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Old 1st November 2017, 02:40 PM   #1
HansMustermann
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WW1... so, was everyone stonking stupid?

It seems to me like the more I learn about the Great War, the more I end up wondering if I can blame it on the slow rise in IQ during the 20'th century, or on lead water pipes.

I don't even mean the start of the war, but stuff like:

- the French enter the war in red pants, blue coats, and with the doctrine of slowly marching in a tight formation towards the machineguns. Because anything else would be un-French.

- the Brits enter the war thinking that their 100,000 professional soldiers would defeat the millions of Germans. Don't wake up to actual mobilization until after trying a couple more stupid ideas, like the disastrous buddy system that depopulated whole towns.

- Germany enters the war ostensibly against Russia, but doesn't have plans to mobilize against Russia, and for a while doesn't even try to mobilize against Russia.

- Germany relies on a plan against the French that PREDICTABLY couldn't work, because it NEEDS veteran troops it doesn't actually have, and the margins of error on it are actually NEGATIVE in places.

- when an artillery barrage fails, and the French sanely decide to postpone their attacks, the British general decides to go over the top anyway. Gets most of his men killed, like everyone knew would happen, they get hailed as heroes. Except it seems to me that knowingly sending good troops to die for no foreseeable gain is not heroism; it's at best incompetence and at worst borderline treason.

- Russia ignores its own intelligence, attacks frontally against massed German artillery, loses all its gains in a week. And then some.

- Romania delays entering the war until the window of opportunity has passed for coordinating with the Russians to knock Austria-Hungary out of the War. Then does its own YOLO attack, Leeroy Jenkins style, on Austria-Hungary anyway, without coordinating with anyone. Only manages to first cause the Russians to try to save it, then gives its resources to Austria-Hungary when it gets occupied in response, AND lengthens the front the Russians had to defend in the process.

- meanwhile Austria-Hungary... hooo boy, where do I even start... Really, I could make a whole thread just with the stupidity of AH in that war. The sheer amount of bad decisions and incompetence in trying to implement them, dwarfs all other countries combined. It's like their whole high command went AWOL when the brains were distributed.

Etc, etc, etc. Really, you could write a whole book just with idiotic decisions that went against reality.

So, really, WTH was wrong with everyone back then? This goes way beyond not having experience with the new kind of war. In some cases people seemed to be unable to learn even from what was happening right there and then.

Was the effective IQ that much lower back then, or what? Was it the lead water pipes? Or WTH?
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Old 1st November 2017, 02:49 PM   #2
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Perhaps drink had been taken:
Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
Getting back to the subject of the thread, if anyone's interested, here's my synopsis of the First World War.

Germany, Austria and Italy are stood together in the middle of the bar-room, when Serbia bumps into Austria, and spills Austria's pint.
Austria demands Serbia buy it a complete new suit, because there are splashes on its trouser leg.
Germany expresses its support for Austria's point of view.
Britain recommends that everyone calm down a bit.
Serbia points out that it can't afford a whole suit, but offers to pay for cleaning Austria's trousers.
Russia and Serbia look at Austria.
Austria asks Serbia who it's looking at.
Russia suggests that Austria should leave its little brother alone.
Austria inquires as to whose army will assist Russia in compelling it to do so.
Germany appeals to Britain that France has been looking at it, and that this is sufficiently out of order that Britain should not intervene.
Britain replies that France can look at who it wants to, that Britain is looking at Germany too, and what is Germany going to do about it?
Germany tells Russia to stop looking at Austria, or Germany will render Russia incapable of such action.
Britain and France ask Germany whether it's looking at Belgium.
Turkey and Germany go off into a corner and whisper. When they come back, Turkey makes a show of not looking at anyone.
Germany rolls up its sleeves, looks at France, and punches Belgium.
France and Britain punch Germany. Austria punches Russia. Germany punches Britan and France with one hand and Russia with the other. Russia throws a punch at Germany, but misses and nearly falls over. Japan calls over from the other side of the room that it's on Britain's side, but stays there. Italy surprises everyone by punching Austria.
Australia punches Turkey, and gets punched back. There are no hard feelings, because Britain made Australia do it.
France gets thrown through a plate glass window, but gets back up and carries on fighting. Russia gets thrown through another one, gets knocked out, suffers brain damage, and wakes up with a complete personality change.
Italy throws a punch at Austria and misses, but Austria falls over anyway. Italy raises both fists in the air and runs round the room chanting.
America waits till Germany is about to fall over, then walks over, waves a fist at Germany while Britain knocks it out, then pretends it won the fight all by itself.
By now all the chairs are broken, and the big mirror over the bar is shattered. Britain, France and America agree that Germany threw the first punch, so the whole thing is Germany's fault. While Germany is still unconscious, they go through its pockets, steal its wallet, and buy drinks for all their friends.

Nobody comes out of it looking particularly good.

Dave
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Old 1st November 2017, 02:55 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
It seems to me like the more I learn about the Great War, the more I end up wondering if I can blame it on the slow rise in IQ during the 20'th century, or on lead water pipes.

I don't even mean the start of the war, but stuff like:

- the French enter the war in red pants, blue coats, and with the doctrine of slowly marching in a tight formation towards the machineguns. Because anything else would be un-French.
Seems like a gratuitous slur. Do you have a cite for this?

Keep in mind that the war occurred during a period of rapid transition, and military institutions (like most other institutions) can be slow to change.

Quote:
- the Brits enter the war thinking that their 100,000 professional soldiers would defeat the millions of Germans. Don't wake up to actual mobilization until after trying a couple more stupid ideas, like the disastrous buddy system that depopulated whole towns.
Smaller forces defeat larger forces all the time. Frederick the Great was renowned for securing Prussia against numerically superior enemies. Robert E. Lee held off the numerically superior Union forces for two and a half years, until Lincoln finally found a general who was willing to keep losing until he won. Britain may have overestimated the military genius of its generals, but there's nothing inherently stupid about thinking they had a chance even with fewer soldiers.

Quote:
- Germany enters the war ostensibly against Russia, but doesn't have plans to mobilize against Russia, and for a while doesn't even try to mobilize against Russia.
Germany realized that it was caught in a vise, with France on one side and Russia on the other. And in fact at the time France and Russia had secret treaties to ally against Germany.

The German strategy, then as later, was to defeat France as quickly as possible, then pivot their entire strength to the East, hopefully before Russia had a chance to complete its mobilization. It may seem weird, but Germany's plan for war against Russia started in France. Given their circumstances, it wasn't a stupid plan at all.

Incidentally, Hitler's refinement was to take a page from the Franco-Russian book, and secure a secret treaty with Stalin himself, before embarking on exactly the same strategy.

Quote:
- Germany relies on a plan against the French that PREDICTABLY couldn't work, because it NEEDS veteran troops it doesn't actually have, and the margins of error on it are actually NEGATIVE in places.
Details, please.

Keep in mind that boldness is a powerful weapon. Plans that "predictably" couldn't work often just need someone to commit forcefully to them.

Quote:
- when an artillery barrage fails, and the French sanely decide to postpone their attacks, the British general decides to go over the top anyway. Gets most of his men killed, like everyone knew would happen, they get hailed as heroes. Except it seems to me that knowingly sending good troops to die for no foreseeable gain is not heroism; it's at best incompetence and at worst borderline treason.
Details, please. Armchair generaling is easy, but at least we should know what you're talking about.

Quote:
- Russia ignores its own intelligence, attacks frontally against massed German artillery, loses all its gains in a week. And then some.
Details, please.

Quote:
- Romania delays entering the war until the window of opportunity has passed for coordinating with the Russians to knock Austria-Hungary out of the War. Then does its own YOLO attack, Leeroy Jenkins style, on Austria-Hungary anyway, without coordinating with anyone. Only manages to first cause the Russians to try to save it, then gives its resources to Austria-Hungary when it gets occupied in response, AND lengthens the front the Russians had to defend in the process.
I won't deny that some stupid decisions were made.

Quote:
- meanwhile Austria-Hungary... hooo boy, where do I even start... Really, I could make a whole thread just with the stupidity of AH in that war. The sheer amount of bad decisions and incompetence in trying to implement them, dwarfs all other countries combined. It's like their whole high command went AWOL when the brains were distributed.
... Never mind.

Quote:
Etc, etc, etc. Really, you could write a whole book just with idiotic decisions that went against reality.

So, really, WTH was wrong with everyone back then? This goes way beyond not having experience with the new kind of war. In some cases people seemed to be unable to learn even from what was happening right there and then.

Was the effective IQ that much lower back then, or what? Was it the lead water pipes? Or WTH?
I'm going with "appeal to incredulity".
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Old 1st November 2017, 02:55 PM   #4
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IQ doesn't measure anything other than the ability to take an IQ test.

/politically correct mode
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Old 1st November 2017, 03:13 PM   #5
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TV Tropes for an informal but reasonably thorough account. Useful Facts: World War I

Fred
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Old 1st November 2017, 03:27 PM   #6
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Blackadder is also a very valuable source in understanding WWI

YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE
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Old 1st November 2017, 04:12 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
It seems to me like the more I learn about the Great War, the more I end up wondering if I can blame it on the slow rise in IQ during the 20'th century, or on lead water pipes.

I don't even mean the start of the war, but stuff like:

- the French enter the war in red pants, blue coats, and with the doctrine of slowly marching in a tight formation towards the machineguns. Because anything else would be un-French.

- the Brits enter the war thinking that their 100,000 professional soldiers would defeat the millions of Germans. Don't wake up to actual mobilization until after trying a couple more stupid ideas, like the disastrous buddy system that depopulated whole towns.

- Germany enters the war ostensibly against Russia, but doesn't have plans to mobilize against Russia, and for a while doesn't even try to mobilize against Russia.

- Germany relies on a plan against the French that PREDICTABLY couldn't work, because it NEEDS veteran troops it doesn't actually have, and the margins of error on it are actually NEGATIVE in places.

- when an artillery barrage fails, and the French sanely decide to postpone their attacks, the British general decides to go over the top anyway. Gets most of his men killed, like everyone knew would happen, they get hailed as heroes. Except it seems to me that knowingly sending good troops to die for no foreseeable gain is not heroism; it's at best incompetence and at worst borderline treason.

- Russia ignores its own intelligence, attacks frontally against massed German artillery, loses all its gains in a week. And then some.

- Romania delays entering the war until the window of opportunity has passed for coordinating with the Russians to knock Austria-Hungary out of the War. Then does its own YOLO attack, Leeroy Jenkins style, on Austria-Hungary anyway, without coordinating with anyone. Only manages to first cause the Russians to try to save it, then gives its resources to Austria-Hungary when it gets occupied in response, AND lengthens the front the Russians had to defend in the process.

- meanwhile Austria-Hungary... hooo boy, where do I even start... Really, I could make a whole thread just with the stupidity of AH in that war. The sheer amount of bad decisions and incompetence in trying to implement them, dwarfs all other countries combined. It's like their whole high command went AWOL when the brains were distributed.

Etc, etc, etc. Really, you could write a whole book just with idiotic decisions that went against reality.

So, really, WTH was wrong with everyone back then? This goes way beyond not having experience with the new kind of war. In some cases people seemed to be unable to learn even from what was happening right there and then.

Was the effective IQ that much lower back then, or what? Was it the lead water pipes? Or WTH?
Remember one of the rules of war that always gets forgotten: The army (pick any) is always well prepared to fight the last war it was in!!!!
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Old 1st November 2017, 04:28 PM   #8
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As someone else said, massive technology changed the rules in radical new ways that no one knew how to deal with yet.

Hell, it was the end of forts. I believe the French or Belgians had one that was blown to bits by artillery fire. No forts anymore. Something that had been effective for thousands of years now rendered obsolete. Holy ****, what do we do now!

Oh and RADICALLY new things in war, like machine guns!!! airplanes!!! radio!!!

Hindsight 20/20 and all.
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Old 1st November 2017, 04:36 PM   #9
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Plus, hey just as a matter of interest, both my grandfather and great uncle were in the war as part of the C.E.F.

Grandpa made it home, and eventually fathered my dad who contributed to the making of me. Uncle Lloyd got gassed in late 1917. Made it back to Halifax but died there. I have a bunch of his letters home and various artifacts from both their time in the war.

Grandpa was in artillery. Made him quite deaf. My childhood memories are of him with his hearing aid and fairly bad parkinsons disease, carving the Turkey for dinner.

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Old 1st November 2017, 04:41 PM   #10
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Picture of Uncle Lloyd before he went overseas.

Very poignant reading his letters, watching him turn from an innocent farm boy to a hardened cynic.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg lloyd portrait.jpg (24.1 KB, 16 views)
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Old 1st November 2017, 04:46 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
It seems to me like the more I learn about the Great War, the more I end up wondering if I can blame it on the slow rise in IQ during the 20'th century, or on lead water pipes.

I don't even mean the start of the war, but stuff like:

- the French enter the war in red pants, blue coats, and with the doctrine of slowly marching in a tight formation towards the machineguns. Because anything else would be un-French.

- the Brits enter the war thinking that their 100,000 professional soldiers would defeat the millions of Germans. Don't wake up to actual mobilization until after trying a couple more stupid ideas, like the disastrous buddy system that depopulated whole towns.

- Germany enters the war ostensibly against Russia, but doesn't have plans to mobilize against Russia, and for a while doesn't even try to mobilize against Russia.

- Germany relies on a plan against the French that PREDICTABLY couldn't work, because it NEEDS veteran troops it doesn't actually have, and the margins of error on it are actually NEGATIVE in places.

- when an artillery barrage fails, and the French sanely decide to postpone their attacks, the British general decides to go over the top anyway. Gets most of his men killed, like everyone knew would happen, they get hailed as heroes. Except it seems to me that knowingly sending good troops to die for no foreseeable gain is not heroism; it's at best incompetence and at worst borderline treason.

- Russia ignores its own intelligence, attacks frontally against massed German artillery, loses all its gains in a week. And then some.

- Romania delays entering the war until the window of opportunity has passed for coordinating with the Russians to knock Austria-Hungary out of the War. Then does its own YOLO attack, Leeroy Jenkins style, on Austria-Hungary anyway, without coordinating with anyone. Only manages to first cause the Russians to try to save it, then gives its resources to Austria-Hungary when it gets occupied in response, AND lengthens the front the Russians had to defend in the process.

- meanwhile Austria-Hungary... hooo boy, where do I even start... Really, I could make a whole thread just with the stupidity of AH in that war. The sheer amount of bad decisions and incompetence in trying to implement them, dwarfs all other countries combined. It's like their whole high command went AWOL when the brains were distributed.

Etc, etc, etc. Really, you could write a whole book just with idiotic decisions that went against reality.

So, really, WTH was wrong with everyone back then? This goes way beyond not having experience with the new kind of war. In some cases people seemed to be unable to learn even from what was happening right there and then.

Was the effective IQ that much lower back then, or what? Was it the lead water pipes? Or WTH?
Poe, or serious question?
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Old 1st November 2017, 05:06 PM   #12
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You can make a similar list about every major war.
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Old 1st November 2017, 05:53 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by The Sparrow View Post
As someone else said, massive technology changed the rules in radical new ways that no one knew how to deal with yet.

Hell, it was the end of forts. I believe the French or Belgians had one that was blown to bits by artillery fire. No forts anymore. Something that had been effective for thousands of years now rendered obsolete. Holy ****, what do we do now!

Oh and RADICALLY new things in war, like machine guns!!! airplanes!!! radio!!!

Hindsight 20/20 and all.
You're probably thinking of Fort Douaumont at Verdun, though several Belgian forts did fall early in the war as well.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Douaumont
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Old 1st November 2017, 06:02 PM   #14
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by Giz View Post
Poe, or serious question?
As serious as I can be. Which, granted isn't much, but still... I'm genuinely baffled that some people wouln't just try the same thing 10 times and expect a different result, but try the same thing for a YEAR and still not learn anything. See, Verdun, where the massive losses of the German army didn't stop until the commander was replaced.
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Old 1st November 2017, 06:37 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
As serious as I can be. Which, granted isn't much, but still... I'm genuinely baffled that some people wouln't just try the same thing 10 times and expect a different result, but try the same thing for a YEAR and still not learn anything. See, Verdun, where the massive losses of the German army didn't stop until the commander was replaced.
Virtually everything you've posted is (not trying to be rude, just accurate) an ignorant stereotype dialed up to 11.

Even Verdun, for example, was falkenhien's attempt to fight a total war with limited means. Having determined England as the main enemy, he decided that the best/only stroke would be to destroy it's main ally's army (as france was, in 1916, still the dominant land power of the entente ).

Verdun was chosen for two reasons:
1) logistics: the Germans were 8 miles from a good railhead. The French were 30 miles from theirs, down a windy hill road that was in range of German guns.
2) for symbolic/historical reasons, france would have to fight at a disadvantage or suffer a demoralizing withdrawal.

It was too be a grinding, logistical attritional battle. A mill on the me use to grind down the french. (And it was working, until the Somme drew away all the German reserves. Only then did the German rate of losses start to exceed the french)
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Old 1st November 2017, 06:41 PM   #16
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I get the criticism that we should not look back at these generals as though they had the same knowledge then that we do now. Nevertheless, it was their frickin' job to know what they were doing and some of their behaviour looks utterly perverse and not just in hindsight. Offensives which kill 10s of thousands of their own troops just replayed over and over again! It seems unjustifiable that the generals could not work out earlier that these things were not working. It was not actually as though there had been no examples of the radical change in warfare, one of which was the Russo-Japanese War of 1905.
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Old 1st November 2017, 06:55 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
As serious as I can be. Which, granted isn't much, but still... I'm genuinely baffled that some people wouln't just try the same thing 10 times and expect a different result, but try the same thing for a YEAR and still not learn anything. See, Verdun, where the massive losses of the German army didn't stop until the commander was replaced.
The Union tried the same thing for two and a half years during the American Civil War. You know how they won? By doing the same thing *even more*.

World War 1 was a period of misconceptions and blunders. But it's painfully simplistic to start by accusing everyone involved of monumental stupidity. You're the one studying the events--what have you learned other than that they happened and that you don't (yet) understand them?
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Old 1st November 2017, 07:13 PM   #18
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Seems like a gratuitous slur. Do you have a cite for this?
I'm not sure how picking on something as easily verifiable as the official army uniforms could possibly be a slur, but whatever floats your boat, I guess.

The page of an actual inf regiment will do, I hope? http://www.151ril.com/content/gear/1914

Or if you think my mentioning the reason for sticking with the stupid uniform is a "slur", you should see some other idiotic French ideas from the time. Such as their idiotic ideas about "elan" and how the spirit of a determined soldier should overcome odds that even Superman would think twice about. Mentioned in the page I linked, too.

Besides, my calling their uniforms and tactics stupid is still mild compared to what the Germans did. See, the Germans, being an unkindly lot, didn't make fun of their uniforms, but SHOT them. On August 22 1914 alone, 27,000 French marching towards the machineguns in their tight formations and bright uniforms, were KILLED. That's not total losses, doesn't include the wounded or prisoners, that's just the DEAD. In one day.

So, yeah, given the result of that idea that I just wrote above, I feel fairly confident to call that a stupid idea.

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Smaller forces defeat larger forces all the time. Frederick the Great was renowned for securing Prussia against numerically superior enemies. Robert E. Lee held off the numerically superior Union forces for two and a half years, until Lincoln finally found a general who was willing to keep losing until he won. Britain may have overestimated the military genius of its generals, but there's nothing inherently stupid about thinking they had a chance even with fewer soldiers.
Smaller forces, maybe. Odds of 1 to 20, against a technologically equivalent army, no. Just no. Never. Not for the British, not for the Germans, not for the Russians, hell, not even Romans against barbarians. Just never.

Mind you, if you think I was just being mean there... I was actually going easy on the Brits by picking that one, instead of, say, Churchill's plan to break through the straights, take Constantinople, and knock the Turks clean out of the war. It not only was a predictABLE complete waste of human life, it was PREDICTED complete waste of human life. As in predicted by three different lords of the admiralty, INCLUDING CHURCHILL HIMSELF. That's right, boys and girls, the dude actually proposed and went ahead with a plan that he himself had predicted would be a disaster.

Or the decision to send the UNARMOURED training tanks into battle, and piecemeal at that. And we're not only talking a tin can that couldn't stop a bullet, but a tin can that also had the gasoline tank in the front, unlike the later battle-ready models. With the entirely predictable results.

Etc. Trust me, I was going easy on Britain there

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Germany realized that it was caught in a vise, with France on one side and Russia on the other. And in fact at the time France and Russia had secret treaties to ally against Germany.

The German strategy, then as later, was to defeat France as quickly as possible, then pivot their entire strength to the East, hopefully before Russia had a chance to complete its mobilization. It may seem weird, but Germany's plan for war against Russia started in France. Given their circumstances, it wasn't a stupid plan at all.

Incidentally, Hitler's refinement was to take a page from the Franco-Russian book, and secure a secret treaty with Stalin himself, before embarking on exactly the same strategy.
There's a difference between that and literally having NO PLANS for dealing with Russia at all. Not for securing the border while being busy with France, not after France would be defeated, not at all. For a plan against Russia that "started with France", it completely lacked the part where they actually deal with Russia. The plan didn't just START with France, it ENDED with France too. Which makes it a frikken stupid plan for dealing with RUSSIA.

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Details, please.

Keep in mind that boldness is a powerful weapon. Plans that "predictably" couldn't work often just need someone to commit forcefully to them.
Well, how about the fact that from the start, not only they couldn't keep the timetable of the Schlieffen Plan, but that it got stuck early and hard beyond any saving? I'd say it kinda puts the kibosh on any delusions of just needing boldness. Boldness they had. A good plan, nope.

In fact, I'd say that all through recorded history, boldness and a bad military plan and organization just got you killed. Just as rock always beats scissors, gun beats wishful thinking every time.

Besides, it's not even a minority view that the Schlieffen Plan couldn't possibly have worked.

But basically if you want to learn more about it, here's an easy starting point:
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I AGREE


Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Details, please.
Gorlice-Tarnow Offensive. The Russian high command repeatedly ignored their own intelligence warnings that the Germans are massing 2000 pieces of heavy artillery there. Which is an artillery force never seen before.

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
... Never mind.
No, I mean it.

Check out just Oskar Potiorek for example, possibly THE one most inept general of WW1, of all nations. Even by the standards of Austro-Hungariand screwing up, he was too much, and he only lasted until 22 December 1914 before he was relieved of command. On the whole the only thing he managed to do is an attempted genocide of Serbs in Austrian land, but thankfully he was pretty inept at that too.

Or check out Konrad von Hötzendorf who, for all the unpreparedness of the empire for a war, had tried no less than 30 (THIRTY) times to start a war in just the two years before WW1. For all the predictability of alliances and everything, the dude for all his carreer had wanted wars of conquest like in the middle ages. He wanted to attack every neighbour that wasn't already allied to them (i.e., Germany). And would go to the Emperor like once every 1 or 2 weeks to try to convince him to start a war.

Well, and then when the war started, he screwed up in actually leading troops too. For all his dreams of conquering left and right, he was piss-poor at actually doing the warfare involved.

But seriously, that's just two examples of MANY. I really mean it that I could make a whole thread, or indeed a whole book, just with the Austro-Hungarian screw-ups. If there were a military screwing up olympic, Austria-Hungary would have taken all the gold medals

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I'm going with "appeal to incredulity".
Lol, wut? It's only an appeal to incredulity if it goes against actual evidence that the opposite works. Considering that all the above were facts, and none of the above worked by any sane definition... learn some logic before invoking fallacies. They have specific meaning. They're not just some cool words to use when you ran out of arguments.
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Old 1st November 2017, 07:19 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
The Union tried the same thing for two and a half years during the American Civil War. You know how they won? By doing the same thing *even more*.
Err. No.

First of all, there's a difference between doing the same thing that worked, and doing what didn't work several times before, and for quite easy to discern reasons, then try it again anyway, maybe it will magically work this time.

Second, no, the civil war saw a quick change in tactics and strategy, phasing out what didn't work and changing to what did. E.g., you very quickly see the transition from the horrible carnage that resulted from standing in a line and shooting at each other, with the new Minnie ball, to pretty much the same kind of trench warfare as WW1 some 50 years before WW1.

Third, the civil war did NOT show the same unpreparedness for the new realities of war. On the contrary, from the get go it used the newest things like the telegraph or railway transportation to good effect. It just doesn't have the same element of being totally surprised that new stuff existed, that the Great War is pretty much characterized by.

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
World War 1 was a period of misconceptions and blunders. But it's painfully simplistic to start by accusing everyone involved of monumental stupidity. You're the one studying the events--what have you learned other than that they happened and that you don't (yet) understand them?
While I'm open to learning new things, you kinda have to shed some light if you want to claim that someone else didn't understand it. Just positing that no, see, you just didn't really understand it, and stopping at that is just another version of the sophisticated theology defense.

But really, please enlighten me. How is for example ignoring your own intelligence when planning an offensive anything but stupid? I mean, that doesn't even have to do with new weapons or anything. Reading, say, Sun-Tzu, reveals that it was considered sane to have some intelligence even in BC time, let alone modern times. Exactly WHAT don't I understand that would make that anything but stupid?
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Old 1st November 2017, 08:33 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Mojo View Post
Perhaps drink had been taken:
Much of history can be best explained by the consumption of alcohol. We, today, are teetotalers by comparison with our forefathers.
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Old 1st November 2017, 08:42 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
You can make a similar list about every major war.
No doubt, but not nearly the size of the list one can make about WW1. For most wars you might make a list the size of the one I made in the OP, maybe, but for WW1 that's not even the tip of the iceberg. And really that's my problem with it.
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Old 1st November 2017, 08:57 PM   #22
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Part of the problem was communication, they had huge armies and no real way to communicate with them during a battle, phone systems were primitive and often failed or were destroyed by massed artillery fire, other systems were not robust enough to be useful.
Sergeants and junior officers were not initially trained for independent action.

They got better if plan 1919 had occurred it might have shown a WWII type of war.
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Old 1st November 2017, 10:30 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
I get the criticism that we should not look back at these generals as though they had the same knowledge then that we do now. Nevertheless, it was their frickin' job to know what they were doing and some of their behaviour looks utterly perverse and not just in hindsight. Offensives which kill 10s of thousands of their own troops just replayed over and over again! It seems unjustifiable that the generals could not work out earlier that these things were not working. It was not actually as though there had been no examples of the radical change in warfare, one of which was the Russo-Japanese War of 1905.
Actually, the Russo-Japanese war had provided the wrong lessons (made it seem as though sufficiently well motivated troops could be victorious assaulting modern defensive positions).
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Old 1st November 2017, 10:38 PM   #24
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To address just a couple of the howlers:

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post

- the Brits enter the war thinking that their 100,000 professional soldiers would defeat the millions of Germans. Don't wake up to actual mobilization until after trying a couple more stupid ideas, like the disastrous buddy system that depopulated whole towns.
No, they didn't. They did think that the 160,000 Old Contemptibles might help 3 million French fight 4 million Germans. (spoiler: they did).

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
.

- Germany enters the war ostensibly against Russia, but doesn't have plans to mobilize against Russia, and for a while doesn't even try to mobilize against Russia.
Germany chose to try and knock France out first as Russia would be slower to mobilize *and the distances would preclude a swift campaign). And so concentrated 7 out of their 8 initially mobilized armies against the French. They still had one mobilized/deployed Army to face the Russians.
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Old 1st November 2017, 10:54 PM   #25
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There were huge mistakes that should not have been made in WW1. The OP lists a few of them (though I cannot vouch for all of them).

One not mentioned is the battle of Jutland. The Germans should have been slaughtered. The British had better ships. But they had not practised firing their guns enough, so their accuracy was not the best. To compensate they sacrificed safety. The result in short was that their ships blew up.

Also on the topic on the British Navy their battleships had no armour on the decks, so the enemy's shells went deep into the ships. When the ships were designed they thought the shells would hit the side of the ships like they did early in the 19th century. If they had conducted shooting exercises (see above) they would have realised that this is not the case.
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Old 2nd November 2017, 12:45 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Giz View Post
No, they didn't. They did think that the 160,000 Old Contemptibles might help 3 million French fight 4 million Germans. (spoiler: they did).
Well, that's kinda weak sauce, as arguments go, innit? I mean, by the same measure you could say that the 5000 Makapili in the Philippines sure helped the millions of Japanese in '44 fight the millions the Allies were throwing at them. I mean, hell, you could say that the 30 guys from Luxembourg at the Battle Of Vlanden sure helped the millions of French and English fight off the millions Germans. And you'd be technically correct too.

But Britain was a major combatant, and was playing as a dominant superpower in the whole guarantees and alliances game that caused WW1. The excuse that they added, what, 5% to what the French already had, and it technically helped, is not quite cutting it. The fact is, for someone who fancied itself as THE #1 superpower at the time, that level of being unprepared for the world war even after it had started, is laughable.

Basically, if you're playing yourself to be the biggest baddest mofo in the room, and start dictating who can do what to whom, you better be prepared to actually back that with a proportional kind of fighting ability. Which they didn't have by any reckoning.

Originally Posted by Giz View Post
Germany chose to try and knock France out first as Russia would be slower to mobilize *and the distances would preclude a swift campaign). And so concentrated 7 out of their 8 initially mobilized armies against the French. They still had one mobilized/deployed Army to face the Russians.
After a while, yes. After such blunders as, for example, they had the Bavarians refuse to defend Prussia. And a couple more blunders at that.

And they still had no coherent plan even after that, and had to improvise.

The fact is, the rearmament of Russia was not exactly a secret, and there was ample warning during the whole debacle with Serbia that it might come to that. Since, you know, Russia was the one guaranteeing Serbia. Yet in all that time, nobody even thought to draw up ANY plan for dealing with Russia.

Even though, really, that was their darned job in the first place.
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Old 2nd November 2017, 02:36 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
I get the criticism that we should not look back at these generals as though they had the same knowledge then that we do now. Nevertheless, it was their frickin' job to know what they were doing and some of their behaviour looks utterly perverse and not just in hindsight. Offensives which kill 10s of thousands of their own troops just replayed over and over again!
Except they weren't replayed over and over again.
There were tactical, strategic and technological differences in each offensive after the lines stabilised in the West.

Passchendaele involved different tactics to the Somme, building on lessons learned there, on both sides.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
But Britain was a major combatant, and was playing as a dominant superpower in the whole guarantees and alliances game that caused WW1. The excuse that they added, what, 5% to what the French already had, and it technically helped, is not quite cutting it. The fact is, for someone who fancied itself as THE #1 superpower at the time, that level of being unprepared for the world war even after it had started, is laughable.
Britains power was in its navy, and always had been. That's where its status lay. That would not have been the case had Britain invested in a European style land army, in the same way that Germany was unable to build a fleet to seriously challenge them.
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Old 2nd November 2017, 03:03 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
There were huge mistakes that should not have been made in WW1. The OP lists a few of them (though I cannot vouch for all of them).

One not mentioned is the battle of Jutland. The Germans should have been slaughtered. The British had better ships. But they had not practised firing their guns enough, so their accuracy was not the best. To compensate they sacrificed safety. The result in short was that their ships blew up.

Also on the topic on the British Navy their battleships had no armour on the decks, so the enemy's shells went deep into the ships. When the ships were designed they thought the shells would hit the side of the ships like they did early in the 19th century. If they had conducted shooting exercises (see above) they would have realised that this is not the case.
The shooting practice issue only counted for Beaties battlecruisers. And that was primarily because they were based in Rosyth, were there is no shooting range. The Grand Fleet was very accurate in it's shooting, because they were based in Scapa Flow, which did have a shooting range. That's why the 3rd battlecruiser squadron was with the Grand Fleet on the day, because they had been sent to Scapa Flow to practise. Which the Lutzow found out, when it was absolutley pummeld by HMS Invincible. Unfortunately 3rd squadron hadn't yet unlearned the practise of stacking too many shells between the magazines and the guns. So there's that.

The battleship armour on all sides held up very well on that day. British battleships were on the same armour scheme as the germans. Only the Americans had a different scheme in their newer ships, but that was more based on the opener battles expected in a Pacific War.

HMS Lion (a battlecruiser) was hit with 13 shells. Granted there was that issue with too many shells in the open, which almost proved fatal, but all in al the armour held up nicely.
Warspite was hit 13 times, but was in no danger of sinking. Her issue was primarily technical (I suspect a too flimsy construction of the bulkhead which supported the steering gear, causing them to freeze).
malaya did almost sink, but that was because there was a fire between the ammo of the secondary guns (which are never that much armoured anyway).
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Old 2nd November 2017, 03:35 AM   #29
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I think it can be summed up as a temporary horrible mismatch between offensive and defensive capabilities.

FWIW: I've come to agree with the revisionist position that the outbreak of the war was less complicated than is commonly assumed. Wilhelm II wanted war (and had some downright bizarre misconceptions about Germany's standing) and he made sure he got it.
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Old 2nd November 2017, 03:41 AM   #30
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As for doing the same things over and over again.

The Great War took place in that period, where defence capabilities had outstripped offensive capabilities and in a time where we had the first truly mass armies, which could stretch over an entire continent. At the same time nobody had a true experience in commanding armies of this size. Not in practice (Not even during the Russo-Japanese war).

I think it is a miracle not too many armies starved, because supplies couldn't be delivered. (except the Turks against Russia and the British in Iraq)

So. What would you do, when the political decision has been made to not stop before the enemy is defeated? You cannot go around the enemies army. The only way is to go through it. Do you wait for new weapons? But will they work? How many do you need? And how will you know what works and how, when you can't test them in reality?
What will the homefront say when you just wait till something comes up which hopefully will work in defeating the enemy?

the one time when a new weapon was introduced and the general in question decided to wait with the utility of it, until he had enough of them to make a real impact, he got criticized for waisting this potential (general Pershing and his decision to wait with the use of the BAR 1918 automatic rifle until he had enough of them)

Because this was a truly industrial war the only thing to win, barring a sudden collapse, is to go for a full attrition war. You simply have to outstrip the enemies ability to replace its losses. Look at the eastern front. How many times did Austria lose almost their entire field army? Each time it could be replaced by reserves. Only when reserves were finished were any definite gains made.

That is what Falkenhayn saw and tried at Verdun. He did it wrong, but he saw the reality of this war as it was.

What did work was the bite and hold tactics (which you can argue are evolved tactis like what was tried at Vedun). Just attack on a small front and stop before you trigger a massive counter attack. This way you will always cause more casualties than you take yourself. (like Plumer, or was it Gough? did during 3rd Ypres)

Only. If that is your main strategy. How will you sell it to the homefront?
'Sorry, but this will take some time. Yes it looks like we're not advancing an inch, but we're causing a lot of casualties to the enemy. No. We will no even try for a knock out battle to try to finish this war sooner.'

Tactics and strategy don't exist in a vacuum.

In other words.
What would you do?

Edit:
Ninjaed by Tubbablubba concerning offensive and defensive capabilities.
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Old 2nd November 2017, 03:52 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by erwinl View Post
The shooting practice issue only counted for Beaties battlecruisers. And that was primarily because they were based in Rosyth, were there is no shooting range. The Grand Fleet was very accurate in it's shooting, because they were based in Scapa Flow, which did have a shooting range. That's why the 3rd battlecruiser squadron was with the Grand Fleet on the day, because they had been sent to Scapa Flow to practise. Which the Lutzow found out, when it was absolutley pummeld by HMS Invincible. Unfortunately 3rd squadron hadn't yet unlearned the practise of stacking too many shells between the magazines and the guns. So there's that.

The battleship armour on all sides held up very well on that day. British battleships were on the same armour scheme as the germans. Only the Americans had a different scheme in their newer ships, but that was more based on the opener battles expected in a Pacific War.

HMS Lion (a battlecruiser) was hit with 13 shells. Granted there was that issue with too many shells in the open, which almost proved fatal, but all in al the armour held up nicely.
Warspite was hit 13 times, but was in no danger of sinking. Her issue was primarily technical (I suspect a too flimsy construction of the bulkhead which supported the steering gear, causing them to freeze).
malaya did almost sink, but that was because there was a fire between the ammo of the secondary guns (which are never that much armoured anyway).
There was a major problem with the British ships is not my opinion but the opinion of someone who was there.

Quote:
Beatty lost three battle cruisers due to lack of antiflash protection in the gun turrets, which allowed fires started by incoming shells to reach the powder magazines. Commenting that “[t]here seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today,”
http://www.history.com/topics/world-...tle-of-jutland


Quote:
Germany, however, had come off better in the various clashes; three British battle cruisers blew up because of dangerous ammunition-handling procedures, and poor British gunnery meant that fleeting opportunities were missed.
https://www.britannica.com/event/Battle-of-Jutland

If you look at the number of ships involved it should have been a one sided battle with the British winning a decisive victory.

Edit. I am sure I could write a lot more about the battle, but it is late.

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Old 2nd November 2017, 03:59 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
There was a major problem with the British ships is not my opinion but the opinion of someone who was there.


http://www.history.com/topics/world-...tle-of-jutland




https://www.britannica.com/event/Battle-of-Jutland

If you look at the number of ships involved it should have been a one sided battle with the British winning a decisive victory.
True. And it was only wrong with the battlecruisers. And not because of any intrinsic problems of the ships themselves, but because of the recent habit to ignore safety rules, which were incorporated in the design of said ships.
During the battle of the Doggerbank, HMS Lion was hit 17 times. Including Jutland, that makes 30 hits by battleship calibre shells on this ship alone.
Pretty good for a type of ship that has the reputation that they blow up if you just look at them.

Or Jellicoe could have lost if he led the Grand Fleet in a great torpedo trap.
Don't forget. jellicoe only had to keep things as they were to win. It was Scheer that had to win decisively to change the status quo. And that he never could do if Jellicoe acted intelligently.

The Grand Fleet was a strategic weapon, which could not be replaced if lost. And Jellicoe used it as such.
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Old 2nd November 2017, 04:47 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, that's kinda weak sauce, as arguments go, innit? I mean, by the same measure you could say that the 5000 Makapili in the Philippines sure helped the millions of Japanese in '44 fight the millions the Allies were throwing at them. I mean, hell, you could say that the 30 guys from Luxembourg at the Battle Of Vlanden sure helped the millions of French and English fight off the millions Germans. And you'd be technically correct too.

But Britain was a major combatant, and was playing as a dominant superpower in the whole guarantees and alliances game that caused WW1. The excuse that they added, what, 5% to what the French already had, and it technically helped, is not quite cutting it. The fact is, for someone who fancied itself as THE #1 superpower at the time, that level of being unprepared for the world war even after it had started, is laughable.
You are focussing on the Home Army - which was rather small as Britain was the ONLY major power to not use mass conscription to fill out its army. The full army was quite a bit bigger then the Home Army, but was deployed in the colonies - because that is where the threats to the Empire were.

Quote:
Basically, if you're playing yourself to be the biggest baddest mofo in the room, and start dictating who can do what to whom, you better be prepared to actually back that with a proportional kind of fighting ability. Which they didn't have by any reckoning.
You are focussing on the land operations in the Western Front and ignoring the rest of the British contribution - first with the naval blockade of Germany, then the fact that the Imperial forces were engaged on multiple fronts with significant forces throughout the war - Western Front, Italian Front, Egyptian Front, Mesopotamia, South East Africa, and later in northern Russia and Siberia.

And you are ignoring what was the big strength of Britain and the Empire - the Navy. Britain's power was based on its Navy and its ability to project power. The Central Powers were unable to match this ability.

Quote:

After a while, yes. After such blunders as, for example, they had the Bavarians refuse to defend Prussia. And a couple more blunders at that.

And they still had no coherent plan even after that, and had to improvise.

The fact is, the rearmament of Russia was not exactly a secret, and there was ample warning during the whole debacle with Serbia that it might come to that. Since, you know, Russia was the one guaranteeing Serbia. Yet in all that time, nobody even thought to draw up ANY plan for dealing with Russia.

Even though, really, that was their darned job in the first place.
Except there was a plan for dealing with Russia. It was based on the German appreciation of the threat:

a. Russia is a threat, but its large forces are not swift to mobilize, and are not in a position to be fully logisitically supported due to the sparse rail network;
b. Russia is allied to France, which is able to mobilize significant forces much faster and can get them into the German heartland if not contained or taken out.

Essentially in the event of a war involving Russia and France against Germany, France needs to be taken out first.
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Old 2nd November 2017, 04:52 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
It seems to me like the more I learn about the Great War, the more I end up wondering if I can blame it on the slow rise in IQ during the 20'th century, or on lead water pipes.
Maybe you just overestimate general human intelligence today.

But in short I think they just hadn't adapted to the new military/technological reality yet. WWI was a turning point in warfare.
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Old 2nd November 2017, 05:16 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by erwinl View Post
What did work was the bite and hold tactics (which you can argue are evolved tactis like what was tried at Vedun). Just attack on a small front and stop before you trigger a massive counter attack. This way you will always cause more casualties than you take yourself. (like Plumer, or was it Gough? did during 3rd Ypres)
Plumer came up with the idea, but both used it. At least I'm pretty sure it was that way round.

The change in artillery tactics (the Royal Artillery made huge advances during the war) is something often missed as well. And also the increase in small unit tactics...better in some armies than others.

And that's things that existed before the war.
Working out how to use aircraft and tanks took time, and the whole logistics problem of supplying troops that had pushed passed the initial enemy trenches, so as to maintain impetus. Of all the tanks that were on order for 1919, over half of them were intended as supply vehicles.
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Old 2nd November 2017, 05:38 AM   #36
Mark F
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
It seems to me like the more I learn about the Great War, the more I end up wondering if I can blame it on the slow rise in IQ during the 20'th century, or on lead water pipes.

I don't even mean the start of the war, but stuff like:

- the French enter the war in red pants, blue coats, and with the doctrine of slowly marching in a tight formation towards the machineguns. Because anything else would be un-French.

- the Brits enter the war thinking that their 100,000 professional soldiers would defeat the millions of Germans. Don't wake up to actual mobilization until after trying a couple more stupid ideas, like the disastrous buddy system that depopulated whole towns.

- Germany enters the war ostensibly against Russia, but doesn't have plans to mobilize against Russia, and for a while doesn't even try to mobilize against Russia.

- Germany relies on a plan against the French that PREDICTABLY couldn't work, because it NEEDS veteran troops it doesn't actually have, and the margins of error on it are actually NEGATIVE in places.

- when an artillery barrage fails, and the French sanely decide to postpone their attacks, the British general decides to go over the top anyway. Gets most of his men killed, like everyone knew would happen, they get hailed as heroes. Except it seems to me that knowingly sending good troops to die for no foreseeable gain is not heroism; it's at best incompetence and at worst borderline treason.

- Russia ignores its own intelligence, attacks frontally against massed German artillery, loses all its gains in a week. And then some.

- Romania delays entering the war until the window of opportunity has passed for coordinating with the Russians to knock Austria-Hungary out of the War. Then does its own YOLO attack, Leeroy Jenkins style, on Austria-Hungary anyway, without coordinating with anyone. Only manages to first cause the Russians to try to save it, then gives its resources to Austria-Hungary when it gets occupied in response, AND lengthens the front the Russians had to defend in the process.

- meanwhile Austria-Hungary... hooo boy, where do I even start... Really, I could make a whole thread just with the stupidity of AH in that war. The sheer amount of bad decisions and incompetence in trying to implement them, dwarfs all other countries combined. It's like their whole high command went AWOL when the brains were distributed.

Etc, etc, etc. Really, you could write a whole book just with idiotic decisions that went against reality.

So, really, WTH was wrong with everyone back then? This goes way beyond not having experience with the new kind of war. In some cases people seemed to be unable to learn even from what was happening right there and then.

Was the effective IQ that much lower back then, or what? Was it the lead water pipes? Or WTH?
Do keep in mind a major war had not been fought on the European continent since 1870 and technology had advanced by leaps and bounds in between.
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Old 2nd November 2017, 06:01 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by erwinl View Post
True. And it was only wrong with the battlecruisers. And not because of any intrinsic problems of the ships themselves, but because of the recent habit to ignore safety rules, which were incorporated in the design of said ships.
During the battle of the Doggerbank, HMS Lion was hit 17 times. Including Jutland, that makes 30 hits by battleship calibre shells on this ship alone.
Pretty good for a type of ship that has the reputation that they blow up if you just look at them.

Or Jellicoe could have lost if he led the Grand Fleet in a great torpedo trap.
Don't forget. jellicoe only had to keep things as they were to win. It was Scheer that had to win decisively to change the status quo. And that he never could do if Jellicoe acted intelligently.

The Grand Fleet was a strategic weapon, which could not be replaced if lost. And Jellicoe used it as such.
Another aspect, which I've heard claimed but would be interested if it can be confirmed, was that the Germans had more effective naval shells to the British due to their superior explosives. The German shells would reliably penetrate a target before exploding where the British shells tended to detonate on impact before penetrating the armour.
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Old 2nd November 2017, 06:25 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Mark F View Post
Do keep in mind a major war had not been fought on the European continent since 1870 and technology had advanced by leaps and bounds in between.
I'll echo three points:

1. MarkF's "there had not been a major war in 43 years" - technology, mass industrialisation and population densities had all advanced at record pace. The latter point contributes to...

2. ErwinNL's "mass armies". I think it is difficult for us to grasp the gravity of the explosion of populations in the decades before the war. I am in the process of putting together the tree of descendants of my great^4 grandfather, born 1752. The first generation was (at least) 6 children, the 2nd generation (born 1815ish) 43 persons, I found more than 150 of the 3rd generation but that could grow to almost 200, and the 4th generation, born 1880-90ish and thus supplying fodder for the Great War, should exceed 400 heads. Bang! In today's population dynamics, even at a prodigious 2.3 children per couple, we'd expect merely like 28 kids in the 4th generation. And all these extra people managed to feed themselves and prosper somehow because agriculture got so much better. It's not a stretch to get how all this has huge influence on the way war would be fought, and that not all of it would be predicted, or palatable.

2. TubbaBlubba's "Wilhelm wanted war" - yes. Reading random newspaper clips of the years 1901 to 1912 (while searching infos for family trees, I came across a number of articles that talked about arms race, insults and injuries felt by Berlin, and indeed the danger, even need of war. One commenter even made this claim, I paraphrase: "As is obvious to everybody, the German army is far and away the best in the world. Nobody doubts this, except some low-character foreigners". I suppose the Kaiser ended up believing his own propaganda. War was inevitable, and Germany guaranteed to win, so go for it!
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Old 2nd November 2017, 06:26 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Mark F View Post
Do keep in mind a major war had not been fought on the European continent since 1870 and technology had advanced by leaps and bounds in between.
This doesn't excuse some of the idiocies that you've pointed out - the lack of subdued colour uniforms for the French Army, the shambolic way the AH approached war and the refusal to look at the lessons learned by other powers in how military operations should be conducted (looking at you Italy...)

Or the appalling way that certain countries treated the civilian populations of conquered territories (looking at Germany and the Ottomans in general, and in Africa everyone).

But the old claim that "they just kept doing the same thing over and over again" doesn't hold water when examined. Why did the British keep going at the Somme when day 1 was an absolutely horrible loss of life? Their allies needed pressure put on German defences elsewhere to keep those Germans from using more of the resources of men and material on their own offensive operations. What works better - using tanks on a broad front to support a general advance, or en masse at a single point - and are they mechanically reliable enough to do what they are asked to do? This whole indirect fire thing for artillery is pretty new - how do we control the fire of guns spread out over a wide area and coordinate with the supported arms? And is a methodical bombardment going to destroy the defensive works, or is it better to use a short sharp burst of artillery to let the infantry get close?

Then there is that whole coalition business - which country is in charge of the overall effort? What's the chain of command looking like? These things haven't been done on a large scale militarily since the Crimean War - 60 years prior. Militaries do multi-national coalition force operations quite often now - prior to WWI , not so much, so the protocols need to be done on the fly. Picture the problems with arranging an offsite lunch for two departments and the bosses have told you that it WILL HAPPEN - Bob from accounting wants Thai, Frieda from Payroll is deathly allergic to peanuts, Miguel is agoraphobic, Pat's broke, etc. Now add in language challenges, differing logistical requirements and very different social and political structure for the two groups. Sure the bosses are able to do this, but they know each other from school, while you don't know your counterpart and still have all your other tasks to do.... Not as simple as it looks from outside.
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Old 2nd November 2017, 09:17 AM   #40
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If French infantry tactics still relied on massed formations advancing in the open (and not lasses formations dancing in the open, thanks autocorrect) then does it really matter that they weren't wearing camouflage colours?
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