Quotulatiousness

November 21, 2017

Jagdkommandos – Austria-Hungary’s Special Forces in WW1 I THE GREAT WAR Special

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

The Great War
Published on 20 Nov 2017

The Jagdkommandos were Austria-Hungary’s special assault troops during WWI. From their pre-war origins, these troops had to adapt to modern war, and did so with some success. However, towards the end of the war their successes turned to failures and the Jagdkommandos faded into relative obscurity compared to their German and Italian counterparts.

November 20, 2017

Cambrai: The Tank Corps Story | The Tank Museum

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

Tank Museum
Published on 17 Nov 2017

100 years on from the Battle of Cambrai, The Tank Museum presents a documentary on the moment the Tank Corps delivered one of the greatest advances of the First World War. This is the full-length version of Cambrai: The Tank Corps Story.

As the regimental museum of the Royal Tank Regiment, The Tank Museum is using the World War One centenary to draw attention to the struggle, sacrifice and ingenuity of the early tank men.

November 19, 2017

Development of British Tank Tactics 1917 I THE GREAT WAR Special

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

The Great War
Published on 18 Nov 2017

The Battle of Cambrai 100 years ago was one of the pivotal moments for the British Tank Corps and tank combat in general. For the first time, the tanks were deployed in a way that they could play to their strengths.

November 17, 2017

The End Of Passchendaele – Fighting in Petrograd I THE GREAT WAR Week 173

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

The Great War
Published on 16 Nov 2017

The Anti-Bolshevik forces in Russia are trying to fight back last week’s revolution. The Battle of Passchendaele ends after 3 months of fighting and at least 500,000 casualties on both sides. The British are still advancing on Jerusalem and the Italians set up defences behind the Piave river.

November 14, 2017

The Last Hussar – August von Mackensen I WHO DID WHAT IN WW1?

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

The Great War
Published on 13 Nov 2017

August von Mackensen was one of the most prolific generals of World War 1. He served with distinction on the Eastern theatres. The Gorlice-Tarnow Offensive, the conquest of Serbia and Romania were all possible thanks to him. He was raised with the belief in Prussian glory and held onto this belief even after the war ended.

November 12, 2017

The Mad Baron – Roman von Ungern-Sternberg I WHO DID WHAT IN WWI?

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

The Great War
Published on 11 Nov 2017

Check out Feature History’s video about the Polish-Soviet War: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJ3jQQ00pX0

Roman von Ungern-Sternberg was certainly one of the most interesting characters of the First World War. He was a military buddhist, loyal to the Tsar and enjoyed acts of foolish heroism and cruel violence in equal measure. From his Estonian beginnings to his Russian military service, and eventually running his own autocratic regime whilst the Bolsheviks and Whites engaged in Civil War, let’s take a look at the man behind the legends; the Bloody Baron.

November 11, 2017

Mark Knopfler – “Remembrance Day”

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

Bob Oldfield
Published on 3 Nov 2011

A Remembrance Day slideshow using Mark Knopfler’s wonderful “Remembrance Day” song from the album Get Lucky (2009). The early part of the song conveys many British images, but I have added some very Canadian images also which fit with many of the lyrics. The theme and message is universal… ‘we will remember them’.

In memoriam

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

A simple recognition of some of our family members who served in the First and Second World Wars:

The Great War

  • A Poppy is to RememberPrivate William Penman, Scots Guards, died 16 May, 1915 at Le Touret, age 25
    (Elizabeth’s great uncle)
  • Private Archibald Turner Mulholland, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, mortally wounded 25 September, 1915 at Loos, age 27
    (Elizabeth’s great uncle)
  • Private David Buller, Highland Light Infantry, died 21 October, 1915 at Loos, age 35
    (Elizabeth’s great grandfather)
  • Private Walter Porteous, Durham Light Infantry, died 4 October, 1917 at Passchendaele, age 18
    (my great uncle)
  • Corporal John Mulholland, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, wounded 2 September, 1914 (shortly before the First Battle of the Aisne), wounded again 29 June, 1918, lived through the war.
    (Elizabeth’s great uncle)

The Second World War

  • Flying Officer Richard Porteous, RAF, survived the defeat in Malaya and lived through the war
    (my great uncle)
  • Able Seaman John Penman, RN, served in the Defensively Equipped Merchant fleet on the Murmansk Run (and other convoy routes), lived through the war
    (Elizabeth’s father)
  • Private Archie Black (commissioned after the war and retired as a Major), Gordon Highlanders, captured at Singapore (aged 15) and survived a Japanese POW camp
    (Elizabeth’s uncle)
  • Elizabeth Buller, “Lumberjill” in the Women’s Land Army in Scotland through the war.
    (Elizabeth’s mother)
  • Trooper Leslie Taplan Russon, 3rd Royal Tank Regiment, died at Tobruk, 19 December, 1942 (aged 23).
    A recently discovered relative. Leslie was my father’s first cousin, once removed (and therefore my first cousin, twice removed).

For the curious, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the Royal British Legion provide search engines you can use to look up your family name. The RBL’s Every One Remembered site shows you everyone who died in the Great War in British or Empire service (Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans and other Imperial countries). The CWGC site also includes those who died in the Second World War.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD Canadian Army Medical Corps (1872-1918)

Vimy Ridge Heaven to Hell – Full Documentary

Filed under: Cancon, France, Germany, History, Military — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Bobmarliist
Published on 8 Feb 2013

QotD: Wearing the Red Poppy

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

One hundred years is a short period in history but a long one in human lives and memories. It marks a point when perspective is gained on tragic events: for one, thing no-one who participated in them is still alive. Perspective changes meaning and alters commemoration. It took, for example, white Southerners that long to stop voting Democrat because Abraham Lincoln had been a Republican. Today in Spain we see the quiet rise of memorials for the losses of the Spanish Civil War. Time takes its toll of grievances and opens new avenues of generous remembrance.

Perhaps that’s it. The very length of time since the original Armistice – the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918 – is the reason we still wear red poppies. The conflicting emotions that originally surrounded remembrance – the grief, the survivors’ guilt, the sense of waste and futility, the bitterness of victory – have all washed away. That leaves us with an awareness of a loss we cannot fully feel, and will thankfully never have to. But it’s a loss we can and must acknowledge.

It is a very British thing, the red poppy: a non-militaristic and utterly unexultant commemoration of the need for military force despite the costs. And it has a typically British origin in being multinational; its current form came into being when Earl Haig adopted a French woman’s design that copied an original red silk poppy created by an American woman inspired by a Canadian war poet’s elegy “Flanders Field”.

The poppy has in it the stoicism of the Londoners facing the Blitz – “London can take it”. We wear it to renew our individual and collective belief that Britain can take it.

John McTernan, “Does Jeremy Corbyn have any idea what Poppy Day is about?”, The Telegraph, 2015-10-22.

November 10, 2017

The Russian October Revolution 1917 I THE GREAT WAR Week 172

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

The Great War
Published on 9 Nov 2017

After the turmoil of the past weeks in Petrograd, the Soviets and the Red Guards seize the opportunity and topple the provisional government under Alexander Kerensky. Their first goal is to pull out of the war. The Italians were still in full retreat during the Battle of Caporetto and the British Army was still advancing in Palestine.

November 7, 2017

Zionism during World War 1 I THE GREAT WAR Special

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

The Great War
Published on 6 Nov 2017

Zionism, the movement for the establishment of a Jewish homeland, got new momentum during World War 1. Zionists, like Chaim Weizmann rallied for support in their respective home countries, others wanted to actively advance the zionist idea by taking part in the war and fought with the Jewish Legions. The Balfour Declaration of 1917 was another step towards fulfilling the idea of a home for the Jewish people.

November 6, 2017

The end of the battle of Passchendaele, 1917

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

The Canadian Corps under Lieutenant General Arthur Currie began the final phase of the battle on 6 November, 1917:

By 6 November, the Canadians were prepared to advance upon the Green Line. The final objective was to capture the high ground north of the town and to secure positions on the eastern side of Passchendaele Ridge. Again, according to Major Robert Massie: “The third attack … was the day when the First and Second Divisions took Passchendaele itself. On this occasion, the attack went off the most smoothly of any of the three. They had fair ground to go over, and especially those that went into Passchendaele itself had pretty fair going, and the objectives were reached on time.”

After early hand-to-hand fighting, the 2nd Division easily occupied Passchendaele just three hours after commencement of the attack at 0600 hours. The 1st Division, however, found itself in some trouble when one company of the 3rd Battalion became cut off and was stranded in a bog. When this situation eventually righted itself, the 1st Division continued toward its objectives. Well-camouflaged tunnels at Moseelmarkt provided an opportunity for the enemy to counterattack, but they were fended off by the Canadians. By the end of the day, the Canadian Corps was firmly in control of both Passchendaele and the ridge.

The final Canadian action at Passchendaele commenced at 0605 hours on 10 November 1917. Sir Arthur Currie used the opportunity to make adjustments to the line, strengthening his defensive positions. Robert Massie summed up the thoughts of many participating Canadians as follows: “What those men did at Passchendaele was beyond praise. There was no protection in that land. They could not get into the trenches which were full of mud, and you would see two or three of them huddled together during the night, lying on ground that was pure mud, without protection of any kind, and then going forward the next morning and cleaning up their job.”

[…]

The Canadians had done the impossible. After just 14 days of combat, they had driven the German army out of Passchendaele and off the ridge. There was almost nothing left of the village to hold. Altogether, the Canadian Corps had fired a total of 1,453,056 shells, containing 40,908 tons of high explosive. Aerial photography verified approximately one million shell holes in a one square mile area. The human cost was even greater. Casualties on the British side totalled over 310,000, including approximately 36,500 Australians and 3596 New Zealanders. German casualties totalled 260,000 troops.

For the Canadians, Currie’s words were prophetic. He had told Haig it would cost Canada 16,000 casualties to take Passchendaele – and, in truth, the final total was 15,654, many of whom were killed. One thousand Canadian bodies were never recovered, trapped forever in the mud of Flanders. Nine Canadians won the Victoria Cross during the battles for Passchendaele. While the human cost had been terrible: “Nevertheless, the competence, confidence, and maturity began in 1915 at Ypres a short distance away, and at Vimy Ridge earlier that spring, again confirmed the reputation of the Canadian Corps as the finest fighting formation on the Western Front.” So wrote esteemed Professor of History Doctor Ronald Haycock at the Royal Military College of Canada for The Oxford Companion to Canadian History in 2004.

Haig proved to be true to his word. By 14 November 1917, the Canadians had been returned to the relative quiet of the Vimy sector. They had not been asked to hold what it had cost them so much to take. However, by March 1918, all the gains made by Canada at Passchendaele would be lost in the German spring offensive known as Operation Michael.

General Sir David Watson praised the Canadian effort: “It need hardly be a matter of surprise that the Canadians by this time had the reputation of being the best shock troops in the Allied Armies. They had been pitted against the select guards and shock troops of Germany and the Canadian superiority was proven beyond question. They had the physique, the stamina, the initiative, the confidence between officers and men (so frequently of equal standing in civilian life) and happened to have the opportunity.”

British Prime Minister David Lloyd George was even clearer when it came to the Canadians: “Whenever the Germans found the Canadian Corps coming into the line they prepared for the worst.”

November 5, 2017

Breakthroughs and Setbacks – Fall 1917 I THE GREAT WAR Summary Part 11

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

The Great War
Published on 4 Nov 2017

The Battle of Passchendaele begins on the Western Front, whilst the climate grows steadily more unstable in Russia, where General Kornilov hopes to seize power. Operation Albion is launched by Germany in the Northeast, and the French enjoy some successes, including at Malmaison. The tide is turned in the Battle of Caporetto. The death toll climbs ever higher, in yet another dark period of the Great War. We cover all this and more in our recap of Fall 1917.

November 3, 2017

Battle of Beersheba – Canadian Frustration – Balfour Declaration I THE GREAT WAR Week 171

The Great War
Published on 2 Nov 2017

On the Western Front this week, the Canadians under Sir Arthur Currie attempt to advance once more, whilst Haig remains optimistic about an imminent breakthrough. Following Caporetto, the Italian retreat continues, whilst the British Army enjoys success on the Palestine Front, with a little help from mounted ANZAC troops. With Lenin’s return, the revolution looms over the Russian capital, whilst the Balfour Declaration is issued in Britain.

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