"The British Army was so much more effective in 1918 compared 1916" - Page 2




 
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April 29th, 2010  
Jeff Simmons
 

Topic: Plumer


You're right. Gen. Herbert Plumer didn't make a move unless it was thoroughly planned out. The Battle of Messines, his best-known triumph, is an example of this. He planned for 21 offensive mines to be placed at strategic points along the Messines Ridge (more like a ripple in the ground in the Flanders flat lands as opposed to a string of mountains). He set attainable goals and coordinated artillery, air, tanks and infantry with the detonation of the mines on June 7, 1917. I must point out that the mining took nearly two years to prepare, but the result was a clear-cut victory; most of the objectives were captured within three hours of the mine detonations, which took place at 03:17. The general, well-liked by his troops, was dubbed Sir Plumer of Messines after this operation.
April 30th, 2010  
Botak
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Simmons
You're right. Gen. Herbert Plumer didn't make a move unless it was thoroughly planned out. The Battle of Messines, his best-known triumph, is an example of this. He planned for 21 offensive mines to be placed at strategic points along the Messines Ridge (more like a ripple in the ground in the Flanders flat lands as opposed to a string of mountains). He set attainable goals and coordinated artillery, air, tanks and infantry with the detonation of the mines on June 7, 1917. I must point out that the mining took nearly two years to prepare, but the result was a clear-cut victory; most of the objectives were captured within three hours of the mine detonations, which took place at 03:17. The general, well-liked by his troops, was dubbed Sir Plumer of Messines after this operation.
Yep, definitely a man who deserved his post. His physical appearance was apparently the inspiration for Colonel Blimp, which I always thought a tad unfair.

It belongs in the movie/TV/book thread, but a new Australian film "Beneath Hill 60" is out down here, and it's one of the first WW1 movies to focus on mining operations during the war (the penultimate scene is the 21 mines going off). Not a bad movie.

The only other thing I'd guess I'd add to this discussion is a Devil's advocate point - the British and Imperial Armies of 1918 might've been more effective, but it needs to be remembered that many of the Dominions were on their last legs manpower-wise by then. Les Carlyon, an Aussie Historian who's reasonably well respected, theorises that one casualty for the AIF in 1918 was more or less equivalent to 3 in 1916, quite simply because the replacement manpower just wasn't available via voluntary enlistment.

I'm not sure how this would've affected the Canadians and Brits?
April 30th, 2010  
Jeff Simmons
 

Topic: Effect on Canadian troop availability


I do not know how strained the British were in terms of manpower at that time, but they were probably stretched reasonably thin. The Canadians, on the other hand, had given nearly all they could give, and did so with valor. Out of a population of 8 million, Canada fielded 600,000 troops, mostly volunteers. Out of that, 2/3 were casualties of some sort, and one in ten were killed in action. I would imagine those figures would indicate a looming shortage in their army.
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May 1st, 2010  
Jeff Simmons
 

Topic: By the way...


Botak, I am looking forward to seeing the silver screen rendition of Messines. Moreover, this movie gives me optimism; maybe it will boost sales of my novel, most of which takes place in the shadow of Hill 60. That site was the most often-visited by survivors for years after the war. Now, most people (especially Americans) have no idea where Hill 60 is or what happened there.
 


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