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Haig at the Somme

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Don Regiano
2 hours ago, Hyacinth1326 said:

Do you refer to the stalled cavalry advance ?  No - have a look some hours before their late arrival.  Baird’s advance past High Wood with his right flank unsecured ?  No The first attack on the Delville Wood/ High Wood line ?  No

 

 

2 hours ago, Hyacinth1326 said:

I for one visit this site to learn.

 

Rather a rude and unnecessary comment.  Your point being ....?

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Hyacinth1326

Meaning just that.  I visit this site to learn. Sometimes I meet people here with similar views to mine.  Sometimes I meet people with oppositional views. Doesn't matter. I learn. Thesis-Antithesis-Synthesis. Not mean't as rude and I sincerely apologise if I caused offence.  I try to respect and understand all perspectives. I am a maritime historian by trade (albeit with an intimate knowledge of the Somme). 

I am on a continual learning curve. 

Edited by Hyacinth1326

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Michael Thomson

I've learned a great deal from this thread so I feel I must say thank you to everybody who has contributed their knowledge.

 

As a person with only a fairly basic knowledge of the war on the Western Front, I was always under the impression that Haig was some kind of ' inhumane monster' that it seems he is popularly portrayed as in so many oversimplified documentaries and books on the subject. 

 

The nuances of the very difficult strategic position on the Western Front in respect of the most effective way to counter the new style of trench warfare were very well expressed on this thread and I for one must admit that I've changed my view of Haig from one of popularly-influenced blind disgust to a more reasoned position. I'm no military tactician but I don't know if I'd have had any better ideas in regard to fighting a trench war had I been in charge?

 

Anyway, thanks everybody for sharing your knowledge.

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keithmroberts

Part of me wanted to kill this topic much earlier, but I managed to refrain  If we restrict debate too much we will stop anyone from learning. My personal views are clear; Haig was not a great field commander in the sense of Marlborough or Wellington, (both of whom had their own butchers bills), but he was a great Commander in Chief, who accepted his responsibility and delivered for his King and country, and whose humanity was also amply demonstrated in his post war years.  I do believe that our original ,poster started with an unreasoned and ill founded premise, but we all know that the lions and donkeys theme is still in public awareness, and that the underpinning evidence, diplomatic, political and military passes by far too many, and gets little publicity compared to the emotional use of casualty figures.

 

Some of these debates, the men executed,  the casualties of the Somme have to be repeated, because as Michael Thomson posts above, that is still a way to learn. I just hope that any poster who has not steeped him or her self in some of the modern literature will do so to validate their initial thoughts. If that happens, then this topic has served a purpose. For those who want to go further, we now have not just memoirs and official histories , but also many official documents of the time - most of which are available in the National Archives, and were not available until the latter part of the last century. My view is that they validate the view of Haig's command that so many of his subordinates and his soldiers shared, which is why they  paid their last respects to him in such numbers, even lining the railway line when his body was returned to Scotland for burial.

 

These subjects will recur, The thing I appreciate about the GWF is that we do sometimes debate, and that way we all learn.  I do feel that this thread has run its course so I am going to call a halt.

 

Keith Roberts

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