Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 50 of 57

Thread: WWI - A Short Synopsis

  1. #1

    Default WWI - A Short Synopsis

    Hello chaps,

    it's been a while since I've taken to the sky in my trusty Camel - too long in fact. And I still haven't managed it, with work and other commitments. Even bought the new bombers. Anyway, someone sent this to me recently, and I just have to share it with you. Apologies if you have seen it before:

    WWI - A Short Synopsis

    Germany, Austria and Italy are stood together in the middle of the bar-room, when Serbia bumps into Austria, and spills Austria's pint.

    Austria demands Serbia buy it a complete new suit, because there are splashes on its trouser leg.

    Germany expresses its support for Austria's point of view.

    Britain recommends that everyone calm down a bit.

    Serbia points out that it can't afford a whole suit, but offers to pay for cleaning Austria's trousers.

    Russia and Serbia look at Austria.

    Austria asks Serbia who it's looking at.

    Russia suggests that Austria should leave its little brother alone.

    Austria inquires as to whose army will assist Russia in compelling it to do so.

    Germany appeals to Britain that France has been looking at it, and that this is sufficiently out of order that Britain should not intervene.

    Britain replies that France can look at who it wants to, that Britain is looking at Germany too, and what is Germany going to do about it?

    Germany tells Russia to stop looking at Austria, or Germany will render Russia incapable of such action.

    Britain and France ask Germany whether it's looking at Belgium.

    Turkey and Germany go off into a corner and whisper. When they come back, Turkey makes a show of not looking at anyone.

    Germany rolls up its sleeves, looks at France, and punches Belgium.

    France and Britain punch Germany. Austria punches Russia. Germany punches Britain and France with one hand and Russia with the other. Russia throws a punch at Germany, but misses and nearly falls over. Japan calls over from the other side of the room that it's on Britain's side, but stays there. Italy surprises everyone by punching Austria.

    Australia punches Turkey, and gets punched back. There are no hard feelings, because Britain made Australia do it.

    France gets thrown through a plate glass window, but gets back up and carries on fighting. Russia gets thrown through another one, gets knocked out, suffers brain damage, and wakes up with a complete personality change.

    Italy throws a punch at Austria and misses, but Austria falls over anyway. Italy raises both fists in the air and runs round the room chanting.

    America waits till Germany is about to fall over, then walks over, waves a fist at Germany while Britain knocks it out, then pretends it won the fight all by itself.

    By now all the chairs are broken, and the big mirror over the bar is shattered. Britain, France and America agree that Germany threw the first punch, so the whole thing is Germany's fault. While Germany is still unconscious, they go through its pockets, steal its wallet, and buy drinks for all their friends.

    cheers

    Uncle Bob

  2. #2

  3. #3

    Default

    You forgot about Austria knocking out Serbia and kicking at it a while even after.

  4. #4

    Default

    Daniel, if we go that way it was also forgotten that:

    Portugal wanted to be paid a beer by Britain, Britain told it that this was a dangerous establishment to go into, Portugal insisted in going there and Germany punched it painfully in the eye.

  5. #5

    Default

    And from the debris of broken furniture some cheerful, but long time forgotten chaps appear, looking around for a steady place to sit down and get some well deserved drinks: Czechoslovakia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia

  6. #6

    Default

    I'm getting a definite sense of de ja vue here chaps.
    Maybe I'd better just have another G&t.(Please note the very small t.)
    Kyte.

  7. #7

    Default

    Indeed Rob.
    Some things do ring an ancient bell...

  8. #8

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle_Bob View Post
    America waits till Germany is about to fall over, then walks over, waves a fist at Germany while Britain knocks it out, then pretends it won the fight all by itself.
    Umm -- no. Not even close.

    Try "Every time Germany punches Britain or France, the blood gets on America; then for an encore, Germany takes time out to kick America on its butt; finally, America picks up a chair and knocks Germany into the middle of next week, then tries to explain to the rest how foolish they've been -- but of course, no one is willing to listen, so America leaves, not expecting he'll have to come back in a couple decades to finish the job."

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by csadn View Post
    Every time Germany punches Britain or France, the blood gets on America
    who then turns up late.

    Sorry, can't recall too much American involvement in the Franco-Prussian War.

  11. #11

    Default

    What I frightful ruckus it's in there - Think we'd better come back for a beer some other evening...

    /Niclas

  12. #12

    Default

    Sorry, can't recall too much American involvement in the Franco-Prussian War.
    Don't mind Chris, he is our own resident Father Jack

  13. #13

    Default

    Anyway, this thread is clearly on its way to contravening the "no politics" rule - all posters before me are fined one G&T, payable to all other mess members immediately

  14. #14

    Default

    Another Short synopsis:

    "Short Brothers plc is an aerospace company, usually referred to as Shorts, now based at Belfast, Northern Ireland. Shorts was founded in 1908 in London, and was the first company in the world to make production aircraft. It was particularly notable for its seaplane designs manufactured into the 1950s.

    In 1943, Shorts was nationalised, later denationalised, and in 1948 moved from its main base at Rochester, Kent to Belfast. In the 1960s, Shorts mainly produced turboprop airliners, major components for aerospace prime manufacturers, and missiles for British armed forces.

    In 1989, Shorts was bought by Bombardier, and is the largest manufacturing concern in Northern Ireland. Today, the company's products include aircraft components, engine nacelles and aircraft flight control systems for its parent company Bombardier Aerospace, and for Boeing, Rolls-Royce Deutschland, General Electric and Pratt & Whitney."


  15. #15

    Default

    Yet another short Synopsis:

    A man went up a very difficult mountain. Upon arriving at his peak it saw the other side. He then went down to his house and drank a beer. (You can replace the beer for a G&T in some circles). The End.

  16. #16

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Baldrick62 View Post
    who then turns up late.

    Sorry, can't recall too much American involvement in the Franco-Prussian War.
    I was referring specifically to WW1 -- Germany's choices of action (unrestricted sub warfare; Zimmerman Telegram; etc.) always seem to be based on the question "What can we do to *guarantee* we anger the US enough for them to get involved?"; and Germany was still capable of viable offensive action well into 1918 (the Spring Offensives), whereas the British and French were choking to death on their own dead.

    Tho' given the German track record against American troops, I'd have *loved* to see some Union troops going up against the Prussians in 1870. (Walking very slowly into repeating-rifle fire -- where *have* we seen *that* before? >;) )

  17. #17

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by csadn View Post
    I was referring specifically to WW1 -- Germany's choices of action (unrestricted sub warfare; Zimmerman Telegram; etc.) always seem to be based on the question "What can we do to *guarantee* we anger the US enough for them to get involved?"; and Germany was still capable of viable offensive action well into 1918 (the Spring Offensives), whereas the British and French were choking to death on their own dead.

    Tho' given the German track record against American troops, I'd have *loved* to see some Union troops going up against the Prussians in 1870. (Walking very slowly into repeating-rifle fire -- where *have* we seen *that* before? > )
    Strange I don't recall the Union army being issued with repeating rifles?
    A few regiments maybe but the whole army?
    The Prussian army was equipped with the bolt actioned Dreyse needle gun at this time, which despite its deficiencies did allow the soldiers to fire lying down, at least for the first 100 rounds or so. Plus they had the Krupp guns , which were highly rated.
    So I agree I would have loved to see Union troops against 1870 Prussians, although I don't envisage the same results
    Last edited by Boney10; 08-03-2012 at 06:55.

  18. #18

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Baldrick62 View Post
    who then turns up late.

    Sorry, can't recall too much American involvement in the Franco-Prussian War.
    Confused, since we're talking about WW!.
    There wasn't any reason for either Britian or America to get involved in the Franco-Prussian War.
    Karl

  19. #19

    Default

    Since I can see the way this thread will develop I'll sit back with pocorn and a beer and enjoy the fireworks

  20. #20

    Default

    I took csadn's 'every time' comment to be inclusive, rather than exclusive to WWI; obviously some cross-Atlantic confusion on my part.

  21. #21

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Boney10 View Post
    Strange I don't recall the Union army being issued with repeating rifles?
    A few regiments maybe but the whole army?
    Never a whole army -- but that was more a result of Gen. James Ripley being an imbecile than anything else. That said: By war's end, some 48,000 had been built, so a decent-sized army could have been fully-equipped solely with them. (And the number and type of weapons only increased after the war; tho' mainly in the civilian market; it's a sad comment on the real-world post-war US military of the period that most civilians were better-armed than the troops.)

    Late-war Union Western Armies had a large percentage of troops armed with repeaters (mostly in the cavalry, but some infantry as well); the message was hammered home by Wilder's Brigade at Hoover's Gap:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Hoover%27s_Gap .

    ([sigh] Yes, I am aware this battle does allow for highly-obscene jokes using the words "master", "Bate", and "Johnson"; but I am *NOT* going there, you degenerates!)

    However, I haven't been able to find an accurate accounting of exactly which units had repeaters at what dates.

    Quote Originally Posted by Boney10 View Post
    The Prussian army was equipped with the bolt actioned Dreyse needle gun at this time, which despite its deficiencies did allow the soldiers to fire lying down, at least for the first 100 rounds or so. Plus they had the Krupp guns , which were highly rated.
    So I agree I would have loved to see Union troops against 1870 Prussians, although I don't envisage the same results
    The Dreyse had its charms; but as noted, it also had severe deficiencies: It was shorter-ranged than most weapons of the period; and it tended to break the needle off after a mere 200 rounds or so. (And a lever-action can fired while prone -- guess how I know this :) ). I'd be more concerned with the artillery; however, the US had its share of breechloading iron or steel cannon (tho' mainly naval pieces), and some arty units were led by German-trained troops (one of whom killed Leonidas Polk, in fact), so I can see the arty being a wash. Finally: Most of the Prussian success in the Franco-Prussian War was a result of French incompetence and stupidity at that time; given an even-marginally-competent foe, the Prussians would have been in for a harder fight (witness what happened at the second dance in 1914 :) )

    As to why posts like the OP annoy me quite so much: It operates on the assumption that the US wanted anything to do with WW1, and was merely waiting around like a vulture to swoop down and feast on someone else's kill. NO. The US wanted *nothing* to do with that conflict; much like the Napoleonic Wars period, the US wanted to be neutral -- trade freely with whoever wanted to trade, and the folks starting the wars could get bent. The problem, of course, was also the same as the Napoleonic period: There really wasn't any room for Neutrals in sea trade -- one side or the other would, invariably, see "neutral trade" as "aid and comfort to the enemy", and react accordingly (stop, search, and seize). So, in the end, the US would be forced to pick a side -- and since Britain was The Only Naval Power In Europe at the time, guess who the US is going to have to side with? (One of these times, I need to run a WW1 sea battle where the US assumes Britain is "being a bully", and sides with the Central Powers; then run Britain and France vs. US and Germany....)
    Last edited by csadn; 08-03-2012 at 15:29.

  22. #22

    Default

    Interesting, I am afraid my interest and knowledge of the Union army ends in 1865. I was aware of Wilders brigade of mounted infantry.
    I would be very interested if you do find out how many units were issued repeaters by 1870.
    I still think the Prussians would still have the edge.
    The French we're not the only ones who were stupid and incompetent, I do believe the Union army had its fair share too.
    But then again who doesnt. As I said its an interesting "what if" Prussia v Union troops

  23. #23

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by csadn View Post
    As to why posts like the OP annoy me quite so much: It operates on the assumption that the US wanted anything to do with WW1, and was merely waiting around like a vulture to swoop down and feast on someone else's kill. NO. The US wanted *nothing* to do with that conflict; much like the Napoleonic Wars period, the US wanted to be neutral -- trade freely with whoever wanted to trade, and the folks starting the wars could get bent. The problem, of course, was also the same as the Napoleonic period: There really wasn't any room for Neutrals in sea trade -- one side or the other would, invariably, see "neutral trade" as "aid and comfort to the enemy", and react accordingly (stop, search, and seize). So, in the end, the US would be forced to pick a side -- and since Britain was The Only Naval Power In Europe at the time, guess who the US is going to have to side with? (One of these times, I need to run a WW1 sea battle where the US assumes Britain is "being a bully", and sides with the Central Powers; then run Britain and France vs. US and Germany....)
    Quite true. The biggest difference between 1812 and 1914 was that American mechants and raw material suppliers lost a ton of trade to the blockade of France and French-controled Europe, while in 1914, the French and British more than made up for the lost trade to Germany (never mind that they didn't pay off their debts). So while there was some noise being made about "freedom of the Seas" esp with the "End-user" counterbands the British made up and enforced, there was no political pressure in the USA to do anything about it.
    Karl

  24. #24

    Default

    much like the Napoleonic Wars period, the US wanted to be neutral
    Well done for seeing that policy through to 1812

  25. #25

    Default

    The Prussians should have at least some awareness of US capabilities (and Confederate - I didn't realise until now that there was a Prussian observer with Mosby's Raiders) even if one or two of their officers did take a rather rude and short sighted view of what was, in the mid-1860s the most battle hardened army in the world (mind you, they got as good as they gave from their hosts )

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prussia...ican_Civil_War

  26. #26

    Default

    The biggest difference between 1812 and 1914 was that American mechants and raw material suppliers lost a ton of trade to the blockade of France and French-controled Europe
    Interesting to note that even during the war of 1812 one of the biggest customers for US exports was Britain and Canada via New England and, whilst obviously the US merchant marine not involved in exporting grain to the British army in Spain suffered severe losses to RN cruisers, the French also preyed heavily on US merchant ships between 1812 and 1815.

  27. #27

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by David Manley View Post
    Interesting to note that even during the war of 1812 one of the biggest customers for US exports was Britain and Canada via New England and, whilst obviously the US merchant marine not involved in exporting grain to the British army in Spain suffered severe losses to RN cruisers, the French also preyed heavily on US merchant ships between 1812 and 1815.
    "Never let something like the buyer being on the other side of the war to interfere with profits" could be one of the rules of the Yankee Traders. I suspect for all the Casus Belli being thrown about (seamen impressment, freedom of the seas, etc), the main motivations of the pro-war faction in the USA was a need to prove ourselves against the old Motherland, and maybe pickup some of Canada.
    Karl

  28. #28

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jager View Post
    "Never let something like the buyer being on the other side of the war to interfere with profits" could be one of the rules of the Yankee Traders.[..]
    177:th Rule of Acquisition?

    /Niclas

  29. #29

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Niclas View Post
    177:th Rule of Acquisition?

    /Niclas
    Indeed!
    Karl

  30. #30

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jager View Post
    the main motivations of the pro-war faction in the USA was a need to prove ourselves against the old Motherland, and maybe pickup some of Canada.
    To be true to facts: The guys who really wanted the Wo1812 in the US were the Southerners (who had a grudge from the RevWar, which was a much-nastier affair than points further north) and the Westerners (Kentucky, etc. -- who wanted to grab Canada). Meanwhile, the British wanted it understood "we own the oceans".

    The irony is: Neither side got from the Wo1812 what it wanted -- Britain retained Canada; and the US demonstrated that British control of the waves was *not* absolute.

    Most important in *my* estimation, tho', is: The USN received the field-experience it needed to accomplish what all of Europe combined, including vaunted Britain, had never been able to do -- get the Barbary Corsairs to not only stop demanding tribute, but actually give back a bunch of what they'd stolen over the preceding generations.

    Quote Originally Posted by David Manley View Post
    The Prussians should have at least some awareness of US capabilities (and Confederate - I didn't realise until now that there was a Prussian observer with Mosby's Raiders) even if one or two of their officers did take a rather rude and short sighted view of what was, in the mid-1860s the most battle hardened army in the world (mind you, they got as good as they gave from their hosts :) )
    [Emphasis added]

    The emphasized bit there is why the Prussians would *not* have rolled over a US force -- given Europe managed to entirely ignore the lessons of the ACW to the point they repeated *every single one* of them in WW1, I seriously doubt Prussian arrogance and stupidity would have permitted them to see anything besides "a bunch of Colonial yokels who know nothing of how wars are actually fought"; and that kind of arrogance and stupidity leads to massive body-counts for one's side.

  31. #31

    Default

    Neither side got from the Wo1812 what it wanted
    Wrong. Britain got EXACTLY what it wanted - a return to the antebellum situation. Madison failed in his attempt to grab Canada but succeeded in diverting growth away from maritime trade and into westward expansion.

    and the US demonstrated that British control of the waves was *not* absolute.
    Not that it ever was, but was pretty near so. I know that the myth of 1812 centres on "famous victories" but in strategic terms the RN's operations, in particular the establishment and maintenance of the economic blockade, the convoy system and the management of an effective intelligence network, were text book and brought about a practical end to the war in mid 1813. It just took a year or so for the facts (through the near national bankruptcy, collapse of foreign trade and the merchant marine, and Republican vs. Federalist infighting that risked secession of the Northern states, who had a much more realistic view of the effects of the war than their southern colleagues) to sink in. The war did provide an excellent basis for the USN to mount a rearguard action against decline and a government that saw it as an unnecessary expensive luxury, and the second Barbary War was a sorely-needed shot in the arm to maintain the momentum that was lost along with President and Chesapeake. But even that was lost post 1815 as the US effectively did what everyone else did and let the UK and the RN take up the burden (and expense) of policing the world's oceans (much like the US does today, and someone else will do next century).

    Of course, my Canadian friends know who really won, eh?

  32. #32

    Default

    given Europe managed to entirely ignore the lessons of the ACW to the point they repeated *every single one* of them in WW1,
    Some interesting debate on ACW lessons applied to the Great War here........

    http://www.worldhistoria.com/us-civi...321712963.html

  33. #33

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by csadn View Post
    The emphasized bit there is why the Prussians would *not* have rolled over a US force -- given Europe managed to entirely ignore the lessons of the ACW to the point they repeated *every single one* of them in WW1, I seriously doubt Prussian arrogance and stupidity would have permitted them to see anything besides "a bunch of Colonial yokels who know nothing of how wars are actually fought"; and that kind of arrogance and stupidity leads to massive body-counts for one's side.
    One question that is begging to be asked: what was the US Army like in 1870? Sure if we somehow transport the GAR fresh from Appomattax (sic) to the battlefields of the Austro-Prussian war, we'd see some interesting actions. But what was the regular army like 5 years later? Demobilization, budget cuts etc. The next major war was Spanish-American war, and the Army wasn't all that first class then.
    Karl

  34. #34

    Default

    1870's America was working on it's Manifest Destiny, and was more interested in North America than elsewhere. What the tribes in europe were doing were somewhat less interesting than what the tribes of the northern plains were doing to the likes of Custer and company.

    The lessons of the civil war as far as europe was concerned were all around logistics, seems no one cared about massed firepower effect on lined formations of infantry - now logistics can carry you far, but once a front line fixed in place and mobility was lost, you have 1914-1918's grand slaughters.

    The US Army was reduced to it's standing army status because all the militias went home. But the ability to raise and train militias remained. And of course there was in the 1870's a large body of trained men who could be called to the colors, north and south. It is just inconceivable that any european squabble could interest America at that time though. Well, if Britain could be somehow involved against American shipping, and Britain being an ally of one of the squabblers, then the financial wizards would find us a way to get involved if the war went on long enough to hurt them. But looking at France and Prussia .... Game way over before that could happen.

    And as far as the Austro Prussia war, aka the Seven Weeks War, the problem would really be one of transport numbers of troops fast enought to participate; assuming anyone could find a reason for a war weary nation to worry about anything in europe during 1866.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jager View Post
    One question that is begging to be asked: what was the US Army like in 1870? Sure if we somehow transport the GAR fresh from Appomattax (sic) to the battlefields of the Austro-Prussian war, we'd see some interesting actions. But what was the regular army like 5 years later? Demobilization, budget cuts etc. The next major war was Spanish-American war, and the Army wasn't all that first class then.
    Karl

  35. #35

    Default

    I don't think anyone was suggesting a real world situation where an American army was fighting the Prussians. It was firmly in the realm of hypothesis. A bit like the naval "Rainbow" plans of the 19302-30s. Some were founded in what passed for reality at the time, but many were just fantasy for the sake of presenting an interesting strategic situation against which an assessment of one's forces could be made.

    I'm curious to know how a US army would have reacted to conditions on the Western front had one magically appeared there in 1915. I know the simple answer from some quarters would be "they would have remembered all the lessons from 1865 and would have done just brilliantly", but is there anything in any of the field manuals of the day that would point to that?

  36. #36

    Default

    gotta love hypothesis; let us see, k, we give goliath an AK47 and see how david does with his slingshot..

    The American army in 1915 would have been just as stupid as the europeans. NO ONE trained officers for that level of command (army, army group, theater fronts). Everyone only trained officers up to regimental command. The Prussians led the way with modern staffwork, and the French picked it up after the francoprussian war sorta - and of course the americans were dumb enough to copy the french model instead of the more efficient prussian model. So, no, there were no field manuals or regulations to apply.

    America in 1915 would have just joined the grand slaughter. The American generals were pretty much impressed by the French (god only knows why) and were well on the way to joining the rest of the chateau generalship and the collective insanity that accepted the concept of "that hill is worth two regiments". Note that I condemn the general officers and politicians, not the field officers who replied "generous bastards".

    Quote Originally Posted by David Manley View Post
    I don't think anyone was suggesting a real world situation where an American army was fighting the Prussians. It was firmly in the realm of hypothesis.

    I'm curious to know how a US army would have reacted to conditions on the Western front had one magically appeared there in 1915. I know the simple answer from some quarters would be "they would have remembered all the lessons from 1865 and would have done just brilliantly", but is there anything in any of the field manuals of the day that would point to that?

  37. #37

    Default

    gotta love hypothesis; let us see, k, we give goliath an AK47 and see how david does with his slingshot..
    I recall seeing a book in our local library that had either the Normans or the Saxons at Hastings packing RPGs and AKs. some bizarre time travel SF/F novel I think.

    I prefer my counterfactuals to be a little bit more rooted in the realms of possibility than that

  38. #38

    Default

    Talking of Hastings, I just feel the need to post this picture - rather OT, but I like it

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	verily.jpg 
Views:	61 
Size:	82.3 KB 
ID:	55974

  39. #39

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by David Manley View Post
    I'm curious to know how a US army would have reacted to conditions on the Western front had one magically appeared there in 1915. I know the simple answer from some quarters would be "they would have remembered all the lessons from 1865 and would have done just brilliantly", but is there anything in any of the field manuals of the day that would point to that?
    As they did at Meuse-Argonne in 1918, with the slaughter of the flower of American youth through lack of tactical nous or experience of the post-Victorian battlefield.

  40. #40

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by David Manley View Post
    Wrong. Britain got EXACTLY what it wanted - a return to the antebellum situation.
    Including the right to stop US ships and search for "deserters" -- oh, wait, no; Britain abandoned that policy the same day war was declared, in an attempt to defuse the situation ("too little, too late, pal"). Not sure if they also abandoned the policy which backed it -- that is: "Once British, always British" (one could never "renounce" being a British subject; thus anyone anywhere of British stock was subject to the press).

    Quote Originally Posted by David Manley View Post
    Madison failed in his attempt to grab Canada but succeeded in diverting growth away from maritime trade and into westward expansion.
    If anything that idiot did could be called "successful". (And the Canada grab attempt wasn't Madison's idea -- it was Henry Clay's; Madison only went along with it.)

    That said:

    Quote Originally Posted by David Manley View Post
    Not that it ever was, but was pretty near so.
    Near-as-makes-no-odds; if a warship was encountered on the open seas, chances were it was flying British colors. At the time (1812), Napoleon's only countermove was "the Continental System"; which *might* have worked if railroads had existed, but since bulk-freight movement required ships... well, look at the historical records being provided "down at the dock" (in the SoG forum) -- how often is it mentioned "the French (or whomever) beat the British"? (In fact, note that the only nation which consistently crops up as "defeating the British" is -- survey says? -- the USA.)

    Quote Originally Posted by David Manley View Post
    I know that the myth of 1812 centres on "famous victories" but in strategic terms the RN's operations, in particular the establishment and maintenance of the economic blockade, the convoy system and the management of an effective intelligence network, were text book and brought about a practical end to the war in mid 1813.
    I think Oliver Hazard Perry [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Lake_Erie ], and Thomas Macdonough [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Plattsburgh ], *might* argue that point (never mind "Old Hickory", Andrew Jackson)....

    And then there were these little rat-bastards: http://www.historynet.com/war-of-181...privateers.htm . "Where strikes the dwarf who fights a giant? Where he can."

    The simple fact is: The British were exhausted -- not only by "Mr. Madison's War", but by that little fracas they'd been fighting for the preceding couple *decades* in Europe; they just weren't inclined to admit it. Madison didn't have that option -- the failings of his (and, by extension, Jefferson's) mode of governance had become entirely too apparent to all (incompetent generals; soldiers who wouldn't set foot outside their respective states; an inability to get money to where it was needed for the purpose to which it had been assigned; etc.). It would take another few years -- and a Civil War -- to get rid of the incompetence and stupidity of Clay's ilk.

    Quote Originally Posted by David Manley View Post
    It just took a year or so for the facts (through the near national bankruptcy, collapse of foreign trade and the merchant marine, and Republican vs. Federalist infighting that risked secession of the Northern states, who had a much more realistic view of the effects of the war than their southern colleagues) to sink in.
    See above remarks re Madison, Jefferson, and Clay. It's a pity the Federalists disintegrated as badly as they did, when they did; they could have prevented those clowns making the mess they made of things.

    (Can you tell I'm not a huge fan of Jeffersonians? :) )

    Quote Originally Posted by David Manley View Post
    The war did provide an excellent basis for the USN to mount a rearguard action against decline and a government that saw it as an unnecessary expensive luxury, and the second Barbary War was a sorely-needed shot in the arm to maintain the momentum that was lost along with President and Chesapeake. But even that was lost post 1815 as the US effectively did what everyone else did and let the UK and the RN take up the burden (and expense) of policing the world's oceans (much like the US does today, and someone else will do next century).
    Not that there was any need for such after the US eliminated the Barbary Corsairs -- after that, who was the big threat?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Manley View Post
    Of course, my Canadian friends know who really won, eh? :)
    Of course -- all they have to do is look South. >;)

    (True Story: Every year, Portland holds the Rose Festival. Part of this involves ships of the USN, USCG, and RCN docking along the Willamette. One year, the Canadians sent four ships; the commander of the group looked a little embarrassed when I pointed out his entire force was outgunned by *one* medium-sized Coast Guard cutter, never mind the USN frigate, destroyer, and cruiser parked just upriver....)

    Quote Originally Posted by David Manley View Post
    I'm curious to know how a US army would have reacted to conditions on the Western front had one magically appeared there in 1915. I know the simple answer from some quarters would be "they would have remembered all the lessons from 1865 and would have done just brilliantly", but is there anything in any of the field manuals of the day that would point to that?
    Actually: probably not, given the "groupthink" common in the teaching of warfare. Now, put some military historians, and some (usually younger) men who are less inclined to accept at face value what is taught to them, in charge, and *then* one might get the answer "they'd look at the situation, and say, 'This looks familiar'".

    It's a shining example of one of my favorite lines from the movie _Ronin_: "The Map is not the Territory."
    Last edited by csadn; 08-05-2012 at 21:40.

  41. #41

    Default

    Including the right to stop US ships and search for "deserters" -- oh, wait, no; Britain abandoned that policy the same day war was declared, in an attempt to defuse the situation ("too little, too late, pal").
    Different times, different laws. remember, in times past it would be legal for me to pop over the road and put an arrow through my Welsh friend's head, or for you to own slaves (I always find "free trade and sailors rights" to be an interesting concept from a country that treated slave ownership as routine, but different times, different laws, and it only took you guys another 50 years or so to finally sort that one out). And "deserters" is bang on. Think of these people as being the early 19th century equivalent of draft dodgers, aided by US counsels and others who were prepared to provide fake papers. In a similar situation I have no doubt whatsoever that any other country engaged in an existential conflict whilst enjoying a fairly small pool of available expertise - and seeing that expertise taking the soft option and buggering off - would do the same thing.


    I think Oliver Hazard Perry and Thomas Macdonough *might* argue that point
    They might well lose. OK, they won resounding victories, and the farce at New Orleans was no great shining example of pre-planning, but in the end, what did they achieve strategically? If Perry's victory had paved the way for resounding US victory that brought Canada into the union and secured Madison's war aims then fine. if Macdonough's victory had saved the US from the tyrant's invasion then fine. But they didn't. In the grand scheme of things they were irrelevant to the grand strategic game that was being played out at sea. And that was the blockade and the bankrupting of America which was going very nicely.

    And then there were these little rat-bastards
    Again, any significant strategic value? Apparently so, but on closer examination no. There was obviously a financial cost that their operations incurred but to look at the economic effect one only has to look at insurance rates for British shipping. If there was a significant effect to be seen it would be here, and insurance rates stayed stable throughout the war. Contrast this with insurance rates charged on US ship owners (which went through the roof, IIRC 50% of the value of ship and cargo at various times) - but then thats not really surprising. 1613 captures from a merchant fleet of 20,000+ ships (30% of which were recaptured) has rather less effect than similar losses (1400+ merchants plus over 200 privateers) from a fleet less than half that size. Privateers were up against a highly effective convoy system (thanks to the French) that had been perfected over many years, admittedly by no means perfect, but still highly effective, and the majority of ships lost were those that were running independently, or which decided to bolt from a convoy against orders to seek some commercial gain. And by 1814 the effect of privateering was much less keenly felt, and was becoming a far more hazardous - and much less profitable - business (witness the orders that went out NOT to try to bring captures in for sale, but to sink them - at that point. Much of the kudos accorded to the privateers was due to American internal politics, where they were elevated to the status of militiamen as national heroes. (oh, and that article you linked to? One of the most poorly researched pieces purporting to cover fact that I've had the pleasure of reading in a long while )

    The war was effectively over in June 1813. The point was realised by Gallatin at Ghent in June 1814. It was rather unfortunate that it still took several months for the facts to sink in.

    Not that there was any need for such after the US eliminated the Barbary Corsairs -- after that, who was the big threat?
    Indeed, and its an argument that some countries use for gutting their navies today. With the RN enforcing pax britannica on the world's oceans for the rest of the century there was really no need. oh, as an aside, a slight exaggeration saying the US "eliminated" the Barbary Corsairs. Dented them, yes, but "elimination" came in the years afterwards when Britain, France and Holland got over the frightful fracas brought about by those dreadful revolutionaries and that upstart corporal and cleaned house in Algiers and elsewhere (most notably Pellew's attack on that city in 1816, Neal's arid of 1824 and the eventual invasion and occupation of Algeria by the French in 1830 - proving (as we should be learning in Somalia but - hey, a lesson from history missed) the only way to really stamp out a pirate infestation is to take away their bases of operation.

    (btw, always thought it was a bit rich - Morocco the first country to recognise the US, and also the first Barbary nation to seize a US merchant ship!)


    Now, put some military historians, and some (usually younger) men who are less inclined to accept at face value what is taught to them, in charge, and *then* one might get the answer "they'd look at the situation, and say, 'This looks familiar'".
    Amen to that - the number of "reorganisations" and other key strategic decisions that I've experienced or witnessed where the "grown ups" make the same f**k ups as their predecessors and the youngsters try to point out how it didn't work the last time, or the time before that, or the time before that.....
    Last edited by David Manley; 08-06-2012 at 13:02.

  42. #42

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by David Manley View Post
    (I always find "free trade and sailors rights" to be an interesting concept from a country that treated slave ownership as routine, but different times, different laws, and it only took you guys another 50 years or so to finally sort that one out).
    Would this be a bad time to mention I am distantly related to Harriet Beecher Stowe; so you can probably guess where I come down on that issue? >:)

    Quote Originally Posted by David Manley View Post
    And "deserters" is bang on. Think of these people as being the early 19th century equivalent of draft dodgers, aided by US counsels and others who were prepared to provide fake papers.
    If the accounts of what discipline and command on British ships was like is any indicator, I don't blame any of them for taking to heel.

    I especially don't recall any instances of a man *cutting off his own hand, and swearing he would cut off a foot* before serving again in the US Navy....

    IIRC, it was no less than Horatio Nelson who said "There must be something we can do to make our men fly to the colours in time of war, rather than fly *from* them" (HN did his part, to be sure; had more followed his example, this would never have been a problem).

    Quote Originally Posted by David Manley View Post
    In a similar situation I have no doubt whatsoever that any other country engaged in an existential conflict whilst enjoying a fairly small pool of available expertise - and seeing that expertise taking the soft option and buggering off - would do the same thing.
    One was -- the US colonies. Here's how well it worked: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impress...ntinental_Navy .

    (Short form: It didn't -- same way every other form of forced-service has failed, before and since. Better to have a blank file than a man who doesn't want to be there, and requires watching-over by a reliable man.)


    Quote Originally Posted by David Manley View Post
    They might well lose. OK, they won resounding victories, and the farce at New Orleans was no great shining example of pre-planning, but in the end, what did they achieve strategically? If Perry's victory had paved the way for resounding US victory that brought Canada into the union and secured Madison's war aims then fine. if Macdonough's victory had saved the US from the tyrant's invasion then fine. But they didn't. In the grand scheme of things they were irrelevant to the grand strategic game that was being played out at sea.
    Hardly -- there was a 10,000-man British Army moving through New York state, being supported by the British naval force on the lakes -- at least, right up to where both British forces got seven bales of s*** kicked out of them (Plattsburgh, both sea and land). There was also a British siege of Baltimore which failed miserably about this same time (maybe you've heard of it -- some guy named Francis Scott Key wrote a poem about it... >:) ), and that little dustup over who would control the outlet of the Mississippi (which also has a song to its credit :) ). So apart from Madison's epic failure at Bladensburg, the US forces were doing just fine despite Britain's best efforts to bankrupt the country.

    Quote Originally Posted by David Manley View Post
    And that was the blockade and the bankrupting of America which was going very nicely.
    Hardly. The New England colonies took more damage from Jefferson's and Madison's idiotic trade-restraints than from the 1812 blockade (the blockade knocked trade down to $7million in 1814, but the various non-intercourse acts of '07 and '09 did that level of harm, and more, even earlier -- US trade was worth ~$130million in 1807, but only $45million in 1811, after Jefferson s*** the bed) -- hell, their best customer was Britain itself, who needed US foodstuffs for the campaign in Spain! Meanwhile, look at what US privateers were doing to shipping-insurance rates even as late as 1814 (and they could have been even more effective had they torched their captures outright rather than trying to bring them to a port for resale).

    Quote Originally Posted by David Manley View Post
    There was obviously a financial cost that their operations incurred but to look at the economic effect one only has to look at insurance rates for British shipping. If there was a significant effect to be seen it would be here, and insurance rates stayed stable throughout the war.
    Yes, they were "stable" -- at 30% of the value of the cargo throughout the War, some half-again as much as they ever reached during the depths of the Napoleonic Wars. Much past 10%, no one's making any money, not even the insurers. ("The power to Insure is the power to Destroy"? :) )

    Quote Originally Posted by David Manley View Post
    (oh, and that article you linked to? One of the most poorly researched pieces purporting to cover fact that I've had the pleasure of reading in a long while :) )
    Given the tripe-marsh I've waded through on the other side's research....

    Quote Originally Posted by David Manley View Post
    The war was effectively over in June 1813. The point was realised by Gallatin at Ghent in June 1814. It was rather unfortunate that it still took several months for the facts to sink in.
    And yet, at least three major campaigns were in progress the year following (see earlier) -- none of which ended successfully for the British. Remarkable activity for a war which was "over".

    Quote Originally Posted by David Manley View Post
    Indeed, and its an argument that some countries use for gutting their navies today. With the RN enforcing pax britannica on the world's oceans for the rest of the century there was really no need. oh, as an aside, a slight exaggeration saying the US "eliminated" the Barbary Corsairs. Dented them, yes, but "elimination" came in the years afterwards when Britain, France and Holland got over the frightful fracas brought about by those dreadful revolutionaries and that upstart corporal and cleaned house in Algiers and elsewhere (most notably Pellew's attack on that city in 1816, Neal's arid of 1824 and the eventual invasion and occupation of Algeria by the French in 1830
    True -- but it was the US who first put the boot into the corsairs, convincing them to leave a nation's trade alone; and showed there was another option besides "paying the Danegeld" (a pity Kipling hadn't come along 100 years earlier; maybe the Europeans would have gotten the point then).

    Quote Originally Posted by David Manley View Post
    - proving (as we should be learning in Somalia but - hey, a lesson from history missed) the only way to really stamp out a pirate infestation is to take away their bases of operation.
    Indeed.

    Quote Originally Posted by David Manley View Post
    (btw, always thought it was a bit rich - Morocco the first country to recognise the US, and also the first Barbary nation to seize a US merchant ship!)
    I forget where in the Koran it says "one is permitted to lie to infidels"; and then they wonder why no one trusts them....


    Quote Originally Posted by David Manley View Post
    Amen to that - the number of "reorganisations" and other key strategic decisions that I've experienced or witnessed where the "grown ups" make the same f**k ups as their predecessors and the youngsters try to point out how it didn't work the last time, or the time before that, or the time before that.....
    And that's the point of what I said in reply to the OP: That story is predicated on an incorrect assumption -- that the US's motivations were the same as the various European powers'. The US wasn't involved in any of the various treaties which touched off WW1; the US was Isolationist -- "leave us alone, unless you're willing to do business like civilized folk", as it had always been since its independence. (FCOL, Wilson's '16 campaign slogan was "He kept us out of war" -- does that suggest anything to anyone?) In the bar brawl described, the US is the guy sitting quietly in the corner, minding his own business, trying to enjoy his drink -- and someone (usually Germany) keeps interrupting him by spattering Britain's and France's blood on him. To quote Bill Cosby: "I don't want Justice -- I just want Quiet!" Took a couple tries, but the US finally got it.... >:)

  43. #43

    Default

    If the accounts of what discipline and command on British ships was like is any indicator, I don't blame any of them for taking to heel.
    There's a lot of sensationalism out there, not helped by historical fiction which naturally takes the more "juicy" aspects of events and tends to portray them as routine. But a serious study would show that discipline and command was, in general, pretty good. Of course its easy to find horror stories, but then so it is in any organisation. And of course the larger the organisation the easier it is to do so.

    Yes, they were "stable" -- at 30% of the value of the cargo throughout the War,
    Depends on the route. For sailings to Halifax, yes they did get that high occasionally. For general trade they were far lower (7-10%) which was pretty good considering the world wide nature of the ongoing wars with the US and France. General US rates hit, what, 75% in 1814?
    there was a 10,000-man British Army moving through New York state
    True, but was there an intention to permanently occupy territory? No. remember, part of Maine was occupied but there was no intention of retaining that. Baltimore was just a raid, and of course followed the lamentable loss of President Madison's dinner (and his house).

    And yet, at least three major campaigns were in progress the year following (see earlier) -- none of which ended successfully for the British. Remarkable activity for a war which was "over".
    But you've missed the point. NONE OF THOSE WERE RELEVANT. The country was bankrupt, it was defaulting on its debts and its bonds were junk. Plattsburg and New Orleans were a complete and utter waste of time and lives - the latter due to a spectacular failure to judge the local mood - and I suspect both operations were mounted more to be seen to be doing something than for any real military advantage. That was being pressed - and won - in the blockade. Of course the USN learned this lesson well and won the Civil War in the same style 50 years later.

    On the rest of it - i can only suggest reading Professor Lambert's recent book on the war. Its a thumping good - and very well researched - read.

    and someone (usually Germany)
    Never a truer word

  44. #44

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by David Manley View Post
    But you've missed the point. NONE OF THOSE WERE RELEVANT.
    On the contrary -- there were completely relevant. The British were pressing for concessions across the board -- locking the US out of Michigan entirely (the area was to be turned into a "Native homeland", permanently demilitarized); sole control of the Great Lakes; British control over New Orleans (and thus the mouths of the Mississippi); among others. (Unconfirmed rumors suggest Britain also wanted New England to split off; but even I don't buy that.) Those defeats hammered home the futility of further effort, at least without a *massive* increase in expenditures of money and lives; the diplomats -- on both sides, mind -- finally decided on "status quo ante bellum" as the best option (minus the already-dead impressment issue, and adding shared control of the Great Lakes -- which, IIRC, remains unchanged to this day; the largest "combat vessel" allowed on the GL is no bigger than a USCG cutter).

    As to the US economy: Hell, the Jefferson/Madison bunch were already defaulting, or having to seriously renegotiate terms of debt, before Madison and Clay started the War; if the War hadn't happened, those idiots would still have trashed the US economy with their non-intercourse decrees -- all they did was add a body count to an already-FUBAR situation (hence my deep-seated Hate for them and theirs). That the USN, the privateers, and the rest managed to accomplish what they did despite the Biblical idiocy of the gov't is a Big Win (and am I the only one who notices that at the time it was impossible for the Government to micromanage naval vessels, or any army more than a day's ride away from the capitol; and the remarkable successes achieved by those same groups, whereas the one within "blast radius" of the gov't failed miserably? Hmm...).

  45. #45

    Default

    I might give you the native homeland one (but evidence of that is sketchy at best). Mind you, I guess it would have been nice to allow the residents a homeland, but c'est la vie. New Orleans? No, it wasn't government policy to occupy and seize. The opportunity to do that had been and gone, and everyone realised in 1814 that it was clearly impractical (to do so would have meant relocating practically the entire active British army to Louisiana). There was the rather daft military view that an attack there could lead to an insurrection, but as I mentioned this was a spectacular failure to read the local situation (which was a surprise since Warren did so well on this on the Eastern seaboard - but of course he had returned to Britain by then). Lambert uses a nice phrase to describe the locals, "more American than the Americans". But the principle British position was "status quo ante bellum" and had been from the start. I guess its a difference in perspective. To some, an event is a pivotal moment, a defining moment. But that same event to others is just another Tuesday".

    Micromanagement - hmm, yes. I know a few senior officers who rue the day they were blessed with the joy of instant comms back to the homeland and the Commander In Chief! Who knew that "long screwdrivers" could extend 12000 miles
    Last edited by David Manley; 08-07-2012 at 23:14.

  46. #46

    Default

    Unconfirmed rumors suggest Britain also wanted New England to split off; but even I don't buy that
    It was more a case of the British exposing the significant differences between the North and South and the resulting threat that some Northern states would secede, which Madison saw as a distinct risk. Unsurprisingly, New England and Massachusetts had a far more realistic view of the war and its prospects than the government. Again, there was no British aim to occupy and retain territory (although Canadians and some residents might have wanted Maine to sort out some of the issues left after 1776).

  47. #47

    Default

    Looks like Kyte's gin-addled brain hadn't given up the ghost after all when he talked of deja vu:

    http://www.wingsofwar.org/forums/sho...as-a-bar-fight

    At least csadn's thread drift was far more entertaining and informative 2nd time around.

  48. #48

    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Niclas View Post
    177:th Rule of Acquisition?

    /Niclas
    Yes a wonderful tome is the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition.

    And rule #35 "War is good for business"

  49. #49

    Default

    As long as you win. Ask Carthage how good business was after their last war.

    Quote Originally Posted by gully_raker View Post
    Yes a wonderful tome is the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition.

    And rule #35 "War is good for business"

  50. #50

    Default

    Looks like Kyte's gin-addled brain hadn't given up the ghost after all when he talked of deja vu:
    Lets dust off this thread again in 2014



Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •