November 20, 2015

The Forgotten Front – World War 1 in Libya I THE GREAT WAR – Week 69

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

Published on 19 Nov 2015

12 war zones were not enough for this global war and this week an often forgotten theatre of war opens in Libya. Local Arab tribesmen fight against the British in guerrilla war. As if the Italians did not have enough problems at the Isonzo Front where Luigi Cardona is still sending his men into certain death against the Austrian defences. The situation for the Serbs is grim too and on the Western Front the carnage continues unchanged.

November 13, 2015

Serbia’s Last Stand Against The Central Powers I THE GREAT WAR – Week 68

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

Published on 12 Nov 2015

Serbia’s Army cannot hold out much longer against the invasion of the Central Powers. Germany, Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria are relentlessly pushing forward through the Balkan country. The French are trying to help from the south but a river proves to be an obstacle they cannot overcome. In the Alps, the 4th Battle of the Isonzo starts one week after the 3rd had failed and in West Africa, the Battle of Banjo takes place as one of the last battles of the German colony Kamerun (Cameroon).

November 8, 2015

The Legend of the Desk & the Far Ends of the Trenches I OUT OF THE TRENCHES

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

Published on 7 Nov 2015

Indy sits in the chair of wisdom again to answer your questions. And this time, we’re talking about the legend behind our desk and how the far ends of the trenches looked like. Don’t forget to ask us more questions.

November 6, 2015

The Third Battle of the Isonzo – French Despair On The Western Front I THE GREAT WAR Week 67

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

Published on 5 Nov 2015

For the third time the Italians had tried to conquer the Austrian positions at the Isonzo front and for the third time they had failed. And like the other defeats before, the Third Battle of the Isonzo came with an extreme amount of casualties due to the difficult terrain in the Alps. At the same time, Lord Kitchener visits the front in Gallipoli and realises that evacuation is the only logical decision to make. On the Western Front, the French had suffered well over 200.000 casualties during the autumn offensives at Artois and in the Champagne.

October 9, 2015

Serbia Is Invaded Once Again – The Entente Lands in Greece I THE GREAT WAR Week 63

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

Published on 8 Oct 2015

The Central Powers want to open a direct supply connection between Berlin and Constantinople. So, they start a new offensive on Serbia to defeat them once and for all. It’s an open secret that Serbia’s neighbour Bulgaria will soon join the war so the Serbians are in dire need of help. With no other option, the Entente lands troops in Salonika, Greece. The whole situation on the Balkans is spiraling out of control once more. Meanwhile the new offensives on the Western Front continue while the Eastern Front cools down.

August 11, 2015

The Forgotten War Heroine – Milunka Savic I WHO DID WHAT IN WW1?

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

Published on 10 Aug 2015

Even though Milunka Savic was one of the highest decorated soldiers of the entire Great War, she was forgotten soon after it ended. Her great deeds for the Serbian Army and even the impossible fact that she was serving as a female soldier became lost and were only recently discovered. Find out all about the forgotten Serbian fighter which is now considered a war heroine with Indy.

July 24, 2015

Scorched Earth – Russia’s retreat goes up in flames! l THE GREAT WAR Week 52

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

Published on 23 Jul 2015

This week Russia premieres her tactics of “Scorched Earth”. A new strategy of burning their own land is to avoid enemies profiting from their conquests. Russia had been retreating from the German and Austro-Hungarian armies for nearly three months now. Continuously losing huge areas of land and hundreds of thousands of men on the Eastern Front. As a consequence, millions of civilians had to flee their homes. At the same time allied troops at Gallipoli are weakened by infections and disease due to lack of hygiene and heat while Italy repeatedly failed to take out Austrian strongpoints.

July 17, 2015

The Tumbling Giant – Russia’s Army On The Verge Of Collapse I THE GREAT WAR Week 51

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

Published on 16 Jul 2015

The German-Austrian offensive on the Eastern Front had undone all of Russia’s territorial gains in the last weeks. Lemberg had fallen and the German troops were at the gates of Warsaw. The Russian casualties were in the millions, especially equipment and officers were becoming scarce. And exactly now, the German high command (OHL) prepared an all-out offensive along the entire frontline. At the same time in Gallipoli, one failure followed the other. How long would the Entente be able to continue this exercise in butchery?

July 14, 2015

Italy in World War 1 I THE GREAT WAR Special

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

Published on 13 Jul 2015

Italy was a major European country that joined World War 1 almost a year after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. Initially, Italy actually had an alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary called the Triple Alliance, but Italy decided to back the Entente powers instead because they were promised disputed land in the Alps and near Trieste. Find out all about Italy in World War 1 in our new special.

June 26, 2015

The Austro-Hungarian Empire Strikes Back I THE GREAT WAR Week 48

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

Published on 25 Jun 2015

Just a few weeks ago Austria-Hungary’s military laid in shambles. But with German support from August von Mackensen and other German generals, the tide is turning on the Eastern Front. Even Lemberg can be conquered again and the Russians are still on their Big Retreat.

June 15, 2015

The Key To Success Is Artillery I THE GREAT WAR Week 45

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

Apologies for presenting this one out of order, but last week was a bit disordered. The next Great War video will be week 47, probably on Friday.

Published on 4 Jun 2015

When Przemysl falls for the 2nd time and when the British and ANZAC troops fail at Gallipoli again, one thing becomes clear: Artillery is the key for future battles. August von Mackensen had used it with great success at the Gorlice-Tarnow-Offensive and the French even diverted one million men to shell factories. Meanwhile German Zeppelins bombed London and the US sent submarines for aid.

June 12, 2015

Rex Warneford Destroys A Zeppelin – Austria Digs Into the Mountains I THE GREAT WAR – Week 46

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

Published on 11 Jun 2015

Reginald Warneford is important to Britain’s war effort. Not just because he shot down a German zeppelin, but because he is made a hero in times when heroes are needed. He receives a Victoria Cross soon after his victory because the commanders know about the average life span of pilots in World War 1. Meanwhile, the Austro-Hungarian army digs into the alpine rocks to fend of the Italian Attackers and Gallipoli continues to be a butchery without any progress.

May 29, 2015

Frontline in the Alps – Italy Declares War I THE GREAT WAR Week 44

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

Published on 28 May 2015

After the defeats of Austria-Hungary against Russia, Italy is seeing her chance to grab disputed territories from them. Even though they are not prepared for a full scale war economically or militarily, the declare war against the Central Powers. So, just one month after the landing at Gallipoli, yet another front is opened in Europe. Meanwhile the Russians are still on the run from August von Mackensen and in Gallipoli the fighting stops to collect the dead.

May 22, 2015

The trains of war – the military application of steam power

Filed under: Military, Railways — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

James Simpson on the revolution in military affairs triggered by the development of the steam engine and the railways:

Navvies working on the Grand Crimean Central Railway, 1854. Walker, Charles (1969) Thomas Brassey, Railway Builder (via Wikipedia)

Navvies working on the Grand Crimean Central Railway, 1854. Charles Walker: Thomas Brassey, Railway Builder, 1969. (via Wikipedia)

Trains were cutting-edge weapons of war in the 19th century — and all the major powers were figuring out how to deploy them. The Europeans learned how to move troops by train. The Americans — how to fight on rail cars. The British, meanwhile, found they could dominate an empire from the tracks.

In today’s world of tanks, bombers and submarines, it’s perhaps hard to believe that the train was once an amazingly mobile weapons platform. They might be locked to their rails, but for over a century trains were the fastest means of hauling troops and artillery to front lines across the world.

The invention of the railway shaped warfare for a century. Rails allowed force projection across immense distances — and at speeds which were impossible on foot or by horse.


The first demonstration of the military efficacy of the railroads was the 1846 Polish Uprising. Prussia rushed 12,000 troops of the Sixth Army Corps, with guns and horses, to the Free City of Krakow to help put down the Polish rebellion. In this period of nationalist uprisings, Russia and Austria also used their railroads against similar uprisings from 1848 to 1850.

A lack of infrastructure and experience stifled the success of these early endeavors. Due to a lack of rolling stock, suitable platforms and double-track stretches, the trains sometimes operated far slower than a man could march on foot.

Austria was first to get it right. In 1851, the Austrian Empire shuttled 145,000 men, nearly 2,000 horses, 48 artillery pieces and 464 vehicles over 187 miles.

May 10, 2015

Boozing “properly” during the Great War

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

At War on the Rocks, Jake Hall talks about the pervasive inflence of intoxication during the First World War:

The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand is often regarded as the proverbial match in the tinderbox where World War I is concerned. The imperial-nationalist tensions surrounding Austria-Hungary’s waning empire, tensions which inspired the assassination and ensuing conflict, were frankly unwarranted, considering the swill these regions were, and still are, trying to pass off as potable spirits. Then again, what’s a tragic war of global scope without tragically misguided motivations at the start? One contributing factor to the war-primed Europe of 1914 sounds oddly familiar. Disenfranchised youth of marginalized states resorting to suicidal violence. It’s easy to see how the seven agents of Ferdinand’s assassination could be lining up to enlist in ISIS today. Youthful, “angsty,” and driven by an unhinged sense of importance and righteousness, it was a 19 year old, Gavrilo Princip, who carried out the clumsy assassination on the streets of Sarajevo. After a failed bombing attempt, failed suicide attempt, and a major security lapse by Ferdinand’s guards, the conspirators succeeded in gunning down the Archduke and Duchess almost by chance. With that act the Serbian nationalists, on a quest for south Slavic unification, killed a couple that were by many accounts lovely people, and started the July Crisis that led to the Great War.

The conflict that followed became the then-largest mobilization of military force ever, until the rematch 21 years later. HG Wells was the first to declare WWI the “war to end war,” and though that designation had contemporary critics, it quickly became a motto for the hostilities. A war to end war seems like an occasion for a drink, no? If it doesn’t, you’ve either never had a drink or you’ve never had a soul. In any case, what follows is an account of which powers were most benevolent during the war, measured chiefly by the alcohol rations secured and distributed to their soldiers. It presumes that the men fighting in the trenches on all sides had drawn short straws in life, and the side most willing to allow a little buzz on the front line exhibited a little humanity.


So how does all this play out in the end? France occupied the role of major supplier to all sides drinking needs. The Germans made large gains at the start of the war, and enabled rear-echelon troops to frequent taverns in their newly conquered territories. Couple that privilege with their substantial liquor rations, and the German rank-and-file were well situated for some time. Ultimately, the British naval blockade started affecting German supplies, which directly cut into their drinking. When the Allies reversed Germany’s advances and ended the war, they virtually ensured the Germans would only be drinking regret and resentment for nearly two decades. The French military was also generous with its rations where allies were concerned, attempting in a small way to soften the hard line the British and American citizens and leadership held with regard to their troops’ drinking. Russia incurred the mother of all hangovers when it finally stopped drowning itself in vodka for a minute, and basically played the role of your friend who passes out at the bar. Final outcome? À votre santé, France.

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