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Thread: A hundred years ago today was the Black Day of the German Army

  1. #36
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    Default Re: A hundred years ago today was the Black Day of the German Army

    Uncle Rupert published this extract about 10 days back. A good read on a part of the Battle:



    The 29th Battalion is addressed by its officer before going into action on August 8, 1918. Picture: Australian War Memorial


    • By WILL DAVIES
    • JULY 28, 2018


    On the northern end of the Australian line in 1918, troops were still exposed to fire on their flank from the Chipilly Spur across the Somme. General Henry Rawlinson had pressed the commander of the British 58th Division to ensure the spur was cleared and the village taken, but repeated attacks had failed. In June, Australian General John Monash had requested control and responsibility of the north side of the river and the heights stretching to the Bray-Corbie road, but this had been rejected.

    Throughout August 9, British assaults had been turned back. The 131st Regiment of the US Infantry was sent to clear Gressaire Wood, high on the top of the ridge, but they, too, had been halted after taking many casualties. The Americans were poorly equipped, had few Lewis guns and an inexperienced command. The Australians across the river watched both the American attack and the 2/10th London Regiment’s advance, and the toll the German machineguns took on these advancing lines.

    By chance, two Australians, Quartermaster Sergeant Jack Hayes and his mate Sergeant Harry Andrews, had already been into Chipilly. Earlier in the day, Hayes, who was expecting “Anzac leave” — a return to Australia for the men of the earliest contingents, who had left home in November 1914 — and Andrews decided to take a walk in the recently liberated areas along the Somme in the hope of finding souvenirs to take home to Australia.


    They had purposefully set out unarmed as they believed they’d need both hands to carry back the booty they would find.

    Crossing a small bridge to the north side of the canal, which ran parallel to the Somme, they were now about 800m from the front line at Chipilly. As there was no firing above them on the spur, they proceeded east, crossed the river and moved nonchalantly along a narrow track.


    They had heard rumours that the battalion would be making a night attack on the village, and figured anything they could find out would be of value. They picked up two discarded German rifles and some ammunition, and cautiously proceeded. As they approached a chalk pit, they heard English voices behind them and turned to see English soldiers, yelling and waving for them to join them. This they did, more out of politeness than anything else, and then returned to the Australian lines and reported in.


    The temporary commander of the AIF’s 1st Battalion, Major Alexander Mackenzie, then suggested to his CO, Brigadier General Iven Mackay, that a small patrol under a non-commissioned officer may be able to help the British secure the village. This request was initially rejected, as another British attack was planned that night following a heavy barrage of high explosive and smoke.

    Again the British attacked, this time with the Americans along the top of the ridge, and again the assaulting lines were scythed down. Witnessing this, Mackay quickly sent word to Mackenzie to send a small patrol under a couple of NCOs across the river “to ascertain reasons for and if possible, to assist the attack”.

    Back across the narrow bridge went Hayes, Andrews and four privates at 6pm. They reported to Captain Jack Berrell of the 2/10th London, who advised them not to go on. However, “the village was enticing” so the Australians, after spreading out to 12 paces, raced up the hill and across the open ground as German machineguns fired down at them.


    Making it safely to the edge of the village, they called on Berrell to bring up half his company. They too were fired on and men were killed, but Hayes and Andrews had split into two parties and began searching the village. Hayes then headed out across the open land above the village and advanced more than 1.5km towards the very top of the spur.


    He circled around, coming in behind German machinegunners, whom he and Andrews attacked. The Germans fled and disappeared into a dugout, leaving behind seven machineguns. Hayes quickly dropped a grenade into the dugout entrance, tempting the Germans out. One officer and 31 men filed out to be led away by the British.


    While this was going on, the planned barrage for 5.30pm had crashed on Chipilly. Hayes and his mates were caught in the middle, but the smoke and dust gave them a new advantage.

    They circled round and came in behind the German positions, but not before Hayes had been blown off his feet a number of times by the exploding shells. As the barrage eased off and the smoke cleared, Andrews noticed Germans streaming up the hill away from the village. He quickly brought a German machine gun into action and, after this jammed, carried on with another gun.

    Germans were now retiring back across the Chipilly ridge as two of Hayes’s men, privates Kane and Fuller, went on to capture more prisoners and two machineguns, which were sent back by Berrell. Advancing Americans appeared on the skyline and Hayes signalled them to advance, but the Americans mistakenly fired on the Australians, forcing them into cover.


    The Chipilly ridge was now clear, and though the British advance had stalled at this village for 30 hours, it was now in Allied hands due to a clever, audacious attack led by six Australians.


    With the action over, Captain Berrell handed Andrews a note commending the six Australians “for their conspicuous work and magnificent bravery with me today”. The small patrol of AIF men then took their leave of the Londoners, returning down the towpath and across the Somme to their battalion headquarters, arriving at 9.30pm, along with 28 prisoners, to report their action to Major Mackenzie.


    The six Australians were officially credited with capturing 71 Germans and nine machineguns and became legends within the AIF. Hayes was recommended for the Victoria Cross, but was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal instead, along with Andrews. The other four Australians, privates Fuller, Kane, Turpin and Stevens, all received Military Medals.


    Following this successful action, Monash again pressed Rawlinson to gain responsibility of the northern bank of the Somme. To this Rawlinson agreed, allowing Monash to now plan the defence of his left flank and push along the northern side, past Chipilly towards Bray and ultimately Peronne, with his area of responsibility now north to the Bray-Corbie road.

    This an edited extract from The Last 100 Days by Will Davies, which is released on Monday.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

  2. #37
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    Default Re: A hundred years ago today was the Black Day of the German Army

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Craig-Bennett View Post
    Hmm. This thread has not gone in the direction that I expected.

    I just felt that the centenary of turn of the tide in WW1 should be marked.

    The Wiki page describes the battle
    Way back in 2014 I suggested to a media outlet that they republish the daily casualty figures as part of the centennial, it wasn’t taken up.
    The definition of stupid has got to be the belief that more guns will negate the bloodshed done with guns.

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    Default Re: A hundred years ago today was the Black Day of the German Army

    Quote Originally Posted by Sky Blue View Post
    From the dawn of the civilized world, it is always Germania. The Romans. WWI. WWII. How much damage have they done?

    And now, once again trifling with civilization itself. Germany never should have been allowed to reconstitute itself in the wake of its defeat in WWII. This was a grave miscalculation by the victors. The West will come to regret enabling a revanchist Germany.
    You would have made a good Stalinist, he wanted to shoot all the intelligentsia and turn Germany into an agrarian society.
    The definition of stupid has got to be the belief that more guns will negate the bloodshed done with guns.

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    Default Re: A hundred years ago today was the Black Day of the German Army

    Quote Originally Posted by skuthorp View Post
    Arguably WW1 (part 2) might not have happened if the French in particular were not so vindictive after part 1.

    But because of the atrocities based on race perpetrated by Germany, and in many cases supported by much of the French establishment, I am inclined to agree. Reality was that politics and the threat of the USSR dictated the lenient treatment of German and Japanese industry in particular.
    In 1945 there were 5 million ethnic Germans living outside German borders. The forced expulsion of these people after the war was brutal, 3 million of them died.
    The definition of stupid has got to be the belief that more guns will negate the bloodshed done with guns.

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    Default Re: A hundred years ago today was the Black Day of the German Army

    Quote Originally Posted by WX View Post
    Way back in 2014 I suggested to a media outlet that they republish the daily casualty figures as part of the centennial, it wasn’t taken up.
    On occasions, when visiting a new town, together with my wife, 5 sons and our daughter, will go for a walk through the Avenue of Honour reading the name plates at the base of the trees planted in memory of those who did not return from WW1. Often in reading the name plates, two or three young men from the same family are honoured, with a tree planted and a separate name plate for each. For the families and wider communities, the consequences of the loss of so many of their young men is hard to fathom and must have for many, been crushing to the soul.




    Last edited by Hallam; 08-08-2018 at 06:14 PM.
    If war is the answer........... it must be a profoundly stupid question

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    Default Re: A hundred years ago today was the Black Day of the German Army

    About 100 years ago my great grand uncle is commanding a US subchaser in the English Channel.

    Another cousin is either about to get gassed and somewhat crippled for life, or is already in the hospital after the gas attack.

    My great aunt is 15 years old, and does not know it, but has just a few months to live before the Spanish Flu kills her.
    Yachting, the only sport where you get to be a mechanic, electrician, plumber and carpenter

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    Default Re: A hundred years ago today was the Black Day of the German Army

    Quote Originally Posted by mmd View Post
    "The West will come to regret enabling a revanchist Germany." - Ol' Blooie

    Blooie must have realized that there are fewer Germans posting on the WBF than folks from the UK posting, so he has switched the object of his distain in hopes of proceeding without so much blow-back. You go, Ol' Blooie; bless your heart...
    Really?
    Rattling the teacups.

  8. #43
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    Default Re: A hundred years ago today was the Black Day of the German Army

    Yup. Distain. You can look it up (I suggest http://grammarist.com).

    Edit to add:

    Oh, crap. Foisted by a 't' and not a 'd'...

    ... although the 't' version sorta works, too:

    distain in American. (dɪˈsteɪn ; distānˈ) verb transitive Archaic. to discolor; stain. to stain the honor of; disgrace.
    Last edited by mmd; 08-08-2018 at 06:47 PM.
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

  9. #44
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    Default Re: A hundred years ago today was the Black Day of the German Army

    S'okay, Michael.

    I have battled with the spelling of certain words for YEARS!
    Rattling the teacups.

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    Default Re: A hundred years ago today was the Black Day of the German Army

    Imagine an entire continent losing a generation of young men. An astounding thing to think about.

    I follow a history focused Facebook site, and today they featured a photograph of French troops charging en masse during the early part of the war, wearing colorful pantaloons with gaiters and Kepis as headgear, shoulder to shoulder with fixed bayonets. Photo looked staged, but if it were real those young men would have probably all died just after it were snapped.

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    Default Re: A hundred years ago today was the Black Day of the German Army

    Quote Originally Posted by WX View Post
    Way back in 2014 I suggested to a media outlet that they republish the daily casualty figures as part of the centennial, it wasn’t taken up.
    No wonder !

    There were approximately 48,000 Indian troops dead or missing, another 67,000 maimed and/or incapicitated as a result of their participation in WW I.

    There is no mention of them anywhere.

    However, these humble men from India´s villages on being repatriated, were quick to spread the word around of how life and civic rights were markedly different in the UK.

    And in Gallipoli, had their been more Gurkhas to counter the spritely defence and counter-attack led by Attaturk and his right-hand-man Izmet Inonu (Turkey´s PM in later years)....... who knows ?

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    Default Re: A hundred years ago today was the Black Day of the German Army

    you'd make a good Stalinist
    Call it what you will. I like seeing justice done. I don't see that here. I see Germany as ultimately responsible for the demise of the European Project, a process that is unfolding before us. Hadn't Germany destroyed quite enough through the ages?

    Now it's all for a vanity project. It's awful.

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    Default Re: A hundred years ago today was the Black Day of the German Army

    Sky Blue´s Post #28 seems to have gone unanswered

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    Default Re: A hundred years ago today was the Black Day of the German Army

    I'll just take my chances with those salt water joys.

    AR

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    Default Re: A hundred years ago today was the Black Day of the German Army

    Quote Originally Posted by carioca1232001 View Post
    Sky Blue´s Post #28 seems to have gone unanswered
    I think it was - appropriately with silence.
    "People should be able to access these benefits [Social Welfare] as a matter of right, with no more loss of their own standards of self-respect than would be involved in collecting from an insurance company the proceeds of an endowment policy on which they have been paying premiums for years."
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    Default Re: A hundred years ago today was the Black Day of the German Army

    My great grandfather lead his "Mills Bomb" (ie hand grenade) platoon in that period, fighting at Mametz, Ypres, Polygon Wood, Passchendaele, and Villers Bretonneux, at times in the same unit as Australia's two most decorated soldiers. After the war, GGF became the unit historian and is still often quoted. His diaries were purchased and published; the originals are still in Sydney's main library.

    Reading the diaries is a bizarre experience. He was wounded several times, and of course on many occasions he was within millimetres of death. When you read his accounts of going "over the top" laden with high explosives you almost want to yell down through the decades "keep your head down - if you die I won't ever be born". It makes you think of the role that luck plays not just in our lives, but in our chance of having lives.

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    Default Re: A hundred years ago today was the Black Day of the German Army

    Quote Originally Posted by carioca1232001 View Post
    No wonder !

    There were approximately 48,000 Indian troops dead or missing, another 67,000 maimed and/or incapicitated as a result of their participation in WW I.

    There is no mention of them anywhere.

    However, these humble men from India´s villages on being repatriated, were quick to spread the word around of how life and civic rights were markedly different in the UK.

    And in Gallipoli, had their been more Gurkhas to counter the spritely defence and counter-attack led by Attaturk and his right-hand-man Izmet Inonu (Turkey´s PM in later years)....... who knows ?
    There were I found out only recently Indian troops at Gallipoli. As for Australian involvement I think the figures are 63,000 dead and 120,000 wounded but that doesn't take in the other 120,000 odd that died of wounds before 1930.
    The definition of stupid has got to be the belief that more guns will negate the bloodshed done with guns.

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    Default Re: A hundred years ago today was the Black Day of the German Army

    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

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    Default Re: A hundred years ago today was the Black Day of the German Army

    The definition of stupid has got to be the belief that more guns will negate the bloodshed done with guns.

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    Default Re: A hundred years ago today was the Black Day of the German Army

    I travelled once in England with a group of WW1 Australian ex servicemen. (I was a volunteer assistant, baggage, mobility etc.) At Edinburgh many of them spat on Haig's statue, called him Butcher.

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    Default Re: A hundred years ago today was the Black Day of the German Army

    Quote Originally Posted by skuthorp View Post
    I travelled once in England with a group of WW1 Australian ex servicemen. (I was a volunteer assistant, baggage, mobility etc.) At Edinburgh many of them spat on Haig's statue, called him Butcher.
    Look up Lieutenant-General Sir Aylmer Gould Hunter-Weston
    The definition of stupid has got to be the belief that more guns will negate the bloodshed done with guns.

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    Default Re: A hundred years ago today was the Black Day of the German Army

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterSibley View Post
    Confirming that by far the largest contingent of the fighting force hailed from the British India Army; at least a million men served all the way from the near Middle East to the battlegrounds of Europe.

    Civilian travellers were simply barred from boarding ships going West from India, it would seem more for reasons of secrecy of troop movements than being simply no room on board; this state of affairs was relaxed somewhat in 1918 as WWI began to draw to a close

    Ask me how I know...my father was unable to study abroad for this very reason, whilst his two younger brothers availed of lower restrictions in 1918.

    As an aside, the Maratha Regiment, remembered for their memorable role during WWI in France, parading in Paris a hundred years later :

    Last edited by carioca1232001; 08-09-2018 at 09:24 AM.

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    Default Re: A hundred years ago today was the Black Day of the German Army

    It came down to railways, logistics and bringing women into the workforce. The men were the tip of that spear.

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    Default Re: A hundred years ago today was the Black Day of the German Army

    I have relatives buried in France. Both wars.

    But The War To End All Wars turned out to be a pointless, useless, purposeless, butchery. It accomplished nothing.

    It would have been better for the 20th Century if Germany had captured Paris in 1914, as they did in 1871.

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    Default Re: A hundred years ago today was the Black Day of the German Army

    Quote Originally Posted by skuthorp View Post
    I travelled once in England with a group of WW1 Australian ex servicemen. (I was a volunteer assistant, baggage, mobility etc.) At Edinburgh many of them spat on Haig's statue, called him Butcher.
    I think there is/was a lot of animosity in Australia towards British leadership during WWI. In the States there is/was the same sort of feeling towards the French.

    Mickey Lake
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    Default Re: A hundred years ago today was the Black Day of the German Army

    Quote Originally Posted by bamamick View Post
    I think there is/was a lot of animosity in Australia towards British leadership during WWI. In the States there is/was the same sort of feeling towards the French.

    Mickey Lake
    The overhang of colonial legacy, be it from the ranks of colonials or the colonised, is part of it.

    Of course human nature is at work as well, as per a snippet pinched from a post by sharpiefan on navigation and the role of women in it:

    "The average navigator speaks of navigation with deep respect. To the layman navigation is a deed and awful mystery, which feeling has been generated in him by the deep and awful respect for navigation that the layman has seen displayed by navigators. I have known frank, ingenuous, and modest young men, open as the day, to learn navigation and at once betray secretiveness, reserve, and self-importance as if they had achieved some tremendous intellectual attainment. The average navigator impresses the layman as a priest of some holy rite."

    Fancy the self-importance that a military leader is liable to feel, with thousands of able bodied people at his behest ? Imagine this trickling down to the lower ranks of command ?

    Being disparaging and derogatory in regard to the combatants of another nationalit or race, even when the latter are on your side, is part of the 'self-importance syndrome', often without any substance at all.

    Anyone recall how a British tank column was disgracefully engaged by American airmen flying overhead at the start of Gulf War I (or was it Gulf War II) ? This too, despite the markings that even an airman, as blind as a bat, could easily identify ?? Friendly fire ??

    For interaction between forces of different nationalities in WW II :

    http://www.rediff.com/news/slide-sho...s/20090914.htm
    Last edited by carioca1232001; 08-09-2018 at 04:57 PM.

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    Default Re: A hundred years ago today was the Black Day of the German Army

    My father had lots of horror stories about American "friendly fire" in New Guinea WW2. "They were great to have onside ..... but not too close'', were some of his comments.
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
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    Default Re: A hundred years ago today was the Black Day of the German Army

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Craig-Bennett View Post
    It was over in three days.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Amiens_(1918)

    The breakthrough had been achieved. The advance had outrun its support and only four (I think?) tanks were still battle ready. The attack was resumed elsewhere.

    What amazes me is that they were using tanks and aircraft, co-ordinating their operations over voice radio.

    The Allied armies had made huge advances in two years since the Somme.
    Thank you, that was a very significant battle. I wondered just when they figured out how to use tanks. Essentially, the same way Patton used them in Europe in World War II. At that time, American military doctrine was that you didn't fight tanks with tanks, so the Germans quickly realized that the Sherman tank wasn't suitable for tank on tank battles and tried to have as many of them as possible. Now that I've read about Amiens, it looks like Patton was assuming you could still use tanks that way.

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    Default Re: A hundred years ago today was the Black Day of the German Army

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterSibley View Post
    My father had lots of horror stories about American "friendly fire" in New Guinea WW2. "They were great to have onside ..... but not too close'', were some of his comments.
    There are always problems with friendly fire. IFF systems have evolved, but are still quite fallible. And if your side has the most effective fire, you may be in more danger from friendly fire than hostile.

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    Default Re: A hundred years ago today was the Black Day of the German Army

    Quote Originally Posted by bamamick View Post
    I think there is/was a lot of animosity in Australia towards British leadership during WWI. In the States there is/was the same sort of feeling towards the French.

    Mickey Lake
    And yet the French supplied all the heavy guns and aircraft to the US forces arriving in France.
    The definition of stupid has got to be the belief that more guns will negate the bloodshed done with guns.

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    Default Re: A hundred years ago today was the Black Day of the German Army

    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    There are always problems with friendly fire. IFF systems have evolved, but are still quite fallible. And if your side has the most effective fire, you may be in more danger from friendly fire than hostile.
    Point taken.

    But as life goes, I got to know - and befriend - the family (Scots) of the tank commander immediately behind the one that was hit. He left the forces in disgust at the end of the campaign and is a very successful professional in oil prospection and well start-up.

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    Default Re: A hundred years ago today was the Black Day of the German Army

    Quote Originally Posted by carioca1232001 View Post
    Point taken.

    But as life goes, I got to know - and befriend - the family (Scots) of the tank commander immediately behind the one that was hit. He left the forces in disgust at the end of the campaign and is a very successful professional in oil prospection and well start-up.
    Combat doesn't appeal to most people, and when things go wrong, there are even fewer that see the point.

    The DC-3 carrying air brakes to refit P-38s was shot down over British soil by a Polish pilot who was on our side. The air bakes were to cure the problem with compressibility that was making it impossible for pilots to pull out of a steep dive at high speed. Who knows how many pilots augured in because of that? And that happened in broad daylight, with large markings on the transport. Now the fire systems look to the pilot like a video game, and they can attack from great distance. Deconfliction is supposed to happen, but sometimes they go tragically wrong.

    I don't know if Saddam managed to kill any of the alliance's tanks. I'm sure our side lost more to friendly fire than to hostile forces.

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