#182 Weekend Quiz 4U “the enemy within” - Page 3
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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 31

    Photos: some more clippings and photos of the journey of Admiral Avellan from Toulon via Lyon to Paris 1893
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    KH

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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 32

    Four more pictures of the French Squadron in Kronstadt 11 July to 5 August 1891
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    I forgot to post them at the right place; sometimes I think I'm getting old.

    Mentioned are all commanders of the French ships, but I am not able to read the blurry caption. If someone can, please tell me the results.
    KH

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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 33

    Until the 1870s, London’s bankers had been the Tsar’s main sponsors. German bankers replaced them once the German Empire came into being and defeated France in 1871. From that moment, Germany also replaced the United Kingdom as Russia’s main trading partner. On the eve of the First World War, 53% of Russia’s imports came from Germany while 32% of their exports went there. But at the end of the 19th century, at the financial level, French bankers took the place of their German counterparts. At the end of the 1880s and the beginning of the 1890s, Russia received a number of large loans from France. By constantly receiving new loans from France, Russian tsarism gradually fell into financial dependence on French imperialism. On the eve of the First World War, “investors” in France held 80% of Russia’s external debt and most of the existing Russian loans had been issued on the Paris market. Russian public debt amounted to £ 930 million (roughly 50% of GDP) in 1913.

    The hypothesis of dependence results from the coincidence of a number of generally recognized factors:

    · The evident importance of the French financial market for Russia
    · The changes in the military arrangements of the alliance after 1905 in a direction favorable to France
    o Concentration on Germany as the “main enemy”
    o Early offensive in East Prussia
    o French insistence on certain strategic railways
    and
    · the eventual transformation of the Franco-Russian alliance into the Triple Entente, a process initiated by the French through their settlement with England, the “Entente Cordiale” or “Cordial Agreement”, on 8 April 1904

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    Britain had maintained a policy of "splendid isolation" on the European continent for nearly a century, and the “Entente Cordiale” was the culmination of the policy of Théophile Delcassé, France's foreign minister from 1898, who believed that a Franco-British understanding would give France some security against any German system of alliances in Western Europe.

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    Credit for the success of the negotiation belongs chiefly to Paul Cambon, France's ambassador in London,

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    and to the British foreign secretary Lord Lansdowne.
    KH

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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 34

    Directly prior to World War I, the cooperation of the general staffs of both France and Russia assumed even closer forms, as 16 July 1912 a Russo-French naval convention was signed. The rest is sheer math. If the Germans worked out how many soldiers this alliance was able to muster against them, the gap increased every year.

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    From this perspective, the gloomy feeling of encirclement and inevitability that General Moltke and the German General Staff spread at every opportunity becomes more understandable.


    Surprising is that the difference between democratic and autocratic governments often collapses when you look at how foreign and armaments policy were organized. What really happened at the top of the government was shielded from the view and access of the parliaments, which might have seen a greater moral obligation to prevent the war.

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    The English Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Edward Grey sent important files to the closest circles only, because he wanted to hide his Entente policy from his own liberal party comrades. This shows just how strongly the British were engaged in ententist politics in the Balkans. Finally they left the Balkans to the Russians and allowed an ignition charge to be installed at this geopolitical boundary. In doing so, they created their own link that (also) led to the World War.


    The French also were playing a risky game by also financing the armaments of the Serbs. They pumped large sums to Serbia, making it the eastern bulwark of the Entente powers, but also making Serbia one of the most indebted countries in Europe before WW1 with external debts of 910,292,000 FF (Franc Français) in gold and 43,000,000 Serbian Dinars in gold. Even Grey had mixed feelings about this situation, but he resigned himself to it. That is why he was causing such a stir by warning the Germans on 29 July 1914 that England would intervene alongside France in a conflict over Serbia.
    KH

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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 35

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    By order of Emperor Franz Josef I of Austria on 28 July 1914

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    the Austrian-Hungarian Government declared war on Serbia.

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    The Declaration of War, signed by Foreign Minister Leopold Graf Berchtold, was published in French and German in a special edition of the “Wiener Zeitung”, the official publication used by the government of the Republic of Austria for its formal announcements. From that point the mechanics of the military alliances snapped into place and there was no way back to peace.

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    Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany used the term “Nibelungentreue” as the German Empire declared war alongside Austria-Hungary on 1 August 1914.

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    Literally the term “Nibelungentreue” ("Nibelung loyalty"), expresses the concept of absolute, unquestioning, excessive and potentially disastrous loyalty to a cause or person. The modern term “Nibelungentreue” was coined by chancellor Bernhard Heinrich Martin Karl von Bülow in his speech before the Reichstag on 29 March 1909. Addressing the Bosnian crisis, von Bülow invoked the absolute loyalty between the German Empire and Austria-Hungary to their Alliance of 1879 against the threat by the Entente cordiale:


    "Gentlemen — I have somewhere read a scornful word regarding a [German] vassalage to Austria-Hungary. This is fatuous. [...] but we will not eliminate the Nibelung loyalty from our relation to Austria-Hungary. This we want to preserve towards Austria-Hungary in full public view."

    This shows that a local crisis can become the reason for a conflict between major powers and even for a global war. None of the nations involved said “this is a great time to start a war, so let's start it”. But everyone accepted the Balkan scenario, which included that no one asked how the crisis actually started, who the perpetrator was, who the victim was and whether or not the Austrians had a moral right to retaliation. Edward Grey called it a "repulsive thought" to go to war for Serbia. But he, too, had no interest in an international law investigation of what had been and/or was happening.
    KH

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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 36

    2. The Enemy

    Those are some reasons why Willie, Nicki and George, as they called each other in letters to the others even in wartimes, became enemies and fought on the battlefields.

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    But there was another “enemy” during WW1, and all three cousins fought against it, though some more than the others, and this enemy was alcohol.


    "You can wage war without women, without ammunition, even without positions or trenches, but not without tobacco and certainly not without alcohol,"

    the German writer Arnold Zweig wrote in his 1935 novel "The Education of Verdun", in which he vividly described the horrors of World War I. That was no poetic phrase, but bitter reality. (Nearly) all soldiers, Germans, Austrians, French, Italian or British, were given a considerable ration of alcohol on the way every day.
    KH

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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 37

    The soldiers' daily alcohol consumption was not without consequences. Many of the men developed a serious addiction that was quite dangerous for their troops. Alcohol excesses increasingly undermined the troop's morale or led to hair-raising actions. For example, a very special incident for posterity is recorded in the files of the Austrian Standschützen-Bataillon Innsbruck II (a type of Tyrolean local militia or home guard).

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    Standschütze Kreidl, as the driver of a supply vehicle, drank of the rum stock to be transported in such a way that he fell unconscious into the ditch and the wagon came alone to the unloading point. It can only be attributed to the fact that the instinct of the horses was greater than the man's mind that neither the state nor the team to be fed had suffered any significant damage”,

    By the way: the superior of the drunken Standschütze refrained from an accusation, but the man was punished to wear handcuffs for three consecutive days.

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    BTW as for Standschützen:


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    There was a nice weapon, the Standschütze Hellriegel 1915 (“Maschinengewehr des Standschützen Hellriegel”, "Machine gun of reservist Hellriegel"), an Austro-Hungarian water-cooled submachine gun produced during World War I in very limited prototype numbers. One of the first submachine guns ever created, the Hellriegel was in essence a machine gun firing pistol-caliber rounds. Developed by someone called Standschütze Hellriegel, this weapon was tested in October 1915. Almost nothing is known about it, all the information found so far was taken from the three photographs of this gun. It was to feature a water-cooled barrel covered by a leather jacket, and was fed from either a stick magazine or a flexible chute inside a drum separated from the weapon itself, reserve drums transported in a rack on the back of a second soldier. Since all pictures of the gun only show the right side, the left side of this weapon is complete speculation. The photos show an Austro-Hungarian Standschützen Feldwebel (literally "field usher", a senior non-commissioned officer rank), possibly the (possible) inventor Hellriegel.
    KH

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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 38

    2.1. Great Britain

    From the beginning of WW1 the British government became concerned about the consumption of alcohol, but British army officers wrongly believed that their troops fought better if they were drunk in battle. Senior commanders encouraged drinking among soldiers, following medical advice that claimed alcohol made them more effective fighters. Health experts believed that rum would

    “warm and dry out chilled troops”

    who were suffering from dysentery caught in the trenches. Many colonels thought that the recommended level of 1/16th pint per day was too low and gave nervous fighters extra helpings to improve their confidence before advancing to enemy lines.

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    The government first saw the increasing alcoholism of their soldiers. There were units that were barely able to climb scaling ladders that led from the trenches to the open battlefield

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    (go over the top), because they were too drunk to do so.

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    On the other hand the medical officer of Scotland´s Fourth Black Watch (Dundee's Own), LtCol. James Samuel Yeaman Rogers, expressed his opinion in the Report of Enquiry into Shell Shock in 1922 that

    "we could hardly have won the war without the daily ration".

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    Photo: The first major engagement in which the 4th Battalion Black Watch took part was the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, 10 March 1915. Notes associated with this picture identify ten individuals: Lt Col Harry Walker CMC, Major John Balderston Muir DSO, Major Elmslie Tosh, Major J.S.Y. Rogers MB, RAMC, Capt Edgar Leslie Boase, Capt F R Tarleton, 2nd Lieut Philip David Weinberg, Lieutenant Sidney Herbert Steven MC, Lieutenant Talbert Stevenson and RSM William Charles

    The British government also feared that war production was being hampered by drunkenness. Other governments involved in the conflict were also worried about this problem, especially Russia.
    KH

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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 39

    2.2. Russia

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    In Russia leaders came and went, but one thing always was constant since the first Tsar of Russia from 1547 to 1584, Ivan IV Vasilyevich (Ива́н Васи́льевич), better known as Ivan the Terrible (but also as "Ivan the Formidable" or "Ivan the Fearsome"): Alcohol revenues. Tsar Ivan encouraged his subjects to drink their last kopecks away in state-owned taverns to help pad his purse.

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    In the 1540s he established kabaks, establishments where spirits were produced and sold, which in the 1640s became monopolies. In 1648, tavern revolts broke out across the country, as then a third of the male population was in debt to the taverns. In the 1700s, Russian rulers began to profit not only from alcohol but their subjects’ alcoholism.


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    Though Tsar Peter I or Peter the Great (Пётр Первый or Пётр Вели́кий) had decreed that the wives of peasants should be whipped if they dared attempt to drag their imbibing husbands out of taverns before the men were ready to leave, he disliked hard drinking and it seems he has been the first ruler of Russia to start some kind of a fight against increasing alcoholism.

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    He implemented no prohibition, but in 1714 instituted the Medal "For Drunkenness" (Медаль «За пьянство»), made from cast iron. He decided that it would be a panacea for alcoholism. The inscription said that the man was a drinker. Together with the collar and chain the medal weighed ~8 kg. "Awarded" was the medal at the police station and mounted in a way that removal was impossible. Those who were caught heavily drunk were forced to wear it for a week.


    But at the 19th century height of Russia’s royal empire, revenue from alcohol and accompanying taxes accounted for more than a third of the country’s entire operating budget, enough to maintain the largest standing army in Europe. And while harnessing alcohol’s revenue potential allowed Russia to fund its expansion, the empire became dependent on those profits. In order to maximize revenue, the royal family auctioned the regional rights to sell vodka to the highest bidder, allowing total monopolies to develop piecemeal countrywide and essentially creating a country of vodka-fueled fiefdoms. Higher-ups looked the other way when this system began to froth with abuse; as long as the vodka profits, or bribes, made their way back to Moscow, corrupt local governments could operate with a certain degree of impunity.
    KH

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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 40

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    The Russian alcohol system was perhaps never stronger than it was under the reign of Tsar Nicholas II, who ordered the construction of more than 100 distilleries. A rise in alcohol consumption soon followed this dramatic rise in production: By the time World War I started in 1914, the average Russian was drinking 14 liters of pure alcohol every year.

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    The Imperial Army and Navy were treated with vodka.

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    Statistically, Russians were not particularly heavy drinkers: For instance, France consumed five times as much alcohol as Russia and Italy three times as much. However, Russians drank mostly vodka and did it with a vengeance: not that often but in shocking quantities.

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    Count Sergei Yulyevich Witte (Серге́й Ю́льевич Ви́тте) was the father of the modern Russian state alcohol monopoly (and much of the rest of Russia’s economic structure, including its loans from France and its gold standard). He had been opposed to the outbreak of the war, but his poor health had sidelined him by 1914.
    KH

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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 41

    On 31 July 1914, the Czar went the way to prohibition with his decree "сухой закон" (= “sukhoy zakon”, “no alcohol law”, literally "dry law").

    This Russian prohibition did not appear from scratch. Its modern prototype was the bill "О мерах по борьбе с пьянством" ("Measures to combat drunkenness") of 1913, which was put forward by the right-wing faction of the State Duma. It restricted the sale of alcohol and permitted places for trade it, increased the volume of the minimum fees, drinks of beer, honey, mash were taxed equal with vodka, limited the time for selling alcohol (in cities from 9.00 to 19.00, in villages from 9.00 to 17.00). It set a complete ban on the sale of vodka on Orthodox holidays, other holidays, Sundays and the days preceding them. For appearing in public places while intoxicated, it was proposed to impose large fines. Alcohol dealers violating the law were to be punished severely.

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    In addition, it was recommended to introduce mandatory propaganda of a sober lifestyle in educational institutions. In 1913, the Duma did not approve this bill, but prohibition came shortly later.

    The 1914 decree "сухой закон" banned the manufacture and sale of alcohol in Russia. Originally, the ban was due to hold during mobilization, as Russia was entering the WW1. However, almost immediately it was extended for the duration of hostilities. After that, the right to ban alcohol was handed over from central government to local authorities: city dumas, rural communities and district councils. Then some cities and districts allowed the sale of wine and beer, but vodka remained banned everywhere.

    State Duma members from among the peasantry proposed a bill removing alcohol "from free circulation for eternity". The bill was not passed, but the ban on alcohol remained in force for 11 years in total, as even the Bolsheviks chose to maintain prohibition after the 1917 revolution.

    During the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-1905, widespread drinking among conscripts had created problems during mobilization, and the number of soldiers with alcohol-induced mental disorders was considerable. Ahead of the new war, the Tsar traveled across several Russian provinces.

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    The historian Sergei Fjodorovich Oldenburg (Серге́й Фёдорович Ольденбу́рг) wrote at the time:

    "With great grief, he witnessed sad pictures of infirmity, family poverty and neglected businesses, the inevitable consequences of life that is other than sober."
    KH

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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 42

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Name:	2.2. 14 WW1 Alcohol Pyotr Lvovich Bark Minister of Finance Pyotr Lvovich Bark.jpg 
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    In early 1914, the Tsar sent a rescript to the newly appointed Minister of Finance Pyotr Lvovich Bark (Пётр Львович Барк) with an instruction to "improve the economic wellbeing of the people, notwithstanding financial losses,” since budget revenues should be coming not from the sale of something that destroys "the spiritual and economic powers" of the people but from other, healthier sources.

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    That was a truly radical step, as revenues from vodka sales made up no less than 30% of the state budget. To carry out the reform, the emperor had to dismiss the main opponent of the event, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Vladimir Nikolayevich Kokovtsov (Влади́мир Никола́евич Коковцoв). Yet, when putting together the budget for 1915 and in spite of the fact that Russia was at war, the State Duma totally excluded vodka revenues. British politician David Lloyd George (see below) described it as "the single greatest act of national heroism”. The very possibility of such a move testified to the enormous economic potential that Russia had at the time.

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    Right after prohibition came into effect, statistical research was conducted to study its effects. The fascinating findings were published in works by prominent physician Alexander Leontyevich Mendelson (Александра Леонтьевич Мендельсон) and others. According to them, there was a dramatic drop in crime, mental hospitals had hardly any patients left and village life was miraculously transformed. Peasants were not only upgrading their farms, buying samovars and sewing machines, but were also depositing spare money with saving banks. Many of those polled said they were ready to pay additional taxes for as long as the sale of alcohol remained banned. "Even domestic animals have become more cheerful", one of the respondents said.

    Some unexpected problems arose: Medical schools complained of lack of corpses for anatomy lessons. There used to be many suicides, the bodies of which ended up at medical schools, however, the number of suicides dropped once there was no more drinking. The authors of those studies acknowledged that prohibition had some negative effects too. Chief among them was a rise of the making of so called “moonshine”, home-distilled alcohol, known in many countries.

    In Russia it was home-distilled vodka, called “Samogon” (“самого́н”, meaning "self-distilled", literally "self-ran"). The next was the secret manufacture of "Khanza", a drink made from wood alcohol, pepper and other strong spices, both “Samogon” and "Khanza" made by peasant women, for instance from horseradish. Third, especially in towns, it was a rise in the consumption of surrogates (denatured alcohol, polish or varnish) - though it was believed that it were only hopeless drunks who could drink hooch and polish as substitutes for vodka.

    Lack of alcohol created certain problems in everyday life too. Alcohol-free weddings did manage to gain some popularity, as people liked the fact that they cost less. However, a Russian funeral without vodka is inconceivable. There were also fears that boredom and lack of vodka might push some people toward gambling and depravity. However, against the backdrop of a rising wellbeing and prosperity, those minor negative effects were of no consequence, the authors of the studies concluded.

    Yet, not everything was quite so rosy. In August 1914 alone, some 230 former drinking saloons across Russia were smashed as people demanded vodka. In some of those incidents, police had to open fire on the rioters.

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    The governor of Perm Ivan Frantsevich Koshko (Иван Францевич Кошко) appealed to the Tsar to allow sale of alcohol for at least two hours a day "in order to avoid bloody clashes.” Mobilization did not go quite as smoothly as expected: Conscripts stormed closed wine warehouses in towns, troops were sent in to disperse them, and there were hundreds of casualties.

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    In reality, consumption of vodka surrogates in towns skyrocketed, with production of polish and varnish increasing tenfold. Private memoirs dating from the years before the revolution paint a picture not of happy sobriety but of mass drinking in villages. Hooch was made from almost everything: sawdust, shavings, mangel beets and other fodder crops. Strong alcohol was sold only at expensive restaurants, further breeding discontent among those who could not afford it.

    In addition, the war and prohibition caused a massive rise in drug addiction, especially in St. Petersburg. Earlier, cocaine and heroin had been sold in drugstores; however, at about the same time many substances were classed as dangerous narcotics and were banned. However, as early as 1915, traffickers managed to establish opium supplies from Greece and Persia, while cocaine was brought over from Europe. It was cocaine that became inseparable from the image not only of the decadent St. Petersburg youth but also of the Bolshevik commissar in his leather jacket.
    KH

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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 43

    2.3. France, Italy, Germany and Austro-Hungaria

    Attempts to reduce alcohol consumption were also made in Germany, Austro-Hungary, Italy and France.

    2.3.1. France

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    While the Russians drank vodka, the other partner of the “Sainte Alliance”,

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    France,
    had the “Pinard”, a red wine. Pinard is a slang qualifier designating a red wine. It has as synonym «bleu», «bluchet», «brutal», «gingin», «ginglard», «ginglet», «gros qui tache», «jaja», «pichtegorne», «picrate», «picton», «pive», «pivois» or «rouquin». But unlike these other slang words, it has a history linked to the First World War where it was the wine of the poilus who gave it a kind of glory by designating it as

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    "Saint Pinard" or "Father Pinard". The military hierarchy considered Pinard as an ordinary food which, moreover, is beneficial for morale and can give courage to the attackers. Pinard was the comforter of all the ills of the poilus. The drink distributed to them was a mixture of wines from all sources, the only imperative being to serve a uniform drink at 9° alcohol.

    Pinard was of poor quality, as a verse from a marching song about pinard, Max Leclerc’s “Ode du Pinard“ of 1915, leaves no doubt:

    “Salut! Pinard de l’intendance,
    Qu’as d’trop peu ou goût de rien,
    sauf les jours où t’aurais tendance
    A puer l’phénol ou bien l’purin.
    Y’a même des fois qu’tu sens l’pétrole,
    T’es trouble, t’es louche et t’es vaseux,
    Tu vaux pas mieux qu’ta sœur la gnole.
    C’est sûr comme un et un font deux,
    Qu’les riz-pain-sel y vous mélangent
    Avec l’eau d’une mare à canards ;
    Mais qu’y faire? la soif vous démange.”

    “Salut! Pinard of the commissariat (military supplies),
    Which has little to no taste,
    Except for the days when you tend,
    To stink of phenols and manure.
    And there are even times you smell of petrol,
    You’re trouble, you’re questionable and you’re muddy,
    You’re not much better than your sister booze.
    It’s sure as one and one makes two,
    That rice, bread and salt have been added to you
    Along with the water from a duckpond,
    But what to do? I’m itching for a drink.”

    At the end the truth was that the wine was terrible but it was the only thing going. Therefore many poilus bolstered (or masked the taste of) their wine ration by adding brandy or other hard stuff.
    KH

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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 44

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    It was brought to the poilus in their French M-1877 Canteen, which was either a 2-liter or 1-liter canteen, covered with horizon blue or later khaki wool cloth.

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    At the start of WWI the Metropolitan troops were using the 1 Litre Modèle 1877 Bidon, which was covered in dark blue cloth

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    while those forces in North Africa were using the 2 Litre Modèle 1877 Bidon which was also covered in a dark blue cloth. French military leaders had thought that 1 liter was enough water to carry while on campaign as they could get re-supplied with water easily, but as the war went into trench warfare re-supply became an issue and getting water to the front became difficult. Therefore all French forces started to get issued the 2 liter version. Both types had two spouts, a large and small one, that were plugged with either wood or cork which was secured to the canteen itself with a string. Often two bidons were worn; in the assault, one bottle typically contained Pinard, mixed with water, the other coffee and Tafia, a kind of cheap rum made from sugarcane juice. Later many Americans chose to carry a French canteen due to their capacity.

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    The cantinières were responsible for supplying the poilus in the trenches.
    KH

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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 45

    At the outbreak of the war, every poilu was allowed a quarter of a liter of the low-quality red wine. Quite often, before an attack servicemen were also given brandy. As the conflict progressed, the rations increased to half a liter and in 1918 some units distributed even up to one liter per man per day.

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    In 1917, the French Army consumed 1,200 million liters of wine
    .

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    The French state publicly raised money, for instance at Fund Raising Stalls, in order to be able to buy Pinard for the troops. Even a special song was composed whose refrain urged soldiers to drink the wine of victory and enable the French nation to celebrate “a lovely drunkenness of glory”. One of the verses pledged that wine, which “inspires arms to take up their task”, will give the poilu “strength, energy, [and] courage”.
    KH

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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 46

    Some Pinard Postcards/Posters:
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    KH

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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 47

    Photos Pinard at the front, transport
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    KH

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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 48

    Photos Pinard at the front
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    Photo
    : Departure of men from the 5th Infantry Regiment from Paris for the front – 1914. This regiment was engaged from the start of the war at the Battles of the Frontier.
    KH

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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 49

    French authorities were just a little concerned with the effects of drunkenness on the morale of the nation and its troops.

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    The beginning of the war coincided with the prohibition of absinthe, the spirit made of wormwood, anise, fennel and other herbs. Although it contained only tiny amounts of the hallucinogenic compound called Thujone, the authorities blamed absinthe, the consumption of which totaled thirty-six million liters in 1910, for causing degenerative addiction among the population. Thus on 16 August 1914, the government prohibited its sale by an emergency decree, while in February 1915 the legislative assembly outlawed the production, distribution, and sale of absinthe.

    The government also banned the opening of new liquor stores, though old ones were left unmolested. The restrictions in France were further extended to cover the production of spirits (the maximum strength allowed now being 23 percent) and its marketing (selling to women became forbidden).
    KH

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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 50

    2.3.2. Italy

    Italian soldiers had at their disposal only two authorized means to mitigate the hardships of combat: sex and alcohol. Military brothels aside, wine was an indispensable part of the soldier’s rations.

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    The Italian army distributed to its soldiers every day 600 grams of bread, 100 grams of meat and pasta (or rice), fruit and vegetables (sometimes), a quarter of wine and coffee. In addition, when extra allowances were issued (occasionally also of brandy or grappa), not only were they enthusiastically welcomed but sometimes even proved essential for maintaining morale and raising the fighting spirit.

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    So like most other belligerent countries Italy regularly supplied its troops with liquid “spiritual fuel”.

    KH

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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 51

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    Drinking water was, however, a problem and hardly ever exceeded half a liter per day. For soldiers in the trenches at the frontline the lunchbox containing the food would be slightly larger. Moreover, also before assaults were launched, the portions would be larger and supplemented with the addition of biscuits, containers with meat, chocolate and liquor. Today in several museums we can still see the metal containers that would hold 220 grams of meat or, sometimes, anchovies in olive oil and candied fruit.

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    Each container would be decorated with patriotic words such as "Savoia!" (Savoy!)

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    or "Antipasto finissimo Trento e Trieste" (Very good appetizer Trento and Trieste).
    KH

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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 52

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    1914 “Savoia

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    and “Trento e Trieste” were geographic areas/cities north of the Italian border resp. east across the Adriatic, Trieste, Istria and Dalmatia. Today Savoy is a part of France, 1860 ceded to Francefor the promise of Napoleon III to support the unification of Italy. Trieste and Trento are part of Italy, but at the beginning of WW1 Trieste and Trento were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Italy was together with Austro-Hungary and Germany the third partner of the Triple Alliance, but had declared its neutrality at the outbreak of WW1.

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    The Italian government of the conservative Antonio Salandra declared that Italy would not commit its troops, maintaining that the Triple Alliance had only a defensive stance and Austria-Hungary had been the aggressor.
    KH

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    Default

    I hate "what if" historical speculation, but one could ask if the Central Powers would have been successful if Italy stayed on their side?

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by car99 View Post
    I hate "what if" historical speculation, but one could ask if the Central Powers would have been successful if Italy stayed on their side?
    I think the situation for the Entente Powers would have been worse, car99, with the Austro-Hungarian army available at the western front also plus a possible attack on France from the south by the Italians to regain Savoy.
    KH

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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 53

    2.3.2.1. Italy and the Better Rewards

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    Thereafter Prime Minister Salandra and the minister of Foreign Affairs, Sidney Sonnino,

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    began to probe which side would grant the best reward for Italy's entrance in the war or its neutrality.

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    Although the majority of the cabinet (including former Prime Minister Giovanni Giolitti) was firmly against intervention, numerous intellectuals,

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    including Socialists such as Ivanoe Bonomi,

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    Leonida Bissolati

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    and, after 18 October 1914, Benito Mussolini, declared in favor of intervention, which was then mostly supported by the Nationalist and the Liberal parties.


    The negotiation with Central Powers to keep Italy neutral failed, they did not offer enough: after victory Italy was promised to get Trentino but not the South Tyrol, part of the Austrian Littoral, but not Trieste, maybe Tunisia, but all only after the end of the war while Italy wanted everything immediately.

    26 April 1915 Italy signed the London Pact and entered World War I on the side of the Entente. According to the London pact, Italy was to leave the Triple Alliance and join the Entente Powers. Furthermore, Italy was to declare war on Germany and Austria-Hungary within a month. The declaration of war was duly published on 23 May 1915, but Italy declared war against Austria-Hungary only, not against the German Empire until a year later, on 27 August 1916.

    The main lure for Italy was the promise of funding by Britain and a promise of large amounts of Austria-Hungary to the north of Italy and to the east across the Adriatic. According to the Pact, assuming its victory against Germany and its allies, the Triple Entente promised Italy much more than the Central Powers, namely the following territorial gains after the war:

    1. Tyrol, up to the Alpine water divide at the Brenner Pass, which includes the what is now the Italian provinces of Trentino and Alto Adige (the latter being called "Cisalpine Tyrol").
    2. The entire Austrian Littoral, including Istria, the port of Trieste and the Cres-Lošinj archipelago but without the island of Krk (Veglia) and the Hungarian port of Rijeka.
    3. Northern Dalmatia, including Zadar, Šibenik and most of the Dalmatian islands except Rab and Brač.
    4. The districts of Vipava, Idrija and Ilirska Bistrica, in the Austrian Duchy of Carniola.
    5. The townships of Pontebba (Pontafel) and Malborghetto Valbruna (Malborgeth-Wolfsbach) in the Austrian Duchy of Carinthia.
    6. The Dodecanese Islands, held by Italy since 1912
    7. The port of Vlorë, in Albania
    8. A protectorate over Albania ("Italy should be entrusted with the task of representing the State of Albania in its relations with Foreign Powers")
    9. Small compensations in Africa if German colonies in Asia and Africa were occupied by Allies, particularly border adjustments between the existing Italian colonies and the British and French colonies.
    10. In the event of the partition of Ottoman Empire, Italy "ought to obtain a just share of the Mediterranean region adjacent to the province of Adalia" (the province of Antalya in Turkey)
    KH

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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 54

    The pact seemed to fulfill most of the hopes of the Italian so called “Irredentists”, as since 1870 the territories 1 – 8 were perceived by them as being Italian under foreign rule.

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    Italian irredentism was a nationalist movement during the late 19th and early 20th centuries that sought to bring under Italian rule various lands that were considered to be culturally, linguistically or historically Italian, i.e. all areas in which indigenous peoples considered to be ethnic Italians and/or Italian-speaking individuals formed a majority, or even only a substantial minority, of the population, but were not included in the unified Italian Kingdom of 1870. Some of these territories remained part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until 1918: the Italian-speaking areas of Tyrol (Welschtirol including Trento), Istria, Gorizia, Trieste and the Dalmatian coastline. However, irredentists also laid claim to Nice and Savoy in south-eastern France, and the most extreme variants insisted that Italy would be geographically incomplete without Corsica, Malta and the Swiss canton of Ticino. Irredentism was not a formal organization but rather an opinion movement, advocated by several different groups.

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    One of the leading irredentists was the then Paris-based modernist poet, journalist, politician, aviator and Great War hero Gabriele D’Annunzio (later General Gabriele D'Annunzio, Prince of Montenevoso, Duke of Gallese).


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    BTW: After the war Italy was disappointed, as many of the promises to obtain various territorial gains were broken. Italy gained some Austrian areas around Trento and Trieste, Gorizia (Görz), Istria and the city of Zara, but all other Italian territorial claims, especially the important ones over Dalmatia and much of the Adriatic, were not fulfilled by the Entente Powers.
    KH

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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 55

    2.3.2.2. Italy and the Isonzo Battles

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    Chief of staff and commander in Chief of the Italian Army from July 1914 to November 1917 was General Luigi Cadorna, like General Joffre a staunch proponent of the frontal assault (which during the Battles of the Isonzo caused 950,180 Italian and 520,532 Central Powers casualties). General Cadorna had written a manual of infantry tactics which laid stress on the doctrine of the offensive and had imposed strict discipline with severe punishment.
    KH

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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 56

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    This doctrine cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of Italian soldiers. His plan was to attack on the Isonzo front, with the dream of breaking over the Karst Plateau into the Carniolan Basin, taking Ljubljana and threatening the Austro-Hungarian Empire's capital Vienna. The plan had no realistic chance of success in an age of barbed wire, machine guns and indirect artillery fire, combined with hilly and mountainous terrain.

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ID:	3654999The Battles of the Isonzo, the Italian Verdun, became a series of 12 battles from 23 May 1915 – 27 October 1917 between the Austro-Hungarian and Italian armies, mostly on the territory of present-day Slovenia,

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    and the remainder in Italy along the Isonzo River on the eastern sector of the Italian Front, with during the first 11 battles five Italian victories, three inconclusive battles and three Austro-Hungarian victories.
    KH

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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 57

    GeneralCadorna met his French counterpart GeneralJoffre on 7 November 1916 in St Michel de Maurienne in France, interestingly in Savoy, one of the “Irredenta” areas, near the Italian Border.
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    KH

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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 58

    Finally on 24 October 1917 in the 12th Isonzo Battle
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    ....
    KH

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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 59

    ....
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    a combined Austro-Hungarian/German army, consisting of the 14th German Army (CO General der Infanterie Otto Ernst Vinzent Leo von Below, four Army Corps withtogetherfive Austro-Hungarian and seven German Divisions plus three Austro-Hungarian Divisions as reserve)

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    and the Austro-Hungarian Army Group Boroević (CO Generaloberst Svetozar Boroević (or Borojević) von Bojna, commander of the Southwestern Front),

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    in fact only parts of the 2nd Isonzo Army (CO General der Infanterie Johann Nepomuk Ritter von Henriquez),

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    namely the Kosak Army Corpswiththree Austro-Hungarian Divisions(CO Feldmarschall-Leutnant (= Lieutenant-General) Ferdinand Kosak), altogether with ~350,000 soldiers and 2,213 artillery pieces, struck across the Isonzo River at Kobarid (called Caporetto in Italian and in German Karfreit) and attacked the Italian 2nd Army of GeneralCadorna with ~257,400 soldiers

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    and 6,918 artillery pieces (operations at the flanks and reinforcements are not counted). By 12 November the Central Powers had advanced all the way to the Piave River

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    and the Monte Grappa, who´s summit became the pivot of the Italian defense (Austro-Hungarian and German troops tried several times in vain to conquer it).
    KH

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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 60

    General Cadorna himself had been on leave for most of October and his immediate subordinate General Capello was bedridden with fever and seriously ill. General Cadorna's disposition of most of his troops far forward, with little defense in depth,

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    contributed greatly to the defeat at Caporetto;

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    but more serious was the failure of other officers, notably and first of all of the Marchese del Sabotino, General Pietro Badoglio, since 14 October 1917 commander of the XXVII Army Corps in the sector, overrun by the Austro-German attack. He had given orders for his artillery to await his order to open fire. From the comfortable position in the rear he "forgot" to give any order, for instance for his eighteen hundred cannons to fire. To make matters worse, he roamed around the corps rear area during the battle exacerbating an already grave command and control problem. Message runners found it nearly impossible to find him. Overwhelmed by the retreat, General Badoglio remained unavailable and untraceable for hours until the late afternoon, busy with other things. His corps was devastated by the attack and lost 33,000 men, mostly as POWs, and all its 1,800 artillery pieces, including 24 French howitzers, in just two days.

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    The remnants of the XXVII Corps retreated in great disorder, which allowed circumventing the positions held by the IV Corps (CO General Alberto Cavacciocchi)

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    and the consequent retreat of the XXIV Corps (CO General Enrico Caviglia).

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    The VII Army Corps (CO General Luigi Bongiovani), placed in a reserve position, was unable to intervene to fill the huge hole that opened on the Italian front. Of the original four divisions of Badoglio´s XXVII Corps only a few brigades and no artillery remained by the time the retreat reached the Tagliamento. No other unit in the 2nd Italian Army had suffered so badly.

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    Nine days later General Badoglio was promoted to the post of the second-in-command in the General Staff (together with General Gaetano Giardino as second deputy).
    KH

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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 61

    The Italian Army fled in disarray and seemed on the verge of total collapse. The Italian casualty numbers were impressive: 13,000 dead, 30,000 wounded,

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    265,000 captured, 300,000 stragglers and 50,000 deserters.
    KH

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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 62

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    3,152 artillery pieces
    , 3,000 machine guns,

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    1,712 mortars, flame-throwers, more than 300,000 rifles, ....
    KH

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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 63

    ....
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    1,600 cars

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    (several armored cars Autoblinda Isotta-Fraschini

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    and Autoblinda Ansaldo-Lancia 1Z and 1ZM

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    and self-propelled 75mm AA-guns included),

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    73,000 horse-drawn carts, 150 airplanes and a half million projectiles were captured by the Central Powers.


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    Photo: Hanriot Macchi HD.1 sn.6651 crashed near Caporetto
    KH

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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 64

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    Photos: Austro-Hungarian soldiers pose next to captured Italian artillery pieces abandoned by the Italian Army following Caporetto

    Photos: Interesting examples of obsolete Italian weapons captured by the Austro-Hungarians during Caporetto:

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    a Gardner gun

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    and a couple of Hotchkiss 5-barrel revolver cannons, both a testament to the strain of war on the arms industry.
    KH

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    Default

    Thanks KH, you are bringing Mark Thompson's book "The White War" to life.

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    And I just ordered "The White War" from the library.

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    I think you will be happy - deals in depth with the political/military history leading up to the Great War and the war itself. Plenty to chew on.

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    On second thought, with wooden headed generals leading the Italian army, maybe the French would have repulsed them in 1915 in Savoy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by car99 View Post
    On second thought, with wooden headed generals leading the Italian army, maybe the French would have repulsed them in 1915 in Savoy.
    The French problem would have been that their military leader was a wooden headed general too , in my eyes much worse than Cadorna.
    KH

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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 65

    Italy's allies Britain and France sent eleven divisions to reinforce the Italian front, but insisted on the dismissal of General Cadorna. So one of the most immediate results was that General Cadorna was relieved of command on 9 November 1917,

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    together with General Carlo Porro (General Cadorna´s Chief of Staff),

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    General Luigi Capello (at Caporetto CO 2nd Army), General Cavacciocchi (CO IV Army Corps) and General Bongiovani (CO VII Army Corps).

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    King Victor Emmanuel III

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    appointed the respected General Armando Diaz as Chief of General Staff.

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    Photo
    : General Cadorna was reassigned as the Italian representative to the Allied Supreme War Council set up in Versailles, from left General Angelo Gatti, US LtCol. Martin-Franklin, General Cadorna, Col. Bianchi d'Espinosa, LtCol. Pintor, Lt. Gallarati-Scotti
    KH

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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 66

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Name:	2.3.2. 30 1 Isonzo Prime Minister Vittorio Emanuele Orlando.jpg 
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    On 17 January 1918, with a telegram from the Prime Minister Vittorio Emanuele Orlando,

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Name:	2.3.2. 30 3 Isonzo Pietro Badoglio and Luigi Cadorna visiting the defenses of the XXVII Army Cor.jpg 
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    General Cadorna was summoned to Rome before the commission for the events of Caporetto (together with General Badoglio and theGenerals Capello, Porro, Cavacciocchi and Bongiovani), while General Giardino was sent to Versailles. Between 15 February 1918 and 25 June 1919 the commission held 241 sessions, consulting 2,310 documents and listening to 1,012 witnesses.

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    Once the work was completed, two large volumes, the first on what happened, the second on men's responsibilities, were delivered to the Prime Minister Francesco Saverio Nitti, the successor of V.E. Orlando.


    Most generals, especially the Generals Cadorna and Capello, were blamed for the defeat by the commission of inquiry. Both general's responsibilities in the defeat of Caporetto were considered very serious, as, in accordance with General Cadorna's doctrine of the attack at all costs, both had neglected to organize the Second Army for the defense also, which led to the complete collapse. The commission was strict, with one exception: General Badoglio. Instead being sentenced to death and shot, he emerged from those inquiries, as in the report no mention was made of his very serious failures, causing the breakthrough of the Isonzo Line. It seems certain, even if never confirmed, that 13 pages concerning him had been removed from the document.

    General Capello first had been given the command of the 5th Reserve Army, engaged in rebuilding the pieces of his former 2nd Army. He never returned to service after the verdict of the Commission of Inquiry and the Generals Porro and Cavacciocchi retired to obscurity.

    General Bongiovani had been given the command of the 69th Division, after his VII Army Corps was dissolved at the end of November. He held this position until February 1918. The Commission of Inquiry did not blame him, considering him a victim of the enemy tactical surprise. In March 1918 he assumed command of the Italian Air Force, placed directly under the command of the Supreme Command,

    General Caviglia (during the Battle of Caporetto CO XXIV Army Corps) was given no responsibility for the defeat Instead he was awarded the Silver Medal for his skill in keeping his men united and disciplined throughout the retreat to the Piave Line and was given the command of the X Army Corps.
    KH

  45. #134
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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 67

    2.3.2.3. The last battles in Italy

    Caporetto was the last victory of the Central Powers on the Italian Battlefield. The last battles here were won by the Italians with the support of the French, British and some support of the United States.

    2.3.2.3.1. First Piave Battle

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    The 12th Isonzo Battle ended on 19 November 1917. By the time the attack reached the Piave River

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Name:	2.3.2. 31 1 First Piave Battle Austrian trenches on the Asolone flank of the Monte Grappa massif.jpg 
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    a part became the First battle of Monte Grappa aka the First Piave Battle. The “Battaglia d’Arresto” raged in two phases between 10-26 November 1917 and 4-25 December 1917. The Austrians tried to take Monte Grappa and break through the Piave line before it was reinforced by Allied units.


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    Leaders were for Italy General Armando Diaz

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    and General Mario Nicolis di Robilant (CO of the Fourth Army),

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    and for the Central Powers Generaloberst Otto von Below

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Name:	2.3.2. 31 9 First Piave Battle AH General Franz Xaver Josef Graf Conrad von Hötzendorf.jpg 
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    and Field Marshal Lieutenant Franz Xaver Josef Graf Conrad von Hötzendorf.
    KH

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    Default “The Enemy Within”, Part 68

    The Italian Chief of the general staff, General Luigi Cadorna, had ordered the construction of fortified defenses around the Monte Grappa summit in order to make the mountain range an impregnable fortress. When the Austrian offensive routed the Italians, the new Italian chief of staff, General Diaz, ordered the Fourth Army to stop their retreat and defend these positions between the Roncone and the Tomatico mountains, with the support of the Second Army.

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    Since September 1915, General di Robilant was commander of the Fourth Army. At the height of the Caporetto disaster, he was ordered by General Cadorna to retreat with his Army. Unaware of the seriousness of the situation, General Di Robilant hesitated to execute the order. This caused the capture of 11.500 of his men by the forces of General von Below, but then the 4th Army withdrew to the Mount Grappa massif, where General Di Robilant won the defensive battle of Mount Grappa, as the Austrians, despite help from the German Army's Alpenkorps and numerical superiority, failed to take the mountain's summit.


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    The Grappa was a naturally strong defensive position, and the Italians managed to hold their improvised positions by mounting determined counterattacks.

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    On 22 November 1917 the German Sturmtruppen (assault troops) took the Monte Tomba

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    and on 4 December 1917 overran the Melette, but the offensive had lost steam by then. Between 4 and 24 December 1917 the Austrians made a second attempt at breaking the Italian front, but their heavy artillery lagged behind and the men were exhausted. The Austrian high command, accepting the advice of the Germans, suspended the operation.
    KH

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