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15 December

 
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BerichtGeplaatst: 15 Dec 2005 9:33    Onderwerp: 15 December Reageer met quote

15 december 1917

Wapenstilstand tussen Duitsland en Rusland getekend

On 15 December, an Armistice agreement was signed between Germany and Soviet Russia at Brest Litovsk. It was to commence at noon on the 17th and continue until noon on 14 January 1918. The Bolsheviks played a wait and see game, while the Germans exerted more and more pressure on them to sign a full Treaty.

Bron: WarChron


Ondertekening van de wapenstilstand. Foto van WeltChronik.de
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BerichtGeplaatst: 14 Dec 2010 15:38    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Yorkshire Coast Raid, 15-16 December 1914

The German raid on the Yorkshire coast of 15-16 December 1914 saw the first civilian casualties on British soil since the French Revolutionary Wars. It was the product of a failure of the German naval strategy at the start of the First World War. This had relied on the British coming into German home waters where they would have been vulnerable to attack by submarines. Meanwhile the High Seas Fleet would avoid taking risks that might expose the north German coast to invasion. Indeed, on 28 August 1914 elements of the British fleet had done just that (battle of Heligoland Bight), but the resulting battle had seen the Germans loose four ships without sinking a single British ship.

Admiral Friedrich von Ingenohl, the commander-in-chief of the High Seas Fleet, argued in favour of a more aggressive strategy, but he had to overcome resistance from the Kaiser, who ordered him not to take the High Seas Fleet to sea without his express permission. The battle of Coronel gave him his chance. The British were forced to dispatch three battlecruisers to find von Spee’s squadron, reducing the margin by which the Germans were outnumbered in the North Sea. A raid on Yarmouth on 3 November 1914 passed without incident, and Ingenohl began to plan for a more ambitious raid.

The Yorkshire coast was chosen at the target for the raid. It fell between the two nearest naval bases, on the Tyne and the Humber. In the early months of the war the Germans had laid minefields off both of those rivers, leaving a gap opposite Scarborough. The area was also due west of the German naval bases on the Elbe and the Jade. However, compared to Great Yarmouth the Yorkshire coast was much nearer the Grand Fleet’s Scottish bases. If secrecy was not observed there was a real danger that the British might catch the German raiding force. Accordingly, Ingenohl decided to take the High Seas Fleet out, to protect the battlecruisers if the British appeared.

In Britain the key concern was that the Germans might mount a small scale invasion of the east coast. The Navy had guarunteed to stop any invasion of over 70,000 men, but smaller forces would need less time to prepare and to cross the North Sea. The Army needed two regular divisions to guard against such a raid, but the regulars were all now in France. The navy was forced to distribute the Grand Fleet along the east coast, with a battle squadron at Rosyth, ships on the Tyne, the Humber and in the Wash, and a squadron of pre-Dreadnaught battleships at Sheerness (eventually to be joined by the Dreadnaught herself). It was believed that a small force would be able to inflict some damage on the German fleet if it came out, allowing the Grand Fleet to reach the scene. Coronel and the Falklands suggested that this was no longer the case, and that all the weaker forces on the east coast would actually do was provide the German battleships with target practice.

The British had a massive advantage in December 1914. Room 40 of Naval Intelligence had just broken the German naval codes, and give the Admiralty advance warning of the raid. The British squadrons despatched to deal with the raid were already well out to sea by the time the Germans began to cross the North Sea. The only weakness in the British position was that they did not know that the battleships of the High Seas Fleet was involved in the raid.

The raid falls into three separate phases. In the first, the German High Seas Fleet and the squadrons came close to a confrontation, before the Germans turned back. In the second the German battlecruisers reached the east coast, bombarded Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby, and then turned to make their escape. In the third the British squadrons came close to catching the German battlecruisers, but a combination of bad luck, poor signals and the low visibility helped the Germans escape.

The first phase of the raid began on 15 December. At noon that day the British 2nd Battle Squadron and the Battlecruisers met off the Scottish coast, and began their journey south. Later that afternoon the German High Sees Fleet made its first general rendezvous and began its journey west.

The German raiding force took the lead. Admiral Hipper had command of the 1st Scouting Squadron (the battlecruisers Seydlitz, Moltke, Von der Tann and Derfflinger and the cruiser Blücher.) and the 2nd Scouting Squadron, consisting of light cruisers. The main battlefleet, under Admiral von Ingenohl, followed on at a distance, aiming for a position south east of Dogger Bank from where they could defend the retreating striking force, or pounce on isolated elements of the Grand Fleet. The cruisers Prinz Heinrich and Roon sailed ahead of the main High Seas Fleet as a screen.

The British fleet was commanded by Admiral Warrender, commander of the Second Battle Squadron (the battleships King George V, Ajax, Centurion, Orion, Monarch and Conqueror and the cruiser Boadicea). The Battlecruisers were commandeered by Admiral Beatty, from his flagship HMS Lion. At 3 pm on 15 December they were joined by the Third Cruiser Squadron from Rosyth. The British fleet was accompanied by seven destroyers, used to screen the left hand side of the main fleet. The British intended to take up a position south of Dogger Bank, and close to the German High Seas Fleet.

The first contact between the two fleets was made at 5.20 a.m. by the destroyers, and a battle developed. This is the moment sometimes seen as German’s lost chance for a major naval victory. Six British battleships and four battlecruisers were within sticking distance of the entire High Seas Fleet. Ingenohl was later much criticised for what he did next, but in reality he had little choice. Both Ingenohl and Warrender assumed that the destroyers were screening larger forces. Ingenohl had no way to know that the entire Grand Fleet wasn’t about to appear out of the mist, and so at 5.45 a.m. he ordered the High Seas Fleet back to port. Even if the two forces had come into sight of each other, the British squadrons were faster than the High Seas Fleet. Beatty would hardly have stood and fought the entire German fleet, and so a chase would have developed. A clash between the fastest German battleships and the British battleships and battlecruisers is perhaps the best that could be expected.

The glancing blow with the High Seas Fleet did divert the British from there main job, to guard to gap in the German minefield off Whitby. Instead, they indulged in a pursuit of the German cruiser Roon, which continued until 9 a.m., but which time the German striking force had already left the east coast. Despite this diversion, by 11 a.m. on 16 December the British squadrons were back in place.

Meanwhile, Admiral Hipper’s striking force had passed through the gap in the minefields. Heavy seas forced his light cruisers to turn back, an apparent misfortune that would greatly assist the Germans escape a few hours later. At 8 a.m. German battlecruisers appeared off Hartlepool and Scarborough and began a short bombardment. Only at Hartlepool did they encounter any resistance, from three 6in guns ashore and from a small force of four destroyers, two cruisers and a submarine at sea. The force that attacked Scarborough then turned north to raid Whitby, before all six ships involved turned back east.

We now reach the third phase of the raid. At 11.00 a.m. Admiral Hipper, with his four battlecruisers, was at the western entrance to the gap in the minefield. At the far end of the gap was the south west corner of Dogger Bank, so Hipper had a choice of northern or southern routes. As Hipper entered the safe passage, Warrender was heading to block the southern route and Beatty the northern.

At 11.25 Beatty’s cruisers, north of his battlecruisers, found the German light cruisers, heading east well ahead of Hipper. The cruisers attempted to engage with the German cruisers. Beatty attempted to signal to two of the four cruisers that they should resume their scouting duties, but the signal was badly directed and the entire cruiser squadron broke off the engagement. The German light cruisers responded by turning south.

At noon, Hipper had reached the middle of the safe channel. Warrender and Beatty were now in the correct place to intercept him. Once again the German light cruisers intervened. At 12.15 Warrender sighted them through the mist, and turned north east in an attempt to intercept, once again assuming that the battlecruisers must be close. At the same time Hipper turned to the south east, in an attempt to draw the British away from the vulnerable cruisers.

When Beatty received this news from Warrender he made the same assumption, and at 12.30 p.m. turned east, thinking that he might have gone too far west and let the Germans get past him. This was the crucial moment in the hunt for Hipper.

At 12.40 Warrender lost the Germans in the mist, and turned back to the west. A gap had now opened to the north, and at 12.45 p.m. Hipper turned north, in the knowledge that the dangerous British battleships were guarding the southern passage.

Once Beatty learnt of Warrender’s move, he turned north (1.15 p.m.), on the correct assumption that Hipper would have done the same. At this point Hipper and Beatty were both sailing north, were roughly level with each other, and were on converging courses. If Beatty had continued on the same course, then he would have had a good chance of catching Hipper, although a direct clash between the two groups of four battlecruisers was not what the British wanted. Warrender did not turn north until 1.24 p.m., by which point Hipper was 20 miles to his north west, and heading north.

At 1.43 p.m. Beatty had a piece of bad luck. He received a signal from the shore reporting the course of the German battlecruisers as it had been between 12.15 and 12.45, when they were heading south east. If they had maintained this course, then they may well have already passed to his south. Beatty had no choice but to turn east, in an attempt to get between the German battlecruisers and their base. By 2.30 p.m. Beatty was east of the dangerous patch of Dogger Bank, and sailing East-South East. At this point Hipper was a safe distance to the north east of Beatty, with the two squadrons on battlecruisers slowly getting further apart.

The British continued to search for Hipper until 3.47 p.m., at which point Warrender called off the search. Once again misinformation played a part in this decision. At 1.50pm the Admiralty learnt that the German High Seas Fleet was at sea, seventy miles north west of Heligoland. Not having known that they had been out all day, the Admiralty assumed that the High Seas Fleet was coming out to sea to attack the British squadrons, when in fact they were sailing back to base. The entire Grand Fleet was already at sea. Now it came south hoping to find the High Seas Fleet. When it became obvious that the Germans were not present, the entire Grand Fleet came together, carried out some tactical exercises, then headed back to Scotland.

Hipper’s squadron had one more hurdle to cross before it could reach safety. Commodore R. J. B. Keyes had managed to gather together a force of four submarines, and by the early morning of 17 December they were off the German coast, in a line running north from the Weser River. That morning E 11 had a chance to fire a torpedo at Hipper’s ships, but missed, and was then forced to dive to avoid being rammed. The dive affected the submarines balance, and when her commander attempted to come back to attack height he broke the surface. The German squadron scattered, and made it to safety.

Despite the success of the raid itself, not all German opinion was happy. Admiral von Tirpitz felt that Ingenohl had had the chance to inflict a war-winning blow against the Grand Fleet. Scheer was a little less over the top, but even he felt that Ingenohl had thrown away a chance of a major triumph. Both Tirpitz and Scheer forgot that Ingenohl was under strict instructions not to engage with a superior force. On the morning of 16 December he had had no way to know force he was facing in the mist, and so he had little or no choice other than to turn back. At the time Ingenohl was actually strengthened in his desire to conduct more offensive operations, a result which led to the battle of Dogger Bank (24 January 1915).

In Britain anger was directly towards the Germans, for their breach of the rules of war in bombarding an undefended port, and to a certain extent towards the Navy that had let them get away with it. Fortunately the public did not know that the fleet had had advance warning of the German raid. The ease with which the Germans had reached the east coast did nothing to dispel concerns about a small scale invasion. As a result Beatty’s battlecruisers moved from Cromarty to Rosyth, a move that halved the distance they would have to travel to reach the Yorkshire coast.

The raid is sometimes described as the first attack on British soil since the Dutch attacked Sheerness in 1667, but this was not the case. It was not even the first attack on British soil of the First World War – that honour goes to the raid on Yarmouth of 3 November 1914, which caused no casualties. The most recent direct attack on Britain had been the French attack on Fishguard in 1797, repelled by the local militia. That attack had also seen civilian casualties, but no British soldiers had been killed. Nevertheless, the German raids on the British coast in 1914 did come as a real shock to a population that had been expected the war to begin with a “super-Trafalgar” – a massive clash between Dreadnaughts that would justify the expensive investment in the pre-war navy.

Rickard, J (23 September 2007), Yorkshire Coast Raid, 15-16 December 1914 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/raid_yorkshire_coast_1914.html
Zie ook http://www.forumeerstewereldoorlog.nl/wiki/index.php/Duitse_oorlogsschepen_beschieten_Hartlepool,_Whitby_en_Scarborough_(1914)
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BerichtGeplaatst: 14 Dec 2010 15:43    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

The attack on Wytschaete, 14 December 1914: 8th Brigade is ordered to attack

For a commentary on the attack made by two battalions of 8th Brigade of 3rd Division, the 1st Gordon Highlanders under Major A. Baird and 2nd Royal Scots under Lt-Col. R. Dundas, we may turn to the diary comment by Billy Congreve. Billy was of military stock; his father a Brigadier-General with a VC. Billy himself was an exceptionally brave man who also later won the VC before being killed on the Somme. He was acting on the staff of the 3rd Division at this time. His comments - written on 15 December 1914 - are acid:



"Yesterday we made an attack and, as we only put two battalions into it, the attack naturally failed. We had about 400 casualties. It is very depressing. I should have thought that we had learnt our lesson at Neuve Chapelle [in October 1914] about unsupported attacks, but it seems not. The truth of the matter is this I believe: Sir John French wanted to see the Army on the offensive, so an attack on the Petit Bois was arranged. Then later, for some reason or other, it was decided to also attack Maedelstede Farm. Sir John, Sir H. Smith-Dorrien, HRH the Prince of Wales and many other lights of the Gilded Staff sat about on the Scherpenberg, and watched the preliminary bombardment by ours and the 5th Division's artillery - and then saw these two unfortunate battalions go to more or less certain failure. The reason why? Because it was considered time to be able to report some form of victory. It failed and the reason is obvious".

"A, B, C, D and E are the German trenches - B in Petit Bois and D round Maedelstede Farm. RS are Royal Scots and GH the Gordons. These two battalions were ordered respectively to take the wood and the farm. What happened was that for half an hour or more our guns gave the German trenches a very heavy and accurate fire with shrapnel and a smaller amount of HE. The results of which made the Germans laugh at us. The effect of field gun shrapnel on trenches is almost nil when the trenches are well and carefully made, and there was too little high explosive to do any good. The Germans so little minded this type of bombardment, which to us on the Scherpenberg looked like an inferno, that they kept up a heavy rifle fire the whole time from the bombarded trenches. The two battalions then attacked".

"The Royal Scots actually got into B, taking two machine-guns and 35 prisoners, but they were then so heavily enfiladed from A - and fired on from the back of Petit Bois - that further advance into the wood was impossible. Eventually they had to be content with holding on to part of the captured German trench. This enfilade fire that came from A held up the attack. This could have been found out by a proper reconnaissance before the attack. It was not done and, as A was neither attacked or shelled, the Germans holding it were able to shoot our fellows down one after another".

"The Gordons left their trenches to attack D and E and fared even worse. The mud on the ploughed field which they had to attack over was so bad that they could only just move out of a walk. On leaving their trenches they at once came under a terrible rifle and machine-gun fire from C, D and E. Imagine sending a battalion alone to attack a strongly wired position up a hill and over mud a foot deep, under frontal and enfilade fire. It was a regular Valley of Death. The losses were, of course, very heavy. They were very, very gallant. Some almost reached the German trenches, where they were killed. One or two even got into the trenches where they were killed or captured. A few lay in little depressions in the mud till darkness and then crawled back. Those who got there could send no communication to the supports etc in the rear. Several men tried to get back but were all shot. They lost 7 out of 9 officers and 250 men".

"Such was the attack ordered by Sir John French. Next day, I read in the paper 'British troops hurl back Germans at Wytschaete'. A beautiful epitaph for those poor Gordons who were little better than murdered".

Extract from "Armageddon Road: A VC's Diary 1914-1916" by Billy Congreve, edited by Terry Norman, published 1982 William Kimber & Co., http://www.1914-1918.net/bat8.htm


Billy Congreve's sketch map of the attack
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BerichtGeplaatst: 14 Dec 2010 15:45    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Gallipoli Diary - Edward P. Cox

Tuesday Dec 15th 1914 - Quiet day. Taranaki Coy being on brigade fatigue duties. I am still nursing the influenza.

http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-CoxDiar-t1-body-d3-d63.html
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BerichtGeplaatst: 14 Dec 2010 15:48    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

The German bombardment of scarborough in the First World War in 1914

On the 15th December,1914 Mr A Bell was going about his normal daily work as road foreman in Burniston when an erect gentleman with a white hair and moustache stopped beside him. He said looking towards the sea "you will be safe here behind that rising ground when the Germans come". The local man replied "the Germans will never come here". The stranger replied "But they will and quickly too, You'll see". Mr Bell described his accent was not one of an "Englishman" and thought he might be Scottish. Perhaps the man was a spy or a psychic - who knows. But the thought of the Germans coming was really quite laughable. Yet the very next day Scarborough was to be visited by the Germans in a shocking bombardment. On that morning David and Thomas Coultas and Tom Nellist, the son of the landlady at the Blacksmith Arms all watched three ships off Hayburn Wyke. The three ships were very close to the shore and were "at rest". A few minutes later they headed off in the direction of Scarborough at great speed.[Scarborough Mercury 24th December 1914 ]

Lees verder op http://www.scarboroughsmaritimeheritage.org.uk/agermanbombardment.php
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BerichtGeplaatst: 14 Dec 2010 15:50    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Millicent Fawcett, letter to Carrie Chapman Catt (15th December 1914)

I am strongly opposed to the above proposal, mainly for the reason that women are as subject as men are to national prepossessions and susceptibilities and it would hardly be possible to bring together the women of the belligerent countries without violent outbursts of anger and mutual recriminations. We should then run the risk of the scandal of a Peace Congress disturbed and perhaps broken up by violent quarrels and fierce denunciations. It is true this often takes place at Socialist and other international meetings: but it is of less importance there: no one expects the general run of men to be anything but fighters. But a Peace Congress of Women dissolved by violent quarrels would be the laughing stock of the world...

When Miss Sheepshanks was in Holland Aletta Jacobs told her she had heard recently from Elsa Luders who had complacently remarked how much for the welfare of the world the victory of Germany would prove because it would enable Germany to impose her culture upon all the other nations of the world, Aletta Jacobs was furious: here you have an example of the sort of thing that might happen during every day and hour of the proposed international congress...

feel so strongly against the proposed convention that I would decline to attend it, and if necessary would resign my office in the Women's International League if it were judged incumbent on me in that capacity to take part in the convention.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Winternational.htm
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BerichtGeplaatst: 14 Dec 2010 15:55    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

The Call to Arms

A letter sent by Prime Minister William M "Billy" Hughes and dated 15 December 1915. It was sent to all eligible men



http://www.diggerhistory.info/pages-recruits/recruiting_marches.htm
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BerichtGeplaatst: 14 Dec 2010 15:57    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Krantenkop van de New York Times op 15 december 1915



http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armeense_genocide
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BerichtGeplaatst: 14 Dec 2010 16:01    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Grey River Argus , 15 December 1915







http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&d=GRA19151215.2.67
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BerichtGeplaatst: 14 Dec 2010 16:03    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

The Derby or Group Scheme 1915

By spring 1915 the flow of recruits was dwindling. The government, torn when it came to the question of compulsory military service, tried a half-way house scheme.

In spring 1915, enlistments averaged 100,000 men per month, but this could not be sustained. The upper age limit was raised from 38 to 40 in May 1915 in an effort to keep the numbers up, but it had become clear that voluntary recruitment was not going to provide the numbers of men required. The government passed the National Registration Act on 15 July 1915 as a step towards stimulating recruitment and to discover how many men between the ages of 15 and 65 were engaged in each trade. All those in this age range who were not already in the military were obliged to register, giving details of their employment details. The results of this census became available by mid-September 1915: it showed there were almost 5 million males of military age who were not in the forces, of which 1.6m were in the "starred" (protected, high skill) jobs. On 11 October 1915, Lord Derby was appointed Director-General of Recruiting. He brought forward a programme five days later, always called the Derby Scheme, for raising the numbers. Men aged 18 to 40 were told that they could continue to enlist voluntarily, or attest with an obligation to come if called up. The War Office notified the public that voluntary enlistment would soon cease and that the last day of registration would be 15 December 1915. The men who registered under the Derby Scheme were classified into married and single, and into 23 groups according to their age. Group 1 was for single 18 year-olds, then by year up to Group 23 for single 40's; then Group 24 was for married 18 year-olds up to Group 46 for married 40's. At the same time, a war pension was introduced, to help entice men concerned about supporting their dependents given the all too-obvious chance that they may not survive.

215,000 men enlisted while the scheme was on and another 2,185,000 attested for later enlistment - but 38% of single men and 54% of marrieds who were not in "starred" jobs had still avoided this form of recruitment. Their reticence did much to hasten a move to full conscription. Voluntary attestation reopened on 10 January 1916, while the government considered the position.

Call up under the Derby Scheme began: Groups 2 to 5 were called up in the last two weeks of January 1916, and Groups 6 to 13 in February. The last single groups other than the 18 year-olds were called up in March. This last batch were called up in parallel to the first men to be summoned under conscription under the Military Service Act. The recruits were not necessarily posted to their local regiments and from this time one it is not wise to assume that a man would go into his local regiment.

http://www.1914-1918.net/derbyscheme.html
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BerichtGeplaatst: 14 Dec 2010 16:04    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

December 15, 1915: British begin evacuation of Gallipoli

On December 15, Allied forces begin a full retreat from the shores of the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey, ending a disastrous invasion of the Ottoman Empire. The Gallipoli campaign resulted in 250,000 Allied casualties and a greatly discredited Allied military command. Roughly an equal number of Turks were killed or wounded.

In early 1915, the British government resolved to ease Turkish pressure on the Russians on the Caucasus front by seizing control of the Dardanelles channel, the Gallipoli peninsula, and then Istanbul. From there, pressure could be brought on Austria-Hungary, forcing the Central Powers to divert troops from the Western Front. The first lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, strongly supported the plan, and in February 1915 French and British ships began bombarding the Turkish forts guarding the Dardanelles.

Bad weather interrupted the operation and on March 18 six English and four French warships moved into the Dardanelles. The Turks, however, had used the intervening time wisely, setting mines that sank three Allied ships and badly damaged three more. The naval attack was called off and a larger land invasion was planned.

Beginning April 25, British, Australian, and New Zealand troops landed on the Gallipoli peninsula, while the French pretended to land on the opposite coast to divert Ottoman forces. The Australians and New Zealanders were devastated by the Turkish defenders, who were led by Mustafa Kemal, the future President Ataturk of Turkey. Meanwhile, the British were also met with fierce resistance at their Cape Helles landing sites and suffered two-thirds casualties at some locations. During the next three months, the Allies made only slight gains off their landing sites and sustained terrible casualties.

To break the stalemate, a new British landing at Suvla Bay occurred on August 6, but the British failed to capitalize on their largely unopposed landing and waited too long to move against the heights. Ottoman reinforcements arrived and quickly halted their progress. Trenches were dug, and the British were able to advance only a few miles.

In September, Sir Ian Hamilton, the British commander, was replaced by Sir Charles Monro, who in December recommended an evacuation from Gallipoli. On January 8, 1916, the last of the Allied troops were withdrawn. As a result of the disastrous campaign, Churchill resigned as first lord of the Admiralty and accepted a commission to command an infantry battalion in France.

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/british-begin-evacuation-of-gallipoli
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BerichtGeplaatst: 14 Dec 2010 16:07    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Nederlandse duikboot onder vuur 15 december 1916

Op Seeflugstation Flandern was december 1916 een eerder saaie maand, met één uitzondering op de 15e. Omstreekst 10.45 uur werd een vreemd uitziende duikboot opgemerkt door een (water)jachtvliegtuig van deze eenheid, een eind buiten de Nederlandse territoriale wateren. Deze duikboot begint direkt te duiken nadat men het vliegtuig opmerkte, doch de Duitsers zien direkt dat het niet om een Duitse duikboot gaat en vallen de duikboot aan met een vijftigtal kogels van hun MG, terwijl het hek nog net boven water steekt. Hierop komt de duikboot weer boven en stellen de Duitsers vast dat het om een Nederlandse duikboot gaat. Hierop komen twee Nederlandse torpedoboten afgesneld die het vuur openen op het watervliegtuig die zich direkt terug trok.

http://www.forumeerstewereldoorlog.nl/viewtopic.php?t=4365
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De slag om Verdun (21 februari tot 15 december 1916)

(...) Op 24 oktober besloten de Fransen de tegenaanval in te zetten om fort Douamont te heroveren. Ze troffen het fort echter leeg en uitgebrand aan. Op 2 november werd fort Vaux heroverd. Op 15 december werd de laatste Franse aanval ingezet richting Louvement-Bezonvaux. Dit was het officiële einde van de Slag om Verdun. (...)

http://www.histotheek.nl/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=342
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Schlachthof Genossenschaft Produktion in Hamburg



Description: Gathering of employees and military control staff in the yard of the slaughterhouse of the cooperative “Produktion” in Hamburg-Hamm (Wendenstraße). 100.000 bullocks have been slaughtered there till the 15. December 1916. Max Brauer is marked with a white cross. Years later he will be the Mayor of Altona/Elbe respectively of Hamburg (Germany).
Date: 15 December 1916

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1916_Schlachthof_Genossenschaft_Produktion_in_Hamburg.jpg
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The Ancre - 63rd (Royal Naval) Division

(...) Lt Colonel Bernard Freyberg VC
For his skill and leadership whilst wounded more than once Lt Colonel Freyberg was awarded the Victoria Cross

London Gazette No. 29866, dated 15 December 1916

By his splendid personal gallantry he carried the initial attack straight through the enemy's front system of trenches. Owing to mist and heavy fire of all descriptions, Lieutenant Colonel Freyberg's command was much disorganised after the capture of the first objective. He personally rallied and reformed his men, including men from other units who had become intermixed.

He inspired all with his own contempt of danger. At the appointed time he led his men to the successful assault of the second objective-many prisoners being captured.

During this advance he was twice wounded. He again rallied and reformed all who were with him, and although unsupported in a very advanced position, he held his ground for the remainder of the day, and throughout the night, under heavy artillery and machine-gun fire. When reinforced on the following morning he organized the attack on a strongly fortified village and showed a fine example of dash in personally leading the assault, capturing the village and five hundred prisoners. In this operation he was again wounded.

Later in the afternoon he was again severely wounded, but refused to leave the line until he had issued his final instructions.

The personality, valour and utter contempt of danger on the part of this single officer enabled the lodgement in the most advanced object of the Corps to be permanently held, and on this point d'appui was eventually formed


http://www.webmatters.net/france/ww1_ancre_4.htm
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"Somewhere in France"



A menu card listing the names of those past students of Knox College in Dunedin New Zealand who joined for a Reunion Dinner "Somewhere in France" on the 15th December 1916. Both this printed version and the original hand-written version survive. Of those who attended, three were later killed (AR Madill, WH Pay & WP Thompson), with one wounded and one very ill.

http://www.archives.presbyterian.org.nz/photogallery14/page1.htm
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SPEECH OF NICOLAS POKROVSKY, RUSSIAN MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS, IN THE DUMA, December 15, 1916

I am addressing you immediately on having been appointed to the
post of Minister for Foreign Affairs, and am, naturally, not in a
position to give you a detailed statement on the political situation
of the day. But I feel constrained to inform you without delay
and with the supreme authorization of his Imperial Majesty of the
attitude of the Russian Government with regard to the application
of our enemies, of which you heard yesterday through the telegrams
of the news agencies.

Words of peace coming from the side which bears the whole bur-
den of responsibility for the world conflagration, which it started,
and which is unparalleled in the annals of history, however far
back one may go, were no surprise to the Allies. In the course of
the two and a half years that the war has lasted Germany has more
than once mentioned peace. She spoke of it to her armies and to
her people each time she entered upon a military operation which
was to prove "decisive." After each military success, calculated with
a view to creating an impression, she put out feelers for a separate
peace on one side and another and conducted an active propaganda
in the neutral press. All these German efforts met with the calm
and determined resistance of the Allied Powers.

Now, seeing that she is powerless to make a breach in our un-
shakable alliance, Germany makes an official proposal to open peace
negotiations. In order properly to appreciate the meaning of this
proposal one must consider its intrinsic worth and the circumstances
in which it was made. In substance the German proposal contains
no tangible indications regarding the nature of the peace which is
desired. It repeats the antiquated legend that the war was forced
upon the Central Powers, it speaks of the victorious Austro-German
armies, and the irresistibility of their defense, and then, proposing
the opening of peace negotiations, the Central Powers express the
conviction that the offers which they have to make will guarantee
the existence, honor, and free development of their own peoples,
and are calculated to establish a lasting peace. That is all the com-
munication contains, except a threat to continue the war to a victor-
ious end, and, in the case of refusal, to throw the responsibility for
the further spilling of blood on our allies.

What are the circumstances in which the German proposal was
made? The enemy armies devastated and occupy Belgium, Serbia
and Montenegro, and a part of France, Russia and Roumania. The
Austro-Germans have just proclaimed the illusory independence of
a part of Poland, and are by this trying to lay hands on the entire
Polish nation. Who, then, with the exception of Germany, could
derive any advantage under such conditions by the opening of peace
negotiations?

But the motives of the German step will be shown more clearly
in relief if one takes into consideration the domestic conditions of
our enemies. Without speaking of the unlawful attempts of the
Germans to force the population of Russian Poland to take arms
against its own country, it will suffice to mention the introduction
of general forced labor in Germany to understand how hard is the
situation of our enemies. To attempt at the last moment to profit
by their fleeting territorial conquests before their domestic weakness
was revealed--that was the real meaning of the German proposal.
In the event of failure they will exploit at home the refusal of the
Allies to accept peace in order to rehabilitate the tottering morale of
their populations.

But there is another senseless motive for the step they have taken.
Failing to understand the true spirit which animates Russia, our
enemies deceive themselves with the vain hope that they will find
among us men cowardly enough to allow themselves to be deceived
if even for a moment by lying proposals. That will not be. No
Russian heart will yield. On the contrary, the whole of Russia will
rally all the more closely round its august Sovereign, who declared
at the very beginning of the war that he "would not make peace
until the last enemy soldier had left our country."

Russia will apply herself with more energy than ever to the realiza-
tion of the aims proclaimed before you on the day when you reassem-
bled, especially to the positive and general collaboration which con-
stitutes the only sure means of arriving at the end which we all
have at heart--namely, the crushing of the enemy. The Russian
Government repudiates with indignation the mere idea of suspending
the struggle and thereby permitting Germany to take advantage of
the last chance she will have of subjecting Europe to her hegemony.
All the innumerable sacrifices already made would be in vain if a
premature peace were concluded with an enemy whose forces have
been shaken, but not broken, an enemy who is seeking a breathing
space by making deceitful offers of a permanent peace. In this in-
flexible decision, Russia is in complete agreement with all her valiant
allies. We are all equally convinced of the vital necessity of carry-
ing on the war to a victorious end, and no subterfuge by our enemies
will prevent us from following this path.

http://www.questia.com/read/3552157
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RESOLUTION OF THE RUSSIAN DUMA AGAINST ACCEPTANCE OF THE GERMAN PEACE PROPOSALS, December 15, 1916

The Duma having heard the statement of the Minister for Foreign
Affairs is unanimously in favor of a categorical refusal by the Al-
lied Governments to enter under present conditions into any peace
negotiations whatever. It considers that the German proposals are
nothing more than a fresh proof of the weakness of the enemy, and
are a hypocritical act from which the enemy expects no real success,
but by which he seeks to throw upon others the responsibility for the
war and for what has happened during it, and to exculpate itself
before public opinion in Germany.

The Duma considers that a premature peace would not only be
a brief period of calm, but would involve the danger of another
bloody war and renewed deplorable sacrifices on the part of the
people.

It considers that a lasting peace will be possible only after a de-
cisive victory over the military power of the enemy, and after the
definite renunciation by Germany of the aspirations which render
her responsible for the world war and for the horrors by which it
is accompanied.

http://www.questia.com/read/3552157
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Monte Grappa, Italy's Thermopylae

(...) Two days later Monte Tomba was overtaken, although by days end the Italians had a slight advantage on ridge and summit. That same day [22nd November] only two kilometers from the summit of Monte Grappa, the trenches on Monte Pertica changed hands seven times in 24 hours. The Austrians eventually held this natural fortress. On the day Russia surrendered at Brest-Litovsk [15th December, 1917] and guns from the Baltic to Black Sea fell silent, Austro-German forces on the Grappa massif secured the two key peaks of Tomba and Asolone. When the clouds cleared from their summits, Venice could be seen. There was nothing between the Austrians and the sea save a few foothills and the Venitian plains. The view must have been incredible after one hundred miles of mountain warfare and trench fighting. The generals of the Germanic armies told their troops they would celebrate Christmas in Venice. The Austrians were so confident of success that campaign medals were already being struck to commemorate the capture of Venice. In their frozen stone trenches the Italians faced their two ancient enemies from the north--one spoke German and the other was winter's natural fury. The first desired destroy their nation; the latter might help preserve Italy.

Lees verder op http://www.worldwar1.com/heritage/mtg1.htm
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Brest-Litowsk, Waffenstillstandsabkommen



Description: Zentralbild, I. Weltkrieg 1914-18 Die Unterzeichnung des Waffenstillstandsabkommens zwischen Deutschland und seinen Verbündeten und Rußland am 15.12.1917 in Brest-Litowsk. UBz: Der Oberbefehlshaber der Ostfront Generalfeldmarschall Leopold Prinz von Bayern, links, bei der Unterzeichnung, rechts die Delegation Sowjetrußlands Adolf Joffe, Leo Kamenew und Bitsenko.
Date: 15 December 1917
Source: Deutsches Bundesarchiv (German Federal Archive), Bild 183-R92623

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-R92623,_Brest-Litowsk,_Waffenstillstandsabkommen.jpg
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Hermkuhn, Watercolour, 15 December 1918



Dutch landscape with windmill and human figures. The artist has written "P.O.W." after his name on the watercolour.

http://pw20c.mcmaster.ca/hermkuhn-watercolour-15-december-1918
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De chemische oorlog 1915 –1918 en het Belgische leger
Roger R. Verbeke

(...) Onze aandacht gaat zeker naar de gasslachtoffers : naar de mannen die de gevolgen droegen,
zouden sterven, of gestorven zijn.
Volgens een statistiek door het ministerie van Oorlog, tot 15 december 1918, waren 6.390
gasslachtoffers in de medische installaties aangekomen. De inspecteur-generaal van de Medische
Dienst, L. Melis, haalde dezelfde cijfers aan. In die statistiek gaat het om de zes legerdivisies maar
niet om de cavaleriedivisie of het cavaleriekorps, ook niet om de legertroepen als de zware artillerie,
evenmin om de pontonniers in de vaak getroffen sector Nieuwpoort. Daarbij valt het ons op dat 36 %
van het aantal voorkomt in de kolommen van de infanteriedivisies, dus van 1918 is. (...)

http://www.wfa-belgie.be/artikels/gas2006.pdf
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American Gold Star Mothers - History

When the United States entered World War I in 1917, George Vaughn Seibold, 23, volunteered, requesting assignment in aviation. He was sent to Canada where he learned to fly British planes since the United States had neither an air force nor planes. Deployed to England, he was assigned to the British Royal Flying Corps, 148th Aero Squadron. With his squadron, he left for combat duty in France. He corresponded with his family regularly. His mother, Grace Darling Seibold, began to do community service by visiting returning servicemen in the hospitals.

The mail from George stopped. Since all aviators were under British control and authority, the United States could not help the Seibold family with any information about their son.

Grace continued to visit hospitalized veterans in the Washington area, clinging to the hope that her son might have been injured and returned to the United States without any identification. While working through her sorrow, she helped ease the pain of the many servicemen who returned so war-damaged that they were incapable of ever reaching normalcy.

But on October 11, 1918, George's wife in Chicago received a box marked "Effects of deceased Officer 1st Lt. George Vaughn Seibold". The Seibolds also received a confirmation of George's death on November 4th through a family member in Paris.

On Sunday, December 15, 1918, nine days before Christmas Eve, the following obituary appeared in the Washington Star newspaper:

Lieut. G. V. Seibold Killed in Action
Battling Aviator, Recently Cited for Bravery in France, is War Victim.

Lieut. George Vaughn Seibold, battling aviator, cited for bravery in action some time ago, lost his life in a fight in the air August 26, last. His father, George G. Seibold…has been officially notified of his son’s death by the War Department.

Lieut. Seibold was a member of the 148th U. S. Aero Squadron. He was first reported missing in action, though a number of circumstances led to the fear that he had been killed. Hope was sustained until now, however, by the failure to receive definite word.


George's body was never identified.

Grace, realizing that self-contained grief is self-destructive, devoted her time and efforts to not only working in the hospital but extending the hand of friendship to other mothers whose sons had lost their lives in military service.

She organized a group consisting solely of these special mothers, with the purpose of not only comforting each other, but giving loving care to hospitalized veterans confined in government hospitals far from home.

The organization was named after the Gold Star that families hung in their windows in honor of the deceased veteran.

After years of planning, June 4, 1928, twenty-five mothers met in Washington, DC to establish the national organization, American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.

The success of our organization continues because of the bond of mutual love, sympathy, and support of the many loyal, capable, and patriotic mothers who while sharing their grief and their pride, have channeled their time, efforts and gifts to lessening the pain of others.

We stand tall and proud by honoring our children, assisting our veterans, supporting our nation, and healing with each other.

On May 28, 1918, President Wilson approved a suggestion made by the Women’s Committee of the Council of National Defenses that, instead of wearing conventional mourning for relatives who have died in the service of their country, American women should wear a black band on the left arm with a gilt star on the band for each member of the family who has given his life for the nation.

“The Service Flag displayed from homes, places of business, churches, schools, etc., to indicate the number of members of the family or organizations who are serving in the Armed Forces or who have died from such service. Service flags have a deep Blue Star for each living member in the service and a Gold Star for each member who has died.” Thus, the Gold Star and the term Gold Star Mother, as applied to mothers whose sons or daughters died in World War I, were accepted; they have continued to be used in reference to all American military engagements since that time.

Who Is a Gold Star Mother?

Often the question has been asked, “Who is a Gold Star Mother?” During the early days of World War I, a Blue Star was used to represent each person, man or woman in the Military Service of the United States. As the war progressed and men were killed in combat, others wounded and died of their wounds or disease, there came about the accepted usage of the Gold Star.

This Gold Star was substituted and superimposed upon the blue Star in such a manner as to entirely cover it. The idea of the Gold Star was that the honor and glory accorded the person for his supreme sacrifice in offering for his country, the last full measure of devotion and pride of the family in this sacrifice, rather than the sense of personal loss which would be represented by the mourning symbols.

On June 4, 1928, a group of twenty-five mothers residing in Washington, DC, met to make plans to organize a national organization to be known as American Gold Star Mothers, Inc., a nondenominational, non-profitable and nonpolitical organization. On January 5, 1929, the organization was incorporated under the laws of the District of Columbia.

The Charter was kept open for ninety days. At the end of this time they had a membership of sixty-five, which included mothers throughout the United States: North, South, East and West.

There were many small groups of Gold Star Mothers functioning under local and state charters. When these groups learned of a national organization with representation in nearly every State in the Union they wished to affiliate with the larger group and many did so. This group was composed of women who had lost a son or daughter in World War I.

http://www.goldstarmoms.com/WhoWeAre/History/History.htm
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15 December 1919 → Commons Sitting

WAR GRAVES (HEADSTONES).


HC Deb 15 December 1919 vol 123 cc28-30 28

Lord ROBERT CECIL asked the Prime Minister whether it is part of the policy of the Government only to allow tombstones according to a sealed pattern to be put up to our soldiers buried in France?

Sir HENRY CRAIK asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the strong feeling which has been aroused amongst the relatives of those who fell in France by the action of the Graves Committee in insisting that there should be absolute uniformity in the memorials erected in the cemeteries under their management?

Major HENNESSY asked the Prime Minister why, in cases where the relatives so wish, the gravestones over the fallen in France should not be in the shape of a cross, provided the height and breadth of the cross is not in excess of the prescribed measurements?

The SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Mr. Churchill) My right hon. Friend has asked me to answer these questions. The Imperial War Graves Commission, which, besides representatives of the British Government, includes representatives of the other Governments of the Empire, have adopted designs of regimental headstones for all war graves. These headstones for practical reasons are necessarily uniform in outline and size, but otherwise vary in 29 many ways to meet the wishes of the regiments and individuals. Full information on this subject will be found in the pamphlet, "Graves of the Fallen," copies of which were sent to all Members of both Houses of Parliament in August last.

The Imperial War Graves Commission have for some time past been in communication with Lord Balfour of Burleigh, who represents in this matter the views of those who desire that headstones of other designs should be permitted. Lord Balfour submitted an alternative cruciform design of headstone, which was, however, found not to be suitable either from an artistic or a practical point of view. The Commission explained the objections to him and have invited him to submit a fresh cruciform design which will not be open to the same objections and will not involve a departure from the principle of equality of treatment for all war graves. I should explain that there is no question of the symbol of the cross not appearing on the headstone. I will arrange to have models of both stones put in the Tea Room.

Lord R. CECIL Does not my right hon. Friend see that this a question in which the relatives ought to be primarily considered, and that the dictation of artists and architects and that kind of person as to what is proper and right is utterly improper?

Mr. CHURCHILL I cannot quite accept that view. I think that the general appearance of the great war cemetery—

Lord R. CECIL No, no !

Mr. CHURCHILL I am entitled to express an opinion, and I think that it will be found to have some supporters. The general appearance of the great war cemeteries must be considered, and, when it is borne in mind and the principle of equality of treatment is also observed, it will be found that the limitations within which changes are possible are not very great or numerous, but I will arrange for the Lord Balfour of Burleigh headstone to be put in the Tea Room and at the same time the one decided upon by the Imperial War Graves Commission, and Members will see for themselves the difficulties attendant upon departures from these proposals.

Lord R. CECIL Will the right hon. Gentleman see that an opportunity of discussing this matter is given to the House? I 30 can assure him that the deepest feeling is aroused on this matter, which his reply will not tend to soothe.

http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1919/dec/15/war-graves-headstones
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Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant, 15 december 1916
Bron: Koninklijke Bibliotheek

Een Blauwboek over Armenië

LONDON, 14 December. (Reuter) Er is een Blauwboek verschenen over de slachtingen in Armenië. Het bevat een groot aantal authentieke bescheiden, die één lange lijst van gruwelen vormen, welke nauwelijks een weerga vinden in de nieuwe geschiedenis. Er blijkt uit hoe er ongeveer 1.800.000 Armeniërs in het heele Turksche rijk woonachtig waren in het begin van 1915. Daarvan zijn er naar schatting nog 600.000 in leven, alhoewel dezen zich in ellendige omstandigheden bevinden in de plaatsen waarheen zij weggevoerd zijn. Een tweede 600.000-tal is gedeeltelijk gedwongen tot den Islam over te gaan, voor een ander deel houden zij zich schuil in de bergen of zijn zij over de grens gevlucht. Ten naaste 600.000 Armeniërs zijn op schier ongelooflijk barbaarsche wijze ter dood gebracht. Het Blauwboek bevat tal van voorbeelden van de afschuwelijke bejegening, welke vrouwen en meisjes deelachtig worden.

De Times schrijft naar aanleiding van het Blauwboek: In zijn nota aan de Entente-mogendheden verklaart Duitschland dat het met zijn bondgenooten – Turkije inbegrepen – genoodzaakt is geworden de wapenen op te nemen ter verdediging van recht en vrijheid en der nationale ontwikkeling. In zijn nota aan den paus beweert Duitschland te zijn aangegrepen door mededoogen bij het zien van de onzegbare ellende der menschheid. Het Amerikaansche Blauwboek vormt een bijtijds komend commentaar op deze onbeschaamde beweringen.

Het Blauwboek verklaart dat de Jong-Turksche ministers en hun trawanten, die nadat Abdoel Hamid was afgezet, zich opwierpen als de apostelen van vrijheid, rechtstreeks en persoonlijk verantwoordelijk zijn voor de geweldigen misdaad van deze georganiseerde slachtingen; doch – voegt de Times hier aan toe – ten duidelijkste is gebleken dat de poging der Jong-Turken om hun Armeniaansche onderdanen uit te roeien, in de oogen der Duitschers recht was. Nimmer is er uit Berlijn een protest vernomen.

Zelf bevlekt met tallooze barbaarschheden, heeft Duitschland in de bedrijvers van deze slachtingen kameraden gansch naar zijn aard gevonden, en thans heeft het de driestheid te beweren dat het bekommerd is over het lot der lijdende menschheid. Zonder de aanmoediging en de stilzwijgende goedkeuring der Duitsche regeering zou de op groote schaal bedreven uitroeiing, waarvan het Blauwboek gewaagt, nimmer zijn beproefd.

http://www.agindepers.nl/kwestie/NRC-15-12-1916.html
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Haig

December 15, 1915: Haig becomes Commander-in-Chief of British Expeditionary Force.

http://www.learningonline.com.au/topics/10/books/62/chapters/1281

In December 1915, Haig replaced French as Commander-in-Chief of the BEF, with French returning to Britain. Haig had been conspiring towards the removal of French as commander of the BEF and had told King George V that French was "a source of great weakness to the army and no one had confidence in him any more".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Haig,_1st_Earl_Haig#1915
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Percy Toplis



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BerichtGeplaatst: 15 Dec 2010 0:15    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Belgian Neutrality Before The War

(...) a total of 144,000 were theoretically available for the field army. However, some 40,000 did not become available in August 1914 for various reasons. Approximately 104,000 men served in the field army in 1914, to which should be added the 14,000 regular soldiers of the time.

In addition, the fortresses at Liege, Namur and Antwerp were garrisoned by 5,000 regulars plus 60,000 older men of the 1899-1905 classes.

The balance of the total was made up of staff, officers, and miscellaneous support units.

The armament and equipment of the army reflected decades of stringent financial budgeting. In all there were available only 93,000 rifles and 6,000 swords, which was bad enough, but the real problem in terms of the coming fight was the paucity of artillery. There were only 324 obsolete field guns, and a paltry 102 machine guns. A decree of 15 December 1913, being a reaction to heightening tension and the clear direction of King Albert to adopt a neutral defensive posture, placed orders for modern artillery equipment. The heavy artillery orders were placed with Krupp of Germany. Needless to say, Krupp delayed delivery and in the event, the Belgians took the field with only one type of modern light artillery weapon, and not too many of those. There was virtually no mechanised transport, the army relying on horse- and dog-power. There were also serious shortages of engineers stores, minor equipment, and even uniforms, as the administration failed to gear up for the expansion of the classes of 1913 and 1914.

http://www.firstworldwar.com/features/belgian_neutrality.htm
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