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specster

Haig at the Somme

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specster
Posted (edited)

I would imagine this has been asked before...I am new to the site...bear with me if you can,  has Haig ever reprimanded or court marshaled for his negligence at the start of the Battle of the Somme?  To my Yankee brothers and many others...he acted much like Burnside at Fredricksburg  (American Civil War late 1862) -   They kept sending troops needlessly to their deaths as if they were blind.

Edited by specster
correction

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Steven Broomfield

Oh dear. Probably has been asked ... and refuted.

 

I suggest you use the Forum search function to find a few books to read for some background before you start using words like 'negligence', 'reprimanded', 'court martial' or 'blind'.

 

 

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RedCoat

Yes, it is a very tired narrative of senior British leadership during the war. When I hear the usual "Haig bashing" on First World War documentaries I give out a long sigh!

 

Kind regards, Daniel

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nigelcave

Rather to the contrary: promoted field marshal 1st January 1917, i.e. several weeks after the end of the Somme. And, of course, still C-in-C of the BEF three years after he was appointed, in December 1915.

 

Meanwhile I suggest you follow Mr Broomfield's sage advice - plenty of literature (too much?) available.

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towisuk
21 minutes ago, Steven Broomfield said:

Oh dear. Probably has been asked ... and refuted.

 

I suggest you use the Forum search function to find a few books to read for some background before you start using words like 'negligence', 'reprimanded', 'court martial' or 'blind'.

 

 

I am disappointed that a question was by "Specster" was dismissed out of hand with the suggestion he "reads a few books". How do you know that he hasn't taken the trouble to read about Haigs leadership on the Somme..??  He must have read something to come to his conclusion that Haig acted like " Burnside at Chancellorsville".... no need for what  may be construed as condescending replies to his post fellow forum members...

Tom

 

 

 

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SiegeGunner
1 hour ago, towisuk said:

He must have read something to come to his conclusion that Haig acted like " Burnside at Chancellorsville".... 

 

Was Burnside in command at Chancellorsville?  I thought he was replaced by Hooker before the battle.  

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nigelcave
1 hour ago, towisuk said:

I am disappointed that a question was by "Specster" was dismissed out of hand with the suggestion he "reads a few books". How do you know that he hasn't taken the trouble to read about Haigs leadership on the Somme..??  He must have read something to come to his conclusion that Haig acted like " Burnside at Chancellorsville".... no need for what  may be construed as condescending replies to his post fellow forum members...

Tom

 

 

 

I can see your point; but the question asked was whether DH was ever reprimanded or court martialled and, as we all know, whether we like it or not, he was not and no such suggestion was ever made that such an option was considered in any of the books on DH and the Somme. The observation that I made was merely to point out that he was promoted soon after the battle ended and was still in post at the end of the war, which would strongly suggest that such an option(s)  was/were never considered.

 

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PhilB

I am no fan of Haig but, if pre-Somme negligence is to be suggested, maybe the original poster should point out where he/she considers it to have been exemplified. Whatever it may involve, lack of success does not necessarily mean negligence.

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keithmroberts
9 hours ago, specster said:

I am new to the site

I note that although you have rarely posted you did join the forum in 2014 so have had access to earlier discussions about the Somme battles. It would be interesting to know what evidence or analysis underpins your post.

 

I can only support the reply from Mr Broomfield. 

 

 

 

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Ghazala

As Keith says there is a wealth of information on this Forum of ‘ Generals’ sent home for wasting men but certainly not DH.   Hunter Bunter gets my goat.

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Steven Broomfield
4 hours ago, towisuk said:

I am disappointed that a question was by "Specster" was dismissed out of hand with the suggestion he "reads a few books". How do you know that he hasn't taken the trouble to read about Haigs leadership on the Somme..??  He must have read something to come to his conclusion that Haig acted like " Burnside at Chancellorsville".... no need for what  may be construed as condescending replies to his post fellow forum members...

Tom

 

 

 

 

Well, he may have read about the American Civil War (although Mick suggests he might have made an error there), but had he read anything about the Somme, he would know the answer to his question - 'no'.

 

As Keith pointed out later in the thread, the OP has been on the Forum since 2014 so has had the chance to do some research before.

 

My view is that this looks like a classic troll. If it's not, I will apologise, but the question seems designed to inflame.

 

Such a shame dear old GAC is no longer here to rise to the bait.

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horatio2
3 hours ago, SiegeGunner said:

Was Burnside in command at Chancellorsville?  I thought he was replaced by Hooker before the battle.  

I agree. Chancellorsville was 2-3 May 1863 (not "late 1862") and Lincoln replaced Burnside with Hooker in the preceding February.

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PhilB
Posted (edited)

Chancellorsville is not a battle that immediately suggests comparison to the Somme? Maybe the poster meant Fredericksburg.

Edited by PhilB

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Black Maria
Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Ghazala said:

As Keith says there is a wealth of information on this Forum of ‘ Generals’ sent home for wasting men but certainly not DH.   Hunter Bunter gets my goat.

Some were sent home for seemingly trying not to waste men or in the phraseology of the day they lacked the ' offensive spirit ' , as in the case of

Maj-Gen Stuart-Wortley .

Edited by Black Maria

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Ghazala
1 minute ago, Black Maria said:

Some were sent home by for seemingly trying not to waste men or in the phraseology of the day they lacked the ' offensive spirit ' , as in the case of

Maj-Gen Stuart-Wortley .

 

Although I think Hunter Bunter was not sent home or disciplined in any way.

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Black Maria
1 minute ago, Ghazala said:

 

Although I think Hunter Bunter was not sent home or disciplined in any way.

No , sometimes the ones that deserved to go stayed and vice versa .

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Robert Dunlop

There is a long analysis in this thread that addresses the planning for the Somme in some detail, focusing heavily on Haig's role and intent:

Robert

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PhilB

Bear in mind though that the question refers to the start of the Somme, which, I assume, refers to the planning and events up to the end of 1/7/16.

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michaeldr
16 minutes ago, PhilB said:

Bear in mind though that the question refers to the start of the Somme, which, I assume, refers to the planning and events up to the end of 1/7/16.

On the other hand the OP also reminds us 

13 hours ago, specster said:

They kept sending troops needlessly to their deaths as if they were blind.

And one can sympathise with the question being raised, as the statistics for the Battle of the Somme are quite remarkable – see https://media.britishlegion.org.uk/Media/4113/somme100fieldmanual.pdf o

The RBL gives the greatest advance of any allied force during this battle as Five Miles (page 14)

They also give British casualties as 419,654 (page 15)

Try putting that as casualties per inch

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phil andrade
Posted (edited)

Both Burnside and Haig were told to attack : Burnside by his political bosses in Washington who had grown impatient with his notoriously slow predecessor ; Haig was duty bound to attack as part of a coalition effort at concerted offensive.  Both had misgivings : Burnside because the propitious moment had passed ; Haig because he realised that the requisite heavy artillery would not be available for a month or two. The one wanted to attack earlier, but was prevented from doing so by bureaucratic bungling in Washington ; the other suggested waiting until the resources and training of his army were better suited to the task, and was under pressure to attack earlier. Burnside’s defeat at Fredericksburg was unequivocal and immediately apparent ; the outcome of the Somme was not clear cut, and remains controversial more than a century later, as many posts on this  forum will attest.

 

Phil

Edited by phil andrade

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PhilB

Didn't Montgomery come under similar pressure at Alamein but resisted? It raises the question of what is the duty of a general asked to fight a battle he doesn't think he can win!

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Muerrisch

when I read in the OP

 

court marshaled 

 

I groaned a little.

 

When I read the rest of the thread I groaned a lot.

 

Will some kind soul close it down?

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IanA

 

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specster
19 hours ago, towisuk said:

I am disappointed that a question was by "Specster" was dismissed out of hand with the suggestion he "reads a few books". How do you know that he hasn't taken the trouble to read about Haigs leadership on the Somme..??  He must have read something to come to his conclusion that Haig acted like " Burnside at Chancellorsville".... no need for what  may be construed as condescending replies to his post fellow forum members...

Tom

 

 

 

Thank you Sir.  When people in Britain go out of their way to lampoon him for his actions on the Somme 40 years plus after the fact, Im pretty sure that is a telling fact.  If he were a General in the US Army who had screwed up royally as recently as  WW2 (like MacArthur)  most people in this county would not even know who he was unless they saw a movie which  took tons of liberty with the facts for dramatic effect.  Also, its amazing how often Presentism rears its ugly head in better forums where there is no lack of highly educated, highly informed people.  All to often I see people start with a theory and tailor their narrative to make and individual a hero or a villain,   biased by current social norms = Presantism.  Thank you again Towisuk.  Was starting to feel besieged, like a Frenchman at Verdun

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specster
Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, SiegeGunner said:

 

Was Burnside in command at Chancellorsville?  I thought he was replaced by Hooker before the battle.  

I meant Fredricksburg....you are correct  Hooker was in command at Chancellorsville.

Edited by specster
correction

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