Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Sign in to follow this  
Steven Broomfield

BBC2 Scotland 100Days to Victory

Recommended Posts

Interested
2 hours ago, MikeMeech said:

I have now managed to watch it.

Thanks for supplying the details.  Now you've seen it you'll have noticed the painted wagons tanks matched the instructions you supplied, so someone with CGI skills did their homework on this bit of the farce story.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
phil andrade

Carol Midgley, writing TV reviews for The Times, gives it four stars out of five and is enthusiastic .

 

Phil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Steven Broomfield

Mention was made earlier of the Tottygraph TV reviewers view. I read the Times review on-line a little while ago; it was enthusiastic. What was interesting, though, was that the Comments had been shut and were not on show. Wonder why.

 

Edit: my post coincided with Mr Andrade's.

Edited by Steven Broomfield

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Scalyback
14 minutes ago, Steven Broomfield said:

Mention was made earlier of the Tottygraph TV reviewers view. I read the Times review on-line a little while ago; it was enthusiastic. What was interesting, though, was that the Comments had been shut and were not on show. Wonder why.

 

Edit: my post coincided with Mr Andrade's.

 

Times has the same owners as Foxtel?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mike_H
4 hours ago, Steven Broomfield said:

 

And that, I am afraid, sums up the whole sorry saga of the Centenary bandwagon.

Steven,

I don't often post here but I am 100% with you in this statement. True words of wisdom!!

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MikeMeech
16 hours ago, Bart150 said:

Near the end of the programme Haig said to Currie and Monash something like ‘We’re doing pretty well so far. Let’s press on with the attack.’ But the shrewd colonial generals said ‘No, we should break off this battle and attack on another part of the front’. Haig says ‘Oh, right. I’ll take your advice.’

 

Anybody know if anything like that actually happened?

 

 

 

Hi

Judging from a variety of historic sources it was not that simplistic and probably (definitely) did not happen in that way.  The problem was that the attack was reaching the old defence system and the Germans had moved up their reserves and, of course, surprise had gone.  Basically another 'set piece' battle would be required and the artillery would need to be moved forward (always difficult and time consuming) plus the Tank Corps had used many of their assets up. Information was coming through that the resistance of the Germans was 'stiffening', for example according to Haig's Diary he visited the 32nd Division HQ on 10th August (at this time the Canadian Corps front line consisted of the 4th Canadian Division and the 32nd British Division).  The commander General Lambert mentioned this, Haig had previously met Currie and it appears to have been discussed.  In the Sheffield and Bourne edition of the Diaries, page 442, under Sunday 11 August in italics it mentions that:

 

"Haig took notice of the concerns of Currie and Lambert about continuing major operations on Fourth Army's front.  On 11 August Rawlinson added his doubts."

 

Prior & Wilson's 'Command on the Western Front' pages 332-333 appears to agree with this as well as Monash and other Divisional Commanders having the same view about the 'stiffening' plus some German counter-attacks influenced Rawlinson to agree about 'discontinuing' the attack.  Nicolson in the 'Official History of the CEF', page 417-418, mentions, reference the 11th, that:

 

"Before the day ended Rawlinson, after seeing Douglas Haig at Villers-Bretonneux, told his corps commanders that the C.-in-C. had approved the Fourth Army's offensive being discontinued for the time being."

 

Haig had to then inform Foch that the attack was being discontinued  against objections on the latter's part.  As in much history the reality is usually rather more complex than seen on TV!

 

As an aside, I mentioned above that the 32nd Division was part of the Canadian Corps at the end of the Amiens battle, a British Division being part of the Canadian Corps frontline continued through much of the '100 Day' period due to Currie's policy of having "two Division in and two out" which meant he required the BEF GHQ to supply him with a British Division to use in battle. The 32nd was followed by the the 51st at the end of August (I presume this will come up in the second episode), but this was not unique as they in turn were followed by the 4th British, 57th, 11th and 56th Division.  Nicolson, page 468, mentions that:

 

"In the meantime on 16 October the 4th Canadian Division relieved the 56th British Division, whose continuous operations had left its troops too weak to carry out a vigorous pursuit of the enemy.  Three Canadian divisions thus had the responsibility for twenty miles of front, and General Currie's scheme of having "two Divisions in and two out" was interrupted.  Next day the Germans began their retreat."

 

From the end of August onwards the Canadian Corps was less 'homogenous' than is generally thought, it also shows that the Canadian's 'doctrine', 'tactics' and 'procedures' were basically the 'same' as the rest of the BEF, obvious really, but, has occasionally been alleged that they been doing their 'own thing' on tactics.  Whether this detail will be mentioned in the second episode I don't know.

 

Mike 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
phil andrade

The wonderful corollary to these dismal caricatured travesties is that they inspire such interesting and informative discussions when we repudiate them !

 

A few more such programmes and our standards will reach a peak.

 

So, carry on BBC !

 

Phil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bart150

Thanks, Mike. Very useful.

As Phil just said, one compensation for a (to put it kindly) romanticised version of history in a tv programme is that it stimulates one to probe with some care what actually happened.

The fallacy that all the troops in a Canadian corps or army must have been Canadian is found in accounts of WW2 operations also.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MikeyH

Caught up with this last night on the iplayer, whilst having to grit my teeth on a few occasions, we sat through it.

My wife who is normally indifferent to WW1 'documentaries', was interested enough to ask a few pertinent questions.

Hopefully it may generate further interest by a few 'average viewers', though anyone accepting the programme at face value

will forever have a skewed perspective.  The second part will be shown Thursday next and will 'reveal how the Allies found a way

to smash through the last line of German defences'.

 

Mike.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ron Clifton

I don't have much difficulty in allowing the Australians and Canadians the lion's share of the credit for the successes of 8 to 11 August, but I wonder if the pivotal events of September will be subject to the same "colonial" bias - I am thinking particularly of the forcing of the Canal du Nord at Riqueval.

 

One point I did notice that either Currie or Monash (or possibly both) was shown in the uniform of a full general (crown, pip and crossed sword and baton), whereas both were lieutenant-generals at the time.

 

Ron

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mark Hone

I tried to be charitable in my initial review but clearly fellow Forum Pals were not so forgiving! One other gaffe I noticed was the idea that Canadians and Australians first fought together at Passchendaele in 1917. That would have come as a surprise to Bury Grammar School old boy Tom Broughton, of the Quebec Regiment, who died at Pozieres in September 1916 fighting alongside the Aussies.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Steven Broomfield

On the subject of uniforms, I was unable to see if the poorly-executed re-enactments of the action showed Australians in 'Aussie'-style uniforms or British'style, but I have a feeling economics dictated the latter. This feeling was enhanced by the appearance that the (8th Battalion?) battle patches were loosley tacked-on, as were the Canadian patches. made me suspect the patches were easily removable so the 'soldiers' could swap between (ahem) 'Armies' as required.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
phil andrade

Needing to satisfy curiosity, I consulted CWGC database for Army deaths, 8th to 11th August, 1918, for France.

 

United Kingdom : 2,579

 

Canada :         2,122

 

Australia : 1,231

 

A huge role by the Dominions, indeed.

 

Perhaps, of all battles in both World Wars, the Battle of Amiens merits a distinction for one  in which the Dominion contingents were very much to the the fore.

 

But British soldiers still suffered the greatest number of deaths.  How many were Scottish ?

 

Phil

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bernard_Lewis

Thanks for the reviews. I'll catch up with my knitting, then...😂

 

Bernard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Robmcglynn

Hello All,

I am the Australian researcher mentioned somewhere in this thread. Firstly, a big thank you for all the members who entertained my questions and queries. It was mentioned what a great resources this forum is and I concur wholeheartedly. Second, as a researcher i am the 'private of the corp', so have virtually no say in what ends up on screen. We ( myself and our other researchers) did our best to put forward to those that must be obeyed the subtleties, bigger picture and other such complexities that mark that year of 1918. Television is a terrible beast - it's very much driven by where the money comes form and what the commissioning editors want to see. Unfortunately some things were just thrown out - the first use of tanks was Cambai etc

 

To be honest i haven't even seen it! I refuse  to have anything to do with Foxtel and out own ABC didn't buy it...but more on that later. I tried very hard to get them to shoot the recreations in NZ. Peter Jackson has an amazing toybox, but with Canada broadcasting putting in big money...well, it was always a foregone conclusion. It was a fascinating job researching this project, and it made me even more humble when I think of what those men went through - on both sides. I hope there is something in it that members of the forum can find interesting and (reasonably) well done. I always think of television is the art of compromise, hence always flawed from the get-go. The one thing I did get in though was diary and letter entries form the man in the trench - a small won but in the face of overwhelming odds it made me feel as though I'd done some  good.

 

I was also responsible for 'Monash and Me', which has only screened on the ABC. I created the concept, wrote the treatment and mapped out the episodes. For those that might have seen it, the original premise was to 'deconstruct' Monash's own book with the facts of that year, 1918. I was interested in the idea that in between Monash's aggrandizing (beautifully written by him none-the-less), and the actual events ( as far as we can know them) there is a remarkable story. I believe I failed in achieving that. Between both a director and a financier  with an agenda, much of what I envisaged was massaged to reflect the enduring ANZAC mythology. We had one take in getting it right, and we missed it ( in my opinion). I was especially disappointed that the AIF 'strikes' around the time of MSQ and Peronne were dropped completely, as too was the depiction of soldiers and ratting. To my mind the strike thread- and the parallel story of troop exhaustion - was essential to understanding the AIF in the latter part of 1918, and Monash's role in that part of the front line.

 

Someone said 'history is written by the victors'. I would add that in the case of the Great War the so-called victors continue to use it to serve a political agenda. It is to my regret that those WW1 men and women who fought and died are still used to further the ideologies of our political class. On a final note, my jujutsu teacher's teacher served in WW2 in Indonesia and Holland. He never ever referred to 'victors'... just survivors.

Once again, I am indebted to those on this forum who entertained my questions and queries.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MikeMeech
9 minutes ago, Robmcglynn said:

Hello All,

I am the Australian researcher mentioned somewhere in this thread. Firstly, a big thank you for all the members who entertained my questions and queries. It was mentioned what a great resources this forum is and I concur wholeheartedly. Second, as a researcher i am the 'private of the corp', so have virtually no say in what ends up on screen. We ( myself and our other researchers) did our best to put forward to those that must be obeyed the subtleties, bigger picture and other such complexities that mark that year of 1918. Television is a terrible beast - it's very much driven by where the money comes form and what the commissioning editors want to see. Unfortunately some things were just thrown out - the first use of tanks was Cambai etc

 

To be honest i haven't even seen it! I refuse  to have anything to do with Foxtel and out own ABC didn't buy it...but more on that later. I tried very hard to get them to shoot the recreations in NZ. Peter Jackson has an amazing toybox, but with Canada broadcasting putting in big money...well, it was always a foregone conclusion. It was a fascinating job researching this project, and it made me even more humble when I think of what those men went through - on both sides. I hope there is something in it that members of the forum can find interesting and (reasonably) well done. I always think of television is the art of compromise, hence always flawed from the get-go. The one thing I did get in though was diary and letter entries form the man in the trench - a small won but in the face of overwhelming odds it made me feel as though I'd done some  good.

 

I was also responsible for 'Monash and Me', which has only screened on the ABC. I created the concept, wrote the treatment and mapped out the episodes. For those that might have seen it, the original premise was to 'deconstruct' Monash's own book with the facts of that year, 1918. I was interested in the idea that in between Monash's aggrandizing (beautifully written by him none-the-less), and the actual events ( as far as we can know them) there is a remarkable story. I believe I failed in achieving that. Between both a director and a financier  with an agenda, much of what I envisaged was massaged to reflect the enduring ANZAC mythology. We had one take in getting it right, and we missed it ( in my opinion). I was especially disappointed that the AIF 'strikes' around the time of MSQ and Peronne were dropped completely, as too was the depiction of soldiers and ratting. To my mind the strike thread- and the parallel story of troop exhaustion - was essential to understanding the AIF in the latter part of 1918, and Monash's role in that part of the front line.

 

Someone said 'history is written by the victors'. I would add that in the case of the Great War the so-called victors continue to use it to serve a political agenda. It is to my regret that those WW1 men and women who fought and died are still used to further the ideologies of our political class. On a final note, my jujutsu teacher's teacher served in WW2 in Indonesia and Holland. He never ever referred to 'victors'... just survivors.

Once again, I am indebted to those on this forum who entertained my questions and queries.

 

 

 

Hi

 

Thank you for your comments and I fully understand your position, I also suspect that the historians that appear on the programme also will not agree with everything in it.

 

The idea of Canadian and Australian forces in France being different in their training and tactical methods from the British units is widely believed, although much of what has been said that was 'only' done by them in the past has a tendency to disappear on closer examination.  In Robert Stevenson's 'The War with Germany', OUP 2015, (which is a good and interesting book) has reference to the use of using live ammunition in training, mentioning that:

 

"From mid-1917, however, training programs for the AIF divisions began to include live-fire tactical exercises.  The training was progressive, commencing with 'dry' drills followed by blank-firing mock attacks and advancing to platoon and company live-firing manoeuvres."

 

And:

 

"Anthony Kellet suggests that the French Army adopted live-fire training only after seeing it employed at the Canadian Corps School in late 1917.  But Arthur Currie witnessed French training during his visit to the French Second Army School in late 1916, and he is likely to have brought the idea back to the Canadian Corps, not the other way round.  The ANZACs might have adopted such practices from the Canadians since both I and II ANZAC were using live-fire platoon and company practices from early 1917."

 

This is supposed to indicate: "that most of the BEF remained well behind the French and dominion contingents in this area" although, wisely, Stevenson mentions that: "this subject requires research".  Even if we ignore the fact that the ANZAC Corps also utilised British Divisions in their ORBAT, we can look at the BEF's training pamphlets of the period, taking just two' SS 143 'Training of Platoons for Offensive Action' of February 1917 has:

 

"(xxiv)  Live Ammunition.  No form of instruction with arms can be considered complete until it has been carried out with live ammunition under conditions as nearly as possible approaching those which would pertain to the battlefield."

 

SS 185 'Assault Training'  of September 1917 has:

 

"The exercise should be carried out at first using blank ammunition for all firing before entering the trench, and bombs unloaded but fuzed.  Later on the exercise should be carried out with live ammunition, including bombs and firing from the hip."

 

It appears that the Canadians and Australians were more likely following the doctrine as introduced by the BEFand later published in pamphlet form.  I do not believe that all British formations would totally ignore these instructions when they put in force other measures that had been introduced into the BEF training system, it doesn't quite make sense.

 

I hope that is of interest.

 

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bart150

Thanks Rob, You probably won't be surprised to hear that yours is by no means the first such tale to appear on this forum after a tv programme.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Steven Broomfield
4 hours ago, Robmcglynn said:

.

 

Someone said 'history is written by the victors'. I would add that in the case of the Great War the so-called victors continue to use it to serve a political agenda. It is to my regret that those WW1 men and women who fought and died are still used to further the ideologies of our political class.

 

 

Probably the truest words ever written.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tullybrone
On 27/10/2018 at 17:04, Steven Broomfield said:

On the subject of uniforms......... battle patches were loosley tacked-on, as were the Canadian patches......

 

 

Are you sure?

 

I’m sure I read somewhere that Velcro was de rigeur by this time?

 

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Gunga Din
5 hours ago, Robmcglynn said:

 

Someone said 'history is written by the victors'.

 

 

"History will be kind to me for I intend to write it"   Winston Churchill

 

"Winston has written a big book about himself and called it the World Crisis" Anonymous but occasionally attributed to Samuel Hoare and Balfour(see below)

 

"Winston's magnificent autobiography disguised as a history of the universe"  Balfour

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Scalyback

Rob thank you for the comments. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Steven Broomfield
1 hour ago, tullybrone said:

 

 

Are you sure?

 

I’m sure I read somewhere that Velcro was de rigeur by this time?

 

Steve

 

Only for the strippers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
INW

ROB

Well done for sticking your head up over the parapet so eloquently.

 

ALL

I only really started to learn about this War in 2014 and over the last four years have learned a lot from the Forum. I am constantly amazed how knowledgeable so many of you are. Amiens is a largely forgotten battle. Charles Messenger's book 'The Day We Won the War'. is the best on the subject I have read to date. I would welcome advice on books to rival Charles' ?

 

INW

Edited by INW
correct a typo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
IanA

Jings! Crivvens! Help ma boab! Ah watched (through ma fingers) the second pairt o' the series. Michty me! Ah niver kent that yon Haig chappie spoke in mangled Scots (seein' as he wis a toff) an' yon Horne!! Whit kind o' speakin' wis yon? Yin mair thing (Ah could gang oan, an oan, an oan) Ah cannae mind Haig wi' a pipe afore. The Lord be thankit it didnae gang oan till 1919 or we micht hae had a third episode. Dumfoonert! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Robmcglynn
1 hour ago, IanA said:

Jings! Crivvens! Help ma boab! Ah watched (through ma fingers) the second pairt o' the series. Michty me! Ah niver kent that yon Haig chappie spoke in mangled Scots (seein' as he wis a toff) an' yon Horne!! Whit kind o' speakin' wis yon? Yin mair thing (Ah could gang oan, an oan, an oan) Ah cannae mind Haig wi' a pipe afore. The Lord be thankit it didnae gang oan till 1919 or we micht hae had a third episode. Dumfoonert! 

 

hahaha you sound as incomprehensible as a Queenslander! I'm still yet to see it. May I add that thanks to a hard fight behind-the-scenes you might've had even more jibberish to add

best wishes

:-)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...