On this day in history...

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Re: On this day in history...

Postby Heid the Ba » Sat Sep 29, 2018 8:26 pm

Arneb wrote:27 September, 1918 - Lots of action at the Western front, BEF attacks the Hindenburg line for the first time. Unsurprisingly, much terrain lost for my boys. One thing that struck me: Of 2,000 American men attacking an outpost along the Hindenburg line 1,540 are lost.

To pick up on an earlier conversation: the US Army in 1918 (the AEF) were an anomaly. Physically they were bigger, fitter and healthier than any other army. Hence The Doughboys. Black Jack Pershing was adamant that the US units only be employed as a national army, not spread out between other armies. Which makes sense but meant that they had to learn on the job, rather than be taught as they go. Some divisions had spent time with the BEF and been paired with British divisions, mainly Australians. They got on well, the AEF learned how to fight and what worked and what didn’t. They were regarded as good soldiers.

In March 1918 the last German offensives started and the shit hit the fan. Pershing wouldn’t let his army be parcelled out and it wasn’t until the summer that they were given a stretch of front of their own. And this is where it went wrong. The British and French had moved to “bite and hold” tactics, where massive firepower was used to attain limited goals. Pershing thought this wasn’t due to pragmatism but due to war weariness or pessimism. American exceptionalism meant that what was needed was simply dash and courage, running at the enemy would mean victory due to moral superiority.

The British tried to persuade them otherwise, in some cases begged them not to make the same mistakes the BEF had made in 1915 and 1916. When the AEF attacked in 1918 they were three years out of date in their tactics. No-one had the dash and elan of the French in 1914, and they died in droves. The same would happen to the AEF, particularly the Marines who made an effort to retrieve their dead.

Not many battles in the Great War qualify for “Lions led by donkeys” but the squandering of the AEF by commanders who wouldn’t listen is close.

For today, as a comparator, the action by the 46th (North Midlands) Division crossing the St Quentin Canal is how it should be done in late 1918.
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Re: On this day in history...

Postby Arneb » Sat Sep 29, 2018 8:36 pm

Heid the Ba wrote:
Arneb wrote:For today, as a comparator, the action by the 46th (North Midlands) Division crossing the St Quentin Canal is how it should be done in late 1918.

Interestingly, I had this in my rundown for the day on the site I use, but this wasn't the thing that caught my eye - even though the site saysthe crossing was taken "in epic style".

Thanks a lot, as always.
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Re: On this day in history...

Postby Heid the Ba » Sun Sep 30, 2018 6:44 am

Part of the reason it is held up as an example is that the 46th had taken heavy casualties at Loos in 1915 and performed badly on the first day of The Somme. It wasn’t highly regarded as a unit but by using the latest tactics it stormed the most heavily defended part of the German line, including crossing a canal with steep sides using rafts, ladders and life belts commandeered from shipping.
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Re: On this day in history...

Postby Arneb » Sun Sep 30, 2018 10:04 am

30 September, 1918 - As if to confirm the criticism that Heid mentioned, progress is relatively smooth for the French and the British, while the AEF is involved in heavy fighting, while its diosorganized resupply system clogs the streets in the back country.
Figures for Spetember: Germany loses 236,000 men, which would be equivalent to cities like Nuremberg, Norfolk, or Brighton. My source doesn't tell how many of them were due to death in the field, injury or being captured as POW. Of 113 front divisions,, only 59 are fully capable.

1938 - Height of the appeasement policiy era. The Munich agreement forces Czekoslovakia to surrender the Sudetenladn to Germany.
1949 - Exactly 11 years later, we've seen a WW with 50 million victims, the horrors of the German extermination camps, the establishment of the Cold War and the tentative re-admission of Germany into civilized humanity, when the last plane of the Berlin airlift lands at Tempelhof
1989 - another 40 years later, the GDR has come and is about to go when hundreds of GDR refugees in the West German embassy receive the news, from the Foreign Minister in person, that the GDR has given in to their passage to West Germany. The heady days of the peaceful revolution of 1989 are about to begin.
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Re: On this day in history...

Postby Heid the Ba » Sun Sep 30, 2018 11:28 am

I’ve mentioned this before, but I started university in September 1989 with the plan to study the Cold War and international relations . . .
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Re: On this day in history...

Postby Arneb » Mon Oct 01, 2018 6:23 pm

Sorry, I made an edit to Heid's post instead of writing my own. Moderators can be really stupid. Here's what I wanted to write under my own name:

It's a bit like a medical student finding out that with this new drug, poofticine, everyone will, forever, be healthy and not need a doctor.

1 October, 1918 - Lawrence of Arabia IN Damascus; Indian troops in Tyre, Sidon and Haifa
Hindenburg line about to break, Hindenburg himself telegraphing to the government to seek peace immediately.

331 BC - Alexander the Great puts an end to the Persian empire
959 - Edgar the Peaceful becomes King of England
1982 - Helmut Kohl becomes West German Chancellor for the first time.
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Re: On this day in history...

Postby Arneb » Tue Oct 02, 2018 11:26 am

2 Oct 1918 - The Reichstag is informed that due to ongoing action on the Western front, losses cannot be replaced any more; Germany can continue to cause heavy casualties to the enemy and can inflict a scorched earth approach on the occupied countries; but a victory is impissible.

Another American battillon, later called the "lost regiment", holds out against the Germans in in the Argonnes mountains; only 194 men of 6000 survive.

1968 - On a market place in Tlatelolco, 600 protesters are shot dead by Mexican security forces bacaus The Games Must Go on Unhindered.
And two bleak dates form WWII
1940 German occupiers order the relocation of the citie's 400,000 Jews into the Warsaw Ghetto
1944 While the Red Army sit on their hands, Germans finish off the Warsaw Uprising; the city is almost entirely desroyed ba the Germans
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Re: On this day in history...

Postby Arneb » Wed Oct 03, 2018 6:36 pm

3 October, 1918 - Allied advances all over, only the AEF is held up after a few km in the Argonmnes
Max von Baden becomes the last Imperial Chancellor of the German Reich. The Bulgarian TsarFerdinand abdicates and institutes his son Boris, who signs athe demobilization order.
The Central Powers are unravelling fast now.

Except the obvious re-unification stuff, some personalia:
1157 - Albrecht the Bear calls himself Margrafe of Brandenburg.
1762 - Sophie Auguste Friederike von Anhalt-Zerbst is crowned Tsar Catharine II. of Russia. The only woman in history who has "The Great" as an eponym (22 September in the Julian calendar).
1959 - Willy Brandt becomes mayor of West Berlin
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Re: On this day in history...

Postby Arneb » Thu Oct 04, 2018 12:17 pm

4 October, 1918 - The Allied Forces report they raked in a quarter million POW since July 15, 4,000 cannon and 23,000 MG. Whoda thunk Krupp wold be supplying the Allies with first-rate machinery?
Progress for the AEF in the Maas/Argonnes part of the front, paid for b heavy American losses.

South of Malta, Allied artillery heavily damages a German U boat, UB68, forcing the crew to abandon ship. The commander, one Karl Dönitz, survives and is taken POW. He will become Grand Admiral in WWII leading the German marine effort, and he will be, for 23 days, be the last President of the German Reich after Hitler's suicide on April 30, 1945.

Space News today:
1957 Liftoff of Sputnik I, usually considered to be the beginning of the space age
1959 Liftoff of Lunik 3, the first human probe to orbit the Moon and to send images of its farside.
2004 Liftoff of SpaceShipOne, the first private craft to reach "space", as conventionally defined (= 100 km above the Erath's surface).
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Re: On this day in history...

Postby Arneb » Fri Oct 05, 2018 12:45 pm

5 October, 1918 - Relatively slow day; The Kaiser mackes a peace offer but orders the German troups to offer "resolute resistance" 35 k POW to the BEF since 27 Sep is kind of an answer to that.
Beaurevoir (what a beautiful name!) falls to the BEF, Hindenburg line broken on a 48 kn sretch of front.

The day isn't particularly interesting in world history from this point of view, so some technical/cultural news:
1842 - First Pilsener beer brewed
1962 - Premier of Dr. No. Cue Bond theme, and never stop!
1991 - First Ur version of Linux published
1995 - First exoplanet discovery, 51 Pegasi b, announced by two Swiss astronomers, Mechel Mayor, and Dider Queloz
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Re: On this day in history...

Postby Heid the Ba » Fri Oct 05, 2018 5:46 pm

I didn’t realise that Doenitz had survived as a U-Boat commander in the Great War. Relatedly Captain Von Trapp of the musical was an Austrian-Hungarian U-Boat commander in the same war. He may have been “the” U-Boat commander but I would have to check.
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Re: On this day in history...

Postby Arneb » Sat Oct 06, 2018 11:21 am

6 October, 1918 - Seems to have been rather quiet militarily; two things: To U.S. pilots, Blackeley and Foettler, receive the CMH for having flown, in almost suicidal fashion, provisions to the "Lost Batallion".
In Bombay, there are a record number of 768 deaths due to the Spanish flu in a single day.

Elsewhere, it's war news, too:
539 BC: Kyros II, of the Achaemenid, of First Persian Empire, occupies Babylon and ends the Babylonian Empire.
1939 - The last Polish troops capitulate to the German invaders, 36 days after the beginning of the attack.
1973 - Israel is attacked attacked by Syrian and Egyptian forces on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement
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Re: On this day in history...

Postby Arneb » Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:11 pm

8 October, 1918 - collapsing Western front, breakthroughs by the Allied Forces, lots of POW - as expected. This is the beginning of large-scale retrets of the German forces from France and Flandres.
Pres. Wilson demands that Germany retreat from occupied territory before negotiations can begin.

1871 - the Great Fire in chicago, burning down almost the entire city
1871 - The wildfire with the most known number of casualties, 1,200, destroys Peshtigo, Wisconsin
2005 - An Earthquake in Kashmere kills 80,000 people.
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Re: On this day in history...

Postby Arneb » Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:31 pm

9 October 1918 - Hindenburg line completely collapsed
20 k total deaths in the AEF due to influenza and pneumonia

Not too easy to find some good news for a change, but here goes:
1604 - First confirmed observation of SN1604 (Kepler's supernova), a -2.5 mag bomb in Ophiuchus
1811 - Prussia ends serfdom
1989 - The first big Montagsdemonstration (Monday demo) in Leipzig is held after a peace prayer in the St. Nicholas Church. It is seen as the trailblazer of the peaceful revolution of that year. This was probably the lmoment the GDR government could have taken the Tienanmen option and didn't.
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Re: On this day in history...

Postby Arneb » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:19 am

10 October, 1918 - Beginning of the last Allied advance of the war. There are more than one million Americans deployed along 170 km of frontline.
The Kaiser and his new government order German U boats to refrain from torpedoeing passenger vessels, as "any incidents that could disturb peasce negotiations should at all costs be avoided".

Colonial news for today
1874 - The Fiji islands become a Colony of the British empire
1970 - The Fiji islands gain independence from said empire
2010 - The Netherlands Antilles split up - Curacao and Sint Maarten to become their own provinces countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius become special municipalities.
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Re: On this day in history...

Postby Halcyon Dayz, FCD » Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:01 am

Curacao and Sint Maarten became constituent countries within the Kingdom, like Aruba.
The BES-islands became something that didn't exist before: special status overseas municipalities of the metropole.
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Re: On this day in history...

Postby Arneb » Wed Oct 10, 2018 4:16 pm

Thanks for the correction! I was hesitant how to translate Länder...
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Re: On this day in history...

Postby Arneb » Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:05 am

11 October, 1918 - Allied forces are making gains by the tens of km per day. German troos hastily evacuate harbours and Airfields in Flandres.

Space! The Final Frontier!
1968 - First manned Apollo flight, Apollo 7 (Schirra, Eisele, Cunningham)
1984 - First American woman does an EVA, Kathryn Dwyer Sullivan aboard STS 41G (Challenger)
2000 - 100th Space Shuttle flight lifts off, STS 92 (Discovery)
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Re: On this day in history...

Postby Arneb » Mon Oct 15, 2018 1:44 pm

15 October, 1918 - the ususal eastward movement on the Western front. In Berlin, the military is put under civilian rule, which is quite the step for a Prussian King. 1500 Berliners die of the flu on that day.

1582 - First application of that Catholic Instrument of Subjugation (I think we'll stick with that), the Gregorian Calendar. The day before was October 4.

Otherwise, bad day for TBTB, at least in France:
1793 - One Veuve Capet, aka as Queen Marie Antoinette, is beheaded in Paris
1815 - Napoléon sets foot on St. Helena.
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Re: On this day in history...

Postby Arneb » Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:03 am

16 October, 1916 - One Korporal Adolf hitler is wounded by a British gas grenade and evacuated to Paseqalk, in Pommerania.
Last German attack i Dunkirk.

It was a busy day, war-wise -
1813 - Beginning of the Battle of Leipzig, which will herald the end for Napoleon
1853 - Beginnig of the Crimean War
1955 - the Argentine ir force bombs its own capital, the Plaza de Mayo in particular, in an effort to conatin a violent uprising of Peronists.

But there were some hopeful moments, too
1973 - Nobel Peace Prize to Henry Kissenger and Le Duc Tho is announced
1984 - Nobel Peace Prize to Desmond Tutu is announced
1998 - Augusto Pinochet is arrested for human rights violations in London, following a warrant from Spain
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Re: On this day in history...

Postby Heid the Ba » Tue Oct 16, 2018 8:15 am

Arneb wrote:16 October, 1916 - One Korporal Adolf hitler is wounded by a British gas grenade and evacuated to Paseqalk, in Pommerania.

I think you are confusing Hitler's wounds. In 1916 he was wounded by a shell splinter and in 1918 he was gassed. We had two goes at him and couldn't make either count.
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Re: On this day in history...

Postby Arneb » Tue Oct 16, 2018 9:26 am

I was referring to the gassing, but didn't write it up very clearly. And yeah, the BEF clearly should have had better aim on that one.
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Re: On this day in history...

Postby Arneb » Wed Oct 17, 2018 2:32 pm

17 October, 1918 - Ludendorff takes part in a cabinet meeting urging for all-out war. He says the German Army i the West can dig in, wait out the winter and come back fresh and well-equipped in the spring of 1919. Belgium should be made a battlefield again, on which "1914 would look like child's play". I wonder if he was really that mad, or if he was already starting to weave the stab-in-the-back legend. Meanwhile, Belgians take back Oostend, the German port evacuations of Oostend and Zeebrügge remain incomplete.

There were lots of battles on this day. Among others,
1448 - Beginning of the Second Battle of the Kosovo Field. Good, hardworking white Christians against evil marauding barbarian Ottomans, just as today. The good ones won.
1777 - Batlle of Saratoga. Good, hardworking white Protestant freedom fighters against bad, hardworking, white Protestants from the Perfidious Albion. The good ones won.
1813 - Battle of El Roble, Chile. Bad South American Murderer and Rapist insurgents against Bad Spanish Murderer and Rapist royalists. Or whatever. Anyway, no good hardweorking white people involved. Insurgents won. As if that interested anyone who's anyone.

There was something gong on between the English and Scottish in 1346, but maybe I should be discreet about that one.
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Re: On this day in history...

Postby Heid the Ba » Thu Oct 18, 2018 8:32 am

Arneb wrote:There were lots of battles on this day. Among others,
1448 - Beginning of the Second Battle of the Kosovo Field. Good, hardworking white Christians against evil marauding barbarian Ottomans, just as today. The good ones won.
1777 - Batlle of Saratoga. Good, hardworking white Protestant freedom fighters against bad, hardworking, white Protestants from the Perfidious Albion. The good ones won.
1813 - Battle of El Roble, Chile. Bad South American Murderer and Rapist insurgents against Bad Spanish Murderer and Rapist royalists. Or whatever. Anyway, no good hardweorking white people involved. Insurgents won. As if that interested anyone who's anyone.

An excellent summation Sir!
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Re: On this day in history...

Postby Heid the Ba » Thu Oct 18, 2018 8:46 am

18th October 1918: Among the carnage Arneb may describe later was the death of Theodore Hardy, one of many, but one who stood out. Hardy was a CoE parish priest at the outbreak of war, at 51 he was rejected as too old but persisted and was eventually taken on as a chaplain in 1916. As well as his pastoral duties he took it upon himself to look after his flock in a more practical way going out into No Man's Land after attacks and raids to bring in the wounded and bring comfort to the dying. Over the course of two years he rescued countless men while under shot and shell and was awarded a VC, a DSO (what you got when they didn't have quite enough evidence for a VC) and an MC. Hardy was wounded trying to rescue yet another casualty and died of his wounds this day in 1918 two days before his 55th birthday and less than a month before the end of the war.
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