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Posted: 8/20/2010 11:52:02 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/24/2010 2:10:37 PM EDT by Cypher15]
Watching a documentary on the military channel and wow.. . What a massive cluster fuck that war was for everyone. the scope of it also seems like it is bigger than ww2 in some ways.


Books:

Eye-deep in hell: trench warfare in World War I

The Guns of August

The First World War

Redemption (story of the failure at Gallipoli)

Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour

Verdun 1914

The First Day on The Somme


Link Posted: 8/20/2010 11:54:38 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Cypher15:
Watching a documentary on the military channel and wow.. . What a massive cluster fuck that war was for everyone. the scope of it also seems like it is bigger than ww2 in some ways.

WWII was bigger geographically...

WWI had a lot more crammed into alot smaller space (Europe)... The Euros still call it 'The Great War' even after WWII, for a reason...



Link Posted: 8/21/2010 12:05:21 AM EDT
Coupla years ago, there was an article posted here that the British government finally cleared the names of some men who'd been executed for cowardice without trial (I believe) because they were experincing shell shock.
Link Posted: 8/21/2010 12:10:15 AM EDT
Warfare tactics and doctrine weren't ready for the technological improvements in weapons, so you got the mass carnage of attrition warfare.

Link Posted: 8/21/2010 12:32:26 AM EDT

Link Posted: 8/21/2010 12:49:49 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/21/2010 12:51:44 AM EDT by Bullets1st]
Link Posted: 8/21/2010 12:51:24 AM EDT

Pretty much says all that needed to be said.

WWII may have been bigger geographically and had a higher body count... but I'd have rather serve twice through WWII than once through WWI. What a nightmare.
Link Posted: 8/21/2010 12:53:41 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Bullets1st:

Care to explain?

Battle of Verdun.


France vs Germany

French military victory

163K deaths vs 143K deaths

40 million artillery shells

Link Posted: 8/21/2010 12:54:51 AM EDT


Verdun, before and after the Battle of Verdun. 700,000 casualties. Just an illustration of what a big bucket of suck WW1 was.
Link Posted: 8/21/2010 12:57:17 AM EDT
WWI was the clash of a martial paradigm shift. Nobody knew how to cope as the body counts well proved.
Link Posted: 8/21/2010 1:03:13 AM EDT

Originally Posted By PBIR:
WWI was the clash of a martial paradigm shift. Nobody knew how to cope as the body counts well proved.

Yeah. War was definitely changing fast. Our boys in particular were hit hard at the Somme.


"The opening day of the battle on 1 July 1916 saw the British Army suffer the worst one-day combat losses in its history, with nearly 60,000 casualties."

"The British had suffered 19,240 dead, 35,493 wounded, 2,152 missing and 585 prisoners for a total loss of 57,470."





Link Posted: 8/21/2010 1:05:15 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/21/2010 1:06:46 AM EDT by Dave_A]

Originally Posted By Bullets1st:


Care to explain?

NM. I'm sleepy.

Before WWI battle, nice town...

After the battle, moonscape....

Link Posted: 8/21/2010 1:06:24 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Hawken50:


Verdun, before and after the Battle of Verdun. 700,000 casualties. Just an illustration of what a big bucket of suck WW1 was.

To compare, the US had 500,000-or-so casualties in ALL of WWII.



Link Posted: 8/21/2010 1:09:23 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/21/2010 1:10:23 AM EDT by Dave_A]

Originally Posted By PBIR:
WWI was the clash of a martial paradigm shift. Nobody knew how to cope as the body counts well proved.

Highly accurate and fast-firing indirect artillery - with wired spotters foreward, plus machine guns...

Used on troops still operating with Napoleonic-era fixed-fortifications and line-of-battle attacks...

And even after that, some folks (FRENCH) did not get the message & paid for it the 2nd time...

The Germans got the message...
Link Posted: 8/21/2010 1:11:21 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Cromlech:

Originally Posted By PBIR:
WWI was the clash of a martial paradigm shift. Nobody knew how to cope as the body counts well proved.

Yeah. War was definitely changing fast. Our boys in particular were hit hard at the Somme.


"The opening day of the battle on 1 July 1916 saw the British Army suffer the worst one-day combat losses in its history, with nearly 60,000 casualties."

"The British had suffered 19,240 dead, 35,493 wounded, 2,152 missing and 585 prisoners for a total loss of 57,470."





Somme was a brutal lesson. "The best of the best".

Link Posted: 8/21/2010 1:13:45 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Bullets1st:


Care to explain?

NM. I'm sleepy.
a lot of shells!

Link Posted: 8/21/2010 1:15:09 AM EDT
More Verdun...




The battle for Verdun resulted in over a million casualties, including some estimates of 50,000 the first day.


Link Posted: 8/21/2010 1:15:52 AM EDT
Use Wikipedia and Google Earth. you'll be busy for weeks. I just got thru setting up my placemarks for Dunkirk.
Link Posted: 8/21/2010 1:19:03 AM EDT
Looking at the photos of WW1 again, it has reminded me of something. Any of you guys remember the nasty ass trenches and fighting holes in the recent series The Pacific? All of that horrible gore, and foul, disease ridden watery mud?

I'd probably go mad in trench warfare.

Link Posted: 8/21/2010 1:24:10 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Cromlech:
Looking at the photos of WW1 again, it has reminded me of something. Any of you guys remember the nasty ass trenches and fighting holes in the recent series The Pacific? All of that horrible gore, and foul, disease ridden watery mud?

I'd probably go mad in trench warfare.


After watching that I was told by a friend not to read the books until "I was ready" as its is depicted much much more in detail.
It is impossible for me to convey how grateful I am to those men and their brothers on the European front.
Link Posted: 8/21/2010 1:42:28 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/21/2010 1:50:09 AM EDT by R_Fury]


The bottom picture is not of Verdun. It's Passchendaele, in Ypres.
Link Posted: 8/21/2010 2:29:12 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/21/2010 2:38:08 AM EDT by Ming_The_Merciless]
All the suck of WWII (constant mud and water often up to the knee, constant heavy artillery shelling, harassment by aircraft, a leadership which repeated "hee diddle diddle right up the middle" orders to dash into the fire of interlocked machine gun nests, barbed wire, flamethrowers, tanks,

http://www.worldwar1.com/pharc002.htm

http://raven.cc.ukans.edu/~kansite/ww_one/photos/bin03/imag0267.jpg

PLUS, as an added bonus, you often got a liberal does of Mustard Gas & Phosgene gas just for kicks!

Mustard Gas would leave terrible burns on any flesh it contacted, (eyes, lungs, skin)

Add to that the front line troops were pretty much keep in the trenches being pounded by enemy shells until their unit was so severely decimated from senseless attack after attack that it had to be pulled out of line temporarily for replacements / fresh meat.

Then for good measure consider that most of the dead from both sides lay in no mans land rotting for the rats (imagine the stench and stink)

W.W. I was a GRINDER in the very real sense of the word!

MING the Merciless
Link Posted: 8/21/2010 2:36:06 AM EDT
The worst part of it, in my view, is the folly of the war in the first place, the political machinations, the mobilization and the world's most significant game of "chicken." It was a war that could have been avoided and had it been, would have drastically altered world history, probably for the better.
Link Posted: 8/21/2010 2:40:44 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Ming_The_Merciless:
All the suck of WWII (constant mud and water often up to the knee, constant heavy artillery shelling, harassment by aircraft, a leadership which repeated "hee diddle diddle right up the middle" orders to dash into the fire of interlocked machine gun nests, barbed wire, flamethrowers, tanks,

PLUS, as an added bonus, you often got a liberal does of Mustard Gas & Phosgene gas just for kicks!

Mustard Gas would leave terrible burns on any flesh it contacted, (eyes, lungs, skin)

Add to that the front line troops were pretty much keep in the trenches being pounded by enemy shells until their unit was so severely decimated from senseless attack after attack that it had to be pulled out of line temporarily for replacements / fresh meat.

W.W. I was a GRINDER in the very real sense of the word!

MING the Merciless


War is hell.

Perhaps we should consider why we are fighting, rather than how we are fighting.

In retrospect, WWI was a stupid war to fight. It escalated, started, and continued for stupid reasons. It is a perfect and recent example of just how brutal so-called western culture can be. Is it any wonder that after WWI we ended up with a call for an impartial global forum to work things out? Somehow we managed to fuck that up too.

Link Posted: 8/21/2010 2:42:51 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/21/2010 2:44:13 AM EDT by Jonny712]
Originally Posted By Rephlex:

The battle for Verdun resulted in over a millioncasualties, including some estimates of 50,000 the first day.

http://warisboring.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/07/gundm_468x361.jpg


This one is of Passchendaele, but it's a photoshop, here's the original.

Link Posted: 8/21/2010 2:54:12 AM EDT
The real killer in WW1 was the flu. That is right, the flu killed a whole shit load of the troops. It was one of the great lessons learned for the military.
Link Posted: 8/21/2010 3:07:08 AM EDT
I've read The Guns Of August and Keegan's The First World War, and still cannot understand why they bothered to have that war. At it's most fundamental level, it was just a game of chicken gone utterly mad. I'm not going to bother to look up the actual statistics, but virtually an entire generation of young men were slaughtered by idiots of the previous one. Just thinking about the colossal waste makes me tear up.

Jane

Link Posted: 8/21/2010 3:14:21 AM EDT
Eye Deep in Hell

Not that anyone reads books anymore,being like giant walls of text and all,but it has plenty of pictures.If you have a new found interest in WWI,at least from the soldiers' perspective,this is IMO absolutely the best book the start with.
Link Posted: 8/21/2010 3:33:24 AM EDT
Originally Posted By PlaneJane:
I've read The Guns Of August and Keegan's The First World War, and still cannot understand why they bothered to have that war. At it's most fundamental level, it was just a game of chicken gone utterly mad. I'm not going to bother to look up the actual statistics, but virtually an entire generation of young men were slaughtered by idiots of the previous one. Just thinking about the colossal waste makes me tear up.

Jane



Yeah, and what's worse is, the results of WWI and the way the western nations fucked up the peace were directly responsible for WWII. Hitler could never have risen to power had Germany not been ass-raped by the Treaty of Versailles.
Link Posted: 8/21/2010 3:35:26 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/21/2010 3:42:45 AM EDT by Lert]
749,809 Australians served in the Great War, out of a population of 4 million, representing 38.7% of the total male population aged between 18 to 44. 155,000 were wounded and 61,513 were killed.

At almost 65%, the Australian casualty rate (proportionate to total embarkations) was the highest of the war.

The First World War was an incredible tragedy for Australia.



Australian troops in the trenches at Frommelles, on the Western Front
Link Posted: 8/21/2010 3:39:54 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Lert:
749,809 Australians served in the Great War, out of a population of 4 million, representing 38.7% of the total male population aged between 18 to 44. 155,000 were wounded and 61,513 were killed.

At almost 65%, the Australian casualty rate (proportionate to total embarkations) was the highest of the war.

The First World War was an incredible tragedy for Australia.

http://cas.awm.gov.au/item/A02022

Australian troops in the Turkish Lone Pine trenches

Yep. Read "Redemption" by Leon Uris for a pretty detailed account of the Gallipoli disaster.




Link Posted: 8/21/2010 4:06:02 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Dumpster_Baby:

Originally Posted By Lert:
749,809 Australians served in the Great War, out of a population of 4 million, representing 38.7% of the total male population aged between 18 to 44. 155,000 were wounded and 61,513 were killed.

At almost 65%, the Australian casualty rate (proportionate to total embarkations) was the highest of the war.

The First World War was an incredible tragedy for Australia.

http://cas.awm.gov.au/item/A02022

Australian troops in the Turkish Lone Pine trenches

Yep. Read "Redemption" by Leon Uris for a pretty detailed account of the Gallipoli disaster.

http://img2.imagesbn.com/images/14550000/14559248.JPG




Never heard of that book- thanks.

Over here we're brought up on stories of WWI. Its a major part of our history schooling, and every little town in this country has a memorial to the fallen of that war.
Link Posted: 8/21/2010 4:08:16 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/21/2010 4:10:17 AM EDT by PlaneJane]
Originally Posted By RikWriter:
Originally Posted By PlaneJane:
I've read The Guns Of August and Keegan's The First World War, and still cannot understand why they bothered to have that war. At it's most fundamental level, it was just a game of chicken gone utterly mad. I'm not going to bother to look up the actual statistics, but virtually an entire generation of young men were slaughtered by idiots of the previous one. Just thinking about the colossal waste makes me tear up.

Jane



Yeah, and what's worse is, the results of WWI and the way the western nations fucked up the peace were directly responsible for WWII. Hitler could never have risen to power had Germany not been ass-raped by the Treaty of Versailles.


I agree. The same idiots who killed off millions in WW I set the stage to do it again twenty years later. It makes one want to dig up their bodies and publicly desecrate them.


Jane

Link Posted: 8/21/2010 4:09:41 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/21/2010 4:11:07 AM EDT by PlaneJane]
Oops. Hit quote instead of edit.
Link Posted: 8/21/2010 4:32:26 AM EDT
The West signed its death warrant the first day of WWI.
Link Posted: 8/21/2010 4:36:05 AM EDT



Excellent book.


Link Posted: 8/21/2010 4:36:58 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/21/2010 4:40:46 AM EDT by Bradders]
Link Posted: 8/21/2010 4:38:01 AM EDT
Originally Posted By PlaneJane:
Originally Posted By RikWriter:
Originally Posted By PlaneJane:
I've read The Guns Of August and Keegan's The First World War, and still cannot understand why they bothered to have that war. At it's most fundamental level, it was just a game of chicken gone utterly mad. I'm not going to bother to look up the actual statistics, but virtually an entire generation of young men were slaughtered by idiots of the previous one. Just thinking about the colossal waste makes me tear up.

Jane



Yeah, and what's worse is, the results of WWI and the way the western nations fucked up the peace were directly responsible for WWII. Hitler could never have risen to power had Germany not been ass-raped by the Treaty of Versailles.


I agree. The same idiots who killed off millions in WW I set the stage to do it again twenty years later. It makes one want to dig up their bodies and publicly desecrate them.


Jane



France felt it had a score to settle with Germany due to the outcome of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. WWI most assuredly didn't need to be fought, the folks in power wanted to merely settle old grudges and rivalries.
Link Posted: 8/21/2010 4:40:49 AM EDT
Originally Posted By GunLvrPHD:
The West signed its death warrant the first day of WWI.


I'd tend to agree.

It was the first act of the Great Western Civil War.
Link Posted: 8/21/2010 4:45:25 AM EDT
I feel sorry for the Russians who died by the millions, they fought to save France but were kicked around by the Germans and eventually when Czar Nicholas II was personally commanding the army
mass desertions and mutinies began. There was actually a failed military coup towards the end of the war, look up General Kornilov.
Link Posted: 8/21/2010 4:57:34 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/21/2010 4:57:53 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/21/2010 5:08:55 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Kongo:
<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0375760458/ref=sib_dp_pt?tag=vglnk-c102-20#reader-link" target="_blank">http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51WHRH864PL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg</a>


Excellent book.




Yes. There's also a really good hour or so long documentary hosted by Michael Palin (Monty Python) about the last week of WW1 that draws heavily on that book.

Found it on youtube, broken into 5 parts. Very worth a watch.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8s5QYwYtuY&feature=search
Link Posted: 8/21/2010 5:10:19 AM EDT
I've been to Verdun and toured the battlefield, ossuary and one of the original trenches they preserved (or rebulit, I can't recall right off).

If you ever find yourself in Eastern France, go.
Link Posted: 8/21/2010 5:24:57 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/21/2010 5:26:31 AM EDT
WWI was probably the dumbest war ever.

Most wars are about something, WWI wasn’t. Korea and Vietnam were about stopping the spread of Communism. WWII was about stopping the Axis from conquering the world… Of, for the Axis it was about conquering enough territory to become the dominant powers in the world. The Civil War was about state’s rights… specifically the right of a state to keep some of their people in the bonds of chattel slavery.

Wars are generally fought to expand an empire or to spread an idea. Ideas, of course, include religions, economic theories, systems of government, etc. Wars are sometimes also fought to control trade routes or access to resources. And, of course, other nations fight back to hold on to what they’ve got. But none of these really applied in WWI, not really.

WWI wasn’t really over any of those things. Yes, we all (should) know about how the Archduke managed to get himself offed by a bunch of incompetent anarchists. We know about the whole entangling alliances thing. Those were the conditions that triggered the war. But, what were the actual goals? There weren’t many as far as I can tell.

I’ve concluded that the real cause of the war was that people just wanted to fight. Then, once they realized how bad the war was, no one could find a way to stop. All those Europeans with their national honor, fighting spirit, and pretty uniforms just had to go out and start a war to see how tough they really were and to see how weak their enemies were. In hindsight then, the whole thing could have been prevented if we could go back in time and introduce American Football to them around 1900.

And once the fighting started, everyone did the stupidest things possible. To make matters worse they kept doing the stupid things over and over. In the end all they accomplished was to kill and maim millions of people.
Link Posted: 8/21/2010 5:38:11 AM EDT
Originally Posted By PlaneJane:
I've read The Guns Of August and Keegan's The First World War, and still cannot understand why they bothered to have that war. At it's most fundamental level, it was just a game of chicken gone utterly mad. I'm not going to bother to look up the actual statistics, but virtually an entire generation of young men were slaughtered by idiots of the previous one. Just thinking about the colossal waste makes me tear up.

Jane



WWI, and to a lesser extent WWII, don't make sense to us in large part because they belong to, and were the dying gasps of, the Middle Ages. We don't really understand WWI because it arose from, and for better or for worse gutted, the Medieval, dynastic, land and nobility-centered worldview dead-set (more or less consciously, as the case may be) on recreating the Roman Empire in some way.

Mix in the nationalistic fervor taught to the world by the American and French revolutions and welded to the dynastic mindset by Bismarck, and you had a destructive force more powerful than any the world had previously seen.
Link Posted: 8/21/2010 5:40:30 AM EDT
I remember as a child trying to wrap my head around why there would be two horrible wars only twenty years apart and my father (not a big history buff) struggling to explain, as even he didn't get the reasons. WWI was definately one of the biggest gaffes in human history.
Link Posted: 8/21/2010 5:41:43 AM EDT
I'd rather lay seige to Stalingrad in a Hawaian shirt and flip flops that participate in the cluster fuck of tactics that was WWI.

Link Posted: 8/21/2010 5:42:35 AM EDT
Read "Verdun 1914". If it were fiction, it would be totally unbeleivable. It's amazing what men can and will do when they have long since written themselves-off as dead.
Link Posted: 8/21/2010 5:46:55 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/21/2010 5:51:50 AM EDT by Polupharmakos]
Originally Posted By Thuban:
Wars are generally fought to expand an empire or to spread an idea. Ideas, of course, include religions, economic theories, systems of government, etc. Wars are sometimes also fought to control trade routes or access to resources. And, of course, other nations fight back to hold on to what they’ve got. But none of these really applied in WWI, not really.

WWI wasn’t really over any of those things. Yes, we all (should) know about how the Archduke managed to get himself offed by a bunch of incompetent anarchists. We know about the whole entangling alliances thing. Those were the conditions that triggered the war. But, what were the actual goals? There weren’t many as far as I can tell.


It was about all of those things. But as I said above, it was about a lot of things that we just don't get today - it was about things that had been bred into the mindset of these countries for centuries, which we don't understand anymore, mostly because of what happened from 1914-1945.

It was about Russia who always wanted more in the Balkans, with an eye ultimately to Constantinople.

It was about Austria, who wanted more access to the sea and was bound and determined to keep its foothold in the Balkans.

It was about Germany, a late-comer to the colonial game for reasons probably stretching back to the Investiture Controversy, who wanted finally to find a 'place in the sun.'

It was about Great Britain, who ruled the seas and had 'won' the colonial game, and was dead-set on keeping it against an increasingly fractious Germany.

It was about France, still smarting from whippings in 1871, 1815, and still thinking about the glory that was Louis XIV's kingdom.

It was about the Ottomans, desperately trying to hold on against Austria, Russia, and internal discontent.

It was about the small Balkan states, throwing off, as they had done periodically for the past two thousand years, the idea of the 'universal empire.'

The most fascinating thing about WWI (and WWII) isn't the reasons to fight - the reasons were there. The most fascinating thing for me, 65 years of wars by proxy and police actions later, was that it all blew up at home. Everyone went straight for the jugular, right at the start.
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