Quotulatiousness

August 11, 2017

Despair Everywhere – Battle of Mărășești I THE GREAT WAR Week 159

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

Published on 10 Aug 2017

This week Russo-Romanian forces clash with the Central Power´s counteroffensive in the Second Battle of Oltuz. The failure of the Kerensky Offensive disheartens the Russian army and radicalizes the homefront. While the Bolsheviks were calling for “Peace, Bread and Land”, the new commander of the Russian army Lavr Kornilov strives to become a strong authoritarian figure for the political right. And the Battle of Passchendaele reveals a scarred, broken battlefield of mud and destroyed equipment. Despair is everywhere.

July 28, 2017

Three Years of World War 1 I THE GREAT WAR Week 157

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

Published on 27 Jul 2017

Christmas 1914 – that’s when the war was supposed to be over. And now, in the summer of 1917, it entered its fourth year and there was no end in sight. The British Army was about to launch a new offensive near Ypres, Russia drowned in chaos and the central powers’ defences were still holding. Though in Romania, the combined Russian and Romanian attack put a few cracks into the German self esteem.

July 25, 2017

The Greatest Scientist of the 20th Century You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Filed under: History, Religion, Science, Space — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 13 Jul 2017

There’s a perception that religion and science go together about as well as mayonnaise and marshmallows. In some instances, this is, perhaps, true. But on a typically warm Southern California January in 1933 at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California (the same place and same time that Jack Parsons of rocket science fame was doing his experiments — history intersecting!), religion and science proved that these two ideals didn’t have to be enemies.

Want the text version?: http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2014/02/georges-lemaitre-greatest-scientist-youve-never-heard/

July 24, 2017

Great Blunders of WWII: The German Blunder At Dunkirk 1

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

Published on 4 Nov 2016

From the History Channel DVD series “Great Blunders of WWII”

July 14, 2017

Operation Beach Party – Mustard Gas Unleashed I THE GREAT WAR Week 155

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

Published on 13 Jul 2017

British Commander Sir Douglas Haig is still convinced of his coming offensive in Flanders. But the Germans now that something is afoot and launch a spoiling attack at the Yser River – the name of the operation is Strandfest or Beach Party. They use blue cross gas for the first time there and two days later also use another new chemical agent which will be known as mustard gas.

June 22, 2017

The EU regulators want to get rid of a Belgian food tradition

Filed under: Bureaucracy, Europe, Health — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

Carol Off reports for CBC Radio’s As It Happens:

Belgian Fries, traditionally served with mayonnaise
(photo by vokimberly at Flickr)

Belgium’s government says a new proposal by the European Union could spell disaster for the country’s world-famous fries.

“We adore our fries the way we make them, so just let us do so for the next 100 years, because the last hundred years it wasn’t a problem, so why should it be a problem now?” Flemish Tourism Minister Ben Weyts told Carol Off, host of CBC Radio’s As It Happens.

Traditionally, Belgian fries, are twice fried in fat. First, they go in raw to generate a soft, fluffy interior. Then they are refried at a higher temperature to create a crispy, golden exterior.

This process sets Belgian fries apart from soft and chunky British chips, or the sleek and thin fries preferred by the French.

But the European Commission is proposing that all potatoes be blanched — briefly cooked in boiling water — before they hit the fat.

It’s part of an EU effort to curb exposure to acrylamide, a chemical that can form in foods cooked at high temperatures, and has been linked to cancer in animal tests.

[…]

On the heels of the Belgian backlash, the European Commission has insisted the proposal is a suggestion, not a ban.

“The commission has no intention whatsoever to ban Belgian frites — or any other frites, for that matter,” spokesperson Margaritis Schinas said on Tuesday.

“Instead, the commission is preparing a new regulatory measure to oblige food business operators to apply a code of practice to reduce acrylamide in food, as it is carcinogenic.

“We are all very attached to the rich culinary heritage we find in our member states.”

For more information on Belgian Fries, see The One and Only Original Belgian Fries Website (which hadn’t been updated with this latest existential threat when I checked it).

H/T to Chris Myrick for the link.

February 17, 2017

Railways Of The Great War With Michael Portillo Part 1 A Railway War Begins

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

Published on 9 Feb 2015

In the run up to the 100 yr anniversary of the end of the First World War Michael Portillo travels across France and Belgium to find out the history of raiways of the past and present….

February 6, 2017

QotD: General officer ranks in the Waterloo campaign

Filed under: Britain, Europe, France, Germany, History, Military — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

There were a lot of generals involved in the campaign in northern France and Flanders that began on June 14, 1815, and culminated in the memorable Battle of Waterloo on June 18th. Altogether there were 240 of them, to command nearly 360,000 troops. And since the troops came from a lot of different armies — British, French, Prussian, Netherlands, Hanover, Brunswick, and a few others, telling the generals apart can be a bit confusing.

[…]

Note that the rank structure is not really comparable to that prevailing today in the U.S. Army. The functional equivalent of a British major general or a French general de brigade or marechal de camp would actually be brigadier general based on their commands. The French rank system was actually much more complicated than may appear from the table. To begin with, the highest actual rank in the army was general de division. Marechal de l’Empire was technically a distinction, not a rank. Now it gets really complicated. A corps commander who was officially a general de division might by courtesy be designated a general de corps d’armee. However, a general de division might also sometimes be referred to as a lieutenant-general, particularly if he was functioning in a staff position. Meanwhile, the chief-of-staff of the army was designated major general. In addition, an officer commanding a brigade was more likely to be designated a marechal de camp (i.e., “field marshal”) rather than general de brigade, which was reserved for officers with special duties, such as the commanders of the regiments of the Garde Imperial. This complexity had developed as a result of the Revolution, which favored functional titles for military officers, chef de battailon for example, rather than major. Unfortunately, staff personnel often required rank, so the old Royal hierarchical titles of rank survived for a long time alongside the functional Revolutionary ones.

Further complicating matters was the fact that in all the armies an officer’s social rank was often used rather than his military rank. Thus, although Wellington was a Field Marshal he was usually referred to as “His Grace, the Duke” without his military rank. In Wellington’s case this could become quite complicated, as he was a duke thrice over, the Portuguese and Spanish having created him such even before the British, and he was also a Prince of the Netherlands. As each of these gave him a different title, references to him in Portuguese, Spanish, or Dutch works can easily become obscure. For example, to the Portuguese he was the Duque de Douro, and one Portuguese language history of the Peninsular War nowhere uses any other name for him. Then there is the problem of multiple ranks. Wellington, for example, was a field marshal in the British, Prussian, Netherlands, and Portuguese armies, as well as being a Capitan General in the Spanish Army. Although none of the other officers in the campaign had so many different ranks, several held more than one. For example, the Prince of Orange was a Dutch field marshal and a general in the British Army, while the Duke of Brunswick, who commanded his division in his capacity as duke, was also a lieutenant-general in the British Army.

Al Nofi, “Al Nofi’s CIC”, Strategy Page, 2000-02-01.

December 6, 2016

Hand Grenades – The Belgian Army – Flemish Nationalism I OUT OF THE TRENCHES

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

Published on 5 Dec 2016

Indy is sitting int he chair of madness again and answers all your questions about the First World War. This week we talk about the Belgians and Hand Grenades.

July 23, 2016

QotD: Separatism and the EU

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

All the current nationalist parties of small nations in Europe — the Scots, the Welsh, the Basque, the Catalans, the Flemish — strongly support membership in the European Union, which is dedicated to, and even predicated upon, the extinction of national sovereignty. One would have thought that these parties wanted, at a minimum, national sovereignty. The contradiction is so glaring that it requires an explanation.

The human mind is not a perfect calculating machine, and no doubt all of us sometimes contradict ourselves. Perfect consistency tends to be disconcerting — but so does glaring inconsistency. It’s possible that the nationalist parties’ leaders don’t perceive the contradiction, being so blinded by ideology that they are simply unaware of it. But another possible explanation exists: by leading their nominally independent countries, they forever will be able to feed at the great trough of Brussels and distribute its largesse in true clientelistic fashion. The nationalist leaders certainly lead their people, but by the nose.

[…]

Oddly enough, I have not seen the contradiction between current nationalism and support for remaining in the European Union referred to in the press, though I don’t read every paper in every language. This is surely one of the first times in history, however, that the expression, “Out of the frying pan into the fire,” has become not a warning, but the desired destination of substantial proportions of whole populations.

Theodore Dalrymple, “Nationalist Contradictions in Europe: Why do breakaway political parties want to remain in the European Union?”, City Journal, 2016-06-27.

April 26, 2016

Body Armor – Fortress Design – Belgian Armoured Car Division I OUT OF THE TRENCHES

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

Published on 25 Apr 2016

It’s Chair of Wisdom time again and this week we talk about the experiments with body armor of World War 1, fortress design and the Belgian Armoured Car Division.

December 16, 2015

The First Soldier of Belgium – King Albert I I WHO DID WHAT IN WW1?

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

Published on 14 Dec 2015

King Albert I of Belgium was not by any means a regular monarch. It was already unlikely that he became King in the first place and when he did, he tried everything he could to distance himself from King Leopold II who had reigned before him. After the outbreak of World War 1 he tried everything he could to keep up the morale on the Yser Front, the last part of Belgium not occupied by the Germans.

December 10, 2015

Why Weren’t The Germans Allowed to Pass Through Belgium in 1914? I Out Of The Trenches

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

Published on 5 Dec 2015

Indy sits in the chair of wisdom again to answer your questions and this time we are telling the story of German New Guinea and talk about Germans passing through Belgium in 1914.

December 7, 2015

QotD: The problem of Belgium

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

Judging by emerging reports, it almost looks as though the big new international-relations problem highlighted by the latest massacre might end up being the failure of the Belgian state. Some of the perpetrators seem to have fled toward the terrorist-riddled Brussels suburb of Molenbeek, which has sprouted a long sequence of killers involved with everything from the 2004 Madrid attacks to the failed August Amsterdam-Paris train attack that was stopped by American passengers. The Belgian authorities are contrite about the helplessness of their police and security apparatus in a zone that is a giant magnet for Europe’s Muslim creeps and ne’er-do-wells.

This raises further existential questions, and it is not as though they are new, about an ethnically divided country fabricated by 19th-century great powers mostly for geopolitical purposes. Foreign-policy amateurs are fond of saying, with some justice, that most of the world’s problems come from borders badly drawn by Europeans in out-of-the-way places. Belgium’s worsening habit of exhaling spores of Muslim terror on to its neighbours may actually put it on that list, unless its problem is solved pretty quickly.

Colby Cosh, “After Paris, are we sure the map that needs changing is in the Middle East?”, National Post, 2015-11-17.

October 23, 2015

The Crime That Shook the World – The Execution of Edith Cavell I THE GREAT WAR Week 65

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

Published on 22 Oct 2015

Edith Cavell was a British nurse serving in a nursing school in occupied Belgium. She was executed by the Germans for treason and espionage in Brussels. Her death and the surrounding atrocity propaganda caused a public outcry all over the world. At the same time the First World War continued like never before. The Third Battle of the Isonzo didn’t bring a decision between Austria-Hungary and Italy, in Gallipoli the troops were slowly withdrawn and the the Champagne offensive of the French army was still in full swing.

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