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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2016 10:59 pm 
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Jeremy wrote:
10 hours... I can't even imagine a one minute artillery barrage.

The thought was that a prolonged barrage disoriented the defenders and broke things. What it also did was allow the opponent to mass reinforcements behind that section of line ready to move forward when needed. That led to false barrages and other 'I think that you think that they think' games. Later in the war, they went with shorter one hour or so barrages to avoid warning.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 1:10 am 
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Jeremy wrote:
10 hours... I can't even imagine a one minute artillery barrage.


As hard as it might be for many to imagine, after a few of those I could see men on both sides quickly adjusting, learning to sleep or playing cards while they take place.

When Hell becomes the norm, human beings adjust and act as if everything is normal.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2016 11:07 pm 
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Only men endure:


"We have fought during 15 days for a single house," writes a
German officer, "with mortars, grenades, machine guns, and
bayonets. Already by the third day 54 German corpses are strewn
in the cellars, on the landings, and the staircases. The front is
a corridor between burnt-out rooms; it is the thin ceiling
between two floors. Help comes from neighboring houses by fire
escapes and chimneys. There is a ceaseless struggle from noon to
night. From story to story, faces black with sweat, we bombard
each other with grenades in the middle of explosions, clouds of
dust and smoke, heaps of mortar, floods of blood, fragments of
furniture and human beings. Ask any soldier what half an hour of
hand-to-hand struggle means in such a fight. And imagine
Stalingrad; 80 days and 80 nights of hand-to-hand struggles. The
street is no longer measured by meters but by corpses...
"Stalingrad is no longer a town. By day it is an enormous
cloud of burning, blinding smoke; it is a vast furnace lit by the
reflection of the flames. And when night arrives, one of those
scorching, howling, bleeding nights, the dogs plunge into the
Volga and swim desperately to gain the other bank. The nights of
Stalingrad are a terror for them. Animals flee this hell; the
hardest stones can not bear it for long; only men endure


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2016 2:51 pm 
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Theodore wrote:
Thursday, April 6, 1916

More attacks and counterattacks at Verdun.

Couldn't this item be repeated until Nov 11, 1918?

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2016 1:58 pm 
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KDahm wrote:
Theodore wrote:
Thursday, April 6, 1916

More attacks and counterattacks at Verdun.

Couldn't this item be repeated until Nov 11, 1918?


It pretty much wrapped up in December of 1916.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2016 11:57 pm 
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edgeplay_cgo wrote:
KDahm wrote:
Theodore wrote:
Thursday, April 6, 1916

More attacks and counterattacks at Verdun.

Couldn't this item be repeated until Nov 11, 1918?


It pretty much wrapped up in December of 1916.


Earlier. The fighting petered out in late July. Petain preferred to conserve his men and mass his shells. In October, the turned Neville and Mangin lose. In a day, with 47,000 causalities, they regained ground it took the Germans months and hundreds of thousands of lives to take. They did something similar in December. The French were damned good.

We see the same on the Somme front, repeatedly. The French go in and rip the holy hell out of the Germans, with minimal losses in manpower and equipment. Three Armies on the Somme is pretty clear on this.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2016 1:08 am 
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Part of the justification for the Somme attack (justification that certainly has to be considered if one is to evaluate the widespread belief that Haig was a donkey!) was, I think, to relieve the pressure on the French defenders at Verdun: even massive British casualties were acceptable if the alternative was a French collapse!
Was it successful in this regard? Another website I frequent with 100-year-after WW I reports details that in one sector, 8500 British attackers were fended off (and received horrendous causalities at the hands of) 1800 German defenders, and that the Germans had never had to bring up their reserve, which doesn't by itself suggest that the Somme offensive was forcing the German's to redirect major resources to this area.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2016 9:52 am 
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The impression I have is that the Brusilov Offensive did more to relieve pressure on the French because it came at a time when the French were losing ground at Verdun (although exacting a high price from the Germans.) It also relieved pressure on the Italians at a time when the Austrians were doing quite well in the Trentino. The Austrian collapse in Galicia forced them to abandon their offensive in Italy and forced the Germans to withdraw troops from Verdun to shore up the Austrians.

By the time of the Somme battle, the Germans had already reached their high-water mark at Verdun and were starting to give ground, although this wasn't apparent at the time. The Somme Offensive certainly didn't help the German situation at Verdun, of course, but that battle had already stalled and wasn't likely to get any better. Taken as a whole, Verdun, Brusilov, and the Somme saw the Germans bleeding in three places and forced them to a more defensive strategy in the West while they tried to knock out the Russians once and for all. But that's still to come...

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2016 1:50 pm 
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Allen Hazen wrote:
Part of the justification for the Somme attack (justification that certainly has to be considered if one is to evaluate the widespread belief that Haig was a donkey!) was, I think, to relieve the pressure on the French defenders at Verdun: even massive British casualties were acceptable if the alternative was a French collapse!
Was it successful in this regard? Another website I frequent with 100-year-after WW I reports details that in one sector, 8500 British attackers were fended off (and received horrendous causalities at the hands of) 1800 German defenders, and that the Germans had never had to bring up their reserve, which doesn't by itself suggest that the Somme offensive was forcing the German's to redirect major resources to this area.


The Somme was always intended to be the Allies' main 1916 effort on the Western Front. It was picked because it was a place where the BEF and the French could go in together, and the BEF could benefit from French experience. The scale of British participation grew, and French participation decreased, as Verdun went on. If anything, the German attack at Verdun acted as a giant spoiling attack on the Somme offensive, siphoning off French resources, especially men and guns. That meant that more of the frontage had to be taken up by the British, with the resultant thinning of force. A lot of British casualties on the Somme were because of inexperienced troops and lack of sufficient artillery. Had the Somme offensive gone off as planned, the French Sixth Army would have had a lot larger part of the show. Now, there would also be more German resources, but the balance of experience would have been a lot more in the Allies favor.

William Philpott's Three Armies on the Somme: The First Battle of the Twentieth Century is probably the best history of the Somme available. His is one of the few to focus on the French, and provides considerable emphasis on the planning and logistical phases, along with what went right on July 1 (the French and the southernost British units killed lots of Germans and took lots of ground) and how the battle developed until December.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2016 7:10 am 
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Theodore wrote:
The impression I have is that the Brusilov Offensive did more to relieve pressure on the French because it came at a time when the French were losing ground at Verdun (although exacting a high price from the Germans.) It also relieved pressure on the Italians at a time when the Austrians were doing quite well in the Trentino. The Austrian collapse in Galicia forced them to abandon their offensive in Italy and forced the Germans to withdraw troops from Verdun to shore up the Austrians.

By the time of the Somme battle, the Germans had already reached their high-water mark at Verdun and were starting to give ground, although this wasn't apparent at the time. The Somme Offensive certainly didn't help the German situation at Verdun, of course, but that battle had already stalled and wasn't likely to get any better. Taken as a whole, Verdun, Brusilov, and the Somme saw the Germans bleeding in three places and forced them to a more defensive strategy in the West while they tried to knock out the Russians once and for all. But that's still to come...


People always like to talk about the role the Soviets played in helping the Allies in WWII, but there's so little mentioned about how Tsarist Russia effectively sacrificed itself to save the Western allies in WWI.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 12:42 pm 
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Theodore wrote:
Saturday, July 15, 1916

Heavy fighting as the British continue to attack the Germans on Bazentin Ridge.


The fighting on Bazentin Ridge shows how more of the Somme could have gone had the British attacked on a smaller front, had heavier artillery density, and been more ready to exploit the successes in XIII and XV Corps' sectors won on July 1. The verdict of the French (who were the masters of both artillery and infantry combat in 1916) was that most of the British casualties on 14 and 15 July were due to their inexperience and not having sufficient artillery (and experience) to use guns to husband men. Most positions were taken by the infantry, usually through very very very brave but costly infantry combat.

The British were learning. Unfortunately, a lot of the casualties to come were in the nibbling attacks needed to set up for the next big push, where sadly the British inexperience would continue to take a toll.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:19 pm 
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Wikipedia (I suspect, though haven't checked, cribbing DANFS) recounts this 1914 tidbit about USS Memphis (which at the time was still named USS Tennessee):
"On 4 November, Tennessee arrived in Beirut, what was then Syria, to protect the Christian population there in case of attack by Mohammedans."
American intervention in the Middle East is not a new thing.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 6:48 am 
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Quote:
American intervention in the Middle East is not a new thing.


It was where your first international excursion took place.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2016 5:57 pm 
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Beastro wrote:
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American intervention in the Middle East is not a new thing.


It was where your first international excursion took place.


Not quite. The first international excursion was against the Barbary Pirates of the North African coast, not the middle east.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2016 6:53 pm 
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"...From the Halls of Montezuma, To the shores of Tripoli;..."


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2016 7:45 pm 
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Nathan45 wrote:
"...From the Halls of Montezuma, To the shores of Tripoli;..."


Just so.

Mark

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2016 3:25 pm 
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Theodore wrote:
Monday, October 2, 1916

The zeppelin L.31 is shot down near Potters Bar.


"He who crashes a Zeppelin here shall buy the house a round of cheer."

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 4:44 pm 
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Poohbah wrote:
Theodore wrote:
Monday, October 2, 1916

The zeppelin L.31 is shot down near Potters Bar.


"He who crashes a Zeppelin here shall buy the house a round of cheer."


Just down the road from me, Potters Bar.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 11:27 am 
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Theodore wrote:
Thursday, January 11, 1917

Ottoman artillery sinks the British seaplane carrier HMS BEN-MY-CHREE at anchor off Kastellorizo.


Howinthehell did THAT happen????

Belushi TD


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 11:31 am 
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I know it's Wiki but there's a fairly good article on it about 3/4 way down the page.

Hidden 6 & 3" battery opened fire while she was moored in a harbor basically.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Ben-my-Chree

A quick Google Maps session shows that the harbor is only ~3500m from the nearest bit of Turkish mainland... so she was a sitting duck.

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