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WW1 trench warefare as population control


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#31    Taun

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 06:50 PM

View PostCorp, on 09 January 2013 - 06:12 PM, said:

The Maori didn't have machine guns and heavy artillery so their trench warefare was completely different from the type seen in the First World War. While trenches had been used for centuries it was the technological advances that made WW1 so deadly. And while there were examples of such horrors during the American Civil War the war most European leaders took their lessons from was the Franco-Prussian War, which was a quick and moble fight that ended fairly shortly. Plus the opening offensives of the war were also quick and it was only when successful counter attacks were launched then things turned into a stalemate. From then the military leaders on both sides were trying to recapture that mobility. That if they could just put in one good push their enemy would fall apart and the cavalry would do the rest. Events such as the fall of Serbia and the collapse of Russia would seem to reinforce that this idea was possible.

The Franco-Prussian war was probably the first modern war of maneuver... The Prussians had better organisation and command & control than the French, and basically were able to slip between the flanks of the various often much larger French forces..


#32    Professor T

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 07:05 PM

View PostTaun, on 09 January 2013 - 11:42 AM, said:

While the Maori did indeed use trenches... trench warfare has existed at least since the mid to late 1600's...  The French Marshall Vaubaun (sp?) firmly believed in it and advocated it's use to assault the 'star fortresses' that he helped design and sell to virtually all the crowned heads of Europe... Probably if you go further back in history you could find examples of trench warfare all the way back to the Romans and Greeks...

from what I can find... the first sustained, heavy use of modern trench warfare started in about 1863 during the seige of Vicksburg in the American Civil war...

View PostCorp, on 09 January 2013 - 06:12 PM, said:

The Maori didn't have machine guns and heavy artillery so their trench warefare was completely different from the type seen in the First World War. While trenches had been used for centuries it was the technological advances that made WW1 so deadly. And while there were examples of such horrors during the American Civil War the war most European leaders took their lessons from was the Franco-Prussian War, which was a quick and moble fight that ended fairly shortly. Plus the opening offensives of the war were also quick and it was only when successful counter attacks were launched then things turned into a stalemate. From then the military leaders on both sides were trying to recapture that mobility. That if they could just put in one good push their enemy would fall apart and the cavalry would do the rest. Events such as the fall of Serbia and the collapse of Russia would seem to reinforce that this idea was possible.
The Maori had muskets, spears, and their hilltop Pa sites were circled with trenches and pallisade walls designed to slow an invading army or tribe and designed to give defenders time to reload and kill.. I've heard roomers from experts in this country that the pa trench design of the Maori were used as a template for WW1. *shrugs* Might be true. Might be an embelishment or glorification of war.. who knows..

Sure was effective at reducing populations though..

Posted Image
Is a bit more complicated than just a hole in the ground isn't it..


#33    Taun

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 07:48 PM

View PostProfessor T, on 09 January 2013 - 07:05 PM, said:

The Maori had muskets, spears, and their hilltop Pa sites were circled with trenches and pallisade walls designed to slow an invading army or tribe and designed to give defenders time to reload and kill.. I've heard roomers from experts in this country that the pa trench design of the Maori were used as a template for WW1. *shrugs* Might be true. Might be an embelishment or glorification of war.. who knows..

Sure was effective at reducing populations though..

Posted Image
Is a bit more complicated than just a hole in the ground isn't it..

Rather similar to the Roman's siegeworks at Alesia 52BC...

Posted Image

As your diagram states the 'trench' was a "Fosse" (ditch) not a troop emplacement... Back in those days you did not want to be below your attacker - not a good thing!  The fosse served to both slow down the attackers, and to make your stockade wall higher with less effort (the dirt used to build the 'wall' - or rampart- the stockade sat on came from the fosse...)

Edited by Taun, 09 January 2013 - 07:50 PM.


#34    Corp

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 09:24 PM

View PostProfessor T, on 09 January 2013 - 07:05 PM, said:

The Maori had muskets, spears, and their hilltop Pa sites were circled with trenches and pallisade walls designed to slow an invading army or tribe and designed to give defenders time to reload and kill.. I've heard roomers from experts in this country that the pa trench design of the Maori were used as a template for WW1. *shrugs* Might be true. Might be an embelishment or glorification of war.. who knows..

Sure was effective at reducing populations though..

Posted Image
Is a bit more complicated than just a hole in the ground isn't it..

The Maori did have very impressive defences and it wouldn't surprise me if the British looked to their forts to pick up on some ideas. However the point I was making was that the wars with the Maori didn't give the British any special clues as to how bad the First World War was going to be. In all the wars the British lost less than a thousand dead I believe and they largely won. This can't be compared to losing almost twenty thousand soldiers in one day with little gain. It's no knock to the quality of the Maori military skill, they just didn't have the technology or the opportunity of march the conditions on the Western Front.

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war, is much worse...A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

#35    Professor T

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 09:38 PM

View PostCorp, on 09 January 2013 - 09:24 PM, said:

The Maori did have very impressive defences and it wouldn't surprise me if the British looked to their forts to pick up on some ideas. However the point I was making was that the wars with the Maori didn't give the British any special clues as to how bad the First World War was going to be. In all the wars the British lost less than a thousand dead I believe and they largely won. This can't be compared to losing almost twenty thousand soldiers in one day with little gain. It's no knock to the quality of the Maori military skill, they just didn't have the technology or the opportunity of march the conditions on the Western Front.

Hmmm, that's a speculative assumption.. & the british lost 22 thousand in the boer wars btw..

Perhaps however, the loss of life during WW1 was a result of the admiralty not giving a hoot about the lives in the trenches as opposed to a conspiracy to lower the population.. (And I am speculating here)


#36    spud the mackem

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 10:17 PM

I dont believe for one minute that opposing Governments during WW1 even thought of  starting a War to reduce the population that's total fubar.   Before trench warfare was "invented", armies used to face each other several lines deep with swords and bayonets fixed, cannon fire,cavalry charges,  then advance on each other ,Reference the battle of Waterloo, the American Civil War etcetera, then some whiz kid General thought that this was a waste of life, and decided to draw a line and dig trenches, so the opposing army did the same, with a few yards of no mans land in between, thus Stalemate and neither side had an advantage so the result was a big loss of life on both sides.This went on thru the Korean War up to the early part of the WW2 , then some guy thought why dont we employ guerilla tactics which proved some success, the result was, end of trench warfare, but soldiers still dig in when necessary for short periods of time.

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#37    Corp

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 10:21 PM

Yes the British did have a lot of loses during the Second Boer War, but most were due to disease and that war was still very moble even with the sieges. But in the Maori Wars, which I was referring to, their loses were far lighter. The Maori fared better than any other native civilization but the British at the time likely saw it as yet another colonial victory over poor "savages" and wouldn't teach them about how Europeans might fight. While a musket can kill it doesn't match a MG 08.

Generals not caring or understanding life on the front lines is a common theme in history so I'm sure your right in that view. Personally I think it came out of a lack of military options. The Allies felt they needed to attack in order to drive back the Germans. The Central Powers were facing several fronts and wanted to end the war before the Americans decided to join in. So they had to attack and while there was room to move around on the Eastern Front there wasn't on the Western Front because it had been completely fortified. Sure you could take the first trench line often enough but you'd get your teeth kicked in by the second and third lines and would then be forced to retreat because you couldn't hold that first line. Both sides were run by men who wanted to go on the offensive but were faced with tactics and technology that were best suited for defense. Thus you get a high body count.

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war, is much worse...A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

#38    Taun

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 11:37 AM

A bit back on subject...

One thing that WWI did accomplish in regards to the interactions of the various 'classes'... It forced the young 'upper class' officers to live in very close proximity to the troops... closer probably than ever before... They shared the same food, the same conditions and the same risks... it allowed the two groups - who had always been traditionally seperate - to become as one - even if only for the 5 years the war lasted...  I would venture to say that some of the respect and 'tolerance' that came in later reform movements was first generated in the fields of Flanders and along the Somme...

Edited by Taun, 10 January 2013 - 11:38 AM.


#39    Antilles

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 01:17 PM

My grandfather served in the trenches in France in WW1. No, I'm not that old, my grandfather had his family late in life.
He went voluntarily. He was not conscripted or forced to go. He served because he wanted to do what was right and have some fun. I have to add that. From what I know of him, if he thought he was part of some experiment to decimate the English working class ranks, he would have told them to get stuffed and he would have buggered off. Which he actually did but that was because he was sick of being told to go over the top and being shot at. Apparently, he didn't enjoy that very much.


#40    spud the mackem

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 08:15 PM

View PostAntilles, on 10 January 2013 - 01:17 PM, said:

My grandfather served in the trenches in France in WW1. No, I'm not that old, my grandfather had his family late in life.
He went voluntarily. He was not conscripted or forced to go. He served because he wanted to do what was right and have some fun. I have to add that. From what I know of him, if he thought he was part of some experiment to decimate the English working class ranks, he would have told them to get stuffed and he would have buggered off. Which he actually did but that was because he was sick of being told to go over the top and being shot at. Apparently, he didn't enjoy that very much.
  I'm glad he survived, mine didnt, he was killed 5 days before the war ended,at Ypres,and my mum was only 5yrs old.

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#41    Antilles

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 06:26 AM

I'm sorry to hear that. Would have been hard for your mother not to have known her Dad.





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