It is ignorance which breeds myths. Pray tell, enlighten us from your vast knowledge of military tactics of the proper way to crack a defensive line which has no flank, is, quite literally, unaffected by any contemporary means of bombardment, and whose defenders are highly motivated?
Plenty of aristocratic or families with royal connections who sat back in England (most of them were English) and relayed orders from there to the front. Some of the lesser aristocracy was way at the back of the front lines out of reach of mortar attacks etc.
Whats with the stupid smug question? I never asked about tactics or the likes, so your pulling things out of fresh air again.
The only people "back in England" who told the BEF what to do was the Secretary of State for War until 1916--Kitchener and Lloyd George--neither of whom were aristocrats until after the war. Kitchener came up through the ranks of the French army before being commissioned by the British and Lloyd George was born to a failed teacher turned farmer.
After 1916, the BEF answered to Joffre and not the British government.
I wish I understood where all these misconceptions about WWI come from. Like people who think that attacks were merely running at the enemy en masse.
Myths that don't even stand up to even an elementary amount of study are one of the few things that set me off instantly and I will always jump on you for them. These things shouldn't survive primary school education.
I was talking about the Battle of the Somme, where orders for the British to rush to the German front line.
I didn't say they did this every bleeding day.
Your starting to twist words again. And your attempt to get me into another flame war is failing.
[Edited by DABhand, 2/21/2010 5:42:57 PM]
The attack in the Somme was like every other attack in WWI after First Marne--sort rushes from cover to cover, supporting fire, incremental advance. The feat of 60,000 casualties on the first day was accomplished due to the sheer strength of German lines and the fact that, at the time, the British did not use light machine guns in rifle units.
Not any kind of brutal incompetence by the British.
There was no support gunfire at all, the idea was to mass rush for the German line, get in the trenches and capture. That didnt happen on the first day though, and its always remembered every year in the UK.
Although the 1st of July isnt the day its remembered but on Armistice day, 11th of November and we use poppy like pins etc to remember the dead on that day. Poppies were used as a symbol as years after the war, poppies started to grow in the field. Flanders field to be exact.
That's the stereotype. Unfortunately it has little root in fact.
Although I have not read the actual orders, commands from above are necessarily vague. Although General Bob says "Charge this position", in practice Major Phil doesn't charge. Especially in the British Army of the early 20th century which relied hugely on the initiative of individual commanders--a lesson from the Boer War.
By 1916, the troops had worked out their tactics and their tactics were used during the Somme.
So when Haig says "Rush the enemy trench", the local commanders know not to do that.
In books, much is made of bombardment timetables. The theory goes that the artillery moves at the same speed as the attack, timed to a rout-step march. Most people take from this that the soldiers were supposed to rout-step march behind it.
But this isn't how it worked. The rate of march was the equivalent of providing covering fire, rushing forward, providing covering fire, rushing forward, etc..., expressed in steps-per-minute. Much how a hundred years before, the doctrine of light infantry as skirmishers was timed to a steps-per-minute march but involved pairs covering each others dashing advance from cover to cover whilst firing and reloading and generalist historians read this as them marching at the expressed step.
Also, first-person accounts of specific events seldom give tactical detail. Mostly a "we went here and these people died" sort of account. Not telling how you went there, just that you did.
Edit- The covering fire/advance paradigm was less effective for the British as for the most part in 1916 they did not have an issued light machine gun widely available. The Lewis Gun wasn't approved for use until late 1915 and wouldn't be issued in large quantities until 1917. The Lewis was the first officially adopted by the British. They did have small numbers of Hotchkiss 1909 light machine guns, but small numbers is the operative word.
[Edited by Dhampy, 2/21/2010 8:49:26 PM]
[Edited by COOPCITY20, 2/21/2010 9:00:52 PM]