Quotulatiousness

August 25, 2017

The 2nd Battle Of Verdun – Lost Opportunities On The Isonzo River I THE GREAT WAR Week 161

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

Published on 24 Aug 2017

The 11th Battle of the Isonzo river continued this week and the Italians manage to break through parts of the Austro-Hungarian lines, they hesitate to exploit the breakthrough though and the opportunity is lost. Meanwhile the French break through the German lines at Verdun and Herbert Plumer comes up with a plan to defeat the German Hindenburg Line.

August 18, 2017

The Battle of Hill 70 – Mackensen Advances in Romania I THE GREAT WAR Week 160

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

Published on 17 Aug 2017

The Battle of Passchendaele has turned into a muddy mess, the weather conditions take a toll on both the defenders and the attackers alike. The Canadians relieve some pressure on the British Army in the Battle of Hill 70 south of Ypres. Meanwhile, August von Mackensen is fighting back the Romanian offensive that was unleashed last week.

August 16, 2017

Canadian War Museum highlights the six Canadian VCs won at the Battle of Hill 70

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

On August 15th, 1917, the Canadian Corps began a planned attack on German positions near Lens in northern France, to relieve pressure on the larger British and Imperial operations at Passchendaele. During the vicious fighting around the feature designated as “Hill 70”, the valour of six Canadians was deemed deserving of the highest military honour the British Empire could bestow, the Victoria Cross. From the institution of the medal in 1856, only 96 Canadians have been awarded a VC. David Pugliese reports for the Ottawa Citizen:

IWM caption : Hill 70 (Lens) 15-25 August: A group of Canadians, standing with mugs at a soup kitchen set up on boards “100 yards from Boche lines” during the push on Hill 70 (via Wikimedia)

The Canadian War Museum is marking the centenary of the Battle of Hill 70 with a special display highlighting the six Canadian soldiers who received Victoria Cross decorations as a result of their courageous actions. The Battle of Hill 70, which includes portraits of the recipients and some of their medals, will be on view from August 15 until Remembrance Day, according to the Canadian War Museum.

“Sir Arthur Currie described the Battle of Hill 70 in August 1917 as ‘altogether the hardest battle in which the Corps has participated,’” Stephen Quick, Director General of the Canadian War Museum, said in a news release. “It’s remarkable that this 11-day battle, fought four months after Vimy Ridge, resulted in six Canadian soldiers of varying backgrounds and ranks being awarded the highest honour for military valour in the British Empire.”

Here the Canadian War Museum also provides details about the battle and the Victoria Cross winners:

The Canadian Corps, under the command of Sir Arthur Currie, launched an attack on the German-held city of Lens in northern France on August 15, 1917. His strategy was to capture the high ground overlooking the town, forcing the enemy to counterattack. This prevented German units from reinforcing formations facing Allied troops struggling to gain ground at Passchendaele in Flanders. By August 25, the Canadians had withstood 21 failed counterattacks and suffered 9,000 casualties at Hill 70, but they had killed, wounded or taken as prisoner about 12,000 Germans. It was a significant and costly tactical victory for the Allies.

The Battle of Hill 70 introduces visitors to Sergeant Frederick Hobson, Corporal Filip Konowal, Private Harry Brown, Private Michael James O’Rourke, Acting Major Okill Massey Learmonth and Sergeant-Major Robert Hill Hanna. They are among only 96 Canadian recipients of the Victoria Cross since its introduction during the Crimean War in 1856.

July 25, 2017

British Rifles of WW1 I THE GREAT WAR Special feat. C&Rsenal

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

Published on 24 Jul 2017

Check out Othais’ episode about the Ross Rifle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uGYSQ_-FJU

Othais introduces us to the famous British standard rifles of WW1 including the Short Magazine Lee Enfield (SMLE), the Long Enfield and the controversial Ross Rifle.

Update: Patrick Crozier offers a bit of light entertainment in relation to the “Smellie”:

May 5, 2017

The Battle of Arleux – Robert Nivelle Gets Fired I THE GREAT WAR Week 145

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

Published on 4 May 2017

The Battle of Arras continued in smaller scale attacks this week 100 years ago. Fighting focused on Arleux and the Scarpe river. Neither of these battles was able to repeat the success of the early Arras offensive. The casualties of the Nivelle Offensive were now costing Robert Nivelle his job as he was still blaming everyone but himself.

April 14, 2017

The Canadian Corps Takes Vimy Ridge – The Battle of Arras I THE GREAT WAR Week 142

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

Published on 13 Apr 2017

This week 100 years ago, the Western Front comes to live with a big British offensive at Arras. The Canadian Corps and the British 51st Infantry Division take Vimy Ridge which had been contested for 3 years by now. The rest of the battles goes well in the beginning too but due to a snowstorm and the German defences it soon slows down.

April 10, 2017

100 years later, the second day at Vimy

Filed under: Europe, History, Military — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 08:31

David Warren recalls the then-ongoing battle at Vimy Ridge, along with a ghostly visit from his grandfather, who fought in WW1:

Today is the hundredth anniversary of the day after the four divisions of the Canadian Corps launched their assault up Vimy Ridge, and stormed to the top, as part of the Battle of Arras in the Great War. This was a task the British and French armies had failed to accomplish. In the national mythology, it was the day we truly became a nation, at the cost of more than ten thousand casualties, including three thousand five hundred and ninety-eight dead; and rather more, I should say, among the Sixth German Army. The engagement was essentially settled in the first light hours of April 9th, which was Easter Monday. The mop-up continued until the 12th, when we took “The Pimple,” silencing the enemy’s last artillery.

One cannot argue with mythology, and I was not arguing with my grandfather, Harry Roy Warren, when he appeared to me in a dream last night. This helped me recall what he had had to say about the whole affair, when he still lived. He said that the gods were with us, in the form of the magnificent British artillery and logistics that lay behind us; the remarkable generalship of the very British “Bungo” Byng, and of our beloved Canadian, Arthur Currie; and most importantly, the sky. After an unusually cold and prolonged winter, it was hurling snow and sleet into the faces of the defenders, who were often shooting blind. But to our farm boys, from across the fair Dominion, it was, if one could overlook the shell-bursts, just like home.

Grandpa was more impressed with the casualties. It was the first in a long string of engagements in which the Canadians were used as shock troops — Hill 70! Amiens! Cambrai! — as the allies broke the German lines, setting stage for the rest of the twentieth century.

April 9, 2017

Vimy Ridge: The Canadian National Memorial

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

Published on 11 Nov 2014

A visit to the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in northern France. The memorial commemorates the lives lost in the April 1917 battle of Vimy Ridge.

April 6, 2017

The United States Declares War on Germany I THE GREAT WAR Week 141

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

Published on 5 Apr 2017

Diplomatic tensions after the return of German unrestricted submarine warfare and the aftermath of the Zimmermann telegram lead to the United States declaration of war on Germany this week 100 years ago. Meanwhile the British and French high command are still debating the upcoming offensive, namely the Battle of Arras which includes taking the contested Vimy Ridge and the Nivelle Offensive at the Chemin Des Dames.

April 3, 2017

William Shatner | Battle of Vimy Ridge #Vimy100 #LestWeForget #VimyRidge

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

Published on 31 Mar 2017

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Battle of Vimy Ridge, Legion Magazine, Canada’s Ultimate Story and William Shatner tell the story of this important First World War battle. Our victory at Vimy was a defining event for Canada. On the 100th anniversary, we revisit the Canadian triumph over the German army and explore why the battle has come to signify the birth of our nation. We ask you to share with #Vimy100 #LestWeForget or #VimyRidge

Directed by Adam Tindal
Written by Don Gillmor
Graphics & Animation by Julia Paddick
Produced by Jason Duprau, Jennifer McGill, Eric Harris
Executive Producer: Jennifer Morse
Recorded by William Harp, Media City Sound, LA

Special thank you to Library and Archives Canada

Copyright Canvet Publications Ltd. 2017

January 15, 2017

Corporate sponsors should have no place at national memorial sites

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

Ted Campbell reacts to the news that corporate logos will be included at the updated Vimy Ridge Centre:

I’m not faulting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau nor Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr for starting this, but they can and should put a stop to it. The business of getting the private sector to “support” public projects is not new and, generally, the public, including me, approves of it: in almost all cases it is good to have commercial sponsorships … almost all. National memorials are different […]

The Welcome Centre of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France flying the Canadian Red Ensign ( 1868 – 1921 version ). This flag along with The Maple Leaf fly at national memorial as Canada was only using the Red Ensign at the time of the First World War Engagement.

I don’t doubt the generosity or patriotism of Bell Canada or WalMart are anyone else, but a few things have to be sacrosanct, and our national memorials honouring our war dead must be amongst them.

Let is be very clear: it is the visitors’ centre, not the memorial itself that is being rebuilt and I’m guessing that the officials close to the project can see a very big difference between the little visitors’ centre building and the memorial, proper, but I, and many others, do not and will not; If the see even an understated, dignified sign in the visitors’ centre they will likely conclude that a corporation is, now, responsible for the whole monument. From the very first moment one sets foot on the land which France ceded, in perpetuity, to Canada it is “our” place, honouring our war dead and, more broadly, the significance of our contribution to the Great War. It is a small, $10 million, project and I am sure that officials will say that they are only trying to make the best use of their budget so that they can devote more to providing much needed care to veterans by spending less on this little building … and I would, normally, applaud them, but not on this.

October 1, 2016

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

Filed under: Europe, 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.

July 19, 2016

The Best Sniper Of World War 1 – Francis Pegahmagabow I WHO DID WHAT IN WW1?

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

Published on 18 Jul 2016

Francis Pegahmagabow was not only the most successful sniper of World War 1, but he is also among the most decorated aboriginal soldiers in history. He joined the Canadian Army in 1914 and quickly made a name for himself as a sniper during reconnaissance missions.

July 5, 2016

Some perspective on the British army in WW1

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

At Samizdata Patrick Crozier points out some things that are necessary to understand why it took so long (relatively speaking) for the “new army” (and the other freshly raised Dominion and Empire forces) to begin winning battles:

First of all, Britain was fighting a war in Western Europe against a large, well-equipped and tactically skillful enemy. That is a recipe for a bloodbath. Britain repeated the exercise twice in the Second World War (May 1940 and June 1944 onwards). They were bloodbaths too. We tend to forget that fact because overall the numbers killed in the Second World War were much lower than than the First and because they achieved a succession of clear victories.

Secondly, Britain began the war with a small army. To make a worthwhile contribution Britain was going to have to raise and train a large army. Soldiering, like any other job, is one where experience counts. Anyone who is familiar with the rapid expansion of an organisation will know that this is a recipe for confusion and chaos. In the case of the British army the inexperience existed at all levels. Corporals were doing the jobs of Sergeant Majors, Captains doing the jobs of Colonels and Colonels doing the jobs of Generals. Haig himself (according to Gary Sheffield) was doing jobs that would be carried out by three men in the Second World War. Talking of the Second World War, it is worth pointing out that it took three years for the British to achieve an offensive victory (Alamein) over the Germans which is much the same as the First (Vimy).

Thirdly, Britain began the war with a small arms industry. Expanding that involved all the problems mentioned above plus the difficulty in building and equipping the factories. It comes as no surprise that many of the shells fired at the Somme were duds and even if they were working they were often of the wrong type: too much shrapnel, not enough high explosive.

Canada’s army in both 1914 and 1939 was a tiny cadre of what the nation would eventually raise, train, equip, and send to foreign shores. The amazing thing is that they managed to become a valuable fighting force to the British army in particular and the allied cause in general from such a tiny, unmilitarized population. Britain’s highly competent regular army was effectively expended to gain enough time for the volunteer forces to train and organize, and even then the early going was far bloodier at least in part because the troops had still not been sufficiently trained and had to be lead in ways that exposed them to higher risks of casualties whenever they were on the attack.

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress