The BBC's 1964 Masterpiece "The Great War"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXhiagFG8KE&list=PLZ9uFPWla3XAfs2PmZkwiWe7DEm9PwhEs

Of all the events of the Twentieth Century, it is the First World War that has had the most dramatic and longest-lasting impact on the psyche of Western civilization, more so than all the events that followed.   For anyone with an abiding interest in that war, the 1964 BBC documentary The Great War is an invaluable reference to understanding.  Narrated by Sir Michael Redgrave, the 26-part documentary is a superbly-crafted work.  The tenor of the broadcasts reflects the erosion of the naïve hopes of the warring parties in 1914 into the grim fatalism that the years of slaughter evoked, and the upheaval that would ultimately topple the crowned heads of Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Serbia.  BBC producers make excellent use of voice to read the actual words of the key participants such as Edward Grey, Bethmann-Hollweg, Conrad von Hotzendorf, Joffre, Haig, Falkenhayn, and others.  The series features remarkable and little-seen motion footage of the world of 1914-18, including the civilians, the politicians, the armies, and the great battles of that war.   The battle footage heavily emphasizes the two great killers of that war (in inverse order), the machine gun, and modern breech-loading recoil-dampened artillery.

Of note also are the poignant, and sometimes extremely moving, interviews with the participants of events of the great tragedy.  Some had been in the thick of the fighting, others young subalterns or staff officers at the sleeve of the decision-makers.   Most remarkably, the BBC managed to produce a documentary about momentous events that changed the world and yet also managed to allow the viewer insight into the inestimable human tragedy that these events summoned.   At the time of the release of The Great War, those events were closer in time to the audience than the beginning of the Vietnam War is to our contemporary world.   The twenty-six episodes are around forty minutes each.  Worth every second of the time spent.

Oh, and as the credits roll at the end of each episode, one can spot the name of a very young (19 years old) contributor named Max Hastings.

Op-For: “Where is the Case for Co – Ed Ground Combat?”

Indiana Guard Fires Historic Artillery Mission Adds M777 Digital Artillery Piece to Arsenal

Alte kamerad LTCOL P, Marine artilleryman extraordinaire, has a great piece about a great piece.   He points out some pretty sobering stats from the continuing effort to make ground combat a co-ed sport.

In the 155 mm Artillery Lift and Carry, a test simulating ordnance stowing, volunteers had to pick up a 95 lb. artillery round and carry it 50 meters in under 2 minutes. Noted the report, “Less than 1% of men, compared to 28.2% of women, could not complete the 155 mm artillery round lift and carry in the allotted time.” If trainees had to “shoulder the round and/or carry multiple rounds, the 28.2% failure rate would increase.”

As LTCOL P points out, such a test is in no way, shape, or form anywhere near realistic.  The HE M107 projectile is 95 pounds, a tad heavier with lifting eyebolt.  I would posit that making the test the moving of ten or twenty of those projectiles over, say, 100 meters, BEGINS to get to what kind of heavy manual labor is involved in being a field artilleryman.  I would doubt severely that any female tested could get anywhere close to passing that particular test.  And that is simply a beginning test.  Try it after several days of 3 hours’ sleep in the snow or in yesterday’s rainwater, or in the 115 degree heat, after displacing twice in four hours and digging in spades each time.

You can be guaranteed the feminists and their spineless apologists in uniform will continue to find ways to obfuscate and slant results such as these and continue to scream for she-warriors who are the physical equivalent of men, when they are not being helpless victims, of course.   Our present and future enemies must be awfully impressed.

Firepower Vs. Maneuver

This won’t be an extended treatise on on doctrine, but I came across a brief passage in a paper (that I’ll expound on in a later post) that I wanted to share with you:

Further the tension between firepower and maneuver-based doctrines
often appears as more of a false dichotomy than self-styled maneuver theorists might allow. As DePuy stated in partial response to critics who accused him of being an attritionist, “maneuver warfare is not a doctrinal choice, it is an earned benefit.”

Put aside the COIN vs. Full Spectrum Operations (or whatever the hell the Army is calling it this week) argument, for decades, there’s been the tension between the advocates of attritional firepower versus the advocates of maneuver warfare.

To which I say-

You need firepower to give you freedom of maneuver, and maneuver to effectively place firepower.

Big Army, especially the armored and mech infantry side of the house, are frequently castigated as the attritionists. That’s fairly odd, because DePuy, supposedly the head attritionist in chief, was the guy that strongly encouraged the revisions to the ‘76 version of FM 100-5, inviting input that eventually lead to a far more “maneuverista” approach, eventually enshrined in 1982 as AirLand Battle Doctrine.

On the flip side, the Marines, famous for frontal assaults throughout history, are currently seen as a hotbed of maneuveristas, holding it as the high holy grail of doctrinal thought. Heck, they named their doctrine Operational Maneuver From The Sea. Maneuver is great, but at some point, you need firepower. You can dance all around put eventually, if you gotta land some punches.

By the way, let me get definitional here for a second- maneuver is not movement. It usually involves movement, but is more than that. One dictionary definition of maneuver, as a verb, is:

carefully guide or manipulate (someone or something) in order to achieve an end.

“they were maneuvering him into a betrayal of his countryman”

synonyms:
intrigue, plot, scheme, plan, lay plans, conspire, pull strings

“he began maneuvering for the party leadership”

Movement simply implies the effect on your own force. Maneuver is intended to have an effect on the enemy force. Indeed, every action our forces take should remember that. The goal of operations is to induce an effect on the enemy towards achieving our desired end state. The flip side of the coin, firepower, well, it too must be harnessed. But as LeMay once said, if you kill enough of them, they quit fighting.