The Western Front
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  1. #1

    Cool The Western Front

    West Front Summary
    Late during the summer of 1914, train stations all over Europe echoed with the sound of leather boots and the clattering of weapons as millions of enthusiastic young soldiers mobilized for the most glorious conflict since the Napoleonic Wars. In the eyes of many men, pride and honor glowed in competition with the excitement of a wonderful adventure and the knowledge of righting some perceived infringement on the interests of their respective nation. Within weeks however, the excitement and glory gave way to horror and anonymous death, brought on by dangerous new machines of war which took control of the old fields of honor and turned them into desolate moonscapes littered with corpses and wreckage. This new great war, called World War One, began as a local disturbance in Southern Europe but eventually spread into a worldwide struggle which produced two of the greatest bloodlettings in history; the battles of the Somme and Verdun. The western portion of this conflict took place mostly in Belgium and France, and started as a war of "grand maneuvers" as had been theorized before the fighting began. But when more troops were poured into an increasingly cramped area, there came a time when the antagonists could no longer maneuver against each other in any operational sense. When this occurred, the forces involved began entrenching in the face of more and more lethal concentrations of firepower, and the war of the machines and trenches had begun.

    These conditions triggered a complex and difficult to trace series of evolutions in both battlefield tactics and technology. The Germans responded by creating what amounted to modern combined arms squad tactics, something their French and British opponents initially brushed off as infiltration tactics. After a long period of grim failure, the British managed the mass deployment of a new weapon called the tank, which also changed the nature of warfare and helped break the brutal deadlock of position warfare. The French adopted both of these methods and weapons, applying them is a combined form which appealed to the French leadership. It was however, Germany which finally succumbed to the drain of economic warfare, and by October of 1918, German field commanders declared that the war was militarily lost, and that a truce must be sought. From that point on, it was only a matter of time, and the end came on November 11, 1918. The Great War ended, having caused millions of deaths on the Western Front alone. Europe and the world would never be the same.

    "When day dawned we were astonished to see, by degrees, what a sight surrounded us. The sunken road now appeared as nothing but a series of enormous shell-holes filled with pieces of uniform, weapons, and dead bodies. The ground all round, as far as the eye could see, was ploughed by shells. You could search in vain for one wretched blade of grass. This churned-up battlefield was ghastly. Among the living lay the dead. As we dug ourselves in we found them in layers stacked one upon the top of another. One company after another had been shoved into the drum-fire and steadily annihilated. "
    Ernst Junger, after a night march to the front line at Guillemont.



  2. #2


    East Front Summary
    In the late summer of 1914, the ancient monarchies of Austria, Russia and Germany plunged their countries into a world war which engulfed Europe in one of the bloodiest conflicts in history. The Eastern Front of that great war had a profound impact on the remainder of the 20th century, even though the Western Front with its British, French and American combatants achieved somewhat greater fame. The statistics for the Eastern war are grim. More than three-million men died in the fighting, more than nine-million men were wounded, and every major country which participated lost its form of government. One of them, Russia, collapsed so completely and catastrophically that the ensuing consequences still resonate in today's world. It was into this conflict that the soldiers of 1914 marched, with an eagerness and confidence which has not since been repeated.

    "When [such a] mass suffers enormous losses ; when they feel, as they will feel, that other and less costly means of achieving the same end might have been adopted, what will become of their morale?"
    The Russian Army of World War One has become notorious for its reputation as a large, ill-equipped force, yet in 1914, Russia's Imperial Troops were actually well trained and equipped. The real problem with the Russian Army lay in its inadequate transportation infrastructure, which was not able to supply and maintain Russian field formations at wartime establishments. As far as equipment was concerned, the average Russian soldier in the 1st and 2nd Line had sidearms, rifles and machine guns equal to his German counterparts, and probably superior to the Austrians. The standard Russian Field Guns, the 76.2 mm and 122 mm, were robust enough to be used in World War Two and still be in reserve units in the 1980's.



  3. #3

    Thumbs up

    There was many lessons to be learned, but thanks goodness.
    We avoid trench warfare.
    American troops were ill equiped, we had to borrow machine guns from the French.
    Artillery was in short supply, the Marine Corps had to rely on the Army.
    Pior to World War I, the Marine Corps used numbers for the infantry company.
    After serving with the Army divisions, we went to Alphabetic letters for infantry companies and artillery battaries.

    Site of one of the greatest battle in Marine Corps history- the battle for Belleau Wood.

    Close-up of the American cemetery at the edge of the village of Belleau, American churchyard, 1918.
    The large cross on the right is French.
    Why is that French always want to do thing bigger?
    After we saved their butts.
    In the scheme of things, we were late coming into this war as combatants.
    It interesting to note that most of the main players in this war.
    Were related by marriage.
    So it was cousin fighting cousin or one in-law fighting another in-law.
    Many of the houses of Europe had be united through marriage.
    In fact many Germans were working in Great Britian, when war broke out.
    They left to go fight for the motherland.
    Many of their bones were buried on the Western Front.
    I read several books on World War I.
    Thanks for refreshing my mind on that terrible war.

    Semper Fidelis

  4. #4
    In the first photo that Belleau Woods in the distance.
    There's a lot of open terrain before getting into the woods themselves.
    Wonder how many died before reaching the woods themselves?

    Semper Fidelis

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