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Interesting facts of military history

Discussion in 'Military History' started by Kai-Petri, Dec 12, 2003.

  1. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Something interesting to start with anyway..

    1905 The first attempted revolution in Russia. In December the Tampere Conference was organized in the very same premises where the Lenin Museum is nowadays situated. In this conference Lenin met Stalin for the first time.

    That is Finland.....!!!

    :eek:

    The site for the museum:

    http://www.tampere.fi/culture/lenin/lenina1.htm

    [​IMG]
     
    Anthonykt, blutoubtemium and nmvix like this.
  2. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    The fate of King Friedrich II of Prussia was decided by the death of Empress Elisabetha II of Russia.

    While Prussian Armies were being smashed by Austrian and Russian Armies, the city of Berlin captured and the King losing more and more power, Russia suddenly made peace with Prussia and even gave economical and military aid to Prussia! :eek: [​IMG]

    Why? Because the new Russian Emperor, Peter III - a German - was a devote admiror of Friedrich II! :eek:
     
  3. KnightMove

    KnightMove Ace

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    Well, but the question remains... why did Austrians/Russians not manage to defeat Prussia before Elisabetha's death in 1762?

    After the defeats of 1760, Prussia was SMASHED, FINISHED. What happened in 1761? The coalition failed to do the last step, achieve the final victory... and in fact, despite the heavy mistakes of 1760, Friedrich proved to be a skilled leader in field.
     
  4. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    Because without Russian military aid, the 'smashed' Prussia couldn't be finally crushed. Even less with Russian military aid to Prussia!

    Peter III actually ordered that the offitial language of the Russian court would be changed to German as the Prussian court - which in fact, Friedrich ordered it to be French -, he changed the Russian Royal Guards for Prussian soldiers, changed the traditional green coat of the Russian Army for Prussian dark blue coats and worst of all, wanted to replace Russian orthodox Church with lutheran Prussian-like one.

    It was not until another German, Catherine, his wife, killed and replaced him that Peter's insanities finished... :rolleyes:
     
  5. KnightMove

    KnightMove Ace

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    No, this was not my question. I do not blame the Austrians for not defeating Prussia after the Russians changed sides.

    But by the end of 1759, Friedrich seemed to be finished. Defeated at Kunersdorf, 14,000 men lost at Maxen, and then a terrible winter in which thousands of Prussian soldiers froze to death.

    After then we had 1760, in which Prussia lost English support, 1761... why didn't they manage to achieve the final victory by then? In fact, this was VERY poor performance.
     
  6. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    Well, I'll agree about that very poor performance. And of course, there's always a Russian crzy Czar messing things up! :rolleyes:
     
  7. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    General( Earl ) Douglas Haig
    (1861-1928)


    http://www.rampantscotland.com/famous/blfamhaig.htm

    Somme:

    http://www.firstworldwar.com/battles/somme.htm

    During the attack the British and French had gained 12 kilometres of ground, the taking of which resulted in 420,000 estimated British casualties, including many of the volunteer ‘pal’s’ battalions, plus a further 200,000 French casualties. German casualties were estimated to run at around 500,000.

    -------

    http://college.hmco.com/history/readerscomp/mil/html/mh_022200_haigdouglas.htm

    Haig's persistence did eventually produce victory on the Western Front in 1918, when others were expecting the war to continue into 1919. Yet the question remains whether a more flexible and imaginative commander could have achieved the same results with less cost.

    --------

    http://www.johndclare.net/wwi_haig_docs.htm

    --------

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    According to the " Great Generals of the 20th Century" Haig was credited with 8 (9?) straight victories in the row in the end of WW1 so he had got something to say about that..

    ------

    Anyway, something different, and on WW1 I find this rather important:

    19th - 21st September 1918 - Battle of Megiddo

    [​IMG]

    Allenby´s forces were concentrated on the Mediterranean shore above Jaffa, opposite part of the thinly defended Turkish line that ran east to the Jordan Valley. Along it were positioned, from left to right, the Turkish Eighth, Seventh and Fourth Armies, under the command of General Liman von Sanders. He had 44,000 troops as his disposal, the British 69,000. Following earlier British activity in the area as many as a third of the enemy troops were concentrated east of the River Jordan on the Turkish left, where the main assault was expected. The British attack was, in fact, to be made on the Turkish right, but the secrecy of the preparations and the formation of dummy camps misled the enemy.

    The Battle of Megiddo opened on 19 September at 4.30 a.m. with an artillery bombardment along a 65-mile front: an infantry attack followed and within three hours the line held by the demoralised Turkish Eighth Army had been broken. The Desert Mounted Corps rode fast northwards, with the aim of crossing the hill chain which ends in Mount Carmel and then descending into the Plain of Esdraelon. They would then move eastwards to the Jordan at Beisan, completely cutting off the northern retreat of the Turkish Seventh and Eighth Armies. Their supply lines had already been disrupted by Lawrence of Arabia's attacks on the Hejaz Railway and the RAF cut their communications with headquarters, helping to delay attempts to halt the cavalry wheel until it was too late. The mounted cavalry had in fact covered over 70 miles in 36 hours, reaching Beisan according to plan.

    The Seventh and Eighth Armies were forced to move eastwards across the Jordan, having lost 25,000 men as British prisoners. By 21 September, they had been destroyed as fighting forces. On the Turkish left, the Fourth Army was also compelled to retreat towards Damascus; it came under attack from Arab forces and was cut to pieces. Meanwhile to the north, Nazareth was seized and Liman von Sanders narrowly missed capture. Allenby had routed the Turks in one of the war's most decisive battles and there was nothing to stop him advancing further north, with Damascus as the immediate prize.

    http://www.westernfrontassociation.com/thegreatwar/articles/timeline/megiddo.htm

    [​IMG]

    General Allenby
     
  9. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Daylight Saving Time was adopted in Germany during the first world war. The reason was to save fuel for the war industries

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/daylightsavingtime/

    Although first instituted in 1915, the idea of Daylight Saving Time had been batted around for more than a century. Benjamin Franklin suggested the idea more than once in the 1770s while he was a minister to France. But it wasn't until more than a century later that the idea of Daylight Saving Time was taken seriously.

    William Willett, an English writer revived the idea in 1907, and eight years later Germany was the first nation to adopt Daylight Saving Time. The reason: energy conservation. Britain quickly followed suit and instituted British Summer Time in 1916.

    Several areas, including parts of Europe, Canada and the U.S., followed suit during the First World War. In most cases daylight saving ended with the armistice.

    During the Second World War, a different form of daylight saving was reinstated by Britain and clocks were set two hours ahead of GMT during the summer. It was known as Double Summer Time. The saving didn't stop with the summer, as clocks were rolled back to be one hour ahead of GMT through the winter.
     
  10. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist Patron  

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    Kai,
    Same with the British licensing laws up till recently. Pubs were required to shut at 2.30PM so munition workers couldn't get pie-eyed instead of working. This came in about 1915, and was only BEGUN to be eaten into very recently.
    We still have British Summer Time, despite the best efforts of "Soft Southerners" to scrap it and keep GMT all year round. They tend to forget that Scotland's 400-odd miles (and a couple of degrees) further North.

    Regards,
    Gordon
     
  11. No.9

    No.9 Ace

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    Well I can’t see why we have to cripple our evenings to benefit a bunch of sheep and a few shaggy cows who can’t tell the time anyway! In Scotland when the sun comes up they move about and break wind. When it goes down they go to sleep and break wind. Sheep and cows do likewise. ;)

    No.9
     
  12. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist Patron  

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    Aye..soft, uncultured Southerners......like I said....... ;)

    Regards from the Scottish Embassy,
    Gordon
     
  13. No.9

    No.9 Ace

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    Bah……………I blame Hadrian and the brick shortage! [​IMG]

    No.9
     
  14. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    Kai, interesting post on field marshal Haig, a most controversial figure in my view. Still wanting to get a good biography and analysis on him. [​IMG]

    By the way, according to your books of "Great Generals", could you post the list of generals included in the book, please? I'm very curious about it. [​IMG]
     
  15. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I think all the battles with such losses sound truly awful....just to think the German losses from operations starting 1939 until operation Marita. Totally uncomparable! And one can see with this how the Army started to think for a moment that Hitler was almost god...and the nation as well.

    :(
     
  16. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    On air war:

    The French government was the first to award the distinction of 'ace' to those of their fighters who had demonstrably downed five enemy aircraft.

    The German government quickly followed, specifying however that eight (later sixteen) 'kills' were required for a pilot to be considered an ace and eligible for the prestigious Pour le Merite award.

    http://www.firstworldwar.com/features/aces.htm

    Britain - and later the U.S. - followed the French example, although both were more lenient in allowing 'probable' victories to count. The British Distinguished Flying Cross was available to those pilots who had scored at least eight victories.
     
  17. AndyW

    AndyW Member

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    The casualty figure is for the entire battle lasting July 1, 1916 until November 24, 1916.

    The first attack on July 1, 1916 caused british 57,000 casualities, including 20,000 KIA.

    Cheers,
     
  18. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The German Army first used chlorine gas cylinders in April 1915 against the French Army at Ypres.

    At first the French officers assumed that the German infantry were advancing behind a smoke screen and orders were given to prepare for an armed attack.

    As soldiers now realised they were being gassed and many ran as fast as they could away from the scene. An hour after the attack had started there was a four-mile gap in the Allied line. As the German soldiers were concerned about what the chlorine gas would do to them, they hesitated about moving forward in large numbers. This delayed attack enabled Canadian and British troops to retake the position before the Germans burst through the gap that the chlorine gas had created.

    It was important to have the right weather conditions before a gas attack could be made. When the British Army launched a gas attack on 25th September in 1915, the wind blew it back into the faces of the advancing troops.This problem was solved in 1916 when gas shells were produced for use with heavy artillery.

    After the first German chlorine gas attacks, Allied troops were supplied with masks of cotton pads that had been soaked in urine. It was found that the ammonia in the pad neutralized the chlorine.


    http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/FWWchlorine.htm
     
  19. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    Just to add to Kai's posts, that the French unit involved in the first attack with chlorine gas on April 22nd 1915 at Ypres was a colonial division; mostly made by Algerian tiralleurs and some French territorials.
     
  20. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    And here's an acount on that first attack.

    The First Gas Attack


    by Anthony R. Hossack

    It was Thursday evening, April 22nd, 1915.  In a meadow off the Poperinghe-Ypres road, the men of the Queen Victoria Rifles were taking their ease.  We had just fought our first big action in the fight for Hill 60.

    We had had a gruelling time, and had left many of our comrades on its slopes.  We survivors were utterly spent and weary; but we felt in good heart, for only an hour ago we had been personally congratulated by Sir John French, also the Army Commander, General Smith-Dorrien.

    Now some of us were stretched out asleep on the grass, others making preparations for a much-needed toilet.  Our cooks were preparing a meal, and on our right a squad of Sappers were busily erecting huts in which we were to sleep.  Alas!  We never used them!  As the sun was beginning to sink, this peaceful atmosphere was shattered by the noise of heavy shell-fire coming from the north-west, which increased every minute in volume, while a mile away on our right a 42-cm shell burst in the heart of the stricken city of Ypres.

    As we gazed in the direction of the bombardment, where our line joined the French, six miles away, we could see in the failing light the flash of shrapnel with here and there the light of a rocket.  But more curious than anything was a low cloud of yellow-grey smoke or vapour, and, underlying everything, a dull confused murmuring.

    Suddenly down the road from the Yser Canal came a galloping team of horses, the riders goading on their mounts in a frenzied way; then another and another, till the road became a seething mass with a pall of dust over all.

    Plainly something terrible was happening.  What was it?  Officers, and Staff officers too, stood gazing at the scene, awestruck and dumbfounded; for in the northerly breeze there came a pungent nauseating smell that tickled the throat and made our eyes smart.  The horses and men were still pouring down the road. two or three men on a horse, I saw, while over the fields streamed mobs of infantry, the dusky warriors of French Africa; away went their rifles, equipment, even their tunics that they might run the faster.

    One man came stumbling through our lines.  An officer of ours held him up with levelled revolver, "What's the matter, you bloody lot of cowards?" says he.  The Zouave was frothing at the mouth, his eyes started from their sockets, and he fell writhing at the officer's feet.  "Fall in!"  Ah! we expected that cry; and soon we moved across the fields in the direction of the line for about a mile.  The battalion is formed into line, and we dig ourselves in.

    It is quite dark now, and water is being brought round, and we hear how the Germans have, by the use of poison gas, driven a French army corps out of the line, creating a huge gap which the Canadians have closed pro tem.  A cheer goes up at this bald statement, though little we knew at what a cost those gallant souls were holding on.

    About midnight we withdrew from our temporary trenches and marched about for the rest of the night, till at dawn, we were permitted to snatch what sleep we could under a hedge.

    About the middle of the morning we were on the move again, to the north, and were soon swinging along through Vlamertinghe.  About two miles out of that town we halted in a field.  By this time we had joined up with the remainder of our Brigade, the 13th, and, after a meal had been served, we were ordered to dump our packs and fall in by companies.  Here our company commander, Captain Flemming, addressed us.

    "We are," he said, "tired and weary men who would like to rest; however, there are men more weary than we who need our help.  We may not have to do much; we may have to do a great deal.  Whatever happens, fight like hell.  I shall at any rate."  A few moments more - then off we go again towards that incessant bombardment, which seemed to come closer every minute.

    The Scottish Borderers led the Brigade, followed by the Royal West Rents, then ourselves - all with bayonets fixed, for we were told to be prepared to meet the Germans anywhere on the road.

    We were now in the area of the ill-fated French Colonial Corps.  Ambulances were everywhere, and the village of Brielen, through which we passed, was choked with wounded and gassed men.  We were very mystified about this gas, and had no protection whatever against it.

    Shortly after passing through Brielen we turned to the left down a road which led to the Canal, along the south side of which ran a steep spoil bank, and, as the head of our battalion reached this, we halted.  We could see nothing of what went on on the other side, but knew by the rattle of musketry that there was something doing.

    So there was, for when we finally crossed the pontoon we found that the Jocks had met the Germans on the north bank and had bundled them helter-skelter up the slope to Pilckem.  This saved us any dirty work for that day, so we spent the rest of it till midnight in carrying supplies and ammunition to the Jocks and Kents, and afterwards lay in reserve on the Canal bank.  It froze hard that night, and after the sweating fatigue of carrying boxes of S.A.A. all night we were literally aching with cold.

    All night there seemed to be a spasmodic bombardment all round the Salient.  Next morning about 12 o'clock the Adjutant, Captain Culme-Seymour, was chatting to Captain Flemming a few paces away from where I was lying, when up rushed a breathless despatch rider and handed him a message, which he read aloud to Flemming.

    I caught three words, "Things are critical."  In about five minutes the Colonel had the battalion on the move.  We moved off in double file by companies, our company leading; as we did so a big shell burst in the midst of "D"  Company, making a fearful mess.

    We moved on quickly, like a gigantic serpent, with short halts now and then.  As we skirted Ypres there was a roar of swift-moving thunder and a 17-inch shell, which seemed to be falling on top of us, burst a quarter of a mile away, covering us with dirt.

    Over meadows and fields green with young crops which would never be harvested, past cows peacefully grazing that had had their last milking, we went, passing curiously unperturbed peasants, who watched us from the farms and cottages.

    As we crossed the Roulers road a lone cavalryman came galloping down it, hatless and rolling in his saddle as though drunk.  Some wag throws a ribald jest at him.  He turns his ashy face towards us, and his saddle it seems is a mass of blood.  Above us a Taube appears and, hovering over us, lets fall a cascade of glittering silver like petals.  A few moments more and shells begin to fall about us in quantities, and gaps begin to appear in our snakelike line.

    We pass a field battery; it is not firing, as it has nothing to fire, and its commander sits weeping on the trail of one of his useless guns.  We quicken our pace, but the shelling gets heavier.  It seems to be raining shrapnel.  Captain Flemming falls, but struggles to his feet and waves us on with encouraging words.

    We double across a field, and in a few moments come on to the road again.  Here was action indeed, for barely had we reached the road and started to work our way towards St. Julien, than we found ourselves amongst a crowd of Canadians of all regiments jumbled up anyhow, and apparently fighting a desperate rearguard action.

    They nearly all appeared to be wounded and were firing as hard as they could.  A machine gun played down the road. Then comes an order: "Dig in on the roadside."  We all scrambled into the ditch, which, like all Flanders ditches, was full of black, liquid mud, and started to work with entrenching tools - a hopeless job.

    A woman was bringing jugs of water from a cottage a few yards away; evidently she had just completed her week's washing, for a line of garments fluttered in the garden.

    "Dig!  Dig, for your lives!" shouts an officer.  But, dig!  How can we?  'Tis balers we need.

    A detonation like thunder, and I inhale the filthy fumes of a 5.9 as I cringe against the muddy bank.  The German heavies have got the road taped to an inch.  Their last shell has pitched on our two M.G. teams, sheltering in the ditch on the other side of the road.  They disappear, and all we can hear are groans so terrible they will haunt me for ever.

    Kennison, their officer, stares dazed, looking at a mass of blood and earth.  Another crash and the woman and her cottage and water jars vanish and her pitiful washing hangs in a mocking way from her sagging clothes line.  A bunch of telephone wires falls about us.  To my bemused brain this is a catastrophe in itself, and I curse a Canadian Sapper beside me for not attempting to mend them.

    He eyes me vacantly, for he is dead.  More and more of these huge shells, two of them right in our midst.  Shrieks of agony and groans all round me.  I am splashed with blood.  Surely I am hit, for my head feels as though a battering-ram has struck it.  But no, I appear not to be, though all about me are bits of men and ghastly mixtures of khaki and blood.

    The road becomes a perfect shambles.  For perhaps half a minute a panic ensues, and we start to retire down the road.  But not for long.  Colonel Shipley stands in the centre of the road, blood streaming down his face.  The gallant Flemming lies at his feet, and the Adjutant, Culme-Seymour, stands in a gateway calmly lighting a cigarette.

    "Steady, my lads!" says the Colonel.  "Steady, the Vics!  Remember the regiment."  The panic is ended.

    "This way," says Seymour.  "Follow me through this gate here."  As we dash through the gate, I catch a glimpse of our M.O. working in an empty gun-pit like a butcher in his shop.  Many were the lives he saved that day.

    Once through the gate we charge madly across a field of young corn.  Shrapnel and machine-gun bullets are cracking and hissing everywhere.  Ahead of us is a large farm, and advancing upon it at almost right angles to ourselves is a dense mass of German infantry.

    We are carrying four extra bandoliers of ammunition as well as the rest of our equipment.  Shall I ever get there?  My limbs ache with fatigue and my legs are like lead.  But the inspiring figure of Seymour urges us on, yet even he cannot prevent the thinning of our line or the gaps being torn in it by the German field gunners, whom we can now plainly see.

    At last we reach the farm, and we follow Culme-Seymour round to its further side.  The roar of enemy machine guns rises to a crazy shrieking, but we are past caring about them, and with a sob of relief we fall into the farm's encircling trench.

    Not too soon either, for that grey mass is only a few hundred yards off, and "Rapid fire!  Let 'em have it, boys!" and don't we just.  At last a target, and one that we cannot miss.  The Germans fall in scores, and their batteries limber up and away.  At last we have our revenge for the discomfort of the afternoon.  But the enemy re-form and come on again, and we allow them to come a bit nearer, which they do.  We fire till our rifles are almost too hot to hold, and the few survivors of our mad quarter of an hour stagger back.

    The attack has failed, and we have held them, and thank God that we have, for, as our next order tells us, "This line must be held at all costs.  Our next is the English Channel."

    And hold it we did, through several more big attacks, though the enemy set fire to the farm and nearly roasted us, though our numbers dwindled and we were foodless and sleepless, till, thirty-six hours later, we were relieved in a misty dawn, and crept back
    through burning Ypres for a few hours' respite.
    ____________________________________

    Anthony R. Hossack joined the Queen Victoria Rifles at the beginning of the War and served with them on the Western Front from early 1915 till after the Battle of Arras, where, in July 1917, he was wounded, returning to France at the end of February 1918, when he was attached to the M.G. Battalion of the 9th (Scottish) Division, and, after coming through the retreat from St. Quentin, was taken prisoner in the battle for Mt. Kemmel.

    First published in Everyman at War (1930), edited by C. B. Purdom.
     

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