Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

WW1's Best Fighting Men!

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • WW1's Best Fighting Men!

    Hi all!! I'm back! Back in action! Locked and loaded! All fired up (at least for now)! It's been a loooooooooong time (too long).

    And in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the end of The Great War, I figured that it might be ok and timely to start a new thread whose goal is to tackle a new topic, one whose overall relevance to this subject would seem high and logical.

    Here it is-- which group of fighting men would you deem as the best and most tenacious during WW1?? My personal favorite, and IMHO, would be the Serbs.

    For as no one could ever deny that terrifically martial race put up quite the amazing and incredible fight against their Bulgarian and Austro-Hungarian invaders, and all of whom knew how dangerous, fearsome, tough and indomitable that the Serbian people were (and still are).

    Sadly and horrifically, during that savage and bloody conflict the Serb homeland lost up to 30 percent of its overall population, including up to 60 percent of its male population of military age. That is astronomical, and staggering, horrifically staggering (as most perished from disease, famine or massacre).

    Though such extremely high numbers are also this direct indication of the unfazed and unbending zeal for freedom that has always stirred the great and proud Serbian people to action, and to organize effectively in defense of their beloved homeland.

    And Serbian Warriors have always been 2nd to none, amongst the finest and most respected in history (and the best, fiercest and most indefatigable in all of Europe back in WW1).

    And in stark contrast to all the other heavily militarized powers involved in WW1, the Serbs lost at least 26 percent of all their mobilized military personnel in battle, the highest, percentage wise, of every nation that participated in that colossal, horrid bloodbath. Further proof that the mighty and ferocious Serbs were amongst the best of the best, as those WW1 era freedom fighters fought as fiercely, as bravely, as doggedly and as proudly as any soldiers have over the past several hundred years. Astounding!

    I would also love to add the Gurkhas from Nepal (always fierce, always fearless), the Indian Sikhs, the elite German Sturmtruppan (these amazing pioneers), the 36th Ulster Division, the various Irish and Scottish Highland battalions that bled bad (and almost all of whom were utilized as these first rate shock troops, right up there with the Gurkhas in terms of their savage close quarter proficiency), many Australian regiments (again, badass shock troops), the Canadians (many of whom were of the Eastern Canadian Highland variety, these fearsome shock troops all the way), a select few English battalions of shock troops, AND another group of feared Balkan Warriors who fought as deadly and daring shock troops for the Austro-Hungarians (which my good friend Jeroen once put forth in a similar discussion).

    For all of those units fought heroically, viciously, and often bled profusely for their famed and legendary battlefield exertions. Though the Serbs WERE THE BEST, and the most unremitting, the most determined, and the most formidably inspired!

  • #2
    Taylor! Long time no see! Welcome back! The problem with rating the various Fighting Men is some Battalions fought better than others. As a rule, the British Regular Divisions fought well at the beginning of the war. Just about all the Prewar Regulars were gone by 1916. The Canadians did well because they kept their 12 battalion division structure when just about everyone else went to a nine battalion structure. The Canadians eventually fielded 4 Divisions in France. They kept trying to create more but they had to keep breaking up the new division to fund replacements.

    The New Zealanders had a good rep but never really went past one division and a Cavalry Brigade in combat.

    The Australians were magnificent while they lasted. Casualties kept whittling them away and the six foot volunteers were eventually replaced by guys barely over five foot tall.

    The Indian Army was a collection of Regiments and it was hard to replace casualties. The Fighting Race concept was great for Peacetime when the number of recruit slots were limited. When the number of recruits swelled the IA, there were problems. Some regiments had not seen combat in over 20 years and fought poorly for it. One Regiment landed on Tanga and was routed by a couple of Bee Hives! The British had to remove the Indian Corps from France after the first Winter.

    Gurkhas were often used to the cold, but many were new Battalions raised for the war.

    The Ulster Protestants in the 36th Division actually did not do so well. The Regular Irish Regiments did better. After the Easter Rebellion the British replaced Irish Regiments from the South with Indian Regiments.

    American Troops suffered a bit from poor training and generals that had never handled large numbers of troops before. They did learn, though.

    The Pre-war A-H Empire went through an epidemic when they tried to invade Serbia what, four times before they broke trough.

    Germans Troops depended a bit on where they were from. Regular and Reserve Divisions from the smaller Kingdoms outperformed the Prussian formations. The Bavarians, Saxons and Hessians are several that come to mind.

    Pruitt
    Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

    Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

    by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

    Comment


    • #3
      There was only one of the major powers's Armies that didn't mutiny during WW1. In my 'umble opinion that qualifies 'em as The Great War's best fighting Army.

      http://www.ww1photos.com/FredKarnosArmy.html


      The long toll of the brave
      Is not lost in darkness
      Over the fruitful earth
      And athwart the seas
      Hath passed the light of noble deeds
      Unquenchable forever.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Pruitt View Post


        Germans Troops depended a bit on where they were from. Regular and Reserve Divisions from the smaller Kingdoms outperformed the Prussian formations. The Bavarians, Saxons and Hessians are several that come to mind.

        Pruitt
        Having just watched the utterly superb Peter Jackson film 'They Shall Not Grow Old' they is a section where the British talk about the German prisoners they captured, in particular 'The Bavarians' and 'The Saxons' who they admired greatly. The kindness and mutual respect is evident. The British soldiers talk about The Bavarians 'not shooting to kill' and also how the The Saxons were 'one step away from being us'. All they saw was commonality.

        However, when the Bavarians and others were being relieved by the 'militaristic' Prussians they urged the British and Commonwealth troops to 'give them hell'.

        The Prussians were feared and loathed, not just by the enemy, but by those who were fighting on the same side. They were also brutal, merciless, stubborn and fearless.

        I have no admiration for them other than they were a fearsome opponent, most determined and dogged and would never give up. So whether that makes them WWI's 'best fighting men' or not, I don't know.
        "COOMMAAAAAAANNNNDOOOO!!!!!"
        - Mad Jack Churchill.

        Comment


        • #5
          The Bavarians gave the best "fight". One famous recruit to a Bavarian unit was an Austrian, Adolf Hitler. Most German States that had an elite had very high ratings. A large number of Regular Prussian units just did not perform well. The Prussian Cavalry was plain bad.

          Pruitt
          Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

          Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

          by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

          Comment


          • #6
            You write like you 'know' Pruitt. Like what you are starting are facts rather than your opinion.

            Were you there?

            Most assertions about WWI are opinion I would think but what I can tell you is whether they 'performed' well or not, the Prussians were both feared and hated, even by the men who fought on the same side.

            So who were 'WWI's best fighting men'. Was it the Serbs, Ghurkas, French, Prussians, Bavarians, Anzacs .... or was their bravery and courage on all sides from all geographical locations?



            "COOMMAAAAAAANNNNDOOOO!!!!!"
            - Mad Jack Churchill.

            Comment


            • #7
              I have a book somewhere that rates all the German Divisions in WWI. Germany was divided into Kingdoms and further into Districts in say, Prussia. I had another book that rated the British and Commonwealth Divisions, which I copied into a notebook. I have that notebook to hand. Corps areas typically had two Regular Divisions (undergoing their military service), two Reserve Divisions of demobilized draftees that were still fairly young, and two Ersatz Divisions of older men not considered too old. The Germans also converted their divisions from "square" of 4 Infantry Regiments to "triangular" of 3 Infantry Regiments. The "extra" Regiments were formed into Divisions. The Jager Regiments were also grouped to form Divisions. This created a lot of new divisions. The Divisions were rated on a 1 to 5 scale. Bavarian Divisions of Regulars and Reserves were almost always rated as a 1 or 2. Only a few Bavarian Ersatz Divisions were rated a 3 or 4.

              The Prussian Guards Ersatz Cavalry was a 5.

              Pruitt
              Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

              Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

              by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

              Comment


              • #8
                But in the event ,speculation such as this is all suspect really. It all depends on the place and the time.

                Take the final breaking of the Hindenberg Line on the 29th.September 1918. The raw Americans, full of enthusiasm for winning the war quick ,were repulsed . Behind them Monash's vaunted Australian Corps tried and were similarly unsuccesful.

                It was the 46th,(North Midland) Division, BEF, that finally carried the day. To quote Zombie Myths of Australian Military History:- Chapter 4 ''Australian broke the Hindenberg Line'' (Elizabeth Greenhalgh). "Now 46 North Midland Division was not known for its special prowess,its bronzed infantry,its relaxed discipline etc....""

                In truth, they were an ordinary territorial unit who had failed on The Somme in 1916 and were hitherto quite undistinguished. Yet they won through in perhaps the key battle on the Western Front in 1918.

                In the end it's winning that counts.


                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle..._Quentin_Canal


                Last edited by BELGRAVE; 12 Nov 18, 18:37.
                "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
                Samuel Johnson.

                Comment


                • #9
                  These guys...the unknown tens of thousands of Poilus who held most of the Allied line for the entire war under the most adverse conditions imposed on them. The quintessential mud-grunt, they complained, they griped, they starved, they cried, they suffered, they still fought and died. IMO - the best.

                  https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...%2C_Poilus.jpg
                  Attached Files
                  You'll live, only the best get killed.

                  -General Charles de Gaulle

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by BELGRAVE View Post
                    But in the event ,speculation such as this is all suspect really. It all depends on the place and the time.

                    Take the final breaking of the Hindenberg Line on the 29th.September 1918. The raw Americans, full of enthusiasm for winning the war quick ,were repulsed . Behind them Monash's vaunted Australian Corps tried and were similarly unsuccesful.

                    It was the 46th,(North Midland) Division, BEF, that finally carried the day. To quote Zombie Myths of Australian Military History:- Chapter 4 ''Australian broke the Hindenberg Line'' (Elizabeth Greenhalgh). "Now 46 North Midland Division was not known for its special prowess,its bronzed infantry,its relaxed discipline etc....""

                    In truth, they were an ordinary territorial unit who had failed on The Somme in 1916 and were hitherto quite undistinguished. Yet they won through in perhaps the key battle on the Western Front in 1918.

                    In the end it's winning that counts.


                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle..._Quentin_Canal

                    Very interesting Belgrave - thanks for that!

                    Going to do a bit of follow up reading, thanks to your post.

                    "COOMMAAAAAAANNNNDOOOO!!!!!"
                    - Mad Jack Churchill.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by BELGRAVE View Post
                      But in the event ,speculation such as this is all suspect really. It all depends on the place and the time.

                      Take the final breaking of the Hindenberg Line on the 29th.September 1918. The raw Americans, full of enthusiasm for winning the war quick ,were repulsed . Behind them Monash's vaunted Australian Corps tried and were similarly unsuccesful.

                      It was the 46th,(North Midland) Division, BEF, that finally carried the day. To quote Zombie Myths of Australian Military History:- Chapter 4 ''Australian broke the Hindenberg Line'' (Elizabeth Greenhalgh). "Now 46 North Midland Division was not known for its special prowess,its bronzed infantry,its relaxed discipline etc....""

                      In truth, they were an ordinary territorial unit who had failed on The Somme in 1916 and were hitherto quite undistinguished. Yet they won through in perhaps the key battle on the Western Front in 1918.

                      In the end it's winning that counts.


                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle..._Quentin_Canal

                      Could it have been not so much that the preceding US and Australian units were bad, or that the North Midland Division was so good, but that the US and Aussie units sufficiently softened up the Germans in their sector to such a degree that the North Middies were able to overcome the Germans before they could refill their tanks, so to speak? Is it fair to overlook the context?

                      Common gripe heard in football/soccer, when a striker or attacking mid is substituted for -- and especially if the sub scores: "you took me out coach at just the point I'd worn the defender down to a nub." Have to wonder if that applies to situations similar to those you've just described.
                      I was married for two ******* years! Hell would be like Club Med! - Sam Kinison

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by slick_miester View Post

                        Could it have been not so much that the preceding US and Australian units were bad, or that the North Midland Division was so good, but that the US and Aussie units sufficiently softened up the Germans in their sector to such a degree that the North Middies were able to overcome the Germans before they could refill their tanks, so to speak? Is it fair to overlook the context?

                        Common gripe heard in football/soccer, when a striker or attacking mid is substituted for -- and especially if the sub scores: "you took me out coach at just the point I'd worn the defender down to a nub." Have to wonder if that applies to situations similar to those you've just described.
                        It goes to the heart of the concept of the speculation of who were "the Best Fighting Men'. There's no real way of telling, and by the time of late 1918, it was immaterial anyway. What counted was the proper coordination and harmonization of the supporting arms and services: artillery, air and armour. Whatever qualities that the infantry might have possessed didn't really matter. The 30 US Division involved consisted of National Guard troops recruited from the Carolinas and Tennesee and there's no doubting their resolve and committment.

                        In the end, no matter how "elite" a particular unit may be deemed, a shell landing among them could kill or maim them without distinction.

                        "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
                        Samuel Johnson.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Also keep in mind that some Armies were breaking up divisions to furnish replacements to depleted formations. Several American Divisions (31st, for one) went over and were broken up. Smedley Butler came over with a new Marine Brigade and Pershing made it into Depot unit and shipped many of the men to the Marine Brigade in the 2nd Division. There were some accusations that the Army did not want a Marine Division. That would also mean a Marine Major General, and the only one was the Commandant.

                          Pruitt
                          Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                          Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                          by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Stupid thread, the dead were better, the dead of all nations killed in a war about some plump askhole getting killed by a NATIONALIST
                            "Ask not what your country can do for you"

                            Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

                            you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

                            Comment

                            Latest Topics

                            Collapse

                            Working...
                            X