the tragic lies of Admiral Jellicoe

Seaweed

RIP
Book Reviewer
Seafarer, you are just as misinformed as all the others who think there was a neat alternative to trench warfare, and a neat solution to U-boats.

Just to pick on a few basic points:

Haig had to go on ordering assaults to prevent the Germans concentrating on the French line and breaking it, and because of SHORTAGE OF AMMUNITION (aggravated by Trades Union obstinacy at home) had to order infantry attacks with insufficient artillery preparation. Communication with the Front was by landline telephone, frequently cut by shellfire, or runner, frequently shot or shelled before the message could get back. In the end, as in all things human, technology was the answer - the aeroplane and the tank particularly, but also improved handling of artillery. It has to be remembered that all the officers in the BEF were operating way above their trained level; never in British history had such a huge army been put into the field and to lead armies, corps, divisions, and brigades officers had to be promote dinto those leadership positions as best might be. At the same time officers had to learn to handle new technology that had simply not existed in 1914. For instance the working of tanks and infantry togetehr had to be learned the hard way. The ordinary troops after the regulars had been through the mincer in 1914 were in some ways hardly trained at all, so the ops given to them could only be of the most basic.

Shipping figures were based on all movements and it took a while to understand that these, fundamentally HM Customs figures, did not answer to the case. The hydrophone, hastily developed, could only be used whioel stationary. Q-ships only worked until they were rumbled. Convoy was the answer to U-boats and it worked. NB in 1942 the US still didn't believe this and bore terrible losses on their E coast until Admiral King reluctantly changed his mind. The fact that convoy is an OFFENSIVE measure took a long time to sink in; it beings the enemy to battle on ground of your own choosing, rather than running around looking for him where he isn't.

Cut Jellicoe some slack; thanks to him we continued to have the free use of the North Sea and were able to maintain the blockade, which played a part in bringing Germany to its knees through starvation. Scheer's aim at Jutland was to break the Grand Fleet and so break the blockade - and he FAILED, just as he FAILED to lure the Grand Fleet into piecemeal battles that would deliver eventual defeat in detail. This was aggravated by the Germans having to take men off the land for the army because of the casualties inflicted by Haig (and the Russians early in the war).

The bottom line is, we won; but at several points, only just. Now go read the books. Including 'A Naval History of World War 1' by PG Halpern.
 

seafarer1939

War Hero
Again thanks for the replies,Seeweed I'm not misinformed,I have at least 50 books gathered over the years,maps and layouts of all the battles.
I may know nowt about other things but I wanted to find out why so many were led to slaughter for so little gain.
There was an alternative to the trenches,the underbelly thru Italy was was viable but the French,after Verdun,wanted us to take the pressure off their Army who were in mutiny so we had to go in.
Generals Rawlinson and Robertson ordered the men to wear heavy packs and walk towards the enemy,run and you will risk been shot,the packs snagged on the wire and thousands died,this is not trench warfare'it's stupid slaughter of the troops.
Bear also in mind the Germans had fortified their trenches with massive concrete bunkers that shells bounced off,our Generals said it wasn't worth us doing it,the men stayed in mud trenches.
I could go on a but it's worth bearing in mind that one lucky soldier survived the whole 4 years of bloody battles and came through unhurt,he then remarked at Armistice "I am only 200 yards ahead of where I was in 1914"Such slaughter for what?
these are all proven quotes,and it just made me sadder,when researching,than any other war.
I lost 3 uncles in that war and just wanted to know why an Admiral piped up and thus continued the horror.
I have no intention of re-living mistakes just enquiring for answers.cheers
 

seafarer1939

War Hero
Again thanks for the replies,Seeweed I'm not misinformed,I have at least 50 books gathered over the years,maps and layouts of all the battles.
I may know nowt about other things but I wanted to find out why so many were led to slaughter for so little gain.
There was an alternative to the trenches,the underbelly thru Italy was was viable but the French,after Verdun,wanted us to take the pressure off their Army who were in mutiny so we had to go in.
Generals Rawlinson and Robertson ordered the men to wear heavy packs and walk towards the enemy,run and you will risk been shot,the packs snagged on the wire and thousands died,this is not trench warfare'it's stupid slaughter of the troops.
Bear also in mind the Germans had fortified their trenches with massive concrete bunkers that shells bounced off,our Generals said it wasn't worth us doing it,the men stayed in mud trenches.
I could go on a but it's worth bearing in mind that one lucky soldier survived the whole 4 years of bloody battles and came through unhurt,he then remarked at Armistice "I am only 200 yards ahead of where I was in 1914"Such slaughter for what?
these are all proven quotes,and it just made me sadder,when researching,than any other war.
I lost 3 uncles in that war and just wanted to know why an Admiral piped up and thus continued the horror.
I have no intention of re-living mistakes just enquiring for answers.cheers
 

seafarer1939

War Hero
Sorry about the double post,I try to study WW1 as much as possible but I can't get my head around this new cordless keyboard and mouse!
sometimes works twice or not at all,time for the bin I reckon.
 

Seaweed

RIP
Book Reviewer
The yards gained or lost are not the measure of what was being fought for. What mattered was causing German casualties and in this, in the end, we were successful. Now, seafarer, since you know so much, please come up with an alternative strategy that would have worked better.

Some 6.5 m War Medals were issued to British Empire troops and something like a sixth of that number were fatal casualties. Nobody in our history had ever before fielded, trained, led, fed and provided for an army on that scale; there were no precedents; the only personal experience army officers had to guide them was colonial warfare; they had never fought a mechanised, modern enemy - least of all one whose Government had for years worked to ensure supply for an aggressive war which it was deliberately planning. Were it not for Fisher the same inadequacies would have been present in the RN. At least we had a trained, superior battle fleet.
 

alacrity174

War Hero
Seaweed.
If the measure of success in a battle/war is did we kill enough men rather than ground gained then the whole premise needs to be revised. If you remember Vietnam was all about body count and the US managed to lose that one big time. WW1 was and should have been about capturing and holding ground, just because medals were given out posthumously does not make the strategy a success. Attrition is one thing, but to maintain the pressure you need forward movement.

The whole reason for General Officers is that they are supposedly the experts; it is their job to devise tactics that cause the enemy to loose and us to prevail with the smallest amount of casualties possible. As to trench warfare and mechanized warfare being new I can accept one possibly two battles to learn new tactics but to fight an extended engagement using the same failed tactics for months on end, this was just foolish.

I think you will find the Naval tactics used at Jutland were almost comical and we were lucky that the Germans were not better prepared or we could have lost that one too.

If we sat down and looked at WW1 naval and land battles we can pick every movement apart, but at the time they possible thought they were doing the right thing, dependant on experience.
 

Bergen

ADC
seafarer1939 said:
Sorry about the double post,I try to study WW1 as much as possible but I can't get my head around this new cordless keyboard and mouse!
sometimes works twice or not at all,time for the bin I reckon.

Seafarer - This link to WW1 Infantry Battalion War Diaries may be of interest > http://yourarchives.nationalarchives.gov.uk/index.php?title=Infantry_Battalion_War_Diary_Transcript_Links_(WW1)#South_Staffordshire_Regiment

I can just remember my great grandpa; he survived WW1 and came out the other side as an infantry battalion RSM with a shed-full of medals. He was also totally bat-shit crazy. His right arm was locked up with shrapnel damage and the sight of grandma sitting by the fire and prising his hand open so that she could cut his nails and stop them growing through the palm of his hand was the stuff of childhood nightmares.

RM
 

WreckerL

War Hero
Super Moderator
A book I've read that's got somw good articles in is "Myths & Legends of WW1" by James Hayward.

As Gallipoli and Churchill have been mentioned "Gallipoli" by L.A. Carlyon is a good read. Basically saying that it had a good chance of success if it had been taken seriously as the concensus in the war office was that "Johnny Turk" would run as soon as we landed so the landings had no intel, no maps and no logistic support on a large enough scale.
The C-in-C was Sir Ian Hamilton who didn't like to "upset" people and was dictated to by juniors and Lt General Sir Frederick Stopford whose expertise was in ceremonial. not a recipe for success. The whole idea was to relieve pressure on the Western Front, didn't work so lead on to the First Battle of the Somme a year later in 1916.
 
Alacrity --thanks for the post regarding Haig and his fixation to send more men into certain death --tried to explain that in my earlier posts .

The basic snag that the Brit Army forgot was that the preliminary artillery barrages fell onto deep fortifications --when the barrage stopped the troops advanced ''over the top''-----meanwhile the germans emerged from their trench shelters and set up the prepared fire positions.

The Artillery fire was eventually changed into a ''creeping barrage'' ranged to fall in front of the advancing troops at timed intervals and increased range to avoid friendly fire ---it worked quite well in most cases and continued to be used . Only problem being the conditions of the terrain the advancing troops had to cross.

With the arrival d 'tanks ' land warfare against fixed defences became better organised and planning actually worked --plus by then they had
the aircraft spotters relaying the action details for the General Staff.



G.
 

WreckerL

War Hero
Super Moderator
Greenie said:
Alacrity --thanks for the post regarding Haig and his fixation to send more men into certain death --tried to explain that in my earlier posts .

The basic snag that the Brit Army forgot was that the preliminary artillery barrages fell onto deep fortifications --when the barrage stopped the troops advanced ''over the top''-----meanwhile the germans emerged from their trench shelters and set up the prepared fire positions.

The Artillery fire was eventually changed into a ''creeping barrage'' ranged to fall in front of the advancing troops at timed intervals and increased range to avoid friendly fire ---it worked quite well in most cases and continued to be used . Only problem being the conditions of the terrain the advancing troops had to cross.

With the arrival d 'tanks ' land warfare against fixed defences became better organised and planning actually worked --plus by then they had
the aircraft spotters relaying the action details for the General Staff.



G.

Another snag was a lot of the earlier shells never went off. Different manufacturers made them to their own specs i.e. a 9" shell made by one company wouldn't necessarily fire if used by another manufacturers 9" artillery piece. The war office brought in standards (known as Defence Standards or DefStans) and sent auditors round the country ensuring they were adhered to, a practice the other industrialised countries soon followed. Much later this turned into the ISO 9000 series. Quality Assurance...another British Invention
 

lsadirty

War Hero
" A covenant with death" by John Harris tells the story of one of Kitchener's battalions from its inception on the Town Hall steps in a northern city(Sheffield?) to it's destruction on the first day of the Somme. Tells the story through the eyes of one of the volunteers, and well worth getting hold of, for the story of Private A, rather then General B, who throws out all the excuses as to why it went wrong.
One of my many Uncles survived the first day with the Devons, who suffered horrendous casualties, something he would never talk about, not even to me Dad, who landed with the Hampshires on D-Day in Normandy, who got badly shot up during the landing. "Casualties, Jack ? I seen sections of men come back where there were regiments going over the top. Don't tell me about casualties".
 
Passed-over_Loggie said:
Greenie said:
Trench warfare was relatively unknown aswell.

Apart from the American Civil War and the 2nd Boer War?

In all fairness, though, it was known but hardly anyone had bothered to understand it.


and also the New Zealand wars, the maori inhabitants had it down to a fine art, resulting in several treatises being published, however it seems a "british" failing to fail to learn from previous lessons. or as they say "history repeats itself"
 

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