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  1. 05 Jan '10 20:32
    A day in which the British Army suffered tremendous loss of life. An estimated 57,470 soldiers killed wounded, missing in action.
    This after pounding the German bunkers for a week, dropping 1.7 million rounds in hopes of softening up the german lines.
    What went so terribly wrong here?
  2. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    06 Jan '10 02:23
    Originally posted by Hugh Glass
    A day in which the British Army suffered tremendous loss of life. An estimated 57,470 soldiers killed wounded, missing in action.
    This after pounding the German bunkers for a week, dropping 1.7 million rounds in hopes of softening up the german lines.
    What went so terribly wrong here?
    John Ralston Saul:

    The only way to understand such insane events is to understand the minds of the commanders. They genuinely believed that they were on the side of right and that right took the form of a structure. Their devotion to methodology made them crusaders in a great battle for the advancement of man. A disinterested outsider might have pointed out that they seemed to be lacking the one essential talent for a general - the ability to win. Only their sense of structure got them where they were.


    Almost all the British senior commanders in WW1 were basically remote technocrats. And such technocrats so often live by the fictional organization of circumstances.

    "There was a time when English admirals were hanged for losing battles. From 1914 onwards, Western nations instead took to hanging medals on the chests of incompetent commanders. "
  3. 06 Jan '10 05:27
    Originally posted by FMF
    John Ralston Saul:

    [quote]The only way to understand such insane events is to understand the minds of the commanders. They genuinely believed that they were on the side of right and that right took the form of a structure. Their devotion to methodology made them crusaders in a great battle for the advancement of man. A disinterested outsider might have pointe ...[text shortened]... rds, Western nations instead took to hanging medals on the chests of incompetent commanders. "
    I watched a History Channel which addressed some issues, like an extreme number of ordinances which didn't explode. Numbers pale to what were fired of course. It was also suggested that these ordinances were suppose to explode, and rip the barb wire down, It didn't appear to have worked well, because many troops were ensnarled in it.
    I really don't know, nor can even begin to fathom the extent of confusion that must have carried through that day.
  4. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Poor Filipov :,(
    06 Jan '10 05:29
    Technology (equipment as well as tactics) favored the defender tremendously. I thought that was the main issue.
  5. 06 Jan '10 05:36
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    Technology (equipment as well as tactics) favored the defender tremendously. I thought that was the main issue.
    The Germans were not as decimated as previously thought. Apparently people back in England, where skilled labor was short, made some mistakes making the ordinances. There was an underestmation of what it would require to shred the barbed wire.
    Also the trenches were narrow, making travel back and forth quite awkward. They used runners for information, sometimes the runner didn't make it. Thta led to the commanders thinking they had accomplished there goal of taking the first hill, which they hadn't.
    GUT check, over the top in to machine gun fire.
  6. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    06 Jan '10 06:50
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    Technology (equipment as well as tactics) favored the defender tremendously. I thought that was the main issue.
    Not really. All of the hundreds of thousands of British troops and officers in the trenches on that day (and the Germans too) knew that technology favored the defender. So the main issue becomes how the staff officers and senior commanders were impervious to this knowledge and had so insulated themselves from reality through their technocratic structures and methodologies.
  7. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    06 Jan '10 06:58
    Originally posted by Hugh Glass
    The Germans were not as decimated as previously thought. Apparently people back in England, where skilled labor was short, made some mistakes making the ordinances. There was an underestmation of what it would require to shred the barbed wire.
    Also the trenches were narrow, making travel back and forth quite awkward. They used runners for information, so ...[text shortened]... of taking the first hill, which they hadn't.
    GUT check, over the top in to machine gun fire.
    Your insistence on seeing only the little picture would perhaps explain why 2,000 or 3,000 could be killed, but not how or why 22,000 soldiers were lost in a single day - and 350,000 killed in just 4 months. And they were British soldiers by the way. There were other Allies' nationalities on the battlefield too.
  8. 06 Jan '10 18:48
    Originally posted by FMF
    Your insistence on seeing only the little picture would perhaps explain why 2,000 or 3,000 could be killed, but not how or why 22,000 soldiers were lost in a single day - and 350,000 killed in just 4 months. And they were British soldiers by the way. There were other Allies' nationalities on the battlefield too.
    I can't speak with great authority on this issue. But what I watched did place a great deal of blame on the commanders, and techniques used in battle. They actually ran mock machine gun tests with paint balls, and simulated the charge out of the trenches. The british had full field packs, which only slowed them, and they didn't come out, in staggered fashions.
    One commander who did well, refused to send his men, waited until dark, and they ran like crazy. his group suffered slight causualties. ( need me to find his name ?)
    In the mock test 2 of 10 made the run, only to get tangled in barb wire. The second run, without field packs, they fared much better, with 7 of 10 geting to that fence.
    These were not our modern macine guns. so i suppose if you could run, and zig-zag, you would have some kind of chance. God, what a thought hey?
    But this brings us back to our seemingly weeks old arguement. was the officer who refused to send his men, until their odds were better, a bad commander? Do you want people who follow from fear, our respect? The best way to earn their respect, is to keep them alive. Winning helps.
    I think the french were drawn into a battle further north? I'm trying to do this from recollection, so show some patience here.
    germans had the high ground, but the british had tunneled under them, and set off a huge charge,,right?
    All in all, it was a sad day for all and a lesson learned.
    Of course all I have written, could be the distorted facts of an American TV show. But I don't think so.
  9. 06 Jan '10 18:54
    Originally posted by FMF
    Your insistence on seeing only the little picture would perhaps explain why 2,000 or 3,000 could be killed, but not how or why 22,000 soldiers were lost in a single day - and 350,000 killed in just 4 months. And they were British soldiers by the way. There were other Allies' nationalities on the battlefield too.
    Just remembered another tid bit. The narrow trenches made it very hard to bring stretchers with wounded back, as reinforcments moved ahead.
    Some thing had allowed this TV crew to research quite well, as they had un-exploded ordinance to a point where they could determine what had happen. They ran a test by exploding some they made, over the wire, as was suppose to happen. The wire did not shred as originally thought. So when the guys got there, they became entangled.
    I didn't know they had timed ordinance then... you?
  10. Standard member shavixmir
    Guppy poo
    06 Jan '10 18:54
    The whole problem with WWI was the generals using 19th century techniques in a world with machine guns, artillery and tanks.
    AND THEY SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER!!!
    They only had to look at the American cival war to see where that sort of malarkey would lead them.

    Another disturbing fact about WWI was the British, French and German troops singing Xmas carols with each other during the first Xmas.
    The generals put an end to it. They didn't want the troops fraternising, because it might make them not want to kill each other.
  11. 06 Jan '10 19:20
    Originally posted by shavixmir
    The whole problem with WWI was the generals using 19th century techniques in a world with machine guns, artillery and tanks.
    AND THEY SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER!!!
    They only had to look at the American cival war to see where that sort of malarkey would lead them.

    Another disturbing fact about WWI was the British, French and German troops singing Xmas ca ...[text shortened]... ey didn't want the troops fraternising, because it might make them not want to kill each other.
    Agreed again.
    can you imagine marching to a drum, lining up and waiting to get your arm or leg blown off with a dam musket ball?
    I have to think, the Chinese were thinking a-bomb all the time, having witnessed what had happen to Japan.
    I worked with Koreans for 11 years, they are some tough suckers.

    You use any Electra shave or anything?
  12. 06 Jan '10 19:47
    Incompetent commanders and lacking strategy were a large part of the story as FMF suggested. Another important factor was the lack of training of soldiers. In fact most soldiers in WW1 were not trained to fight and were too afraid to do so - many never fired a bullet. An army trained like the current US army with WW1 technology would have steamrolled any opposing army.
  13. 06 Jan '10 19:50
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Incompetent commanders and lacking strategy were a large part of the story as FMF suggested. Another important factor was the lack of training of soldiers. In fact most soldiers in WW1 were not trained to fight and were too afraid to do so - many never fired a bullet. An army trained like the current US army with WW1 technology would have steamrolled any opposing army.
  14. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Poor Filipov :,(
    06 Jan '10 19:52
    Originally posted by shavixmir
    The whole problem with WWI was the generals using 19th century techniques in a world with machine guns, artillery and tanks.
    AND THEY SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER!!!
    They only had to look at the American cival war to see where that sort of malarkey would lead them.

    Another disturbing fact about WWI was the British, French and German troops singing Xmas ca ...[text shortened]... ey didn't want the troops fraternising, because it might make them not want to kill each other.
    No tanks in July 1916.

    Do you think the Americans had an advantage in trench warfare because of the Civil War experience?
  15. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Poor Filipov :,(
    06 Jan '10 19:53
    Originally posted by Hugh Glass
    Agreed again.
    can you imagine marching to a drum, lining up and waiting to get your arm or leg blown off with a dam musket ball?
    I have to think, the Chinese were thinking a-bomb all the time, having witnessed what had happen to Japan.
    I worked with Koreans for 11 years, they are some tough suckers.

    You use any Electra shave or anything?
    It was mostly the Korean community who guarded buildings with firearms during the Rodney King Riots in my neighborhood. Thety ARE tough.