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Belgian Franctireurs 1914


fritz
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The "you brought a gun" argument is not a strong one to make with a Yank. I've had carry permits for over 40 years, since I was at university.

Tuchman is a successful writer, but hardly a historian of any merit, and comes from three generations of liars.

Bob

Morning everyone,

The 'fact' that you have a "carry permit" does not mean anything at all to me------I was being light about your "knife fight...." imagery-----carry a Tommy gun if you feel you must, but please don't shoot anyone simply because they can't talk Swahili!

There you go again------ criticising well respected Historians (even self taught one's) is a base way to attempt to denigrate the validity of a counter argument---don't you think. You tried it with Whitlock---now you try it with Tuchman.

Lets take a look at Tuchman, though briefly, as few here apart from yourself, will give too much thought to your "three generations of liars"

She won, to my certain knowledge, the Pulitzer prise for 'The Guns Of August'---she won another for a one I can't recall the name of.

She was awarded the 'Jefferson Lecture' award---the U.S. highest possible for the 'humanities'

Her oft repeated 'Tuchmans Law' philosophy should, I would have thought, endear her to you, as it teaches and advises us to 'err on the conservative safe side when dealing with presumed well documented facts'

Please expound on your "three generations of liars".

Dave.

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Dave, forgive me if I haven't been clear. I was not asking if there was evidence of violence towards Belgian citizens. Nor was I asking about what Germany did from day one onwards. You mentioned the concept of premeditation. This implies a planned systematic approach.

Let me rephrase the question (again, apologies for not getting it right first time). Earlier you mentioned that extensive reading of several sources revealed that what happened in Belgium was premeditated, ie pre-planned. When asked to quote sources on this aspect, your quote suggested that the German newspaper coverage of the atrocities 'might' have been pre-planned. The latest quote from Terraine (and thank you for taking the effort to do this, as it is not a trivial exercise) only mentions a 'distinct suggestion'. I have no problem respecting Terraine's comment but it does not constitute any proof of premeditation. Again, Terraine is saying that the 'immediate accusations of franc-tireur activity' seemed to have been orchestrated. He is not saying, if I interpret correctly, that the violence against Belgian citizens was premeditated.

Do you have evidence that the violence against Belgian citizens was premeditated? Thanks

Robert

Hi Robert.

With all respect Robert---and I do mean that, I begin to fel like I would if trying to explain Darwinian natural selection to a creationist.....

I rather feel I have laid it on the line in every post----forthrightly sometimes, but I will do so again.

1) My reading of history where German armies are concerned is that they fight wars with terrible callousness and unprecedented cruelty. Civilian or military enemies are routinely murdered.

2) My reading of the German descent upon Belgium in 1914----and whereas I feel you would rush, like Bob, though perhaps not so virulently, to offer alternatives which point to 'other' explanations---benefit of the doubt, so to speak----I feel that nothing, absolutely nothing, that happened in the later war,deeds of unparralleld cruelty, performed by 'ordinary German', Wermacht soldiers, gives any cause to seriously doubt the cruel, calculating, and wholly evil, 'GERMAN WAY--of making war---in the early/mid 20th. century.

3) You ask if I have proof positive, sort of----well, of course not---anyone who claims to be the final arbiter of all historical 'truths' and facts is a fool------ if anyone tells us that it is a 'fact' Lothar von Richthofen shot down Albert Ball, we must correct them, surely! It is no such thing. Ultimate Facts----total 'truths' are a heady wine indeed-----they go to our heads too quickly and I, for one, take the lightest of sips.

4) Opinions----there we go, those are the proverbial 'horse of a different colour" Dan-San Abbot, a good friend, and I have argued on whether the Sopwith Snipe was a 'dog' (he) or a superb addition to the allied war inventory, the equal of the DVII and far superior to the DVIII (me). This is called opinions---based not on facts----the sheer performance figures are not facts that relate to combat efficiency---suppositions, if you like---assertions. Now when one debates, AND takes an opposite stance, with real experts like Dan-San, one had better take care not to be too dogmatic-----I personally tend to few indeed 'dogmas', but If enough historians talk to me down many years of 'atrocities'---'orchestration' 'no civilian resistance' 'no trials' 'no courts of inquiry' 'mass firing squads' -----then I take all those arguments-----filter out the likely from the unlikely, and the inescapable consensus I come up with, after reading 'good' historians and bad for over half a century so that I can weed out the bad with comparative ease, because the 'logic' of the 'bad' is so obviously flawed that it takes but the application of a tad of commonsense to do so, ---is Planned from the start 'frightfulness' to cow the population whilst being invaded---coupled with even more fury at the defence put up by the Belgian army-----a defence that delayed the German thrust----when it COULD NOT dare be delayed.

5) OPINIONS Robert, in the main, are the very best we can postulate about ANYTHING relating to events a long time ago---that is a basic truism, surely----but opinions based on some in depth knowledge----this is not like Erich von Daniken telling us that the Egyptians could not have built the Pyramids-----because HE JUST KNOWS it! Or a religious sermon from someone who JUST BELIEVES' in a god because 'HE' has been in direct contact----no, this is opinion formed by informed reading of the very most reasonable interpretations of the past, offered by people with great worldwide Kudos in their fields.

So, if you tell me ---say, Terraine only says "a distinct suggestion of orchestration"-----but somehow---on top of all his, and others, quotes I have offered----more 'quotes' than, perhaps, any other single poster in this thread----I err in claiming "they DID have a premeditated' plan to "self justification" as Terraine also states---then to me that is a bit like the 'German' division on the 'Aerodrome' claiming, when I first used the word 'Schrecklichkeit' three years ago there---that the word wasn't German at all, and didn't really exist!!

Who cares, the Belgians murdered don't--------for all us lovers of aeroplanes---do we fondly imagine a dying pilot in a flame filled ME109 cockpit thinking in his last agonising few seconds--'what a truly elegant and beautiful aeroplane the Spitfire is'

Murdered civilians in two world wars are the German stock in trade----Belgium, France, Poland, Greece, Norway---the list is too long, and ought to be too well known here to need further elaboration Robert------- NO benefit of the doubt from me my friend.

As Bob has cast doubts on Mr. Brand Whitlock as a first class witness of atrocities in 1914----I will add another--

Mr. Gerald Morgan,

An hour before sunset we entered Louvain and found the city a smoking furnace. The Railway Station was crowded with troops, DRUNK with loot and liquor, and rapine as well. From house to house, acting under orders, groups of soldiers were carrying lighted straw, placing it in the basements, and then passing on to the next......meanwhile, through the station, we saw German justice being administered.........the soldiers drove the citizens of Louvain......like so many unwilling cattle on market day....then we heard volleys......and the last we saw of the doomed city was an immense red glare in the gathering dusk.

The first secretary of the Amricn legation, Mr. Hugh Gibson, with Swedish and Mexican colleagues went into the burning city on 28th. August. They saw blackened buildings, the dead bodies of people and horses in the streets."

This does not sound like 'justice' against 'free-shooters to me Robert---how about you?

Cheers,

Dave.

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Terraine is saying that the 'immediate accusations of franc-tireur activity' seemed to have been orchestrated.

Robert

From my own reading, this was all part of the propaganda build-up that all sides participated in. The German and French media were quick to recall 1870; in the case of the former it was largely about the danger of "franc-tireurs". It is my opinion that rather than the violence been premeditated, the effect of this propaganda was for the advancing Germans to see any unexpected action against them as been down to "franc-tireurs" and contributed to their extreme reactions.

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Bob,

Touching further on your "germanic blood," we are really ALL Germans are'nt we---kindred nations sort of post yesterday (264) which I picked you up on-----read Shirers 'The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich' pages 782 to 784---"If The Invasion Had Succeeded" to realise fully the sheer horror, carefully planned and written down that Hitler had arranged for the 'English' he so 'admired'

Heydrich and the S.S.----Black Books, deportations on a scale of magnitude greater than ANY other conquered country, hostages---the whole frightful gamut----to be administered for Heydrich by a certain SS colonel, professor Dr. Franz Six----one of Himmlers gang of secret 'Police'.....

Bloodlines indeed!

Dave.

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The 'fact' that you have a "carry permit" does not mean anything at all to me------I was being light about your "knife fight...." imagery-----carry a Tommy gun if you feel you must, but please don't shoot anyone simply because they can't talk Swahili!

I was amused by your statement "I've brought a gun!", as the inhabitants of the "Foggy Isles" have been stripped of their gun rights ages ago. I am also reminded of a memorable quote of Sir Richard Burton (not the drunken Welchman of the 20th Century, but the most excellent 19th Century explorer, swordsman, and linguist:) "The day that Englishmen ceased going about armed, was the date of the death of English manners".

You might enjoy this: My host who had Prince Fritz and myself (and 2-3 others) over for beer and pizza was a Philadelphia friend of mine, Roy West, a direct decendant of John West, Lord Delaware, the guy who owned our State of Delaware. Through John West, Roy is a direct decendant of Edward III and Henry III. Roy is a published historian, and has spent several years poking about tracing his co-lineal ancestors, and as of several years ago he had tracked down 300 predecessors who were emperors, kings, and princes. (I have not asked for an update on his "score" for some years. When he finds one of these royals, he and his son buy a coin of that ruler, some of these royals are very obscure, and their coins are sometimes quite expensive; this has proved a bit of a financial burden.) His second wife is Jewish, and one recent Christmas season her uncle, a fine elderly Jewish gentleman, was over at the house, and Roy noticed that he was glancing about the house, and finally the gentleman asked: "Roy, do you have a Christmas tree?" (This can be a big issue in some Jewish families.) Roy drew himself up to his fullest hight (not great, he is a bit of a bantam), and exclaimed: "A Christmas tree? A Christmas tree? You do not think that a decendant of the Prophet would have a Christmas tree?". putting his "uncle-in-law" into considerable confusion. Roy's colineal Spanish royal decendants had intermarried with the kings of Morroco, who had lineage from the Prophet Mohammed (Blessed be His Name).

Roy has had an interesting military career, and resigned a US Navy commission to become a US Army sergeant (probably a first!), which led to a US Army commission and commander of the last horse cavalry unit in the US Army (horses privately owned, as is their armory, the government provides their light armored vehicles.) Roy has a fully licensed and operational "Tommy Gun". Roy is what one might call a "socialite", and when he goes to posh social events he carries a curious small leather folding revolver. Roy's unit, who were bodyguards to George Washington, sent a mortar company to France in France in WW I. The company rented a chateau behind the lines, in case anyone got leave; the company, with five officers, kept 190 personal servants and 120 riding horses at the chateau for the convenience and comfort of the men of the company.

A bit OT, but at least within the confines of WW I. (Sort of)

Please expound on your "three generations of liars".

I do not plan to, at any length; it might result in a 20 page essay. Tuchman is scarcely any sort of historian, but certainly is a successful author. That is not proof of scholarship. My animus is actually directed toward three generations of the Morgenthau family for a variety of misdeeds over a very long period of time. Writing cooked history was a lesser misdeed. To fully understand you would have to have an understanding of religeous politics in the US in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century, and that is a diversion from the topic a bit much even for myself.

Dave.

Bob

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Bob

Quote---

"I do not plan too..."

A shame really, (BUT no surprise there) as American History is a particular favourite of mine---and I know of little to denigrate the Morganthau family for "misdeeds over a very long period of time"----though that is a subjective appraisal indeed, your "very long time" is, by your own admission, only three generations.

You paint a picture more suitable for a 'Lorna Doone' type novel----of familial 'goings on'----or like the 'Kennedy family' Recall the quip going around Whitehall just after the fall of France-----I"I thought my Daffodils were yellow 'till I met Joe Kennedy...."

But c'mon Bob----you 'dropped it in'---now expound---teach us what on earth ANY limitations with the Morganthau family ( and I am 'up' for hearing about them, because I know of none----teach us ) should curse Barbra Tuchman with a same brush----this is Old Testament---'The sins of the father shall be visited..." clap trap of the silliest kind---isn't it!

How about answering a few questions that have been put to you----and not just by me...

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx---address, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, some of the issues of this thread---instead of regaling us with 19th. century explorers and intimating that is "within the confines of WW1"-----xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Dave.

Post edited Forum rules Keith

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From my own reading, this was all part of the propaganda build-up that all sides participated in. The German and French media were quick to recall 1870; in the case of the former it was largely about the danger of "franc-tireurs". It is my opinion that rather than the violence been premeditated, the effect of this propaganda was for the advancing Germans to see any unexpected action against them as been down to "franc-tireurs" and contributed to their extreme reactions.

Very good points. There was a "perfect storm" of factors, like those you mention, that led to an extraoridnarily violent situation. I may post a citation to a book by a Flemish professor at Liege who slipped out of the siege of Liege and made his way to England, where he quickly wrote a book (IN ENGLISH!!) about his experiences. He explained about the poisonous political situation; much of France was openly militating for a war of revenge (revanche or "revenge" was a major French political slogan of the period) and the French political material was front and center in the Belgian French-language press, and he said that the Belgian Walloons were in a political (almost) frenzy before the war in support of the French position. He also noted that Liege was the center of the Belgian arms industry, and in their industrial system there were thousands of family workshops who did the finishing work on firearms for the factories; some assembly, fitting (filing and other steps to make a weapon function smoothly, polishing, possibly engraving) and so on, making thousands of households familiar with firearms and supplied with numerous weapons, some of military pattern, perhaps leading some to rash action.

This book is at great contrast to the book by the Walloon professor from Liege, which I mentioned before.

Bob

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Very good points. There was a "perfect storm" of factors, like those you mention, that led to an extraoridnarily violent situation. I may post a citation to a book by a Flemish professor at Liege who slipped out of the siege of Liege and made his way to England, where he quickly wrote a book (IN ENGLISH!!) about his experiences. He explained about the poisonous political situation; much of France was openly militating for a war of revenge (revanche or "revenge" was a major French political slogan of the period) and the French political material was front and center in the Belgian French-language press, and he said that the Belgian Walloons were in a political (almost) frenzy before the war in support of the French position. He also noted that Liege was the center of the Belgian arms industry, and in their industrial system there were thousands of family workshops who did the finishing work on firearms for the factories; some assembly, fitting (filing and other steps to make a weapon function smoothly, polishing, possibly engraving) and so on, making thousands of households familiar with firearms and supplied with numerous weapons, some of military pattern, perhaps leading some to rash action.

This book is at great contrast to the book by the Walloon professor from Liege, which I mentioned before.

Bob

France didn't invade Belgium!

Dave.

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"

Telegram to President Woodrow Wilson from Kaiser Wilhelm II, 7 September 1914

"I feel it my duty, Mr. President, to inform you as the most prominent representative of principles of humanity, that after taking the French fortress of Longwy, my troops discovered there thousands of dumdum cartridges made by special government machinery.

The same kind of ammunition was found on killed and wounded troops and prisoners, also on the British troops. You know what terrible wounds and suffering these bullets inflict and that their use is strictly forbidden by the established rules of international law.

I therefore address a solemn protest to you against this kind of warfare, which, owing to the methods of our adversaries, has become one of the most barbarous known in history.

Not only have they employed these atrocious weapons, but the Belgian Government has openly encouraged and, since long, carefully prepared the participation of the Belgian civil population in the fighting.

The atrocities committed even by women and priests in this guerrilla warfare, also on wounded soldiers, medical staff and nurses, doctors killed, hospitals attacked by rifle fire, were such that my generals finally were compelled to take the most drastic measures in order to punish the guilty and to frighten the bloodthirsty population from continuing their work of vile murder and horror.

Some villages and even the old town of Loewen [Louvain], excepting the fine hotel de ville, had to be destroyed in self-defence and for the protection of my troops. My heart bleeds when I see that such measures have become unavoidable and when I think of the numerous innocent people who lose their home and property as a consequence of the barbarous behaviour of those criminals.

Signed,

WILLIAM, EMPEROR AND KING"

Sounds like self justification to me, "frighten the bloodthirsty population..." indeed----a very brave, one might say suicidally brave, "population" then we must conclude! ---And this was sent to America on 7th. September, 1914. SELF JUSTIFICATION for a despicably vile act, more reminiscent of the dark ages, or the thirty years war, then the 20th. century!

The "Emperor" 'Doth protest too much'

Dave.

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August 25, 1914---HUY

"Last night shooting took place. It has not been proved that the inhabitants of the town were still in possession of arms. Nor has it been proved that the civil population took part in the shooting; on the contrary, it would seem that the soldiers were under the influence of alcohol and opened fire under an incomprehensible fear of an enemy attack.

The conduct of the soldiers during the night produces a shameful impression, with a few exceptions.

When officers or non-commissioned officers set fire to houses, without permission or order from the commandant, or in the present case from the senior officer, and when they encourage the troops by their attitude to burn and loot, it is an act of the most regrettable kind.

I expect severe instructions to be given generally as to the attitude towards the life and property of the civil population. I forbid firing in the town without officers' orders.

The bad conduct of the troops has had as its result the serious wounding of a non-commissioned officer and a soldier by German shots.

VON BASSEWITZ, Major,

Commandant"

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here is commonsense.

Here is common decency.

Here is some semblance of an adherence to reasonable humanitarian interpretations of invading a small country.

THIS is how it should have been done-----AT ALL TIMES, not just once.

Cheers,

Dave.

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August 25, 1914---HUY

"Last night shooting took place. It has not been proved that the inhabitants of the town were still in possession of arms. Nor has it been proved that the civil population took part in the shooting; on the contrary, it would seem that the soldiers were under the influence of alcohol and opened fire under an incomprehensible fear of an enemy attack.

The conduct of the soldiers during the night produces a shameful impression, with a few exceptions.

When officers or non-commissioned officers set fire to houses, without permission or order from the commandant, or in the present case from the senior officer, and when they encourage the troops by their attitude to burn and loot, it is an act of the most regrettable kind.

I expect severe instructions to be given generally as to the attitude towards the life and property of the civil population. I forbid firing in the town without officers' orders.

The bad conduct of the troops has had as its result the serious wounding of a non-commissioned officer and a soldier by German shots.

VON BASSEWITZ, Major,

Commandant"

There were two Major von Bassewitz's in the German Army in 1914. On May 6, 1914, one von Bassewitz was the CO of the 2nd Battalion of the
3. Garde=Regiment zu Fuss
, another was the CO of the 2nd Battalion of
4. Garde=Regiment zu Fuss
. Both were in the 1st Guards Infantry Division, the first in the 1st Brigade, the second in the 2nd Brigade. The first von Bassewitz died on November 17, 1914 in Kotowicze, Poland. The second died on September 18, 1914 at Courcy, France, about 5 miles NW of Reims, as a lieutenant colonel. It is possible that one or the other was at Huy in August 25, 1914, the
Garde=Korps
was in the vicinity.

Can you share where you found this order? A title of "Commandant" would be surprising but possible, or an odd translation.

Huy is on the Meuse half-way between Liege and Namur; from memory it and a little fortress surrendered without a fight; it probably was reached a few days before August 25th by German forces marching toward Namur.

Bob
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There were two Major von Bassewitz's in the German Army in 1914. On May 6, 1914, one von Bassewitz was the CO of the 2nd Battalion of the 3. Garde=Regiment zu Fuss, another was the CO of the 2nd Battalion of 4. Garde=Regiment zu Fuss. Both were in the 1st Guards Infantry Division, the first in the 1st Brigade, the second in the 2nd Brigade. The first von Bassewitz died on November 17, 1914 in Kotowicze, Poland. The second died on September 18, 1914 at Courcy, France, about 5 miles NW of Reims, as a lieutenant colonel. It is possible that one or the other was at Huy in August 25, 1914, the Garde=Korps was in the vicinity.

Can you share where you found this order? A title of "Commandant" would be surprising but possible, or an odd translation.

Huy is on the Meuse half-way between Liege and Namur; from memory it and a little fortress surrendered without a fight; it probably was reached a few days before August 25th by German forces marching toward Namur.

Bob

Actually Huy was siezed by the Germans on 12th. August 1914----two weeks earlier Bob!

Dave.

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Huy was famously the placename that Sir John struggled to pronounce and may well have triggered the ainimosity between him and General Lanrezac.

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Huy was famously the placename that Sir John struggled to pronounce and may well have triggered the ainimosity between him and General Lanrezac.

Hi truthergw,

Indeed, the moment is captured in Robin Neillands excellent 'The Great War Generals' on page 69-- The meeting described took place on the 17th. August.

"French found the Meuse on the map, and putting his finger on one of the bridges at Huy, asked Lanrezac, in his stumbling French, what he thought the Germans were doing there?

Lanrezac replied that he thought the Germans had gone there to fish"

Lanrezac did not like the British---and the insult and sarcasm was not fully lost on French. The repercussions would not be long delayed

Cheers,

Dave.

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Off topic more than slightly but General Lanrezac had good reason to be stressed. He had seen the danger posed by the German great wheel through Belgium and struggled in vain to convince Joffre or GQG that the main attack was not going to come through the Ardennes. Neillands book is all right but I much prefer Spears' Liaison 1945.

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Off topic more than slightly but General Lanrezac had good reason to be stressed. He had seen the danger posed by the German great wheel through Belgium and struggled in vain to convince Joffre or GQG that the main attack was not going to come through the Ardennes. Neillands book is all right but I much prefer Spears' Liaison 1945.

Don't worry truthergw---we have been considerably further afield than French and Lanrezac

Yes----Spears' book is a veritable masterpiece of commonsense observations, though I think you mean 1914---not 1945 :) :)

Spears says this of him--

"The army commander was a big flabby man with an emphatic corporation. His moustache had more grey than white in it, as had his hair......he appeared to be in a bad temper......"

Lanrezacs problem, a disastrous one in a coalition war (thankfully Wellington was good at it, Marlborough better---and Eisenhower even better), was he considered the only army's worth a damn were the French and German , and on top of that failing, he had decided that French was an ass---as well as being an Englishman---as if the latter were not bad enough.

He classed reserve divisions, territorials, and the British army as being rabble, almost. He was resoundingly wrong, on all counts

.

However, his intelligence reports were quite correct that the German forces at Huy were from second army (von Bulow) and were crossing the Meuse from South to North----into Belgium---which proved a wide flanking movement, which boded evil for the 5th. army ---and of course, the B.E.F.

It is difficult for me to consider Lanrezac too highly though-----a victim, to a degree, of his own manners.

cheers,

Dave.

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How dare we retain doubts about atrocities in 1914---or the 'pre-meditated' aspect of them.

"Last night shooting took place. It has not been proved that the inhabitants of the town were still in possession of arms. Nor has it been proved that the civil population took part in the shooting; on the contrary, it would seem that the soldiers were under the influence of alcohol and opened fire under an incomprehensible fear of an enemy attack..."

Dave, now there are two reasons to 'retain doubts' about premeditation. Firstly, no convincing proof from any of the secondary sources that you have read. Second, the details of Major von Bassewitz's memo. He does not describe premeditated acts. Quite the opposite.

Please note that raising doubts about your comments on premeditation is not that same as raising doubts about the fact that violence occurred. These issues should not be conflated together.

Robert

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Actually Huy was siezed by the Germans on 12th. August 1914----two weeks earlier Bob!

Dave.

Referring to Luettich=Namur, a 96 page monograph solely on the taking of Liege and Namur, written by Rittmeister Marschall von Bieberstein, (at the outbreak of war a staff officer of the Uhlan=Regiment Nr. 5, during the battle a staff officer of the 14th division at the battle), and published in 1918 by the General Staff of the Field Army.

Page 47, on the morning of August 11 the Cavalry Corps of General von der Marwitz had scouting detachments probing south from Liege and found that the advanced posts of Belgian/French forces were established on the line Tirlemont - Fortress Huy on the Meuse. There then is no mention of Huy till page 62. The last of Liege's 12 forts had fallen on the morning of August 16th, and some troops had already begun to move south-west down the Meuse towards the fortress of Namur. On August 15th the 20th Division received the order to take the Meuse-fort Huy. In the evening of August 15th the 40th Infantry Brigade (of the 20th Division) reached a point 6 km south-east of Huy (in other words a few miles away from the river), and patrols were sent out that night to ascertain the situation. About midnight Captain Hartung of the Guards Pioneers discovered that the Belgians had evacuated Huy and the fortifications about it. He quickly sent word, and some battalions were quickly alerted and force-marched to Huy, entering at 5:30 AM (German time, an hour later than French/Belgian time) of August 16, 1914.

Bob

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Don't worry truthergw---we have been considerably further afield than French and Lanrezac

Yes----Spears' book is a veritable masterpiece of commonsense observations, though I think you mean 1914---not 1945 :) :)

.........................

cheers,

Dave.

1914 it is. I have a spell checker, where can I get a daft mistake catcher?

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Dave, now there are two reasons to 'retain doubts' about premeditation. Firstly, no convincing proof from any of the secondary sources that you have read. Second, the details of Major von Bassewitz's memo. He does not describe premeditated acts. Quite the opposite.

Please note that raising doubts about your comments on premeditation is not that same as raising doubts about the fact that violence occurred. These issues should not be conflated together.

Robert

Robert---

I find it somewhat disconcerting that you have picked up on this, to the exclusion of anything else, and are 'running' with it-----whilst nary a comment on the failure of Bob to answer any questions at all on the matter.

You certainly have his back covered and perhaps he is getting his second wind after all that 'chasing'.

I have made my position quite clear on this matter-----dear me, I don't know how to make it any clearer.

Let us agree to this-----perhaps! I BELIEVE,

I believe implicitly, based on half a century of reading history books, most of which are in my library as we speak, that when John Terraine speaks of Ludendorff telling us that franc-tireur activity "broke out everywhere..." and this on August 4th. for heavens sake---DAY ONE!

Or when he tells us (me) that --

"There is, moreover a distinct suggestion of orchestration in the IMMEDIATE accusations of franc-tireur and other ant-German activity. It is, TO SAY THE LEAST, remarkable that a seaman of the High Seas fleet, in far away Wilhelmshaven, could write home on the 5th. of August with the war only 24 hours old: 'Terrible reports of atrocities against German citizens arrived from Belgium. Our nation is not at all prepared for war, I thought, as I read this'

One cannot help feeling that the German press was all too well prepared"

or further--

"A PRECONCIEVED, systematic campaign of self justification was CLEARLY in operation from the VERY BEGINNING of the war.

or further yet-

"There was a lot to justify; the Germans were marching to a tight schedule; their advanced forces (whose function was to open the way for the massive right wing of Schlieffens plan) were not strong enough to detach garrisons on their lines of communication; instead, they DELIBERATELY resorted to Schrecklichkeit....."

Who primed the German press Robert-----that it could be reporting such stories within 24 hours of them SUPPOSEDLY happening?

What do you suppose "deliberately" and "preconcieved" mean. I have my understanding of those words----- I would be amazed if I am alone in that.

And you do not BELIEVE----simple---is that agreeable? Either you believe as I or you do not, after all, that is what debate is all about---BUT I really do not know what you believe or do not believe----it is somewhat hidden in your constant questions which I constantly reply to!

But, and here is the rub for you Robert-----a veritable army of historians agree with Terraine, Barnett and all the rest----but (it seems to me), Bob simply does not----by his silence I am fully justified in judging him so, and you ---well, JUST WHERE do you actually stand Robert, as apart from asking the same question of me regardless of how many times I answer it----you have not made your position very clear----at least not to my addled old mind.

Cheers,

Dave.

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1914 it is. I have a spell checker, where can I get a daft mistake catcher?

Never fear my friend----I have to ALWAYS go back in 'edit' mode to correct bloody loads of spelling mistakes, and anyone looking hard enough will STILL spot some.

Not a buffoon, just type ---sometimes---as if I were speaking. As the Firing squad corporal said in Blackadder---' I'm a gabbler me, sorry...' or words to that effect.:)

Dave.

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Referring to Luettich=Namur, a 96 page monograph solely on the taking of Liege and Namur, written by Rittmeister Marschall von Bieberstein, (at the outbreak of war a staff officer of the Uhlan=Regiment Nr. 5, during the battle a staff officer of the 14th division at the battle), and published in 1918 by the General Staff of the Field Army.

Page 47, on the morning of August 11 the Cavalry Corps of General von der Marwitz had scouting detachments probing south from Liege and found that the advanced posts of Belgian/French forces were established on the line Tirlemont - Fortress Huy on the Meuse. There then is no mention of Huy till page 62. The last of Liege's 12 forts had fallen on the morning of August 16th, and some troops had already begun to move south-west down the Meuse towards the fortress of Namur. On August 15th the 20th Division received the order to take the Meuse-fort Huy. In the evening of August 15th the 40th Infantry Brigade (of the 20th Division) reached a point 6 km south-east of Huy (in other words a few miles away from the river), and patrols were sent out that night to ascertain the situation. About midnight Captain Hartung of the Guards Pioneers discovered that the Belgians had evacuated Huy and the fortifications about it. He quickly sent word, and some battalions were quickly alerted and force-marched to Huy, entering at 5:30 AM (German time, an hour later than French/Belgian time) of August 16, 1914.

Bob

Which would seem to be somewhere between your 25th. and my 12th.--which I got from First World War. Com though no site is 100% perfect.--Though I struggle a bit, just a bit mind you to see how this meeting and discussion could have taken place---on the 17th.---within hours...

"-Indeed, the moment is captured in Robin Neillands excellent 'The Great War Generals' on page 69-- The meeting described took place on the 17th. August.

"French found the Meuse on the map, and putting his finger on one of the bridges at Huy, asked Lanrezac, in his stumbling French, what he thought the Germans were doing there?

Lanrezac replied that he thought the Germans had gone there to fish"

-- what about Tuchman being descended from "liars"???????

Dave.

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However, his intelligence reports were quite correct that the German forces at Huy were from second army (von Bulow) and were crossing the Meuse from South to North----into Belgium---which proved a wide flanking movement, which boded evil for the 5th. army ---and of course, the B.E.F.

cheers,

Dave.

That is a very odd description of the situation on the ground there. The Germans had been on both sides of the Meuse for about 10 days (before they reached Huy), investing Liege and the forts, and then the German forces (2nd Army) were headed south-west on both sides of the Meuse, as opposed to crossing at Huy and headed north. I don't know if the Belgians had blown the bridges at Huy or not, the Germans never seem to mention them. I don't think that they were sending forces west in the sector of Huy. The main German forces heading west to sweep about the French was the 1st Army, passing west about 40 km NE up the Meuse, in the vicinity of Vise, whose bridges were considered vital. (The Germans had planned to, at the instant the war started, race toward Vise's bridges with infantry in 150 trucks to be assembled at Aachen. But they weren't army trucks, they had to be collected from private owners, and the force of trucks were not assembled fast enough for the surprise strike. The Belgians blew the bridges, but {flying on memory here}, only blew the spans, not the piers, and the Germans pushed over the river in an amphibious assault and could quickly repair the bridges on a temporary basis.)

But perhaps your description is an accurate description of what the French thought was happening on the ground, as opposed to what was happening in reality. At this phase of the fighting the opponents had little idea of where the enemy was. The Germans at Liege were fearing a heavy Belgian/French (and possibly BEF) strike down toward Liege, but were able to send aircraft to scout and ascertained that the Belgians had fallen far back and the BEF was nowhere to be seen. The commander of Liege and the 3rd Belgian Division, General Leman, knew his "goose was cooked" and detached his 3rd Division marching off to join the Belgian field army, and sent most of his staff with them so as not to be captured. He was one of Belgium's most distinguished soldiers; oddly, I think he was born in Germany.

From memory, there had been some British troops wandering about further south; at the capture of one of the succeeding forts (almost certainly Maubeuge), the Germans not only took some 30,000 odd French troops, but 150 British troops, who had gotten drunk and had gotten separated from their units as they had marched thru the area earlier. (Boys will be boys.)

My description of the broad-brush German movements is from memory, and my current work on this area and period is very narrow (the siege guns, the defense of the forts, narrow technical issues, which battery where, shell supply available, etc., not the broad general sweep of armies), but I believe I am correct here {in the last nine months I probably have read 75 books on the siege of Liege and Namur}, and can dive into the sources if anyone is concerned. But I can't imagine that the Germans were pushing north from Huy. Perhaps the French thought that the German forces pushing down the Meuse to the south-west were going to wheel north, not continue SW to take Namur.)

Bob

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That is a very odd description of the situation on the ground there. The Germans had been on both sides of the Meuse for about 10 days (before they reached Huy), investing Liege and the forts, and then the German forces (2nd Army) were headed south-west on both sides of the Meuse, as opposed to crossing at Huy and headed north. I don't know if the Belgians had blown the bridges at Huy or not, the Germans never seem to mention them. I don't think that they were sending forces west in the sector of Huy. The main German forces heading west to sweep about the French was the 1st Army, passing west about 40 km NE up the Meuse, in the vicinity of Vise, whose bridges were considered vital. (The Germans had planned to, at the instant the war started, race toward Vise's bridges with infantry in 150 trucks to be assembled at Aachen. But they weren't army trucks, they had to be collected from private owners, and the force of trucks were not assembled fast enough for the surprise strike. The Belgians blew the bridges, but {flying on memory here}, only blew the spans, not the piers, and the Germans pushed over the river in an amphibious assault and could quickly repair the bridges on a temporary basis.)

But perhaps your description is an accurate description of what the French thought was happening on the ground, as opposed to what was happening in reality. At this phase of the fighting the opponents had little idea of where the enemy was. The Germans at Liege were fearing a heavy Belgian/French (and possibly BEF) strike down toward Liege, but were able to send aircraft to scout and ascertained that the Belgians had fallen far back and the BEF was nowhere to be seen. The commander of Liege and the 3rd Belgian Division, General Leman, knew his "goose was cooked" and detached his 3rd Division marching off to join the Belgian field army, and sent most of his staff with them so as not to be captured. He was one of Belgium's most distinguished soldiers; oddly, I think he was born in Germany.

From memory, there had been some British troops wandering about further south; at the capture of one of the succeeding forts (almost certainly Maubeuge), the Germans not only took some 30,000 odd French troops, but 150 British troops, who had gotten drunk and had gotten separated from their units as they had marched thru the area earlier. (Boys will be boys.)

My description of the broad-brush German movements is from memory, and my current work on this area and period is very narrow (the siege guns, the defense of the forts, narrow technical issues, which battery where, shell supply available, etc., not the broad general sweep of armies), but I believe I am correct here {in the last nine months I probably have read 75 books on the siege of Liege and Namur}, and can dive into the sources if anyone is concerned. But I can't imagine that the Germans were pushing north from Huy. Perhaps the French thought that the German forces pushing down the Meuse to the south-west were going to wheel north, not continue SW to take Namur.)

Bob

John Terraine says exactly that---in 'Mons-The Retreat To Victory'

".....at Huy they would be crossing the river Meuse FROM SOUTH TO NORTH...." You are the expert here Bob, 75 books just on this very area and moment in time---I readily bow to your answer to this simple question-----if one crosses the Meuse at Huy heading North----does that take one towards Belgium or towards France?

Belgium, surely and directly towards Lanrezac's Fifth army, and the BEF---as I said.---- all part of 'the plan'---surely!

Dave.

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Which would seem to be somewhere between your 25th. and my 12th.--which I got from First World War. Com though no site is 100% perfect.--Though I struggle a bit, just a bit mind you to see how this meeting and discussion could have taken place---on the 17th.---within hours...

To quibble, I did not say the 25th, I said "a few days before the 25th". Huy was hugely unimportant to the Germans; it was a small fort (General Leman at Liege was shown fragments of shells that had hit Fort Loncin - his final hideout - and from the pieces his staff could estimate that they were being shelled by guns of about 42 cm caliber, totally unexpected, seemingly. The shells could penetrate as much as 40' of concrete, steel plate, concrete, masonry, earth, and hollow spaces before the two time fuzes blew. Leman was occasionally able to get word out to the Belgian field army, although the Germans were at the other end of his phone line. So the Belgians probably knew that a fort like Huy could not hold out for more than hours. At Loncin a 2200 lb shell finally penetrated a magazine and exploded 26,000 lbs of explosives; Leman barely survived, most of the garrison did not.) The reference I cited (von Bieberstein) had about four sentences between two pages on Huy. They never mention the bridges, if they were blown or not. The Meuse seemed to be fairly easy to bridge and I think they had some small vessels and ferries on the Meuse.

"-Indeed, the moment is captured in Robin Neillands excellent 'The Great War Generals' on page 69-- The meeting described took place on the 17th. August.

"French found the Meuse on the map, and putting his finger on one of the bridges at Huy, asked Lanrezac, in his stumbling French, what he thought the Germans were doing there?

Lanrezac replied that he thought the Germans had gone there to fish"

I think that the Belgians had probably informed the French that they had abandoned Huy, and I and the Germans don't/didn't know when that was. Perhaps they had abandoned the fort on the 14th.

-- what about Tuchman being descended from "liars"???????

We have been OT more than enough. Such a discussion would wander about US religous politics of the era, the US missionary movement, Turkey, and WW II, the New York City District Attorney's office, and very little of it military. If I want to venture off of the reservation again it will not be about the Morgenthaus.

Dave.

Bob

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