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Old 30th January 2013, 01:37 PM   #161
sackett
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Any possibility of buying the BBC series on DVD?

ETA: Not trying to derail. PM me if you know.
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Old 30th January 2013, 01:38 PM   #162
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Originally Posted by Shankly View Post
My son found this on the Somme - we left it where we found it!!!

http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6034/6...6c312901_z.jpg

these were left by the side of the road

http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6047/6...2ef1d73bb9.jpg
Wow,Just wow.
Warning:Explosives from World War One can STILL be dangerous. If you see one on a battlefield leave it alone, do not touch, and notify whoever is in charge of the park, or the local authorities.
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Old 30th January 2013, 01:48 PM   #163
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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.)


New Zealand's Pioneers were particularly favoured for these jobs because most countries had experienced miners but mining is done in rock. Our Pioneers were mostly Kauri gum diggers who work in mud and clay, so their experience were enormously useful, particularly in areas like Ypres. The Messines mine was dug almost exclusively by our Kauri gum diggers.

Incidentally, this is where the nickname "Digger" comes from, which ended up being applied first to NZ Pioneers, then to all NZ soldiers, and eventually to all ANZAC soldiers.
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Old 30th January 2013, 01:55 PM   #164
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
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.
Just now catching up on this thread and simply had to put in a short derail about one of my pet topics.

I consider the Battle of the Coral Sea to be the turning point in the Pacific War, as opposed to the commoonly held view of Midway. Stopping the Japanese short of Moresby is what killed their momentum and took them off the offensive as well as all the logistical benefits that the Allies retained and that were denied to the Japanese.

Now back to your regularly scheduled thread.
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Old 30th January 2013, 02:06 PM   #165
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Originally Posted by Damien Evans View Post
Very good, apart from the fact that it was obviously written by an American.
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Old 30th January 2013, 03:19 PM   #166
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Originally Posted by Shankly View Post
My son found this on the Somme - we left it where we found it!!!
That is a British No.5 Mills bomb. It appears to have the base plate screwed on, in which case it's almost certainly live (ie. fuse, striker and detonator all fitted and ready to go)
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Old 30th January 2013, 04:00 PM   #167
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And No World War One Thread is complete without this:






CURSE YOU, RED BARON!
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Old 30th January 2013, 04:13 PM   #168
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Originally Posted by Damien Evans View Post
And there's of course the "if WW1 was a bar fight".
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Old 30th January 2013, 04:13 PM   #169
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Originally Posted by TX50 View Post
That is a British No.5 Mills bomb. It appears to have the base plate screwed on, in which case it's almost certainly live (ie. fuse, striker and detonator all fitted and ready to go)
Hell, shells from the Civil War have been known to go off when found on Civil War Battlefields. The NPS actually post signs warning people not to handle them if they find them.
The point is no matter how old it is,how rusty it is, DO NOT HANDLE AND EXPLOSIVE ORNDANCE.
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Old 30th January 2013, 06:02 PM   #170
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Originally Posted by sackett View Post
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.
CW agents of the era killed about 2%, however those who didn't die often suffered for the rest if their lives.

Originally Posted by Damien Evans View Post
Apparently you missed the whole Sinai and Palestine Campaign. Not sure how you could miss that, given its modern ramifications for the Middle-East.
Ah, Allenby. He didn't want to be there but he did a good job. And contributed significantly to the knowledge of the migration patterns of storks.

Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
Hell, shells from the Civil War have been known to go off when found on Civil War Battlefields. The NPS actually post signs warning people not to handle them if they find them.
The point is no matter how old it is,how rusty it is, DO NOT HANDLE AND EXPLOSIVE ORNDANCE.
A good point. Especially given some of the ordnance used Picric acid as a filler. Doesn't age well.
While I was in the USA, about twenty years ago, a souvenir shell from the ACW that'd been blamelessly sitting on a mantelshelf for 120+ years detonated one Thanksgiving, without casualties.
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Old 30th January 2013, 07:31 PM   #171
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Originally Posted by gumboot View Post
New Zealand's Pioneers were particularly favoured for these jobs because most countries had experienced miners but mining is done in rock. Our Pioneers were mostly Kauri gum diggers who work in mud and clay, so their experience were enormously useful, particularly in areas like Ypres. The Messines mine was dug almost exclusively by our Kauri gum diggers.

Incidentally, this is where the nickname "Digger" comes from, which ended up being applied first to NZ Pioneers, then to all NZ soldiers, and eventually to all ANZAC soldiers.
Which one? There were 21, and the British had been digging in the area before we even got to the salient.
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Old 30th January 2013, 07:36 PM   #172
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Originally Posted by catsmate1 View Post
Ah, Allenby. He didn't want to be there but he did a good job. And contributed significantly to the knowledge of the migration patterns of storks.
Plus it gave Australia a cool story about cavalry charges.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_..._Horse_Brigade
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Old 30th January 2013, 07:42 PM   #173
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Originally Posted by Damien Evans View Post
Which one? There were 21, and the British had been digging in the area before we even got to the salient.
Most of them. A lot of our pioneers were put in British units because no one else had experience mining that sort of terrain. In the Ypres Salient, virtually any time any sort of mining is mentioned, regardless of which troops are "on paper" doing it, they were almost all New Zealand gum diggers. In the late 19th Century/Early 20th Century kauri gum was New Zealand's single biggest export, and 20,000 people were employed in the activity.

New Zealanders in the infantry or other units, who were found to have gum digger experience, were immediately moved into the pioneers.
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Old 30th January 2013, 09:05 PM   #174
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Originally Posted by gumboot View Post
Most of them. A lot of our pioneers were put in British units because no one else had experience mining that sort of terrain. In the Ypres Salient, virtually any time any sort of mining is mentioned, regardless of which troops are "on paper" doing it, they were almost all New Zealand gum diggers. In the late 19th Century/Early 20th Century kauri gum was New Zealand's single biggest export, and 20,000 people were employed in the activity.

New Zealanders in the infantry or other units, who were found to have gum digger experience, were immediately moved into the pioneers.
I did not know that.

On a related note, have you seen Beneath Hill 60? It's a recent Australian film about the 1st Tunneling company and their role at Messines. I've got the DVD but am yet to watch it, I'd be interested to hear your opinion of it.
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Old 30th January 2013, 11:30 PM   #175
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Originally Posted by Damien Evans View Post
I did not know that.

On a related note, have you seen Beneath Hill 60? It's a recent Australian film about the 1st Tunneling company and their role at Messines. I've got the DVD but am yet to watch it, I'd be interested to hear your opinion of it.

I haven't, but it's on my to-watch list. There's so many great stories about the ANZACS in WWI that need telling, so it's great to see some of them making it to screen.
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Old 31st January 2013, 06:02 AM   #176
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Just stay away from Passchendaele - I mean the first ten and the last twenty or so minutes are pretty good as a war movie, but the rest is a really badly paced love story set in 1918 Calgary...

I wanted a Canadian War Movietm, I got nothing like it.
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Old 31st January 2013, 07:03 AM   #177
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Seeing Snoopy in full flight above reminded me... Over the course of the war we went from just barely being able to fly to developing remarkable aircraft with reliability, maneuverability, and firepower... All in just a few years.
Compare the first Wright "flyer" to a Gotha bomber.....
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Old 31st January 2013, 07:08 AM   #178
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Cornish Tin Miners, Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Durham Coal miners and Cleveland Ironstone Miners were digging as well. One of my Great Uncles was a Mine deputy from Morrisons Pit (Ironstone) In East Cleveland. He just about lived underground.

Time Team did a 'special' on the Mines joining in with excavating some of the tunnels and galleries. there were miles and miles of them. They didn't just dig a tunnel and pack it with explosives, they had underground battles involving hundreds of men attacking into each others tunnels.
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Old 31st January 2013, 12:15 PM   #179
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Originally Posted by Gawdzilla View Post
Anybody else read Castles of Steel?
Took 1.5 months, but finally finished it. Slow at start, but all that detail means you really know whats at stake by the time you get to Jutland. Amazing book.

One of the main points I took away from the book were how brave those sailors were, and how incredibly incompetent some of the commanders were. Especially when no one bothers mentioning to Jellicoe that the enemy just happens to be slipping by behind them, trying to escape...
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Old 31st January 2013, 01:48 PM   #180
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Originally Posted by bignickel View Post
Took 1.5 months, but finally finished it. Slow at start, but all that detail means you really know whats at stake by the time you get to Jutland. Amazing book.

One of the main points I took away from the book were how brave those sailors were, and how incredibly incompetent some of the commanders were. Especially when no one bothers mentioning to Jellicoe that the enemy just happens to be slipping by behind them, trying to escape...
castles of steel is a fun book to read. Very good for the first half of of the war. It contains some technical errors, but overall a good read.
I do think Massie is something of a Jellicoe fan, because the book more or less ends after the battle of Jutland, when Jellicoe was making his greatest errors (the battle against the u-boats).

All in all I found his book Dreadnought much much better. That book explains
how and why the Great War started. That book, combined with The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman gives a very thorough explanation about the run-up to and the first month of the Great War.
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Old 31st January 2013, 02:06 PM   #181
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Old 31st January 2013, 03:42 PM   #182
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
And there's of course the "if WW1 was a bar fight".
OMG! That is awesome!

Absolutely that needs to be made into a comedy sketch with comedians from the various countries playing the patrons!

It would make teaching sooooo much easier!

Cheers,
Jeff
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Old 31st January 2013, 03:52 PM   #183
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Originally Posted by Bikewer View Post
Seeing Snoopy in full flight above reminded me... Over the course of the war we went from just barely being able to fly to developing remarkable aircraft with reliability, maneuverability, and firepower... All in just a few years.
Compare the first Wright "flyer" to a Gotha bomber.....
No debate, World War One really did force aviation to advance much faster ten it would have normally. If nothing else, look at the range of planes in 1914 and the range they had in 1918.
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Old 31st January 2013, 05:22 PM   #184
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
No debate, World War One really did force aviation to advance much faster ten it would have normally. If nothing else, look at the range of planes in 1914 and the range they had in 1918.
Not just planes but all kinds of tech. I'll plug "White Heat: The New Warfare, 1914-1918" again, as it covers air, sea, artillery etc very well... just gives an idea of the scale of the changes and what the commanders had to deal with.

Hmmm, looks out of print... still, worth getting if you can find it!

http://www.amazon.com/White-Heat-The...+john+terraine
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Old 31st January 2013, 07:23 PM   #185
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Originally Posted by StankApe View Post
I have recently discovered the 26 part BBC series The Great War about WW1. I knew it was a vicious and terrible war, but the sheer number of casualties in a relatively small amount of conflicts is just staggering. 6 figure casualty levels in 8 hours of fighting? OMG!!!

I have learned a great deal about it via this program and I plan on grabbing a few books down the road to expand my knowledge of it. (as sadly, due to the USA's limited input, we don't spend much time on this war in school).

I know that the victors write the history and all that, but the Kaiser seems like an inhuman monster.
That's why they tried to pull the plug on the German's with the Treaty of Versailles. When I was a little boy, Helen Bronfield the writer and only woman journalist present at the treaty's signing used to tell me some tales about those days and that war. WOW!
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Old 1st February 2013, 03:23 AM   #186
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Originally Posted by Giz View Post
Not just planes but all kinds of tech. I'll plug "White Heat: The New Warfare, 1914-1918" again, as it covers air, sea, artillery etc very well... just gives an idea of the scale of the changes and what the commanders had to deal with.

Hmmm, looks out of print... still, worth getting if you can find it!

http://www.amazon.com/White-Heat-The...+john+terraine
I haven't got that one by Terraine (I find him a bit too Haig-apologetic).
I do have this one by Tim Travers, which sounds like it treads similar ground, but also covers the pre-war views on tactics.

The Killing Ground.

It's a very good book.
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Old 1st February 2013, 06:59 AM   #187
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Originally Posted by Tolls View Post
I haven't got that one by Terraine (I find him a bit too Haig-apologetic).
I do have this one by Tim Travers, which sounds like it treads similar ground, but also covers the pre-war views on tactics.

The Killing Ground.

It's a very good book.
Yeah, Terraine is a bit of a Haig apologist (to the extent that the "average Brit" who thinks he was an incompetent butcher is misinformed and he was a professional soldier who compares decently against other nations WW1 generals or other British generals of the 20th century. He doesn't make him out to be one of the great commanders of history, just a competent professional who operated in difficult circumstances).

Thanks for the book recommendation - I'll take a look!
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Old 1st February 2013, 07:16 AM   #188
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Still working my way through The Great War and have been very struck by the story it tells of Germany starting the war at an advantage as its industry and technological development had already been expanding quickly and were well able to supply and support the military. It took the British a couple of years to appreciate how total war needed a real national effort to supply the front lines.

Although I knew parts of the story I had never really joined the dots, so to speak.
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Old 1st February 2013, 11:08 AM   #189
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Originally Posted by Tolls View Post
I haven't got that one by Terraine (I find him a bit too Haig-apologetic).
I do have this one by Tim Travers, which sounds like it treads similar ground, but also covers the pre-war views on tactics.

The Killing Ground.

It's a very good book.
I like that. Haig apologetic. A deft little poisoning of the well.

The description of the book is even better

Quote:
In general, historians of the First World War are in two hostile camps: those who see the futility of lions led by donkeys on the one hand and on the other the apologists for Haig and the conduct of the war.
Sounds perfectly unbiased to me!

Just ordered both books.
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Old 1st February 2013, 02:46 PM   #190
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If you want a real butcher general you want Montgomery, he won battles in a first world war style. Have more men to die than the enemy.

He just had a better understanding of PR.
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Old 1st February 2013, 03:27 PM   #191
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There is a great series on WW1 from the Canadian perspective. It's called "For King and Empire". I think there are some videos on youtube.
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Old 1st February 2013, 03:29 PM   #192
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The genesis of WW1 trench warfare can be found in the American Civil War, for example if I recall correctly, the earthworks around Vicksburg were nearly indistinguishable from WW1 trench systems.
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Old 2nd February 2013, 05:38 PM   #193
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I'm watching the 26th and final episode now. Really excellent series.

One amusing stylistic point: the footage is 'flipped' wherever needed to maintain the convention of map direction. On the Western front, the Germans always shoot to the left and the French, British etc always shoot to the right. I didn't notice it until I spotted a German sniper whose rifle appeared to have the bolt on the wrong side.
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Old 2nd February 2013, 09:23 PM   #194
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With the 100th anniversary of World War ..1914...just a year away, there is the expected spate of books on the Topics. Over the next couple of months ,on Amazon, I counted Three Major works on the outbreak of World War One are going to be published and I suspect this is just the tip of the iceberg. It will probably bring a few good books, and few medicore ones, and some real junk, as most spates of historical books do.
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Old 3rd February 2013, 08:55 AM   #195
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Originally Posted by Jack by the hedge View Post
I'm watching the 26th and final episode now. Really excellent series.

One amusing stylistic point: the footage is 'flipped' wherever needed to maintain the convention of map direction. On the Western front, the Germans always shoot to the left and the French, British etc always shoot to the right. I didn't notice it until I spotted a German sniper whose rifle appeared to have the bolt on the wrong side.
I noticed that too, all those years ago. Rifle bolts on the wrong side. Seemed a ridiculous convention then. Still does now. Were the Austrians and Italians on the N-S facing Alpine front shown top and bottom of the screen? I don't think so.
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Old 3rd February 2013, 01:01 PM   #196
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Originally Posted by BenBurch View Post
The genesis of WW1 trench warfare can be found in the American Civil War, for example if I recall correctly, the earthworks around Vicksburg were nearly indistinguishable from WW1 trench systems.
General Lee was derisively called the "King of Spades" for his trench building recommendations by his fellow southerners who imagined a gallant war from horseback with a few infantry to help out.
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Old 3rd February 2013, 01:05 PM   #197
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
In the Iran Iraq war I read a news clipping of a huge front lined with bodies and the conscription of children because all the young men had already died. Death toll, 700,000.

"All Quiet on the Western Front" is an incredible portrayal of the trench warfare in WWI.
AQOTWF is one of the few movies I am glad some modern restoration and retoooling was performed on. I saw it on TV as a youngster and the 1-track sound during the battle scenes was very disconcerting.
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Old 3rd February 2013, 01:20 PM   #198
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The Iran Iraq war was called "A War fought with 1980's Weapons, 1916 Tactics, and 1200's Mentalaties".
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Old 4th February 2013, 04:20 AM   #199
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Originally Posted by Giz View Post
Yeah, Terraine is a bit of a Haig apologist (to the extent that the "average Brit" who thinks he was an incompetent butcher is misinformed and he was a professional soldier who compares decently against other nations WW1 generals or other British generals of the 20th century. He doesn't make him out to be one of the great commanders of history, just a competent professional who operated in difficult circumstances).

Thanks for the book recommendation - I'll take a look!
In the world of WW1 texts there needed to be a Terraine to act as a counterpoint to the (then) standard texts, eg Liddel-Hart. But he does over-egg it a bit. His 1918 one (To Win a War?) is great, but...he defends Haig's cavalry obsession beyond the point (IMO) that would be reasonable. He downplays the usefulness of tanks in exploitation, which is fair enough to some extent, however he provides the full story of Musical Box...which sort of mucks up that one a bit. And the examples of cavalry exploitation really don't boost his argument.

Originally Posted by Hubert Cumberdale View Post
I like that. Haig apologetic. A deft little poisoning of the well.

The description of the book is even better


Sounds perfectly unbiased to me!

Just ordered both books.
Travers does a better job of straddling the two camps. He does what Giz talks about above and provides the background to the whole shebang. Haig comes across as a very professional soldier, and not without imagination. He was not the anti-tank commander others have attempted to show him as, for example.
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Old 4th February 2013, 01:08 PM   #200
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Originally Posted by Tolls View Post
In the world of WW1 texts there needed to be a Terraine to act as a counterpoint to the (then) standard texts, eg Liddel-Hart. But he does over-egg it a bit. His 1918 one (To Win a War?) is great, but...he defends Haig's cavalry obsession beyond the point (IMO) that would be reasonable. He downplays the usefulness of tanks in exploitation, which is fair enough to some extent, however he provides the full story of Musical Box...which sort of mucks up that one a bit. And the examples of cavalry exploitation really don't boost his argument.



Travers does a better job of straddling the two camps. He does what Giz talks about above and provides the background to the whole shebang. Haig comes across as a very professional soldier, and not without imagination. He was not the anti-tank commander others have attempted to show him as, for example.
Yes, there's a bit of that in his work. I don't remember too much defensiveness about Haig retaining so much cavalry… I remember him talking about the cavalry taking up a large amount of valuable supplies during the British advances in late 1918 (and him saying or implying that the logistical system could have been put to more efficient use as the cavalry were unable to "breakout" against the German rearguard). However, I also remember reading about (don't know if this was Terraine or someone else) how the retreating British were so glad that the Germans didn't have any cavalry during their Spring Offensives earlier in the year (and Ludendorff was criticized for having omitted his only exploitation troops from the "decisive" battle).

In other words, I think having cavalry on hand is yet another "damned if you do and damned if you don't" WW1 situation. Don't have them, and you have left out your only (limited) exploitation troops, do have them and you are tying up a lot of valuable logistics.

I'll definitely look up Travers. Hopefully it's on Kindle, I feel as if I am (Falkenheyn-like) trying to read unlimited amounts with limited bookshelf resources.


Hmmm, this thread is making me want to pull out my "Paths of Glory" board game.
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