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Sir Douglas Haig: hufter of heilige?
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Was Haig een hufter of een heilige?
Het was een andere tijd, maar Haig deugde niet
59%
 59%  [ 37 ]
Het was een andere tijd, Haig deugde
8%
 8%  [ 5 ]
Haig had zijn voor en tegens
25%
 25%  [ 16 ]
Geen mening
6%
 6%  [ 4 ]
Totaal aantal stemmen : 62

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erik



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BerichtGeplaatst: 12 Jan 2006 16:46    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Het was een andere tijd.
Men kan nu boeken volschrijven over hem.Wat er zich in zijn geest afspeelde zal men nooit weten.
Was hij een goed of slecht leider?Het is hoe je er tegenaan kijkt.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 12 Jan 2006 17:39    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Yvonne @ 12 Jan 2006 11:30 schreef:

En op het forum en op de wiki Laughing


Hier dus:

http://www.forumeerstewereldoorlog.nl/wiki/index.php/Haig
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Folkert



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BerichtGeplaatst: 13 Jan 2006 1:07    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Ok, zal me de komende dagen wat meer verdiepen in Haig en proberen mijn stelling met wat argumenten te onderbouwen...
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koos24



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BerichtGeplaatst: 04 Apr 2006 23:03    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Met het gevaar af dat ik een domme vraag stel doe ik het toch.
Ook ik lees eigenlijk altijd dat Haig een slachter / slager enz. is maar toch heeft hij door de jaren heen een fanclub gekregen het zg. pro-Haig kamp.

Mijn Engels is gewoon niet goed genoeg om de essentie uit de lappen Engelse tekst te halen maar wat zijn nu eigenlijk de hoofdargumenten die de deze club aanvoerd om de kritiek op Haig te weerleggen.
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Richard



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BerichtGeplaatst: 05 Apr 2006 0:07    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Heel in het kort en uiteraard voor discussie vatbaar: het hoofdargument is dat hij het Duitse leger uitgeput heeft. Wat vergeten of soms zelfs betwist wordt is dat hij hetzelfde met zijn eigen legers deed. De cijfers spreken echter wat mij betreft boekdelen.

Alleen al bij de Somme en bij Ieper in 1917 vielen door zijn offensieven veel meer dan een miljoen slachtoffers zonder dat er van een strategische winst van enige omvang sprake was. Ik kan dat niet zien als iets dat als een getuigenis van grote inzichten omschreven kan worden. Wat ik wel tot zijn verdienste reken is dat hij een beter verband/samenwerking tussen de artillerie en de infanterie tot stand wist te brengen die 'kostenbesparend' in Britse mensenlevens was.

Maar mijn mening is niet volledig zaligmakend, dat moet ik toegeven als ik de soms toch wel steekhoudende tegenargumenten van fans van hem hoor. En die zijn er vreemd genoeg ook. Ze hebben me alleen nog nooit kunnen overtuigen.
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koos24



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BerichtGeplaatst: 07 Apr 2006 15:41    Onderwerp: zomaar Reageer met quote

Zo maar een vraag die in me opkomt.
In die tijd waren de meeste landen toch ook democratieen en was er nu helemaal niemand die aan de bel trok?

Er moet toch iemand gezien hebben dat zijn strategie (of was het tactiek?) niets opleverde en veel kostte?!
Kwamen er geen verhalen van het front?
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Richard



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BerichtGeplaatst: 07 Apr 2006 17:42    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

David Lloyd George was de Britse eindverantwoordelijke als premier en deze greep niet in.
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koos24



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BerichtGeplaatst: 07 Apr 2006 19:17    Onderwerp: Zuid Afrika Reageer met quote

Waarom ik me dit afvroeg kwam door het volgende.
In Zuid Afrika heb ik ook het een en ander aan slagvelden bezocht en redelijk wat gelezen over de "Boerenoorlog"

Opvallend daaraan was dat Lord Kitchener door het thuisfront werd teruggefloten toen de omstandigheden van de burgers in de concentratiekampen bekend werden.
Dit leidde tot een aanzienlijke verbetering van deze toestanden!!

Ik begrijp dus dat het thuisfront meer interesse had voor gevangen vrouwen & kinderen in Zuid Afrika dan in hun zonen in de Vlaamse en Franse modder.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 05 Jun 2006 10:06    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Quote:
Wie had als bijnaam ‘de Slachter van de Somme’ ?

De Britse generaal Douglas Haig. Hij kreeg deze bijnaam omdat hij verantwoordelijk werd gehouden voor de Britse nederlaag en de grote verliezen bij de Slag aan de Somme in 1916.


Van wie kreeg hij eigenlijk deze bijnaam en is hij ooit ter verantwoording geroepen?
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BerichtGeplaatst: 19 Jun 2006 10:34    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Haig was a fighteron the home front
NEIL GRIFFITHS

TOMORROW sees the 85th anniversary of the British Legion. Created in Edinburgh in 1921 by Scots, the so-called "Unity Conference" was held in St Cuthbert's Church in Lothian Road. Five bitterly divided ex-service groups united to campaign for appropriate benefits. Today there are Legion clubs all over the world, including Tokyo and Antwerp, or affiliates in Canada, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.

Millions of old soldiers and widows have benefited from the Legion's largesse. Few Edinburgh conferences can ever have had such an enormous effect. And the one man that made all this possible was Charlotte Square-born Douglas Haig. He was the only man capable of uniting the factions, and, indeed, one of only a handful who were interested in the welfare of his former soldiers.

Yet there can be few whose public standing has risen and fallen like Field Marshal Haig. To some he is a hate figure, the Butcher of Flanders who will forever be associated with the slaughter of the Somme and Passchendaele.

But that is not how he was seen in his own time. There is no escaping the human carnage of the Great War, it was bloody and long, and blighted an entire generation. We are still emotionally affected - but it is wrong to point a finger at one man.

Given the military technology of the day there could only ever have been colossal death figures. Haig did not invent the war; it was brought about by the duplicity, misjudgement and ambition of politicians. Haig had the most terrifying job in the 20th century, commanding an army on the Western front during the First World War. Whatever orders Haig gave would lead to the death of thousands. There is no sign he was callous. Haig kept British casualty figures lower than those of any of the major powers, both in real terms and as a percentage.

Haig took a tiny force, expanded it 40 times over, and crushed the greatest army in Europe. When he died in 1928, his cortege from Edinburgh to Dryburgh Abbey was lined by countless thousands of his former soldiers. These were the men we might expect to have loathed him, but they didn't. They understood the necessity for victory and that sending men to their deaths is a nasty reality of military command. He was no butcher to them. He was a soldier who had won the war.

At the end 1918, a prematurely aged 57-year-old Haig could have retired to his beloved Borders but he did not. He initially refused an earldom "until the PM has fixed allowances for all ranks of the armies". The Government argued that the disabled were well looked after by charities but Haig was insistent that this was a duty of the state. He tirelessly campaigned on behalf of the ex-service community and founded the British Legion because he realised that the Government required a single voice to listen to. The Earl Haig Fund launched the Poppy Appeal in 1921 too which still serves to unite the country in remembrance every November.

In 1917, aware of the problems ahead, Haig drew up careful plans for the provision of post-war employment for ex-servicemen, which Lloyd George ignored. He spotted in 1918 that over half of his officers were coming via the sergeants' mess and would require help, so the Officers' Association was created. Haig also established the Empire Ex- Services League.

Where Haig was culpable was in his unbending belief that success was just around the corner. Repeated memos bore the same message. This was not optimism, it was delusion. After defeat at Cambrai in 1917, he wrote of "our uninterrupted successes all this year". The Somme was, apparently, "a success, all went like clockwork".

Haig's name was not attacked until the late 1930s, and in the 1960s by anti-war writers who found him an easy target.

No matter how good or bad a general, Haig will always be associated with the war's enormous losses. While it is right that we remember the conflict for the intensity of its suffering, we should also differentiate between the maelstrom and the man.

Surprisingly, Haig failed to unite the Legion. Two months after the 1921 Unity Conference, office bearers went to London and created another British Legion. Now based in Pall Mall, the Royal British Legion has 500,000 members all over the globe.

Back in Scotland there was outrage and the body re-named itself the British Legion (Scotland) straight away. The two have never merged. Since 1971 the organisation north of the Border has been called the Royal British Legion Scotland.

Tomorrow Legionnaires will gather at Haig's Dryburgh Abbey grave for a commemorative service. History has not served him as well as he served his country, but Haig's charitable legacies have not been forgotten.

http://living.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=890872006
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BerichtGeplaatst: 16 Jul 2006 14:47    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Yvonne @ 05 Jun 2006 11:06 schreef:
Quote:
Wie had als bijnaam ‘de Slachter van de Somme’ ?

De Britse generaal Douglas Haig. Hij kreeg deze bijnaam omdat hij verantwoordelijk werd gehouden voor de Britse nederlaag en de grote verliezen bij de Slag aan de Somme in 1916.


Van wie kreeg hij eigenlijk deze bijnaam en is hij ooit ter verantwoording geroepen?


Er zijn nogal wat legeraanvoerders de Britse krijgsgeschiedenis ingegaan als 'butcher'. de bijnnaam was dus niet zo specifiek Haig opgeplakt.
Lees bijvoorbeeld over 'butcher' Cumberland, die in 1745 de Schotten versloeg:
Cumberland was recalled to England to oppose the invasion of England of the Jacobite forces under Charles Edward Stuart, the Young Pretender, grandson of the deposed king James II. Cumberland's army defeated the Scots at the Battle of Culloden Moor in Inverness on 16 April 1746, at which about 1,000 Scots died. After the battle he was asked for orders: he wrote, "No quarter", on the back of a playing card (the nine of diamonds - still known as the 'curse of Scotland'). As a result of this action he was given the epithet "Butcher" Cumberland. A flower was named after him to mark his success at Culloden. In England it is known as the Sweet William but in Scotland it is known as the Stinking Billy. He remained in Scotland for three months after the battle, rounding up some 3,500 men and executing about 120. The English soldiers killed everyone they found, regardless of age or gender (see John Prebble's Culloden, Penguin, 1961)
En ik meen dat de Engelse kranten Churchill ook zo noemden vanwege zijn drift achter het Dardanellen aanvalsplan (Gallipoli).

Ik las ergens dat Haig die naam al kreeg in 1915 toen de resultaten van Neuve Chapelle nihil bleken te zijn. Haig was toen nog geen opperbevelhebber maar commandeerde het eerste leger.

In de nieuwe discussies (vanaf de jaren zestig, zeventig) omtrent Haig gaat het om de vraag of Haig nu al of niet welbewust een strategie van wearing-out of attrition (dood laten bloeden) voerde nota bene door aldoor aanvallen te ondernemen tegen vijanden die in loopgraven, meestal ook nog rond de hoger -gunstig- gelegen versterkingen zaten. Of dat dit er later van gemaakt is (Sheffield, Corrigan) nadat de doorbraak waarop hij wel degelijk uit was, aldoor maar niet tot stand gebracht kon worden.
En zo ja, of die strategie dan geslaagd is. Waarschijnlijk niet gezien alle rekenkundige excercities waaruit bleek dat de aanvallende partij veel grotere verliezen leed dan de verdedigende. En dat hadden de Duitsers eerder en beter door dan Haig die als een koppige Schot bleef vasthouden aan zijn eigen beperkte repertoire van strategische ideeen.
En de betogen die de bloedige onnozelheid van Haig tot onderwerp hebben (Strachan, Stevenson) , benadrukken steeds dat Haig niet alleen zijn klassieken niet kende, maar ook veel minder diepgaand dan de Duitsers de recente oorlogen geevalueerd heeft. De successen van de Japanners (1904/5 tegen Rusland) met het machine geweer zouden Haig volkomen ontgaan zijn. Zijn adellijke officieren wilden dan ook veel liever de cavallerie laten galopperen. De immobiliteit van de loopgravenoorlog was maar tijdelijk en a-typisch voor een moderne oorlog, heette het.

Samenvattend, Haig was direct na de oorlog en zeker niet bij zijn leven zo omstreden als dat nu het geval is. Gaandeweg is de discussie over zijn strategie en de resulaten heftiger geworden. Hij wordt verdedigd door exclusief Engelse auteurs, terwijl de bewoordingen over zijn veldheerschap in eigen land maar temeer in Australie en Canada veel scherper zijn geworden.

Yvonne vraagt of Haig zich niet hoefde te verantwoorden. Ja natuurlijk, maar Haig was charmant, goedgebekt en ontzag zich ook niet een voorstelling van zaken te geven die op z'n minst eenzijdig was. En hoe controleerbaar waren Haigs beweringen toen (in het heetst van de strijd), bijvoorbeeld over de moraal, verliezen, de bewapening van de tegenpartij?
In november 1998 eiste de Engelse krant The Express op de voorpagina dat Haigs standbeeld in London neergehaald zou worden, omdat hij verantwoordelijk was geweest voor de grootste slachtingen onder de Britse soldaten in de Britse geschiedenis.
In de dagboeken van politici uit die tijd bijvoorbeeld in het dagboek van Lloyd George wordt niets heel gelaten van Haigs kwaliteiten. Vergelijk ook Churchill.
Nog een relativerende opmerking. Wat voor haig geldt, geldt in zekere mate ook voor Foch. Ze vinden tesnlotte samen Petain een defaittist omdat die zijn tactiek baseerde op het sparen van levens.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 29 Jul 2006 8:42    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

UK

Earl Haig: Villainous victor?

The son of Field Marshal Earl Haig, the Commander in Chief of the British Expeditionary Forces (BEF) in World War I, has come to his father's defence as debate rages over his deserved place in history.

World War 1:Special Section

Earl Haig says his father should be remembered as one of the great figures of the 20th century. "It is high time that my father was given credit for the job he did and the victories he achieved," he said.

However, many historians believe Haig was a callous leader who should bear the responsibility of dispatching hundreds of thousands of men to their deaths on the Western Front. He also stands accused of being a "Chateau-General" who lived in luxury a safe distance from the front line.

On his victorious return home in 1918, Haig was awarded the Order of Merit, given Ł100,000 and made the first Earl of Bemersyde.

A statue of him on horseback has held pride of place on Whitehall since 1937. His critics say it is time for it to be replaced with a memorial to the soldiers lost in his campaigns.


The Western Front

When World War I broke out Haig commanded the British Ist Corps as part of the BEF and became commander in chief of the BEF in 1915.



As the war became bogged down in the trenches he oversaw the terrible battles of the Somme which cost more than 400,000 casualties and the campaign in Passchendaele which claimed another 230,000 lives.

His tactics finally won out in the last 100 days of battle, when the BEF engaged and defeated 99 of the 197 German divisions in the West capturing 188,700 prisoners.

Tactics

Haig's approach to trench warfare followed a similar pattern throughout the war. His campaigns always started with heavy artillery bombardment to destroy the German barbed wire in front of their trenches, followed up by a massed infantry attack over No Mans land.



The bombardment was designed to kill or demoralise the machine-gun armed German front line and allow Haig's men to cross safely to the trenches before they were exposed to deadly fire.

However, often the artillery did not cut the wire and disable the German artillery at the front. The result was that swarms of British troops went over the top into a hail of German machine-gun fire.



The military historian Alan Clark has described Douglas Haig's strategy as blinkered. He claims that the military leader should bear a heavy and perhaps unforgivable responsibility for the British slaughter and calls into question the Commander's judgement and humanity.

Earl Haig, who says he has received "hate mail" because of his father's reputation, says te perception that British troops were "lions led by donkeys" is extremely hurtful.

He says his father has never been given the credit he deserved for the victories he achieved in 1918, which ended the war.

The Earl says he believed historians were coming to the view that "it had to be fought out".

"My father and the other commanders did not start the war and they faced so many problems. My father was doing his best."

In his own final despatch Field Marshal Haig said that the victory of 1918 could only be understood if "... the long succession of battles which commenced on the Somme in 1916... are viewed as forming one great and continuous engagement."

Chateau General?

Haig has also been criticised for being a distant leader who was stern and unapproachable even to his own officers. Historians claim that Haig did not share the suffering and deprivations of his troops who endured a miserable existence in the rat-infested trenches.

In turn his supporters say that little is known about the problems he faced in France between 1914 and 1918. They say that Haig's hands were tied by coalition warfare and that lead by him his men became familiar with a chemical warfare, aerial and armoured weapons technologies.

Above all his advocates say that he maintained the faith and loyalty of his subordinates throughout the harshest of battles.

Earl Haig says: "He is portrayed as this callous man. He was the most humane man. He did his best."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/211471.stm
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koos24



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BerichtGeplaatst: 01 Aug 2006 15:10    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Kan je iemand kwalijk nemen dat hij de effecten van een artillerie bombardement OVERschat?! Nee, denk dat dat in alle moderne oorlogen gebeurd.
Generaal Lee overkwam het in Gettysburg, het overkwam de geallieerden tijdens Overlord (denk met name aan Omaha beach) en zelfs nu denk Israel de Hezbollah te breken met bombardementen en blijkt het niet te lukken.

Het mislukken van het Somme offensief (1916) door het falen van het artillerie bombardement is dus iets wat ik Haig maar gedeeltelijk aanreken.
Erger vind ik zijn passieve houding, het maar laten aanmodderen van zijn troepen tijdens totaal mislukte aanvallen.
Ver achter het front geen beslissing kunnen, durven, willen nemen om te stoppen en zo honderduizenden de dood in jagen.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 23 Apr 2008 10:39    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

In dit stuk wordt hij een "great Captain"genoemd

Haig; A Great Captain
by Gervase Phillips
(Revised, 9/99)
© Gervase Phillips, 1999 Haig: A Great Captain

In the final 100 days of the Great War the BEF engaged, and defeated, 99 of the 197 German Divisions in the West. The British captured 188700 prisoners, almost 50% of the total taken by all the Allied armies in France in this period. (1) The scale of Haig's victories moved the Allied Generalissimo, Marshall Foch, to write;

Never at any time in history has the British Army achieved greater results in attack than in this unbroken offensive...The victory was indeed complete, thanks to the Commanders of the Armies, Corps and Divisions and above all to the unselfishness, to the wise, loyal and energetic policy of their Commander-in-Chief, who made easy a great combination and sanctioned a prolonged gigantic effort. (2)

One would need a heart of stone not to be moved by the price paid for this victory over the preceding four years. One's natural feelings of revulsion at the scale of the bloodletting lead inevitably to the belief that there must have been an alternative. Yet the sombre truth is that between two essentially evenly matched adversaries, there was no other route to victory.

Most historians now reject the viability of an 'Eastern' approach for a variety of reasons, not least of which is logistical. As John MacClay, the Shipping Controller, pointed out to Lloyd-George, by 1917 shipping a mere two Divisions from France to another theatre would have caused a 5% drop in British imports. (3) Lloyd George's fantasies apart, there is no evidence that an indirect approach through the Balkans or Italy would have had any noticeable effect on Germany's ability to wage war, but would have left France dangerously vulnerable. Haig perceived correctly that victory could only be won on the Western Front.(4)

This arena did present major problems in the conduct of military operations. The tiny, all-volunteer, British army had begun the war manifestly unprepared for the magnitude of the conflict. Thus, in the early years of the war the brunt of the fighting was borne, at tremendous cost, by the French and Russian armies. Britain's contribution was on a relatively small-scale. In 1915 political considerations forced the BEF, then under the command of Sir John French, to undertake a series of offensive operations on the Western Front for which they had neither the appropriate manpower nor, crucially, the necessary munitions. The difficulties experienced in 1915 owed as much to pre-war government parsimony as they did to military inefficiency. It took time to increase the size of the army, first through volunteerism later through conscription, and to organise British industry to supply the army with the munitions it required.

It would be two years before the British could intervene in strength in the West and even then resources were drawn off for employment in secondary theatres. In France, Haig, who took command of the BEF in late 1915, had little or no room for manoeuvre because of the continuous front line and he had to deal with the inherent difficulties of coalition warfare. Yet Haig's most obvious achievements in the face of these difficulties have simply been ignored by the majority of his critics. Starting the war as a Corps Commander, in an Expeditionary force of just six Divisions, he finished the conflict as the victorious Commander-in-Chief of an Expeditionary Force 59 Divisions strong, that had, for the preceding two years, engaged the main body of the German Army. His army was well supplied in the field, his wounded swiftly evacuated and well cared for. He presided over the integration of entirely new weapons technologies, chemical, aerial and armoured, into the BEF's tactical system.(5) Above all Haig maintained the faith and loyalty of his subordinates; "the figure of Haig looms ever larger as that of the man who foresaw more accurately than most, who endured longer than most and who inspired most confidence amongst his fellows," wrote his biographer, Duff Cooper, whilst Charles Carrington described Haig as "the one man whom all trusted."(6) By the most obvious criterion for judging Generals, Haig was successful, he won. As the junior strategic partner to France, Britain's military forces fully played their role in preventing Allied defeat and ultimately achieving victory; "in Northern France British Divisions held on with extraordinary tenacity to that strategically important sector of the front which formed together with Verdun the two firm poles of the Western Front as a whole, and every German offensive from 1914 to 1918 came to a standstill exhausted between these poles."(7)

Much of the assault on Haig's reputation is based on half-truths and distortion. Those who criticise him for being out of touch with conditions at the front, or unable to respond quickly to changing circumstances, overlook the problem of battlefield communications that faced all commanders of the First World War. Tens of thousands of men were committed to action on battlefields stretching over many miles, but with practically no reliable means of controlling them once they gone into combat. The essential problem was neatly summarised by Charles Carrington;

Tactics in World War 1 were frustrated by the mechanical failure in communications. Society still lived in the railway and telegraph age. The automobile, the airplane, the radio transmitter were still rudimentary with the consequence that a planned battle always ended in chaos. It was impossible for a general to rearrange his forces in the middle of an action as Marlborough had done at Blenheim. Generalship became practicable again with the invention of the portable radio, the 'walkie-talkie' , which gave the generals of 1942 powers of control over divisions that they had not been able to exert over companies as majors or captains in 1916. (8)

The employment of cavalry is another example where Haig's detractors have, perhaps, been a little too hasty in the criticisms. Although terribly vulnerable on the modern battlefield, cavalry remained the only available arm of exploitation and Haig maintained a small force of cavalry in France, representing just 2.5% of the BEF by 1916. Haig never intended that his cavalry "charge" into battle. British cavalry was trained to fight both mounted and dismounted and made many experiments in co-operating with other arms, infantry, tanks and even aircraft. Haig encouraged such experiments and he has been credited with fostering the concept of "an all-arms strike force [which] clearly pointed the way to the future of mobile warfare."(9) Twice, in covering the retreats of 1914 and 1918, British mounted forces more than justified their presence in France. During the '100 Days' offensive that ended the war the depleted Cavalry Corps attached to Rawlinson's Fourth Army took over 3000 prisoners, overrunning both machine guns and artillery pieces in the process.(10)

Haig himself was an early patron of the tank, appreciating its value as a life saving infantry support weapon.(11) The limitations of the new weapon, its slow speed, unreliability and vulnerability to enemy fire, were painfully obvious during its first actions, and it says much for Haig's prescience that he continued to encourage the growth of armoured forces despite these problems. Despite extravagant claims by J.F.C.Fuller, Basil Liddell Hart and even recent historians such as Tim Travers, the primitive tank of the '14-'18 war was never going to be a war-winning weapon.(12) It did become a useful adjutant to both infantry and artillery and within that role its development is indicative of the dominance that Haig's BEF established on the 'Technological Battlefield.' British and Dominion troops learned from their own experiences in combat, analysing operations carefully and adapting in consequence. (13) From 1916 onwards the development of offensive tactics in the BEF certainly kept pace with the French and, in many respects, surpassed that of the Germans. The platoon training manual SS 143 of February 1917 has been described as "a storm trooper's handbook."(14) Combined-arms assaults, infiltration, creeping barrages, barrage fire by heavy MGs all became hallmarks of Haig's BEF in action. The BEF was also prepared to learn from the experience of others, for example translating and disseminating the influential works of leading French tacticians such as Andre Laffargue and Commandant Lachevre. By 1917 Haig's army had acquired a battlefield skill that has rarely been equalled. (15)

His staff, mostly wounded or decorated veterans of the trenches, worked tirelessly to ensure that British operations in France were a logistical triumph. Haig himself, no "Chateau General" led a peripatetic existence, particularly in 1917 and 1918, when he situated his H.Q. in a train, foreshadowing the mobile commands of W.W.II. (16) He was always kept closely informed of conditions at the front by experienced liaison officers. Many of Haig's Generals themselves were frequent visitors to the front line, over 200 becoming casualties during the course of the war.(17) Thus the notions that the BEF's High Command was ignorant of conditions at the Front, or ignored reports, bear little relation to reality. One Staff Officer, Clement Armitage, noted Haig's willingness to cancel attacks on the basis of unfavourable prognosis, and described accusations that Haig was deliberately callous with men's lives as "wicked slander."(18)
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BerichtGeplaatst: 23 Apr 2008 10:40    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Haig's hands were often tied by the demands of coalition warfare, most strikingly during the Somme offensive of 1916, which opened so disastrously, on ground not of Haig's choosing. Yet the events of 1st July have been allowed to dominate the historiography of this battle to such an extent that its true significance has been distorted. Charles Carrington spent the day observing the assault by the London Scottish against Gommecourt and the counter-attack of the Prussian Guard six hours later. He was, therefore, more qualified than most to comment on the opening of the Somme offensive, and his judgement carries much authority;

To isolate 1 July, to treat it as a single decisive event, deprives it of all sense or meaning. If the first round, fought on that day went against us, the second round, fought on 13 July by the same troops, went entirely in our favour …. In fact 1 July was not the crisis of the battle, but an unsuccessful opening move. The British artillery programme did not fulfil expectations, but such are the chances of war. Until the intense final bombardment, immediately before zero, no one could know whether it had been sufficient to cut the wire and make the enemy keep their heads down. It proved insufficient in many places; the crust had not been cracked, but merely punctured. Haig, though 'checked', did not even consider the possibility of 'checkmate' and nor did his millions of infantrymen…. How can a general, with communications severed, with his men scattered all over the map, with half his trusted subordinates killed or wounded or simply out-of-touch and lost, reduce confusion to order and impose a new plan in a few hours? Certainly Napoleon could not do it after Leipzig or Waterloo. Yet by 3 July, Haig and Rawlinson [GOC, Fourth Army] had decided on a plan for renewing the battle in the centre, and had set to work on reorganisation. (19)

The overall strategic situation facing the Allies in early 1916 has been encapsulated by the Belgian General Robert van Overstraten;

The situation of the Entente was quite different to that of Germany. 'To force an adversary to make peace, one must conquer his territory, destroy his arms, break his will,' has been proclaimed by Clausewitz. Far from occupying the enemy's territory the Allies had been deeply invaded. Their armies, more numerous that the German, were up against a fortified barrier which neutralised them, and compelled to subordinate all manoeuvre to a frontal attack which devoured them. Only on the Western Front could the decision fall. Yet it was the most solidly organised, the best furnished with guns and men; and the conclusion drawn from the experience was that a break-through was impossible if a great material and moral superiority could not be counted on throughout the whole operation. Even in the month of July, to the 160 heterogeneous Allied divisions, of which a score of the British had improvised cadres and inexpert artillery, the Germans could oppose 125 homogenous divisions, superior material, infantry better trained, unity of command and the advantage of making war in enemy country... The war to be waged on the Western Front was therefore still of the 'equal forces' type. (20)

Yet the Somme campaign would see those 'improvised cadres' of the BEF's citizen-soldiers grow in skill and confidence, whilst, in a bloody contest of attack and counter-attack the old German Imperial Army was destroyed. In all 97 German Divisions were drawn into the fighting over the course of four and a half months. Some were withdrawn and then, of necessity, sent back into the cauldron. It was on the Somme that, as Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria lamented, "what still remained of the old first-class peace trained German infantry [was] expended on the battlefield." (21) As the British and French bludgeoned their way forward, the Germans fought desperately to regain every yard of lost trench. Seventy-eight German counter-attacks were counted in the first two weeks of September alone, many of them repeat assaults on positions from which they had already been bloodily repulsed. German losses on the Somme are generally estimated at between 500,000 and 660,000. Allied (French and British) losses in the same battle are placed in the region of 630,000.(22) The Germans, having already been through the horrors of Verdun and the Brusilov offensives, could afford such losses far less than the British, for whom the Somme was the first major offensive of the war. The damage inflicted on the German army was not just physical but psychological. When Thiepval fell, a German soldier commented; "...it was absolutely crushing... every German soldier from the highest general to the meanest private had the feeling that now Germany had lost the first great battle." (23)

In 1928, the German Reichsarchive produced a series of monographs on the Somme, which passed this verdict on the battle;

It would be a mistake to measure the results of the battle of the Somme by mere local gain of ground. Besides the strategic objectives, the British and French followed out a definite plan of exhausting the power of the defenders by the employment of great masses of artillery in constantly repeated attacks. Although ... the casualties of the Entente were numerically greater than ours ... this grave loss of blood affected Germany very much more heavily. Quite apart from the facts that its very loss narrowed down the limited possibilities of replacing it, and that the war industries drew off into their service able-bodied men in a constantly increasing measure, the battle of attrition gnawed terribly into the vitals of the defenders. The enormous tension on all fronts compelled the Supreme Command to leave troops in the line until they had expended the last atom of their energy, and to send divisions time after time into the same battle. In the circumstances, it was unavoidable that the demoralizing influences of the defensive battle affected the soldier more deeply than was proper in the interests of the maintenance of his fighting spirit and his sense of duty. Still more serious was it that, as the demand for self-sacrifice greatly surpassed what could be expected of the average man, the fighting largely fell on the shoulders of the best of the troops, and not least the officer. The consequences of this were a frightful death-roll of the finest and most highly trained soldiers, whose replacement was impossible. It was in this that the root of the tragedy of the battle lies. (24)

Even as the battle was being fought, this erosion of the fighting quality of the German army was being noted. Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria recorded in his diary that "the old experienced officers and men decrease steadily in numbers, and the reinforcements incorporated in masses have not enjoyed the same soldierly instruction and training, and physically are mostly inferior."(25) More recently Holger Hewig has echoed the same themes of damage to morale and the loss of irreplaceable veterans, noting that not only did the Somme witness "the first instances of blatant fragging..." in the German army, but also that it had "lost its last small-unit leaders: it would never be the same instrument again."(26)

Charles Carrington concluded that the Somme was

where the British army fought it out with the German army, and established their superiority, inflicting casualties which Germany could ill afford. The result is patent. In August the German government dismissed Falkenhayn, their Chief-of-Staff, who had failed in attack at Verdun and failed in defence on the Somme … In September, their worse month for casualties, the new leaders, Hindenburg and Ludendorff, conceded defeat by planning a strategic withdrawal, though, with their usual tenacity they clung to their positions until the winter gave them a short respite before retreating. The German Army was never to fight so well again, but the British Army went on to fight better. (27)

The pressure applied by both Haig's BEF and the French on the Somme was, thus, a vital part of the process of wearing down the German army, the process of 'destroying its arms' and 'breaking its will,' the process, in short, which was the prerequisite of ultimate victory.

1917 saw Haig determined to maintain this crushing pressure. The Spring offensives undertaken by the BEF, including the successful seizures of the Vimy and Messines Ridges and the attack at Arras, were designed to draw German reserves away from the French front where Robert Nivelle planned to undertake a major offensive. The failure of this offensive meant that the BEF's attack at Arras had to be prolonged beyond the time frame that had originally been planned, and this inevitably resulted in further casualties. Yet the early stages of this offensive demonstrated exactly how much progress the BEF had made in developing its battlefield tactics. A comparison between the opening phases of Arras and the Somme demonstrates clearly that Haig's offensives were not simply repeats of the same techniques, but that the BEF became increasingly potent as the war progressed. During the first 24 days of the Somme offensive, the BEF captured 11,119 prisoners and 56 artillery pieces. During the first 24 days of the Arras offensive the BEF captured 18,128 prisoners and 230 artillery pieces. The Arras offensive also initially drew in, and wore out, more German Divisions than had the Somme. During the first 24 days on the Somme, 16 German Divisions were engaged, 8 of which were subsequently withdrawn into reserve. During the first 24 days at Arras, 32 German Divisions were engaged, 16 of which were then withdrawn into reserve. Of particular significance was the improvement in the artillery arm. Not only were the BEF's gunners perfecting their own techniques in counter-battery work, wire-cutting, barrage fire and the breaking up of enemy counter-attacks, but they were finally being supplied with munitions in appropriate quantities. Again, a comparison with the Somme is telling. In the first 24 days of the 1916 offensive, the BEF's artillery had fired 4,500,000 rounds. At Arras they were able to fire 6,466,239 rounds in the same number of days. (28)

However the failure of the Nivelle offensives placed Haig in a difficult situation. Whilst the French Army began its slow recovery from a series of serious mutinies, the Allies could not afford to let the Germans gain the initiative. The possibility of a French collapse made it imperative that Haig, in Birdwood's phrase, "rivet the German army to the soil of Flanders," where, with no Hindenburg line to retreat to, they had to fight.(29) Haig's alleged determination to fight a 'breakthrough' battle instead of a more limited series of 'bite and hold' actions has been the most recent criticism of his conduct of operations.(30) This criticism actually has a long pedigree, being predicated ultimately on the British Official Historian, James Edmond's, belief that breakthrough was impractical, due to cavalry's supposed uselessness. It was the sapper Edmonds who first popularised the notion that the war should have been fought as a siege, and it is strange that his ideas have been accepted with so little scrutiny by some historians.(31) Certainly the issue was hotly debated by contemporaries. In 1921, an experienced Gunner officer, Lt-Col H.Rowan-Robinson, pointed to the limitations inherent in the 'bite and hold' approach, observing that infantry often failed to capture enemy artillery in 'bite and hold' operations even when the gunlines were undefended, because they could not move beyond their objectives. Furthermore he pointed out how quickly the Germans came to recognise limited objective attacks, and simply met set-pieces with set-pieces of their own, taking a heavy toll on attacking troops as they consolidated their positions, and refusing to allow reserves to be drawn towards feints.(32) This is not to argue that the pursuit of the 'limited objective' was not, in the final analysis, the most profitable strategy. However the choices facing commanders in World War 1 were far more complicated than a simple dichotomy between 'exploitation' and 'limited objective' might suggest. There was no easy solution to the aberrant conditions of the Western Front . The French General Mangin expressed the dreadful truth "Quoi qu'on fasse, on perd beaucoup de monde", ('Whatever you do, you lose a lot of men'). (33)

In the event, the battle of Passchendaele developed into another grim test of endurance, costing the Allies between 244,000 and 324,000, depending on whose figures you believe. German casualties are equally contentious. the lowest estimates are around 200,000, the highest twice that.(34)

The casualty debate may never be solved, but it is certain that the Germans now experienced what Rupprecht's Chief of Staff, Von Kuhl, referred to as "their greatest martyrdom."

Haig has been much criticised for prolonging the battle into the winter, as he sought to clear German artillery observers from the high ground. Yet vindication comes from the German Officials History; "The Offensive had protected the French against fresh German attacks, and thereby procured them time to re-consolidate their badly shattered troops." Von Kuhl's final judgement was "...Haig was correct: even if he had not broken through the Flanders front he had weakened the German strength to a point where the damage could not be made good. The German sword had become blunted." (35)
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BerichtGeplaatst: 23 Apr 2008 10:41    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Even with reinforcements from the Eastern Front, the German Army was denied victory in the last gamble of the 1918 offensives. The early success of these offensives proved entirely illusory. Desperate as the fighting had been, Franco-British forces had finally blunted the assault. During the battles of March-April 1918, Haig's army of 59 Divisions had met 109 German Divisions in the field and had fought them to a standstill once more. At the cost of 250,000 men, Ludendorff ultimately achieved little more than saddling his own army with an extended front line, and vastly diminished resources with which to hold it. The turn of the tide came with the successful French counter-attacks during the Second Battle of the Marne in July 1918. As the German army reeled before the French attacks, the German generals von Lossberg and Groener acknowledged that Ludendorff had "overestimated the internal cohesion of our Army" and had now been forced to surrender the initiative to the Allies.(36) During the Allied offensive which followed, Haig's strategy was vindicated by a series of stunning triumphs; the battles of Amiens (22000 prisoners, 400 captured guns), Albert (34000 prisoners, 100 guns), the Scarpe (16000 prisoners, 200 guns), Havrincourt (12000 prisoners, 100 guns), Hindenburg Line (35000 prisoners, 280 guns), the Selle (20000 prisoners, 475 guns), and the Sambre Crossing (19000 prisoners, 450 guns). (37) Haig's contribution to victory in 1918 was summed up by C.R.M.F.Cruttwell, "he showed a vision and a calculated resolution in taking chances worthy of a great captain."(38)

The hard fighting that accompanied the crossing of the Selle in mid-October resulted in an uncharacteristic bout of pessimism affecting Haig. He worried about the casualties that would follow from further fighting, and from the logistical problems caused by the rapidity of the Allied advance. (39) Yet the mood was temporary, for the senior officers around Haig were altogether more optimistic about the pursuit of the shattered German army. Rawlinson, whose Fourth Army was now spear-heading the Allied advance, thought that a brief pause, of about a week, would be all that was necessary, (just as there had been a brief halt in early October before the crossing of the Selle) , to allow for repairs to roads and for supplies to be brought up. The BEF's veteran Quartermaster General, Lieutenant-General T.E.Clerk, was similarly confident, believing he could supply 40 active British and Dominion Divisions on the German frontier for a winter campaign. (40) Foch, the Allies' tireless and audacious Commander-in-Chief, was the most buoyant of all. On 31 October he informed the heads of the Allied governments that

during more than three months the Germans had been steadily beaten in France and Belgium and forced continuously to retreat. They had lost over 260,000 prisoners and 4,000 guns. The military situation of their country was seriously disorganised, whereas we were in a position to keep up the fighting all winter, if need be, and along the whole 250 mile front. We could go readily go on fighting until the enemy was destroyed, if that became necessary. (41)

There can be no doubting the totality of German military defeat. Besides the German army's massive casualties, between 750,000 and one million of its soldiers simply abandoned their units as discipline collapsed. The huge number of 'shirkers' demonstrated the helplessness of German command. Wilhelm Deist has observed that "the military instrument for the conduct of war, the army, was in the process of disintegration."(42) General Groner, who replaced Ludendorff as First Quarter-Master-General, noted that "the formations at the base were corrupted through and through, and even the Army in the field showed signs of disintegration. Corps in a state of dissolution and hordes of deserters, to the number of many thousands, were storming the railways at Liege and Namur."

Besides the moral collapse of the German Army, it was also in a strategically impossible situation. Even those units that maintained the will to fight could no longer be properly supplied due to the chronic shortage of lorries and horses and the chaotic situation of the railway network. German forces were being compressed into a narrower and narrower space, driven eastwards by the BEF and the Belgians, whilst French and American forces pushed northwards, threatening to cut off German communications for the greater part of the Western Front. At the same time the French under de Castelnau in Lorraine were preparing a fresh offensive into the Rhineland. There was absolutely no question of the German Army making an orderly retreat to the Rhine, its defeat was manifest. As one German Colonel expressed it ; "We collapsed in August, 1918, and on the battlefield, not in consequence of the revolution in the homeland which followed the collapse. We were beaten for purely military reasons, it was not the homeland but the fighting forces of our opponents which brought our Armies to ruin."(43) This was the reality recognised by those delegates who passed through the front line under a white flag to request an armistice. The Secretary-of-State, Erzberger, pleaded for an immediate suspension of Allied military operations because "nothing but the cessation of Allied attacks would make it possible to re-establish discipline in the German Army…" Major-General von Winterfeldt and Minister-Plenipotentiary Count Oberndorff emphasised the inability of the German Army to undertake any further orderly withdrawal or resume fighting, stressing that "the Germany Army was beset by unimaginable difficulties: exhaustion among the troops who have been fighting without pause for four months; the consequent relaxation of discipline; the blocking of roads and railways, which paralyzed all movement…" (44) Victory, achieved at an enormous and tragic cost, had finally been won on the battlefield.

Had there been another route to victory? The Western Front was the decisive theatre of operations and victory could not have been won elsewhere. Germany could not have been beaten on the exposed beachheads of Gallipoli, in the malarial swamps of Salonika or through the icy mountain passages of the Austrian-Italian Front. Could the naval blockade alone have brought Imperial Germany to its knees, without the fighting of long and bloody battles of attrition? Such a suggestion is superficially attractive but inherently unlikely. It has gained currency because some German historians have been anxious to deflect attention away from the failure of the German military and because some inter-war British historians, notably Liddell Hart, were anxious that Britain should avoid making a major commitment of land forces to a Continental war again. Yet little real evidence is ever put forward to support the case. Liddell Hart, for example, provided no analysis of the blockade's effects on German society or of the specific strains it placed on the German economy.(45) In fact many of Germany's economic problems stemmed more from governmental mishandling of the war-time economy than from the blockade. As Hewig has commented "mismanagement and lack of pre-war planning contributed significantly to the vissitudes of the national food supply."(46) Imperial Germany, it should be remembered, had imposed highly punitive peace settlements on its defeated Eastern Front adversaries. The Treaty of Bucharest, 7 May 1917, had reduced Romania to a puppet state, whose financial institutions were in German hands, whose railways were run by German officers and whose oil and "surplus" agricultural produce were delivered straight to Germany. The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, 3 March 1918, cost Russia 301,000 square miles of territory, 32% of her population, a third of her railways, 73% of her iron, 89% of her coal production and over 5000 factories, mills, distilleries and refineries.(47) The effectiveness of the blockade must be measured not just against Germany's resources in 1914, but against those which Germany acquired during the course of the war. The blockade, and the suffering it caused amongst German civilians, undoubtedly damaged Germany's war effort, but it is deeply implausible that the blockade alone could have brought victory, without the military defeat of the German army.

Despite the set-backs and frustrations of four years of war, the poor staff work of 1915, the appalling tragedy of 1 July 1916, the dramatic reversal of fortune at Cambrai, the fate of 5th Army in its under-manned and ill-prepared defences on March 21, 1918, it was Haig's BEF that ultimately bore the brunt of the fighting in the campaign that ended in Allied victory. This fact is most clearly illustrated in the number of German prisoners taken, and German artillery pieces captured, during the final '100 Days' campaign, 18 July to 11 November 1918.(48)

Army Prisoners Captured Guns Captured
British Expeditionary Force 188, 700 2840
French 139,000 1880
American 43,200 1421
Belgian 14,500 474
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BerichtGeplaatst: 23 Apr 2008 10:41    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

The Australian historians Robin Wilson and Trevor Prior, whilst critical of Haig's conduct of operations in 1917, have argued that

the battles fought by Britain's Fourth Army between July and November 1918 are a demonstration of superior employment of weaponry and manpower at a time when a right relationship between the two was crucial to success. That is, although late in the day and with their manpower dangerously depleted, the liberal states alone proved able both to bring forth ample supplies of the most appropriate weapons and to employ them in a thoroughly appropriate fashion. Their opponents, when the initiative had lain with them earlier in the year had proved capable of no such demonstration. (49)

Most of Haig's critics choose simply to ignore the battles of the '100 Days,' and concentrate instead on the events of 1916 and 1917 without any attempt to place them in the broader context of the war's history. Yet, as Haig explained in his final despatch, the victory of 1918 can only be understood if "...the long succession of battles commenced on the Somme in 1916 and ended in [1918]...are viewed as forming part of one great and continuous engagement."(50) To preside over such a titanic struggle, to bear that awesome burden of responsibility, to never falter in the belief that ultimately victory would come took a man of exceptional character. Few of Haig's own countrymen now recognise this, but the unfailingly brave and resourceful foe he vanquished were quick to acknowledge it. An inter-war German study, entitled "Great Commanders of the World War," gave Haig a simple sobriquet, "Master of the Field." (51) His enemies it seems were in no doubt that Haig's name belongs amongst "The Great Captains" of History.

--------------------
Notes

(1) See Douglas Orgill, "The Sambre Crossing," in Purnell's History of the First World War, Vol.7, p.3099.

(2) Quoted in John Terraine, Douglas Haig: The Educated Soldier (London, 1992), xviii

(3) David French, The Strategy of the Lloyd-George Coalition, 1916-1918 (London,, 1995), pp.155-156.

(4) For a brief overview of the Eastern Strategy, see Trevor Wilson, The Myriad Faces of War (Cambridge, 1986), pp.104-107.

(5) John Bourne, Britain and the Great War 1914-1918 (London, 1989), pp.173-174.

(6) Duff Cooper, Haig, Vol.II, (London, 1936) p.435. Charles Carrington, "Kitchener's Army: The Somme and After," The Journal of the Royal United Services Institute, Vol.122 (1977) p.20.

(7) Max Werner, The Military Strength of the Powers (London, 1939), translated by Edward Fitzgerald, p.245.

(8). Carrington, op.cit., p.20.

(9) Stephen Badsey, "Cavalry and the Development of Breakthrough Doctrine," in Paddy Griffith (ed.), British Fighting Methods in the Great War (Portland, 1996) pp.154-155. See also H.B.Robson, "Horses in War: A Reappraisal of the Cavalry," Army Quarterly, Vol.78, pp.232-237.

(10) Sir Archibald Montgomery, The Story of the Fourth Army in the Battles of the 100 Days (London, 1920) p.276.

(11) See 'Glendower' "Haig and Tanks", The Army Quarterly, Vol..146, pp.197-202.

(12) See J.P.Harris, Men, Ideas and Tanks (Manchester, 1995) for the best recent analysis of the development of British armoured forces.

(13) See, for example, S.S.158 Notes on Recent Operations on the Front of First, Third, Fourth and Fifth Armies, (GHQ, France, May 1917).

(14) Paddy Griffith, Battle Tactics of the Western Front: The British Army's Art of Attack 1916-18 (New Haven, 1994), p 194. See also Shelford Bidwell & Dominick Graham, Fire-Power: British Army Weapons and Theories of War 1904-1945 (London, 1982) and G.S.Hutchinson, Machine Guns: Their History and Tactical Employment (London, 1938).

(15)Griffith, pp.177-200. Andre Laffargue, C.D.S.333, Impressions and Reflections of a Company Commander, (London, 1915), S.S.113 Notes on the Attack by Commandant Lachevre (GHQ, France, 1916).

(16) John Terraine, The Smoke and the Fire: Myths and Anti-Myths of War, 1861-1945 (London, 1992), pp.173-180.

(17) Details of most (but not all) British General Officer Casualties can be found in Frank Davies and Graham Maddocks, Bloody Red Tabs (London, 1995).

(18) Quoted in Sir James Marshal-Cornwall, Haig as Military Commander (London,, 1973), p.293.

(19) Carrington, op.cit., pp.18-19.

(20) Robert van Overstraten, quoted in "Notes on Foreign War Books," Army Quarterly, Vol.16, pp.168-169.

(21) Quoted in Terraine, The Smoke and the Fire, p.124.

(22) J.Baynes, "The Somme; The Last Phase", Purnell's History of the First World War, Vol. 4, pp.1685-1695; T.Wilson and R.Prior, "Summing Up The Somme", History Today (November 1991), pp.37-43.

(23) Terraine, The Smoke and the Fire, p.123.

(24) Nord I Theil, (Reichsarchive, Berlin, 1928). Quoted in "Notes on Foreign War Books," The Army Quarterly, Vol.16, p.151

(25) The War Diary of Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria, The Army Quarterly, Vol.18 (1929), p.293

(26) Holger H.Herwig, The First World War, Germany and Austria-Hungary 1914-1914 (London, 1997), pp.203-204.

(27) Carrington, op.cit., p.19

(28) Statistics of the Military Effort of the British Empire During the Great War (HMSO, London, 1922), pp.640-641. For the development of British artillery during the war see Alan Brooke, "The Evolution of Artillery in the Great War," Pts 1-4, The Journal of the Royal Artillery, Vols 51-53 (1924-26).

(29) See French, op.cit, pp .94-123, Marshal-Cornwall, op.cit, p 292, Donald Schurman, "Passchendaele: The Final Phase," in Purnell's History of the First World War, Vol.6, p 2362 and E.K.Sixsmith, Douglas Haig, (London,, 1976), pp 132-143, p.191.

(30) See, for example, Robin Wilson & Trevor Prior, Passchendaele The Untold Story, (London, 1996).

(31) See the comments of Stephen Badsey, op.cit, p.141.

(32) Lt-Col. H.Rowan-Robinson, "The Limited Objective," Army Quarterly, Vol.II (1921), pp 119-27.

(33) Quoted in John Terraine, White Heat: The New Warfare 1914-18 (London, 1982) p.209.

(34) E.K.G.Sixsmith, Douglas Haig (London, 1976), p.116,; Rod Paschall, The Defeat of Imperial Germany 1917-1918, (New York, 1994), p 79 .

(35) Quoted in Terraine, "Passchendaele," in Stand To! The Journal of the Western Front Association, Vol.37, Spring 1993, p.10, and The Western Front , (London, 1970), p.176.

(36) Hewig, op.cit., pp.418-420.

(37) Terraine, Haig The Educated Soldier, pp.446-482, xvii-xviii

(38) C.R.M.F.Cruttwell, The Role of British Strategy in the Great War (Cambridge, 1936), p.90.

(39) Robert Blake (ed), The Private Papers of Douglas Haig (London, 1952), pp.332-334.

(40) J.P.Harris, Amiens to Armistice: The BEF in the Hundred Days' Campaign, (London, 1998), pp.290-291.

(41) The Memoirs of Marshall Foch (London, 1931), p.541.

(42) Wilhelm Deist, "The Military Collapse of the German Empire: The Reality Behind the Stab-in-the-Back Myth", War in History, Vol.3 (1996), pp.186-207.

(43) Quoted in "The German Defeat in 1918: How Ludendorff tried to Exonerate the Army", Army Quarterly, Vol.41 (1940) , pp.276-277.

(44) Foch, Memoirs, pp.548-554.

(45) See Hew Strachan, "'The Real War': Liddell Hart, Cruttwell, and Falls," in Brian Bond (ed), The First World War and British Military History (Oxford, 1991), p.48

(46) Herwig, op.cit., p.285

(47) John Wheeler-Bennett, Hindenburg: The Wooden Titan, (London, 1967), pp.132-3

(48) J.Edmonds, A Short History of World War 1, (Oxford, 1951), p.425.

(49) Robin Wilson and Trevor Prior, "What Manner of Victory? Reflections on the Termination of the First World War," Revue Internationale D'Historie Militair, Vol.72 (1990), p.96.

(50) Douglas Haig, 'Final Despatch,' 21st March 1919 in J.H.Boraston (ed.) Sir Douglas Haig's Despatches (London,, 1919).

(51) Great Commanders of the World War, issued by Deutschen Gesellschaft Fur Wehrpolitik und Wehrwissenschaften. Quoted in Terraine, "Haig in 1918: A Strategic Survey," The Army Quarterly, vol. 97 , p. 2.

Created: 23 March 1996, 07:57:18 Last Updated: 28 September 1999, 07:57:18

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BerichtGeplaatst: 27 Apr 2008 18:04    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Haig tegen een militair die een hardloopwedstrijd had gewonnen: "Ik hoop dat u in het zicht van de vijand net zo hard kunt lopen...." Wink
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BerichtGeplaatst: 27 Apr 2008 18:15    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

http://www.123helpme.com/search.asp?text=Field+Marshal
24 essays over Haig.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 27 Apr 2008 19:41    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Alsof er sprake was van een masterplan en Haig in 1916 al dacht aan de honderd dagen van 1918...
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BerichtGeplaatst: 28 Apr 2008 20:23    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

ik vind het volgende van haig
als er 10 meter terein werd veroverd ten koste van 100 man dan was de aanval geslaagd volgens hem ,want het leven ven een gewoon soldaat kon hem weinig of niets schelen !!!!!!
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BerichtGeplaatst: 28 Apr 2008 20:45    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

patrick vc @ 28 Apr 2008 21:23 schreef:
ik vind het volgende van haig
als er 10 meter terein werd veroverd ten koste van 100 man dan was de aanval geslaagd volgens hem ,want het leven ven een gewoon soldaat kon hem weinig of niets schelen !!!!!!


Als je daar gelijk in hebt (en ik denk van wel) waren commandanten van alle deelnemende partijen hufters....
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BerichtGeplaatst: 28 Apr 2008 21:27    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

De Duitsers sprongen al aanmerkelijk zuiniger met hun personeel om en de Belgische koning liet zich al helemaal niet gek maken.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 30 Apr 2008 11:49    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Was het niet Churchill die zei dat achteraf gezien :''He might be, he surely was, unequal to the prodigious scale of events".
Het groeide hem allemaal een beetje over het hoofd en er was ook geen betere.
Nou, volgens mij hadden ze nog twee andere generaals die een veel realistische kijk op de te volgen strategie hadden en om hun manschappen gaven(relatief gezien dan) en er niet op uit waren om hun collega`s een oor aan te naaien om het hoogste te bereiken namelijk: de grootste bevelhebber aller tijden worden die de duitsers zou verslaan met zijn geniale plannen. puke
Wie die andere twee waren?
Horace Smith-Dorrien, en Herbert Plumer.
Wel jammer dat die eerste werd vervangen door de tweede .
Wat ik me afvraag is of er Frankrijk ook zoveel discussie is over het handelen van hun generaals (ik meende dat het zo langzamerhand een beetje op gang aan het komen is) want ook al zaten de Fransen in een andere situatie, (vijand op hun heilige grond) hoe die met hun manschappen om gingen was helemaal beestachtig.
Ik geloof dat de oorlogs dagboeken van Barthas pas sinds de jaren 70 mocht worden uitgegeven(maar dit weet ik niet zeker.
Neemt niet weg dat ik Haig een hufter vond.
Ik ben het wat deze stelling en argumenten betreft helemaal met Richard eens.
Ik snap dan ook niet dat er nog mensen zijn die deze beroeps intrigant verdedigen
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BerichtGeplaatst: 30 Apr 2008 13:06    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Smith-Dorrien werd bedankt voor bewezen diensten door French (al helemaal een ramp!) Niet verwonderlijk, want die 2 lagen al helemaal overhoop door persoonlijke conflicten van voor WO1. Smith-Dorrien was trouwens een last-minute stand-in. Hij moest Grierson vervangen die in de trein in Frankrijk aan een hartaanval gestorven was.

Als je ziet wat Smith-Dorrien als bevelhebber van II Corps presteerde zonder inwerkingsperiode en met een opperbevelhebber die je liefst van al terug naar Blighty schopte krijgt hij van mij een A.

De discussie gaat hier wel over Haig, maar ik vrees dat French nog erger was... Nu hij had met de oorspronkelijke BEF ook een zeer moeilijke opdracht... Hoe men er echter bij de Britten er in slaagde om iemand als French aan het hoofd van de BEF te zetten na zijn stoten in Ierland is mij een raadsel.

Haig krijgt van mij het voordeel van de twijfel. Er zitten inderdaad mindere kanten aan hem (zijn heilig geloof in de cavalerie, zijn gekonkel, enz...) maar hij heeft ook goede kanten. De tank bvb is er deels door hem gekomen (De rest van het leger zag die nieuwlichterij van de Royal Navy al helemaal niet zitten), hij heeft hem dan wel weer veel te vroeg ingezet en in onvoldoende aantallen, maar goed. Ook was hij een goed administrator en een koppige vastbijter (Dikwijls dan weer te veel en bleef hij zijn offensieven verder pushen, zelfs als alle gezond verstand zei dat het tijd was om er mee te stoppen). Hij was ook niet te beroerd om zijn 'lieveling' Gough opzij te zetten en Plumer zijn kans te geven in Ieper.

Wat zijn 'conflict' met PM Lloyd George aangaat: Ook die (de PM) is niet onbesproken over zijn manier waarop hij de oorlog voerde...

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BerichtGeplaatst: 08 Aug 2008 8:13    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

From The Times
August 7, 2008

Dwin Bramall

The Butcher of the Somme has been greatly underestimated

His reputation of a bungler takes no account of his part in the great Hundred Days Offensive and ultimate victory in the Great War


Even today, the names of a Flanders village, Passchendaele, and a French river, the Somme, summon up in most minds the terrible waste of war, not just of precious lives but of national aspirations, resources and, above all, talent. The war poets such as Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon brought home the horrors of the Western Front, while R.C.Sherriff's play Journey's End and the satirical film Oh! What a Lovely War gave the public an almost indelible perception of futile frontal infantry attacks and of generals who were “butchers or bunglers”.

Yet in the so-called Hundred Days Offensive of 1918, which began 90 years ago tomorrow, and which ultimately brought the Great War to an end, the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), including many fine divisions from the Dominions, won, under Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, the greatest succession of victories in the history of the British Army. During those 100 days, they engaged 99 German divisions and by the Armistice in November had taken 188,700 prisoners, captured 2,840 artillery pieces and defeated the Imperial German Army. This was no mean achievement.

This performance cannot, of course, be seen in isolation. The Germans had prepared the ground for their defeat, in that in his final offensive of March 1918, intended to drive Britain out of the war before the Americans could arrive in sufficient strength to tip the manpower balance, Ludendorff, commander of the German forces in the West, had exhausted the German Army's resources, leaving it vulnerable to counter-attacks over country more conducive to manoeuvre and exploitation. On the allied side, the Americans, Belgians, Portuguese and of course the French Army, nursed back to discipline and full effectiveness by the humanity and leadership of General or Marshal Pétain, all made key contributions.

There was also the part played by Foch, named, at Haig's insistence at the crisis meeting at Doullens in March, as Supreme Commander of the Allied Armies in France. It was he who, with Haig, shaped the winning strategy of attacks at different points along the whole front, from the Argonne Forest in the south to Ypres in the north, to be followed by the coup de grâce on September 29, when the BEF, supported by the American First Army, stormed the Hindenburg Line. In the following week, the German High Command could only advise the Kaiser to seek an armistice.

Here it is important to dismiss the myth of the German Army being “stabbed in the back” by failure of its manufacturing base and supply organisation. In March and April 1918 irreparable damage had been inflicted on it by first the blunting and then the halting of Ludendorff's offensive in Picardy and Flanders. The British 5th Army, although retreating, managed to maintain a generally unbroken front, so denying the enemy opportunity to divide the BEF from the French in an advance to the coast.

Moreover, much of the German Army was still fighting in that autumn with all the tactical skill and tenacity that characterised the German soldier in both world wars. But by November 1918 there was no doubt that the enemy was being defeated in the field. As Haig put it, they were capable neither of accepting nor refusing battle.

Victory was a product of a steep learning curve under Haig, from December 1916, that raised his British and Dominion divisions to the tactical and technical cutting edge of the Allied armies on the Western Front. It could be seen in the reorganisation of infantry platoons and in small unit tactics, using new infantry weapons; in the greater use of wireless, motor machinegun units, armoured cars and of aircraft in the ground-attack role - disrupting enemy troop concentrations and movement. In particular, tanks were used tactically in co-operation with the infantry, as well as in mass for the initial shock action. “Silent registration” by the artillery, obviating the need for compromising preliminary bombardments and new fire control techniques, now allowed creeping barrages of great weight to lead the advance on to the very edge of its objectives.

Even the maligned staff officers made a vital contribution. Sustaining an army of nearly two million men in the field was a colossal commitment, not least in the final weeks of the war when Haig's divisions were almost constantly on the move.

Even if Haig and his army commanders may never escape criticism for their mistakes and the horrendous casualties of 1916 and 1917, they do deserve credit, which they have never properly received, for the successes they achieved in 1918. Haig himself, having displayed the character and fortitude needed to bear the burden of C-in-C over three hard-fought years, had been proved right in his unswerving conviction that the war could be won only on the Western Front. Some outstanding corps and divisional commanders also merit special recognition - John Monash and Arthur Currie, commanding the Australian and Canadian Corps, and Andrew Russell commanding the New Zealand Division, for example.

Essentially, however, the Allied victory was won by the courage of the soldiers from Britain, France, Belgium, Australia, Canada, Newfoundland, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa and the United States. The greatest disservice we can do to their memory, 90 years on, is to allow their final victory to be submerged by recriminations; to forget that in 1918 they achieved what they had been fighting for; and to fail to acknowledge the part that not only their endurance but also the foresight and perseverance of Haig and his senior commanders had played in that victory.

Field Marshal Lord Bramall was Chief of the General Staff 1979-82 and Chief of the Defence Staff 1982-85

http://www.newstin.co.uk/tag/uk/72690976
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BerichtGeplaatst: 08 Aug 2008 9:46    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Het is wel iets te gemakkelijk negentig jaar na dato de rekening te maken van Haig, niet dat hij geen fouten zou gemaakt hebben. Ik zou eerder de rekening maken van die hufter die de "schuur" in de fik stak en op het laatste moment het treintje nam naar Huize Doorn om daar nog een twintigtal jaren de kat uit de boom te kijken......... Cool
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BerichtGeplaatst: 08 Aug 2008 12:50    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

En wie was dan de hufter die de schuur in de fik stak?
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BerichtGeplaatst: 08 Aug 2008 16:30    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Niet degene die het treintje nam.Maar volgens mij gaat het hier ook niet om.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 08 Aug 2008 20:15    Onderwerp: Haig Reageer met quote

Haig was een lafaard als commandant. In deze tijd zou hij nog geen groepscommandant kunnen worden. Want zelfs op dat niveau wordt een beoordeling gemaakt van de omstandigheden, op zijn niveau, waaronder e.e.a. gaat plaats vinden. Deze man had geen idee waar hij zijn mensen naar toe stuurde en nog minder onder welke omstandigheden zij moesten vechten. Hij overschatte zijn eigen middelen, terwijl bij eerder slagen, zoals bij Verdun, was gebleken dat de artillerie geen beslissende rol speelde bij een aanval. Steeds liepen de aanvallende troepen aan tegen onvernielde draadhindernissen of ze waren zo verstrengeld dat ze een nog groter hindernis vormden. Bij artillerie beschietingen op oorden wordt bijna elke puinhoop een versterking. Gewoon overdreven toch! De veranderingen in de artillerie tactiek was niet van hem maar van Plummer, de kruipende barrage maar werd door hem dankbaar aanvaard als zijn idee. Lessons learned kwamen in zijn bagage niet voor. Zoals eerder genoemd de Russisch-Japanse oorlog. Waneer je ontdekt, zoals in Vlaanderen, dat de weersomstandighede zodanig verslechteren dat vooruitgang onmogelijk is geworden dan stop je onmiddelijk de aanval. Maar niet meneer Haig hij peinsde er niet over ondanks de belofte te stoppen als het teveel aan mensen en materiaal zou kosten; en er in Londen geen vent met ballen zat die hem terugfloot omdat Haig goede maatjes was met de koning. Geen enkele smoes zelfs niet met God er bij kan rechtvaardigen wat deze slager op niveau samen met Nivelle en Mangin heeft gedaan.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 08 Nov 2018 18:19    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

WW1 leader Field Marshal Haig was not a 'pantomime villain'

The reputation of Scottish World War One leader Douglas Haig has been controversial but it is finally being recovered from the ruins by historians.

Field Marshal Haig was a national hero and was rewarded with the title of earl for leading Britain to victory.

From the end of the war 100 years ago, until his death of a heart attack in 1928, Edinburgh-born Haig remained a popular figure.

For his funeral at Westminster Abbey - one of the earliest state occasions broadcast live by the BBC - a million people are estimated to have lined the streets of London.

This was more than for Princess Diana's funeral almost 70 years later.

But as the memory of the conflict faded, Haig's reputation changed dramatically.

He came to symbolise everything that was wrong with the war and was blamed for sending thousands of soldiers to needless deaths in the bloody battles of the Somme and Aras.

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BerichtGeplaatst: 11 Nov 2018 10:26    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Moeilijke vraag ... zeer kort en droog mijn mening ...
Ga ik met alles akkoord wat deze man deed = neen.
Maar toch even dit.
Wie zou hem vervangen hebben en zou hij het beter hebben gedaan ...
Kijk naar de Fransen Foch, Nivelle muiterij
Rusland = revolutie
Duitsland = verloren
Het kleinste leger bij de start ...
Hij heeft het minst aantal doden in vergelijking met Frankrijk en Duitsland bvb.
Nog nooit had men een oorlog van deze omvang en in deze omstandigheden dus alles was nieuw, alles moet hij uitproberen en uitzoeken
Zijn kamp heeft gewonnen.

Enige waar ik respect voor heb uit WO1 is Arthur Currie.

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