Quotulatiousness

February 9, 2017

The Year of Battles Comes To An End I THE GREAT WAR WW1 Summary Part 8

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

Published on 8 Feb 2017

With the end of the Battle of Verdun, the year 1916 ends. A battle that was described as “World War 1 in a microcosm” and has been remembered in infamy ever since. Late 1916 also brings political shake-ups, an end to the Romanian campaign and new action in the Middle East. And still no end in sight.

December 2, 2016

Romania On The Ropes – Reflections On The Battle of the Somme I THE GREAT WAR Week 123

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

Published on 1 Dec 2016

The fighting at the Somme is over – for now. The numbers of casualties on both sides is staggering and for what? Indy reflects on this epitome of WW1 battles. And at the same time 100 years ago the fighting in Romania was far from over. The four Central Powers were still on the move and it did not look good for Romania which only joined the war a few months ago. The situation in Greece became ever more complicated and increasingly violent too.

November 25, 2016

The Death Of Franz Joseph – The End of The Somme I THE GREAT WAR Week 122

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

Published on 24 Nov 2016

They year 1916 is slowly coming to a close. This year of battles has seen the Battle of Verdun and the Battle of the Somme with well over 2 million casualties alone. And this week 100 years ago, the Battle of the Somme ended with the last push at the Ancre. In Vienna, Emperor Franz Joseph dies after almost 7 decades on the throne and Serbian and French forces take Monastir.

November 18, 2016

Heavy Action At The Somme – The Fight For Monastir I THE GREAT WAR Week 121

Filed under: Britain, Europe, History, Military — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 09:24

Published on 17 Nov 2016

The battlefield at the Somme flared into action this week with the same disastrous consequences. The soldiers fighting for the British Army even analysed the problems they were facing in the repeated assaults but to no avail. At the same time, the Serbs, supported by French troops, continued towards their home and fought for Monastir on the Macedonian Front.

November 11, 2016

Charming The Poles – The Central Powers Look For New Allies I THE GREAT WAR Week 120

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

Published on 10 Nov 2016

The year of battles is coming to a close as winter approaches. The Central Powers realise that they need new troops and new war material if they actually want to win the war and not just continue it. Erich Ludendorff dreams of a Polish Army under German command and to charm the Poles in the German Empire and the occupied territories, the Kingdom of Poland is established.

November 1, 2016

New Inventions And New Fronts – Fall 1916 I THE GREAT WAR WW1 Summary Part 6

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

Published on Oct 31, 2016

1916 is known as the year of battles and in the past three months you could see that there was still no end in sight. Romania joined the war opening another front and at the Somme and at Verdun the battles were still raging.

October 28, 2016

France Turns The Tide At Verdun I THE GREAT WAR Week 118

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

Published on 27 Oct 2016

Meticulous planning, patience and and improvement supply chain meant that the French were finally ready to push the Germans back at Verdun. And the recapture of Fort Douaumont was as much an odd story as was the capture a few months earlier.

October 14, 2016

Deadly Routine On The Italian Front – The 8th Battle Of The Isonzo I THE GREAT WAR – Week 116

Filed under: Europe, History, Military — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 10:38

Published on Oct 13, 2016

While the 7th Battle of the Isonzo River was still raging, Italian chief of staff Luigi Cadorna was already planning the 8th. The war of attrition was going in his favour even though the Italian losses began to mount too. But how long could Austria-Hungary keep up against the constant pressure?

October 7, 2016

Douglas Haig’s Fantasies Drown In Mud I THE GREAT WAR Week 115

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

Published on 6 Oct 2016

Even though his troops are drowning in mud, Douglas Haig is still sketching grandiose plans for the breakthrough at the Somme. At the same time, the German Ambassador is recalled from Constantinople because he spoke out against the Armenian Genocide and with a clever offensive the Romanians harass August von Mackensen on the new Romanian Front.

October 1, 2016

Falkenhayn Crosses The Carpathians – The Battle of Sibiu I THE GREAT WAR Week 114

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

Published on 29 Sep 2016

Erich von Falkenhayn had been fired from his position as Chief-of-Staff but he had a new task: Leading the combined Austro-German forces into Romania. So, this week 100 years ago Falkenhayn crosses the Carpathian mountains into Transylvania where they met fierce Romanian resistance. At the same time the British attacked at the Somme again and failed to utilise their new weapon: the tank.

September 23, 2016

Manfred von Richthofen’s First Victory – American Volunteers in WW1 I THE GREAT WAR Week 113

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

Published on 22 Sep 2016

This week 100 years ago Manfred von Richthofen is credited with his first aerial victory on the Western Front. He shoots down a British airplane with his Albatross D.II. At the same time the Isonzo Front is in full swing again where Luigi Cadorna is leading another offensive.

September 17, 2016

A contrarian view of the introduction of the tank

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

At Samizdata, Patrick Crozier gets all contrarian about the tank in a post he titles “Haig’s greatest mistake”:

On 15 September 1916 tanks made their debut at Flers-Courcelette, one of the many engagements which took place during the Battle of the Somme.

The battle marked the beginning of a sorry chapter in British military history because the truth – a truth that to this day few seem prepared to acknowledge – is that the First World War tank was useless.

The list of its failings is lengthy. It was slow, it was unreliable, it had no suspension and it was horrible to operate. The temperature inside was typically over 100°F and as exhaust gases built up so crew effectiveness collapsed. It was also highly vulnerable. Field artillery could take it out easily. Even rifle ammunition could be effective against it. While normal bullets might not be able to penetrate the armour they could knock off small pieces of metal from the inside – known as spall – which then whizzed round the interior wounding all and sundry.

That the tank was the brainchild of Winston Churchill from his days as head of the Admiralty should have alerted senior commanders to the possibility that it was yet another of his crackpot schemes. But they persisted. For his part, Haig being a technophile put a huge amount of faith in the new invention. His diary is littered with references to the tank and he seems to have made great efforts to secure ever more of them. In consequence, huge amounts of effort went into a technological dead end when it would have been far better spent on guns, shells and fuzes.

Not that such efforts were ever likely to satisfy the snake-oil salesmen who made up the ranks of the tank enthusiasts. In the face of tank failure after tank failure they simply claimed that their beloved weapon just wasn’t being used properly.

September 16, 2016

Beasts of Steel – The First Tanks On The Battlefield I THE GREAT WAR Week 112

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

Published on 15 Sep 2016

For years the British had developed the idea of the “landship” or tank and now it was finally ready for the first deployment during the Battle of Flers-Courcelette. And even though technical problems plagued the new invention, the British leadership was confident that this new weapon would break the stalemate at the Western Front for good. In the meantime Germany was focusing all offensive efforts on the Romanian front to mercilessly crush the new enemy.

September 9, 2016

Fire In The Sky – Zeppelin Shot Down Over Britain I THE GREAT WAR Week 111

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

Published on 8 Sep 2016

German Zeppelins brought terror and destruction to the British homeland since the beginning of the war. But a new invention helped to bring the first one down this week 100 years ago: the incendiary bullet. The public is overjoyed as the first behemoth strikes the ground as a flaming ball of fire. At the same time an unusual calm descends on the battlefields around Verdun: Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff visited the battlefield for the first time and are appalled by what they see.

August 26, 2016

The Five Nation Army – The Salonica Front Erupts I THE GREAT WAR Week 109

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

Published on 25 Aug 2016

NOTE: We are still on the road and won’t be able to answer many comments. Greetings from Lviv, Ukraine!

The Salonica Front was supposed to be a backdoor to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and for supporting the Serbian Army when the first Entente troops landed there. But their presence in Salonica was growing and bigger. With the return of the Serbian troops from Corfu and new support by the Russians and Italians, the Allies were now fielding a Five Nation Army here.

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