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WW1

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Caradoc
92341.  Sat Sep 09, 2006 9:47 pm Reply with quote

Casualty rates need to be carefully examined, the introduction of steel helmets in late 1914 resulted in a 95% increase in soldiers with head wounds, before steel helmets they would have died.

Junior officers, ie lieutenants & 2nd lieutenants are superfluous; they are only there to learn how to be captains, the sergeant runs the platoon & the company commander decides where & what it does. However a fair proportion of junior officers would have been shot from behind, on the battlefield grudges have fatal results.

Another curious statistic, in the early days of the Korean war the life expectancy of a radio operator after coming into contact with the enemy was 3 minutes, they told me this after I became a radio operator: However two years later the battlefield life expectancy of a radio operator had stretched to several days, the enemy had learned to shoot not the person who carried the radio, but to shoot the person who the message was for.

 
Dr. Know
93645.  Fri Sep 15, 2006 10:46 am Reply with quote

like on blackadder, when he shot the pigeon

 
Feralcat
1281975.  Sat Apr 21, 2018 6:28 pm Reply with quote

I know this is old but I quite enjoyed reading it.

The junior officers, to Captain level, were likely to be with the troops, (allowing for lower rank officers used to service higher ranked officers).

It was these young officers, many inexperienced, who 'led from the front' and felt honourbound to lead their men, especially when the order to go forward was a near order to suicide.

Some of the really high ranks went forward to raise morale, some, to answer their own idea of how they saw themselves - that they didn't want to be seen as safely sending men to their deaths, at no risk of their own. So some of those deaths were not a matter of very high ranks HAVING to be in danger, but rather to be SEEN to be willing to share their soldiers danger. Even then, usually only every so often... Of course, many were happy to remain behind and complain that the port was shaken up at dinner.

There were high ranking officers who did risk their lives much more than others - and I presume they did get to know and understand their men and their capabilities better - but in most cases, the risk would be at that highest ranked officers discretion - but the captains, majors, colonels, etc in his staff, just had to accompany him, as directed.

I think that where the huge numbers of officers being killed is flaring is just the apprentices (2nd liets) and lower rank practical experienced (captains) right at the front

 
Alexander Howard
1282053.  Sun Apr 22, 2018 5:54 pm Reply with quote

Yes - this idea that officers hid behind the lines and let the common soldiers fight alone is a myth arising after the war - probably spread as class war propaganda by Bolshevists. Those who actually fought knew who was there though.

You might expect the generals to be back at headquarters, but you cannot run a campaign like that and a great many generals were killed or captured during the Great War, as they were on the front line.

In the Royal Navy of course, the captain drowns with the seaman. In the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Air Force, all the flying casualties would have been officers.

Back to the Army, I saw a statistical analysis once of casualties according to the schools they went to. The highest casulalty rate, proportionately, was of those from minor public schools, as they supplied the junior commissioned officers who led from the front.

 
Feralcat
1282057.  Sun Apr 22, 2018 7:07 pm Reply with quote

I would have guessed the young officers of minor public school level

Did you see the WDYTYA? British ep with Matthew ? An Olympic medal winner in rowing and was it a great or gg uncle of his who left a public school- tho I think in that caze it might have been Eton, straight to training, one of the first officers in first tanks, was given a directive to achieve, I think was hammered and bogged trying to go forward, had no option but to withdraw and this poor lad, his head filled with tales of daring and glory, directed his men into pulling in to a French farmyard, got out and shot himself in shame.

It just tears out your heart and if someone had just had the opportunity to tell him how, even if thwarted, even if ashamed, to kill himself would just waste his life, help the enemy... it wouldn't have happened

It was an action of sheer overwhelming emotion of a lad who may never have felt overwhelming loss or failure, before.

They say it was WW1 that saw the end of chivalry in war

But that is so wrong.

Individuals can always act so.

Look at Charlie Brown and Franz Stiegler WW2 i read of the same thing happening with another Allied bomber crew, in trouble, where a German fighter approached from behind, clearly ready to take them out, and they fired off red flares and waggled their wings and he sat behind them and then turned away. Imagine the tearful wave iof relief after such terror

and the German officer who was posted to one of the holocaust camps and lied about needing some Jewish women prisoners for experiments, knowing once the experiments were over, they were to be killed. Plus I believe that near the end, he gave his pistol to a young prisoner who was trying to escape and I think gave him some advice about where he should head and wished him good luck

I only read about him recently and can't recall where. Could have been here!

 
'yorz
1282600.  Fri Apr 27, 2018 3:32 pm Reply with quote

I just came across this twitter account by a historian of war photography. Quite a brilliant collection!

https://twitter.com/CarlaJeanStokes

 
Feralcat
1282688.  Sat Apr 28, 2018 3:46 pm Reply with quote

Oh that looks a very good site. I also saw the appeal to look out for a lost cat and the wry comment on her mothers proud archive system of her work.

I was on twitter for quite a while as it suited my inabilities with computers but I was also much more political on that and one day came upon a tweet dated a year or more, previously that had been retweeted by what was claiming to be a french person. It was a tweet in MY user name and effectively looked like a subject I might have tweeted BUT it was libellous - which I would never have done AND the person was someone I had never heard of - but of course
the tweet was over a year old. Whilst I could say I would never have sent it, it was over a year old... There were 3 tweets that appeared from this French person, retweeted with my user name and dated as created by me over a
year ago and I could find NO record of their existance before that French claiming person somehow 'found' them to retweet

Fortunately, I could be totally sure and could prove it had never come from me, because at that time I had only a small computer. I couldnt take photos myself and and I didn't know how to insert any photo into a tweet. I could retweet someone else's tweet with photo, of course, but had never sent a tweet with a photo and had said several times to different people through the year, that I couldn't. If I hadn't been such a... computer luddite... I would have been in an awkward situation.

I found twitter management absolutely appallingly slack and arrogant and left it never to return...

Tho I had some great pals and causes to support on it. With a computer, I had been able to link things happily but I lost that ability with this tiny phone - and I find if I don't constantly do things I forget how. If I needed to tweet a photo I had to tweet a link if I was able, and say the photo I wanted people to see was say, the 3rd in the article...

I did have some great contacts that I'd love to recommend but the old memory is appalling - but one who is a little odd but always interesting on left field stuff, especially in fields of death, odd history, gory stuff etc is dr lindsey fitzharris? I think that is her real name (I hope) her user name something similar I used to give her a heads up when I saw things I thought she would like and got her a few celebrity followers. Also, have you seen the amazing creations on the various Steam Punk - what are they called? threads?

The NZ war museum site I think it was, was interesting and you are probably on the threads ? For what was happening 'on this day' WW1 & WW2?

 

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