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48 minutes ago, NewBornBairn said:

The number of junior officers killed on the Somme and in other battles was out of proportion to ordinary soldiers.  17% of officers died compared to 12% of other ranks. These were in the main junior officers who climbed out of the trenches with their men but Britain lost about 230 Generals too, a casualty rate of about 18%. These were the aristocracy - or more often the sons of aristocracy so no real change from medieval times.

 

Acknowledged but as you note; these were junior officers. The ones making the decisions kept themselves well away from harm.  And this was over a century ago. I think a lot has changed since then. The closest we get now is Prince Ginger playing sojers until "Oh darn, the media gave away his location so we'll have to bring him home."

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The videos of people with shell shock are horrible. Men were judged as cowards for having it and shot. Some were given electric shock treatment to try and cure it.

Mental. A time devoid of humanity.

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7 hours ago, NewBornBairn said:

The number of junior officers killed on the Somme and in other battles was out of proportion to ordinary soldiers.  17% of officers died compared to 12% of other ranks. These were in the main junior officers who climbed out of the trenches with their men but Britain lost about 230 Generals too, a casualty rate of about 18%. These were the aristocracy - or more often the sons of aristocracy so no real change from medieval times.

 

Ther Juniors don't exist anymore!

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Acknowledged but as you note; these were junior officers. The ones making the decisions kept themselves well away from harm.  And this was over a century ago. I think a lot has changed since then. The closest we get now is Prince Ginger playing sojers until "Oh darn, the media gave away his location so we'll have to bring him home."
Wasn't there some prince who came so close to death that it made him unable to sweat?

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7 hours ago, Shotgun said:

Acknowledged but as you note; these were junior officers. The ones making the decisions kept themselves well away from harm.  And this was over a century ago. I think a lot has changed since then. The closest we get now is Prince Ginger playing sojers until "Oh darn, the media gave away his location so we'll have to bring him home."

Well, that's just the natural way of management isn't it? Nevertheless, British senior officers spent far more time at the front than the Germans, French or Americans, something that was noted by Americans at the time. The Blackadder history isn't at all accurate. 

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-25776836

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8 hours ago, Gaz said:

Funny enough I was reading a bit about the pals' batallions, and in particular McRae's Battalion, earlier.

Now, I'm no military strategist, but who the f**k thought it was a great idea to have entire villages serve in the same fucking battalion, meaning that when the battalion was inevitably wiped out by whatever shite tactics they were using that day entire villages were losing almost their entire stock of working-age men?

It took me about 15 seconds of reading this to realise it was a shite idea.

Well if you're a military strategist then the logic is straightforward: you need volunteers to fight (the UK in particular had no serious land army and didn't introduce conscription until 1916); you also need to entice them to fight with a sufficient degree of commitment to their comrades from Day 1 on the front line instead of deserting or surrendering. Allowing volunteer regiments to be formed along existing bonds of camaraderie ticked both boxes, when chucking people on the next train to Dover and over the Channel with people they've never met before would not. Which is why even the methodical, essentially still Prussian high command allowed the same thing to take place in Germany, most of which didn't last the year never mind being 'protected' until the Somme like many of the volunteer regiments were:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Battle_of_Ypres

The problem is that most military strategists did not understand the new battlefield physics and thought of the war as consisting of maneuvering and only short periods of intense battle before you run through the enemy with your cavalry like in Napoleon's day. 

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You think World War one was mental...? It was just a training ground exercise in how to kill millions more Men, Women and Children (whether military or civilian) more efficiently and remotely. 

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29 minutes ago, Arabdownunder said:
7 hours ago, Shotgun said:
Acknowledged but as you note; these were junior officers. The ones making the decisions kept themselves well away from harm.  And this was over a century ago. I think a lot has changed since then. The closest we get now is Prince Ginger playing sojers until "Oh darn, the media gave away his location so we'll have to bring him home."

Wasn't there some prince who came so close to death that it made him unable to sweat?

That's because he is a lizard.

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18 minutes ago, Tynierose said:

That's because he is a lizard.

Dunno about lizard, but he's certainly a reptile.

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8 hours ago, Shotgun said:

Acknowledged but as you note; these were junior officers. The ones making the decisions kept themselves well away from harm.  And this was over a century ago. I think a lot has changed since then. The closest we get now is Prince Ginger playing sojers until "Oh darn, the media gave away his location so we'll have to bring him home."

I know a few people that served with him and apparently he was a good officer and an all around top bloke. 

Which makes sense, when your gran is the head of the army you don't need to worry about your career and having to do blokes over to get to the top so to say. 

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12 hours ago, Carnoustie Young Guvnor said:

I've been watching a lot of documentaries on this recently.

Started off with the Somme. Mental.  My granddad actually lost two uncles in WWI, one at the Somme. Think they were in the Gordon Highlanders.

This regiment like from Yorkshire or somewhere, marching to the front line on June 30th, attack was 1st July so they are going to the assault trenches. Marching along singing one of those old songs all happy and fearless etc.

They walk past this massive pit that has been dug just behind the front line, like fifty yards long and twenty or thirty wide, very deep.

They realise that's for them. Its a mass grave that's been dug in anticipation of the enormous amounts of casualties they are going to sustain.

And they're going over the top in twelve hours time in the first wave. 

Walking past looking at that thinking I could be in there this time tomorrow.

Mental.

 

Have a read at this, just in case you ever need it.

Comm_4927_coverMaster-232x300.jpg

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1 minute ago, Sergeant Wilson said:

Have a read at this, just in case you ever need it.

Comm_4927_coverMaster-232x300.jpg

One of my real regrets is launching my entire collection into the tip.  they were great, for you Tommy the war is over,  get digging round eye,  banzai,  f**k you fritz etc etc 

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11 minutes ago, Tynierose said:

One of my real regrets is launching my entire collection into the tip.  they were great, for you Tommy the war is over,  get digging round eye,  banzai,  f**k you fritz etc etc 

The one thing I always thought weird about Commando books was the different noises Axis troops made while expiring...the Germans usually pegged it with an "Aa-rrgh" while the Japanese seemed to favour an "Aiii-eee" approach.

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8 hours ago, Shotgun said:

Acknowledged but as you note; these were junior officers. The ones making the decisions kept themselves well away from harm.  And this was over a century ago. I think a lot has changed since then. The closest we get now is Prince Ginger playing sojers until "Oh darn, the media gave away his location so we'll have to bring him home."

There was a real issue with communications in WW1. Wireless Radio was its infancy and totally unreliable, the telephone system worked fine but lines could be easily cut by artillery fire. That left runners - men carrying written notes.

Tactically that meant a long decision cycle between a situation developing and being able to do something about it. Telephone communications were thus preferred but that meant placing HQs at sites with existing exchanges and telephone systems, which in the North French countryside in 1914 meant only the stately Chateaus. In addition to that the sheer size of the front that HQs were responsible for meant placing them in locations where they  could establish telephone hubs to all units farther up.

The lack of reliable communications at tactical level meant that troops communicated via runners, pidgeons, flags, semaphore and whistles. The upshot of that was it was difficult to change a plan once in execution. Or to adapt to changing circumstances.

That never really changed throughout WW1, and one of the mitigations of that was to add a high degree of formalism to the stages of battle: Break in, Break Through and Break Out. That is, to get onto an enemy postion, to defeat local enemy forces and finally to move into terrain behind the main enemy line with a high degree of freedom to manouvere.

The last phase remained stubbornly beyond all sides for the duration. More complex artillery (for example the rolling barrage) and engineering tactics allowed armies to achieve break in at high but tolerable cost. Tanks and the German Storm Trooper tactics revolutionised Break Through tactics, bit the limits of mechanical reliability of the former, and human endurance for the latter, meant that the Break Out phase never occurred. Haig's last, successful offensives from August onwards were predicated on breaking through opposition at local point, and then switching the point of attack to somewhere else, to stretch the Germans and force a retirement rather than to get in behind and roll up the German line.

it should also be noted that in WW2, the main changes were to the mechanisation of armies and far more complex and reliable communication nets. That reduced the time and therefore cost of the Break in and Break through stages, yet the rate of casualties during those phases was not really lower than in the First War: Long range artillery and automatic weapons placed a premium on casualties and 20 years of advancements more or less cancelled out improvements infantry concealment. During those intense periods of violence causalty rates in places like Alamein or Normandy or Cassino, rivalled the Somme, but the big difference was on achieving the aims of those phases in a few days, through greater flexibility and quicker decision making, rather than battering away for weeks or months. 

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I know a few people that served with him and apparently he was a good officer and an all around top bloke. 
Which makes sense, when your gran is the head of the army you don't need to worry about your career and having to do blokes over to get to the top so to say. 
I heard that aswell.

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4 hours ago, jimbaxters said:

Ther Juniors don't exist anymore!

Aye, they were all killed - are you not following this thread?

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