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Old 04-13-2011, 08:08 AM   #76
Wamy Einehouse
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Re: The First World War

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Originally Posted by Oski View Post

However, in this thread alone, you have not really provided any citations to back up your arguments and normally, that is not a problem for me, but you have also 1) presented a doctored photo as genuine; 2) incorrectly cited a painting. Once these errors are coupled with the fact you have continued your arguments without citing sources makes me concerned.
The validity of that photo is still in question as far as I can make out. It is presented by many historians as genuine. Citing paintings is sloppy and bad and my apologies

Not really presented anything that would nee direct academic referencing but will always do so if/when it comes up.

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certainly not Bismarck. He was dead for 20 years by that point and gone from power even longer.
Again, my mistake. Long days at this end
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Old 04-13-2011, 08:29 AM   #77
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Re: The First World War

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Originally Posted by Wamy Einehouse View Post
...

Your get out clause of 'being competant means you should know what weapons/tactics will work' is also nonsense - no person can look at rapidly moving technology and understand exactly how it will work. It's a grim process of trial and error and of doing whatever you can to keep the lines intact.

My argument is that in many situations they had little choice. What would your response as a general at the time have been to Verdun for example? Retreat? Attack? How and with what methods?
This highlights my point about differentiating between 'bad' generals (who don't know what they're doing) - and generals who were merely competent.

My suggestion is that WWI was typified by mere competence, if a truly great leader had been around he might have been able to assess the impact of the new technology and work out the right way of breaking the deadlock without attrition. But with only 'ordinary' leadership the trial and error approach had to be used.

To use a familiar concept from poker - the error in assuming they should have known what to do all along is very much 'results based analysis'.
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Old 04-13-2011, 10:28 AM   #78
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Re: The First World War

Also want to make general apology for inchoerancy/mistakes in last few posts - working 12 hr days at the moment and really struggling to keep my writing standards up. Great debate regardless and will try and get my writing/thoughts up to a higher standard in coming days
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Old 04-13-2011, 04:24 PM   #79
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Re: The First World War

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Originally Posted by beloved_ltd View Post
This highlights my point about differentiating between 'bad' generals (who don't know what they're doing) - and generals who were merely competent.

My suggestion is that WWI was typified by mere competence, if a truly great leader had been around he might have been able to assess the impact of the new technology and work out the right way of breaking the deadlock without attrition. But with only 'ordinary' leadership the trial and error approach had to be used.

To use a familiar concept from poker - the error in assuming they should have known what to do all along is very much 'results based analysis'.
Effectiveness as a commander is very much "results based analysis." I don't understand how you would approach it any other way.

Given your argument the generals were merely competent, fine. However, at some point, this competence became incompetence as they continued to throw men into fixed positions. Competence in such conditions would have been to remain on the defensive.

In any event, I suppose a war on the scale of this one demands "great" or at least "above-average" leadership. Anything other than that (especially given the amount of men lost in the meat grinder) is "incompetent" and "bad" for the task at hand.

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Old 04-13-2011, 04:32 PM   #80
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Re: The First World War

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Originally Posted by beloved_ltd View Post
You seem to have been responding to
"The fact is that the French and English generals were not very good ..."
as being the 'bold' statement.

But I think it's the rest of what you said, "... and were mostly political puppets or sought to use the War to their own political ends. They are quite responsible for millions of uneccesary casulaties that served no tactical advantage." which is the issue.

Even the last clause of your statement is a little bit ott, even if the generals were mediocre (at best) or incompetent (at worst) it's a little excessive to lay personal individual blame on people because they were only 'ordinary' rather than 'great'.
This is the bolded statement:
Quote:
However, it may well be that these commanders were also not guilty of incompetence ("lions led by donkeys") but victims of the rapid industrialisation that took place in the world which resulted in modern and far more deadly weapons.
I made the original statement that "The English and French generals were not very good." That statement was challenged. In response to the challenge, I quoted a simple passage that seems to state or imply the prevailing wisdom is that said generals were incompetent.

The bold portion signals the opening to counter this argument: "The generals were not incompetent, they just could not overcome the technology gap."

My argument remains that if the technology gap cannot be overcome, a competent general will remain in a defensive posture until proper tactics can be developed. Again, this was a war of attrition and nobody was going anywhere on the Western Front, so there was little urgency to conduct significantly risky (likely, given the prior attempts) charges.

Yet, (as an adjunct to my main point) the Allied Generals were largely motivated by their rivalry with the other, and desire to "be the one" that led the ultimate breakthrough. So, they continued on with doing the same thing with spectacularly poor results.

Last edited by Oski; 04-13-2011 at 04:54 PM.
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Old 04-13-2011, 04:36 PM   #81
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Re: The First World War

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Originally Posted by Wamy Einehouse View Post
This seems a little like taking credit when a bet wins but not when it does not. The reasons the Germans broke through had a lot to do with men and the fatigued and demoralised state of the Allied troops at this point. In terms of tactics there is very little quanitifiably different than say if they had broke through with gas, yet this is ranked as stupidity, where as this one new tactic is suddenly genius.
No. This is not so. Gas was not the reason for the breakthrough and it is not "the new tactic" I refer to. Indeed, gas had been used many times before to clear the lines, but it always was followed up with a cumbersome massed assualt.

It was not until mobility and smaller task forces were introduced to follow up the intital bombardments (of artillery, gas, etc.) that gains were realized.
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Old 04-13-2011, 04:42 PM   #82
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Re: The First World War

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This has very little to do with the point I was making. I agree the Germans were in total dissary and had to sue as quickly as possible. We just disagree why.
Your "why" does not comport with the timeline of events and why a military commander (Luderndorf) was the one making the request for an armistice.

Your "why" also does not explain why Germany had to give up so much (especially territory it was already holding) under the terms of the armistice.

If the military was not getting its hat handed to it, the terms would have been much favorable to Germany.

The sources I have cited repeatedly state that it was the Allied military victories of 1918 that convinced Germany it could not win the war. I stated this comports with my understanding of the how the war played out. I have not discounted the fact that Germany's internal problems were a factor as well, however, the fact that the military was being routed and driven back was the more significant factor.
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Old 04-13-2011, 04:49 PM   #83
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Re: The First World War

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Originally Posted by Wamy Einehouse View Post

My line on this is very simple. Generals/scientists on both sides were highly innovative throughout the war - just none of their innovations worked. Towards the end of the war certain innovations helped make slight progress, but that over all the apex of the collapse of Germany and the near collapse of the Allied was based in societal/moral/supply factors much more so than battlefield tactical ones.

Your get out clause of 'being competant means you should know what weapons/tactics will work' is also nonsense - no person can look at rapidly moving technology and understand exactly how it will work. It's a grim process of trial and error and of doing whatever you can to keep the lines intact.
Keeping the lines intact in a war of attrition with well-defended lines means that you do not attack the other line unless you have developed a competent means of doing so. Otherwise, you wait until the other side punches itself out. Doing otherwise, is, as you say "nonsense."

Here, you will focus on my statement "unless you have developed a competent means of doing so," and likely restate your argument that "how can they know unless they try."

My main criticism is not that they knew, its that what they tried was not really all that different than what preceded it. The generals were quite cavalier with their human assets and kept throwing them into the meat grinder. A large factor in this is their individual desires to be "the big hero" that led the big breakthrough. In any event, the fundamental problem is avoiding the "meat grinder" problem rather than putting a new coat of paint on the old style of attack.

Nothing other than large-scale disasters occurred until the generals properly introduced mobility into their tactics.
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Old 04-13-2011, 05:16 PM   #84
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Re: The First World War

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Originally Posted by Wamy Einehouse View Post

My argument is that in many situations they had little choice. What would your response as a general at the time have been to Verdun for example? Retreat? Attack? How and with what methods?
In general terms: On the French side, I don't think I would have done anything differently. Perhaps, I would have been more defensive minded than Nivelle (once he assumed command from Petain), but then I would have been the one making the error as his counter-attacks were well executed and sought well-defined and necessary objectives.

On the German side, I probably would have also done the same. At this stage of the war (prior to it stagnating) Verdun posed (what at least could be justifiably considered) an opportunity to deal a crushing blow to the French which may have knocked them out of the war.
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:04 AM   #85
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Re: The First World War

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No. This is not so. Gas was not the reason for the breakthrough and it is not "the new tactic" I refer to. Indeed, gas had been used many times before to clear the lines, but it always was followed up with a cumbersome massed assualt.

It was not until mobility and smaller task forces were introduced to follow up the intital bombardments (of artillery, gas, etc.) that gains were realized.
You are still missing my point here. What I am arguing is that had gas allowed the mass assault to be successful (which could well have been the case) then that form of innovation would be being praised. It was at no point clear that smaller task forces would have had any success - it could well have been a total disaster sending small mobile units at other trenches. The aspect of generalling your praising is near identical to the things you are blaming - one was just a bet that paid off in the end.

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Originally Posted by Oski View Post
Your "why" does not comport with the timeline of events and why a military commander (Luderndorf) was the one making the request for an armistice.

Your "why" also does not explain why Germany had to give up so much (especially territory it was already holding) under the terms of the armistice.

If the military was not getting its hat handed to it, the terms would have been much favorable to Germany.

The sources I have cited repeatedly state that it was the Allied military victories of 1918 that convinced Germany it could not win the war. I stated this comports with my understanding of the how the war played out. I have not discounted the fact that Germany's internal problems were a factor as well, however, the fact that the military was being routed and driven back was the more significant factor.
It is a near impossible task to seperate the routing of the German army from societal conditions back home. I don't think any major historian would claim that the Amistice was based predominantly on military tactics. Even Allied generals repeatedly said that the gains of 1918 would have been impossible had they been fighting troops of the standards of the previous year.

As Rawlinson wrote on the break through of the Hindenburg line:

Quote:
"Had the Boche [Germans] not shown marked signs of deterioration during the past month, I should never have contemplated attacking the Hindenburg line. Had it been defended by the Germans of two years ago, it would certainly have been impregnable…"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hundred_Days_Offensive

Such a factor seems to have very little to do with tactics, and much more to do with shortages of men, equipment, training, morale, public support and all the other borader factors that go into making a large scale army function well.

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Originally Posted by Oski View Post
Keeping the lines intact in a war of attrition with well-defended lines means that you do not attack the other line unless you have developed a competent means of doing so. Otherwise, you wait until the other side punches itself out. Doing otherwise, is, as you say "nonsense."

Here, you will focus on my statement "unless you have developed a competent means of doing so," and likely restate your argument that "how can they know unless they try."

My main criticism is not that they knew, its that what they tried was not really all that different than what preceded it. The generals were quite cavalier with their human assets and kept throwing them into the meat grinder. A large factor in this is their individual desires to be "the big hero" that led the big breakthrough. In any event, the fundamental problem is avoiding the "meat grinder" problem rather than putting a new coat of paint on the old style of attack.

Nothing other than large-scale disasters occurred until the generals properly introduced mobility into their tactics.
And throwing small, mobile units at trenches is not being hugely risky with human assets? It's a very counter intuitive idea that small units can make huge gains, and on the surface seems suicidal considering the scale of trench warfare. In many ways I'm surprised it was even considered by anyone full stop, let alone implemented.

Generals constantly tried new tactics to avoid the 'meat grinder' style of attack. Creeping barrages, larger artillery attacks, gas, mining etc etc. It's totally false that they just kept repeating the same old thing without any variation. Even the part that was eventually successful was just a variation on this tactic.

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Originally Posted by Oski View Post
In general terms: On the French side, I don't think I would have done anything differently. Perhaps, I would have been more defensive minded than Nivelle (once he assumed command from Petain), but then I would have been the one making the error as his counter-attacks were well executed and sought well-defined and necessary objectives.

On the German side, I probably would have also done the same. At this stage of the war (prior to it stagnating) Verdun posed (what at least could be justifiably considered) an opportunity to deal a crushing blow to the French which may have knocked them out of the war.
So England should have not tried to relieve the pressure in any way?

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Old 04-14-2011, 02:06 PM   #86
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Re: The First World War

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You are still missing my point here. What I am arguing is that had gas allowed the mass assault to be successful (which could well have been the case) then that form of innovation would be being praised. It was at no point clear that smaller task forces would have had any success - it could well have been a total disaster sending small mobile units at other trenches. The aspect of generalling your praising is near identical to the things you are blaming - one was just a bet that paid off in the end.

...

And throwing small, mobile units at trenches is not being hugely risky with human assets? It's a very counter intuitive idea that small units can make huge gains, and on the surface seems suicidal considering the scale of trench warfare. In many ways I'm surprised it was even considered by anyone full stop, let alone implemented.

Generals constantly tried new tactics to avoid the 'meat grinder' style of attack. Creeping barrages, larger artillery attacks, gas, mining etc etc. It's totally false that they just kept repeating the same old thing without any variation. Even the part that was eventually successful was just a variation on this tactic.
Lol. My inititial point, my very first one, you took objection to was that the Western Front didn't break until the introduction of new, mobile tactics. I never said anything about whether the introduction of such was intuitive or counterintuitive. That does not matter. Despite the fact you still argue the tactics did not make a difference, the support for your argument continues to state that the tactics did change.

Now, it seems you have moved on to whether the Allied generals should be called to task because they did not divine a "counterintuitive" solution to assaulting fixed positions. Of course, you ignore my point that it was the introduction of a new fighting force that happened to size up the problem from a new perspective and thus the new tactics ... which happened to be American. I think you are stuck on that for some reason. I stated before, it very well could have been "x" country and the solution may have still be presented.

Anyhow, fighting a war and killing strangers is counterintuitive, no? One thing that moved beyond intuition and into proven fact is that massed charges at fixed positions is a ticket to the meat grinder. The massed charge part remained constant in all these "new tactics" that you champion. It was not until mobility was properly introduced that the stalemate was broken. In any event, I believe the Allied generals of the time can be considered incompetent for continuing to try massed charges on fixed positions. Most analysis that I have read on the subject back me up on this point.

You have taken offense to this and invited me to offer proof of this incompetence. I have done that, and yet you have not offered anything to show why these generals were not incompetent. Nothing. Now, you claim that the actual solution that actually worked was counterintuitive and thus the Allied generals shoulld not be judged disfavorably because the solution was beyond them (counterintuitive) and therefore, it was not a failure to keep trying new versions of the some old frontal assault (putting a new coat of paint on it ... as I stated before). That makes no sense to me. If these prestigious historians stand behind you on this point, I suppose their failure is not convincing the rest of us that their counterintuitive argument prevails in the face of the common sense approach.

You can try to add as many other factors as you want to the mix, but you cannot change the fact that the lines didn't start moving until the armies abandoned the massed assualt tactics that had proven so disasterous in the war.

This argument is becoming tedious to me.

I withdraw.
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Old 04-14-2011, 02:14 PM   #87
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Re: The First World War

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Originally Posted by Wamy Einehouse View Post
It is a near impossible task to seperate the routing of the German army from societal conditions back home. I don't think any major historian would claim that the Amistice was based predominantly on military tactics. Even Allied generals repeatedly said that the gains of 1918 would have been impossible had they been fighting troops of the standards of the previous year.

As Rawlinson wrote on the break through of the Hindenburg line:



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

Such a factor seems to have very little to do with tactics, and much more to do with shortages of men, equipment, training, morale, public support and all the other borader factors that go into making a large scale army function well.
And yet another non-trivial mis-use of sources to support your argument. The passage clearly refers to the decision to continue pressing the Germans as the lines approached the Hindenburg Line. Prior to the events of 1918, yes, there is no way the Allieds would have dared to take it.
Quote:
Had the Boche [Germans] not shown marked signs of deterioration during the past month
However, given the fact that the Germans were being pushed back and showing clear signs of being weak, the Allieds continued the initiative (and not with massed, frontal assaults - which I suppose doesn't matter at this point according to your analysis).

Listen: I will give you what you obviously desire. You are right! The war ended due to the internal collapse of Germany. From what I understand, as soon as the front line soldiers heard that their stock portfolios were worthless, they threw down their weapons and headed home. You win, I lose. The most important thing about discussing history is to be right all the time and win arugments rather than consider conflicting viewpoints with provided sources. I get it! So, here, once again, you win.

Anyhow, I will retire to my books, you can retire to yours.
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Old 04-14-2011, 04:17 PM   #88
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Re: The First World War

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Lol. My inititial point, my very first one, you took objection to was that the Western Front didn't break until the introduction of new, mobile tactics. I never said anything about whether the introduction of such was intuitive or counterintuitive. That does not matter. Despite the fact you still argue the tactics did not make a difference, the support for your argument continues to state that the tactics did change.
Sorry we seem to be arguing across purposes here. I took issue with the claim that Allied generals were grossly incompetant - something I believe is an unfair analysis.

Quote:
Now, it seems you have moved on to whether the Allied generals should be called to task because they did not divine a "counterintuitive" solution to assaulting fixed positions. Of course, you ignore my point that it was the introduction of a new fighting force that happened to size up the problem from a new perspective and thus the new tactics ... which happened to be American. I think you are stuck on that for some reason. I stated before, it very well could have been "x" country and the solution may have still be presented.
This is a very good example of what I am arguing - it could have been 'x' anything - including many things that Allied generals tried constantly throughout the stalemate.

Quote:
Anyhow, fighting a war and killing strangers is counterintuitive, no? One thing that moved beyond intuition and into proven fact is that massed charges at fixed positions is a ticket to the meat grinder. The massed charge part remained constant in all these "new tactics" that you champion. It was not until mobility was properly introduced that the stalemate was broken. In any event, I believe the Allied generals of the time can be considered incompetent for continuing to try massed charges on fixed positions. Most analysis that I have read on the subject back me up on this point.
The creeping barrage was a relatively effective method of charging at fixed positions that was not a ticket to the meat grinder. Gas could well have been one too. As could mass artillery bombardment. Even 'mobile units' were charging fixed positions no? I fail to see what the real difference between these are? All are new ways of approaching the problem, most failed, some succeeded.

You cant take credit for a coin flip when it is head but be an idiot when it comes tails - hence why I have a problem with labelling those generals as grossly incompetant. They innovated constantly - just up until the end none of them worked well, and even when new methods did start working, it appears to have had a lot to do with other factors as well.

Quote:
You have taken offense to this and invited me to offer proof of this incompetence. I have done that, and yet you have not offered anything to show why these generals were not incompetent. Nothing. Now, you claim that the actual solution that actually worked was counterintuitive and thus the Allied generals shoulld not be judged disfavorably because the solution was beyond them (counterintuitive) and therefore, it was not a failure to keep trying new versions of the some old frontal assault (putting a new coat of paint on it ... as I stated before). That makes no sense to me. If these prestigious historians stand behind you on this point, I suppose their failure is not convincing the rest of us that their counterintuitive argument prevails in the face of the common sense approach.
I have offered numerous examples of innovations tried constantly throughout the war by the Allied war machine.

Quote:
You can try to add as many other factors as you want to the mix, but you cannot change the fact that the lines didn't start moving until the armies abandoned the massed assualt tactics that had proven so disasterous in the war.
You could just replace this last sentence with anything. Whatever the vogue weapon/tactic of 1918 was would have got all the credit if/when Germany and the German army had simply collapsed internally (I'm not arguing this, but it would be an extreme example of the principle underlying my argument).

Quote:
This argument is becoming tedious to me.

I withdraw.
Fair enough - thought many good points were being raised but have no problem finishing here.

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Old 04-14-2011, 04:25 PM   #89
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Re: The First World War

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And yet another non-trivial mis-use of sources to support your argument. The passage clearly refers to the decision to continue pressing the Germans as the lines approached the Hindenburg Line. Prior to the events of 1918, yes, there is no way the Allieds would have dared to take it. However, given the fact that the Germans were being pushed back and showing clear signs of being weak, the Allieds continued the initiative (and not with massed, frontal assaults - which I suppose doesn't matter at this point according to your analysis).
I fail to see how this is a mis-use of source here.

It is also clearly the case that the Allies were using large scale frontal infrantry assaults (battle of the Scarpe for one, although there are many, many others) right until the very end of the war.
Quote:
Listen: I will give you what you obviously desire. You are right! The war ended due to the internal collapse of Germany. From what I understand, as soon as the front line soldiers heard that their stock portfolios were worthless, they threw down their weapons and headed home. You win, I lose. The most important thing about discussing history is to be right all the time and win arugments rather than consider conflicting viewpoints with provided sources. I get it! So, here, once again, you win.

Anyhow, I will retire to my books, you can retire to yours.
I don't care about being 'right' and don't really want to drop to the level of slanging matches. I just take issue with Allied generals being labelled as terrible generals when I don't believe it is a fair analysis considering the constant innovation, changes in attack methods and styles that occured throughout the war, and the horrendous conditions that very hard decisions had to be made in.
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Old 04-14-2011, 04:40 PM   #90
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Re: The First World War

Should have posted this earlier, but just want to say to all who have contributed - especially to Osky and Wamy - this has been a fantastic thread. The First World War has always really fascinated me.

I fully understand how frustrating such a discussion can be, but for the spectator, hearing two different opinions and the arguments from each side really helps to provide context and subtlety to the basic history. Thanks to you both.
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Old 04-14-2011, 05:45 PM   #91
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Re: The First World War

The German spring 1918 offensive used very different tactics than was used before. It was the beginning of blitzkrieg warfare, bypassing enemy strongpoints and moving on. The failure of the offensive can be attributed to the fact that the German army of 1918 was much weaker than that which started the war. Also the extra 1 million Americans bolstering allied forces by July had far more to do with the quick Allied victory than anything else. The German army already demoralized from the offensive failure and Spanish Flu then had to deal with the fact that the Allies would not run out of men.


Ludendorff knew 1918 was his last shot because of the Americans, so he did not consolidate his gains from the offensive, instead hoping he could somehow renew it when all momentum was lost.


The naval aspect of the war is very fascinating, Castles of Steel by RObert Massie is a great read. The effects of the British blockade and the German reaction to it had more to do with affecting the course of the war than anything else. Had the British blockade not been so effective, Germany would have never forced America into the war which would have most likely lead to the fall of France in 1918. Russia's collapse came 3 months too late to affect German policy, instead the die was cast to use submarines to break Britain. Had Russian collapsed in the fall of 1916, Germany would been less likely to risk war with America.
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Old 05-05-2011, 04:36 AM   #92
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Re: The First World War

World's last know combat veteran of WW1, Claude Choules, dies in Australia age 110: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-13289607
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Old 05-05-2011, 04:39 AM   #93
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Re: The First World War

Hey Wamy did you see the WW1 TimeTeam dig (I think it's still on 4oD) where they dig up the flame cannon? Really worth watching if you haven't already great program!
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Old 05-05-2011, 10:30 AM   #94
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Re: The First World War

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Hey Wamy did you see the WW1 TimeTeam dig (I think it's still on 4oD) where they dig up the flame cannon? Really worth watching if you haven't already great program!
Yeah I watched that thought it was facinating. They have done a few really good WW1 digs and all are very interesting - is amazing how much of it is still all left underground.
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Old 05-05-2011, 12:16 PM   #95
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Re: The First World War

Last person in ww1 died today at age 103 I think
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Old 05-08-2011, 06:31 PM   #96
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Re: The First World War

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Originally Posted by 3pnym View Post
Last person in ww1 died today at age 103 I think

If he was 103 that would mean he was 10 when the war ended.... He was Australian and 110... the link is a couple comments before this one.
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Old 05-17-2011, 02:36 AM   #97
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Re: The First World War

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The naval aspect of the war is very fascinating, Castles of Steel by RObert Massie is a great read. The effects of the British blockade and the German reaction to it had more to do with affecting the course of the war than anything else. Had the British blockade not been so effective, Germany would have never forced America into the war which would have most likely lead to the fall of France in 1918. Russia's collapse came 3 months too late to affect German policy, instead the die was cast to use submarines to break Britain. Had Russian collapsed in the fall of 1916, Germany would been less likely to risk war with America.
I believe your point implies that america saved France - i believe this is incorrect. The spring offensive was stopped before american's got there. They participated in the third battle aisne late into it, with the famous battle of belleau woods. The war would have lasted longer, but im quite certain the brits and french would have done it.

However, if the british blockade hadn't work, the germans would have access to more ressources and more food - now the german's could have won it. Im not trying to be anti-american, but the spring offensive was mostly stopped before the american's were there, and after the spring offensive, it was over for germany. All they could do is delay the end.

The american's speeded the process by a year at least, and another year of warfare into on the west front during 1919-1920 would have completely crushed german and french demographics.

-----------------------
On tactics
I think the battle of tannenberg is quite interesting, because it really is one of the rare occasion where the german's won it with strategics. Max Hoffmann who planned the whole thing(genius behind the victory), knew about how russian generals just kept arguing each other, and just went for a divide and conquer style attack. Tannenberg is just a combination of things going right for german, and russian's being absolutely terrible at it.


Phase 1

Phase 2

Last edited by Adaptation; 05-17-2011 at 02:48 AM.
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Old 05-24-2011, 10:36 PM   #98
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Re: The First World War

The desperate German spring offensive of 1918 was necessitated by America's involvement however. My primary contention is that had America still been neutral, Germany would have won in 1918. While the 300,000 Americans on the front during the offensive did not "stop" the Germans, there presence and ever present growth forced Germany's hand. The overwhelming initial success of operation Michael indicates the superiority the German army had over the French and British armies. Without American aid and American Manpower, Germany could have eventually defeated the Allied armies or brought them to terms in 1918 or 1919. By the fall of 1918 with a full million man army and another 2 million on the way, it was obvious to Germany the end was in sight.
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Old 05-25-2011, 03:12 AM   #99
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Re: The First World War

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Originally Posted by Mandor_TFL View Post
The desperate German spring offensive of 1918 was necessitated by America's involvement however. My primary contention is that had America still been neutral, Germany would have won in 1918. While the 300,000 Americans on the front during the offensive did not "stop" the Germans, there presence and ever present growth forced Germany's hand. The overwhelming initial success of operation Michael indicates the superiority the German army had over the French and British armies. Without American aid and American Manpower, Germany could have eventually defeated the Allied armies or brought them to terms in 1918 or 1919. By the fall of 1918 with a full million man army and another 2 million on the way, it was obvious to Germany the end was in sight.
It also hastened their decision to agree to a cease fire on the Eastern Front in order to move troops to the West (in anticipation of the U.S. entering the war in earnest).
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Old 06-10-2011, 05:45 AM   #100
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Re: The First World War

Thought this article on tunneling to undermine the enemy's position in WWI was rather interesting. I was completely unaware this went on.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-13630203
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