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Water Diviner and Ottoman history

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by civvver, May 5, 2016.

  1. .Shane.

    .Shane. Take it like a voter Retired Moderator

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    Just want to say, I enjoy all the commentary in this thread.

    To the OP, if you like movies on this topic, check out the movie Gallipoli. It's one of Mel Gibson early roles and is a very good film.

    And, I'll offer up the Pogues version of Eric Bogle's "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda".
     
  2. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

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    :dunno: The Muş and Bitlis campaign is a matter of public record. Perhaps they blame it on Enver, for giving Kemal what in retrospect was probably an impossible mission.
    There are a lot of things that the British military and political leaders could have done before the war to improve things.

    For example, the military alliance with France was a matter of total secrecy from not only the Germans but also the Cabinet. (The Germans, who were smarter than the Cabinet, had figured it out anyway.) To maintain the fiction that Britain was not planning for a war against Germany, British military officers were forbidden from doing anything other than the most perfunctory studies of German tactics, e.g. observing the annual Kaisermanöver, which was more like a parade than an actual exercise. Even disregarding that problem, British training was extremely rudimentary; while the Germans were maneuvering units in live-fire FieldExs at Major Training Areas like Grafenwöhr, the British were doing field sports. Even the vaunted British marksmanship competition was decidedly inferior to contemporary German rifle qualification.

    This meant that British troops were fantastically ill-prepared when they encountered actual Germans in August 1914. German infantry advanced by fire and movement, with detachments moving by bounds while under the covering fire of other detachments: the fundamental basis for modern infantry tactics. British infantry observing this phenomenon thought that the advancing Germans were "firing from the hip", an absurdity for any bolt-action rifle, when in reality the infantry were running with their rifles at trail arms while other squads covered their advance by firing from concealed positions. The British also claimed to be witnessing German infantry advancing in dense column formations, such that a few shots fired could hit multiple enemies, and a single shrapnel airburst could wipe out an entire squad - more absurdities, conditioned more by the experience of imperial warfare against poorly armed brown people than anything else, in which the British presumably mistook Germans taking cover at 800 meters for Germans being slaughtered.

    It's true that these were only first impressions, and that eventually the British did get better. But since the British were attempting to use their BEF as the cadre for vast, untrained New Army formations, the experience - and inexperience - of the BEF carried disproportionate weight. An army with the institutional capacity to fight the war that its politicians had committed it to fight would have done much better, both in the early going and later. Instead, the British had an army institutionally structured for maintaining a consistently available pool of troops abroad to serve as imperial police, with other considerations, like training, regarded as decidedly secondary. (Another example: most of II Corps had spent the previous several months deployed in Ireland to try to keep a lid on the civil war that was threatening to break out there, and had not trained at all in months. By modern standards, those units were not deployable at all. Instead, they went to Mons and Le Cateau and were nearly destroyed.)

    There are plenty of British strategic decisions that one can criticize, as well. The decision to dispatch the BEF to the Continent in the first place was poorly thought out. Kitchener was convinced of the need to create a mass army, therefore the BEF's regulars would need to serve as cadres for a vast force of reservists and volunteers. Britain's prewar military commitments had compelled them to send troops to the Continent to materially aid the French army. The British split the difference by keeping two infantry divisions in Blighty while sending five divisions (I Corps, II Corps, and the Cavalry Division) to Belgium. These two premises were irreconcilable. By attempting to pick both, the British ended up with neither, and thus impeded the development of their mass army while simultaneously losing control of Belgium and northern France. Through extraordinarily poor maneuvering, the British also nearly lost the BEF, and only survived the Marne campaign by taking advantage of unforced errors by the commanders of the German First Army.

    The decision to attack Gallipoli was legendarily poor, to the extent that Parliament conducted an in-depth investigation of what went wrong that avails the historian of more than enough documentary evidence to assign blame. It rested on the faulty premise that getting surface assets into the Sea of Marmara would force the Ottoman Empire out of the war. That faulty premise was made even worse by introducing faulty tactical assumptions, e.g. that the Straits fortifications could be forced by surface assets alone, and that committing ground troops to Gallipoli would enable the Straits to be passed successfully. Churchill recognized quite early that most of his priors for a victorious campaign (especially the total lack of Russian or Greek assistance) had fallen apart, but continued to back the project anyway. And the crowning error of the decision was that it was made in full knowledge of a superior alternative in the same theater that was almost totally disregarded, namely a landing on the coast of the Gulf of Iskenderun, Ottoman Turkey's railroad choke-point. The British had two opportunities to attack Iskenderun: one in the spring, which was ignored in favor of Gallipoli, and one in the late summer - which would have had the added humanitarian aspect of potentially saving thousands of Cilician Armenians' lives - that was ignored in favor of the Suvla Bay disaster. Kitchener himself, to say nothing of other officers, brought the topic of Iskenderun up multiple times only to discard it, probably due to being overly focused on Gallipoli.

    And although one can quite reasonably point to the fact that technology and tactics were both developing extremely rapidly during the war, it's still striking that the only things close to "victories" for the British in Western Europe came as a direct result of unforced German command errors, in 1914 and 1918, and that Britain's greatest defeats came at the hands of an army that Britain's military and political leaders regarded with supercilious disdain, if not contempt.

    It's awfully tempting to play armchair general, and in many cases it's awfully unfair, as I'll be the first to admit. As the likes of Tim Travers and Peter Hart have shown, many of the criticisms of the British Army in the First World War are dramatically exaggerated. That doesn't mean that there are no criticisms to make. One can acknowledge the impact of Britain's "gunner generals", or the revolutionary introduction of tanks, while also pointing out that, say, Douglas Haig and John French often demonstrated embarrassing levels of incompetence, or that even in 1918 British artillery tactics were consistently less efficient and effective than the system developed by Colonel Bruchmüller.
     
  3. Flying Pig

    Flying Pig Utrinque Paratus

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    Excellent post. On the subject of training, there's a book called Serve to Lead, which the British Army issues to everyone as they train to take their commission as an officer. I still have my copy: one episode talks about the Second World War, but I think is worth quoting to give a 'flavour of the times' based on what you said in your second paragraph about infantry tactics:

     
  4. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Retired Moderator Supporter

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    War is hell and it is best to avoid them.
     
  5. r16

    r16 not deity

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    Iskenderun is before the Colonial Powers agreed who would get what after the destruction of the Ottoman Empire . WW I was not about principles but one of loot to loot from fallen Empires with at least two planned .

    As for the Russian campaigns ı am really tempted to say it doesn't fit in with the narrative that Kurdish tribes were most awesome warriors and friendship with them allowed a no-good lot called Turks to have a country . If valorous Kurds are shown to be running from or collaborating with invaders that whole narrative can be like hurt and the federal "future" of the country be damaged . This despite current claims of killing 5 , 6 , 7 thousand Kurds since last July .
     
  6. Gucumatz

    Gucumatz JS, secretly Rod Serling

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    I mean yea Kurds and other minorities on the eastern border did serve as scouts/volunteers for the Russians, but its not like the Ottomans were particularly interested in mobilizing said populations for combat themselves. Kurds, Armenians, Turkmenis, etc. were typically given the worst of the worst positions within the army when they did serve (or were removed from the army and merely used as a rhetorical token of supposed new inclusion by Ottoman pms).

    The Ottomans also didn't help the "narrative" out much either by looting and killing in villages of "collaborators" before they even had a chance to collaborate. Its not surprising then that some young people who saw said inequalities and violence done against their communities would support the Russians. The pm representing diyarbakir for instance after the war acknowledged there had been traitors to the Ottoman assembly, but when he tried to raise up issues of injustices done during the war nationalists from the west would have the record stricken
     
  7. r16

    r16 not deity

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    without mobilizing locals there is no way the Ottomans could have fought in places in Iraq or the Caucasians . Without nomads support there would have been no attack on the Suez Canal . Gallipolli was a "formal" event only because it was on the doorstep of the capital . I understand it fits the mindset to assume this big nosed Turkish element used poor innocent peoples they ruled and have also busy telling us lies on how equal opportunity people they were . Because of this you can readily assume , say , Dachs can raise whole pages of discussions on how Russians made Germans stop laying railroad tracks to the East of the country so that their invasion plans would not have to deal with any possible timely reinforcements . And not me , because such routine would hurt my "Nationalist" sensibilities . Let's just leave his undoubted historical interest and possible formal education aside .

    ottomans not only expanded but survived for centuries by "mobilizing" locals where ever they were . It's just human nature to bend to the stronger wind or higher monetary gain .
     
  8. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

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    Yeah, that's one of the main reasons that İskenderun didn't happen: Anglo-French disputes over the division of the loot. But it doesn't explain why Gallipoli happened instead of İskenderun, because whereas a landing in İskenderun might have benefited a future French sphere, a landing in Gallipoli was automatically beneficial to the Russians, because the Russian price for lending their assent to the British project (let alone for support) was Constantinople and Thrace up to the Enos-Midia Line. The proximate cause of British planning for the Straits attack was to relieve pressure on Russia due to the Battle of Sarıkamış. Then the Russians won that battle but British planning went ahead, still with the objective of cooperating with Russian amphibious forces to capture Constantinople to relieve the nonexistent pressure on Russia's Caucasus front.

    Furthermore, if staking a claim on the carcass of the postwar Ottoman Empire was what was most important to the British, surely possession in İskenderun would've been nine-tenths of the law, to be traded to the French for concessions elsewhere. The French certainly did not veto an İskenderun landing by the British because of that. If anything, the British vetoed themselves, because they convinced the French to allow British overall command at the Dardanelles by saying that it wasn't totally within the Mediterranean - France's pre-agreed area of supreme naval command - but that if a landing were made at İskenderun the French would have command there. Then they said that they'd never conduct a major operation under French supreme command and used that to help justify not going to İskenderun. This was not a reason not to go to İskenderun - it was concocted after the decision not to go there had already been made, and used to justify it.
    I agree. It's easy to point to instances where the Ottomans had difficulties accessing the manpower and resources of the non-Turkish areas that they ruled due to prejudices or to national atrocities that they committed, but by and large they were reasonably successful at using the peoples of their Empire to support the Empire. To say otherwise would be like pointing out the Amritsar massacre and using it to claim that the British never had an Indian Army, because look how horrible they were to the Indians.

    Without Kurdish and Azeri irregulars, I doubt that the Ottomans would ever have been able to operate in Iran and Transcaucasia, as they did during the war.
     
  9. FriendlyFire

    FriendlyFire Codex WMDicanious

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    The Italians advanced NAPOLEON Style, were talking about dense ranked infantry packed into tight formations against Hungarians whom were pretty much a third rate military power.
    The problem was the Italians just kept repeating the same human wave assaults at horrendous losses. My God, 11 Human wave attacks straight up the same positions with the same tactics with the same results.
     
  10. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Retired Moderator Supporter

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    "I'm sure they are almost out of ammo, so one more attack will surely carry us to victory."
     
  11. r16

    r16 not deity

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    ı would venture this is due to Kitchener himself and his desire for justifying an Arab Revolt that would create a basis of power to "challenge" India , which was quite tardy in getting into action around Basra . Afterall he was the only person of notice to suggest the War would be rather long ...

    this is what ı was tempted to write yesterday , now that there is a lot of temptation to write ; but it's not exactly finished as the entry of whether am just a bigot and a racist or some concerned guy .
    Spoiler :
    this is going to be a typical r16 post ; long , quite pointless and boring that one might altogether avoid . Delving into this supposed narrative that belittles my Nation or something like that . Aims no single person in CFC , instead is all about general settings .

    take this history magazine that has this piece on Napalm . Didn't spend a single Kuruş on it , makes me less eligible to talk on it than people who didn't spend a single Cent on it . But anyhow ... No overall piece on Napalm can ever avoid mentioning its horrific effects on targeted people ; if it has any pictures you can count on it to include that photo of the little girl running in screams , ı think in the year ı was born . You can expect it to be present long after ı am dust and more dust under the earth . The bad press is such that no Air Force ever stocks Napalm , it's just its ingredients in some underground bunker . And the last use of it was by USAF or USMC in 1991 or 2003 to burn oil filled trenches Iraqis intented to burn Marines ; failed like miserably because Napalm requires low passes that puts you and your 100 million Dollars jet within AK-47 range , and morons with AK-47s tend to be willing to shoot down planes that bomb them , instead of taking it on the chin manfully . And what's exactly the last sentence in that piece ? Totally like that Turks even used Napalm on Cyprus in 1974 !

    as if there were stocks of LGBs and HVMs and instead Napalm was used in pure hatred . Every single Airpower demonstration on Turkish TVs involved Napalm , at least until the 1990s . It's cheap , you never "miss" now that the Black , fear imposing cloud will cover anything the fire has not touched and you can always track the roaring Phantom in its low level flight . And you would be right to expect the piece to have no reference to the "civilized" , neutral , "peace-loving" Swiss who seem to be the biggest fans of Napalm , long after its "demise" elsewhere ... Only because ordinary bombs will shake the ground so much to cause avalanches that might bury friend and foe alike and the thing that any likely invaders will be heliborne Light Infantry . Without tanks -which have gained a power to drive out of the burning area ; since Korea when and where T-34s were entirely helpless . With their NBC systems and the like , the tanks have to move only to keep their rubber tyres and rubber track pads safe from fire . While people still burn the same ... Hence saved money by avoiding the use of sticks of Mk.82s . And the need for planes that could haul sticks of Mk.82s .

    but a notice that Napalm was indeed a weapon of economy ...


    then there is the story of the British trooper who was awarded almost 50 years after helping some villagers on Cyprus escape to safety in the "Bloody Christmas" of 1963 . You know , where the Turks attacked the Greeks ... Wait , what ? But then am always ready to learn and will consider it feasible that all those Greek attacks all over the island led to a Turkish revenge attack on some helpless village and the trooper was just passing from the area with his truck and he loaded some 40 people onboard and drove to safety ... Not that ı ever heard anything like that but London is most unlikely to distribute medals in a vaudville fashion , something must have happened . Seriously , would love to hear ...

    there is a systematic attack , at least if you ask me , on anything that's Turkish yet doesn't fit in . Which , as you might have already guessed , involves a Kurdish Nation State which will gain its lands and "freedom" from the Turkish Nation State which naturally is to be destroyed in due course . One is surely aware of the narrative that the beasts of ISIL are only countered by the valorous Kurds . The story warms hearts and that fuzzy feeling has no place for "revelations" that while raising the "New" Iraqi Army , Americans made it sure that no RPGs would be available to the Iraqis who might then use them to destroy American Humvees . Which soon enough assured ISIL's suicide bombers would have an easy run to their targets . Everybody knows Ankara supports Sunni extremists ; which is a further justification of supporting Kurds by all means possible . Yet not much reports of how ISIL has been bombing a Turkish city since January this year . With almost one rocket per week . Apparently , because the bombardment drives the local population out and has cut property prices to half ; our Syrian brothers are buying it all . With the money Ankara provides them for the wages of the Jihadists , and even possibly with the rockets Ankara provided . When people of Kilis wow that their city will never fall , ı want to laugh and immediately feel forced to stop . You know , the 8th most powerful country on the world or something and we are losing ground ...

    the very same narrative has a very powerful Kurdish component , too ... The Counter-Revolution centered it on the brotherhood of "nations" ; the Kurds killed currently are not our brothers at all . They are godless Communists , Zoroastrians if that's the correct spelling of the word and Armenians , not our Sunni brothers . Who were long oppressed by the godless Turks following the false prophet , the pharoah Mustafa Kemal . The seperatists , too , would have been proper Muslims but they were driven to godlessness by the godless actions of Turks . If this debate ever gets too convulated , the seperatists are always Armenians in the end ... In any case we learned that Anatolia was conquered only due to the help of the Kurds and it became Muslim only due to the help of the Kurds and finally it became Turkish only due to the help of the Kurds . Because , let me see , the Alevi Turkomans were godless and the freedom loving Kurds were Sunni brothers and in 1500 something the brothers agreed to do something about it and only Ottomans like ethnically cleansed the Alevis and they all ran to Iran to rot in the way they all deserved to rot . All because of a great "scientist" , a Sunni Kurdish brother . The word scientist is in qoutation marks , because in Turkish in means a person who "knows" . One can also know the Religion and such an expert would also be a scientist . The first time the country like ever heard of hiim was the time when decided the re-name the street / Avenue of Pierre Loti , who immediately and like officially became an Orientalist homosexual .

    but the question is the fact that the Ottoman expansion would soon slow down and the golden age be over . The narrative explains this by the rise of Safavids , the Shia dogs or something that cut the route to Central Asia with their murderous hate for all things Sunni . Hence no more scientists , meaning those religious experts , could travel from Buhara and Semerkand to Istanbul . That's why Ottomans failed to invent Steam Engines . With not much discussion on why all that ethnical cleansing thing helped the Safavid hold on their side of the border , with those guys being ethnic Turks and opting to play the religion card for their own good . Before everything fell apart due to the election mess , even the seperatists were brothers with long cozy speeches on TV debates on how we had to accept the facts on the ground if we wanted to be a great power . Accepting the facts on the ground means Sunni Arabs and Kurds hand in hand ethnically cleanse Iraq and Syria , carve countries etc of their own . Which means war , which means Iran to be wiped of the map , which means Russia raped out of existance and now that America won't do it , somebody has to ... Won't happen ? Why , even better , the gloriously victorious Sunnis and Kurds can show it to godless Turks what man are made of ! There is no point of asking whether we want to be a great power ; it has been decided on our behalf that we will kill until our turn to be killed can also come . People say half a million have died as people wait for us to see the light and accept the facts on the ground . Despite the fact that those half a million might have wellcomed or even partaked in our extermination , the Fear of God makes it so scary to realise we have been damned so late in giving people some "light" ...

    there is this CFC post ı feel so smug about . Was to link it , decided against it . Will only cause trouble for me . Involves Hrant Dink , with a picture of him shot dead and this large tear on his shoes . Back in October 2011 , the image was still striking , casting doubt on the allegations that he was a traitor to the country , a paid agent of the foreigners but his nicely painted shoe still had a tear underneath on that cold but dry winter day . It's like factually wrong , too . ı said one agent escorted his murderer out of Istanbul , turns out there were 6 of them . A Captain of the Jandarma and 5 non-coms providing escort in and out . So that the Kemalist State and the Army could be framed and officers arrested and everybody shown his / her place . One arrested or to-be-arrested female Colonel was declared "not-the-mother" of her children ; in case there were people left who didn't fear arrest or defamation at the hand of New Turkey . It's now "known" that Congregation did it . If so , America still hides the spiritual leader of an organization that had an Armenian murdered in cold blood . Especially the one Armenian that might have fought the Counter-Revolution like hell . If not so , there's nary a word on what America will do about a conspiracy that wrecked a NATO Army bad enough that a two bit Jihadist conspiracy can drive property prices down in some NATO territory . And yes , it didn't go without a response . That post , ı mean . "Can you please stop spamming this thread?" was it ... At the end of the day am just a guy who reads newspapers and it's never ever anything other than dirt simple to see the pattern ...

    of stuff to prove we are worthless . Never had much problems in believing people did not see us as good , could even see the cracks in all sorts feel good Nationalist stories . Back in 1993 or 94 or 95 or whatever we had an almost Racist for history lessons , with the attendant downturned moustache tips . He had been a worker in Libya back in the day where our otherwise good Sunni brothers of Libyans had been telling lies about this "Diş Kirası" . Some bad thing where these so called soldiers come to your house and eat your dinner . There's no point in arguing whether you invited them or not . Now that they ate your food and used their their teeth in doing so , you have to pay them their due , the rent of the teeth . No point in refusal , too . As they might rape your wife , daughters , sons and you , before or after they kill you . We were never perfect , if we were everybody here would be be playing "Uygarlık" or something .

    but a very basic human thing to assume the same standarts should apply to all . Am ready to accept that tales and the lot about the Turkish history might be overblown . We were perhaps not 110% heroes . Perhaps the enemy in a battle on some undefined date did not run away in fear as Turks of yore took out their toothbrushes after the pre-battle dinner and the foolish enemy took them to be files , to sharpen the teeth so that the captured would be eaten raw if not alive . Even ready to believe the Osprey account of this War of Nicopolis something in 1396 , in some percentage . As such ı almost find it as a personal affront to read a piece in some yet another history magazine ı didn't pay a single Kuruş . Says even the Osprey account is not so . The French vaingloriously charge the fortified position . Something the Ottomans learned from the Memluks . No problem , Ottomans tooks warwagons and the lot as a mobile fortification to break down Memlük charges to knock them out for good , just like wiping out Hungarian cavalry just 10 years later in Mohaç . The effect of the charge of the Knights were real and Ottomans were running and not feigning a retreat . OK , stuff happens in wars . Ottomans were frightened at all those banners and well armoured Knights as their rain of arrows did no effect . Oh-kay , Ottomans were just landed from the Moon in 1396 and had no institutional memory of the Crusades . Only numbers told , because the Hungarians were tardy and Serbian vassals were armoured enough to face armoured Hungarians . As such hordes of Turks finally win when some French dude surrenders . Mind you Ottomans are the custodians of a land that invented the Catafracts or something , after being fed up with steppe archery since the Parthians . So that the Roman cavalry could at least survive even if uncapable of catching horse-archers . To the extent that the Norman ancestors of the French once turned one Emperor from that particular city into a porcupine with lances sticking out of his armour . And the author even says such similar charges in the same Gallic agigation were not helping in the Hundred Years War taking place at the same time . Just normal ; fed up with failures against similar opponents , The Westerners feel it will work against Easterners who are not human ...
     
  12. r16

    r16 not deity

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    which might well have been the case . The Commander of the Spanish Volunteer Division in Russia is on record that the Soviets were exactly doing that .
     

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