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gerontius grumpus
89038.  Fri Aug 25, 2006 8:07 pm Reply with quote

General Melchett: Don't worry, when you go over the top, Captain Darling and I will be right behind you.

Captain Blackadder: Yes, about 23 miles behind us.

 
Jenny
89377.  Sun Aug 27, 2006 1:19 pm Reply with quote

The number of officers killed is very hard to establish (ie I haven't found it yet!)

Here's one QI website called 'The Great War in Numbers' though, which has food for thought in, though not the information I was looking for: http://www.worldwar1.com/sfnum.htm

A discussion on a website called 'Military History Online' brings up this interesting piece, which the writer says is taken from figures in Churchill's history The Great War:

Quote:
July to December 1917, Western Front, British attacking:

British Officer casualties 22,316, other ranks 426,298

Suffered by Germans, against the British only in same period:
Officer casualties 6,913 other ranks 263,797

In the British army, one officer fell for every 19 men, in the German army, one officer for every 38 men.....a rather clear cut two to one disparity in ratios.

Compare this with the furious German attacks against the British in March/April 1918:

British officer casualties 14,803, other ranks 288,066

German officer casualties 12,807 other ranks 335,962

The proportion of British officer casualties to those of the other ranks is roughly the same as it had been in the Passchendaele period, about one to nineteen, but the German figures change drastically from 1:38 when they were defending to 1:26 when they were attacking, a virtual fifty per cent increase in the rate of officer casualties vis a vis those of enlisted men.

For the British, the proportion remained constant whether in attack or in defence, but the German proportion of officer casualties was startlingly inceased when they attacked.

It is interesting to speculate on the reasons for this: were German officers endowed with a fervent wish to be reckless in this do or die offensive, which came close to winning the war for the Fatherland? Had the class of NCO soldiers that had been so effective in the German army been so attrited by the Somme, Verdun and Passchendaele etc. that the German officers were pressured to take more risks?


The same writer asserts, earlier in the page I linked to:

Quote:
British junior officer casualties were startlingly high because the ratio of officers to men was much greater in the British armies than it was in the Franco German forces. In rough and ready terms, I think that the British deployed one officer for every thirty men, compared with one to sixty in the continental armies. The casualty rates reflected this: it appears that casualties among British officers equated to one oficer for every twenty men, suggesting that if you were an officer you were fifty per cent more likely to be killed or wounded than if you belonged to the other ranks. Germany lost over two million soldiers killed in the war, of whom about fifty five thousand were officers, suggesting a rough and ready forty to one proportion, which also implies that the German officers were about fifty per cent more likely to be killed than their enlisted men. Churchill's history of the Great War presents elaborate tables of statistics demonstrating how the armies fared, but he makes an interesting point: when the Germans attacked the British in March/April 1918, their casualties in officers soared to alarming levels, not only in absolute numbers, but also in proportionate terms. The role of the attacker, it appears, made the predicament of the officers especially lethal, whether British or German.

 
dr.bob
89447.  Mon Aug 28, 2006 6:28 am Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
Ah, the facts. Well, we'll need to find that research. My point, though, is that most people would expect the senior ranks to be under-represented in the casualty list, wouldn't they? I should think that most people assume that casualties amongst the Generals were almost non-existent.


That would, indeed, be my general (sorry) impression of WWI, so if you can find the research that contradicts it I'd find it quite interesting.

Though I'd be wary of anything that just talks about "officers" without defining what that means. I would certainly believe that anyone of senior rank who was posted in the trenches would be more likely to die since he'd be a prime target for snipers who'd want to take out the higher ranks rather than the dogsbodies.

 
Jenny
89550.  Mon Aug 28, 2006 6:30 pm Reply with quote

I suppose it to mean commissioned officers rather than non-commissioned officers.

 
dr.bob
89618.  Tue Aug 29, 2006 3:35 am Reply with quote

You'll have to forgive me as I'm completely clueless about military ranks.

What's the difference? And which one gives you an excuse to stay well back from the front lines?

 
soup
89638.  Tue Aug 29, 2006 5:36 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
You'll have to forgive me as I'm completely clueless about military ranks.

What's the difference? And which one gives you an excuse to stay well back from the front lines?


Non commisioned officers were; lance corporals, corporals, colour/staff sergeants, Warrant officers. Commisioned officers hold the queens commision[1] they are what is normally meant by officer lieutenant, captain, major etc. Basicaly high up commisioned officers (especially staff officers (Red shoulder tabs)) were at the back actually deciding tactics (I am being kind here).

[1] It used to be that Officers would "buy" their commision and hire men to do the fighting for them these hired men were the "private" soldiers they had to be micro managed hence the use of "private" soldiers who were a bit more experienced to do the day to day running (The sergeants and corporals).

Bit of history, (maybe apocraphyl) experienced soldiers were given a badge of a broken lance, these morphed into a corporals (two) chevrons and a sergeants (three) chevrons, the salute is a stylised touching of the helm of a knight.

 
Celebaelin
89698.  Tue Aug 29, 2006 10:29 am Reply with quote

soup wrote:
...the salute is a stylised touching of the helm of a knight.

Raising of the visor to show the face allowing you to be identified as a friend.

 
Celebaelin
89699.  Tue Aug 29, 2006 10:30 am Reply with quote

soup wrote:
Basicaly high up commisioned officers (especially staff officers (Red shoulder tabs)) were at the back actually deciding tactics (I am being kind here).

Kind to be cruel.

 
Jenny
89771.  Tue Aug 29, 2006 4:49 pm Reply with quote

Junior officers of the commissioned variety appear, according to those figures from Churchill I quoted earlier, to have suffered death in a higher percentage than ordinary ranks, though I daresay the generals stayed well back.

 
BondiTram
89972.  Wed Aug 30, 2006 1:27 pm Reply with quote

Celebaelin wrote:
soup wrote:
...the salute is a stylised touching of the helm of a knight.

Raising of the visor to show the face allowing you to be identified as a friend.


You mean they had iris recogniton equipment?

Oh yes, of course............eyes.

 
Dr. Know
90188.  Thu Aug 31, 2006 10:11 am Reply with quote

i would have thought that the coat of arms on said knights shield would have given him away from the start

 
Tas
90202.  Thu Aug 31, 2006 10:34 am Reply with quote

Assuming that said knight had not had his shield destroyed or damaged. Also several coats of arms and shields may appear very similar. Also, assuming a certain amount of familiarity, this would stop another knight bearing counterfeit arms and devices.

:-)

Tas

 
Celebaelin
90276.  Thu Aug 31, 2006 7:33 pm Reply with quote

Tas wrote:
Assuming that said knight had not had his shield destroyed or damaged.

Or nicked.

Not that I'd impersonate anyone; even if it was that easy.

 
Dr. Know
92010.  Fri Sep 08, 2006 1:52 pm Reply with quote

right..... then couldnt they wear name tags or something? maybe wear color-coded hats?

 
gerontius grumpus
92227.  Sat Sep 09, 2006 1:44 pm Reply with quote

They could have had it tatooed on the backs of their necks like bishops.

 

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