" Bloody Victory: The Sacrifice on the Somme..."

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Attrition
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" Bloody Victory: The Sacrifice on the Somme..."

Postby Attrition » 27 Jun 2009 12:09

Bloody Victory: The Sacrifice on the Somme and the Making of the Twentieth Century: The Battle, the Myth, the Legacy by William James Philpott.

Has anyone seen this yet?

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Re: " Bloody Victory: The Sacrifice on the Somme..."

Postby glenn239 » 27 Jun 2009 14:08

No, but whent the first sentence of the title is in error, one has to wonder....

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Re: " Bloody Victory: The Sacrifice on the Somme..."

Postby Attrition » 27 Jun 2009 14:43

:lol:

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Re: " Bloody Victory: The Sacrifice on the Somme..."

Postby Dave Bender » 27 Jun 2009 16:32

whent the first sentence of the title is in error, one has to wonder

I agree.

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Re: " Bloody Victory: The Sacrifice on the Somme..."

Postby Attrition » 27 Jun 2009 16:53

On the whole I assume the writer is referring to an Entente victory which is difficult to gainsay.

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Re: " Bloody Victory: The Sacrifice on the Somme..."

Postby glenn239 » 01 Jul 2009 16:24

If the author can infer a victory in the bloody mess of a stalemate that was the Somme, then he is looking too hard for it.

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Re: " Bloody Victory: The Sacrifice on the Somme..."

Postby Attrition » 01 Jul 2009 17:58

Compare the German result at Verdun with the Anglo-French result on the Somme. Which side withdrew? Compare both with the similar battles in Russia 1941-44. Mass losses are inherent in mass industrial warfare.

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Re: " Bloody Victory: The Sacrifice on the Somme..."

Postby Sid Guttridge » 01 Jul 2009 18:38

Hi Guys,

I think it would be better to read the argument of the book before gainsaying it.

There are arguments than can be made for the Somme as a relative Allied success, though I would take some persuading that it was a victory.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: " Bloody Victory: The Sacrifice on the Somme..."

Postby Attrition » 01 Jul 2009 20:02

Sid Guttridge wrote:Hi Guys,

I think it would be better to read the argument of the book before gainsaying it.

There are arguments than can be made for the Somme as a relative Allied success, though I would take some persuading that it was a victory.

Cheers,

Sid.


Me too but no-one seems to have read it. The 'Entente victory thesis' has been around for a while (courtesy of John Terraine) as has the 'sceptical riposte thesis' recently put forward by Prior and Wilson. What I'm gagging for is an analysis of the German side of things - the strategic and operational response to the Entente's challenge. Ah well....

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Re: " Bloody Victory: The Sacrifice on the Somme..."

Postby Terry Duncan » 01 Jul 2009 22:23

As far as results go, The Somme can certainly be called an Entente victory, although it was probably a victory that was not worth winning. Lets not forget it was forced upon the military, not only on ground they did not like, but also on a scale they had also not wanted. Rawlinsons original plan was for a series of small 'bite and hold' actions - almost exactly as he used in 1918, but the politicians wished for a large offensive partly to relieve the pressure on Verdun and partly to achieve the long hoped for breakthrough now there were troops available in large numbers.

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Re: " Bloody Victory: The Sacrifice on the Somme..."

Postby Attrition » 01 Jul 2009 23:09

It's probably better to judge the efficacy of the Entente strategy of 1916 than the Somme in isolation. Compare that with the Central Powers' and it's clear that the course of 1916 left their strategy in tatters. The fighting on the Somme made a big contribution to the reduction of Germany's fighting power. Clearly the British army wasn't ready for the type of war that it had to fight in 1916 but nonetheless beginning with the Somme it engaged the principal army of the Central Powers for the rest of the war and building on the efforts of France and Russia drove it to destruction.

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Re: " Bloody Victory: The Sacrifice on the Somme..."

Postby Michate » 02 Jul 2009 16:48

All that has little to do with the Somme as that, and very much with the basic fact the Germans had to fight against a large superiority of men and resources, so that even a tactical/operational failure would actually favour the Entente in most cases.

Compare the German result at Verdun with the Anglo-French result on the Somme. Which side withdrew? Compare both with the similar battles in Russia 1941-44. Mass losses are inherent in mass industrial warfare.


Result of Verdun: end positions nearly identical, ratio of French losses to German losses nearly equal (10:9)
Result of Somme: Entente advances a few kilometres in a very narrow sector and over devastated ground, Entente losses : German losses between 4:3 and 6:5.

Germans withdrew in spring 1917 in some front sectors to shorten the frontline and thus free a few dozen divisions as operational reserves, necessary to counter the British and French very comfortable numerical and material superiority. Entente failed to interfere with withdrawal.

Battles in Russia 1941-44: first period:
German sometimes advance hundreds of kilometres across very large sectors and capture territory twice as large as Germany, general loss ratios Soviets:Germans in range 5:1-3:1.

Battles in Russia 1941-44: first period:
Soviets sometimes advance hundreds of kilometres across very large sectors and liberate their territory, general loss ratios Soviets:Germans in range 3:1-1.5:1.
Last edited by Michate on 02 Jul 2009 17:08, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: " Bloody Victory: The Sacrifice on the Somme..."

Postby Attrition » 02 Jul 2009 17:02

Perhaps but the Somme had a lot to do with Entente strategy for 1916. Of course the Entente had a preponderance over the Central Powers but the Germans had tried to evade this by grabbing valuable territory in 1914 and then putting the onus of attack on the Entente. 1916 in general and the Somme in particular showed that the power of defence was somewhat exaggerated. The strategic arithmetic laid out by Falky in late 1914 came back to haunt Germany in 1916 principally because the British effort on the Somme consumed so many German soldiers and supplies.

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Re: " Bloody Victory: The Sacrifice on the Somme..."

Postby Michate » 02 Jul 2009 17:13

What the usual narrow Anglocentric perspective fails to take into account is that the Somme was but one of three batles the Germans fought at the time, with Verdun and the Brusilov offensive (and capturing most of Romania) the two other.

So why exactly should the losses at the Somme be the only ones that were "consuming so many men"?

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Re: " Bloody Victory: The Sacrifice on the Somme..."

Postby Terry Duncan » 02 Jul 2009 17:33

So why exactly should the losses at the Somme be the only ones that were "consuming so many men"?


Perhaps because Ludendorff made the famous comment that the German army 'could not stand any more Somme fighting' when he summed up the position at th end of 1916.


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