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Bomber goes OTT


British troops 'Go Ove The Top' in WWI

British troops 'Go Over The Top' in WWI

Bomber Bradbury does the same in this post at Tumeke!

The post was entitled:-

John Key to personally butcher seal pups and polar bear cubs

Bomber then rants and raves about the rabid right wing government. Stupid. About as stupid as some of the British generals in WWI

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  1. adamsmith1922 permalink*
    29/03/2009 21:11

    I read Terraine’s book in the 1960s, recently re-purchased it and am now re-reading it slowly.

    I still think Barbara Tuchman’s August 1914 is an excellent book on the events leading up to WWI.

    Her work on Palestine was good as well, but I forget the title.


  2. Ed Snack permalink
    29/03/2009 20:52

    Well spotted Adam, I have a copy, purchased in paperback several years ago. Although perhaps too kind to Haig at times, it is a worthwhile read as an antidote to the more public view. Another worthwhile read is Gary Sheffield’s “Forgotten Victory”. WW1 is perhaps now sufficiently distant that a judicious review of the whole subject may be possible.


  3. adamsmith1922 permalink*
    28/03/2009 23:01

    Dorien Smith was an effective general. Haig was much maligned, yet he was a prisoner of politics in many ways.

    John Terriane’s excellent biography of Haig published in 1963 and recently re-published by Cassell is well worth a read.


  4. Ed Snack permalink
    28/03/2009 21:14

    You don’t need to apologize for that Adam, just one of my rants on a subject I have looked at in some depth (it’s Dorien-Smith !, and he was treated waorse than Haig in some ways, after fighting Mons and Le Cateau so effectively he was eased out because French (Sir John that is) disliked him).

    Some p[eople have challenged Haig’s judgement as he put up with so many inferior generals, however as in my original comment, the British really lacked trained staff and officers at that level, and they had to put up with what they had. Haig was also criticized at the time for the number of younger officers he wanted in prominent positions. He was generally a believer on promoting on merit. Interested to note that by 1917 at least, that around 50% of the junior officers were soldiers promoted out of the ranks on merit, not really what the myths would have us believe as well.


  5. adamsmith1922 permalink*
    27/03/2009 21:25


    You are right, which is why I changed my comment to read some British generals.

    Haig was not my target, indeed I agree with you he was wrongly maligned and was in my opinion the scapegoat for political decisions.

    In hindsight I made the mistake of using a popular perception to attack Bomber, which I should not have done. For which I apologise.

    However, my central thrust remains Bomber was OTT.

    we can discuss Haig, Dorney-Smith, French etc . In my opinion the Brits were sacrificed to save the French.

    Again y apologies for taking an over large brush to the situation.


  6. Ed Snack permalink
    27/03/2009 21:10

    Can’t let this pass un-commented. Perhaps if you actually studied the leadership of the British Army in WW1 you might not believe the stupid things people say about them. They did not do worse than any other generals, in fact, in the end, they bloody well went did most of the winning, lead by none other than Douglas Haig.

    The Somme may not have been well fought, it was however fought largely at the behest of the French to relieve pressure on them at Verdun, it was launched with inadequately trained troops (because the time was too soon, but not soon enough for the French), and in the end, the two sides (Britain + France vs Germany) suffered about equal casualties, but after that the british improved, the germans declined. Remember, the aftermath to the Somme was the German admission of defeat, the withdrawal in early 1917 to the Hindenburg line.

    It is also true that at the start of the war, the British general staff (such as existed) had never even contemplated in theory the problems of controlling and managing a force larger than the intended 6 division expeditionary force. So everyone was on a steep learning curve, for example only 3 of the divivional generals at the Somme had even commanded a unit as large as a Brigade before, and there were over 40 of them.

    The idea of “Lions led by Donkeys” is largely an invention from the 60’s although some revisionism started as early as the 30’s, for polemical reasons. Lloyd George too contributed to much of the negativity, in part at least because his strategic incompetence and determined refusal to listen to professional advice caused some of the problems and certainly contributed to losses.

    Worth remembering too, that in 1917 there were some peace feelers put around, and the German terms for an end to the war were still draconian; basically the partition of France, German occupation of Brest, Tolouse, and other naval ports, and other concessions from Great Britain. So a negotiated peace was not available unless one wished to hand the Germans what the went on the offensive for.

    So in general, Haig is a much maligned figure. Not perfect by any means, and he made a number of mistakes with tragic consequences, but as Lloyd George discovered as he intrigued to replace him, there was no one better in Great Britain, and he was also superior to Hindenburg and Ludendorf, and probably similarly superior to Foch, Petain, Joffre, and Pershing. Maybe in a better world WW1 would not have been fought, but as it was, from the people available, Haig was probably the best person to lead the armies of Great Britain.

    So, Bomber, STUPIDER than a WW1 general.



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