Quotulatiousness

May 21, 2017

The Hero Of Tannenberg – Paul von Hindenburg I WHO DID WHAT IN WW1?

Filed under: Europe, Germany, History, Military — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

Published on 20 May 2017

Paul von Hindenburg’s military career was already over when World War 1 broke out. He fought in legendary German battles like Königgrätz [and] Sedan and now was retired. But he returned in 1914 and became a living legend after the victory over the Russians at Tannenberg 1914. During the war he and Erich Ludendorff turned Germany in a de facto military dictatorship to steer the entire country through this total war. But Germany still lost and Hindenburg was also responsible for setting up the Dolchstoßlegende – the myth of the stab in the back of the undefeated German Army.

May 19, 2017

Tenth Battle of The Isonzo River – Trotsky Arrives in Petrograd I THE GREAT WAR Week 147

Filed under: Europe, Germany, History, Military, Russia — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 06:00

Published on 18 May 2017

The Italian Front has been quiet over the winter and while the Austrians used the time to improve their defences, the Italian Army prepared another offensive near the Isonzo River. At the same time, Leon Trotsky arrives in Petrograd which will ensure the further complication of the situation in Russia after the Revolution.

May 16, 2017

The Virtual Lorenz machine

Filed under: Germany, History, Military, Technology — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 03:00

At The Register, Gareth Corfield discusses the new virtual coding device simulating the WW2 German Lorenz cipher machine:

The National Museum of Computing has put an emulation of an “unbreakable” Second World War German cipher machine online for world+dog to admire.

The Virtual Lorenz machine has been launched in honour of WW2 codebreaker Bill Tutte, the man who broke the crypto used in the twelve-rotor cipher machine.

As The National Museum of Computing (TNMOC) puts it, Tutte’s work “shortened the conflict” – even though he had never even seen the cipher machine or its crypto scheme, the breaking of which the museum added was “the greatest intellectual feat of the war”.

TNMOC unveiled the Virtual Lorenz today to celebrate Tutte’s 100th birthday. Built by computing chap Martin Gillow, the simulation accurately reproduces the whirring of the cipher wheels (you might want to turn it down as the “background whirr” is a little too realistic).

The BBC profiled the “gifted mathematician” a few years ago, highlighting how the Lorenz machine whose secrets Tutte cracked was “several degrees more advanced than Enigma”, the cipher famously cracked by Tutte’s colleague Alan Turing. Tutte cracked the Lorenz in about six months, reverse-engineering its workings by reading intercepted Lorenz messages. When the Allies wanted to fool Hitler into believing the D-Day landings would take place in a false location, our ability to read Lorenz was critical for confirming that the ruse had worked – saving thousands of soldiers, sailors and airmen’s lives.

[…]

The Virtual Lorenz can be found here. Word to the wise – it’s not on an HTTPS site, so if you’re hoping to use it to thwart GCHQ, you might want to think again.

May 12, 2017

The Macedonian Standoff – The Five Nation Army Is Repelled I THE GREAT WAR Week 146

Filed under: Britain, Europe, France, Germany, History, Military — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

Published on 11 May 2017

Italy, France, Serbia, Britain and Russia joined forces at the Macedonian Front and the “five nation army” wants to break through the lines held by Bulgaria with some German support. But the Bulgarian defences can withstand the attack and so Maurice Sarrail is forced to abandon all hopes for a breakthrough. Meanwhile another offensive is about to proceed at the Italian front which had been quiet all winter.

May 9, 2017

US Joins WW1 – Spring Offensives 1917 I THE GREAT WAR Summary Part 9

Filed under: Britain, Europe, France, Germany, History, Military, Russia, USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Published on 8 May 2017

After a rather quiet winter, the war erupts into action in 1917. Not only do the United States join the war after weeks of unrestricted submarine warfare and the uncovering of the Zimmermann Telegram. The British and French launch their own spring offensives. In the East, chaos spreads in post-revolutionary Russia and Lenin returns from exile. And in Mesopotamia the British take Baghdad.

May 8, 2017

Spanish Civil War – Lessons NOT Learned – The British, French & US

Filed under: Europe, Germany, History, Military, Russia — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 28 Mar 2017

The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) was probably the most significant war between the First and the Second World War. [M]any important lessons were learned and NOT learned by the British, French, US, German, Italian and Soviet Forces.

Military History Visualized provides a series of short narrative and visual presentations like documentaries based on academic literature or sometimes primary sources. Videos are intended as introduction to military history, but also contain a lot of details for history buffs. Since the aim is to keep the episodes short and comprehensive some details are often cut.

April 30, 2017

Fight For Air Supremacy – Bloody April 1917 I THE GREAT WAR Special feat. Real Engineering

Filed under: Britain, Europe, Germany, History, Military — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Published on 29 Apr 2017

Check out Real Engineering and their video about WW1 airplanes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MI08NGCgISE

Meet us and see original WW1 airplanes: http://bit.ly/TGWStowMaries

“Bloody April” was the result of two competing aviation strategies: The more defence oriented German Luftstreitkräfte and the more offensive oriented British Royal Flying Corps. The RFC needed air reconnaissance for the Battle of Arras and the Germans needed to deny them them. With the superior German Albatross D.III fighters, the German Jagdstaffeln inflicted heavy losses on the RFC.

April 25, 2017

German Trade Submarines – Beutepanzer Upgrades – Dan Carlin I OUT OF THE TRENCHES

Filed under: Europe, Germany, History, Military — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

Published on 24 Apr 2017

Check out Dan Carlin’s Podcast about WW1: http://bit.ly/DanCarlinArmageddon

It’s Chair of Wisdom Time again and this week we talk about German Trade Submarines (Deutschland class), Beutepanzer upgrades and Dan Carlin’s Blueprint for Armageddon series.

April 22, 2017

Flamethrower Units – Handling of Prisoners – Artillery Fuses I OUT OF THE TRENCHES

Filed under: Europe, Germany, History, Military — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 09:42

Published on 22 Apr 2017

In this week’s episode, Indy talks about flamethrower units, the handling of war prisoners and different types of artillery fuses.

April 21, 2017

The Nivelle Offensive – Carnage At The Chemin Des Dames I THE GREAT WAR Week 143

Filed under: Europe, France, Germany, History, Middle East, Military — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

Published on 20 Apr 2017

French Commander Robert Nivelle was sure that his offensive would bring the final victory against Germany. He scaled up his successful plan from Verdun which had worked so well and even when other generals questioned the very idea of the offensive, he would refuse to alter it or call it off. The Germans knew that the French were coming and were well prepared. And so the disaster at the Chemin Des Dames unfolded.

April 19, 2017

QotD: Hubris and Nemesis, or pride goeth before the fall

Filed under: Europe, Germany, History, Military, Politics, Quotations, USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

Few things are more likely to precede defeat than the conviction that you are on the verge of victory. One hundred years ago, in the spring of 1917, Germany had every reason to believe that it would triumph over its enemies in the First World War. France had been bled white in repeated attacks on the German army’s fortified lines, England was suffering from shortages of both munitions and military manpower, and Russia was descending into a revolution that would, within a year, enable Germany and its Austro-Hungarian allies to shift enormous numbers of troops and guns to the Western Front. Yet the entry of the United States into the war on April 6, 1917, proved to be the counterweight that shifted the balance. By the autumn of 1918, the fond hope of Germany victory had been exposed as a delusion. The ultimate result of the Kaiser’s war was the destruction of the Kaiser’s empire, and of much else besides.

What is true in war is true also in politics. Hubris is nearly always the precedent to unexpected defeat. In 1964, Lyndon Johnson won a landslide victory; less than four years later, LBJ could not even win his own party’s nomination for re-election. In 1972, Richard Nixon was re-elected in a landslide; less than two years later, he was forced to resign from office. More recently, after George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election, some imagined that this victory was the harbinger of a “permanent Republican majority” — a GOP electoral hegemony based on a so-called “center-right” realignment — but two years later, Democrats captured control of Congress and in 2008 Barack Obama was elected president. Obama’s success in turn led Democrats to become overconfident, and Hillary Clinton’s supporters believed they were “on the right side of history,” as rock singer Bruce Springsteen told a rally in Philadelphia on the eve of the 2016 election. Unfortunately for Democrats, history disagreed.

Robert Stacy McCain, “Why Is the ‘Right Side of History’ Losing?”, The American Spectator, 2017-04-05.

April 18, 2017

Western Front Artillery At The Outbreak of World War 1 I THE GREAT WAR Special

Filed under: Britain, Europe, France, Germany, History, Military — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

Published on 17 Apr 2017

World War 1 was a war of artillery, 75% of casualties are attributed to artillery fire. And since the late 19th century the development of field canons, howitzers and mortars had made rapid progress. We are taking a look at the standard artillery pieces of the German, French and British Army at the outbreak of the war in this first part of a new series.

April 16, 2017

QotD: The fascination of Hitler and Nazi Germany

Filed under: Europe, Germany, History, Quotations — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

This morning I read Marina Fontaine’s review of Downfall (http://marinafontaine.blogspot.com/2017/03/netflix-review-downfall.html), yes, including mention of that scene, the one that’s been recaptioned several gazillion times, some with more humor than others. In the review, she asks why the fascination? What is it with the Nazis and Hitler?

I have a theory. It is purely mine, based on reading a metric crap-ton about all manner of things (and don’t ask me for cites because this stuff has stewed so long in the back of my head I no longer remember where I originally read whatever triggered any particular piece. You can get most of the raw facts off Wikipedia). It is also a very broad generalization. Coming years will determine whether or not it is correct in the big picture. I’m not optimistic (I hope I’ve got this horribly wrong. I fear I haven’t).

Okay. So.

The ongoing fascination with Hitler and Nazi Germany.

Simply put, it’s the most well-documented and acknowledged demonstration of the allure of evil and how easy it is for a more or less civilized people to descend into utter brutality. As such, it holds an unclean fascination not helped by uniforms that were designed to look good as well as be practical (or by the simple fact that evil, when done effectively, is sexy. Because it is invariably power, and untrammeled power at that. We’re human. Power attracts and corrupts us. The wiser among us acknowledge this so we can fight the effect).

The various Communist regimes can be dismissed as “not counting” because to the minds of those who do the dismissing, Russia, China, North Korea, and Eastern Europe “weren’t civilized”, and so Communism/Socialism would work just fine implemented by civilized people (they usually point to one of the Nordic nations when they do this). These same people are a big part of why the wrong lesson keeps being drawn from Nazi Germany.

The problem was not nationalism. It was not even the disgusting racial laws. Those laws could never have been passed, much less enforced, without the one big thing Socialism, Communism, and yes, Nazism have in common.

The supremacy of the state.

[…]

That bare listing of facts accounts for the rise of Hitler, but not the continuing notion that the Nazis were conservative (only if you define ‘conservative’ as ‘nationalist’). That one comes from two sources. One was Soviet propaganda aimed at making Communist and Nazi ideologies seem much more distinct than they actually were. The other was Allied propaganda aimed at much the same thing. It wouldn’t do, after all, to have people realize they were allied with a dictator every bit as vile as Hitler.

So in American and British media, the evil of the Nazis was played up, while the evil of the Communists was minimized where it couldn’t be silenced altogether. The Communist plants and fellow-travelers in both nations helped.

They were – and are – almost the same. Both demand an all-powerful state. The state determines who is deserving and provides for the deserving. The state dehumanizes the undeserving prior to eliminating them. The state determines the direction of industry (in the case of the Nazis, by requiring business owners to support the regime where the Communists took over the businesses). The state cares for you – but if you’re no use to the state, your care will be an unmarked grave in a prison camp/work camp/concentration camp/gulag. All hail the state.

Kate Paulk, “The Ease of Evil”, guest-posting at According to Hoyt, 2017-03-21.

April 10, 2017

Small Arms of WWI Primer 022: German T-Gewehr Anti-Tank Rifle

Filed under: Germany, History, Military, Technology — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Published on Mar 29, 2016

Othais and Mae delve into the story of this WWI classic. Complete with history, function, and live fire demonstration.

C&Rsenal presents its WWI Primer series; covering the firearms of this historic conflict one at a time in honor of the centennial anniversary. Join us every other Tuesday!

Cartridge: 13.2x92mmR
Capacity: 1 rnd
Length: 5.5′
weight: 37.7 lbs

Additional reading:

Das Tankgewehr Mauser M 1918
Wolfgang Kern

DWJ – 1972 – Volume 4
Die Panzerbuchse 18

K. D. Meyer

April 7, 2017

Some people build boats as a hobby … this guy built a Fokker Dreidecker I

Filed under: Europe, Germany, History, Military — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

At The Register, the story of Dr Peter Brueggemann’s quest to build a close replica of the kind of WW1 aircraft made famous by the Red Baron:

World War I Dawn Patrol Rendezvous DAYTON, Ohio — Reenactors stand in front of a Fokker Dr. I during the World War I Dawn Patrol Rendezvous at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, 8 August 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo, via Wikimedia)

A German orthopaedic surgeon in Norfolk has spent £70,000 building himself a flyable full-size replica of the Red Baron’s Fokker Triplane.

Dr Peter Brueggemann built the First World War-era aircraft by hand – even though when he started he couldn’t fly, as ITV News reported.

The bright red Fokker Dreidecker I (German for “three-decker”, or triplane) was built to a set of technical drawings prepared by an American aviation fanatic in the 1970s. No original Dr.Is exist, though a number of replicas have been put together during the 20th century.

Dr Brueggemann even acquired the title of baron from the Principality of Sealand, ready for when his Fokker makes its planned first flight this summer.

He told the telly station: “Being a surgeon has certainly helped and I have used surgical equipment like needles and forceps when stitching materials to the ribs of the plane.”

[…]

Fokker copied the original Dr.I design from British company Sopwith. During the early stages of air fighting in WWI, rate of climb was deemed vitally important. As aeronautical science was still in its infancy – aircraft were built from plywood and canvas, while the relatively primitive rotary engines of the day were only capable of around 110hp – the easiest way of increasing the amount of lift available was to add more wings.

First seeing action in early 1917, the Sopwith Triplane was an instant success. However, a captured example shown to Anthony Fokker, prompting German development of their own version. The first pre-production Dr.I was issued to a frontline unit in August 1917 and proved an instant hit. German fighter squadron commander Manfred von Richthofen recommended the Dr.1 be issued to as many frontline units as possible.

(more…)

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