Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Nando Aqui, Mar 1, 2005.
The French had a concept called elan (I think). This concept stated that the bravery of a French solider was more than anyone or anything else. Therefore French generals felt that the solider's elan was more than sufficent to over power German machine guns. After 3 years of watching fellow soliders die in mass charges against entrenched German machine guns whole French armies refused to get slaughtered. Remember some of the 1 day casualty totals in Verdun and such was in the thousands men. If you study history you watch the entire psychy of the French change after WWI. This brought about the Maginot Line which is an entirely another story.
As for being quick to criticize the French for their politics, I suggest that either some have a weak sense of history (witness how many French and other Europeans have been slaughtered in wars) or are too easily swayed by our own propaganda. War is a sad and tragic venture, even for the rightous. No nation's politics is so simplistic that their people should be stereotyped and characterized with dismissive labels. If you've experienced war directly (not me, I admit), or tended to the maimed/wounded of war (as an army medic I did), it is not so easy to be critical of those who wish not to be sent to their deaths by insane or stupid leaders.
One man's opinion.
I'd guess these were taken at a quiet part of the front or after the armistice. There is too much green. The trees in the background at the front lines would have had all their leaves and branches shot off on an active front. The uniforms are too clean as are the men. I laughed at the sign 'front line.'
The 4 soldiers posing in front of the fence have a number of German soldiers in the background - hence the suspicion these were taken during peace times.
These are what I think of when I think of what my great grandfather experienced when he went over the wall with the 7th engineers.
For those interested in the start of WWI, Barbara Tuchman's classic "The Guns of August" is a must-read.
What's really amazing to me is that those photos were taken less than 100 years ago. Compare weapons and tactics changes from 1776 to 1876 and the advances weren't too dramatic. Now compare weapons and tactics changes from 1914 to today and you'll see what I mean. We've gotten too good at killing our fellow man.
The Great War.
This series was made by the BBC in 1964 and was a major inspiration for The World At War, the documentary series on WWII which is much better known these days.
Volume 4 deals with (among much other material) the mutiny of the French armies on the Western Front.
Shocking and humbling stuff, and puts a real and human face on the French reluctance to commit to 'total war' for generations since. I guess loosing practically an entire generation of it's young men in a few years reverberates through a society for a very long time.
I can only find this DVD set in (PAL format) Region 2, which probably won't suit those of you in Region 1 (USA, Canada, and a few other places), but I'd still urge anyone interested to check it out.
If I find an NTSC Region 1 version, I'll post it here.
However, they are hardly indicative of the French fighting. If it hadn't been for the Brits the French would have gotten their rear ends kicked all the way back to Paris just like they did 40 years before. Hell - the whole french army mutinied in 1915 or 16 I believe.
The armies of Napoleon were the last French armies that actually fought. The French (with the exception of the Foreign Legion - made up mostly of non-french) have been getting their rear ends stomped ever since then.
I'd bet money even the Italians could have beaten them!
Thanks for sharing!
However, even if some re-enactment included, they are certainly a reminder of a brutal war of attrition, with much senseless loss. Still a very nice collection of pics.
Could also be power lines. Methinks they had electricity (more specifically AC) then...certainly possible in or near a large city.
40 years ago I lived in Verdun as an Army brat. I remember touring some of the forts and cemetaries in the area. Those photos send a chill down my spine with their color & clarity. Even if it was Photoshopped it still has an effect.
2 million (that's 2,000,000) soldiers died just in the Verdun area. That's one man for every square yard.
Oui oui, monsieur!
Apparently the process works like this. Take three copies of the same grey-scale image, and project them all through three different color filters.
It's a lot like modern three-color printing.
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