12:54 PM   #92
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Quote:
Technical Tactical victory for the Germans
Not even a Tactical victory

At the end of the Day the German Fleet ran away and the only time it came out of port again was to surrender and scuttle itself.

Last edited by Captain_Swoop; 29th January 2013 at 12:55 PM.
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Old 29th January 2013, 12:54 PM   #93
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Originally Posted by Gawdzilla View Post
Anybody else read Castles of Steel?
Yeah, In fact in a previious post I recommended it as a book on World War One At Sea.
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Old 29th January 2013, 01:06 PM   #94
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
Not even a Tactical victory

At the end of the Day the German Fleet ran away and the only time it came out of port again was to surrender and scuttle itself.
Isn't "sinking more ships and causing more casualties but running away and hiding afterwards" the definition of a tactical success and a strategic loss?
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Old 29th January 2013, 01:07 PM   #95
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
Not even a Tactical victory

At the end of the Day the German Fleet ran away and the only time it came out of port again was to surrender and scuttle itself.
Yes and the RN could afford the tonnage. The HSF could not.
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Old 29th January 2013, 01:09 PM   #96
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Originally Posted by StankApe View Post
I have recently discovered the 26 part BBC series The Great War about WW1.
Have heard about this for awhile but unable to find it, would love to watch it. It's not on Netflix or BBC America...is it even available in the US?
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Old 29th January 2013, 01:15 PM   #97
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Originally Posted by Hubert Cumberdale View Post
The enormous casualty lists of WWI were largely as a result of the scale of operations.

Yes, the British took 60,000 casualties on the first day of the Somme but IIRC, something like 500,000 men were engaged. Haig was probably right when he said

"...the total casualties are estimated at over 40,000 to date. This cannot be considered severe in view of the numbers engaged, and the length of front attacked."

In fact, casualty rates were not unprecedented either by the standards of Napoleonic battles or by the standards of later battles following D-Day in the next war.

The British tend to have this mawkish and slightly ghoulish attitiude to WWI derived from casualty numbers not casualty rates. The public's attitude towards Haig is slanderous in its ignorance.


WWI may just be one of the most poorly understood wars in history. A prime example is the "get out of your trench and walk towards the enemy" representation of warfare.

There was actually a very sound and effective reason for walking towards the enemy. It was called the creeping barrage.

WWI was notable for its introduction of incredibly dense and deep fortifications, which were impossible for infantry to penetrate. The answer was artillery; used not as a weapon against the enemy but as a tool to clear defenses and as a shield to protect your troops.

The tactic was refined to incredible complexity as the war progressed, but the basic premise was that you would put a wall of artillery in front of your infantry to destroy obstacles such as wire, and to shield your troops from enemy fire (the artillery explosions destroy incoming rounds). This required careful timing between the artillery and infantry because your infantry had to be quite close behind the artillery barrage for it to be effective. So you worked off a walking pace, with the barrage lifting by 50m or whatever as the infantry neared it. This would continue until the infantry were within a short sprint of the enemy trenches at which point the barrage would lift to the rear of the enemy lines (to disrupt any counter-attack) and the infantry would storm the enemy trenches and set up defenses.

Infantry that ran at the enemy were liable to enter the barrage zone and be blown to pieces by their own guns, or pass through the barrage zone and be exposed to enemy fire.

The problem, of course, is that this was new technology being developed in rather trying conditions. There was no way to communicate between the infantry and artillery once the attack began. If all went according to plan it was remarkably successful (responsible for many of the greatest victories of the war) but if anything arose that disrupted the plan it rapidly fell to pieces.

This was further complicated by the conditions.

One of the best examples of the contrast between a successful operation and an unsuccessful operation can be seen in 3rd Ypres. During early battles, in favourable conditions (Messines, Menin Rd, Polygon Wood and Broodseinde) the allied forces (particularly the two ANZAC Corps) easily defeated German defenses time and time again using creeping barrage tactics.

However at Passchendaele all of the factors came together to undermine the tactics; the weather produced thick mud which had severe effects;
1) The artillery couldn't move guns and ammunition forward in time for the attack due to severe conditions behind the lines, thus there were insufficient guns for an effective barrage and a lack of ammunition to maintain it.
2) The mud meant the guns couldn't be kept stable, and had to be realigned after every single round. This made providing an accurate and constant barrage totally impossible.
3) The mud meant the few rounds that did land on target failed to destroy obstacles; many rounds simple vanished into the mud, unexploded.
4) The mud slowed the infantry down so that they couldn't keep up with the barrage, even had it been effectively executed.

As a result, you had a massacre. The New Zealand Division - which was considered an elite unit and had performed with stunning success in the early battles of the campaign were cut to pieces, suffering the single greatest loss of life by any cause in the country's history - we lost approximately 1% of the entire country's population in the space of one hour, with another 2% of the country's population injured.
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Old 29th January 2013, 01:16 PM   #98
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Some fun reading here: http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/USN/Navy/
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Old 29th January 2013, 01:28 PM   #99
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Originally Posted by CaptainHowdy View Post
The Christmas truce is another, earlier manifestation of that odd brand of camaraderie. I don't think Adolf approved of that one either. It is rather surreal when you think about it.
He was pouting in a dugout across from the English positions at Neuve Chapelle IIRC, being all Hitlery.

I've been tinkering on a WW1-based script for some time now, centered around the Xmas Truce and the battle of NC. I'm a firm believer that centuries don't begin and end neatly at the turn of the next XX00 year, but that they have their own character (the 19th century beginning with the 1789 and ending with World War One, for instance).

I argue that the last gasp of the 19th century was the 1914 Xmas Truce - it certainly wasn't repeated in 1915. Something changed between those two holidays, and I think it was a combination of realizing that this was going to take a lot longer than originally thought, and based on the casualties in the push to capture Aubers Ridge (I'm basing the latter on Vera Brittain's war diary entry on the subject).
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Old 29th January 2013, 02:09 PM   #100
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Then there is Gallipoli...the text book example of how NOT to conduct an Amphibious Operation.
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Old 29th January 2013, 02:19 PM   #101
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
Then there is Gallipoli...the text book example of how NOT to conduct an Amphibious Operation.
They'll never admit it, but they had been watching the US landings at Daiquiri, and they had one too many daiquiris when they planned Gallipoli.
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Old 29th January 2013, 02:23 PM   #102
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
Then there is Gallipoli...the text book example of how NOT to conduct an Amphibious Operation.
Also a very good example of mission creep.
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Old 29th January 2013, 02:30 PM   #103
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
Then there is Gallipoli...the text book example of how NOT to conduct an Amphibious Operation.
Also an early manifestation of the primary strategic delusion/mistake on the British side during the war: The "Easterners" and their idea (aka wishful thinking) that Germany could be defeated by kicking away its 'props'.

IIRC, Britain raised something like 8 million soldiers (I think this includes the Empire/Dominions). About 5 million went to France, about 2.5 million to fight the Ottomans. What a waste of resources. (The Germans must have been ecstatic over not having another couple of million 'Tommies' on the Western Front).
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Old 29th January 2013, 02:40 PM   #104
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Well, it was a strategic delusion of Churchill in particular. And in the next war too.
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Old 29th January 2013, 02:41 PM   #105
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Originally Posted by gumboot View Post
we lost approximately 1% of the entire country's population in the space of one hour, with another 2% of the country's population injured.
Blimey. I didnt know that.
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Old 29th January 2013, 02:43 PM   #106
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Originally Posted by Hubert Cumberdale View Post
Well, it was a strategic delusion of Churchill in particular. And in the next war too.
Thoft undahbelleee!
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Old 29th January 2013, 02:45 PM   #107
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Originally Posted by Polaris View Post
Thoft undahbelleee!
Glad I wasn't drinking anything or it would have gone all over my keyboard

(Good Churchill impression btw)
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Old 29th January 2013, 02:50 PM   #108
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Originally Posted by Giz View Post
Glad I wasn't drinking anything or it would have gone all over my keyboard

(Good Churchill impression btw)
Thanks, I try!
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Old 29th January 2013, 03:14 PM   #109
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Originally Posted by StankApe View Post
We talk about D-Day casualties and what a horrible experience it was. 10,000 casualties includig 2,500 killed. But the British lost 60,000 alone on the first day of Somme , and during the Hundred Days Offensive nearly 2 MILLION casualties!!! over 95 days which is over 21,000 PER DAY!!

it's mind boggling how terrible that war was.
Yes and if you look you'll find that that daily casualty rate in the Normandy campaign as a whole averaged out to about the same as the Somme barring the first day. In WWI it was the French and British who took the bulk of the casualties on the Entente side as the Western Front dominated the war; not the Eastern as in WWII. Essentially for four straight years the British faced the enemy in the main theatre of combat. In WWII the harsh reality is that until D-Day they had been largely engaged in sideshows in the Med and North Africa with the USSR bearing the brunt of the losses.

Add to that communications that was either telephones or runners carrying messages, an Army that had gone from 6 divisions in 1914 to 60 by 1916 in a country that had no compulsory military service to create a deep reserve of experienced men.

Also the notion that they just bludgeoned away for four years is a myth; the British learned and innovated even during the Somme campaign, which the British didn't want to fight but felt compelled to prevent the Germans pouring yet more troops into the fighting at Verdun.
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Old 29th January 2013, 03:18 PM   #110
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Originally Posted by Giz View Post
Also an early manifestation of the primary strategic delusion/mistake on the British side during the war: The "Easterners" and their idea (aka wishful thinking) that Germany could be defeated by kicking away its 'props'.

IIRC, Britain raised something like 8 million soldiers (I think this includes the Empire/Dominions). About 5 million went to France, about 2.5 million to fight the Ottomans. What a waste of resources. (The Germans must have been ecstatic over not having another couple of million 'Tommies' on the Western Front).
One of the reasons Lloyd George so enthusiastically put the boot into Haig, after he was safely dead of course, was because he had the temerity to prove LG wrong about those Eastern ideas. Along the way of course LG helped bolster the 'stab in the back' myth by playing up the role of the unrest in Germany in ending the war.
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Old 29th January 2013, 03:23 PM   #111
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Originally Posted by PitPat View Post
Have heard about this for awhile but unable to find it, would love to watch it. It's not on Netflix or BBC America...is it even available in the US?
the entire series is on you tube
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Old 29th January 2013, 03:30 PM   #112
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Originally Posted by StankApe View Post
the entire series is on you tube
Watching it now. Considering the number of times I've seen The World at War, I can't believe I've never seen this. It's superb.
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Old 29th January 2013, 03:57 PM   #113
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Originally Posted by paiute View Post
...History calls it Spanish because the Spanish press was the first to be able to openly report on it.
Then too, "the Fort Riley, Kansas Flu" doesn't ring as well as The Spanish Flu.

The Ride of the Spanish Lady: it chills your blood yet -- and thrills it too. We have to face that in human nature.
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Old 29th January 2013, 03:59 PM   #114
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Originally Posted by StankApe View Post
the entire series is on you tube

Can you provide a link please.
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Old 29th January 2013, 04:05 PM   #115
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Originally Posted by Hubert Cumberdale View Post
Also a very good example of mission creep.
Exactly. Several Historians think that Churchill's basis strategy of sending a naval force to Constantinople was workable,but was messed up in the execution.
IMHO You cannot blame Chuchill for the fiasco that was the landing at Gallipoli since early on the Army pretty much took over the planning once landings were considerin necessary. One of the great tragedies of the war is that from all accounts the first attempt to force the Straits by naval forces alone was very very near sucess when the admiral, upset by a couple of losses due to mines, basically abandoned the whole operation. One of the problems with Navies is that early on in the war, they seem releuctant to admit that you are not going to win a war at sea without naval losses.
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Old 29th January 2013, 04:05 PM   #116
sackett
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About gas in WW1: The old* Ballantine Books History of the Violent Century Weapons Book # 43, Gas, is a good read. Ian V. Hogg was the author, and he couldn't write a dull sentence. The war gases of that period were perhaps not the ghastly weapons we suppose; Hogg makes a case that in fact they incapacitated rather than killed wholesale. The stuff we have today certainly makes them look tame -- well, tamer.


* 1975, a year I recall in detail. I'm pretty old too, innit?
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Old 29th January 2013, 04:11 PM   #117
StankApe
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Originally Posted by Paul W View Post
Can you provide a link please.
Here's the link to the guy's page who posted them :

http://www.youtube.com/user/snapey82/videos?view=0
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Old 29th January 2013, 04:26 PM   #118
Border Reiver
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Originally Posted by gumboot View Post

As a result, you had a massacre. The New Zealand Division - which was considered an elite unit and had performed with stunning success in the early battles of the campaign were cut to pieces, suffering the single greatest loss of life by any cause in the country's history - we lost approximately 1% of the entire country's population in the space of one hour, with another 2% of the country's population injured.
The Royal Newfoundland Regiment suffered similarly at Beaument Hamel July 1, 1916.

780 troops started the attack (22 officers and 758 NCOs and men) and after the attack there were only 110 NCOs and men uninjured (all the officers were either dead or wounded). Given Newfoundland's population at the time (240,000) this was a significant loss for the Dominion.

It also lead to a lot of resentment in Newfoundland after they joined Canada in 1949 - as Beaument-Hamel falls on the same date as Canada Day.
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Old 29th January 2013, 05:17 PM   #119
PitPat
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Originally Posted by StankApe View Post
the entire series is on you tube
Ahh, YouTube, who woulda thunk. Not me.

Thanks.
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Old 29th January 2013, 05:18 PM   #120
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Originally Posted by Giz View Post
Isn't "sinking more ships and causing more casualties but running away and hiding afterwards" the definition of a tactical success and a strategic loss?
No, running away is usually called a defeat. In a tactical sense the RN won, they were left in charge of the North Sea. By tradition the RN wasn't afraid of losing ships and were willing to sacrifice whatever units they needed to in order to win. Germany wasn't, that is why they broke off action. Although not as many German ships sank quite a few were so badly damaged as to be all but wrecks when they reached port.
What was a tactical victory was the raid on the North East Coast, German ships sailed close inshore and bombarded coastal towns, escaping before they were intercepted.
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