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Recently, I responded to a member's post about a WW1 hero. Since then I've been thinking a lot about The Great War. Today is the anniversary of the bloodiest day in French military history. On September 22nd, 1914 during the Battles of the Frontiers the French Army lost 27,000 soldiers. Half the number of American soldiers lost in Vietnam in just one day. After the battles ended the German forces rounded up scores of Belgian civilian "collaborators" and executed them. I've always been intrigued with military history, but sometimes the stories are so mind numbing I have to absorb them a bit at a time.
 

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27,000? My Lord. I have not heard of this, faraim. Thank you, for sharing. Awful, just awful.
 

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I wouldn't be surprised. I wondered if the European countries embracement of Socialism in the 20's might be traced to that. If there aren't men enough to work in the fields and factories, some system has to be devised to support the women, children and elderly.
 

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It wasn't just the French who lost their collective will to fight - that happened to all of the long-term participants as well.

Trench warfare, poison gas, barbed wire, artillery and machineguns effectively ground those nations' best and brightest young men into powder - leaving broken soldiers who no longer had their youth with which to rebuild.

I remember a quote from Sir Edward Grey - British Foreign Secretary - that sums it up. 'The lamps have gone out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our time...'

One wonders - had the French (and British) not ground their heels on Germany at the Armistice and let them try to restart their own nation, would there have been the seething resentment that fuelled the rallies and allowed a disgruntled rabble-rouser to lead them - but we'll never know the answer to that.
 

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The first day of the Somme Offensive, on July 1, 1916, the British alone sustained 57,470 casualties, wounded and killed. Roughly 20,000 British boys dead in the first 24 hours of the 4 1/2 month offensive.

Like the Union and Confederate North American generals in the US Civil War, the infantry tactics did not keep pace with the advancement of military weapons. And 50 years later, the British, US, French, and German high commands and field generals did not appreciate the advancement and lethality of the Maxim and Vickers guns, gas shells, barbed wire, and modern field artillery. They just kept throwing infantry units at hard defensive positions, only to have them mowed down.
 

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Recently, I responded to a member's post about a WW1 hero. Since then I've been thinking a lot about The Great War. Today is the anniversary of the bloodiest day in French military history. On September 22nd, 1914 during the Battles of the Frontiers the French Army lost 27,000 soldiers. Half the number of American soldiers lost in Vietnam in just one day. After the battles ended the German forces rounded up scores of Belgian civilian "collaborators" and executed them. I've always been intrigued with military history, but sometimes the stories are so mind numbing I have to absorb them a bit at a time.
Click on Link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smedley_Butler



 

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It's no wonder Ret. General of the Army and pres. Eisenhower warned the people about the military-industrial complex. It was sagacious advice.
He was the man who invented the label.
 

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The first day of the Somme Offensive, on July 1, 1916, the British alone sustained 57,470 casualties, wounded and killed. Roughly 20,000 British boys dead in the first 24 hours of the 4 1/2 month offensive.

Like the Union and Confederate North American generals in the US Civil War, the infantry tactics did not keep pace with the advancement of military weapons. And 50 years later, the British, US, French, and German high commands and field generals did not appreciate the advancement and lethality of the Maxim and Vickers guns, gas shells, barbed wire, and modern field artillery. They just kept throwing infantry units at hard defensive positions, only to have them mowed down.
How true! I've often wondered how the war would have turned out, had this country had military geniuses such as Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce, to consult with, instead of politicians in Washington, D.C. ! There was a famous quotation years ago, attributed to I believe, Mohandas Gandhi, which was, "If the rich old men, who STARTED wars, had to FIGHT in those wars, there would no longer BE any wars"!
 

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It's no wonder Ret. General of the Army and pres. Eisenhower warned the people about the military-industrial complex. It was sagacious advice.
He was the man who invented the label.

Original draft of speech was "military-industrial-Congressional complex". Eisenhower removed "congressional" prior to the speech as not alienate Congress
 

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The other significant aspect of WWI was the decimation of the national populations and impacts on economy. The French national population did not return to pre WWI levels until the early 1930s. This "replacement population" that was part of the post war baby boom was still too young to work by the early 1930s and could not replace GDP potential that had died in Flanders Fields.

This scenario impacted Germany and Great Britain as well, but is an interesting study on extended economic impact of the war on Europe.
 

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I like another saying too "Rich man's war, poor man's battle" This is true even today, I have a friend who is a full time Reserve Army Officer, who's unit went to Iraq twice. The guys in his command lost houses, cars, families because they figured they were part time soldiers in time of declared war. But when you get repeatedly sent remote for a year, two years or more, and you can not make the same money as a soldier as you do working civilian, you can't make your payments and you loose your goods. I wish they would bring back the draft for both men and women, no deferments unless you are in ROTC, then you serve when graduated.

How true! I've often wondered how the war would have turned out, had this country had military geniuses such as Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce, to consult with, instead of politicians in Washington, D.C. ! There was a famous quotation years ago, attributed to I believe, Mohandas Gandhi, which was, "If the rich old men, who STARTED wars, had to FIGHT in those wars, there would no longer BE any wars"!
 

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Recently, I responded to a member's post about a WW1 hero. Since then I've been thinking a lot about The Great War. Today is the anniversary of the bloodiest day in French military history. On September 22nd, 1914 during the Battles of the Frontiers the French Army lost 27,000 soldiers. Half the number of American soldiers lost in Vietnam in just one day. After the battles ended the German forces rounded up scores of Belgian civilian "collaborators" and executed them. I've always been intrigued with military history, but sometimes the stories are so mind numbing I have to absorb them a bit at a time.
Thank you Faraim for having pointed out the terrible results that the French chief of staff and his officers have scored in the first weeks of WW1. It was not any better during the following months. It took almost 3 years before these morons start thinking differently and introducing new “modern” tactics. To explain such a bloodiest day, it's enough to say that the senior officers based their tactics on the Napoleon's ones, the French infantrymen wore scarlet red trousers and blue caps (no helmets) and the young field officers from St-Cyr military academy ( = West Point) had sworn to charge with sword drawn and white gloves. In such conditions, and with an exacerbated patriotism, facing modern weapons (Maxim machine guns, 77mm canons and other bigger howitzers) on flat fields could only lead to the results you have remembered us.
 

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Just curious seems like after WW1 the French lost their collective will to fight. I wonder if battles like this were the tipping point?
I'm not an historian and I don't intend to give a lecture. I don't wish to start a dispute either. I am just reserve officer who loves his country and its armies.

So, to answer your question, just be aware of these facts :


May-June1940 : 100,000 deaths in five campaign weeks are two to three times more than the average losses during an equivalent period of the First World War. It is also a daily loss rate much higher than that of the Germans on the eastern front from June to December 1941. May-June1940, there were whole regiments sacrificed in the Ardennes and on the Somme river. May-June 1940, it is the villages of Stonne and Retheltaken taken and taken again nearly twenty times. May-June 1940, it is also the army of the Alps unbeaten against the Italians supported by German units. May-June 1940, it is most of the strongholds of the Maginot line that still resist at the date of the armistice and will not surrender until several days later.


547 pilots or crewmen killed during the fightings. This assessment is cumbersome if one considers the reduced duration of the engagment:479 men were actually killed in combat during the sole Campaign of France, that is 45 Days …. I think it is worth also to mention that about 1000 German planes were shot down during these days and it helpt the RAF to win the Battle of Britain from September 1940. (Note that I am a lover of the RAF and I don't want to minimize its merits).


The collective will to fight was still there but, as in the early days of WW1, the senior officers were self confident exaggeratedly, (Since they had won WW1, they would win again, since they were the best ones, ... never underestimate your ennemies … !) The equipments were obsolete or when they were modern there were only a few available ( Not enough, too late). For instance, we had a great modern fighter (Dewoitine 520), equal to the Spitfire but only a few of them were operational in the days we needed them. In some cases the planes were available at the gate of the factory, but there were no guns to equip them for instance.
The lack of good equipements, especially regarding the French air Force, was the consequence of the 1936 Front Populaire (mainly socialists) politic . These politicians were pro-disarmenent and disrupted the armament programs, at the time “Uncle Adolph” was doing the reverse.


To complete my message, I remember you that the French troops are engaged in Mali to fight against DAESH, and they have suffered already too many losses. We don't receive any support on the frontline from the other European countries, but a few cargo planes from time to time. We have also Rafale fighters and an aircraft carrier fighting in Irak, along with the US Air Force and the US Navy. Less French fighters than US for sure, but please consider the size of France with regards to the USA, and were are the other countries, are they better ?

 

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Fort Dumont.jpg Gun turret at Fort Dumont.jpg Battle field at Fort Dumont.jpg Cemetery at Fort Dumont.jpg I was stationed in France in 1956 right on the Meuse River about 30 miles from Verdun so I was in the area that saw a lot of fighting from World War 1 and 11. I would visit the battle sites whenever possible and here are some pictures from Fort Dumont. That turret gun would be elevated to fire an artillery round and then quickly depressed. I couldn’t count the number of bullets lodged in the steel. I don’t believe that you can venture into no mans land to this day. The monument is at the cemetery that contains both French and German soldiers. You would not believe the pile of bones that you can see under the floor of the monument. It was humbling to say the least.
The country near Sampigny where I was stationed was mainly agriculture and the French farmers worked the fields with Percheron horses and they were constantly plowing up helmets etc.. I’m sorry about the dark pictures but it was a dreary day.
 
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