PDA

View Full Version : Haig and the British press,Germany's best ally



Exarecr
29 Jan 09,, 16:37
After watching Passchendaele,(finally a Canadian version),and then researching this idiots(Haig)s other military disasters unfold time after time it proves what the Canadian Corps already new after so much unnecessary bloodletting,....the British high command where the Germans best allies.More galling was the after battle reporting that blanketed England claiming a great"British" victory at Passchendaele.Much of the same nonsense occurred when Canada stormed and took Vimy and again the British press claimed another great British victory. Still,a lot of our own history of that period has been purposely removed from Canadian school texts because they glorify war.Hard to imagine WW1 is not taught in Canadian schools anymore. How sad and pathetic. Any country is doomed if it fails to record or teach it,s history to their future generations.The Dieppe raid was our worst military disaster in WW2 with almost 3,000 casualties,including over 900 dead in a matter of several hours(naturally,the British held back naval and air support).Who would have thought an amphibious landing needed fire support,silly Canucks.The politically correct version is one of Canadian terrorist troops murdering German vacationers who were on holidays.Oh well, on to my next read. D- Day,June 6 1944. Something about an invasion of Normandy,and maybe, just maybe the Canadians were in on this one?

zraver
29 Jan 09,, 21:18
Watchout the Haig defenders can get down right mean.

treasure44
02 Feb 09,, 21:06
After watching Passchendaele,(finally a Canadian version),and then researching this idiots(Haig)s other military disasters unfold time after time it proves what the Canadian Corps already new after so much unnecessary bloodletting,....the British high command where the Germans best allies.More galling was the after battle reporting that blanketed England claiming a great"British" victory at Passchendaele.Much of the same nonsense occurred when Canada stormed and took Vimy and again the British press claimed another great British victory. Still,a lot of our own history of that period has been purposely removed from Canadian school texts because they glorify war.Hard to imagine WW1 is not taught in Canadian schools anymore. How sad and pathetic. Any country is doomed if it fails to record or teach it,s history to their future generations.The Dieppe raid was our worst military disaster in WW2 with almost 3,000 casualties,including over 900 dead in a matter of several hours(naturally,the British held back naval and air support).Who would have thought an amphibious landing needed fire support,silly Canucks.The politically correct version is one of Canadian terrorist troops murdering German vacationers who were on holidays.Oh well, on to my next read. D- Day,June 6 1944. Something about an invasion of Normandy,and maybe, just maybe the Canadians were in on this one?

Haig is always portrayed as an idiotic and poor leader. he said to be responsible for the somme. he wasnt. the somme offensive was politicaly driven as the french were under huge pressure at verdun. the objective of the somme was never to take ground but to take pressure of the french. that was achieved. people say that it was madness for the troops to walk across no mans land. not so. the british believed that the german trenches would have been totally destroyed in the artillery bombardment, and that the troops would just being taking the ground. by the end of the war he had he moulded the conscripted british army into a fighting force that eventualy was instrumental in the defeat of the germany armies.

im not saying the somme was a complete success, but in terms of achieving its goals, it did so. a german officer was quoted "the somme was the death of the german army"

the press had to state victories because of the law put in place by Lloyd George so its not really their fault. the casualty figures were still there and if people looked it was obvious what had gone on. i think that this type of propaganda however is inexcusable because the government are conning people into joining up. but anyway...

GraniteForge
02 Feb 09,, 22:36
Haig is always portrayed as an idiotic and poor leader. he said to be responsible for the somme. he wasnt. the somme offensive was politicaly driven as the french were under huge pressure at verdun. the objective of the somme was never to take ground but to take pressure of the french. that was achieved. people say that it was madness for the troops to walk across no mans land. not so. the british believed that the german trenches would have been totally destroyed in the artillery bombardment, and that the troops would just being taking the ground. by the end of the war he had he moulded the conscripted british army into a fighting force that eventualy was instrumental in the defeat of the germany armies.

im not saying the somme was a complete success, but in terms of achieving its goals, it did so. a german officer was quoted "the somme was the death of the german army"

the press had to state victories because of the law put in place by Lloyd George so its not really their fault. the casualty figures were still there and if people looked it was obvious what had gone on. i think that this type of propaganda however is inexcusable because the government are conning people into joining up. but anyway...

This is a wonderful example of the typical approach of Haig's defenders.

Truth is, Haig himself insisted on his continuing attacks on the Somme. The idea that the French needed help is a canard that was concocted after the war in the opium dreams of his acolytes. Allied political leaders wanted to avoid combat where the Germans were obviously so strong; they favored reinforcing the Italians against the Austrians, to knock one of the Central Powers out of the war, and to also buck up the Russians. Haig would have none of it.

In his later Flanders fiasco, he insisted that he was just this close to breaking through to the Belgian port cities, and all it would take is just one more push. And then another, and then another, on and on. In each case Haig sat, unmoved by the pointless suffering of the soldiers, wrapped in luxury, and with a slight gesture of his noble pinky sent another hundred thousand of his conscripted slaves to their deaths. Finally, appalled by the staggering and pointless losses, the Allied governments simply stopped sending Haig enough replacements for him to do his butchery.

Of course, not only was Haig an idiot, he was also a coward, never getting close enough to the front to risk getting mud on his splendid personage, or risk seeing the results of his orders.

In many countries, he would have been spat upon as he walked the streets after the war. England made him an Earl, a Viscount, and a Baron.

zraver
02 Feb 09,, 22:47
Haig is always portrayed as an idiotic and poor leader. he said to be responsible for the somme. he wasnt. the somme offensive was politicaly driven as the french were under huge pressure at verdun. the objective of the somme was never to take ground but to take pressure of the french. that was achieved. people say that it was madness for the troops to walk across no mans land. not so. the british believed that the german trenches would have been totally destroyed in the artillery bombardment, and that the troops would just being taking the ground. by the end of the war he had he moulded the conscripted british army into a fighting force that eventualy was instrumental in the defeat of the germany armies.

im not saying the somme was a complete success, but in terms of achieving its goals, it did so. a german officer was quoted "the somme was the death of the german army"

the press had to state victories because of the law put in place by Lloyd George so its not really their fault. the casualty figures were still there and if people looked it was obvious what had gone on. i think that this type of propaganda however is inexcusable because the government are conning people into joining up. but anyway...

Hogwash, Haig pushed for the Somme, and he kept it going. He did the same in most of his attacks. And until late 1917 kept insisiting he was about to achieve breakthrough.

What makes Haig stupid, is his perseveranc ein the beleif that mass could overcome the machine gun. The losses an attacker would face were understood before the war. But Haig like French distrusted a conscript army made up mostly of city boys and so used what amounted to close order drill. A few divisional commanders were able to get their men trained in loose order formations, but Haig never took these lesson to heart and thus installing the type of training in 1916/17 that the Germans had demonstrated firs tin 1915 and with devastating effect in the spring of 1918.

The only reason Haig didn't lose more and gain less was the plethora of talented army, corps and divisional commanders Britain raised during the war.


Nor was the Somme the death of the German Feild Army. That quote comes from a lower rank. Rupprecht, with his much better access to numbers said he was willing to sell Britain as much territory as they wanted at the price they were paying.

Backing up the disaster of the Somme, is Haig's second attempt to kill as many Brits and dominion allies as possible with the battles of Flanders. Men drowned in the mud on the attack- that is inexcusable and a sign of a commander who is totally out of touch with reality.

Bluesman
03 Feb 09,, 05:18
http://worldaffairsboard.com/showpost.php?p=104743&postcount=9

I covered my opinion on that madman almost five years ago.

Bluesman
03 Feb 09,, 05:19
And I am STILL holding my same opinion on the relative military worthiness of both Haig AND my dam' cat.

dave lukins
03 Feb 09,, 09:55
I'm not a 'fan' of Haig, however to call the dead and dying
conscripted slaves is a bit close to the knuckle

treasure44
03 Feb 09,, 20:50
Hogwash, Haig pushed for the Somme, and he kept it going. He did the same in most of his attacks. And until late 1917 kept insisiting he was about to achieve breakthrough.

What makes Haig stupid, is his perseveranc ein the beleif that mass could overcome the machine gun. The losses an attacker would face were understood before the war. But Haig like French distrusted a conscript army made up mostly of city boys and so used what amounted to close order drill. A few divisional commanders were able to get their men trained in loose order formations, but Haig never took these lesson to heart and thus installing the type of training in 1916/17 that the Germans had demonstrated firs tin 1915 and with devastating effect in the spring of 1918.

The only reason Haig didn't lose more and gain less was the plethora of talented army, corps and divisional commanders Britain raised during the war.


Nor was the Somme the death of the German Feild Army. That quote comes from a lower rank. Rupprecht, with his much better access to numbers said he was willing to sell Britain as much territory as they wanted at the price they were paying.

Backing up the disaster of the Somme, is Haig's second attempt to kill as many Brits and dominion allies as possible with the battles of Flanders. Men drowned in the mud on the attack- that is inexcusable and a sign of a commander who is totally out of touch with reality.

i do not agree with haigs tactics or with as a commander generaly and ill admit i got a bit carried away in the "moulded conscripts" bit. but so did he with "conscriped slaves". but the germans took more casualties and took the pressure of the french. as for him pushing for the somme, the french originaly promised 40 divisions but supplies only 5 after verdun had begun. i also agree with him being out of touch with reality. the last episode of blackadder goes forth gives a great potrayal of his character. my veiw was swayed by a documentary with Gerneral moore falklands commander. ive researched more and decided he wasnt so great.:rolleyes:

zraver
03 Feb 09,, 21:33
i do not agree with haigs tactics or with as a commander generaly and ill admit i got a bit carried away in the "moulded conscripts" bit. but so did he with "conscriped slaves". but the germans took more casualties and took the pressure of the french. as for him pushing for the somme, the french originaly promised 40 divisions but supplies only 5 after verdun had begun. i also agree with him being out of touch with reality. the last episode of blackadder goes forth gives a great potrayal of his character. my veiw was swayed by a documentary with Gerneral moore falklands commander. ive researched more and decided he wasnt so great.:rolleyes:

German Losses were about 330,000 killed, wounded and POW at Verdun vs 378,000 French. German losses included almost all of the first batch of storm troopers and thier best assualt divisions. The Somme fell mainly on defensive and reserve divisions and had 450,000 killed, wounded or POW vs 650,000 allied losses. Those two battles saw Germany trade 780,000 losses vs 1,000,000 allied. The two big battles of 1917: Flanders and the Nivelle Offensive cost the allies another 593,000 losses vs around 400,000 German. 1918 saw the allies take 851,000 losse sin the spring vs 688,000 and a further 1million losses vs 785,000 German that fall. Had Germany been able to find a way to both feed herself and produce armaments the allies would likely have been held off until the full 2 million Americans the the thousands of planned mk VIII Liberty heavy tanks were present in 1919-20. The allied commanders were that bad. In Just 6 battles the allies managed to inflict 2.8 million or so German losses at a cost of 3.5 million to themselves.

clackers
05 Feb 09,, 05:30
i do not agree with haigs tactics or with as a commander generaly and ill admit i got a bit carried away in the "moulded conscripts" bit. but so did he with "conscriped slaves".

His attacks in 1915 were with volunteers, T44 ... Kitchener's 'New Army', with the Pals' Battalions, and so on ... and the later Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders were volunteers too.

His problem was committing them and all the conscripts in later years to trying to break cleanly through defensive lines in one go (unlikely against a defence in depth in 1914-18), instead of the 'bite and hold' tactics his subordinates like Plumer and Rawlinson were actually successful with (advancing only to the range of your own artillery, then waiting for your howitzers to be moved into position for the next push, a la fire and movement, just on a huge scale).

To make things worse, Haig repeated his plan again and again, his beloved cavalry waiting in the wings for the exploitation to Berlin that just never happened.

WW2 British commanders like Monty were conservative, methodical 'bite and holders' rather than 'let's go hell for leather' breakthrough types because of their dreadful experiences under those types of of general (like Haig and Gough) in WW1.


and took the pressure of the french. as for him pushing for the somme, the french originaly promised 40 divisions but supplies only 5 after verdun had begun.

Verdun was actually under control by August 1916. It had transformed into a killing field for the Germans and von Falkenhayn was to lose his job over it. Afterwards, the German army avoided attacking the British or French pretty much until 1918, when they did attempt it out of desperation ... and the effort finished them.

For a large country, by the summer of 1916 Britain had still not conducted much of the fighting, and it was felt that it was time to do something. The excuse back in 1914 that it couldn't take part in attacks because it needed time to raise and train a large army couldn't hold much longer.

But The Somme should have been cancelled when results were clearly not coming ... rather than four and a half months, after a week, perhaps ... some would say after the first day!



i also agree with him being out of touch with reality. the last episode of blackadder goes forth gives a great potrayal of his character.

Well, that was a pantomime performance by Geoffrey Palmer, of course, with little relation to the historical figure (sweeping the toy soldiers off the table into a bin indeed!) :)

Haig was a stubborn ex-junior cavalry commander of limited talent and expertise, terribly ill-suited to be C-in-C of a WWI infantry/artillery army.

But at the same time, he wasn't stupid, wasn't uncaring of his troops, and genuinely welcomed technology (such as tanks) as a way of shortening the fighting ... he just got away with bloody failure again and again in a way that his counterparts like Falkenhayn, Joffre, Cadorna, etc, were not permitted by their governments.

clackers
05 Feb 09,, 05:50
Had Germany been able to find a way to both feed herself and produce armaments the allies would likely have been held off until the full 2 million Americans the the thousands of planned mk VIII Liberty heavy tanks were present in 1919-20. The allied commanders were that bad. In Just 6 battles the allies managed to inflict 2.8 million or so German losses at a cost of 3.5 million to themselves.

Well, Germany was on the defensive from 1916 to 1918, sitting in their trenches behind barbed wire, machine guns and artillery, so we can expect their battlefield casualties to be somewhat lower than the British and French, who were advancing over No Man's Land toward their gunsights ...

Having said that, they collapsed real quick.

It was Foch's plan to ultimately take the attack into Germany in 1919 with lots of American troops in action, but after the German Army shattered itself with the Ludendorff Offensives, the defensive lines that had held for years prematurely crumbled under what were essentially only half-hearted probing attacks by the Allies.

Haig had learnt to keep his hands off the wheel and let commanders like Currie, Byng, Monash and Rawlinson win battles in their own way, but the magnitudes of their successes were not predicted by either Allied or German officers.

Those attacks gained such momentum that the 'Hundred Days' of 1918 is probably the greatest Twentieth Century achievement of the British Army.

Like Waterloo in the 19th Century and Blenheim in the 18th, it was done against the main army of the main enemy, on the main front, of a Continental war.

ANZAC
07 Feb 09,, 05:22
Some quotes by Haig.......


"The machine gun is a much over rated weapon.."
Haig - 1915.


Bullets have little stopping-power against the horse"


"Very successful attack this morning... All went like clockwork... The battle is going very well for us and already the Germans are surrendering freely. The enemy is so short of men that he is collecting them from all parts of the line. Our troops are in wonderful spirits and full of confidence."

A Report by Haig on the first day of attack, 1st July 1916.


"In another six weeks the enemy will find it hard to get enough men"

Haig believed in wearing the enemy down. He said the above after 2 weeks of the battle.


You will be able to go over the top with a walking stick, you will not need rifles … you will find the Germans all dead, not even a rat will have survived.

Before the battle of the Somme, the general assured their troops that the shells would destroy the enemy before they arrived.
[Not sure about the above quote ]


''The horse is the future. Aeroplanes and tanks only aid the man and his horse and I feel sure that as time goes on you will find just as much use for the horse – the well-bred horse – as you have ever done in the past.''

Even writing in 1926, Haig believed the horse would still be important in warfare. During WWI he felt that machine guns were hardly needed. The Prime Minister had to order him to send more to the front lines.



Even if some quotes are out of context, I think the last quote shows what the bloke is about.

cape_royds
08 Feb 09,, 21:20
The Allies for 1916 had planned combined offensives on both Western (Somme) and Eastern (Galicia) fronts. Offensives had to be combined in order to minimize the Central Powers' benefit of interior lines.

Falkenhayn threw the Allied plan out of gear by attacking in late winter at Verdun. The drain on French reserves forced a considerable reduction in the French frontage of attack at the Somme (originally intended to be a almost 50-50 Anglo-French venture). The Verdun crisis also pushed forward the date of the Somme offensive, which somewhat reduced the preparedness of the British "New Armies," and also spoiled the coordination with Brusilov's attack in Galicia.

Initially a disaster, at the Somme Haig was correct to persist in attacking, since the loss ratio actually became more favourable to the British as the Somme campaign wore on. Even Churchill, who in his World Crisis treats Haig pretty scathingly, admits this.

In 1917, however, Haig was mistaken to keep attacking at Third Ypres. The trend of loss ratios was the reverse of the Somme. But in mid-late 1917, the British were trying to prevent the final collapse of Russia, and were also trying to distract as many Germans as possible from the French front, while they recovered their morale and cohesion.

Another thing with the Western Allies is that without a truly centralized headquarters until the crisis of 1918, it took so much time to coordinate plans that the Allied generals would often persist with a failed plan, rather than reopen the political debates needed to change plans. The best way to get an idea of what was involved at the higher level of direction, is to read Hankey's memoirs, The Supreme Command.

tankie
10 Feb 09,, 17:39
Some quotes by Haig.......


"The machine gun is a much over rated weapon.."
Haig - 1915.


Bullets have little stopping-power against the horse"


"Very successful attack this morning... All went like clockwork... The battle is going very well for us and already the Germans are surrendering freely. The enemy is so short of men that he is collecting them from all parts of the line. Our troops are in wonderful spirits and full of confidence."

A Report by Haig on the first day of attack, 1st July 1916.


"In another six weeks the enemy will find it hard to get enough men"

Haig believed in wearing the enemy down. He said the above after 2 weeks of the battle.


You will be able to go over the top with a walking stick, you will not need rifles … you will find the Germans all dead, not even a rat will have survived.

Before the battle of the Somme, the general assured their troops that the shells would destroy the enemy before they arrived.
[Not sure about the above quote ]


''The horse is the future. Aeroplanes and tanks only aid the man and his horse and I feel sure that as time goes on you will find just as much use for the horse – the well-bred horse – as you have ever done in the past.''

Even writing in 1926, Haig believed the horse would still be important in warfare. During WWI he felt that machine guns were hardly needed. The Prime Minister had to order him to send more to the front lines.
Even if some quotes are out of context, I think the last quote shows what the bloke is about.



Self conceited old fart totally out of touch P,R,I,C,K., a bit like the out of touch old French Leaders in the 2nd world war .

ANZAC
11 Feb 09,, 01:09
Self conceited old fart totally out of touch P,R,I,C,K., a bit like the out of touch old French Leaders in the 2nd world war .

Unfortunately I have to agree tankie, although I think ALL Allied leaders [with a few notable exceptions] were a bit out of touch at the start of WW2, in fact it's nothing short of amazing how big a gap there was between the top Wehrmacht commanders [a list as long as your arm] and the scant few for the Allies.:(

GraniteForge
11 Feb 09,, 01:35
Unfortunately I have to agree tankie, although I think ALL Allied leaders [with a few notable exceptions] were a bit out of touch at the start of WW2, in fact it's nothing short of amazing how big a gap there was between the top Wehrmacht commanders [a list as long as your arm] and the scant few for the Allies.:(

There is a neighborhood here locally where all the streets are named for those Allied leaders. I always get a chuckle out of it, wondering if property values are lower there because the streets are named for such dubious characters.

ANZAC
11 Feb 09,, 01:48
There is a neighborhood here locally where all the streets are named for those Allied leaders. I always get a chuckle out of it, wondering if property values are lower there because the streets are named for such dubious characters.

Well at least you'd most probably pick up a good bargain property, then you could start a ''change the name's '' campaign.:))

Bigfella
11 Feb 09,, 06:08
Unfortunately I have to agree tankie, although I think ALL Allied leaders [with a few notable exceptions] were a bit out of touch at the start of WW2, in fact it's nothing short of amazing how big a gap there was between the top Wehrmacht commanders [a list as long as your arm] and the scant few for the Allies.:(


ANZAC,

I think you are gilding the lily here a bit. The advantage Germany had at the start of WW2 was not nearly as great as is often presented. A few things ran strongly in their favour that made them look good.

They had the advantage of experience every time they faced a potentially dangerous adversary. The Polish campaign allowed them a brilliant practice run for France. France & the Balkans did likewise for Barbarossa. Had the German Army commanders of October 1939 invaded France they might well have failed. This doesn't salvage the criminal incompetence of the French & (& some British) senior staff.

In the case of Russia the chaos & destruction of talent wrought by the purges of the late 1930s exaggerated Germany's advantages. I would argue that once Stalin allowed merit to determine position the Red Army turned out a crop of commanders every bit as good as their adversaries. This is even more remarkable given how many good men had been killed by Stalin. Imagine what the Wehrmacht might have looked like if it had been similarly purged.

Germany did indeed produce a talented crop of Generals in WW2, but lets not get carried away.

Interstingly, they did little better in WW1 than anyone else.

GraniteForge
11 Feb 09,, 07:19
They had the advantage of experience every time they faced a potentially dangerous adversary. The Polish campaign allowed them a brilliant practice run for France. France & the Balkans did likewise for Barbarossa.


Not especially. Poland, for all its photographic veneer of armor and air support, was just a classic campaign of infantry, cavalry, and artillery.

The breakout across France led to a completely different kind of war, and the sheer scale of Barbarossa turned Russia into something else, again. Reading unit narratives across the span of the war, it is clear that when they tried to apply the lessons of one campaign to the next, the Germans were made to pay for it.

GraniteForge
11 Feb 09,, 07:23
Well at least you'd most probably pick up a good bargain property, then you could start a ''change the name's '' campaign.:))

I always enjoy talking to people from that area; I try to work in a couple of the names, my favorite being "Joffre Street." Very few can properly pronounce it. The most popular utterance seems to be "Joff-Ree." I wonder if they have ever had difficulty on a 911 call!

Bigfella
11 Feb 09,, 09:09
Not especially. Poland, for all its photographic veneer of armor and air support, was just a classic campaign of infantry, cavalry, and artillery.

The breakout across France led to a completely different kind of war, and the sheer scale of Barbarossa turned Russia into something else, again. Reading unit narratives across the span of the war, it is clear that when they tried to apply the lessons of one campaign to the next, the Germans were made to pay for it.


GF,

I realise that Poland wasn't the classic armoured 'Blitzkrieg', but the German officer corps did get valuable experience. It gave them the chance to identify issues such as co-ordinating air support & such that made the next fight easier.

Poland helped to identify areas to train on in the gap between campaigns. Simply having the experience of running a good sized war was valuable in itself for the officers & men involved. It wasn't the only edge the Germans had in 1940, but it was an edge.

I don't dispute that as a body German Generals were superior to their counterparts among the Western Allies, especially in 1940. I do get a bit sick of what I see as overpraise. The Germans were good enough to ride their luck in 1940, but it was much closer run than it looked. Given the chance to learn from their mistrakes the way the Germans & later Russians did, I believe that the British & French would have looked a lot better in 1941.

Had any number of the things that could have gone wrong actually gone wrong I don't think we would be getting so weak at the knees about The Sainted Rommel & his murderous comrades.

tankie
11 Feb 09,, 09:39
There is a neighborhood here locally where all the streets are named for those Allied leaders.

I bet people get pissed off when asked for their address ,,,oh yes i live at 69 wanker street ,just off bumhole plaza ,right next to shitferbrains alley ;)

clackers
11 Feb 09,, 11:43
The Allies for 1916 had planned combined offensives on both Western (Somme) and Eastern (Galicia) fronts. Offensives had to be combined in order to minimize the Central Powers' benefit of interior lines.

IIRC, the Somme offensive was so unsuccessful at pinning reserves that during the operation eighteen German divisions were transferred away from the Western Front to fight Brusilov in Galicia!


Initially a disaster, at the Somme Haig was correct to persist in attacking, since the loss ratio actually became more favourable to the British as the Somme campaign wore on.

It was a disaster all the way through, CR. If you thought day one was pointless, in the month between 15 July and 14 September, there were 82,000 British casualties in return for an advance of 1,000 yards. In six weeks, New Zealand lost one percent of its population.

Favourable attrition was Rawlinson and Plumer's objective ... 'bite and hold' meant that the shoe was on the other foot when the Germans counterattacked to recapture lost territory ... they were now advancing over open ground, the targets of howitzer and machine gun fire.

But Haig had a different objective - rapid breakthrough, not high losses on both sides. And he never got it.

The furthest penetration at the Somme after four and a half months of fighting was six miles. Disgracefully, the final stage of the battle had completely political goals - to take a couple of villages that had been first day objectives, in order to report some success to the French who instead wanted to divert Allied resources to the Balkan front.

In the end, the debacle ended up reflecting badly on Britain's political leadership ... it was one of the reasons Asquith had to resign.

So the Prime Minister went, but Commander-in-Chief Haig got to stay, and in fact got promoted to Field Marshal! :rolleyes:

tankie
11 Feb 09,, 11:51
The only good thing about the name HAIG is that they named a whiskey that , and it aint very good neither is it Ooe ;)

clackers
11 Feb 09,, 12:12
Had the German Army commanders of October 1939 invaded France they might well have failed.

Indeed ... even the senior generals of 1940 don't make up a very inspiring list:

von Rundstedt, von Kluge, List, Busch, von Bock, von Reichenau, von Kuchler, von Leeb, von Witzleben and Dollman ...

Model, von Manstein, Rommel and Kesselring only become Field Marshals after starting behind those guys ...

ANZAC
12 Feb 09,, 04:48
GF,

I don't dispute that as a body German Generals were superior to their counterparts among the Western Allies, especially in 1940.

That's all I was saying.:)

ANZAC
12 Feb 09,, 05:03
In as far as there is a single explanation for Germany's stunning victory in France, it would probably be the brilliant conception of Manstein's attack, and carried out by commanders like Guderian, Hoth, Reinhardt and Rommel.

clackers
14 Feb 09,, 13:49
Even then, it needed some mediocre opposing generalship to not get bogged down at the Meuse River, Anzac, and the French High Command delivered that in spades! :)

zraver
14 Feb 09,, 22:18
Even then, it needed some mediocre opposing generalship to not get bogged down at the Meuse River, Anzac, and the French High Command delivered that in spades! :)

That is a bit unfair, when the Allies gathered to meet the expected sweep across the low countries, there were simply not enough good divisions left. The best generals in the world would ahve failed given the quality of the French troops on the Meuse.

clackers
16 Feb 09,, 03:16
when the Allies gathered to meet the expected sweep across the low countries, there were simply not enough good divisions left. The best generals in the world would ahve failed given the quality of the French troops on the Meuse.

Yes, but there was a reason for that, Zraver.

The Seventh Army was perfectly placed opposite the Ardennes Forest ... but Gamelin moved it all the way up to the North Sea coast.

This was a doubly criminal move, because it was also the Strategic Reserve ... now it was part of the frontline, with nothing having been assigned to replace it.

When Churchill was trying to calm Gamelin down after the German breakthrough, he asked where the reserves were ... Gamelin replied with “Aucune!” (none).

cape_royds
17 Feb 09,, 02:04
That's because Gamelin, at the immediate outset of the battle, hurled what had been intended to be his central reserve army into a move on his far left flank--the aggressive "Breda Variant" of Plan D.

Ironically, Gamelin was overconfident in Spring 1940, which was why he risked committing his only formed reserve into battle before he even knew where the Germans intended their main thrust--astonishing conduct for a general on the strategic defensive.

zraver
17 Feb 09,, 04:05
That's because Gamelin, at the immediate outset of the battle, hurled what had been intended to be his central reserve army into a move on his far left flank--the aggressive "Breda Variant" of Plan D.

Ironically, Gamelin was overconfident in Spring 1940, which was why he risked committing his only formed reserve into battle before he even knew where the Germans intended their main thrust--astonishing conduct for a general on the strategic defensive.

He wanted to keep the battle out of France. He was facing a couple of nasty specters. The troops were rusty and demoralized after the Sitzkreig and a repeat of 1914-18. The invasion of the low countries looked like a mechanized repeat of 1914 but on a grander scale. I don't think he ever understood the speed units could move at in 1940 as compared to 1914-18.

cape_royds
17 Feb 09,, 05:23
The original version of Plan D made some sense. Fight the war in Belgium rather than in France.

But the original version of Plan D also included an army in a central reserve.

But Gamelin adopted, a few months before the campaign, a modified version of the Plan, the "Breda Variant." This modified plan committed in advance the French formed reserves to the extreme left, with the objective of securing a bridgehead into Holland.

Gamelin was already looking forward to launching the Allied counter-offensive later in the year!

Most narratives of the 1940 campaign do not pay enough (if any) attention the Allies' reckless change of their war plan.

ANZAC
18 Feb 09,, 05:48
As Wiki says there was much opposition to this "Dyle-Breda-Plan" within the French army, but sadly Gamelin was strongly supported by the British government, because Holland proper was an ideal base for a German air campaign against England.

The French/Brit commanders were fighting WW1 again, while Manstein came up with something out of the box with Panzer Group Kleist consisting of 1222 tanks, 545 Half tracks, 39,373 trucks & cars, plus engineering units and triple A, if this mass had been deployed on a single road starting on the border with Luxemburg, it's tail would have stretched to Koenigsberg 1,540 km to the east.

As it was, it must have been a nightmare with four columns almost 400 km long.

Gamelin didn't expect a mass of Panzers coming from the Ardennes like bats out of hell and hitting the Meuse before you could say 'blitzkrieg'
End result was the Germans took 1.2m POW's even in the east, no single disaster of the Red Army can compare to the Anglo french debacle of May 40

clackers
21 Feb 09,, 09:29
The French/Brit commanders were fighting WW1 again

If only they were, Anzac! ;)

Where was the WW2 version of Joffre, rapidly shifting his wrongly deployed troops from the east by rail to the true German attack north of Paris, and remaining ridiculously calm (napping during the day) as the bodycount climbed while von Moltke had a nervous breakdown at the same bodycount on his side?

And any WW1 general, even Haig, knew that you could never predict exactly where an enemy would try to break through, and kept a central reserve in case you got it wrong!



As it was, it must have been a nightmare with four columns almost 400 km long.

Yep, it was the gamble that worked.

Lots of German generals, including Kleist's Army Group Commander (von Rundstedt) and his chief-of-staff were against it.

They pointed out that the Ardennes Forest was unforgiving terrain for vehicles, which would be restricted to the roads (the same problem for the panzers in the later Battle of the Bulge). Traffic jams would occur unavoidably, and the four roads would be automatic targets for the British and French airforces. The delay between the armour and the follow up infantry and artiller needed to cross the Meuse might be as much as five days. Bock's Army Group B would pin down Allied troops in Belgium and Holland, but nothing could stop counterattacks from either the centre (the first class mechanized Seventh Army that Gamelin amazingly moved out of the Ardennes before the battle) or from the south (shielded by the Maginot Line).

To reach the Meuse in three days against the now unsupported second-class Second Army, the German troops did without sleep, and drivers were given speed pills ...

As late as the night of 11th May, reconnaisance reports reporting that the Ardennes offensive, not Eben Emael, was in fact the 'real' one were being disbelieved in Allied headquarters.

A serious counterattack on the 13th onwards of the exhausted German bridgeheads on the Meuse never happened. If Gamelin had admitted his error early enough, the motorized Allied armies could still have withdrawn from Belgium and Holland entirely and formed a real defensive line behind the River Somme.

But as Hitler noted joyfully on May 14th, Allied columns were still dutifully heading northward according to Gamelin's plan, away from the breakthrough at Sedan!

cape_royds
22 Feb 09,, 02:55
But the Allied armies on the left were all strung out along the roads, with traffic problems of their own (e.g. large nos. of refugees). To try to shift them and regroup would be a hard task.

That's another reason why even the pre-Breda Dyle Plan was a risky strategy, hurling the best Allied armies forward without much notice, and worse, without thorough staff-work in conjunction with the Belgians.

Montgomery, then commanding a division in the BEF, had suggested to Brooke that the best and simplest course would simply have been to dig, wire, and mine in great depth along the French frontier.

But it's a good point Anzac makes that the higher British command was anxious about securing the Dutch and Belgian coast, because they were apprehensive of possible air attacks upon the Channel supply line to the BEF, and on their shipping generally.

zraver
22 Feb 09,, 03:13
If only they were, Anzac! ;)

In a very real sense they were. The French learned the wrong lessons about fortifications at Verdun. They thought frontier fortifications served a modern purpose. They also clung to the idea of the power of the defensive. This reliance on the ability of static forces to take, and absorb body blows was a major cause of the allied doom. They forgot the lessons of 1918 for the lessons of 1915-17.

What lessons they learned about mechanization were also the lessons of WWI, not the post war 1920-30s when the thinkers and experimenters were figurign out how to use the new weapons of war. The French breaking their tanks up into penny packets so they could support the infantry, or the British with their Matlida I and II tanks. The German PzIII needed a bigger gun, but in concept it was the right tank for the job.

Hitler's great achievement prewar with the Heer was being able to divorce himself from the lessons of WWI and being able to take the ideas of Fiuller, Hart, Christie and others as translated via officers like Guderian and Mainstein and adopt them.


Where was the WW2 version of Joffre, rapidly shifting his wrongly deployed troops from the east by rail to the true German attack north of Paris, and remaining ridiculously calm (napping during the day) as the bodycount climbed while von Moltke had a nervous breakdown at the same bodycount on his side?

On the German side unfortunately.


And any WW1 general, even Haig, knew that you could never predict exactly where an enemy would try to break through, and kept a central reserve in case you got it wrong!

Yes and no, Haig would have gone to his reports to see what sector was being shelled the heaviest and said, "This is where the enemy will attack" Err... That is what the Germans did to Haig. But the point is the same, until 1917 British and French armies told the Germans exactly where they would attempt a breakthrough.

cape_royds
22 Feb 09,, 03:55
Well, the Germans did avoid attacking the main Maginot fortifications along the Franco-German frontier, so the belt did achieve its strategic purpose of conserving the limited French forces so that they could fight in greater strength on a shorter effective frontage.

And the key thing to bear in mind is that the Allied operational plan in 1940 was not defensive, but offensive! Plan D is an active move forward on the largest scale. It was not, repeat not, a passive defense. As Montgomery noted even at the time, the Allies might have been better advised to establish a defense-in-depth with strong reserves.

The Dyle Plan does resemble Plan XVII in a thematic sort of way. Both plans had the French launching an immediate major counteroffensive at the very outset of the war.

One French problem was that in 1914, when they got outflanked, the speed of marching men gave the French enough time to improvise an effective response. In 1940, they didn't have the extra few days to make good their initial mistake.

The other big French problem was a lack of strategic depth. The Russians could suffer a series of crushing defeats and still have enough time and space to rebuild their armies. The British could abandon their heavy weapons and return to their island. Geography just wasn't as kind to France. One strike, you're out.

That in turn suggests why the French, in both world wars, were willing to stake so heavily on counter-offensives at the beginning of the war. Inferior in population, lacking the protection of distance, uncertain of foreign help, the French on the one hand were unwilling to initiate the wars, but at the same time they felt pressured to seek an early advantage. As a result, they chose a strategy of forward defense, which in neither case worked out.

Pink
22 Feb 09,, 11:31
After watching Passchendaele,(finally a Canadian version)Not a bad film at all, But that love scene in France was a tad ridiculous.


and then researching this idiots(Haig)s other military disasters unfold time after time it proves what the Canadian Corps already new after so much unnecessary bloodletting,....the British high command where the Germans best alliesFrom what I've read of German casualties, their officer corp suffered from the same 1 dimensional thinking.



More galling was the after battle reporting that blanketed England claiming a great"British" victory at Passchendaele. Much of the same nonsense occurred when Canada stormed and took Vimy and again the British press claimed another great British victory Clearly in todays language the Canadians should be praised and are to my knowledge. But back then the C.E.F were under the command of the British Army and were regarded as British, More films from Canada will help correct this inaccuracy.


Still,a lot of our own history of that period has been purposely removed from Canadian school texts because they glorify war.Hard to imagine WW1 is not taught in Canadian schools anymore. How sad and pathetic. Any country is doomed if it fails to record or teach it,s history to their future generations.Thats disgraceful, Canada has alot to be proud of. Without Canadian troops stationed in the UK after Dunkirk, Britain could have fallen. They formed the core of our fully armed reserve. Which was mainly Canadian from what I've read


The Dieppe raid was our worst military disaster in WW2 with almost 3,000 casualties,including over 900 dead in a matter of several hours(naturally,the British held back naval and air support).Who would have thought an amphibious landing needed fire support,silly CanucksIf not for Dieppe more mistakes would have occurred during the D Day landings. It taught us how not to do it. So they weren't lives lost in vain.


The politically correct version is one of Canadian terrorist troops murdering German vacationers who were on holidays.Oh well, on to my next read. D- Day,June 6 1944. Something about an invasion of Normandy,and maybe, just maybe the Canadians were in on this one?Thats funny!:biggrin:

Pink
22 Feb 09,, 11:54
Haig is always portrayed as an idiotic and poor leader Probably because he was.


he said to be responsible for the somme. he wasntWho was then, Donald duck?


The somme offensive was politicaly driven as the french were under huge pressure at verdun. the objective of the somme was never to take ground but to take pressure of the frenchThe Somme offensive was planned before The battle of Verdun. How was it politically motivated?

people say that it was madness for the troops to walk across no mans land...... The british believed that the german trenches would have been totally destroyed in the artillery bombardment, Well after the first hour or so. It should have been apparent that they hadn't. I mean there were little pointers in that direction weren't there??


a german officer was quoted "the somme was the death of the german army" It was nearly the death of ours as well


the press had to state victories because of the law put in place by Lloyd George so its not really their fault. the casualty figures were still there and if people looked it was obvious what had gone on. i think that this type of propaganda however is inexcusable because the government are conning people into joining up. but anyway..Quite!

zraver
22 Feb 09,, 15:26
Well, the Germans did avoid attacking the main Maginot fortifications along the Franco-German frontier, so the belt did achieve its strategic purpose of conserving the limited French forces so that they could fight in greater strength on a shorter effective frontage.

The line was penetrated or forts captured at Maubeuge, St Avold, Saarbrucken, Colmar, Strasbourg and near the Vosages. Most of those fortified areas fell from June 14th onward when the French no longer had mobile reserves to stop any penetrations.

The French might have been better served by making more armored/mobile formations and more aircraft than in more and better forts.


And the key thing to bear in mind is that the Allied operational plan in 1940 was not defensive, but offensive! Plan D is an active move forward on the largest scale. It was not, repeat not, a passive defense. As Montgomery noted even at the time, the Allies might have been better advised to establish a defense-in-depth with strong reserves.

I don't think they had the numbers for a defense in depth. A lighter screen with local reserves for local counter attacks, backed by carefully placed large mobile reserves would have served them better. This is basically what the Germans tried to do later in the war but lacked the numbers. The allies had the numbers for this type of set up but over committed.


One French problem was that in 1914, when they got outflanked, the speed of marching men gave the French enough time to improvise an effective response. In 1940, they didn't have the extra few days to make good their initial mistake.

I think they still had the time to respond, they jsut did not do it quick enough.


The other big French problem was a lack of strategic depth. The Russians could suffer a series of crushing defeats and still have enough time and space to rebuild their armies. The British could abandon their heavy weapons and return to their island. Geography just wasn't as kind to France. One strike, you're out.

With England in the war, England along with the colonies becomes their strategic depth. Frances problem was the loss of her field armies.


That in turn suggests why the French, in both world wars, were willing to stake so heavily on counter-offensives at the beginning of the war. Inferior in population, lacking the protection of distance, uncertain of foreign help, the French on the one hand were unwilling to initiate the wars, but at the same time they felt pressured to seek an early advantage. As a result, they chose a strategy of forward defense, which in neither case worked out.

In WWI, the combatants all believed in the power of the attack. In France it was called Elan', in Britain historians have labeled it the cult of the offensive. The major combatants honestly thought that enough mass of men committed to a fight would ensure that despite the killing power of modern weapons enough men reached the enemy to deliver the bayonet.

This was faulty thinking as shown, but it was the the way it was done through 1917 for the British ad French. Germany began experimenting with ways out of the trap in 1915 with the development of the first storm trooper units.

In 1914 France needed to get its national honor and missing territory back. This was concern number 1 and they paid a bloody price trying to achieve it. They ended up almost losing the war over it. Not only was Paris under real threat, but long term France's war production took a huge hit.

In WWII, France is facing a different set of priorities. An aging population, a poli becoming increasingly unsettled in the Sitzkriegand low public support for the war brought about by faith in the Maginot Line and the huge economic hit of 1939. Germany had been Frances biggest trading partner so the war and call up of reserves did a double whammy on the French.

Triple C
23 Feb 09,, 11:13
Still, Zraver, used properly those fixed fortifications worked wonders for the Germans when they were defending the same stretch border. The Maginot line itself stopped the Germans admirably. On the other hand the maladroit handling of the French and British armies did not.

zraver
23 Feb 09,, 12:28
Still, Zraver, used properly those fixed fortifications worked wonders for the Germans when they were defending the same stretch border. The Maginot line itself stopped the Germans admirably. On the other hand the maladroit handling of the French and British armies did not.

Not really, the Allies reached the German border in August 44 IIRC and then run out of supplies, by March Patton was crossing the Rhine and the Ruhr was surrendering. In between there was a diversion into Holland, a major German counter attack and a brutally cold winter. The fortifications just didn't work well at all. Neither did the Atlantic Wall, the fortified belts in the USSR or the Maginot Line. Fortified zones without mobile reserves failed, and in just about every case I can think of in WWII, the fortified zones did not have mobile reserves. The possible exception is Kursk, although it lacked the forts its was a fortified zone and had ample reserves. Without mobile reserves, one a hole is created the forts to either side of the penetration become prisons.

clackers
24 Feb 09,, 00:45
might have been better served by making more armored/mobile formations and more aircraft than in more and better forts.

This is a pretty handy post, Zraver!

With respect to fixed defences, the Germans, Belgians and Czechs believed in them almost as much as the French ... as early as 1920, the Germans had thought of them as a way of handling war with Poland and France when the army was limited to 100,000 soldiers ... as Cape Royds points out, the idea is they give you valuable time to react to an offensive.

Prewar, Erich von Manstein was in fact the biggest German advocate of frontier forts, and along the Oder river line more than a thousand blockhouses were constructed, while in the Siegfried Line by 1939 there were at least eleven thousand blockhouses.

And precious steel ... always a problem for Germany ... was used in their production. Instead of rotating turrets, the Germans used two metal plates, each weighing between thirty-eight and five tons, depending on the type of fortification. So one large plate was the equivalent of two of the greatly needed Mark 3 tanks.

The Atlantic Wall was of course never finished ... in the Calais sector, IIRC it was 70% complete, in Normandy, just 20%, whereas the Channel Islands were 100% complete, and nobody bothered even trying to take them before the war ended ...

clackers
24 Feb 09,, 00:55
Not really, the Allies reached the German border in August 44 IIRC and then run out of supplies, by March Patton was crossing the Rhine and the Ruhr was surrendering. In between there was a diversion into Holland, a major German counter attack and a brutally cold winter.

The forts in Lorraine definitely did their job, Zraver. After he got his gasoline, Patton planned on a ten day campaign to punch across the Moselle, through Alsace-Lorraine and across the Rhine. Instead, he took three months to advance only 46 miles to the Westwall with 50,000 casualties, in a campaign just as embarrassing as Hodges' in the Hurtegen Forest. In particular, the ancient fortress of Metz proved an absolute nightmare.

zraver
24 Feb 09,, 01:02
This is a pretty handy post, Zraver!

With respect to fixed defences, the Germans, Belgians and Czechs believed in them almost as much as the French

The Belgians and Czechs had a far different situation than the French. A narrow frontier and at least for the Czechs formidable defensive terrain backed by an armored reserve with a world class series of tanks desinged to fight other tanks.



... as early as 1920, the Germans had thought of them as a way of buying time in war with Poland and France when the army was limited to 100,000 soldiers[quote]

100,000 plus the frie kompanies. And here the idea is to buy time, not stop an attack. The French assumed the Maginot Line itself could hold off an assault. Events proved that mistaken when the Germans made several penetrations.

[quote] ... as Cape Royds points out, the idea is they give you valuable time to react to an offensive.

That is not how they were employed in France. The reserves were moved away from the fortified zones so that once a penetration was made, the forts to either sides became prisons.


Eric von Manstein was in fact the biggest advocate of frontier forts, and along the Oder river line more than a thousand blockhouses were constructed, while in the Siegfried Line by 1939 there were at least eleven thousand blockhouses.

And precious steel ... always a problem for Germany ... was used in their production. Instead of rotating turrets, the Germans used two metal plates, weighing between thirty-eight and five tons, depending on the type of fortification. So one large plate was the equivalent of two of the greatly needed Mark 3 tanks.

Unlike the other users of forts in WWII, Germany had limited fuel and reserves, was subjected to ruinous artillery and was greatly outnumbered, The idea of the proposed forts was to stall any Soviet attack before it could throw up a defensible bridgehead so that limited German armored reserves could rush in on fire brigade duty and save the day. The Germans had damnable luck in reducing Soviet bridgeheads once they were established and this knowledge colored their thinking. Mainstein proposed to use forts to fit the tactical needs (stop bridgeheads and provide shelter from artillery, not to use forts and hope tactics fit them when they were actually used.

cape_royds
24 Feb 09,, 01:59
With England in the war, England along with the colonies becomes their strategic depth. France's problem was the loss of her field armies.

A French general might not look at it that way. Britain's empire is Britain's strategic depth, but it's cold comfort to France if their own country is overrun.

As for the loss of the field armies, that's my whole point. Britain and the USSR could both lose field armies in a series of horrible defeats, but they had enough strategic depth, in their respective ways, to recover. The French didn't have that kind of depth.

Your post actually gives another good example of strategic depth: the autumn '44 German recovery in the West. The Allies just couldn't drive deep enough fast enough to fully capitalize on the near-annihilation of the German armies in Normandy.



In WWII, France is facing a different set of priorities. An aging population, a poli becoming increasingly unsettled in the Sitzkrieg and low public support for the war brought about by faith in the Maginot Line and the huge economic hit of 1939. Germany had been Frances biggest trading partner so the war and call up of reserves did a double whammy on the French.

France was at a substantial demographic disadvantage in 1914 as well, and that was one of the factors behind the genesis of Plan XVII.

GraniteForge
24 Feb 09,, 07:12
100,000 plus the frie kompanies. And here the idea is to buy time, not stop an attack.

Yes, and they also had a 100,000 man police force which had armored cars and machine guns, if not aircraft, artillery, and tanks, which would also have been used to buy time.



The French assumed the Maginot Line itself could hold off an assault. Events proved that mistaken when the Germans made several penetrations.

To be fair, the French who designed the Maginot Line did not make this assumption. It was a later generation who decided to try and defend their nation "on the cheap."

However, despite this misuse of the Line, I am not aware of any penetrations through the Line, except where an opening was specifically left to channel such an invasion. The Germans only took one minor fort, La Ferté, at the extreme western end of the Maginot Extension. Not a part of the Line proper, the Extension forts were built too far apart for proper mutual support, and to a lower standard than the forts of the Line.



That is not how they were employed in France. The reserves were moved away from the fortified zones so that once a penetration was made, the forts to either sides became prisons.

The forts were virtually prisons in any case. The French fortress units that made up the garrisons did not have organic transport.



Unlike the other users of forts in WWII, Germany had limited fuel and reserves, was subjected to ruinous artillery and was greatly outnumbered, The idea of the proposed forts was to stall any Soviet attack before it could throw up a defensible bridgehead so that limited German armored reserves could rush in on fire brigade duty and save the day. The Germans had damnable luck in reducing Soviet bridgeheads once they were established and this knowledge colored their thinking. Mainstein proposed to use forts to fit the tactical needs (stop bridgeheads and provide shelter from artillery, not to use forts and hope tactics fit them when they were actually used.

The bulk of the German fixed defenses were tiny by the standards of their enemies, intended to rely on depth and density to achieve a local tactical superiority behind which the field army could manouver, rather than being a strategic sheild. The sheer number of structures being built caused its own problems, though. In some cases, a rush job by a lead contractor not familiar with the military conditions that the structures were supposed to be designed for required wholesale re-siting and re-construction. A more thoughtful approach would no doubt yielded better results.

And for lack of thought, I have always thought that those giant armored plates were an idiotic waste of material. The Germans found the Czech forts to be generally tougher than anything they themselves were building. Why not just emulate the Czech designs, and reserve precious armor for ports, doors, turrets, and cloches?

ZekeJones
24 Feb 09,, 23:17
Every time I think of the WW1 generals and Trench Warfare, I think of that scene from Black Adder Goes Forth, where Adder is talking to someone on the phone and he says something along the lines of "Well, after 18 times attempting the same plan, they won't expect it again".
I both laugh and cringe at the same time whenever I watch that.

Pink
24 Feb 09,, 23:31
I both laugh and cringe at the same time whenever I watch that.A bit like watching John Wayne in "The Longest Day" When he's sat on that cart and says "Move out".........:redface: I'm surprised Mel Brookes never used that..........John do you know anymore lines??????

clackers
26 Feb 09,, 12:09
The French assumed the Maginot Line itself could hold off an assault. Events proved that mistaken when the Germans made several penetrations.

I think you'll find these pretty much all occurred in the last week of the campaign, as the artillery and supporting infantry had been withdrawn from the line, Paris had already fallen and panzers were streaming throughout the rest of the country.

I'm not even sure whether any of the main forts were ever taken. Weygand had to send emissaries after the surrender to tell these garrisons to give up.


Unlike the other users of forts in WWII, Germany had limited fuel and reserves, was subjected to ruinous artillery and was greatly outnumbered, The idea of the proposed forts was to stall any Soviet attack before it could throw up a defensible bridgehead so that limited German armored reserves could rush in on fire brigade duty and save the day.

The Oder Line I was talking about was constructed before WWII, to face firstly the Poles, and beyond them the Russians.

Hitler and von Manstein were enthusiastic believers in frontier fortifications.

Pink
28 Feb 09,, 15:54
whereas the Channel Islands were 100% complete, and nobody bothered even trying to take them before the war ended ...Exactly! Why bomb our own guys when the French were just over the water. A little bit of revenge for 1066!

HoratioNelson
14 Aug 09,, 06:59
The British Army did have some stunningly efficient corps commanders like Monash for the Australians, and Canada's own dear Arthur Currie. Currie and Monash, in fact, were some of the only Imperial senior officers of the Great War that actually had a clue. Alongside Rawlinson and some others.

I can only speak for Currie, since Currie is by the far the Allied commander I know best from this period (being a Canadian, like me). But Currie could see the writing on the wall when it came to Haig's pipe dreams about The Great Break Out and the dash for Berlin that would follow this supposed breakthrough. Quoth Wikipedia:

"Currie was not afraid to voice his disagreement with orders or to suggest strategic changes to a plan of attack, something that his British Army superiors were unused to hearing from a former militia officer from the colonies. Often these disagreements were taken all the way up to Sir Douglas Haig. Haig sometimes sided with Currie—allowing a strategic change to the attack on Hill 70 outside Lens, and approving Currie's audacious plan to cross the Canal du Nor—but he also, on occasion, overruled Currie, such as when Currie objected to the strategic value and expected casualties of the attack at Passchendaele."

The British will hate Haig for the Somme, I dislike Haig for a similar but different battle that was just mentioned in that quote: Passchendaele. The killing fields of Passchendaele. Currie knew it was a damned foolish idea to attack through Ypres a 3rd time, but Haig was insistent on yet another big push. And a breakthrough out of the Ypres Salient of all places! The Ypres Salient was an especially dangerous part of the Western Front, because it was enfiladed on both sides by surrounding German positions. The constant shelling had torn up all the grass and vegetation... and then the rain started. Heavy rain, that continued for weeks, turning the whole damn battlefield into a quagmire of mud. And Haig refuses to call off the attack! And when the 5th Army couldn't make any headway, he called in the shock army of the British Empire, the Canadian Corps. Currie, I imagine, took one look at the situation and knew that it was a fool's errand. But Haig was persistent as always, he ordered Currie to attack into Passchendaele, despite Currie's objections. The guilt for the subsequent 15,654 Canadian casualties should be layed on Haig's shoulders. And that was just a small, small part of the 508,800 Allied dead, wounded, missing, or captured in that bloody mess of a campaign. All for ground that the Germans would take in a few weeks during the Spring Offensive the next year.

I almost think the war could've come to a better end if it had dragged on into 1919. If I recall correctly, Prime Minister Lloyd George told his biographer that if that had been the case, he would've replaced Haig with Currie, a far more competent commander I'm sure we will all agree, with Monash as Currie's chief of staff.

clackers
14 Aug 09,, 15:31
I almost think the war could've come to a better end if it had dragged on into 1919. If I recall correctly, Prime Minister Lloyd George told his biographer that if that had been the case, he would've replaced Haig with Currie, a far more competent commander I'm sure we will all agree, with Monash as Currie's chief of staff.

I've heard the story as proposing Haig be replaced by Monash, Horatio, but maybe that was my patriotism getting carried away! ;)

Either way, it would not have been acceptable in 1919 for the best man to have the top job in the British Army if he weren't British.

Skywatcher
14 Aug 09,, 19:55
I've heard the story as proposing Haig be replaced by Monash, Horatio, but maybe that was my patriotism getting carried away! ;)

Either way, it would not have been acceptable in 1919 for the best man to have the top job in the British Army if he weren't British.

That doesn't preclude dumping Haig and putting in place a more malleable figure head, with Monash and Currie actually running the show from behind the scenes.

clackers
14 Aug 09,, 23:39
That doesn't preclude dumping Haig and putting in place a more malleable figure head, with Monash and Currie actually running the show from behind the scenes.

Yes, David Lloyd George was an intriguer definitely capable of those sorts of machinations.

In 1917 when he didn't quite have the clout to sack Haig, he instead whittled away at his power base by sacking William Robertson, the Army Chief of Staff. He and the King were Haig's protectors in London.

DLG also toyed with the idea of making Haig and the BEF completely subordinate to the French Marshal Foch, but went with the more politically acceptable idea of Foch as supreme Allied (but not British) commander.

When the British Fifth Army fell apart in the 1918 Spring Offensive, it was Foch who fed in the reserves to hold the line and coordinated the counterattacks along the front.

clackers
14 Aug 09,, 23:45
Oh, here's a couple of references to the rumour that DLG was looking at Monash as a replacement.

http://tinyurl.com/npfd3k

and

http://tinyurl.com/nycomh

A nice compliment, but it would have been the appointment of a conviction politician, not a smart numbers man like Lloyd George.